County supervisor candidate and labor organizer Cindy Chavez has not always been the most enthusiastic fan of San Jose Inside and Metro‘s coverage of local politics. In fact, she was so perturbed by a report in March about the political activities of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, of which she was a board member, that she suggested a lawsuit.
On March 19, Chris Wilder, CEO of the VMC Foundation, sent a letter to Metro demanding a retraction, after an article reported that funds from the Health Foundation and VMC Foundation laundered through a Measure A campaign committee wound up in the hands of South Bay Labor Council consultants and campaign funds that concurrently managed other candidates and campaigns. There was no retraction.
Wilder then had eight other local nonprofit foundation executives sign on to a letter stating that Metro and San Jose Inside’s reporting was “bad for free speech.” They made no mention of Kathleen King and the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, which has now clearly been exposed as a political entity working hand in hand with Chavez, the tax-exempt pseudo-think thank Working Partnerships USA and the South Bay Labor Council.
In an email to some of his board members, Wilder says he wrote the letter to Metro “reluctantly,” at the urging of Mercury News reporter Tracy Seipel. If he didn’t send the letter, Seipel allegedly told Wilder, the story would not “die a quick death,” Wilder wrote.
It appears Wilder then forwarded the email to Chavez, adding: “I have nothing better to do.”
A day later, Cindy Chavez—not noted as a recipient in the earlier email—replied to Wilder and King: “Let’s sue them.”
While the Health Foundation would later sue the county to keep Metro and San Jose Inside from obtaining internal emails, board minutes and agendas through a Public Records Act request, Chavez and the foundation have yet to follow through on her above mentioned suggestion to litigate against Metro.
Less than a month after those emails, on April 12, Chavez sent a brief email to Health Foundation chair Dana Ditmore, King and Wilder stating: “I am resigning from the board in order to run for the Board of Supervisors. Keep up the amazing work!”
When King asked Chavez in a reply message if she would like to “write up something short and sweet (a little longer than your earlier message) to send out to the full board,” Chavez replied: “No but thanks.”
Chavez’s departure from the Health Foundation board is now reflected on the organization’s website.