Metro Endorses Teresa Alvarado

Two events prompted Teresa Alvarado to run for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. One was the retirement of her mother, Blanca Alvarado, the first Latina elected to serve as a San Jose City Council member and later as a county supervisor. The other was Barack Obama’s candidacy. Looking back, Alvarado says she saw a new, more pragmatic political model emerging. “I felt like it was time for our generation to step up,” she says.

We are supporting Alvarado because she is independent of special interests—her opponents are backed by either organized labor or the Chamber of Commerce while Alvarado is not—and she is the least likely to support environmentally unsound development strategies in South County.

Though she has never held an elected office, Alvarado has been around community politics most of her life. Her academic background is in environmental technology, with a BA from San Jose State and a master’s from Tufts. She studied at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She has worked for years in the private sector—first at NASA/Ames Research Center and more recently with PG&E’s “Solar Schools” program, then served as director of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and as an outside member of the San Jose Mercury News’ editorial board.

As promised, her campaign focuses on practical issues, with an innovative twist. In addition to bringing a hard-headed approach to basic county safety-net services, Alvarado proposes tapping federal stimulus funds to pay for a green-retrofitting of county properties.

As a three-year member of the San Jose General Plan Task Force, she vows that the long-held developers’ dream of developing turning Coyote Valley into a minicity is finally dead. 

Alvarado’s leading Democratic opponent, Forrest Williams, now agrees with her about Coyote Valley. But that is a new position for the former San Jose City Council member. When he served on the council, Williams was an enthusiastic supporter of the plan to blanket the pristine valley with homes. Trading the region’s environmental quality for short-term union jobs is unsound public policy.

The third leading candidate, former Los Gatos Mayor Mike Wasserman, built his campaign around the issue of fiscal discipline. As a moderate Republican and a professional financial planner, that is not surprising. Nor is it surprising that given the historical moment we’re in, his message resonates.

Wasserman declines to say exactly where he plans to make cuts to balance the county’s budget—few candidates for any office would take such a risk. But we found it telling that, when pressed, the only specifics he offered as an example were three women’s shelters, which he suggested might be consolidated. Wasserman’s a heckuva nice guy, but we found that suggestion a rather cruel place to start the cuts.

Two South County long-shot candidates fill out the ballot: Gilroy winemaker Tom Kruse (who could have won on name recognition but for the spelling problem) and Dr. Peter Arellano, a family care physician at Kaiser Permanente and a Gilroy City Council member.

We were especially impressed with Arellano. He makes a compelling case that, since half the $4 billion county budget is gobbled up by Valley Medical Center, a practicing physician who cut his teeth administrating free clinics in L.A. is a good choice for the job.

But despite his sincere, homegrown-boy’s desire to help struggling Gilroy youth, a vote for the dark horse in a close race like this is a vote for Forrest Williams. The eventual winner would do well to keep Arellano’s number close by, however, as the county tries to trim VMC’s fat.

We hope that winner is Teresa Alvarado, and we recommend her strongly.


  1. > Looking back, Alvarado says she saw a new, more pragmatic political model emerging. “I felt like it was time for our generation to step up,” she says.


    What a load of smelly horse pucky.

    I don’t know any real human beings who sit around contemplating their navels, and then suddenly realize that “it is time for our generation to step up.”

    I’m sure that one of the things that distinguishes politicians from regular people is that they have over-active narcissism genes.  But sometimes it is just plain stupefying.

    • > “I felt like it was time for our generation to step up,” she says.

      What does Teresa have against other generations?

      “It’s time for my generation to step up;
      All you other generations sit down and shut up.”

      Democrats seem to have just one play in their playbook: “Us against them.”

  2. Egads, the thought of Forrest droning on well into the night at a Board of Supes meeting is nothing short of terrifying. 

    Teresa sounds as though she’s got her stuff together.  I particularly like her view on Coyote Valley.

    • >  I particularly like her view on Coyote Valley.

      Wait. Don’t tell me.

      She thinks it’s “time for her generation to step up” in Coyote Valley?

      I have to believe that there are people in Silicon Valley who are licking stale pizza residue off the floors of trash dumpsters who can come up with political rhetoric more compelling than THAT!

      • BTP,

        Don’t worry! Williams and Wasserman will step up as well… for the special interests that have plunged San Jose and our County into chronic deficits.

        I had the pleasure of meeting Teresa Alvarado at a candidate forum in Los Gatos, and not only did she wholly outshine her opponents with her knowledge of County government and the issues specific to District 1, she impressed me on a personal level.

        It’s rare when you find a politician so engaged with the things we care about as voters. Maybe that comes from not being a politician, from not having spent the better part of the past dozen years shilling for one master or another. Maybe that’s the kind of perspective we need in local government.

        If you live in District 1, I couldn’t think of a better supervisor for you than Teresa Alvarado.

        Was that compelling enough for you?


  3. Um… isn’t her mom the biggest voice, or was the biggest voice in the creation of the Mexican Heritage Plaza?… my thinking is one of caution… can the political ideologue apple fall far from the tree? I don’t think she will work, I believe this yet another example of local political nepotism of which we all end up suffering from.

  4. You are ignoring substantial difference of opinion that Don Gage brought to Supervisors – small town and rural South County business friendly concerns vs San Jose’s big city, big spending / debt and big government taxes, business unfriendly political differences

    If Alvarado or Williams is elected South County will be not have a representative that believes as South County does in small towns, property rights, family farms and ranches, minimum government, private jobs vs government job growth,  personal responsibility vs large government welfare programs and less taxes on County Board of Supervisors

    San Jose politicians and their special interest supporters voted for liberal policies that produced 10+ years of budget deficits, added billions debt and deferred billions infrastructure repairs with tax, borrow and spend big government will be the political manta for 4 of 5 Supervisors.

    We will see more taxes, debt and business unfriendly policies that benefit special interests not public and taxpayers killing Silicon Valley

    • I believe Gage was a strong supporter of destroying Coyote Valley. Alvarado’s views on this subject would be a refreshing change for a South County rep.

  5. The Metro and the Mercury seem united in their belief that the real battle next month is between Alvarado and Wasserman, for who will get to go up against Williams in the run-off.  I think they are mistaken, and that the run-off will be between Wasserman and Alvarado, with Forrest Williams reduced to a third place showing in the primary.

  6. Did Teresa Alvarado support Ron Gonzales’ appointment as CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley?  If so, she just lost my vote.

    The City is still dealing with the fiscal problems created by Gonzales.  The sweetheart deal that he cut with police and fire to allow overtime pay to be included in retirement calcualtions is one of the biggest problems that the City is now facing.

    When my local library has to close its doors several times a week, I’ll remember the Gonzales regime.

    If Alvarado supported Gonzales’ appointment as CEO, she deserves to take some heat.

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