San Jose’s East Side has a history of swift boat politics, and it appears last November’s election was no exception. Anthony Phan, an energetic 21-year-old education nerd who garnered more than 30,000 votes in the race for a seat on the East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD) board, says he was accused of being the loaded C-word—a communist—on a Vietnamese radio program and blog in the final weeks of the campaign. He doesn’t know how much it affected the race, but such accusations are frequent fear tactics bandied about in the Vietnamese community come election time. Magdalena Carrasco, East Side’s new council member, was accused of being a proud commie in a fraudulent mailer four and a half years ago. She lost that race and ended up sitting on the East Side school board for a couple years, before making another go last summer. Political gamesmanship remains in play for the ESUHSD seat Carrasco had to vacate, which isn’t surprising since these positions often serve as launch pads for political careers. After initial interviews to appoint a new member, a committee felt Phan’s 30K votes didn’t merit much consideration, and he was excluded from the final list of nominees. Proving some people prefer to shop by name brand, Pattie Cortese, wife of county supervisor and two-time failed San Jose mayoral candidate Dave Cortese, did make it to the final five—despite no real record in education—and she got the appointment. Her LinkedIn profile actually lists her profession as “Head Cheerleader at Cortese for Mayor.” Candidates Wm. Derek Grasty and Louis Barocio both have experience as principals, and Merryl Kravitz is a dean for Evergreen Valley College. And then there’s Mariel Caballero, who has an extensive resume but lacks name ID and political ambition. Word is the table’s being set for Pattie Cortese to hopscotch her way to a run for Evergreen’s District 8 council seat.
Correction: A previously posted version of this story did not include full edits. San Jose Inside regrets the error.