Drama Averted in D6: Chapman Agrees to Take Part in San Jose Council Candidate Forums

San Jose City Council candidate Helen Chapman will take part in a series of political forums this fall, after threatening last week to pull out over the District 6 incumbent’s role in organizing the events.

Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, who terms out at the end of this year, invited Chapman and her opponent, Dev Davis, to three candidate forums this fall. In a scathing email, Chapman questioned Oliverio’s use of city resources to facilitate the events.

“I cannot participate in these forums should we not be able to establish strong nonpartisan and unbiased management over these forums,” she wrote in an email to Oliverio, which she shared with several local journalists.

Chapman said she was also surprised that the incumbent didn’t contact her campaign about her availability before booking the three dates. She then asked that his staff to recuse itself from moderating or picking questions for the events.

“I believe my opponent would agree that impartiality is important when city resources are used in city affairs, especially elections and/or politics,” Chapman wrote.

Davis, however, had no qualms with Oliverio organizing the events.

“As candidates, we have a responsibility to allow residents every opportunity to get to know us and how we stand on the issues,” Davis wrote in an email to Julia Baum, the Mercury News reporter who moderated one of the candidate events leading up to June’s primary election. “I am grateful for these planned forums, and I’m looking forward to participating.”

Oliverio reassured Chapman that moderating journalists, which will include San Jose Inside’s Josh Koehn, will have complete control over which questions, submitted by D6 residents, are relayed to candidates during the forum. The venues, he added, will be provided free of charge. And the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters will offer on-site voter registration.

“Thank you for following up,” Chapman replied. “I am encouraged by your clarifications. … With your assurance of impartiality, I look forward to participating.”

Oliverio raised the hackles of some primary candidates over a “voter information transparency project,” in which he asked candidates in the primary to share how they would vote on real issues coming before the council. He also staged a series of forums, similar to the ones set for Sept. 14, 26 and Oct. 17. Chapman participated in the forums, but not the incumbent’s “transparency project.”

To watch videos of the past three forums, click here. Candidate responses to the transparency project are available here.

Chapman and Davis finished ahead of six other candidates in June, securing their place in the fall runoff. It will mark the first time two women will square off for the D6 seat.

Davis, a Stanford University researcher, garnered the most votes June 7. Chapman, a former parks commissioner and San Jose Unified School District researcher, finished a close second.

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

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


  1. I hope Chapman wins. I don’t know Dev, but I know when my Guardian Angels chapter was doing out “Help homeless women” campaign, Chapman went out and bought us 2 grocery bags full of feminine Hygiene products to hand out along with clean socks and other items for the homeless. Good lady.

    • Mr. Cortese you say you don’t know her. I think you are saying that you have never sat down and talked with her. However, if you read her stances and who she is supported by I think you and I both know who she is.

      She is supported by the the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce (aka big developers and real estate), Liccardo, Reed and Constant. Her answer to public safety in San Jose is hiring more CSOs (which is already been done) and rely on crime predicting technology.

      Mr. Cortese now you know a little bit more about her. Thank you for sharing your experience with Chapman. That is good to know.

  2. Read the Mercury Article and Oliverio only mention two neighborhoods in the article. They were Willow Glen and the Rose Garden neighborhoods. Guess these two neighborhoods are the only ones with clout in that district. I also hope Chapman wins because she understands neighborhoods and the needs of the residents. Unfortunately, this article listed Josh as a journalist. He should not be allowed near this forum. Just lost respect for Oliverio for inviting him. I feel Oliverio and Josh will be setting up Chapman.

  3. Dev Davis’s solution to the police department’s staffing crisis can be boiled down to this: more community services officers. This position, which mirrors those of both Liccardo and Oliverio, is an inexcusable fraud, one intended to shield these incumbents from their significant roles in ruining this city’s police department. “CSO’s” is what one mutters when citizens complain they can’t get a cop; it’s what Liccardo talks about whenever anyone asks what happened to his promises of rebuilding the department through big hires; and now it’s what a jackass of a candidate talks about as a short term solution to the public safety crisis.

    On her website she shares her impressive grasp of the issue by acknowledging that “recruiting, identifying, and training new officers takes time,” apparently blissfully unaware that San Jose has had plenty of time — WITHOUT RESULTS. She’s also envisioning CSO’s doing preventive patrol in “property crime hot spots” — demonstrating the depth of her cluelessness about both how cops catch burglars and what it is CSO’s should and should not do. This is ignorance of the dangerous variety, something our mayor has already provided in generous proportions.

    I don’t know anything about the other candidate (I can only hope she’s not just another well-groomed idiot), but Dev Davis has made it very clear that what she offers is simply more of the same, in a city that cannot afford that.

  4. Dev Davis is Chuck Reed’s illegitimate daughter, Skelletorette. Yes, ad hominem attacks are the only worthwhile comment when lamenting the possibility of that wolf trying to get a job in the hen house of Willow Glen and the Rose Garden

  5. Even though I don’t live in her district, Helen is my pick. She really knows D6, and the City of San Jose. I have been working with her for years. She has been serving this City for decades. She honest, and integrity ridden.

  6. Bizarre behavior from Helen. It was a bad move for her to ever threaten not to participate, especially after participating in the primary, and the way she agreed to participate as soon as Oliverio said “yeah, it’s going to be impartial” made her seem pretty capricious. Was the whole point of her taking such a dramatic stand simply to get Oliverio to say publicly that the forums would be impartial, a promise he has already made in the past? Either she can’t think one or two steps ahead, or this was a calculated decision to brand herself as the anti-incumbent candidate.

  7. I hope D 6 voters compare the experience and accomplishments of both candidates. They will quickly determine Helen is by far the superior choice.

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