Where Chuck and Dave Differ

The 2012 election season is in full swing, but that isn’t stopping some members of the media from looking two years down the line at San Jose’s 2014 mayoral race.

The San Jose Mercury News’ John Woolfolk took an interesting angle in a recent article by detailing the complex and sometimes turbulent relationship between Mayor Chuck Reed and Dave Cortese, San Jose’s former vice mayor and a current county supervisor.

The headline calls the two men “San Jose’s political odd couple,” which is punctuated by an odd photo choice of the two wearing traditional Veitnamese outfits.

The article’s main focus is how Reed has made enemies out of labor in recent years, while Cortese is more “ideologically ambiguous,” which The Daily Fetch dryly noted “is a great first step in running for Mayor.”

The best part of the article comes near the end, though, when both men diagnose each other’s political swagger.

“The interesting thing about Chuck is what you see is what you get,” Cortese told the Merc. “That creates a liability factor for a public figure like me. He’s a thoroughly black-and-white person on issues who doesn’t like to operate in gray areas. He has a harder time figuring me out because I’m willing to play in that gray area until I feel I arrive in that final position.”

Reed rarely puts forth the effort to “play” in the gray fog of unsure alliances, and you can almost see the faint smirk on the mayor’s face with the following quote, which Woolfolk used as a retort. “As long as I’ve known him,” Reed said, “he’s always had difficulty saying no to public employee unions.”

Josh Koehn is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to josh@metronews.com or follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Koehn.

28 Comments

  1. So 2014 will be Cortese Vs Licarrdo.

    Cortese, having studied under former Mayor McEnery at Bellermine, and Licarrdo being such a close friend of the man will both have McEnery’s support during this race.

    To McEnery it won’t matter who wins.  Both men have proven to be loyal to him.  Either way, McEnery wins. 

    Even though the metro is typically McEnery aligned, I have to wonder which opinion, if any they will provide during the race.  Will they stay neutral to a single candidate for the duration, or at some point will they absolutely go gung ho having the fly lay it’s maggots into the unsupported candidates campaign?

    Given the level of behind the scenes personal friendships here, one thing I can say for certain about this race.  Some long term friendships are going to be broken. 

    I’ll send along some tissues.

    • The Metro is just a condensed version of “The Merc” . neither Rag is worthy of lining a birdcage .  As long as McEnery is involved , bad politics in San Jose will continue along with increased low income housing,more favors to developers, More hiding and questionable appropriation of taxpayer dollars for personal gain , absolutely destroy Public Safety, total villainization of City workers. get the picture

    • I don’t agree with the idea that Metro is a twin publication to the Merc. 

      First, they are competing and one element of the competition is that the chain of newspapers to which the Merc belongs as well as Hearst’s San Francisco Chronicle will often not frontpage stories if already featured in Metro.  It is curious to me why this should be so, but it has been in the past.

      Second, Metro has more days to develop a story than the Merc which has to rush stuff out on a shallow daily basis.

      Third, Metro caters in its ads to a much younger and considerably more adventurous demographic than the Merc appeals to.

      Fourth, Metro is an opportunity to tell the truth when the Merc outright lies.  Like San Jose Inside and a few other electronic and print resources, Metro prevents the twisted writing in the Merc from being the only story that can be told in town about current events and politics.

      If “dirty diaper” has evidence about some scandal, please whistleblow to Metro and give them a chance to persuade you that it is not a sellout like the Merc.

      Yes, “frontpage” and “whistleblow” are verbs.

      • Fourth, Metro is an opportunity to tell the truth when the Merc outright lies.  Like San Jose Inside and a few other electronic and print resources, Metro prevents the twisted writing in the Merc from being the only story that can be told in town about current events and politics.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rav9ijyyZk

        REALLY?  Your ganja must be better than mine. 

        I’ve never seen the merc so openly vicious towards political candidates as I have the metro/sji.  When you think you have the right to treat one person lesser than another, that is a bias. 

        It’s not just a bias, it’s bullying.  I’ve seen them not only be selective about the truth, but outright insinuate untruths about others. A reputable news source doesn’t resort to those kinds of tactics.

        When you favor one candidate over another, because it will bring you more advertising dollars, that is a bias as well.

        I more or less come here and comment for the popcorn eating.  I eat popcorn, want some?

  2. Political positioning for June / Nov 2014 Mayor elections started in November 2006 with Liccardo’s election as Distrct 3 Council member

    Chamber / McEnery / Reed ‘s Mayor candidate – Sam Liccardo has growing lead with Mercury News giving millions free political advertising with Liccardo’s daily news quotes, photos, and opinions

    Negative media drumbeat against Southbay Labor / City Employees / labor politicians –  Chavez / Preminger /  and pro labor Mayor candidate Cortese has been ongoing for 3-4 yeas but will increase to increase Liccardo’s voter lead

    Sure was politically convenient that Kalra after a day of drinking in always sober downtown sports bars was pulled over for broken tail light and arrested for drunk driving  

    Wonder who in District 3 did their “civic duty” and called in drunk driver with broken tail light, sure was politically convenient

    Watch for Liccardo’s well planned next political power moves

    McEnery recruited fellow Bellermine alumni Liccardo to move from family home in Saratoga to San Jose just months before District 3 Council race and will continue his political mentoring , direction and fund raising for Liccardo

    Reed will continue to add to Licccardo’s political credentials by appointing him to more regional and state positions and ust before 2014 Mayor’s elections will appoint Liccardo Vice Mayor

    • There are two problems with the scenario of Mayor Reed scheming to elect Council Member Liccardo as his successor, and defeat Supervisor Cortese.

      One problem is that the white population of San Jose has been whittled down to less than 28% of the residents, with Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans now in the majority.  Maybe a contender will emerge from one of those groups? 

      The second problem is that none of the three people mentioned has ever done anything to get the votes of the minority white community.  When have you heard Reed, Liccardo, or Cortese criticize the San Jose Mercury News for using a denigrating label against the minority white community, or to denounce hate crimes that victimize white young people?

      These three people have never lifted a finger to address social/health issues that afflict young white residents disproportionately, like binge drinking, meth abuse & addition, and tobacco smoking.

      On what basis should any of them expect support from the minority white community?

  3. Labor through Cortese out of Mayor’s political race to support doomed Chevez in the last Mayor’s race and lost the Council majority

    Politically stabbing your friends in the back,  did not get Chevez elected

    Always wondered if Cortese would have defeated Reed, without Gonzales baggage and Chevez’s combination of loyalty before ethics and overreaching state / national political ambitions, 

    Will history repeat, if McEnery politically stabs Cortese in the back or will Cortese see the knife coming and dodge or stab San Jose’s most politically powerful, wealthy and vindictive politician McEnery

    Politics in San Jose under Reed has become a down and dirty go for blood sport with insiders fighting over who get city taxes, can pass out Council approvals and political power

  4. Reed is trying hard to pick the next mayor.  His ball park depends on the next mayor being willing to misslead the public and continue with the plan of funding the ball park by cutting services and pensions.  I wonder if Dave is already bought and paid for? Is there still room for him to do the right thing?  Not likely we have an entire elected body that is as corrupt as any third world country.
        Hopefully the voters will see thru this and vote all of their plans to put tax collars into the hands of their rich friends.  I’m jealous I wish I was chucks friend and he would give me deals of land.  Hey chuck how about selling me all the land for the parking lots for your ball park. Out wait you already gave that deal dripping money away.

  5. ” Reed is trying hard to pick the next mayor.  His ball park depends on the next mayor being willing to misslead the public and continue with the plan of funding the ball park by cutting services and pensions.  “

    Thought in San Jose voters picked next Mayor not the Mayor ” good old boys ” or political insiders to continue corrupt city government

    San Jose has now joined the 10 most corrupt US cities:  Detroit, Newark, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans. Oakland, Las Vegas , Chicago, Memphis, San Jose with millions taxes going to insider deals and rampant crony corruption while city declines

  6. “…total villainization of City workers…”

    Oh, please!  Recognition of fiscal realities, by simple virtue of the prevailing arithmetic, is hardly “villainization.”  San Jose can’t afford to continue doing things the way it has been doing them.  The truth doesn’t go away because you mischaracterize it as somehow mean-spirited, or whatever.  I’d be happy to give all municipal workers 12 weeks paid vacation with double pay, and a free house in Almaden…but we can’t afford that either.

    As for the election, I’m leaning more towards Cortese over Liccardo.  While both men are members of San Jose’s political establishment, Liccardo seems a bit too closely aligned with the business interests, whereas with Cortese, I think you get a somewhat more balanced approach.  And I do think it will probably be a run-off between these two men, and a close race in November of 2014.  Should be interesting.

  7. “His ball park depends on the next mayor being willing to misslead the public and continue with the plan of funding the ball park by cutting services and pensions.”

    No, the money for the ballpark would come from Redevelopment Agency funds, and has nothing what-so-ever to do with any service & pensions cuts, either realized or proposed.  Your statement is objectively false.

    And for the record, I’m opposed to the ballpark plan.  I don’t want professional sports in San Jose.  I didn’t want the Niners coming to Santa Clara, either.  But the facts never-the-less remain the facts, irrespective of ideological considerations.

    • Mr. O’Keeffe

      “The Ball park would be funded by RDA money and has nothing to do with service and Pensions” . Now that there is no more RDA and the City has sifted all debt from RDA to the General Fund ……………guess what it is directly tied to services and pensions. You are kidding yourself if you dont think the residents of San Jose are not going to be on the hook for costs for building /or other related costs associated with the Ball Park . I am not against a ball park ( in the future) But I am against acorrupt City Council Pushing us farther into Debt without having done any real studies of total costs an expenditures. This citys track record is not very good when it comes to telling the whole truth.

  8. Kevin – most of time you get it right and I agree with you but not on general fund taxes for A’s stadium

    ” No, the money for the ballpark would come from Redevelopment Agency funds, and has nothing what-so-ever to do with any service & pensions cuts, either realized or proposed.  Your statement is objectively false. ”

    Maybe you missed the widely published budget news that proposed San Jose 2012-2013 General Fund will be paying off redevelopment bond and interest with money from General Fund intended to pay for city services and pensions

    Without redevelopment money going to Baseball Stadium redevelopment would have had money to pay debts not taking money from city general fund

    Also like Kevin , opposed to any city or redevelopment money going to billionaire Lew Wollf ( A’s Baseball ) and multi millionaire Tom McEnery’s Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment ( Operate stadium and Outdoor Concerts)  Stadium like Earthquakes Stadium

    Very rich sports team owners should pay for all sports stadiums not San Jose city budget deficit taxpayers  

    - Vote No on city or redevelopment tax giveaway for Baseball and Concert Stadium

    • “Maybe you missed the widely published budget news that proposed San Jose 2012-2013 General Fund will be paying off redevelopment bond and interest with money from General Fund intended to pay for city services and pensions”

      OK, well I stand corrected.  I’ve been living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota since April, so yeah, I’m probably apt to miss a few things from time to time.  I still like to check in here occasionally, as after having lived in San Jose/Campbell/Los Gatos for 39 years, I remain kinda emotionally invested in the place, but I doubt I will ever live there again.  Sioux Falls is a GREAT community.  I thought I was moving to the middle of nowhere, and instead I found something close to paradise.  The main thing I miss about San Jose are the Camera Cinemas, alas.  There are no independent/foreign-oriented theaters anywhere in this state (nor in northwestern Iowa, or southwestern Minnesota – I’m literally within walking distance of both the Iowa & Minnesota state lines).

  9. Kevin – most of time you get it right and I agree with you but not general fund taxes indirectly going to pay for A’s stadium

    ” No, the money for the ballpark would come from Redevelopment Agency funds, and has nothing what-so-ever to do with any service & pensions cuts, either realized or proposed.  Your statement is objectively false. ”

    Maybe you missed the widely published budget news that proposed San Jose 2012-2013 General Fund pay redevelopment bond and interest with money from General Fund intended to pay for city services and pensions

    Without redevelopment money going to buy Baseball Stadium land, redevelopment would have had money to pay it’s debts not take money from city general fund

    Also Kevin , like you very opposed to any city or redevelopment money going to billionaire Lew Wollf ( A’s Baseball ) and multi millionaire Tom McEnery’s Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment ( Operate stadium and Outdoor Concerts)  Stadium like Earthquakes Stadium

    Very rich sports team owners should pay for all sports stadiums not San Jose city budget deficit taxpayers  

    - Vote No on city or redevelopment tax giveaway for Baseball and Concert Stadium

  10. ” Reed said, “he’s always had difficulty saying no to public employee unions.” WHAT!! Like he didnt say no to layoffs, or NO to Police and Fire Pension reform, or No to Pay cuts? What a bunch of BS! How about no to No more Reed and his skirt tail followers!

    • I think the Most High Honorable Chuck Rufus Reed was trying to say was:

      “I was for public employee unions before I was against them.”

      …kind of like a former presidential candidate and senator said he was acutally for the “war before he was against it…”

  11. Liccardo won’t run for mayor; Lofgren wants him to replace her when she retires soon.

    Rose Herrera will run. Her ego won’t let her pass the opportunity up.

    You read it here first.

    • I could see Herrera running, but she seems unlikely to make the run-off.  Since she’s a non-rightwing woman, you can count on the Mercury to support her candidacy (I don’t really understand why that is…but it does seem likely to me), provided they aren’t pushing for Madison Nguyen instead (the Merc sent up some trial balloons for a 2014 Mayoral candidacy for her, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is biting).

  12. Why would Lofgren support Liccardo for Congress when Liccardo is McEnery’s “get me what I want, boy”  ?

    Lofgren and McEnery have been political enemies for years after Zoe defeated Tom

    Liccardo has greater political ambitions then being 1 of 435 Congress people

    Like Gonzales, he will do anything, ally himself with questionable people, use publc funds to get ahead politically and step on anyone to get to higher political office.

  13. On Veteran’s day, November 11, 2011; Mayor Reed an honorable veteran, who defended our nation, participated in the “Veteran’s Day” parade on a cold, slightly rainy day held downtown.

    Just a couple of blocks north of city hall, the sleazy county supervisor, with a television news crew from channel 2, was conducting a “raid” on Mi Pueblo Food Center located at 235 Julian Street (in between N5th and N 6th streets).

    The purpose of this “Raid” was to see if Mi Pueblo employees were being mistreated by their managers. Supervisor Cortese, was also flanked by two (2) aides; who were passing out “political pamphlets” to Mi Pueblo employees. The “political pamphlets” contained a “hot-line telephone number” to Supervisor Cortese. The message of concern by the Supervisor was written in Spanish on one side and English on the other.

    As I was present during the latter portion of this “raid”, witnessed the television news crew interviewing the Supervisor, I also talked to Mi Pueblo’s store manager who I have spoken to many times for I often frequent this outstanding market.

    Supervisor Cortese’s “raid” , in my opinion, was nothing more than a rank political stunt to garner
    “television air time” by first; trespassing on the property to conduct interviews with Mi Pueblo employees with a television crew, without consent or privilege, disrupting the normal flow of commerce at Mi Pueblo and inflicting emotional distress upon the unsuspecting employees, also without consent or privilege, thereby using “Veteran’s Day” for personal and political gain.

    The Supervisor and his storm troopers were asked to leave Mi Pueblo property but, one of his aides stayed in the parking lot handing out the “political pamphlets” and that is where I obtained mine.

    Whether the Supervisor’s two (2) aides and the “political pamphlets” were paid for by the taxpayers is unknown to me.

    To my knowledge Supervisor Cortese did not even buy a Taco.

    Mayor Reed is an honorable veteran and on Veteran’s Day celebrated this sacred holiday with his brother and sister veteran’s along with a grateful nation.

    Supervisor Cortese, in my opinion, desecrated Veteran’s Day for personal and political gain.

    I wouldn’t vote for this guy for any reason.

    David S. Wall

  14. Mr. Burns served in the air force and for that he should be commended . Im just not to sure about the “Honorable part”. He is destroying this City by allowing even MORE low-income housing( just for his developers Buddies) , re-zoneing areas (for his Developer Buddies), Transferring RDA debt to general fund , Giving away valuable real estate to a developer buddy,pushing an illegal ballot measure(that will cost millions in court only to lose) Destroying Public safety , Villainizing all city workers ( blaming them for HIS Mistakes) ,  There is no Honor among the corrupt