Sergio Lopez is Poised to Become Campbell’s Youngest City Council Member Since Evan Low

If the remaining votes continue trending in his favor, 25-year-old political strategist Sergio Lopez will become the youngest person to serve on the Campbell City Council since now-Assemblyman Evan Low, who was 23 when elected in 2006.

Lopez, who ran against businesswoman and Civic Improvement Commissioner Carol Hoffman, leads by 205 votes for the District 2 seat, which represents the northeastern part of the city. “I feel great,” he said in a phone call.  “We maintained a strong and steady lead and it’s clear that there’s a mandate for decisive action on supporting our small businesses and addressing our housing crisis in Campbell.”

Since Low left office in 2014 to pursue a seat in the state legislature, the Campbell council has been made up of white, older adults who tend to favor more conservative ideas.

The small South Bay city of 43,250 residents has a vibrant small business community and neighborhoods that largely consist of single-family homes.In in recent years, the town’s elected officials have erred on the side of slow growth and resisted policies that some state lawmakers argue would help California out of its housing crisis.

In July, the council’s legislative subcommittee—composed of Vice Mayor Liz Gibbons and Councilwoman Anne Bybee—opted to formally oppose Senate Bill 1120. Had it passed, the proposed law would have allowed Campbell to upzone single-family neighborhoods to make way for duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes.

Should Lopez retain his lead, the longtime Campbell resident—who called the bill “one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to build up our housing stock”—would be the council’s sole progressive, pro-housing-density voice.

The son of two immigrant parents from Mexico, Lopez was drawn to politics after his family lost their business and home in the 2008 financial crash. “I started reading every book or magazine article I could get my hands on about what had happened to us,” he said. “I realized we were a part of much larger forces and policy issues.”

As a high school student, Lopez got involved in local politics and started speaking out on issues important to him. “Policymakers would actually listen to that, and I found I could have a voice in my community,” he said.

After graduating from Yale University, Lopez returned to California, where he became a small business owner and an active participant in the local Democratic party. He also serves on the Campbell Historical Museum Foundation board.

Once he’s sworn into office in January, Lopez plans to focus on supporting other small businesses, the economic recovery related to the Covid-19 pandemic and incentivizing affordable housing in Campbell.

“Our small businesses are struggling and our housing crisis is only getting worse,” he said. “I’m ready to get to work on these issues. I ran because I knew I was ready to do the job. ... I had a story and perspective and skills that were missing from the discussion and I can raise up the voices of many communities being left out.”

While on the campaign trail, Lopez said he built a diverse coalition, including seniors, community college students and Republicans. And although he may be the D2 representative, he said he plans to work for all Campbell residents.

“There is so much more we can do to be inclusive,” Lopez said.

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

8 Comments

  1. I have begged Ms. Houghton to leave my kids alone. It falls on deaf ears.

    People do to others what was done to them. I hypothesize that someone did that to her when she was a child.

    Now Valerie holds that power over other children and takes out her aggression on other adults.

  2. She sex trafficked my kids twice.

    Ms. Houghton could argue that the second time was retaliation for complaining, but she could have done that a million other ways. That behavior is ingrained.

    How many victims are there in total?

  3. I’m curious as to how much time and space SJI gave to the candidate running against Lopez.

    Just running his name in SJI’s search function shows Lopez has some kind of clout here at our magazine.

    It’s my understanding that Campbell’s council is a collection of long term residents who actually want to make their city a better place.

    You don’t see them using their position as a springboard to get into the corruption that is Sacramento.

    What good works did Evan Low create that made our sleepy little town better than when he arrived?

    Will Lopez still be around leading our city in a decade?

  4. William Ashbless – SJI gave equal attention to both candidates. If you look closely at the coverage you referenced, you will see that SJI did an initial story on the race Lopez was in, and his opponent Carol Hoffman declined to be interviewed. Sometime later she apparently changed her mind, and SJI did an additional article specifically focusing on her. Lopez wrote a number of editorials for this site to promote his candidacy as well, and I’m sure SJI would have published any reasonably written editorials by Hoffman for the same purpose.

    As a third-generation Campbell resident, I was proud to support Lopez’s candidacy. I grew up here and started my career as a teacher here, but our housing crisis is so severe that I may never be able to buy a home in Campbell. I see one person on the forums here at SJI frequently tell people who complain about the cost of housing, “If you can’t afford to live here, then leave” – but I don’t think we will be a strong community if we see our teachers and service workers leave, nor will we be a moral community. As it is, economic forces have concentrated much of our jobs in this urban area, which is why people so often find housing in cities like Hollister and jobs in Santa Clara County, rather than living and working in Hollister. To make a long story short, our housing crisis largely derives from interference with market forces – there is simply not enough housing because city councils have not allowed housing to be built. My grandfather often talks about how he remembers when Campbell was nothing but orchards, and I can’t think but how lucky that first generation of residents that got to buy those newly-developed homes were. Now, many of those same residents – or those affluent enough to purchase their homes from them – block the very developments that would allow the next generation of Campbell residents the same opportunity at home ownership that they once held. I was proud to support Sergio Lopez because he is a young person who I think understands this issue, and has used his voice as a candidate (thanks to SJI’s willingness to run his editorials) to speak out on the importance of housing legislation like SB50. I think Lopez absolutely does want to make Campbell a better place.

  5. > Now, many of those same residents – or those affluent enough to purchase their homes from them – block the very developments that would allow the next generation of Campbell residents the same opportunity at home ownership that they once held.

    Maybe the first generation residents value what they had then, and have now, and don’t want to triple and quadruple the density of Campbell, enable every economic refugee on the globe to live there, and turn it into Calcutta.

    Would you like to see Ilhan Omar invite a hundred thousand Somali refugees into Campbell, and demand Sharia Law and defunding the police?

    Communities can protect their culture, their character, and their ethos.

  6. Why do you people always do the dumb thing?

    What does some 25 year old know about anything?

    Keep electing the wrong people and watch the problems get worse.

    It seems the Bay Area can’t help but demonstrate all the shortcomings of democracy.

    Well, you’ll see.

  7. Anon Campbell resident-

    Nice try. It’s very clear that Lopez had far more access to SJI than his opponent.

    SJI allows for content from contributors that is openly racist. Yet, it’s not a big deal.

    Could it be that racist views from one side of the spectrum are okay with them?

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