San Jose Mayor Coasts to Re-Election; Evergreen Housing Developers Slide Toward Defeat

Sam Liccardo celebrated two wins in one night—his re-election and a successful campaign against “greedy billionaires” who want to place housing on lands in Evergreen that the city has earmarked for industrial development.

Jubilant Liccardo supporters enjoyed fried shrimp and jalapeno poppers at Mezcal Oaxacan restaurant in downtown San Jose as the mayor coasted to an easy second term victory. Without a strong opponent, Liccardo spent his time and money campaigning against Measure B, which would have undermined the city’s anti-sprawl policies.

With 74 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday morning, nearly 55 percent of voters rejected Measure B despite the several millions of dollars that went into backing it and proponents’ aggressive push to frame it as a solution to the city’s housing crisis. Measure C, a counter-initiative penned by the city, hovered around 59 percent approval with 26 percent of ballots yet to be counted.

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

We couldn’t find any a pro-Measure B party, so we rang up Carl Berg, the billionaire whose lands are ground zero for the development squabble.

“I sold the property,” Berg told us. “When I sell something, I don’t think about it.

As for Measure B, “I really haven’t paid any attention to it.”

The 80-year-old developer and venture capitalist spends his time and money these days funding anti-cancer drugs developed by Massachusetts-based Berg LLC. He was happy to discuss the company.

“We have a drug that has an effect on pancreatic cancer” with “no side effects” and “no toxicity,” he explained. The company plans to seek FDA approval for treatment of 18 other types of cancer.

We ran into former mayor Tom McEnery, an early show to the Liccardo lovefest. McEnery complained that Fly never writes anything mean about him anymore. But then again, the night was still young. So young in fact that only a bowl of steamed vegetables had been placed on Mezcal’s linen covered tables.

Chamber veep (oops, we mean “The” Silicon Valley Organization) and former San Jose Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen wistfully recalled her bashes of years past, with snow cones and margaritas and 300-person crowds.

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The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

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