Ash Kalra’s DUI PR Pays Off

Before word leaked out through the usual channels that councilman Ash Kalra had been arrested and charged with a DUI early Saturday morning, Kalra and his chief of staff, Joseph Okpaku, were already in damage-control mode. They beat the CHiPs to the punch by holding a casual press conference at Kalra’s home.

There in his comfy living room, Kalra told the gathered reporters, some of whom may very well have been nursing hangovers themselves, that he had already apologized to Mayor Chuck Reed and his fellow city councilmembers. Kalra owned up to his “error in judgment,” which likely portends a “no contest” plea.

Surely motivated by expediency as much as by humility, Kalra then vowed to accept the consequences of his actions. As a lawyer who has represented people in the exact same bad situation that he was in, Kalra obviously realized it was best to face the music rather than let the story linger. And sure enough, just two days after the arrest, a Merc editorial praised Kalra for setting “an example for public officials caught in less-than-exemplary behavior.”

The editorial went on to make a less-than-exemplary comparison to former presidential candidate John Edwards, who in 2008 repeatedly denied that he had an estranged love child.

Unmentioned was this piece of irony: Just three days before he was pulled over early Saturday morning for having a brake light out, Kalra had hosted a “Safe Teen Driver” event at Oak Grove High School. Hopefully Kalra warned the kids to check their tail lights before hopping behind the wheel when leaving a party.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

83 Comments

  1. Ash and I started a dialog between each other.  I too had a DUI once in 98, stopped drinking on land after that (still bring rum on my dads sailboat though)

    Thing I pointed out to Ash, and I had pointed this out to Ken Yeager several months ago (Ken.. I’m still waiting for a response) is there is a need for a “Drunk” train at the end of the night.

    If Mc Donalds is willing to Vinyl up a VTA Light Rail Transit, it probably wouldn’t be far off the mark to say that Budweiser or more would love for an opportunity to do the same.  Bud could build, staff, “The Budweiser Party Train”  Deck it out with black lights, each car can have its own “theme” and music.  Budweiser could give “Travel Vouchers” this summer to liquor distributors to hand out to clubs.

    Once a person arrives at their destination LRT station, food trucks could provide a “sobering station” for folks to get coffee, food, etc.  (One law that would need to be changed is food trucks should be allowed to setup folding chairs, tables and propane patio heaters for folks… with permit and approved areas of course)

    Now that gets them close to home, but we still have another few miles to go.  At the LRT stations, we have cabs waiting to whisk folks the last few miles.  At the end of the night, they give the cabbie their vouchers, and the cabbie turns his vouchers in for reimbursement.

    Thing is, if you’re drinking San Jose..  No make that Santa Clara County is about the inconvenient place in the world.  We have an awesome transit system, but most of it shuts down at 8:30-9pm.

    But just as we put on parties to get people to use Ceasar Chavez park more, we should do the same at 2am to get folks using the VTA. Market the ride home as the “Afterparty” 

    OK let the “Oh noes I’m gonna get taxed to death” comments rain down.

      • I disagree Frank…

        Ever been to Baltimore?  I went there a few years back.  Now there is a city designed for drinking!  Most if not all the clubs have indoor/outdoor seating.  It’s like being in a giant beer garden.

        At the end of the night the transit still runs, filled with 1000’s of drunken party goers.

        In NYC it’s pretty much the same.  You can catch a subway train anytime (it’s also really inconvenient to drive and park)

        Thing is, where do we want to put the money?  I don’t think hiring more sheriffs and setting up checkpoints is the answer to cut down on drunk driving.

        How do you get a drunk to stop driving?  Don’t give em a car. Yet we keep this system in place where the latest VTA train is at 10pm.  Could it be that drunk driving arrests are something profitable?  Maybe that’s why we don’t see more “alternatives” at 2am for getting drunks home? (Other than a $50 cab ride)

        Hell, it could be a multi-corporation sponsored thing.  I’m sure metro would love to have itself on the list of sponsors.

    • Mr Cortese:

      I go out occasionally.  I am by no means a every-weekend-partier.  When I do go out I have a few drinks.  I always manage to make it home without a DUI.  Want to know my secret?  I arrange for a designated driver or make cab arrangements BEFORE I go out.  Brilliant isn’t it?

      There have been occasions where I went out intending to drink and my ride situation changed.  Guess what?  I made a very adult decisions NOT TO DRINK.  Again, brilliant isn’t it? 

      I am so amazingly brilliant, way ahead of the curve.  Wait a minute, here’s a thought, everyone could be as brilliant as me and be responsible with their behavior?  Especially elected officials who are also lawyers who worked with DUI cases and just days before had preached to teens about the dangers of drunk driving?  Who’d have guessed!

      Your idea is a babysitting service.  Responsible adults take care of themselves or suffer the humiliation and legal consequences.  Mr Kalra is a disgrace not only because he knew better but because he should have done better. 

      No excuses and no bad judgement.  It was intentional the moment he drank enough to get him legally drunk and then get in his car. 

      At his press conference he said he hadn’t given a thought to how it would affect him politically?  Really, is that why he was having a Sunday morning press conference after he had already called his council peers and Mayor?  Thats spin control if I ever saw it.

  2. > Kalra owned up to his “error in judgment,” which likely portends a “no contest” plea.

    Not good enough!

    I want to see the above the fold front page news photo of Kalra being hauled into the court in handcuffs with his coat over his head.

    • > Kalra owned up to his “error in judgment,” which likely portends a “no contest” plea.

      Yah, wish other council members would do the same when caught red handed, instead of calling up Rick Doyle.

    • I’d rather see Councilman Xavier Campos in handcuffs for the public money he helped steal from MACSA that hasn’t been recovered or accounted for.  Well over a million stolen from teachers, pensions and preschool kid’s programs. 

      Where is his press conference admitting his shame?????

      Hopefully the DA doesn’t think the public has forgotten about the MACSA scandal.

  3. A classic example of thinking they are above the law…  This is not about what he did afterwords. 

    It’s about the thoughtless act he committed knowing he had been drinking and still chose to get behind the wheel of a car and play Russian Roulette with our citizens on the road. 

    A great thought process was used to do this act.  It’s called stupidity, and arrogance. 

    Saying I’m sorry doesn’t cut it and then REED says it’s not a City issue… Like hell it’s not, he represents the City no matter what he is doing and what happens to him, REED you have no clue of what your talking about.  Your better off sticking to your corrupt politician act… 

    This is not a personal thing, this is a City thing as he just like the cops and fire fighters and regular employees if they get in this kind of trouble. 

    He is subject to “disciplinary actions” for conduct unbecoming a City of San Jose employee, of which I’m sure Gurza and Figone will sweep under the carpet as usual. 

    There is nothing respectful about apologizing for something he should have never did.

    Any other thoughts on this stupid act anyone? 

    Old Frank

  4. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving an average drunk driver has driven drunk 87 times before his first arrest.

    Are we really supposed to believe Mr. Kalra was caught the one and only time he drove drunk?

    District 2 voters need to understand the extent of Mr. Kalra’s alcohol problem to determine if he is fit to remain in office.

    Mr. Kalra has more explaining to do.

    • This means that some have driven once and others 174, so what is your point? Kalra made a mistake and he owned up to it, he said he was going to plead guilty and take his punishment like a man.  ‘Nuff said.

      • You made my point.  Mr. Kalra needs to tell us if he was caught the first time or the 174th time he drove while drunk.  Until then, Mr. Kalra has not fully “owned up” to his crime.

  5. Scott Herhold in today’s Mercury took a political shot at Labor’s possible San Jose Mayor Candidate by saying ” To preserve his political career , Kalra chose the wisest course , maybe the only course ”

    So Scott, there you go again in your column doing your friend’s political dirty work knocking down labor’s potential Mayor candidate and promoting his / your Mayor candidate

  6. I don’t even want to get started on the political bias that is apparent in this piece. The fact is that Ash Kalra made a mistake. A terrible mistake to be sure, but he has taken this issue very seriously and has openly admitted to his actions. He will be treated the same as anyone other resident in the eyes of the law.

    I will admit my own bias, I am a friend of Ash’s. That is why I take personal offense to everyone who is anti-labor, anti-progressive is using this one-time error in judgement as an excuse to attack his personal character. Elected officials should be held to a high standard – but they are not perfect. I would rather have a councilmember who can admit his faults and wrong doings.

    • Mia,

      I’m sorry but I don’t consider this to be a “one-time error in judgment”.  If he was arrested for drunk driving, he has almost certainly driven drunk before.  Even if MADD’s statistic of driving drunk 87 times before ever getting arrested is inflated, it’s very hard to believe that this is the first time Ash has ever driven drunk.

      Also a .12 blood alcohol level is 50% higher than the legal upper limit. 

      Ash and his staff have done the best thing possible PR wise, but it’s still a very serious and troubling crime for anyone particularly an elected official.

      • This IS serious but you don’t know the situation. You don’t know if it’s his first time drunk driving. True, it’s probably not, but unless you know him personally and follow him around, you would have no idea what he does in his personal life. My little sister had her first drink on her 21st Birthday. Two days later was her first time ever driving after drinking and she got pulled over – DUI first time. I was happy she got busted her first time, taught her a lesson she will never ever forget. I hope that Kalra wasn’t a serial drunk driver and that he learns from this.

        However, while yes, 12 is 50% more than 8, that’s a really skewed way to do the math. If you look at a BAC chart, for a man of his size (I’ve met him twice and he’s not too tall and pretty thin) .12% is only ONE drink over the legal limit. Heck if he didn’t have time to eat dinner that could be half a drink.

        I agree with Mia that I’d rather have my elected officials tell the truth than lie about the things they do wrong.

        • “I agree with Mia that I’d rather have my elected officials tell the truth than lie about the things they do wrong.”

          Thats like saying you’d prefer your abusive husband to apologize after hitting you rather than insist you got the fat lip in a fall.

          I’d rather have my elected officials do the right thing and not bother with excuses or lies.  HOw’s that for a novel idea?

      • I think he deserves a pardon, or in the least a deferred sentence.  How’s he supposed to do his job without a car? 

        I really don’t like the idea of you and I having to pay overtime, gas and mileage for whatever aid ends up having to be his chauffeur till the end of his term.

        I know how hard it is to say no to a drink..  Hell, I work in a bar and I have said no every night for the last 10 years now (OK 1 or two nights on my birthday over that 10) 

        When people see politicians, the first thing they want is to get noticed by them.  Buying drinks is the cheapest, easiest way of doing that.  If Ash’s offers of free drinks is anything close to what I had…

        I guess I’m biased like Mia too.  I like Ash.  Even prouder seeing him own up to it.  If I was governor for a day, I’d give him full pardon on the condition that he never touches another drink again while on land, birthday excepted, or if offered a drink, take a coke/ginger ale.

    • Mia,

      You are obviously biased.  Its not a one time error in judgement.  I am not a friend of Kalra’s but I have been at numerous events where he was and have witnessed him drink and then drive himself away.  He drives while under the influences all the time. 

      This is the one time he’s been caught.  He broke the law.  He made a terrible decision that he makes all the time without any regard to the families, taxpayers and voters he endangers when he does this.  He thinks he’s somehow the one guy that can drive while intoxicated and not get in an accident.  Even though he worked with DUI charged folks when with the public defenders office.  He doesnt get to use ignorance as an excuse.  No his excuse is elitism. 

      Ash Kalra thinks he’s better than everyone else thats why he thinks he can drink when he’s out and then drive in his Prius home.  At least he’s not endangering the environment.

      I’d rather have a councilperson who has integrity and makes good decisions.

  7. It’s hypercynical to assume that it’s just good “PR.”  You’re going to lambast him either way – and I guarantee you would’ve given him a hard time for not being upfront if he hadn’t handled it this way.  There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle a mistake.  He handled it the right way.  It’s not just good PR – it’s being an honest person.

    • > There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle a mistake.  He handled it the right way.

      The “right way and wrong way” differ depending on whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat.

      Naughty Republicans resign.

      Naughty Democrats hold fund raisers.

  8. Councilmember Kalra broke the law; he got caught and will accept any and all of the ramifications associated with a first-time offender of DUI. At no time has this Councilmember tried to evade the story or “down-play” it.

    We must remember, each Councilmember is a representative of their district and constituents. From what I know of Councilmember Kalra, he had served the residents of District 2 proudly and has worked tirelessly to help improve our City. 

    Councilmember Kalra has contributed many years of his life dedicated to public service and human rights.

    Before folks rush to judgment, ask yourself, what have “I” done for my neighborhood, community and city

    I support Councilmember Kalra and his continued service to the people of San Jose.

    • Well we know one thing he’s done for sure for his district, he drives drunk on his way home. Doesn’t he realize he’s putting potential voters at risk?

  9. Wow, based on some of these really negative and judgemental comments, seems like a classic case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. So, if Councilman Kalra had not responded the way that he did, owning up to his mistake just as a responsible adult should, he would have surely been criticized for trying to “get away with it”, for denying his actions, for leveraging his Public Servant status to his advantage, etc.

    Yet, here he’s done the right thing after he made a mistake (which, by the way, we all make) and he’s still being criticized for being crafty and in damage-control-mode.

    If you need a reason to beat up on someone, at least do it when that person is standing up, instead of kicking them when they are down.

    In other words, Man Up, just like Ash did.

    • Shelly,

      If Mr. Kalra were to truly “Man Up” he would resign.

      You have obviously never received the dreaded phone call that a family member is fighting for her life in a trauma center because of a drunk driver.

      Yes, we all make mistakes but Mr. Kalra’s mistake could have left somebody dead.  We are very fortunate the CHP captured Mr. Kalra so a mother did not receive that dreaded phone call on of all days, Mother’s Day.

    • You’re right.  I guess the best course of action would have been for Mr Kalra to not get behind the wheel of his car while drunk.

      Thing is we do not ALL make the mistake.  Some of us don’t drink at all.  Thats a choice.  Just like his to drive drunk.  If you’re making the same choice, I hope you get arrested too.  (hopefully before you kill someone)

      Sorry I have no pitty or empathy for people who intentionally show total disregard for other people’s safety simply for their own selfish pleasure

  10. According to Council Policy 0-15 posted on the City Council’s website under the “Responsibilities of Public Service” section: “City officials and employees are obligated to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California and to comply with Federal, State, and local laws and City policies. Recognizing the special responsibilities of serving the City and its citizens and customers, City officials and employees are required to maintain the highest standards of integrity and honesty, and they are expected to treat all members of the public and fellow City employees with respect, courtesy,
    concern and responsiveness. The conduct of City officials and employees in both their official and private affairs should be above reproach to assure that their City position is not used for personal gain.”

    At the bottom of this policy, there is a section called “Violations of the Code of Ethics”, it states: “In addition to any other penalty as provided by law, employees who violate the Code of Ethics will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The violation of this Code of Ethics by a City official, elected or appointed, constitutes official misconduct. For additional information, please refer to Title 12 of the San José Municipal Code and the City Council Censure Policy.”

    While I respect the honesty of Mr. Kalra and the fact he also owned up to his mistake (<cough cough> Reed, Figone), isn’t this a clear violation of council policy?

    • Yes it is a clear violation.  As for REED saying it’s not a City issue, but a personal one for Ash. 

      Thank you for pointing this out fact out.  REED is (always wrong) with his assumption that this mishap or any other situation REED may have a comment on.

      As I have said before REED doesn’t know everything as he may think he does.  REED get an education about the rules of your own City. 

      I’m Sorry Mr. REED but your Kingdom, much like Mr. Dan Fenton’s is “Crumbling all around you” but your too arrogant to notice. 

      REED maybe you’ll be next to get a DUI, even better Pete Constant gets a DUI with a .25 BAC Ha Ha Ha! 

      1. Now we have a triple dipping disability faking, Kid wrestling “dirty” Councilman.

      2. One who is a Sign Thief.

      3. One with an Alcohol problem and a DUI.

      What and who’s next? 

      Old Frank

    • Wasn’t there another city council member awhile back who had a DUI and it was no big deal, but he was also kind of extorting contributors to pick up expensive dinner tabs (boiling crab, etc) with the implied threat that their projects wouldn’t get his vote if they didn’t keep paying?

      Forget the guys name, but I think he eventually resigned or was replaced in the next election.

      Anyway, there’s all kinds of unethical sleeze, which is why sunshine rules were a big seller.  A DUI is actually a minor thing compared to some of the major corruption that has been happened in and around city hall the last couple of decades. 

      Frankly, it was on his own time, and he’ll probably pay the standard penalty and either learn his lesson or he won’t. 

      I don’t consider that it impacts his ability to do the job he was elected to do.  I don’t favor using ethics rules for political witch hunts just because you don’t like his faction/allegiances on a divided council.

  11. One thing to keep in mind is that it takes practice, lots of practice, to drive drunk and not get caught.  Remember, he was pulled over for a tail light being out, not for erratic driving. 

    Perhaps we need individuals to take the driving test at an impaired level of their choice.  If they can pass the test then they can legally drive up to that level.  After all, there are plenty of people who cannot drive sober.  Most accidents are caused by sober drivers.

    • So your point is that Kalra is a proficient drunk driver? 

      I’ll go further than your last statement, all accidents are caused by sober drivers.  DUI and drunk driving collisions aren’t accidental.  Its intentional when someone drinks and makes the decision to drive.  It is totally irresponsible and totally avoidable.

    • Pulling people over for things like a busted tail light is a classic police move when they think someone may be driving under the influence but they aren’t completely sure.  Once the driver is stopped for the lesser offense it’s pretty easy to tell if they have been drinking.

  12. It happens to the best ash. Just remember next time to stay off the freeway and stick to the surface streets. With about 130 less cops you should be safe. Let me know if you need anything. lol

  13. As a personal friend of the Councilman, I can attest that he has continually demonstrated his commitment to strengthening the community. I have had the unique privilege of working with Ash in a variety of settings. As a member of the Silicon Valley Young Democrats, he continues to show strong support for our organization by empowering young people and stressing the importance of community engagement. Also, last year when a friend of mine tapped me to assist him organize a benefit concert to raise funds for Haiti, Ash immediately agreed to be a guest speaker at the event, where he highlighted the Haitian community here in San Jose, and really motivated listeners to get involved in their local communities.

    On Black Friday this past year, a day which millions use to camp out overnight to get the best deal on materialistic items, Ash organized an event titled, ‘Holiday Warm Up’ where dozens of community residents gathered at his home to make bag lunches to be distributed at Loaves and Fishes homeless shelter, along with socks and gloves for them to stay warm during the upcoming winter season.

    If anybody has proven to provide true community leadership in San Jose, it has been my good friend, Ash!

    • > On Black Friday this past year, a day which millions use to camp out overnight to get the best deal on materialistic items, Ash organized an event titled, ‘Holiday Warm Up’ where dozens of community residents gathered at his home to make bag lunches to be distributed at Loaves and Fishes homeless shelter, along with socks and gloves for them to stay warm during the upcoming winter season.

      Oh, good grief.

      This sounds like typical liberal moral exhibitionism.

      Look at me!  Look at me! Look at me!

      If Ash and the other gaggle of “progressives” were really concerned about the warmth of poor people and homeless people, they would be demonstrating, throwing tantrums, and screaming bloody murder at the politicians and special interests that are causing ENERGY POVERTY!

      ENERGY POVERTY is not caused by greedy oil companies;  it is caused by greedy special interest groups and greedy politicians.

      Big Oil earns two cents profit on a gallon of gasoline, AND THEY PROVIDE THE GASOLINE.

      Government earns sixty cents a gallon or more on a gallon of gas, and they do NOTHING! Federal Excise Tax.  State Tax. Sales Tax. TAX! TAX! TAX!

      And when gas prices go up, greedy government earns MORE because sales taxes are a percent of the selling price!

      The greediest and most oppressive special interests that are responsible for ENERGY POVERTY and shivering poor people are the environmentalists.

      Paul Erlich, author of the book “The Population Bomb”, is a rock star among environmentalists.  Erlich famously wrote: “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

      Environmentalists hate “cheap, abundant energy”, love energy poverty, and want poor people to suffer, stop reproducing, and go away because an over abundance of poor people are wrecking the planet.

      Ash and the stupid Silicon Valley Young Democrats can take their mocking “socks and gloves” and shove them up their exhaust pipes.

      The way to keep homeless people warm, is to let the free market economy create jobs for them so they can afford to buy the “cheap, abundant energy” that the free market economy will provide.

      Liberals care a hell of a lot more for furbish louseworts, snail darters, and spotted owls than they do for chilly homeless people.

      Liberals will even lie about spotted owls needing to live only in “old growth forests” even if they know that the lie will cause homeless people to shiver.

      Spotted owls can live perfectly fulfilled spotted owl lives in K-Mart signs.  And for all anyone knows, spotted owls would even thrive in lofty frameworks of oil drilling rigs.

      I am sick of and disgusted by the hypocrisy and mendacity of “progressive” politicians and their groupies who promote destructive causes that result in widespread economic problems and social distress, and then strut and preen about their moral and ethical exceptionalism.

      “Here, Homeless Person: I got you some nice socks and gloves.  I made sure they were green to help the planet.”

      “Oh, and here’s a government brochure on energy conservation.  Make sure you turn the homeless shelter thermostat down to 58 degrees at night.”

      Oh, thanks! Ash! Can I sit by the heater in your Prius for a few minutes?

  14. Labor is scr**ed again now that Kalra is out of Mayor race   Poor leadership, weak candidates and not doing what is best for public get you defeat you deserve

    Hello Mayor Liccardo Tom sure backed the right candidate, again 2 for 2

    • Your right!  Sam is next in line as the Mayor.  Mr. I will move to SJ and ride a bike will be the next Mayor.  If Labor thinks it’s bad now wait till Lizard Licarro arrives.
          Mayor Reed will look like AAA ball compared to Licardo.  remember Liccardo never has to worry about his future his daddy made sure of that.

  15. By listening to all you folks it’s seems that “driving drunk” is a good thing to do. 

    You all missed the seriousness of this offense.  He lacked common “simple judgment”, Don’t drive if you have been drinking ANY alcohol, period.

    He had a .12 Blood Alcohol Level, as was said before to be 50% more than the upper end of the legal limit of a Blood Alcohol .08 – .12 is a Massive Alcohol Level and then he gets behind the wheel. 

    Really smart thing to do, oh wait I just killed an entire family while driving drunk… I better say I’m sorry that should make it all better.  (Where’s the RESET button at Ash?) 

    He is very lucky he didn’t kill anyone of us citizens on the roadway.  This situation is worse that text-driving.

    My friends, do not down play this situation, he could have killed anyone while driving drunk and you all defend him as some type of folk hero because he said he was sorry?  Christ, who cares about his political career being impacted. 

    Old Frank
     

    My god talk about “sheep” that are blind and follow each other…

    • Frank – No one said he did a good thing, or the smart thing, and even Kalra said it was a dumb mistake. No one is trying to downplay the situation. I don’t know him personally, but I voted for him (and donated) and will seriously re-consider voting for him again the next time he runs. But I’m not going to talk trash on him for making the same mistake so many other people have made. His friends aren’t sheep BTW – I would hope if my name was getting blasted all over the papers that my friends would back me up, too. If anyone is a sheep, is the old man who sits around all day posting over and over again negative stuff about any liberal in office.

      • Well no need to become an age bigot…  Can you seriously come up with a better insult than slamming an old man?  Damn “Yuppie” Sheep, Bah Bah Bah… Liberals don’t belong anywhere, except Berkley.  I have earned the right by fighting for this country in times of war, and am retired from a long Military Career.

        Go away little boy, go save the world one Prius at a time.   

        Old Frank

      • He pouts and blasts when you don’t agree with him. I have always supported his posts, but not anymore. You are right…an old man with nothing more to do. These blogs are probably his entertainment.

  16. I think its kind of funny that a lawyer in a prius got a DUI on an afternoon in downtown. 

    Its actually nice that the SJPD handled it by the book and processed the case like any other citizen.  Some towns have unofficial safe conduct for political leadership…

    As far as the criminal matter…he’s young and might learn better over time.  He can still be trusted to spend other people’s money as responsibly as the rest of the council.

    • >  He can still be trusted to spend other people’s money as responsibly as the rest of the council.

      OMIGAWD!!!

      What a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE thought.

    • Miss Blair,

      It was 1:30 AM when he was pulled over – after drinking for over 8 hours (began at 4:30 pm?)

      It was the California Highway Patrol that pulled him and arrested his for a drunk diving charge.

      Just so you know….

  17. I have to speak up on Ash’s behalf. I have known him for 15 years. I do not know anyone with more personal and professional integrity. You will not find anyone in public office more dedicated and more honest than Ash. That is why he decided to be completely upfront and open about what happened.

    It is true that the safest thing to do is not ever drive if you have had even a single drink. But that is not what the law requires and not what society expects.  I’ve learned from this incident. If this can happen to Ash, who always tries to do the right thing, only because it is right, then it can happen to me. I now need to ask myself if I should ever drive if I have had even one drink. 

    I know that Ash wants that kind of learning experience to come out of what happened. Because of the quality of his character, I know he will have that kind of positive, social impact.

    • If you don’t know anyone with more personal or professional integrity than an educated elected official who drinks and then drives then you need a better class of friends.

      If he were honest then when he knows that he drinks and drives himself he would not have been a hypocrite and talking to high school students just days before he went out and did the opposite of what he tells them not to do. 

      His blood alcohol level means he didnt have one drink or one beer.  He had many.

      Maybe he can say he was supporting San Jose because he was watching the Sharks play?  Yeah, thats it, he had the city’s interests at heart.  Go Sharks!

  18. And I have been here adding my two cents about mayor and council, just like many of you, BUT I am a fair person. We ALL make mistakes. He got pulled over for a busted tail light. It wasn’t like he was swerving drunk. He admitted his mistake…owned up to it. He was honest about it. Does not make it right, but he is human, just like you. People in glass houses should not be throwing rocks and I’d bet a BUNCH of you have glass houses and have done things that were a lot worse. Give it a rest. I AM NOT a fan of this administration, but I do not think that because he was pulled over for a busted tail light and the officer smelled alcohol, that he should be ripped to shreds. Don’t tear down the man, simply because you do not like who/what he represents. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Show a little class. We can be better than what we are showing.

    • I see we’re still having problems staying on message. The original topic was whether Kalra did the right thing by going public. Of course, he did. That showed good judgment, whether you like the guy or not.

      An estimated 10-20,000 people die each year in alcohol-related car crashes. Perhaps 10 million (maybe much more) have severe alcohol issues. In the grand scheme of things, the arrest of a city councilman on a DUI charge is not surprising.

      I think the real issue for District 2 voters is “Does Mr. Kalra have more serious alcohol problems?” The voters can decide how he’s dealing with those and whether it’s an election issue.

      By the way, I’m from District 3.

    • Kissing butt to try and keep your job I see… You must have got your “Pink Slip” for the June Lay Off’s. 

      The fact was he was “DRUNK” and BEHIND THE WHEEL show very poor thought processes,possibly that of a lesser Humanoid / Quasi Mammal of some type. 

      Are you dense or something City Employee? .12 is nothing to laugh at for a BAC.  I hope he has to take AA classes and do weekends in-cusody at Elmwood Jail.

      I pitty the FOOL

      • I see that they did not allow my response to be posted to “An Ex City Employee”. Maybe that was for the better. I will say this, however, there is no need for me to “kiss” anyone’s butt to keep my job. I’ve been there too long and I have excellent work habits. Just shows how people with small minds think. What an idiotic flailing in the wind statement you made.

        PS…it just amazes me how people attack other people who do not agree with them. Why can’t you people just say what you have to say and let others do the same, without sniping? It’s pitiful, but shows who you actually are as a person. Small.

  19. The bottom line is he broke the law, and he got caught.  He violated the city council’s own Code of Ethics. It make no difference if he is a nice guy or not……HE BROKE THE LAW.  Now what you should really pay attention to is if the council follows their own rules regarding the Violation of the Code of Ethics, or do they turn a blind eye and go about with business as usual. 

    And one could only wonder if the same treatment currently being afforded Mr. Kalra would be given to a police officer, firefighter, EMT, teacher, superintendent, etc. if they were in his situation.

    • Very good point.  I hope that is taken into consideration by council.

      I am very disappointed in some of the posters here.  People who are going over backwards to laud Ash’s character.  When you do so you risk your own credibility as community leaders.  True community advocates and leaders would be chastizing him for his actions.  He doesn’t need cheerleaders, he needs a wake up call.  All you wanna be leaders who act like he’s a saint who had a bad day should be ashamed of yourselves when you stand up in front of youth organizations and community groups advocating for responsbility when you are so eager to ignore Kalra’s misdeeds and instead praise him.  Better to say nothing than to give weight to a deadbeat like him.  Shame on all of you.  Im glad some of you signed your names so I know who the phonies are in my own community.

  20. > Before folks rush to judgment, ask yourself, what have “I” done for my neighborhood, community and city

    What have I done? 

    I’ve tried to get Kalra’s mugshots posted on thesmokinggun.com.

    Any wikileakers out there who can help me get the goods?

    • get a life !!  really what do you other than be a shit starter. Yes, this was a mistake. horrible and thankfully no one was hurt. bUT HONESTLY YOU ONLY SEEM TO LIKE THE SCANDAL OF THIS

  21. Ash is a good decent guy who made a mistake and will pay a financial and reputation penalty for his DUI for many years  

    Some don’t like Ask because of his pro labor support and will use his mistake to beat up on him That’s politics

    Many politicians hide their faults and errors in judgment from public and when caught lie and blame others – not Ash who did the right thing and took immediate responsibility without excuses

    As I said before Ash is a good decent guy who made a mistake

    Sounds like we have a bunch of hypocrites on SJI, who have made mistakes but like to criticize others.

    No surprise, another day on SJI

    • I’m sure it is a mistake that others here have made, as well. How many of you have gotten in a car after having something to drink? Never??? I don’t believe it. Everybody makes mistakes. Either you own up to them, like he did…or you try to hide them like Pier did. Which one has the most class? Different city, different state, different time, I arrested a City attorney for DUI. His paperwork disappeared.

  22. Ash always has been looking over his shoulder ever since he was almost beaten at the polls by a dead woman in his first election. 

    He received only 55% of D2’s vote, and he was the only one running!  How does that happen? 

    Though he puts up a good front, he knows he’s extremely vulnerable in the next election.  His campaign starts now.

      • Jackie Adams withdrew from the election just days after filing her papers.  She may have been physically alive but she was politically dead. Much of Mr. Kalra’s campaign was reminding voters of this fact.

        • Yeah, “Back from the Dead”  what SteveO said.

          Adams withdrew BEFORE the primary, told everyone about this with a big press release – and then she got second place.  Ash couldn’t even muster >50%.

          Which meant legally she was going to be listed in the “run-off” where she didn’t campaign, didn’t raise money, stood next to Ash at his events and told everyone to vote for Ash.

          He got 55%.

          !Fail!

    • I heard someone say “any press is good press” for a celebrity in terms of getting and keeping your name out there.  Does the same hold true for politicians?

  23. So many messages supporting Ash for his drunk driving in such a short amount of time?  Could it be Ash or his e-mail list with him alerting his supporters of the blog?

    • and I am certainly NOT Ash, nor do I work for or know anyone who works for ASH. Neither am I on anybody’s list or any part of his group. Stop making a$$umptions.

  24. Just in…. San Carlos Calif Vice Mayor Arrested for DUI.  He too immediately apologized for his criminal act but understood that he was in violation of his City Moral Code. 

    FYI – He too was driving a Prius with a burned out tail light.  But was stopped talking on his Cell phone. 

    Whats with all this “drunk driving” and local politicians.  Looks like Ash will have company in Court. 

    I wonder if Ash’s support Nazi’s will splinter off to support the San Carlos Vice Mayor?  Glug Glug Glug – That was good free booze now I’m gonna drive and kill someone driving drunk.  I’m gonna say I’m sorry, now the slate is clean… Just like in confession at church, great concept. 

    Old Frank

    • > FYI – He too was driving a Prius with a burned out tail light.  But was stopped talking on his Cell phone. 

      Obviously a right wing conspiracy to take out Prius driving liberal politicians who are only doing the people’s business.

      Just disable the tail light and alert the coppers.

      Sneaky.

      Diabolical.

      Republicans will stop at NOTHING!

      One question:  Was the San Carlos Vice Mayor driving around in his law-breaking Prius looking for shivering homeless people in order to donate socks and gloves?

      • Don’t know Ch. 2 didn’t say anything about socks or gloves.  But at least he fessed up to being “dumb” really quick after a “double whammy” Cell Phone Violation and a DUI. 

        Prius cars are the new “kiss of death” for liberal politicians.  I guess you could call it vehicular profiling if cops keep arresting these drunk Council folks driving Prius’s. 

        Wonder what Ladoris Cordell has to say about this phenomenon?

        Old Frank

        • > Don’t know Ch. 2 didn’t say anything about socks or gloves.

          Socks and gloves for the homeless is the new standard of liberal compassion for the plight of the less fortunate.

          And, it’s far cheaper than providing them with actual heat.

          It’s feeling good about yourself on a budget.  And, unlike ministering to lepers in Calcutta, you don’t really need to have too much interaction with icky people.

          See Joshua Barousse (Thu, May 12, 2011 – 10:11 am) above.

  25. I have met Mr. Ash Kalra and know that he is a good person and I’m sure he will be more careful next time. We all make mistakes and have to pay up for our mistakes. I will keep up with this story and I wish to know about his follow up and if he is doing the right thing, witch I know he will. I expect him to be a good leader of my City and I will contact him myself to show him my support. From Tili Ayala [email protected] 408-750-6100