Ever since Chuck Reed was elected mayor of San Jose in 2006, he has held quarterly meetings with the president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. The goal of these meetings is to allow city and county officials to discuss legal disputes without lawyers present.
As recently as last August, Reed met with former supervisor and Board president George Shirakawa Jr., who should be meeting his new cellmate in about a month. A year before, Supervisor Dave Cortese held the conch and met quarterly with Reed.
We supply this history to show that the mayor, Public Enemy No. 1 of San Jose’s public employee unions, and labor-aligned politicos have traditionally set aside their allegiances long enough to stomach one another for an hour every three months.
But that all changed last week, when current Board president Ken Yeager snubbed Reed’s request for a meeting. In his stead, Yeager sent Supervisor Mike Wasserman, the Board’s vice chair.
So, was this some kind of protest over pension reform or Yeager standing in solidarity with labor? Not exactly. It turns out that Yeager, who is openly gay, refuses to meet with Reed because of the mayor’s anti-same-sex marriage stance.
“I’ve found myself increasingly frustrated with Mayor Reed’s staunch opposition to marriage equality,” Yeager said. “No amount of dialog seems to move him, and it’s hard not to take it personally after a while. The vice president of the Board is just as capable of handling these routine check-in meetings as the Board president. Supervisor Wasserman understands my position, and I’m grateful for his willingness to step in here.”
Reed’s office seemed caught off guard by the whole matter, as a spokesperson for the mayor noted that “there wasn’t a specific reason” for Yeager’s absence. But, the mayor’s spin cycle added, it’s all good because Wasserman will likely be Board president next year, so this arrangement allows for greater “continuity” and blah, blah, blah.
Wasserman, a Republican, apparently had a great time at City Hall, while Reed, who curiously continues to call himself a Democrat, must have enjoyed letting his ever-so-short hair down while commiserating with a man whose values he shares—except that Wasserman actually supports marriage equality.
San Jose’s City Council has already gone on record in support of same-sex marriage, with only Reed and Councilmember Johnny Khamis opposing a resolution that was sent to the U.S. Supreme Court.