Judge Booed for Chavez Remark

Judge Arthur Weisbrodt is known for asking tough questions, which is why the Rotary Club of San Jose picks him to moderate election debates, such as the one on Wednesday between District 2 Supervisor candidates Teresa Alvarado and Cindy Chavez.

Weisbrodt opened by challenging Alvarado on her absence of experience as an elected official, then turned to Chavez and asked her whether she’d be “a rubber stamp for labor’s positions—and that could be harmful to or even potentially bankrupt the county.”

“I appreciate the question,” Chavez said, and after a long pause, repeated, “I very much appreciate the question — it’s sort of the elephant in the room, actually every room I walk into lately.”

Weisbrodt drew boos from a handful of Rotarians, however, when he quoted an anonymous source who had compared Chavez to the convicted felon she’s running to replace. “Ms. Alvarado, you seem to be running a gentle, hands-off campaign, focusing on your experience and proposals and refraining from seriously attacking your opponent. During the interviews I conducted to prepare for this debate, several people told me that you simply cannot win without taking on Cindy Chavez aggressively,” the judge said.

“One experienced San Jose politician told me what he or she would do if running in your place in this election. And this person said to me—and I almost quote—I would tell the voters that voting for Cindy Chavez is the same as voting for George Shirakawa or Ron Gonzales. The same corruption, dishonesty and back deals.”

That’s when the hecklers erupted. Among the loudest was former supervisor Rod Diridon Sr., who says he wasn’t booing the judge, he just didn’t think it was a fair comparison.

The judge recovered and continued. “Now, now, do you believe these criticisms about Cindy have any validity and if you do, are you prepared to articulate them here and let us know what your position is?”

Without missing a beat, Alvarado replied: “I think I’ve been very, very clear about differentiating. I think we’ve been very clear in our campaign literature about differentiating. I believe that we’ve put corruption at the cornerstone of our message. Our first platform was all about reform and accountability—and transparency. So I think it’s very clear what I stand for.

“I don’t think in the process I need to personally demonize Cindy Chavez. For a very important reason. I think that is the cancer in our local politics right now.” For this comment Alvarado received loud applause, a full six seconds worth, after which she continued.

“Look at what we saw, in what’s happened in the City of San Jose over the past several years is a direct result of what transpired in the last major mayoral election. There was personal demonization to the point where, when we had to come together in collective bargaining, there were not willing partners. You need willing partners to negotiate.

“The county is at the precipice of some major issues with labor relations. We need people at the table who are not viewed as demons and enemies. Because otherwise the unions will not believe the information that you are sharing, which is what happened in San Jose. They did not believe the people at the bargaining table. And that’s very dangerous.”

13 Comments

  1. It sounds like Alvarado is saying that San Jose city employees were not willing to negotiate because of the “demonization” of Reed in the “last major mayoral election.”  If this is what she meant, she is either breathtakingly out of touch or being disgustingly disingenuous.  It was Reed and the majority of the council that refused to negotiate.  City employees were the only “willing partners.”

    • Jojo,

      No, Alvarado was saying that the demonization of both candidates in the last competitive mayoral election between Chavez and Reed made it difficult for either side to work together.

      Which is true.

      The fact is, Alvarado and Chavez are both very good Progressive, Pro-Labor Democrats. They will need to work together whomever wins this race.

      This election has gotten very childish in my opinion. Chicago-style politics have come to the South Bay.

      We have some major elections next year (ie. Honda, Mayor, and Council) and the Democratic Party is tied up all its money fighting a progressive pro-labor Democrat for another.

      Can’t we just have a nice debate about the direction of our County and not take things personally or demonize eachother especially when we agree on 99.9% of the issues?

  2. I am very surprised that the Rotarion club picked their favorite Judge to moderate and criticize his mention of other’s criticisum. on Cindy Chaves.
    I am very surprised, that Judge WiesBrodt, did not elude to the nepotisum of where the Alverado’s have been, since Blanca Alvarado was a sitting Supervisor, and guiding the MHC, along with her immediate family, Theresa included.
    It is not who wins or losses, it is how we treat those that are doing their best to change the direction we have to go in!
    There goes the Judge! There goes the Judge!
      The village Black Smith

  3. They’re both Latina women of about the same age, they’re both Democrats.

    One candidate didn’t simply vote in favor of the bloated public pension contracts of the past 15 years, she was THE LEADER of those reckless, irresponsible efforts. The other candidate was not.

    Watch Detroit closely, folks.

    • Dear Audrey Huynh, 

      Ref: About your Detroit comparison.

      Knock it off.

      Mostly, it seems like you’re really trying to score political points; or perhaps be funny, in both cases, you’re failing. Really. You either don’t understand what your talking about or don’t care about the telling the truth.

      So, again, knock it off.

      Thanks!!

      • According to San Jose Inside:

        “San Jose faces a $2.9 billion unfunded liability in pension and retiree healthcare costs. The figure is mind-boggling.”

        That sounds pretty serious to me. I stand by the Detroit comparison.

        • Hahahaha…..San Jose is exactly like Detroit???…..Detroits median price for a house is $8K….San Joses median price for a house is $600K and climbing….go on a field trip and look at all the construction going on in San jose north of downtown….The only construction that is going on in Detroit is board up crews…the only thing both cities share is lousy ethically challenged politicians…..Go A’s

    • Teresa Alvarado is a registered democrat. Darling is a word you choose, but she was endorsed by the SCC Democratic Central Committee in a previous race. Now she has shown the ‘Audacity’ to run against their chosen, private party club member.

  4. Mayor Reed is also a registered Democrat, but he very much aligns himself with Republican principles. I can’t help but think that Alvarado, the so-called “reformer” would be similar to Reed if she ever got elected.