Amy Dean

The Redemption of Cindy Chavez

Cindy Chavez, center, poses for photos with supporters and volunteers after first poll results showed her in the lead for the county supervisorÕs election Tuesday.

In what may turn out to be one of the most expensive races ever for a local county office, Cindy Chavez has captured the District 2 Supervisor seat held by her disgraced former ally, George Shirakawa, Jr. The victory places the largest county government in the global home of leading edge technology—from Teslas to Google Glass—firmly in the hands of an old-fashioned political machine; a classic one that delivers votes, wins elections, rewards its followers and dispenses benefits. Over the next two years, the board will vote on billions of dollars in employee compensation contracts—the county spends $3 billion a year on salaries, benefits and pensions—for the members of the unions who returned the former San Jose city official to public office.

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The Once and Future San Jose

High above, I looked down on a sea of deep blue. With my last few frenetic days back in Cambridge, Mass., done, I was a minute or so away from touching down at Mineta. It was Saturday, May 26, and only at that point did I make the connection that the mass of indigo I was witnessing was Bellarmine’s graduation ceremony, where five years earlier I had proudly walked across that stage. The San Jose I’ve came home to, however, seems remarkably different from the San Jose I remember leaving.

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