As a woman, a feminist and a lifelong activist, Iâve been aghast at how dirty this campaign season has becomeâparticularly as it relates to several female candidates.
Women often feel we should support female candidates because there arenât enough women in politics and until there are, weâll never achieve equal representation, close the wage gap, stop ridiculous attacks on health care, and so on.
However, we have a few female candidates this year who prove the importance of substance over sisterhood.
Assemblywoman Nora Campos and Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Darcie Green have turned this election season into a pilot of Real Housewives of Silicon Valley. The soon-to-term-out assemblywoman and her aspiring successor sunk to a new low by lobbing ludicrous, borderline comical accusations against state Sen. Jim Beall.
(For more on that, see San Jose Insideâs coverage of the fiasco.)
These sisters in scandal presented no evidence to convince the public that theyâre being âbulliedâ and âharassedâ by Beall and his union âthugs.â Their words, not mine.
You know, evidence like the kind that got Greenâs husband convicted of beating and stalking his exes before she got fake-engaged to him on a Summer Jazz Fest stage last summer.
Or evidence like the kind that got Camposâ brother, former San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos, cornered enough to invokeÂ the Fifth instead of answering questions about a stolen election.
Or evidenceâat least in the form of accounts by credible witnessesâlike the kind that makes her husband look a lot like an aggressor after a recent rumble that got his balls all a-jumble.
The assemblywomanâs storied turnover in legislative staff tells quite a tale in and of itself. Constituents meet a seemingly sincere leader who promises to do everything she can to help. âHere you go, hereâs a card,â she says, offering the contact info for one of her aides. Much good that does when said staffer gets axed in one of her inevitable staff purges.
I personally have gone through this process several times. Iâve even stopped by her Sacramento office, without an appointment, to find it almost empty, and have the receptionist confess they have staffing issues.
If Campos canât treat her staff wellâyou know, the people there to support her and her constituents' needsâwhat does that say about her as a public servant?
Given all these issues, what better way for these two to deflect from their own problems than to point an accusatory finger at someone else? Itâs a calculating distraction. In Greenâs case, itâs an attempt to become relevant.
If these female candidates truly want to find someone who has put several women through âemotional terrorâ theyâd look atÂ Democratic Central Committee candidates for AD28.
âPutting people over the powerfulâ reads the cover of one of ex-San Jose Vice Mayor Madison Nguyenâs political action committee fliers supporting her AD27 campaign to replace Campos. How ironic.
That same PAC also put out a piece that seems to brag about her supporting the controversial pension reforms brought by Measure B. Yes, that Measure Bâthe one that gutted San Joseâs staff and police department. I canât imagine shy sheâd want to brag about that, with San Joseâs murder rate on track this year to reach the historic highs it hit during her time on the City Council.
Meanwhile, that wasnât her PAC that put out the DUI hit piece against her opponent, former council colleague Ash Kalra. That was her doing. The fact that NguyenÂ felt she couldnât win on her own merit, but had to go for a Campos-style below-the-belt hit speaks volumes about her character.
Letâs look at Helen Chapman, whoâs running for the District 6 council seat up for grabs as Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio rides out the rest of his term. Chapman became an early darling of both the homeless community and labor groups. Now that sheâs publicly stated sheâs against stricter rent control, which is one of the biggest issues facing the city, does she still deserve laborâs endorsement? Does another ânoâ vote on the council support âimmigrant women rising?â
When she came out against the Evans Lane projectâa transitional housing complex for the homelessâshe rightfully lost the support of many homeless residents and advocates. Rent control and homelessness go hand in hand and disproportionally affect women, who stay homeless longer than their male counterparts in Silicon Valley.
Do four years of potential votes against supportive housing and rent control sound appealing to women and other marginalized communities?
Women need and deserve candidates that truly represent us and the issues that affect us with integrity, honesty and an unwavering sense of self that doesnât change based on polls, donors or intimidation. We are a strong sisterhood when we have good candidates. We have and we will continue to make great strides.
Shaunn Cartwright is an activist, housing rights advocate and co-founder of South Bay Tenants Union.Â The opinions expressed in this article are the authorâs own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.