A Few Election Day Observations

Fools Errands

Ro Khanna failed to take on Pete Stark in 2012. When Eric Swalwell went forward and won the seat, Khanna missed out, as he believed he was the heir apparent. So following Swalwell’s model, he decided to take on Mike Honda. Both advanced in Tuesday's primary. But Honda is no Pete Stark—he’s one of the most popular elected officials in Santa Clara County.

Khanna was soundly trounced in Tuesday’s primary. He will get a second chance, but the body politic will not take him seriously this time around. Even millions of dollars can’t overcome a lifetime record of success.

Also, the leadership of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association refused to meet with Sheriff Laurie Smith before the election. (Full disclosure: I helped run her campaign.) A small cabal of disgruntled employees then led their misinformed membership off a cliff.

The DSA membership needs to take back its union. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to get their $1000 per member dues back that was wasted on a quixotic effort.

Spoilers

Rumor has it that supporters of Sam Liccardo talked to Rose Herrera into running for mayor, fearful that leaving Madison Nguyen as the lone female candidate would hurt their efforts in the primary. The backroom deal, as rumored, is that a “Mayor” Liccardo would back Herrera for State Assembly when Nora Campos leaves the capitol.

Regardless, there is no question that Herrera’s ability to garner 6.1 percent of the vote came from a demographic likely to support Nguyen. But Liccardo could also point to the 9.8 percent of the vote Pierluigi Oliverio received and claim the “spoilers” were a wash.

Lost Opportunities

Susan Marsland and Kathy Sutherland presented lost opportunities. Both are solid candidates and would have made great councilmembers. But neither captured enough of the women’s vote to make the runoff.

In District 1, Paul Fong was always considered the frontrunner. In District 3, Raul Peralez simply outworked everyone else. It is a classic case of the ground game making a big difference in the outcome.

Italian Mayors

Going out on a limb, the next mayor of San Jose will be of Italian-American heritage and his family will have long established roots in the community.

Dave Cortese’s campaign has a compelling message of bringing a divided city together. His endorsements from Sheriff Smith and four former San Jose police chiefs give him a tremendous advantage on the number one issue in the minds of voters: rising crime.

The aforementioned Liccardo was able to out-hustle and outspend Nguyen. His campaign started slowly, but with help from the Mercury News and some real environmental and housing street cred, he squeaked past the current vice mayor. The albatross of the constitutionally dismissed Measure B, however, continues to be Liccardo’s Achilles heel.

That said, with the Merc firmly behind him and the Chamber of Commerce likely to weigh in on his side—after staying on the sidelines in the primary—neither side can expect to runaway with the job.

Qualified Candidates Who Lost

Betty Yee was clearly the most qualified candidate for state controller. She ran a very close race, but it looks like she will miss the runoff. The controller’s race almost produced our first anomaly under our new top-two voting system. We could have ended up with two Republicans running against each other—even though the electorate clearly supports a Democrat in that position.

With two highly qualified Democrats splitting the vote and a third candidate receiving “Nader’s share” (see Ralph Nader 2000), the Republicans almost pulled off a coup by getting their top two candidates enough votes to block a democratic nominee. That is a flaw in the system.

Also, Bob Levy in District 1 is a longtime community activist and environmentalist. He was clearly qualified for San Jose City Council, but the race had too many candidates splitting the vote too many ways for him to succeed.

Finally, people like libraries, schools and the environment, and they are willing to vote 2-1 to fund them. It looks like the libertarian streak is dormant in Santa Clara County, even in a low voter turnout election.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.

37 Comments

  1. “A small cabal of disgruntled employees then led their misinformed membership off a cliff.”

    Nice spin. Good luck to Ms. Smith, it’s gonna be hard to get anything done after a resounding vote of no confidence from her employees.

    • Lou- I think Rich thinks that if he keeps saying it someone will actually believe it. You and I know better~

      • > I think Rich thinks that if he keeps saying it someone will actually believe it.

        It’s really a trademark behavior of “progressives”. It’s called “the narrative”.

        It’s been practiced by “progressives” for at least 2,500 years since the ancient Greek Sophist philosophers realized that stories can move people to do things..

        My belief is that the term “progressive” comes from the fact that Rich and his tribe always try to make their narratives “progressively” more alarming/fearful/sensational to move their audience.

        In truth, the fate of “progressive-ism” is that their narratives become progressively more unbelievable.

  2. The election is over; no need to spin. The polling showed Sheriff Smith to be unbeatable, even the DSA polling showed that–but instead of working together for the good of the department, the leadership chose to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars, damage their own reputation and never provided a single reason this Sheriff was doing a poor job. In fact, they manufactured facts to fit a narrative that was completely untrue, rejected by those they used in their ads, and the Sheriff could not respond without jeopardizing on-going investigations.

    My problem with the DSA is where and what is the beef? They couldn’t even articulate why they were angry or even a single policy this Sheriff has implemented that is unfair or antithetical to their employment. Yes, she does discipline people when they are out of line; many of those people are in leadership positions at the DSA. Moreover, there has always been a group that she has shunned politically because they are bad apples. That said, she has an open door policy.

    It was the DSA leadership that refused to meet with her. It was the DSA leadership who misinformed their members. It was the DSA leadership who violated their own bylaws in their voting process. It was the DSA who failed to file their FPPC forms. It was the DSA leadership who illegally coordinated their campaign with Kevin Jensen. It was the DSA leadership who spent their capital account, tried to raise dues and ultimately spent $1,000 per member on a campaign that was doomed from the beginning.

    The entire effort was personal attack on the leader who has had their back in the press and media for 16 years. This Sheriff is proud of her department and the officers in it. She can’t always say yes, but her respect and devotion to her office is unprecedented. Before she took office, the Sheriff’s Office was not the respected law enforcement agency it is today. The jails had been taken away, the Coroners Office was another department and there CPOA and the DSA despised each other. Now the jails have returned, the Coroners Office is under the Sheriff’s jurisdiction etc.

    Except for the personalities involved, the attacks made no sense whatsoever.

    We can understand why the CPOA opposed her. She will not allow them to become peace officers. It was part of the deal she made with the County to get the jails back, the CPOA has one agenda, get Peace Officer status for their members so they are equal to Deputies. That is not going to happen under this Sheriff and we expected they would oppose her on those policy grounds.

    But the DSA leadership must be replaced by their members. It is just nutty.

    • You know Rich, if you really want your client to succeed and the troops to support her, you need to stop this divisive nonsense. You may not realize this but your constant hammering of these folks, and your refusal to concede that your client has clearly failed victims/their families and her staff, gives us a birds eye view into the frustrations and complaints being made by all concerned against your client’s leadership style. I can see why they have been afraid to come forward in the past, if this is how you and your client respond to constructive criticism.

      A good leader listens to employees complaints and works with them to make things better. They don’t hire someone like you to continually beat them up in the media, on blogs, and on Facebook. If you truly care about your client, advise her to work with her staff, and advocates of violent crime so that they can come together in the best interest of EVERYONE concerned.

      Stop pouring gasoline on the fire and further dividing everyone. It only makes you and your client look bad~

      • “If you truly care about your client, advise her to work with her staff, and advocates of violent crime so that they can come together in the best interest of EVERYONE concerned.”

        So, Kathleen, just who are these “advocates of violent crime?” I’d like to avoid them.

        • Bemused365- I think there has been enough coverage/documentation on the internet to do the research for yourself~

  3. Rich, the DSA had a record number of deputies participate in the no confidence vote. Yes, there are a handful of union leaders who have been disciplined, but the majority of deputies that voted no confidence are hard working people with no discipline issues. So are you saying they are misinformed or brainless. To continue to claim there is no meat behind the issues the campaign brought up will only contribute to the problem. There are issues. Here is an example, my family and I have traveled to Los Angeles and Sacramento so my husband could attend training necessary for advancement in the department. These same classes were offered miles from our home, but he was not allowed to attend those because the Sheriff’s office does not use South Bay Regional. This decision is unfair and a perfect example of the Sheriff’s lack of collaboration, not to mention a waste of money. You are right, the election is over. If Sheriff Smith is the leader you say she is, she will sit down with the DSA and CPOA and address the issues that were brought up and just brush off 90% of her employees. I hope she does.

    • How the hell do you know the character of those that voted no confidence? Pull your head out of your ass.

      • Well I know the character of my husband and many of well respected officers that simply want to work for a leader they can respect. Sure in every group there are those that lack integrity, but when over 250 vote no confidence, there is something that needs to change.

  4. Robinson’s premise, that the misinformed DSA membership blindly followed leaders with personal axes to grind, is incredibly insulting to those members. Law enforcement officers are not sheep; they think for themselves, and an overwhelming majority of them obviously have no confidence in Smith. If an organization has no confidence in its leader, it’s a telling indictment of that leader. Politics is an endeavor in which the truth is often less important than trying to manipulate public perception of the truth. It’s also Robinson’s business, which is why I don’t accept anything he says at face value.

  5. Sorry people, I know the truth hurts. But it will also set you free. Kathleen your comments are a joke; the people who have been engaging in “divisive” politics is the anonymous sources from the DSA. And your comments regarding t the Sheriff having failed victims is absolutely offensive and shows how misinformed you are–as the Potts family noted in their retort of the hateful hit piece.

    It’s time the DSA leadership put their members first–and if there are any legitimate issues–feel free to bring them up. But this crew refused to meet with the Sheriff or articulate any issues of consequence that would merit her electoral defeat. Look around, the Board of Supervisors and every major elected official in this County supported her based on the credibility she has brought back to the department.

    But you got some bad apples, so before you come to the table–make sure those who represent you have some credibility. The current leadership has none–that is why they should resign.

    • So the support of fellow politicians is more significant than the opinions of those who actually work for you? Spoken like a true politician.

    • Bottom line, there are too many hardworking and well informed deputies who have no confidence. This is not just a few bad apples. The issues are there and that is the reason a competitor needed to run. Even watching the Mercury News debate showed how misinformed the Sheriff is about how others perceive her. A real leader would find a way to work with even ‘bad apples’. This picture of the Sheriff being a victim is getting old as is the constant dialogue that there is nothing wrong with the department. Instated one issue in my above comment and I know there are more. Either be a leader and create positive change or get out of the way.

    • Rich- The truth seems to be unable to set you free because you spend an inordinate amount of time twisting the truth to make yourself and your client look pristine, and without culpability in this situation. It’s not flying with me or anyone else. Commentary on your Facebook and your client’s by some of her supporters were not only offensive, but in one case in particular, libelous.

      Yes, elected officials did endorse your client, but that was long before the “truth” about her leadership came out. By then it was too late to withdraw their endorsements, unlike your client who has pulled endorsements whenever she had a vested interest in doing so.

      You and I can agree to disagree as to who is being offensive and is misinformed, but one fact that is undeniable is that your client’s behavior in the interview with the Mercury News is concerning. She was crying, sweating profusely, she hid her face behind a file, her eyes were like that of a trapped animal, she couldn’t sit still, she kept clicking her pen, scuffling papers, and grabbing her jacket. If she were my client or my friend, I would would be deeply concerned about her emotional well being.

      Secondly- Her reaction when she was asked if she’d be surprised to know that many Police Chiefs didn’t want to work with her was not only shocking to her, but to anyone like me who heard it for the first time. Fugitive watch endorsed your client’s opponent, along with Marc Klass, other Victim’s Rights Advocates, families of homicide victims, and many other Unions besides the DSA. Facts Rich, facts you seem to want to hide, deny, or twist.

      So again, I’m going to say,” If you truly care about your client, advise her to work with her staff, and advocates of violent crime so that they can come together in the best interest of EVERYONE concerned. Stop pouring gasoline on the fire and further dividing everyone. It only makes you and your client look bad~”

    • “as the Potts family noted in their retort of the hateful hit piece.” Richie, if you are going to trot out a person’s family to support your position, at least get it right. It’s the Pott family, not the Potts family.

    • “this crew refused to meet with the Sheriff or articulate any issues of consequence that would merit her electoral defeat”

      You do realize that the Board that endorsed Jensen and the board that voted “no confidence” were different people and they went through an election themselves, right? Or do facts like that just not mean anything at all to a person basing their entire argument on lies?

      Every member of the BoS endorsed her. So what, they endorsed George Shirakawa, your client, at one time as well.

  6. > You know Rich, if you really want your client to succeed and the troops to support her, you need to stop this divisive nonsense.

    > Kathleen your comments are a joke; the people who have been engaging in “divisive” politics is the anonymous sources from the DSA.

    The foundation of “progressive politics” (i. e., Rich Robinson politics) is tribalism. Everyone must belong to a tribe, or be assigned to a tribe. If you don’t fit into a tribe, progressives will make up a tribe for you.

    Tribes are offended, tribes have injuries, tribes have grievances, tribes have enemies.

    Every tribe in the progressive coalition of tribes has an official designated enemy:

    the black tribe has “racists”;
    the woman tribe has “sexists”
    the gay tribe has “homophobes”
    the poor tribe has “the rich” who “don’t pay their fair share”.

    And, if you’re confused about what tribal grievance you have or who your designated enemy is, well, there’s always the Koch brothers.

    Yes. politics IS very divisive. There’s a reason it’s divisive. Progressive politicians (and political consultants) make their living off of fear, grievance, and division.

    Progressive politicians measure “progress” by the amount of division they are able to create.

    To people who want to live in a peaceful, harmonious, and prosperous society, “progressive” politicians are really regarded as “pro-aggressive”.

  7. Tribe BS. I do oppose racists, sexists, homophobes and income inequality. The problem isn’t tribalism, it is people who believe their hateful views are equal in the marketplace of ideas because they have a “right” to free speech. They are not.

    Progressives brought us the revolution, ended slavery, gave women the right to vote, saved us from the great depression and the great recession, promoted the equality for all people through civil rights, supported the right for all people to marry–a continuing struggle. Progressive Presidents of their day included Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Bill Clinton and our current President.

    So yes, I’m a progressive. To a progressive–everybody is welcome–except those who hate. We admittedly have a deep prejudice against those folks.

    • > The problem isn’t tribalism, it is people who believe their hateful views are equal…

      OMYGAWD! RICH! You’re perfect!!!!

      I could not have found a better poster child for pro-aggressive tribalist alternative reality than … RICH ROBINSON!

      You want tribalism?

      > The problem isn’t tribalism, it is people who believe their hateful views are equal…

      The famous “non-denial denial”: you deny that your beliefs have anything to do with tribalism by invoking “us versus them” tribalism. Or, more accurately “us versus the HATEFUL them” tribalism.

      Your reference to the other’s “hateful views” is just a pro-aggressive dog whistle. You’re just signaling to your tribalists that it is “OK to hate the hater (wink, wink)”. WE’RE not haters. THEY’RE the haters.

      “Our tribe GOOD. Other tribe BAD!”

      OK to raid their villages, burn their crops, kill their children, and steal their women.

      Tribalism in capital letters in flashing neon.

      And you wouldn’t be a complete pro-aggressive if you didn’t throw in some bogus “narrative”:

      > Progressives brought us the revolution, ended slavery, gave women the right to vote, saved us from the great depression and the great recession, promoted the equality for all people through civil rights, supported the right for all people to marry–a continuing struggle. Progressive Presidents of their day included Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Bill Clinton and our current President.”

      Pro-aggressives imposed conformity on their tribe members, demanded unquestioned loyalty and obedience to their alpha male leader/shaman/warlord, took whatever they wanted when they wanted it from the public “hunting ground”, vilified neighboring tribes, raided their herds and crops, practiced camouflage, deception, and deceit to hunt their game or attack other tribes, and then made up fanciful, phony, bogus “narratives” to glorify and aggrandize the tribal chief.

      TRIBALISM. NARRATIVE. You’re the complete pro-aggressive package, Rich.

      You’re my favorite pro-aggressive lab rat.

  8. Rich – the Republicans freed the salves not the “progressives” – which you define and want people reading to think of as democrats. At least get that one right. Mr. Lincoln, who was a Republican, deserves the respect.

  9. Don’t confuse the term Republican or Democrat with conservative or progressive. The Republican Party of 1860 was the “progressive” party of its time. TR was s progressive republican, taking on corporate interests and protecting the environment. In addition, Democrats were the “conservatives” in 1860–trying to keep the status quo.

    So party labels do not define whether a person is progressive. BTW: Laurie Smith is a Republican–but she is a progressive Sheriff.

    • Based on your remarks, its reasonable to conclude you approve of Sheriff Smith. Why? What has she done that merits your approval?

      • Kevin- In answer to your question, he is her paid political consultant, and helped run her campaign, so any response you get will be the same old same old he’s already touting.

  10. Progressives have a fanatical belief that their actions are justified because in their arrogant minds, only they have a correct vision of “the greater good”. To them the ends justify the means. It’s not about the journey. The final destination is all that matters to progressives. How they get there is irrelevant. That’s not only a dangerous mindset but it’s antithetical to the principles of individual liberty upon which this country was founded.
    They’re not particularly bothered if they have to trample all over the rights of individuals in the pursuit of their “noble” causes. They think about people in statistical terms and that’s what rubs libertarians the wrong way.
    And sjoutsidethebubble is absolutely correct in pointing out the divisive nature of progressives even as they disingenuously crow about how we need to look past the differences between us. It’s all about politics with progressives. Control. Getting even. Torturing the Constitution until it confesses the words they want to hear…

  11. “Khanna was soundly trounced in Tuesday’s primary. He will get a second chance, but the body politic will not take him seriously this time around.”

    That’s silly. He wil presumably retain the votes he’s already won, as well as pick up the lion’s share of those that went to the two Republican candidates. I won’t predict a victory for Ro (and if I still lived in the district, I’d relucantly vote for Mike Honda myself), but I will predict he will get over 45 percent of the vote. So he may very well win.

  12. “ith two highly qualified Democrats splitting the vote and a third candidate receiving “Nader’s share” (see Ralph Nader 2000), the Republicans almost pulled off a coup by getting their top two candidates enough votes to block a democratic nominee. That is a flaw in the system.”

    That was the point of the new primary system: to knock the Democrats out at the primary level.

    • It’s not a coup moron if people are voting and guiding the results. What a stupid, ignorant thing to say.

  13. > Also, the leadership of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association refused to meet with Sheriff Laurie Smith before the election. (Full disclosure: I helped run her campaign.)

    Oh, Rich! This is Rich. (Pun intended)

    I don’t know who was diminished more by this lash up. You, or “”Republican” Laurie Smith.

    Why would any self-respecting candidate look for help from the person who helped George Shirakawa, Jr. get elected, and made the High Speed Rail the public relations train wreck (pun intended again) that it is?

    Why would any self-respecting “progressive” political consultant be caught dead helping an — ICK! — horrible, awful, rich plutocratic, insensitive REPUBLICAN — may I say ICKI! again — candidate, who would probably enjoy clubbing baby seals?

    It doesn’t make sense.

    For some reason, I am reminded of the country-western song where “the girls all get prettier at closing time”.

    Could this be a case where all the blue chip candidates were “lawyered up” and the only PAID jobs left for political consultants were for candidates where winning or losing didn’t make any difference to the political class?

    • Thanks Mr. Ad Hominem. Next time how about snapping your brain out of it’s deep sleep before posting this mindless drivel.

      • > Next time how about snapping your brain out of it’s deep sleep before posting this mindless drivel.

        Right. Will do.

        SMACK!

        I feel better now.

        So, Mr. Ironboob, what offended you the most?

        A. Suggesting that Mr. Robinson was a second-string political consultant with a checkered track record? or
        B. Suggesting that “Republican” Laurie Smith was not the type of candidate that a “progressive” political consultant would help? or,
        C. Suggesting that a Republican candidate would probably enjoy clubbing baby seals?

        The future of good government in San Jose hangs in the balance in anticipation of your response.

  14. “Dave Cortese’s campaign has a compelling message of bringing a divided city together.”
    If by “divided” you mean that only about 70% of the voters believe that the city needs to be on a sustainable financial footing, then I guess you’re correct. I can’t imagine why 100% of the folks wouldn’t want a city capable of providing all the services that the people of San Jose deserve. So the other 30% of our “divided” city must be completely clueless or labor drones (or both).

  15. Excuse me but how is Kathy Sutherland a “lost opportunity”. She wanted to raise the sales tax for what reason?!? Who thinks that raising a sales tax that is 9% is a great idea?

  16. Was anyone else upset with the continual, illegal robocalling by the Cortese campaign? I was getting five a day, with no opportunity to opt out, one even after 9pm. According to the California PUC, it’s $500 an offense, even for political groups, if you have said you do not want to be contacted. That can empty even Dan’s union-backed coffers quickly. Hope someone in the campaign reads this and takes me off the list.

    • The National Do Not Call Registry does not limit calls by political organizations, charities, or telephone surveyors.

      https://www.donotcall.gov/faq/faqbusiness.aspx#who

      As frustrating as this may be for people, it has been this way since the inception. You can not opt out of political calls, they are not limited by the DNC program.

      Though you may have a point on the one after 9PM I believe all calling programs have constraints on the hours they can call.