Alvarado, Chavez to Meet in Runoff; SBLC Flack Denies Media Access

The celebrations started early Tuesday night at the Labor Temple, where Cindy Chavez supporters gathered to watch results come in from Tuesday’s special election. No more than a half-hour after polls closed for the District 2 county supervisor race, South Bay Labor Council leaders asked the crowd for a “big labor clap” for Chavez’s lead.

A harmonica solo by SBLC head Ben Field caught the room’s attention for the first round of rejoicing. Chavez held a 12 percent lead with 41.2 percent against Teresa Alvarado’s 29.5, with eight of 58 precincts reporting at 8:37pm.

Alvarado gained and closed the lead by almost two points and by the end of the night it was official: Chavez and Alvarado will meet in a runoff for the seat of disgraced former county Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. Final polling results from all 58 precincts, according to the county Registrar of Voters website, had Chavez in first place with 41 percent of the vote, while Alvarado garnered 31.25 percent of the vote.

Scott Hung Pham made a solid finish in third place with 14.2 percent of the vote. Patricia Martinez-Roach, Joseph La Juenesse and David Wall rounded out the candidates in descending order. Turnout for the special election was underwhelming as expected, with only 16.85 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

But that didn’t stop the top two candidates’ campaigns from enjoying themselves after a very brief primary.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are number one,” Field cheered, sparking raucous applause from the packed Labor Temple, decorated with colorful tissue paper blossoms. About 200 people, maybe more, squeezed into the reception area, and some circled around tables dining on tri-tip and grilled chicken or nibbling on frosting-rosette-topped cupcakes. Some stood in line for cheap wine or Rolling Rock, others were relegated to the perimeter of the place.

Field rattled off a list of notable attendees, including San Jose councilmembers Kansen Chu and Xavier Campos, former councilmember Forrest Williams, reps from 25th District Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski’s office, Santa Clara County Water District Vice Chair Tony Estremera and county Supervisor David Cortese. San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra also attended the party.

But before more people could be counted, a tap on the shoulder interrupted the observations.

“Are you Jennifer Wadsworth?” asked Stacey Hendler Ross, the SBLC’s PR flack.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Come with me,” she ordered, not smiling and motioning toward the door.

Sidling through a crush of politicos and supporters to slip outside, an introduction began and a conversation ended.

“I’m Stacey, I do communications here,” Hendler Ross said tersely. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“Can I ask you a few questions first?”

“No. I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” she repeated, before turning around to head back inside the party.

Unfortunately, San Jose Inside’s photographer had an even briefer stint at the Labor Temple. Within 10 minutes of his arrival, Hendler Ross also instructed him to leave the premises. No reason was given.

On the night of the November 2012 election, Hendler Ross was a little less resistant, asking a San Jose Inside reporter not to interview Chavez. When approached, Chavez seemed not to mind and mentioned during the interview that she had personally invited Shirakawa to that party, despite Metro and San Jose Inside’s reports detailing his misuse of campaign and public funds. Shirakawa failed to show at the party and months later resigned the same day he was charged with five felonies and seven misdemeanors. Chavez is now vying for the job Shirakawa held and has refused multiple interview requests since announcing her candidacy.

A text message to Hendler Ross on Tuesday evening, asking if Shirakawa attended the special election night party, was not returned. Shirakawa resigned from the D2 supervisor seat in March and is expected to be sentenced Friday to jail for his misuse of county and public funds. A report by the Mercury News this week seemed to suggest that he could have voted for his replacement.

The mood at Alvarado’s election night party at Flames Restaurant in downtown San Jose may have been less crowded but no less enthusiastic. San Jose councilmembers Sam Liccardo, Rose Herrera and Madison Nguyen all stayed for results, while Mayor Chuck Reed made a brief appearance earlier in the night.

Others in attendance, as people sipped wine and pints and snacked on finger-food, included Jim Reed, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce; potential San Jose mayoral candidate Pat Waite; Magdalena Carrasco, who in addition to running Alvarado’s campaign also serves on the East Side Union High School District school board; and Charles Munger Jr., a conservative millionaire who funded several defeated state propositions in the November 2012 election.

Alvarado thanked her supporters around 9:30pm and vowed to continue being “inclusive, not polarizing.”

Rose Herrera, who had her own campaign last fall in which organized labor forces actively opposed her, said she had a feeling Alvarado’s campaign was coming on in the final weeks of the primary. By finishing within 10 percent of Chavez’s vote total, observers at the Alvarado party said the runoff should now be considered a real race.

Josh Koehn and Jennifer Wadsworth contributed to this report.

23 Comments

  1. “I’m Stacey, I do communications here,” Hendler Ross said tersely. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

    “Can I ask you a few questions first?”

    “No. I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” she repeated, before turning around to head back inside the party.

    So just like the Administration at the national level, the local Democratic Party knows how to treat its friends and its enemies.

    Can “members” of the Democratic Party attend these events?

    • Stacey is a disgrace to anyone who does true communications. 

      All she ever does is “No comment”  “Please don’t interview Ms Chavez” “Unavailable for comment”.

      For being the candidate of the people (isn’t the hallmark of Union/Labor party that they are the voice of the people?) they sure work overtime at keeping the wagons circles and the access to a minimum.

      What is it exactly that Ms Chavez is AFRAID of?  That she’ll say something incriminating?  That questions will be too tough for her to field?  If she wants to be the leader of the eastside & Latino community she needs to be more forthcoming and available.  San Jose Inside reports and people read the Metro (as we saw in the Shirakawa exposure) Public leaders have to deal with the press, even if they don’t like them.

      Denying access to the SJI reporter & photographer is censorship.  Funny how the big wig Dems are all about exclusivity in San Jose.  Shame on you Cindy Chavez.  You should handle your Handler, she’s making you look bad (like you have something to hide)

    • By Stacey saying, “…I do communications here…” it seems to reveal that the party was at SBLC, not a Democrat locale or a public place.  I have doubt that the Mercury News would be welcome at a SJPOA function, for instance.  Would Kamis let ABV News in to his campaign functions?

      It doesn’t appear it was open to the public, and was by invitation based on the Shirikawa mentions.  The article doesn’t specifically say where it was held, which seems to be intentional… leading the reader to believe that the campaign had no right to give them the boot.  If SBLC wasn’t within their their right, Wadsworth’s article would be far more vitrolic and full of the standard media faux “outrage.”  Threats of lawsuits… Constitution trampling… all that jazz.

      I don’t think a non-partisan publication with a reputation of fair reporting would have been asked to leave.

      • Nonsense.  These election night affairs are meant to be public and media events.  As for if a “non-partisan publication with a reputation of fair reporting would have been asked to leave”, I’m betting they would not have shown Fox News or even al Jazeera the door.

        BTW, here’s the article two below this one (emphasis is mine):

        While final vote totals are not expected to be tallied this evening, people wishing to attend election night parties for the two frontrunners have options. Starting at 8:01pm the Alvarado camp will host a party at the Flames Restaurant banquet room (88 S. First St. in San Jose), while Chavez will have her get-together at the Labor Temple (2102 Almaden Road in San Jose).

        http://www.sanjoseinside.com/news/entries/6_4_13_special_election_teresa_alvarado_cindy_chavez_george_shirakawa_jr/

        Welcome to the new, small tent, Democratic Party!

        • You may be right; however all that the prior article confirms is that it was held on private property.

          Did Chavez send out that open invitation or did Wadsworth “report” where it would be held and then invite others (including herself)?  Reporting when/where something will be held and telling folks to show up is exactly how underage/frat parties get out of hand…

          I’m not disagreeing with you. I’m saying this publication, like the Mercury News has bias and has shown numerous times that playing up one aspect or omitting another make other “facts” fit an agenda.

          Everyone agrees that Shirikawa did bad things.  That doesn’t mean he never did good things.  It also doesn’t mean his friends are bad people or that everyone associated to him is guilty of his crimes.  Politics is a dirty game indeed.  I could be wrong, but my impression is that Simitian, Cortese, Robinson, Kalra and a few others have good intentions and are inclusive.  A lot of others are rigid and exclusive.  Chavez is becoming exclusive.  Can’t say I blame her based on what’s going on in these blogs.

  2. Heh, although I don’t like Cindy I can sympathize here.  You guys (metro/sji) really put her through the wringer this season. 

    When I ran I thought I was having a semi-serious interview with Jessica Fromm.  It was really crappy of you guys to make out like it was a serious interview, only to use it as a basis to write a “the fly” spoof.

    Next time I run no interviews for metro unless I get a full apology Dan does the interview, and I get to preview anything before publishing.  It’s not a goodwill gesture to say, “hey we’re going to interview you” when going into it, you know you’re just going to end up writing a hit piece.

    Heh, I type this from Long Island NY.  Dan you’re hometown is blessing me with good weather and a successful business trip.

  3. Sure was nice to know who was down at the Flames for the Alvarado party!

    Better, of course, to know which Party we’re taking about, in this case the remnants of the local Republican Party…

    “and Charles Munger Jr., a conservative millionaire who funded several defeated state propositions in the November 2012 election.”

    Charles Munger Jr. is the Chairman of the Santa Clara County Republican Party Committee… Mr. Munger Jr. is the son of a billionaire investor and he wrote a $50,000.00 check to support the Alvarado Campaign.

    $50,000.00… 

    This type of disinformation is typical of the SJI/Metro articles, if you’re lucky you get half the story…

    Teresa Alvarado is an attractive candidate, her mother was, and still is, an honored figure in Democratic circles… But it’s only in old Country and Western songs where you’re not known by the company you keep…

    The business community and the social throwbacks cannot influence politics in this Valley as Republicans, so they won’t… Instead they will run as “Democrats”.

    Yeah… Riiight…

    • > The business community and the social throwbacks cannot influence politics in this Valley as Republicans, so they won’t… Instead they will run as “Democrats”.

      You say this as if it’s a big surprise to you.

      California is a one-party banana republic.  Everyone already knows.

      In East Germany, everyone ran as a Communist.  No surprise.

      In California, everyone run’s as a Democrat.

      If they had an ounce of honesty, they would run as “Democrat throwbacks”.

      Septuagenerians Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are not exactly the “youth” party. In reality, they’re really the “screw the young” party by spending young voters into permanent debtor’s prison.

      Thanks to the Democrat Party, the younger generation’s America is the brokest banana republic in history.

      • Everyone runs as a Democrat, but here in Santa Clara County the Party’s aristocracy gets to decide the candidates that get the sometimes substantial financial support of the Party in primary and “nonpartisan” elections.

        I really think this has to stop.  I’m actually wishing Honda loses in the next election.  When the game stops working the “good ‘ol boys” way of doing things will end.

      • Its very offensive to me that a progressive and pro-labor candidate, Alvarado, just because she isn’t the “labor candidate”, is being pushed around as if she is a conservative in Democrat clothing. She was once a labor candidate!!

        I can’t stand these sort of attacks. People need to get over themselves and run a clean campaign.

    • Yep and we all know that Cindy Chavez kept very close company with Felon George Shirakawa.

      New charges today, maybe THATS what they were all so afraid of being asked about

      • I am sick and tired of these innuendoes…

        Mr. Shirakawa ran UNOPPOSED in 2012…

        The Chamber of Commerce was perfectly happy with that…

        I also point out that Blanca Alvarado was proud to support George Shirakawa at every step of his career…

        She appears on his endorsement list for every campaign he’s run, she specifically said in 2008:

        “George Shirakawa will be an advocate for the residents I’ve been privileged to serve. As I leave office, I know our District will be in the good hands of a proven leader. Please join me in voting for George Shirakawa for County Supervisor”

        She also appears on his Smart Voter page as a endorser… Along with Frank Fiscalini, Jim Cunneen, Sheriff Smith, Ken Yeager, Don Gage… The Chamber…

        Cindy Chavez is NOT mentioned…

          http://www.smartvoter.org/2008/11/04/ca/scl/vote/shirakawa_g/endorse.html

        • Mr. Shirakawa ran UNOPPOSED in 2012…

          The Chamber of Commerce was perfectly happy with that…

          It’s rare that a sitting supervisor fails to be reelected.  I’m guessing it’s about the same as the number of supervisors convicted of a felony while in office.

          Actually you are correct.  There isn’t a lot of difference between Chavez and Alvarado – policy-wise.  The difference is mostly in how each treat her friends – and how each treats her enemies.

  4. What is truly “funny” is that we are led to believe that these SJI/Metro are “journalists.”

    Nevertheless, facts and campaign laws, aren’t slowing down SJI/Metro’s increasingly outlandish political smear campaigns.

  5. > Final polling results from all 58 precincts, according to the county Registrar of Voters website, had Chavez in first place with 41 percent of the vote, while Alvarado garnered . . . .

    Cindy Chavez, 41 percent

    Not Cindy Chavez, 59 percent

    My endorsement obviously made a huge difference.

  6. The result of the election is very close to the expectations of both camps. And I still expect Ms. Chavez to be elected handily.

    The overall turnout was a bit lower than either expected, but I sense the run-off may generate a bit more interest, and the low turn out may be due to exactly those same expectations…

    No one believed Ms. Chavez would win outright, and all expected her to make the cut, lessening the urgency of a vote…

    Alvarado on the other hand may have just peaked…

    Although I expect that the Chamber, the Republican Party, it’s fat cat donors and rest of them will spend a pile of money paintin’ a different picture…

    Won’t do you no good…

  7. If she is going to align herself with the likes Reed,Nguyen , Liccardo , Hererra and the rest of Reeds minions ……….then god help us

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