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Pat Waite addresses ‘Recall Nguyen’ Rally

In a video that was circulated among City Hall insiders last week, then-District 8 Council Candidate Pat Waite can be seen addressing a rally in favor of the recall effort against District 7 Councilmember Madison Nguyen. Word of the appearance set off a storm of controversy, and Waite immediately began to backtrack. He sent an email to Nguyen in which he performed a verbal tap-dance to explain that the “rumor” of his support for the recall was untrue. On the video, Waite says, “I look forward to working with you on the recall.” In his note to Nguyen, Waite insisted that was not an indication of support. Nor this: “What you’ve proven to me is that our democratic process works, and that we can make it listen to us. Because it was not listening to you and you stood up and said, ‘No, I will not tolerate this,’ and 5,181 signatures later, we’re all here, and you’re going to get your recall election, and that’s fantastic.” Councilmember Pete Constant, a Waite supporter who happens to be adamantly opposed to the recall, says he believes Waite’s version of events. “I’m taking him at his word,” Constant says, sounding more generous than credulous. “As a person who frequently has to speak in public, I know that sometimes what comes out of my mouth is not what I meant.”

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. 2 – I guess it doesn’t bother you that this is an abuse of the recall option? Simple disagreement is hardly grounds to recall an elected. Saying this decision is up to the voters of D7 is also part of the problem. Decisions that affect the entire city are made on what is supposedly best for one district. This affects the entire city both from a cost perspective—the money doesn’t just come from D7, and from fixing a dysfunctional part of our city. If we rely on the same district that caused the problem to fix it, the chances appear slim that a good remedy will be achieved.
    This is an expensive and unnecessary exercise.

  2. That reminds me of the Freudian slip joke, “So was having dinner at my mother’s house and I asked her to pass the salt. But what came out was ‘You $(%*ing $&#*(, you ruined my life!’”

    It is the internet age, and words . . . um . . . mean things. This will be held against Pat. Pete Constant may have his political reasons to publicly believe Pat’s weasel words, but I don’t.

  3. The entire closing statement was “I look forward to working with you on the recall ELECTION.” I chose those words very carefully.

    The recall proponents would like to keep the cost of the process as low as possible by combining the recall election with a replacement election, similar to what was done when Gray Davis was recalled. Doing so can save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. They asked me to help with their efforts to minimize the costs to the city, and I agreed to do so. Given the state of our city’s budget, I believe that is prudent.

    I have been consistent in my support of the recall team’s right to exercise our democratic process. I have also been consistent in my belief that the ultimate decision is up to the voters of District 7.

    Especially in these difficult economic times, our government should do everything possible to minimize costs. The recall election is a given,we should work to prosecute the process in a cost efficient manner.

  4. Pat,
    This is the third time I’ve seen you try to weasel your way out of owning up to and taking responsibility for something you’ve said while blogging and/or campaigning. I find the way you have continually tried to mislead this group of people, and now us appalling. I guess Pete Constant hasn’t read what you said about him on another blog because if he had I don’t think he’d be sticking up for you on this one.
    We’re lucky voters were wise enough to see through your inability to take a stand on ANYTHING and see it through.

  5. Mr. Waite in his mercifully short speech decries the influence of “special interests”.  Are not those promoting the recall in D7 a special interest?  A special interest need not be some monied, lobbyist-paying group.  It is any group that promotes a single interest as the determining factor in a vote or an election.

  6. #7 JMO

    You have it absolutely 100% correct. The Recall Madison campaign has got to be the Platonic ‘Shadow-in-a-Cave’ definition of Special Interest Group. It is absolutely a one-issue political movement, seeking to recall an official over a single, legal, activity.

    You have cornered Mr. Waite into a perfect check-mate contradiction.