San Jose City Council candidate Steve Brown has spent most of September on a damage control tour. Claiming to be serially misquoted, he insists that he would never support discrimination over someone’s sexual orientation. But in the same breath Brown has also said that the government shouldn’t pass laws that prevent businesses from refusing service to people they suspect as being LGBTQ. Talking out of both sides of his mouth is something of an art form for Brown. He’s also said in public and a San Jose Inside interview that he would support Measure F—the city’s pension reform settlement with public employee unions—before telling the Mercury News a couple weeks ago that he opposed the plan. On Tuesday, Brown hopped back on the fence and told Fly in a phone interview—which included his political consultant, Tab Berg—that he was still making up his mind. An email later in the night from Berg said Brown is actually still supporting Measure F. Got that? And then there’s Brown’s repeated switching of political parties in the last couple years—for now he’s a Republican—which again Brown refused to explain with a straightforward answer. It’s this kind evasiveness and flip-flopping that concerns Brown’s opponent, Sergio Jimenez, as well as Brown’s supporters, such as the ChamberPAC, a political action committee for the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. On Monday, Sept. 19, Brown was summoned for a re-endorsement interview to clarify his position on LGBTQ issues. In a letter Brown’s campaign paid for and sent directly to ChamberPAC members before that meeting, he again argued that he was misquoted in a questionnaire. He also noted in the letter that he has met and talked with ChamberPAC members and is “grateful for the endorsement and support the Chamber has provided me and my campaign.” State law forbids candidate campaigns from coordinating with PACs and independent expenditure (IE) committees, raising the question of what kind of “support” Brown has received. As the letter states, his campaign paid for him to communicate with the PAC. Chamber CEO Matt Mahood assured Fly that there has been no coordination beyond the meeting to clarify Brown’s many stances on the issues. He retained the endorsement.
UPDATE: A previous story noted Steve Brown’s unusual changes in party affiliation, as well as a sparse voting record in Santa Clara County. Before this June’s primary, Brown had not voted in an election since 2008. However, from 2000 to 2008, he was registered to vote in Monterey County and voted seven times, according to records with the Secretary of State. Brown says he owns property in Monterey County.