District 4 Special Election Forum Open to All Candidates

All nine candidates vying for San Jose’s District 4 council seat will have a chance to speak at a forum Monday. Organizers originally planned to limit the panel to the top five fundraisers, but opened it up to all active candidates after some pushback.

Tim Orozco, a policy aide for state Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-San Jose), got off to a late start in the race and ended the latest fundraising reporting period in sixth place with $16,471 in donations. Leaders of the Berryessa-North San Jose Democratic Club weren’t too happy with Orozco being bumped from the forum, so they dropped out as a sponsor of the event, according to event planners. A decision was then made to include all candidates.

The two-and-a-half-hour forum is sponsored by the Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council, Berryessa Business Association and the Berryessa Milpitas Republican Assembly.

Members of the sponsoring organizations can submit questions for candidates to moderator Margaret Jackson, host of Money 2.0 Business on the Edge on AM 1220 KDOW. The aspiring electeds will each get a two-minute intro, a 90-second response and a 90-second closing statement.

“This race is very competitive,” Berryessa Citizens Advisory Council President Ty Greaves said. “There’s a lot of interest, given the composition of the [City Council] right now, particularly with regard to pension issues and fiscal reform. Whoever is elected could swing a balance. … So, this has a lot of importance to people across the city.”

The north San Jose council seat opened up when Kansen Chu was elected to the 25th Assembly District last fall. Mayor Sam Liccardo and the council appointed longtime Berryessa resident and former Councilwoman Margie Matthews until voters elect a permanent replacement.

A diverse set of contenders put their name in the running: Orozco, a state legislative aide; public interest attorney Lan Diep; retired realtor Bob Dhillon; media exec Manh Nguyen; school trustee Rudy Nasol; San Jose police officer Khoa Nguyen; retired educator Thelma Boac; former Wells Fargo executive Alex Torres and energy consultant Johnny Lee.

Greaves says he plans to have the forum recorded and will post it online at www.bcacsj.com.

The special election takes place April 7, with mail-in ballots going out next week. Unless someone receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top-two finishers will compete again in a June 23 runoff.

WHAT: District 4 candidate forum
6pm Monday
WHERE: Berryessa Community Center, 3050 Berryessa Road, San Jose
INFO: Ty Greaves, 408.929.2010 or [email protected].

Correction: A previous version of this article failed to include D4 candidate Alex Torres.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. I am sure the crybaby Tim Orozco had to get his way. He can’t get the job done ‘cuz he can’t handle the pressure.

    • Katie – it seems like you have the inside scoop on this guy. I’ve never heard of him, yet he pops up out of nowhere (and has the backing of the local Democratic Party). After reading his website, I don’t see that he has ever had a real job. Is he a wannabe career politician? His endorsement list reads like a who’s who of local Democratic party hacks. Still trying to decide for whom I will vote (and wish we had a credible Latino running), but I think I will cross Mr. Orozco off my list of possibilities.

  2. Corrections– Rudy Nasol is a former Berryessa Union School District Trustee, not having served for several years now.
    Khoa Nguyen is a current Berryessa Union School District Trustee and Berryessa resident but he is a police officer in the city of Richmond, not San Jose.

      • I know him very well. He is a police officer in Richmond, not San Jose. If he was with the SJPD and won that would be a conflict of interest. He did graduate from the Police Academy at San Jose’s Evergreen College (as well as a BA at age 20 and an MA at age 22) from SJSU.

  3. Why are not all the names of all candidates listed? Not a fairly written article (and undemocratic) if some candidate names are not listed as well.

  4. > All eight candidates vying for San Jose’s District 4 council seat will have a chance to speak at a forum Monday. Organizers originally planned to limit the panel to the top five fundraisers, but opened it up to all active candidates after some pushback.

    Somehow, the public has been conditioned to believe that an election has to be a “horse race” between two candidates, and the sooner we can get rid of “the minor candidates who don’t have a chance” the sooner we can get onto the real “narrative”.

    The reality is that this means that the powers that be already know what the “narrative” ought to be, and so they hastily push any candidate with “new ideas” off the stage.

    This is the same behavior that is at work in national races as well. The powers that be are anxious to fill in the “two candidate template” and to hell with any novel or unconventional issues.

    If I were King, I would decree that the election cycle should begin with candidate debates or forums limited to three candidates. If there are more than three candidates, have multiple forums with different sets of three candidates.

    Think of a “playoff” system, of maybe a “play in” system.

    If Jeb Bush has to share a stage with Rand Paul and Sarah Palin, we will learn something.
    If Hillary Clinton has to share a stage with Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, we will DEFINITELY learn something.

    Cattle call forums or debates with eight candidates on the stage or useless and ridiculous. Candidates are unable to meaningfully present issues and solutions and can only hope to offer up a memorable zinger that gets mentioned in the newspaper.

  5. Here is a correct list showing names of all candidates running for District 4 (article omits some names):
    Thelma Boac
    Allen Ming Chui
    Bob Dhillion
    Lam Diep
    Johnny Lee
    Rudy Nasol
    Manh Nguyen
    Rhoa Ngyuen
    Tim Orozco
    Alex Torres
    Hopefully they all show up at Monday’s forum.

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