Endorsement: Don Rocha for City Council

Back in March, when he first launched his campaign, Donald Rocha was careful to a fault.

He declined to take positions on controversial issues, saying he needed to first get familiar with the issues, and then to go out into the community and find out what his constituents were thinking.

Seven months later, Rocha has evolved as a political actor. Having studied the policy papers, pounded the pavement and knocked on a few thousand doors, he says he now knows what his district wants and how to get it.

On the most important issue confronting the city—the $118 million budget deficit and the structural problems that created it—Rocha has staked out a strong position at some political risk. He has come out publicly in favor of Measure V and Measure W, which would strengthen the city’s position with regards to public employees’ unions.

Where he once opposed pension reform, he now says he believes it is necessary and will support it. Asked whether he would have voted with Mayor Reed to impose a pay cut on the unions, Rocha doesn’t hesitate to say yes. (“Reluctantly,” he adds.)

Because Rocha has been endorsed by the South Bay Labor Council, his opponent, Larry Pegram, is trying to portray him as a union pawn. But Rocha’s willingness to speak out on these controversial issues proves that he is capable of being his own man. That will be important in coming months, when the citizens of San Jose will need an independent representative on the council.

Rocha is still cautious—admirably so. “I don’t think we need to be hammering on city employees and blaming the unions for all the city’s troubles,” he says. “We don’t need to be demonizing them.” Back in March, that might have sounded like double-speak—today it sounds like an intelligently nuanced approach.

Pegram, an evangelical activist who spearheaded the local fight against gay marriage, served on the City Council in the mid-’70s, when he was known as one of the notorious “Fearsome Foursome.” That developer-friendly bloc fell apart following bribery indictments and scandal.

Pegram then began a career as a financial planner, which was marked by bankruptcy and foreclosure. Several longtime acquaintances have questioned his forthrightness and integrity. His positions on social issues aside, he is not qualified to sit on this council.

Residents of District 9 have a clear choice.


  1. Well done! He is the best choice for D9. If Pegram gets on the “Fearsome Foursome” will return. We don’t need another failed cop, egocentric Constant who berates constituents and public servants from the dais and gets a way with it.

  2. > Back in March, that might have sounded like double-speak—today it sounds like an intelligently nuanced approach.


    Somehow, I suspect this was intended to be taken seriously.

    In jest there is truth.

    And conversely, in [Metro] truth there is jest.

  3. I congratulate the Metro for endorsing a “Yes” vote on Proposition 19, but are you guys planning to give an endorsement different from the one offered by the Mercury News on ANY other race?  Being right on Proposition 19 is a biggie, I’ll grant, but otherwise your state proposition endorsements precisely mirror those of the Mercury.  And there’s so far no difference at all with respect to your endorsements for local races.  I can remember a time when the Metro endorsements didn’t just read like a photocopy of the Mercury News endorsements, but has that time sadly passed?

  4. I will vote for him if he promises to not steal his opponents political signs. I will vote for him if he gets caught doing something illegal promises not to call the chief of police, city attorney, and mayor, to get preferential treatment right from the scene on his cell phone. I will vote for him if when he has a public Facebook page for ostensibly communicating with voters, does not delete comments he does not agree with and prevent those people from posting future comments. I will vote for him if he at least keeps some respect for city workers who have worked their butts off for the best of the city, and does not use a local blog to launch a weekly attack against city workers. I will vote for him if he tries to have a leadership style of respect for the other side, not a controlling and dictitorial style. I will vote for him if at least questions why Pete Constant is getting a lifetime, tax free disability retirement from the police department while crapping on the officers who are actually still working.