People opposed to incoming Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo are also concerned with an interim appointment to the District 4 council seat, fearing it will give the mayor a governing majority. The truth is Liccardo already has a majority.
Chappie Jones won handily in District 1. Though not a Republican like predecessor Pete Constant, he will have a very conservative approach. The same people who supported the mayor backed him. In regards to development, housing and big-ticket items, Jones will probably follow Liccardo’s lead.
Magdalena Carrasco in District 5 will be a true independent. Liccardo endorsed her candidacy, even though she stayed out of the mayor’s race. Given that her constituents went with Dave Cortese, it was a smart move. Carrasco is more progressive than people give her credit, but she will likely side with the mayor when it is not antithetical to her district, making her more of an ally than opponent.
Pierluigi Oliverio in District 6 is sometimes a 10-1 vote on issues. But he is never the sixth vote for progressives. Look for him to side with the mayor on important issues and continue to be a gadfly on others.
Tam Nguyen in District 7 is another newcomer. He was not supported by the progressive elements of the community. That said, his interest is in being in power, not out of power. He is the true wildcard, but he’ll probably go with the mayor as he learns the global issues of the city.
Rose Herrera in District 8 is a solid vote for Mayor Liccardo. Had it not been for her own campaign in the primary, we might be talking about Mayor Madison Nguyen. Herrera has dreams of going to the State Assembly and offering a loyal vote to Liccardo gives her a better chance—but it’s still unlikely.
Johnny Khamis in district 10, as the lone Republican on the council with the exit of Constant and Mayor Reed, will be a team player for the new mayor on almost every issue of consequence.
Raul Peralez in district 3, Don Rocha in district 9 and Ash Kalra in district 2 are reasonable people who will work with the mayor on issues of common interest, but they can and will provide vocal opposition. The new mayor should not reject their ideas outright if the city is going to heal itself. This block represents many of the public employees Liccardo will need to implement his agenda. To play politics and ignore the three council members’ proposals—or worse, to demonize these individuals politically—would be a grave mistake unworthy of a great mayor.
The pension issue will continue to linger, but it is clear the next mayor knows he has a problem. He has already started to broach a long overdue political solution. The courts have already thrown several parts of the law out. If he can work out a deal through negotiation that avoids the city spending more resources on a doomed appeals effort, he will have made a great start. As for other public employee issues, Liccardo understands he has a morale problem and needs to address it. San Jose has a serious deficit of police officers and it will take creativity and cooperation from his previous opponents to stem the current exodus.
Many people hope the new regime builds bridges. People who supported Cortese have had difficulty accepting the current result. But a continued entrenchment is an unnecessary political battle. People should do the math—this mayor already has what looks to be a working majority. More importantly, government is not a zero-sum game. The philosophical divide is not so great that people cannot work together on many issues. To do that, they must make the past just that.
A major opponent of the current mayor once said, “If the Mayor of San Jose is successful, San Jose is successful.” If everyone keeps that fact in mind and puts the city ahead of their egos, San Jose will be able to move forward.