City Council to Interview D4 Nominees for Appointment

UPDATE 2: Margie Matthews received the District 4 appointment by a 6-0 vote. Pierluigi Oliverio abstained after having his questions cut short. He voiced concerns that the process was being rushed.

UPDATE: Council members Ash Kalra, Don Rocha and Xavier Campos—elected officials for districts 2, 9 and 5, respectively—did not show up to Friday's special meeting. A City Hall staffer told San Jose Inside, they're either "very late to the meeting or boycotting" the appointment process. The council can conduct interviews and take a vote with just seven council members present, but the appointment still requires six votes.

Rocha was seen leaving City Hall shortly before the meeting with some of his staffers carrying what looked to be Christmas presents, a source said. Campos was spotted in the City Hall basement garage minutes before the meeting.

Calls and text messages to Kalra and Rocha were not immediately returned.

Almost all people at City Hall can talk about Friday is "The Interview," but it has nothing to do with catty Sony execs, sensitive North Korean dictators or a movie that looks terrible on its face.

No, the clamor today centers around the City Council's special meeting, which will focus on appointing a new representative for the District 4 seat. The meeting begins at 1:30pm.

Of the five nominees hoping to succeed Kansen Chu, who left the seat vacant with his State Assembly victory in November, former council member Margie Matthews has been tabbed as the frontrunner. Mayor Chuck Reed and Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo authored a joint memo recommending her appointment. Other nominees include: Bob Dhillon, David Hernandez, Robyn Shearin and Jacqueine Bates. All five are expected to be interviewed by council members from the dais, based on instructions given at Tuesday's council meeting.

Council members Ash Kalra and Don Rocha have objected to the process, calling it rushed and a power grab by the incoming mayor. With only 10 elected officials on the dais, a winning nominee would need six votes.

City Clerk Toni Taber told San Jose Inside that the plan is to hold the meeting similar to how appointments are made to the planning commission. Each interview for such a position generally lasts about 15 minutes, she said.

Taber has prepared an electronic ballot so the public can see how each council member votes, but it is possible this process could be skirted. A council member could make a motion for a vote to appoint a certain individual, but this might be an imprudent step considering the opposition several council members have to the process to start.

"I doubt that they won't interview," Taber said, adding that nominees were invited to attend so they could answer questions from the council.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. Councilmember Oliverio won the hearts and souls of all those who cherish our great democracy during yesterday’s “staged” Council meeting to chose Margie Matthews as interim representative for D4.

    The “Interview” was riddled with unfairness and “un-American activities.” First to be interviewed was Mr. Dhillon. Councilmember Oliverio began the interview with a litany of fair and well constructed questions. About an Hour and ten minutes into the session Mayor Reed interjected as to the duration of the questioning period. Mayor Reed then orchestrated a vote to “shackle” Councilmember Oliverio’s “free-speech.” From that point the entire process was tainted. The City Attorney was called upon to give advice as to procedure especially in the area of Council, voting 2/3 majority could limit Councilmember Oliverio’s speech and they did so.

    However, it was apparent to anyone in attendance that neither; Mayor Reed, Vice-Mayor Nguyen, Council members Herrera, Khamis and Liccardo had any original and or relevant questions to put forward to the interviewees. They al ended up yielding thee majority of their allocated time back to Councilmember Oliverio-who kept reminding thee assemblage that this appointment process should have been deferred to January.

    At some point in the meeting, Councilmember Herrera bellowed that she would not be voting for anyone planning to run for D4. This position was well stated on many occasions before yesterday’s farcical side-show but, it knocked Mr. Dhillon from being considered reducing the interviewee pool down to just two.

    It was a sad spectacle to view Mayor Reed, Vice-Mayor Nguyen and Councilmember Constant as artists painting their own respective portraits of Dorian Grey. Here, the effects of their political debauchery and or treachery were not captured or revealed on canvass but, on their respective faces. The boils, lesions and the purulent matter that continued to spew from the sores from participating in a “staged vote” dripped profusely upon the Dais. My condolences to the custodial staff.

    As to “Slippery Sam,” Council members Herrera and Khamis-who will be in our midst until they are either term-out or booted by the voters in the next election cycle their participation will be chronicled “time and time again” through the remaining years that they are in office. They are not to be trusted. They were willing participants in a “staged vote.”

    Councilmember Oliverio was absolutely “spot-on” and I sincerely give thanks to his service (except for his position on the Fire Department).

    In my twenty-five years of attending city council meetings and or council committee meetings, I have never witnessed a blatant assault on our democracy than was witnessed yesterday.

    The process should have been deferred to January to allow for more candidates. It wasn’t and the result is now for the ages.

    David S. Wall

  2. When Ed Lee was appointed interim mayor of SF he pledged not to run for re-election. We all know how long that lasted.

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