All nine candidates vying for San Jose’s District 4 council seat will have a chance to speak at a forum Monday. Organizers originally planned to limit the panel to the top five fundraisers, but opened it up to all active candidates after some pushback.
Tim Orozco, a policy aide for state Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-San Jose), got off to a late start in the race and ended the latest fundraising reporting period in sixth place with $16,471 in donations. Leaders of the Berryessa-North San Jose Democratic Club weren’t too happy with Orozco being bumped from the forum, so they dropped out as a sponsor of the event, according to event planners. A decision was then made to include all candidates.
The two-and-a-half-hour forum is sponsored by the Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council, Berryessa Business Association and the Berryessa Milpitas Republican Assembly.
Members of the sponsoring organizations can submit questions for candidates to moderator Margaret Jackson, host of Money 2.0 Business on the Edge on AM 1220 KDOW. The aspiring electeds will each get a two-minute intro, a 90-second response and a 90-second closing statement.
“This race is very competitive,” Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council President Ty Greaves said. “There’s a lot of interest, given the composition of the [City Council] right now, particularly with regard to pension issues and fiscal reform. Whoever is elected could swing a balance. … So, this has a lot of importance to people across the city.”
The north San Jose council seat opened up when Kansen Chu was elected to the 25th Assembly District last fall. Mayor Sam Liccardo and the council appointed longtime Berryessa resident and former Councilwoman Margie Matthews until voters elect a permanent replacement.
A diverse set of contenders put their name in the running: Orozco, a state legislative aide; public interest attorney Lan Diep; retired realtor Bob Dhillon; media exec Manh Nguyen; school trustee Rudy Nasol; San Jose police officer Khoa Nguyen; retired educator Thelma Boac; former Wells Fargo executive Alex Torres and energy consultant Johnny Lee.
Greaves says he plans to have the forum recorded and will post it online at www.bcacsj.com.
The special election takes place April 7, with mail-in ballots going out next week. Unless someone receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top-two finishers will compete again in a June 23 runoff.
Correction: A previous version of this article failed to include D4 candidate Alex Torres.