San Jose Mayor Endorses Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo endorsed former Los Angeles mayor and state Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa for governor—just before three other South Bay officials announced their support for another gubernatorial contender, Gavin Newsrom.

At the Vermont House on Jan. 31, Liccardo and Villaraigosa talked about how to tackle veteran homelessness, the affordable housing crisis and economic inequality in Silicon Valley and the rest of the state.

Before the news conference announcing Liccardo’s endorsement, Abode Services Executive Director Louis Chicoine gave officials a tour of the Vermont House, a facility that was recently renovated to house some of Santa Clara County’s homeless veterans.

The facility’s two buildings contains 16 single-occupancy units, which cost 30 percent of a resident’s income. Abode, a homeless housing nonprofit that began leasing the place up in December, provides supportive services for residents.

Louis Chicoine (right), executive director of Abode Services, gave Liccardo and Villaraigosa a tour of the Vermont House, which was renovated to house homeless veterans. (Photo by Kristin Lam)

East Bay-Silicon Valley Habitat for the Humanity spokeswoman Patti Wang Cross joined Liccardo, Villaraigosa, veterans, and representatives from homelessness organizations for a roundtable talk after the tour.

Habitat for Humanity spokeswoman Patti Wang Cross joined the roundtable discussion. (Photo by Kristin Lam)

“Projects like this one here at Vermont House gives us the opportunity to be a part of other solutions that affect the housing crisis,” said Wang-Cross, noting that Habitat for Humanity provided general contracting services for the Vermont House. “We’re really excited to be here and to be a part of this. And particularly to be here to help out the veteran community, a community that has done so much in service to the rest of us.”

Chris King, a 62-year-old Vietnam War marine veteran asked Liccardo and Villaraigosa for their leadership in addressing homelessness. (Photo by Kristin Lam)

Attendees expressed concerns about veteran homelessness, affordable housing, and economic opportunity. Vietnam War veteran Chris King talked about how he found himself homeless. First, he said, a jiu-jitsu student broke his neck after class at the San Jose Job Corps. Then his father died, he lost his job, and he went through a divorce.

“I started taking pain medication and relapsed,” the ex-Marine said. “I was homeless for several years. Fighting addiction and I got clean and sober again. I was going to the homeless clinic here in East San Jose and I met a social worker named Livy.”

His social worker referred King to Abode Services, where he met Chicoine, who found him housing in a matter of months.

Navy veteran Gary Valentino Hollis (right) collects himself as Abode Services spokeswoman Bronwyn Hogan (left) thanks him for sharing his story. (Photo by Kristin Lam)

Navy veteran Gary Valentino Hollis also recalled being homeless and described the struggles of homeless veterans who are looking for opportunity.

“I don’t live in a perfect world,” Hollis said, fighting back tears. “But eating out of garbage cans is not good. And drinking out of toilet stools is not good. And getting someone’s leftovers and they didn’t eat the scraps is not a fun place to be in your life.”

Hollis said he got back on his feet while staying at a shelter for a couple years. Then, he found Abode. These days, he runs his own carpet cleaning and janitorial business. He called for stronger leadership to push for more affordable housing, and for more funding to help military veterans start their own businesses.

“There’s someone there right now walking around with a sign,” he said. “I know you guys have seen them and they will work for food or whatever—we need to stop that. We spend billions of dollars for war that we shouldn’t have homelessness veterans. We serve and protect this country.”

Villaraigosa listened to and commented on concerns shared during the discussion. (Photo by Kristin Lam)

Villaraigosa thanked the group for sharing their stories and for their work to create solutions to homelessness. He also reflected on the economic inequality in the state and how to get resources to address the affordable housing crisis.

“If you look at L.A., San Jose, San Diego and San Francisco, we’re the engine of the California economy,” Villaraigosa said. “We’ve got to get the workforce, our veterans, all of the people who are generating that economy, the housing that they need.”

After the roundtable discussion, Liccardo formally endorsed Villaraigosa outside the Vermont House, and touted his affordable housing plan and how he thinks Villaraigosa can support it from the state capitol. Liccardo said he believes Villaraigosa can help San Jose directly by bringing back redevelopment and affordable housing funds and creating a statewide housing trust.

“I need a partner in the governor’s office that’s going to push and streamline regulations to get the housing built, to ensure that we have the funding we need to get veterans and homeless off the street,” Liccardo said. “Antonio Villaraigosa clearly has the experience as a big city mayor in LA. He’s done this, he’s proven he has bold leadership. We need his ideas and his effort behind us.”

12 Comments

  1. This event is just political grandstanding on the taxpayers’ dime. San Jose and the county have spent so much money on homeless services, that half the beds are empty:

    Santa Clara County Rapid Rehousing programs have available spaces and are operating at 50% below capacity

    Santa Clara County taxpayers spent $66 million dollars in Permanent Supportive Housing in 2017

    $58 Million in Supportive Housing spent since 2016 by San Jose taxpayers.

    Over $2 million in 2017 for Homeless Prevention by San Jose taxpayers.

    $6.5 million in 2017 on Emergency Shelter by San Jose taxpayers

    Our San Jose tax dollars support about 100 programs throughout the city to help the homeless. These programs provide everything from food, clothes, laundry service, to housing assistance. If people in need can’t visit these centers, outreach programs can visit the encampment to get people off the streets and into a program.

    Glad to see support for our homeless veterans They are less than 1% of the homeless, according to the “2017 San Jose Point in Time Count” (a city study on homelessness).

  2. Tony Villar, father of two illegitimate children, admitted adulterer, four-time Bar Exam failure, established Mexico-firster, and graduate of an unaccredited law school, is pampered Sal’s pick for governor. Why? It certainly can’t be Villaraigosa’s atrocious record as mayor of Los Angeles. It might be, in part, due to Tony’s success in sabotaging the voter’s overwhelming endorsement of Prop. 187 (the denial of tax supported services to illegals), as Liccardo seems as eager to jump aboard the burro-drawn burrito bandwagon as he was to spread Black Lives Matter’s anti-police hate rhetoric. Lastly, maybe it has something to do with he and Gavin Newsome being two of a kind in a state whose tolerance for white males, even silver spoon bred pretty boys skilled in the arts of deceit and insincerity, is severely limited. Were I a betting man I’d put my money on option three. I think it’s a bitch move by a well-established bitch.

    • > Tony Villar, father of two illegitimate children, admitted adulterer, four-time Bar Exam failure, established Mexico-firster, and graduate of an unaccredited law school, is pampered Sal’s pick for governor.

      More evidence that we are sliding into kakistocracy.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakistocracy

      We may have to form a citizen’s posse and draft someone to run for mayor against Liccardo.

      I think the window for candidates to file for San Jose mayor opens today.

      PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!

      Anyone with ten thousand bucks to pay for a ballot statement, run down to the city clerks office NOW and file for mayor.

      The citizens of San Jose are extremely desperate and forgiving and will overlook any incidental flaws on your permanent record.

      PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!

      Civilization is at stake!

  3. “Liccardo said he believes Villaraigosa can help San Jose directly by bringing back redevelopment and affordable housing funds and creating a statewide housing trust”.

    Bad idea. As soon as SJ got out of the redevelopment business, private developers stepped in and finally got downtown moving. The public sector is still sitting on acres and acres of land (e.g. Santa Clara County) with no clear plan or a glacial pace toward development. Find other ways to pick up the pace for affordable housing creation. Leverage our tax dollars efficiently. More government intervention is not the answer.

  4. Sam and Tony Villar, please ensure all the folks moving into these thousands of new residences bring their own water supply. Our valley reservoirs are presently at 26% of capacity and we could well be embarking upon another long-term drought.

    Just a note, Monterey County requires a permit for water hookup in unincorporated areas. County government and those who control and provide the water know that uncontrolled growth cannot be sustained because of the deficient water supply. The County has a long waiting list of folks wanting to build and hook up to water… smart thinking!

  5. News stories say that Vermont House has 16 units. I see mailboxes numbered 1-16 in front of one of the two buildings. But in front of the second building are more mailboxes numbered 1-8. So maybe there are 24.

    • I can assure you it’s 16 units. I’d know. I built the place along with the best team of volunteers.

  6. Hardly a surprise on this endorsement, I would have bet money on it. One tax and spend liberal supporting another.

  7. We know for a certain whether or not Tony Villar is elected, or Gavin Newsome, or Sam Liccardo or any other Democrat. As part of the mass immigration and urbanization plan, they will all ensure that much more high density housing will be built, while not increasing already strained public resources accordingly (such as police, fire, and all other resources, including upgrades in critical physical infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, electric, traffic control, lighting, etc. etc. etc.).

    Despite the Democratic Party supposedly being “progressive”, they won’t enforce that these high density housing developments meet standards of sustainability, such as being solar powered in part (while also being on the grid), and/or actually being affordable. They won’t mandate, that more affordable housing will be built in concert with all the expensive housing.

    They’re pockets will be lined, and they will be greased by the wheels of industry, to ram these Google and Apple projects forward (up to 32,000 new jobs which on the surface seems great), before enough housing is built, causing a San Francisco like rent crisis (in an already absurdly expensive area).

    The result is that, the caliber of people who reside in the area, isn’t based on the “Character”, “Integrity”, “Honor”, or “Decency” of people, but how much money they have. This, along with all the forced immigration to the area (legal or illegal), and younger tech people, will result in the Democrats continuing to ensure that our political system is totally and continually subverted to pervasive “One Party” (Democrat) system.

    So no matter what your political persuasion or choices, you will be forced to live in a singular semi-authoritarian socialist autocracy, which is exactly what California has become. This results in a totally corrupt system, – an Anti-American, anti-Democratic, anti Consitutional Republic, where the political process and representative government is worthless and totally subverted in a criminal totalitarian/authoritarian fashion.

    If you are a Republican, or a Libertarian, or a Green Party member, or Peace and Freedom Party, etc., you have no vote. Your vote is worthless, because a Democrat will always win. If you are a moderate thinking rational Democrat and you decide that a candidate of another party is actually the best person to be your political representative, -sorry. If there is law that should be passed, and would
    benefit the majority of the people, but wasn’t authored by a Democrat, sorry.
    Your vote doesn’t matter. This is the state of our dysfunctional state. Welcome to California. You can’t afford to live here, and probably wouldn’t like it here anyway.

    • > If you are a Republican, or a Libertarian, or a Green Party member, or Peace and Freedom Party, etc., you have no vote. Your vote is worthless, because a Democrat will always win.

      One of the clever mechanisms that guarantees this outcome is the “top two primary” system, which makes the general election a two-way choice between the top two finishers in the primary election.

      In California, the top two finishers means two Democrats, which will inevitably be our “choice” in the November general election.

      There are clever ways the Dems can “game” the system so that two Democrats are the top two finishers in the primary. For example, they can flood the ballot with clueless “Republican” losers who will split the dwindling Republican vote, while using Democrat part “clout” to keep the number of Democrat candidates to just two.

      The “top two primary” system is a cynical, insidious scheme to PREVENT meaningful elections rather than support election alternatives that threaten the one-party monopoly.

  8. To Jean Morgan and Rosa Garcia, Louis Chicoine,
    I just wanted to forward you this pdf which contains evidence of some things that should be taken into immediate account. Irene Castillo and Jorge Caballos are BOTH causing emotional stress and Damage to our lives when my father has done nothing wrong to anyone over the 2 1/2 years living here at 460.s.10th st Apt#1. They’re both Guilty of Constructive eviction/And retaliatory actions. They DO NOT represent what Abode services attempts to advertise to public!
    Irene also took part in a harassment issue on April, 17th, 2018 Where BOTH her as well as landlord of property continued to harrass me over my parking space and allowed landlord to continuously bash and harrass and even threatened to call the cops on me if I did not remove my vehicle from my ASSIGNED parking because she “Did not want to get a ticket parking behind me as she blocked part of sidewalk” *All on Audio and video. *During Flooding of room caused by Water pipe outside breaking.

    I have been his live in aid at this address prior to the service provider transition on June 2 2018 As you can see in attachment there was NO issue with me being a live in aid as I have been approved and Abode services KNOWINGLY were providing services to a 2 bedroom to reasonably accommodate my father as he needs me to tend to his needs on a daily basis. In the welcome letter The ONLY document requested was Proof of Income from all residents. Which was provided and no further documentation was requested.
    On April, 17th 2018 Irene Castillo defended the acts of harrasment. And DID NOT represent a service provider For my father but as a friend of the landlord, as you can hear her clearly state “I am here for you” to the landlord.
    On May 2,2018 Approximately a full calendar year passes from June 2,2017 Transfer to Abode services as Service Provider, when there is a letter signed by Jorge Caballos (Change of eligibility effective June 30, 2018 Due to a change of family composition)
    This action is in direct retaliation from April,17th Date of harrasment.

    I write this not only as my fathers live in aid but as his son that has witnessed him through domestic violence tragedy as a victim, mental and physical exceptions and chronic homelessness over 8 years. I have witnessed a change in his habits as well as mental well being since I have volunteered as his live in aid, at his request. He diligently reads and lives by the word of god, goes to church every Sunday and continues to grow from his past.
    To hold someone accountable for their actions is understandable if it leads to eviction. But to make a very impactful decision on innocent people’s lives as Irene and Jorge did as a retaliatory action for Exercising your rights, it is VERY hurtful and VERY damaging as it comes from a very unjust and abusive ideology.
    We want to appeal the decision for Eligibility. And want to also ask for compensation to personal property damage from Flooding caused by property.
    ***I am also requesting the apprehension of Jorge Caballos and Irene Castillo as they have shown the characteristics that are contrary to what Abode services advertises as helping families with the needs as my father has had and continues to have! Thank you.

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