Cindy Chavez’s Conflicts of Interest

Prospective county supervisor candidate Cindy Chavez participated in decisions in which she had a conflict of interest when she helped move hundreds of thousands of dollars out of a local health nonprofit, according to copies of board minutes obtained by San Jose Inside.

The minutes—which the non-profit Santa Clara Family Health Foundation (SCFHF) refused to release last week—highlight Chavez’s central role in engineering transactions that funded other Chavez-led organizations.

At a pivotal meeting last June, Chavez was re-appointed to SCFHF’s board, and her close ally California Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Nora Campos was named to a seat. Chavez then voted to approve a budget that included a line item in which one of her employers, Working Partnerships USA, had a financial interest—and to fund a political campaign that was largely run by her other employer, the South Bay Labor Council. Towards the end of the meeting, Chavez proposed and won approval for a motion to create a five-member executive committee, with her as one of its members.

With the June board resolutions in place, SCFHF was free to use funds for purposes other than paying the health care premiums of low income kids. In the past nine months, it has

• awarded $150,000 in funding to Chavez’s Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA) for “community outreach.”

• given $250,000 to a “Yes on A” sales tax campaign, which was run by Chavez and two other SCFHF directors. The committee subsequently passed $100,000 to South Bay Labor Council and Democratic Central Committee campaign organizations.

The Santa Clara County Health Foundation raises funds to buy health coverage for uninsured children in Santa Clara County. The insurance programs are managed by Santa Clara Family Health Plan, a similarly named but legally distinct public agency. The Health Plan is much larger than the foundation and, unlike SCFHF, holds public board meetings and posts its minutes to the web.

The two entities are often confused, as they were last Friday when San Jose councilmembers Pete Constant and Johnny Khamis issued a memo calling for an investigation into whether some of the more than $6 million the city had given to the health foundation was put to political use. Santa Clara Family Health Plan CEO Elizabeth Darrow confirmed that the city’s money was actually paid directly to the health plan, not to the foundation.

The foundation encourages the confusion between the two by taking credit for public contributions to the health plan. It lists the cities of Cupertino, Los Altos, Milpitas, Mountain View, San Jose and Sunnyvale as donors on its website and includes the contributions—even though they go directly to the health plan—in its annual budget numbers.

The foundation’s June 9, 2012 board meeting saw directors unanimously approve a $9.2 million budget. The actual numbers are much less. According to the organization’s most recent IRS Form 990, it had revenues of just $1.3 million in the previous year, and projected expenses in the current year are less than $1.5 million. SCFHF’s budget comes principally from foundation grants, public agencies and fundraising events. The Measure A campaign represented about one-sixth of its budget. WPUSA got another 10 percent, as did its politically ambitious CEO, former Saratoga Mayor Kathleen King, who is a close ally of Chavez’s and briefly ran for county supervisor last year.

“They were little mob bosses,” says one source who’s familiar with how the politically connected duo operated at the foundation and in their interactions with other agencies. “That’s the way they behaved. Everybody’s terrified of them.”

The minutes obtained by San Jose Inside reveal that Chavez attended the June 8, 2012 board of directors meeting that unanimously approved funding the tax campaign. The committee that ran the campaign was already in place from an unsuccessful 2010 parcel tax measure the South Bay Labor Council and SCFHF had brought before voters.

The Yes on A committee quickly turned funds over to the labor council’s PAC, which was handling a variety of initiatives, including the expansion of cardroom gambling, a clean water tax and the minimum wage increase. Chavez also served as co-chair of the Measure B safe water tax campaign, which similarly paid the South Bay Labor Council Issues PAC to campaign on its behalf.

When labor officials bought burritos at Guadalajara Market, pizza at Tony & Alba’s or sandwiches at Subway for campaign workers, the expenses were allocated among the various initiatives. A 329-page campaign filing for the commingled account shows that when then-SBLC political director Ben Field was reimbursed $14.27 for a meal tab, $3.89 of the expense was charged to the Measure D, $2.27 to Measure A, $2.60 to Measure E, and two dollars and change for or against each of state propositions 30 and 32.

The money that hopped from SCFHF to the Yes on A committee to SBLC’s PAC also reimbursed $10,597.89 in SBLC’s general salaries and overhead, according to filings. In this case, Chavez was at every stage of the transaction: the funder, the strategist, the intermediary, the employer, the individual recipient.

According to the National Council of Nonprofits, all nonprofit organization should have in place policies to “prohibit interested board members from voting on any matter that gives rise to a conflict between their personal interests and the nonprofit’s interests.”

An organization that is tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Service laws must follow strict guidelines to avoid transactions that personally benefit its officers or directors. Such prohibited transactions are known as “self dealing.”

When Cindy Chavez seconded the motion to approve Santa Clara Family Health Foundation’s budget last June, it included the allocation for Working Partnerships’ “outreach” services. The outreach is primarily funded by the public agency First 5 Santa Clara County, which is a unit of county government. It is chaired by Board of Supervisors Chair Ken Yeager and is funded by Proposition 10 tobacco excise taxes.

First 5, has surplus funds, insiders say, because its health programs primarily service the children of undocumented immigrants, and less children and pregnant women are crossing the border these days. WPUSA also is not certified to run health insurance enrollment programs.

Nonetheless, the First 5-funded Working Partnerships “Community Outreach” grant was increased from $120,000 to $150,000 in documents circulated at its Feb. 1 board meeting.  It was about a month after Working Partnerships took over responsibility for paying the portion of Chavez’s salary previously covered by the South Bay Labor Council.

32 Comments

  1. Non-profits seem to be the organization de jour for shady dealings these days.  From the beggars outside your supermarket that claim to help women and children through a non-profit all the way up to Mayor Reed’s illegal money transfers to campaigns.

    Although this article details potentially dirty politics, I doubt there’s any actual violations that will result in substantial penalties.  Look at all the lying and illegal actions taken by San Jose council members and nothing happens…

    As a regular reader of SJI, I get the impression that someone has a vendetta for those associated to Shirakawa.  It seems that anyone associated to labor is getting attacked, as if Rufas himself was at the helm directing cannon fire.

    • Could it be what looks to you as a “vendetta” for those associated with Shirakawa is actually a revealing that those like Shirakawa, Chavez, Campos et al ARE TOTALLY CORRUPT AND ABUSE THEIR POWER REGULARLY? 

      Let’s not shoot the messenger.  If there wasn’t so many shady deals, corruption of power, bullying, and outright embezzlement and theft going on by these mini Mob bosses then there’d be nothing to report.  They have acted above the law for far too long and have gotten away with fleecing the public and corrupting local politics.  The unions are not bad, but their leadership surely is. 

      They should clean house and disassociate themselves with these disgraceful people.  They have redirected public funds and campaign donations and lobbyist money and then act as if they are entitled but also as if they are victims when they are called out. 

      This health care foundation is just another in a long line of agencies and money channels that they use as piggy banks for their pet causes and (in at least Shirakawa’s case) their personal piggle banks.  What happened to all that MACSA money when it was headed by Campos?  When so much of the funding came from city and county sources and then redirected to building projects that had loans forgiven to all those “labor friendly” companies that just didnt come through?  Struthers, Campos, Chavez all of them have operated like the Sopranos in Santa Clara county and its time that the public be rid of them.

      • Hey, stop picking on Hispanics. This is another Jeff Smith screw-up. He’s the one who let George’s P-card use go unchallenged. Now he’s the one behind underwriting the country’s sales tax increase by having First 5 pay Family Health Foundation to fund Measure A committee to put cash in Chavez/Brownstein/Preminger/WPUSA/SBLC’s hands. For once I’d like to see a white guy’s head on a stick.

        • Yeah that sounds a lot like the “Arrest the bartender!” cries when some drunk gets behind a wheel and takes out a family. 

          GEORGE stole the money, GEORGE defrauded the public, GEORGE refused to file the campaign filings (this over YEARS and many, many campaigns), GEORGE was broke, filed bankruptcy and still kept whipping out that tax payer funded pcard to “treat” his pals to lunches and expensive dinners and himself to vacation excursions.

          XAVIER CAMPOS was the one who claims he “knew nothing” when MACSA was robbed blind and almost into defunct status, teachers lost pensions, students lost their school, seniors lost their affordable living and low income preschool students never got their funded preschools. But hey?  Why expect the COO to actually be in charge and aware of the fiduciary responsibility right?

          NORA CAMPOS is the one who knowingly joined the Health Foundation board to help her Mafia Wife redirect funds and pad projects that benefit her hubby Neil’s Labor Trades.

          JOE COTO is the one who ran two school districts into near financial ruin and then skipped away with huge pensions without a look over his shoulder at the mess he left behind.  Still with the audacity to run in campaigns as the “Education Candidate”

          CINDY CHAVEZ latest (and latest indicating there are many transgressions and bullying of committees and boards to fund her pet projects and causes) Health Foundation troubles described in the article is all stuff SHE did, no one forced her, no one said manuever money to pay yourself a big huge salary and have a little slush fund of your own to use on “common causes” like funding the hate mailers against your political foes.  No one told her to get involved in Ron Gonzalez’ shady trash/recycle deal either.  Or forced her hand with the Eastside Union District foundation scam she “set up” for buddies Shirakawa and Eddie Garcia at the expense of students. 

          All these people are Hispanic but that is not why they are shady and criminal and being prosocuted.  They’re theives who break the law or go right up to the line and try to pretend it is perfectly acceptable because white people have done it for decades.  Its shameful.  They’re scandalous and they keep coming and never sideline themselves, even when exposed.  George pleaded guilty only after he was CORNERED.  There’s nothing honorable in that.  Cindy will still file her papers to run, I would be surprised if she didn’t, because in her mind she does nothing wrong and is entitled to the job and salary and perks and power. 

          Their heads belong on sticks because they’re terrible leaders who betray the tax payers and community time and againg with smiles on their faces.

  2. The last sentence of the excerpt from the June 8, 2012 Santa Clara Family Health Foundation board minutes speak volumes:

    Chair Dana Ditmore reminded the board that all materials that are distributed to them should be held in confidence.

    http://www.sanjoseinside.com/images/uploads/scfhf_june_8_2012_minutes-2.pdf

    The real victims in all of this are the children.  The board of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation knew what they were risking, but rolled the dice anyway.  Unbelievable.

  3. Hats off to whoever had the integrity, courage and sense of public responsibility to leak the minutes to San Jose Inside. I hope that others will come forward so that the culture of secrecy in our governmental and nonprofit communities can be replaced by transparency and professionalism.

    Ditmore, Chirco, Susie Wilson, Espinoza et al should be ashamed of themselves for having neglected their fiduciary responsibility to keep tabs on sharks like Chavez and King.

    How much was stolen form the Measure B campaign?

    SBLC and WPUSA need to open their books. Why are foundations like Berger Marks, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Friedman Family Foundation, Ford Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New World Foundation and Silicon Valley Community Foundation still funding them? It’s just an employment program for Brownstein, Preminger and Chavez.

    I’ll bet the money somehow found its way into the campaigns of Patricia Martinez-Roach and Jimmy Nguyen, the attacks on Rose Herrera and Magdalena Carrasco, and the George Shirakawa and Xavier Campos legal defense funds.

  4. I don’t live in this district but feel sorry for the people who do.  From Shirakawa to Chavez?

    Don’t they have any talent in the district?  Neither one seems very smart or very honest.  Maybe this needs to happen.  It’s like weeding a lawn.  You have to go through the trouble of pulling out the bad stuff before the good stuff can grow.

    • There should be some sort of accountability for this within the organization.  It is like the MACSA scandal all over again where basically no one is responsible for putting the money back.  It is scandalous that these mini mob bosses think they are above the law with public funds.

  5. Silicon Valley Newsroom:

    If fighting to improve the health conditions for children in our greater community, that in conjunction with campaigns to obtain better-paying jobs and fighting for good jobs that provide benefits for the so many unemployed people in our greater community—had been the central agenda from say the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, or this blog site, I believe your blog post would likely have a different perspective.

  6. I’m not enjoying the scent of what I’m smelling at the Rocketship school program or its creators Launchpad development corporation. Another “non profit” comprised of some wealthy developer types with exceptionally close ties to Bellarmine boy Sam Liccardo and his fiance Jessica Garcia Kohl.
    Do we have to wait another 8 years for that corruption to publicly surface?
    Josh, you’ve given us hope for transparency. Please continue the mission and expose them all.

  7. A person with integrity in Cindy Chavez’s position would have recused herself when the voting on the funding came up.  Instead, she not only ignored the conflict of interest but strategically and deliberately set up the conflict of interest going so far as to have her mob wife Nora Campos enjoined with the board so she could have one more vote for her projects, campaigns and even job (Chavez’s bread is buttered by those labor boards that got the money)  If its not illegal it at the very least is immoral (surprise, surprise!) 

    Gluttonous George Shirakawa was the tip of the iceberg and is not the only morally corrupt public leader.  Chavez is right up there with them and so are both Campos’  They take free lunches (literally as Shirakawa’s pcard funded “guest”) and sign on for one or two community projects where the actual work is done by others all the while lining their pockets with unsuspecting donors and taxpayer money.  Shame on all of them.  Cindy Chavez I hope you are paying attention to the fact that the public doesn’t want your kind of “one for the public, two for me” politics anymore.  If you throw your hat in the Supervisor ring you will get NO SYMPATHY when the media relentlessly works to expose your years of shady deals.  So unless you too have a “I’m a victim and this kinda addict” defense ready don’t act surprised when the public appreciates the work being done by SJI to EXPOSE THE RAMPANT CORRUPTION OF MINI MOB BOSS CIVIC LEADERS!

    SMARTEN UP SAN JOSE!

  8. Here we go again… with a fresh feather in its cap SVNR/SJI/Metro looking into another politician and the money she has influence over.

    ***I am in no way opposed to the “public watchdog” role SVNY/SJI/Metro is exercising!  NOT OPPOSED AT ALL!***

    But where is the balance and consistency?  Shirakawa was pro-labor and like to play the race card when opposed. SJI went after him for misappropriation of public money and betrayal of public trust – outstanding!  HE is who we knew he was… he claimed “the persecution” was everything from racist to Raider hating. NOBODY BOUGHT IT and rightly so!  Yet the same newsgroups will not spare a drop of ink or byte of bandwidth to trumpet the claims of low-life dirtbags who claim to be victims of racism when they are caught dirty by the police/DA…

    Now we have the latest target – Cindy Chavez. If she has done something wrong we deserve to know about it. If she has done something illegal she should pay whatever price her deeds merit.

    But lets put things in context here:  Cindy Chavez is pro-LABOR which is not a popular thing in Santa Clara County these days BECAUSE LABOR is not the garden variety TRADE UNION LABOR we are all familiar with. No, it is the POLICE and FIre and pollution control public sector employees that the media has turned our attention to. The media hates the cops and so all other public employees are painted with the broad brush and are caught up in the wash.

    Further, Chavez ran against Mayor Chuck Reed and Reed is a rockstar in the local media’s eyes. Is he “anti-police”? probably not but he is anti-LABOR and that is good enough for the media – its the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” mentality.

    Chavez was from the Ron Gonzalez camp which is another strike against her. Her failed Mayoral Campaign is credited with blowing the whistle on Councilman CHUCK REED’s personal purchases which Reed reimbursed himself for with taxpayer money from his District 4 Office Budget (Sharks tix, theater tix, magazine subscriptions, social and cultural club memberships… ILLEGAL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS and CONTRIBUTIONS TO PACS… Reed denied wrongdoing claimed it was common practice on the City Council but then paid back (by his own) admission “between $15k and $38k.”

    Yet where was SVNR/SJI/Metro on Reed’s misappropriation of public money? His betrayal of the public trust? Why does/has Reed continue to escape the type of scrutiny that Shirakawa got and Chavez is getting?

    • Maybe it is time (long overdue actually) for Labor to clean house and rid themselves of the leadership that for decades now has bullied and sullied their reputation with the citizens of this county. 

      Its not the work they do to get fair wages or decent benefits that angers people it is the manipulation and lying and outright stealing of public funds and redirecting of money in shady ways that border on criminal that seem to be the only way they operate.  If our good people in the unions want to reconnect with the voters of San Jose & Santa Clara county they have to dump the corrupt leadership and association with criminal and constantly under investigation elected officials.

      Coto, Campos, Campos, Chavez, Shirakawa may seem like allies but they pay far to high a price for the shame their association brings their cause. 

      Clean house! If there was nothing shady going on there’d be nothing to report!  That’s the bottom line, don’t break the law, skirt the lines of decency or manipulate the system to benefit you personally and the public wouldn’t care.  As a tax payer who struggles to pay my own bills on time and in full it is infuriating when MACSA, pcard and now this Foundation manipulation show how much disregard the so called leaders have for their financial responsibilities.

      • I don’t think is is a simple as “cleaning house.” I reread the article and I think that it is more a systemic “Government problem” than a labor/union problem. Politicians have found ways to stay employed after they leave office.

        The scripted career path after “term limits” was imposed was for politicians to climb the ladder of available elected offices until there was no where left to go.  The more influential a politician was the more likely it was that he/she would leave “public service” and take a job as a very well paid lobbyist. The lobbyist would used his/her rolodex of political relationships to “get it done” for the client. THe public got fed up with this and pressured sitting elected officials to curtail the “lobbying” interests –

        SJ has something like a one year moratorium from the time an official leaves City employment and a requirement that the lobbyist register with the City before doing any work. Since this put a little damper on wage earning capabilities I believe the latest “get rich scheme” is the “non-profit” industry.

        Now, THere is nothing wrong with “non-profits” they are generally misunderstood as being entities that are engaged in charitable work for the benefit of all mankind or at least their dedicated designated special interest.  They don’t make a “profit” for the benefit of the stock holders or for the benefit of itself but are supposed to be engaged in profit for the benefit of their cause.

        The reality of “non-profits” is that some of the money they collect goes to their cause and most of it goes to a person or persons on the non-profit’s board of and/or whomever is designated head of the organization.

        Most Board members work for free, staff works for free or some low wage but somebody almost always pockets the lions share of the money.

        Non-profits can get their money from any number of sources. Public donations are one source. Public money I dare say is probably the largest source of non-profits income. It follows that a former politician would be a perfect fit for a non-profit Chairmanship or board position for the simple reason that he or she would have excellent contacts with local / state federal governments tasked with spending public money. The same goes for any other “well connected person” engaged in non-profit work. It is a great way to make a living and anyone who questions it can easily be rebuffed as “anti-whatever the non-profit is engaged in. ” In this case If you are anti-Chavez making a living you must be “anti-healthcare for the poor.”

        Thinking about this it makes what Reed did even more egregious – as an elected official he ripped of the taxpayers by reimbursing himself for private expenses with taxpayer money. Had Chavez not blown the whistle does anyone think Reed would have repaid what he stole or stopped ripping us off?

        Chavez and Co reimbursed themselves for expenses they had during some campaigns and the only reason we know about it is because they filed DETAILED campaign finance reports? Shirakawa got caught because first he didn’t file any then he filed ones that were incomplete then he got caught in some lies.

        • I appreciate all the info in your response. I do have to say that despite agreeing with most of what you say about the how it happens it still does not excuse the back handed way that hide their connections and stack the deck to get deals that they personally benefit from and then act like it is in the best interest of the public. 

          If they did half (heck even a 1/4) of the things that they like to take credit for and act like they’ve accomplished it might be a trade but the whole of the Eastside has very little to show for this mini Mafia’s reign of terror.  It is scandalous.

          I do have to ask, because I am more unfamiliar with the circumstances regarding the Mayor Reed indiscretions.  Are there some history articles in the Merc that I should google because I’d like to see what the fuss is about. Its mentioned a lot on SJI in comments and if the Mayor is deserving of public exposure then he should have that and it makes me wonder why there wasn’t (or was there?) an investigation by the DA?  It seems as if your comments indicate that it was Chavez who pinned the Mayor which would be ironic in that she excused her coCounil member and “friend” Shirakawa’s two decade long criminal embezzlement.  I understand friend loyalty but hiding criminal activity by ANYONE when you’re an elected official is not loyalty its betrayal of the public.  If those are your friends, she needs new friends.

      • You request for more info showed up on the mobile version but not in this version.

        Unfortunately the SJMN purges some links and maintains others – sometimes with no rhyme or reason.  I googled “chuck reed reimburses” and came up with quite a few links – many I had never seen before. 

        Most reference “mercury news” stories and contain cut/paste excerpts with pertinent details on the subject but none link directly to the SJMN.  THe original SJMN stories all ref’s something called the “mayor watch blogspot” which went into detail on the matter. 

        In googling the subject tonight I ended up at the fringe site “the daily kos” which claimed to be the owner of the mayorwatch site… That article was critical of Reed as being too conservative and championed Chavez as an up and coming progressive but it did contain a partial list of Reed’s purchases and contributions which purportedly “outside city policy” and may have been outside the law as well.

        I did find this link http://www.willowglentimes.com/100106/mayoral.htm in a WG Times archive.

        The info is out there if you have the time to look.

        One of the salient quotes on the matter comes from Chavez who said Reed is a person who is really concerned with looking into the ethics of other people when he should be looking after his own… That statement could have been made any number of times about any number of situations Reed has placed himself in during the time of his CIty employment.

        • Thanks for the link and I’ll start with the search and see what I can find. 

          I think the quote also applies to Chavez herself. I really do think San Jose deserves better than the group of elected leadders we have sitting on the dais now (the supes too)  I don’t know if the qualified pool is thin or if the best and brightest don’t want the job because its thankless and corruption seems to be the common accepted behavior.  They all know better but for some reason they don’t want to follow rules.

          It is particularly troubling with Chavez because I usually do support her cause and group (labor equity & preserving worker dignity) but with so many side deals and pilfering of funds for other private causes it makes me weary to support her or any of her associations because they seem to be repetitive in their shady deals.

    • Why isn’t the Merc all over this story?  Why did the Merc wait so long almost a month after the Shirakawa story broke on SanJoseInside?

  9. If no one noticed, she lives in Willow Glen, which would make a run for this district seat problematic.  I suppose she could rent a place in the district or switch he voter registration to a friend or relatives place in the district.

  10. The author does not understand that organizations may be reimbursed for doing functions for other entities such as “outreach”.  Individuals may also incur expenses on behalf of several organizations.  This article is composed of bias, misinterpretation and incorrect innuendo. Ms. Chavez’s record of service to this community deserves better.

  11. r gómez:

    This is their Mission Statement:

    <i>Mission
    The mission of Santa Clara Family Health Foundation is to promote access to affordable, high quality health care by supporting Santa Clara Family Health Plan through resource development and outreach on behalf of the underserved members of our community.<i>

    http://www.healthyfamilyfund.org/content/mission

    They should either change their Mission Statement, or they should start following it.

    That’s the tragedy in all of this.  Many donors are going to feel misled, and will not donate again.  Who loses when that happens?

  12. McCarthyism: look it up.  The Metro continues to run its smear campaign against a respected leader in our community. Untrue and deliberately misleading accusations against Cindy Chavez only soils your dubious reputation even more.  As for a “conflict of interest”, nonprofit organizations all over the world are not only allowed to collaborate for the betterment of their mission, they’re encouraged to do it. How else to get things done well, than to bring together the best minds and resources to figure out the best way to serve those in need?  Tens of thousands of poor children in Santa Clara County have people like Cindy Chavez to thank for leading the charge to better their lives.

  13. 29 March 2013

    Editor
    Metro / SanJoseInside.com

    Recent articles in the Metro have criticized two local non-profit organizations, the Valley Medical Center Foundation and the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, for their support of Measure A, a small sales tax increase to fund county services. The clear implication of the article is that it is risky for non-profits to engage in lawful political activities and collaborations. If they do so, they may suddenly become the target of unfounded accusations and public reproach. The effects of this guilt-by-innuendo message will be bad for non-profits, bad for public policy, and bad for free speech in Silicon Valley.

    To begin with, the IRS specifically acknowledges the right of non-profits to support or oppose ballot measures and to earmark resources for those purposes.  Decisions by government directly affect the charitable objectives that non-profits seek to accomplish. If non-profits have the goal of supporting high quality health services to the indigent or supporting health insurance for low-income children, then the financial capacity of county and community clinics and of Valley Medical Center are of paramount importance.  Non-profits that significantly supported Measure A have performed a positive service for the hundreds of thousands of county residents that depend on the county health and hospital system for their well-being.

    Secondly, it is commonplace in Santa Clara County for non-profits, clinics, community groups, and the county to collaborate in order to create and implement health care innovations, to seek and win major grants, and most recently to implement federal health reform. A collaboration that included People Acting in Community Together, Working Partnerships, the Santa Clara Family Health Plan, labor unions, and county government created the extraordinarily successful Children’s Health Initiative. The county, unions, and community groups collaborated on the bond issue that is funding a public hospital that meets modern earthquake standards. Clinics, non-profits, and community groups have formed a major collaboration to perform outreach for the new health exchange. When people from other places interested in health care visit our region, they invariably express admiration for our track record of working together. 

    True, some individuals work on behalf of more than one organization. Unfortunately, here, as elsewhere, there aren’t enough dedicated people to take on all the important volunteer roles, and some folks do more than their share. In the non-profit world, we view those people with gratitude. Metro views them with suspicion.

    Finally, non-profits should be engaged in lawful political activity because we have something useful to say. We aren’t mere do-gooders; we are experts in our fields. We should speak out, and government should listen. Metro articles that would discourage us from bringing our voices into public debates are harmful to the robust discussion of ideas and to the spirit of free speech in our region.

    Signed,

    Carole Leigh Hutton
    President and CEO
    United Way Silicon Valley

    Patricia Gardner
    Executive Director
    Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits

    Reymundo Espinoza
    CEO
    Gardner Family Health Network

    Christopher Wilder
    Executive Director
    Valley Medical Center Foundation

    Richard Konda
    Executive Director
    Asian Law Alliance

    Sarah Triano
    Executive Director
    Silicon Valley Independent Living Center

    Jethroe Moore
    President
    San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP

    Poncho Guevara
    Executive Director
    Sacred Heart Community Service

    Linda Williams
    President and CEO
    Planned Parenthood Mar Monte

    • A very reasoned response to what has become concerted effort to falsely tar the reputations of not only Ms. Chavez and her political allies, but also the non-profits engaged in the free exercise of their Rights.

      When did politics in San Jose become SO important that it had to get nasty? I can tell ya, I was there, I watched it begin. What had been one of the most consensus driven cities in the Nation was driven to division and rancor, where once there were discussions and quiet negotiations, suddenly we had flurries of hit mail descending like locust to die in sullen heaps on our front porches…

      I my view the business community fired the first salvo, just about the time ‘ol W became President… And though the response from the opposition, primarily from Labor, did not always come from the highest ground, it must be noted that it is their ox we are goring, while we cut taxes for a decade on the upper 20% and now must cut budgets and pensions or “raise” taxes… Why this incessant race to the bottom, do we all want to work for Wal-Mart?

      Did you know that the original COMPAC Board had TWO labor leaders among it’s number…? Yep, hard to believe, huh? I remember Bob Duffy, I think he was from the Plumbers Union… I forget who the other one was but it was probably John Neece, from the Carpenters Union. These men were very proud of their association with the Chamber, they, their members and the firms who employed them built the Chamber, really built it, they literally built the building, as a plaque prominently placed in the old building, now under foundation of the new Fairmont wing, noted with great pride. Same for the old Boys and Girls Club on Jackson, built by the community, for the community, literally.

      Because a rising tide lifts ALL boats… Yacht, canoe or dingy, alike, at the same time…

      I want to personally thank each of the men and women who signed the letter above, and their Boards and donors, for the courage to stand up for the rights and needs of those you serve. Though it is overused, and thus losing its effectiveness , perhaps due to increased necessity, these tactics, exemplified nicely in this series of attack articles, are the mark of McCarthyism.

      They are irresponsible and damaging to the fabric of our community.

      That should say it all. And that should be enough to stop it.

  14. Recent articles published in the Metro/San Jose Inside assert that Cindy Chavez had a conflict of interest in connection with certain transactions between Santa Clara Family Health Foundation and Working Partnership USA, because Ms. Chavez is the Executive Director of Working Partnerships and also serves as a director of the Foundation. Serving in both capacities is not illegal; in fact, California nonprofit law specifically covers situations in which a director plays a role with both parties in a transaction.

    Under Section 5233 of the California Nonprofit Corporation Law, a “self dealing transaction” involves a transaction in which the nonprofit corporation is a party and one or more of its directors has a material financial interest. The facts below indicate that no director financial interest was involved.

    Working Partnerships is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a Section 501(c)(3) charity. By law, the organization does not have any shareholders, and any increase in net assets as a result of increased revenue may not be paid out to private individuals, including Ms. Chavez.

    In addition, Ms. Chavez’s compensation is not contingent on Working Partnerships receiving Foundation funding. The organization’s financial information, publicly available on its Form 990 filed annually with the Internal Revenue Service, shows that Working Partnerships had sufficient resources to cover Ms. Chavez’s compensation, even if it had not received any funds from the Foundation. (Working Partnership’s Form 990 for 2011 and earlier years is publicly available; its Form 990 for 2012 is not due until later this year.)

    It also should be noted that Ms. Chavez, in her capacity as a Foundation director, did not vote on a decision to engage Working Partnerships or to approve a Foundation budget that included an earmark for Working Partnerships, as one article suggests. According to the Foundation board meeting minutes from June 8, 2012, the Foundation board approved a budget that included a general allocation for community outreach. The budget did not earmark any funding for, or even refer to, Working Partnerships.

  15. Voters of District 2:

    After deep and earnest consideration, I have identified the candidate who I believe is best equipped to serve the people of District 2.  Public service is a high calling and demands people of extraordinary qualities. 

    The next District 2 supervisor must display the following attributes:

    The wisdom of Socrates
    The honesty of Abe Lincoln
    The military leadership of Dwight Eisenhower
    The geniality of Ronald Reagan
    The nut-cracking politics of Lyndon Johnson
    The carpentry and sheet=rocking of Jimmy Carter
    The animal magnetism of Bill Clinton
    The manliness of Hillary Clinton
    The cleanliness and articulate teleprompter reading of Barack Obama
    The dental work and hair implants of Joe Biden
    The gravitas of Nancy Pelosi
    The fair-mindedness of Harry Reid
    The fiscal prudence of Barbara Boxer
    The grandmotherliness of Dianne Feinstein
    The sobriety of Ted Kennedy
    The love for mankind of Barney Frank
    The chastity of Sandra Fluke
    The probity of Ron Gonzales
    The ideological staunchness of Rich Robinson
    The independence of Cindy Chavez

    In full and clear-minded awareness of the aforementioned considerations, I hereby cast my electoral support for District 2 Supervisor to:

    Not Cindy Chavez

    Very respectfully,

    Lou Scannon

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