The Process For Replacing Terry Gregory

Now that Terry Gregory’s resignation is a fait accompli, San Joseans may breath a collective sigh of relief representing one long, drawn out victory for good government. Former Mayor Tom McEnery first made the call for a censure investigation publicly last Fall. I followed his lead by making a formal request of the council to open a censure investigation—it died for a lack of support. Now, several months later, with the investigation finally completed, it has ended in a resignation. But resignation is just the “end of the beginning” of the Gregory saga. The council must now put into play the process for selecting his replacement. So don’t relax just yet. In fact the code word for good government advocates should be BEWARE. Let me explain.

The city charter says:
“…the Council shall either fill the vacancy by appointment by a majority of its remaining members, or call an election for the purpose of filling such vacancy.”

This vacancy should and must be filled by an election. The council majority, as most outside observers are aware, is a strict voting block. No voting block (especially one which pledges strict allegiance to an outside interest) should be allowed to handpick elected officials. To allow any council voting block to railroad such a process would be to extend its leverage well beyond the limits of good government. So again, BEWARE. Any movement in the direction of a quick appointment should be met with a huge public outcry. That may well be the only thing that will stop it.

Dave Cortese is a San Jose City Council Member representing District 8.


  1. I disagree. 

    First, the cost of a new election is too much.  Second, Terry Gregory was an alleged member of the “block” in which you speak, so they would not be “extending” their leverage.  The status quo on issues would be maintained.

    Even if an opposing person were elected or selected it would not change the dynamics,  as all contested issues currently are voted 7-3.  A 6-4 Council would not change the outcome.

    District 7 chose Gregory, knowing which “block” he supported. 

    Since an election would not change the policy or dynamics of the Council.  The most important factor involved should be the cost of an election.

    An election would only serve to allow a pre-Mayoral contest to move forward, at the expense of the taxpayers.

    The Council should appoint a qualified person and that person should stand for election at the earliest opportunity in the normal rotation of elections.

    The problem is that no one wants to be seen as “undemocratic”, so it would take an act of courage and fiscal responsibility to advocate for an appointment.  It would also be the right thing to do for the taxpayers of the City.

    Every bad decision at City Hall costs the taxpayers more money.  Let’s end that trend.

  2. I agree.
    And I disagree with Rich Robinson.
    The cost of the election is a non-issue. It would be small compared to the the dollars already spent on other projects…and the voters of District 7 should be allowed to choose their own Councilmember.  That’s democracy.
    Regarding which “block” Gregory was a part of… things change. The voters of District 7 may no longer wish to have a representative who is a part of that “block”.  Given the events at City Hall this past year it’s possible that District 7 voters may wish to be respresented by a different “block” on the Council.

  3. I agree with Dave Cortese.  The council has been badly bloodied.  Its selection would be certain to be questioned.  The position must be filled by an election.

  4. Why is everyone scared to mention the name of the “block?”  It is important to break the partisan power of the Labor Council in a non-partisan office.  It is obvious that the majority of the city council are all beholden to Labor and will do their bidding.  There must be an election to try to break the cycle.


  5. I doubt that many constituents in Gregory’s district were aware of his intentions to vote as part of the labor block that controls our council.  It certainly would not be something he would proclaim in his campaign mailers.  Therefore it is not much of an argument to support an “appointment” over an “election”…and the cost factor is not any better.. the city could that away in seconds. 
    If mr. Robinson wants the council to replace Gregory with someone similar to what the voters voted for, have him go down to Elmwood; the place is crawling with potential candidates.

  6. I agree.  With the continuing ethics violations and illegal activities that have been uncovered within the San Jose political arena, let the people talk.  If a regular election is too costly, have a mail-in vote.

  7. We live in a democratic republic with a representative form of government the people living in district 7 deserve the right to choose there person to represent them on the City Council.

  8. I also agree with Dave Cortese. Let Disrict 7 Vote for Grepory’s replacement. With 2 years remaining on this term, it is very important that we take the time (and money) to allow the citizens to vote for the right person.

  9. If anyone should choose a new council member, it should be the residents that the new official would be serving.

    Given the events as of late that have occurred on the Mayor’s watch, I shudder to think how an “appointment” might go down!

  10. I am a resident of District 7 and I would like to see District 7 and 8 merged for the remainding two years of the current council term.  The two districts border each other and have several projects spearheaded by the West Evergreen SNI NAC that have been joint efforts between both districts.  But I specifically would like to merge because I have personally seen that Dave Cortese is an intensely active council member that is consistently present and involved with events/meetings/efforts that are important to his constituents.  District 7 is in dire need of such representation.

  11. I’m with Mr. Cortese on this one. The voice of the people has to be better than the voice of a bias council politic. Even if the result were the same at least a political minority serving their own interests would not be the deciding factor. That arrangement hardly ever serves or repesents the people.

  12. I agree with Dave Cortese.  There should be an election.  The government is to be “of the people, for the people and by the people”.  Let the people of district 7 vote for the person that they want to represent them.  Anything less than this would be a travesty.

  13. The same process that put Mr. Gregory in office should put in his replacement….

    As for worrying about the money.  Consider the savings in legal fees we already have by Mr. Gregory making his plea bargain.

    Let’s get the vote going SOON!

  14. I support a special election because:

    1) Voters need to have a say in the matter; an appointment would void our

    2) Despite the cost of an election, this is the right thing to do;

    3) We have just come through a process of having a corrupt councilman represent us; an election would reduce any possibility of taint to an appointee.

  15. I think that an election is warranted.
    When a politician appoints, they usually choose
    a lap dog. A campaign, with competing candidates will likely result in someone who
    represents the electorate, as opposed to
    someone who represents the Mayor.

  16. I, too, strongly support an election to replace Gregory.

    Gregory was corrupt and left office under threat of imprisonment. We need a fresh start in filling his seat, and the only way to do that is by election.

    Any appointed councilmember will have to face being viewed, right or wrong, as beholden to certain individuals or groups.

    The best way to avoid any further appearances of conflict is to hold an election for the seat.

    Sure, it’ll cost money, but money is not the most important thing here. What’s most important is the integrity of the District 7 council seat.

  17. I have to disagree with Councilmember Cortese. First of all, San Jose is already in a deficit. Having a special election will cost hundreds of thousands, and for what. Most of the people in district 7 will not vote, or are not registered to vote. I do think they should have a say in who is appointed though, but not an election. It becomes a popularity contest and “Lets see who can spend more $$$ on campaigning.” Instead of spending all the money on that, how about re-investing that money into the district or better yet, into our schools.

    I was so sad to see Councilman Gregory resign. Even with all his allegations and faults, he was still a good man and supporter. He was just 1 who got caught. What about the rest. I recall an article about Mayor Ron Gonzales that said he went golfing at exclusive clubs and didn’t pay for himself. What happened to him? When caught, he said I didn’t know it was that much and sent a check to cover it up and it was dropped. Why no investigation? Just a thought.

    Good Luck District 7.

  18. Gregory was elected and anyone that replaces him should also be elected.  It is only one district that will be voting on the candidates so maybe the costs can be kept down by allowing district 7 to form a volunteer committee to manage the special election.  The city could “oversee” the process instead of running it, and then verify the results.  Just a thought.  Another possibility might be to have all of the candidates contribute to the cost of the special election.  Regardless, the replacement person should be elected to office.

  19. I strongly support an election. As regards the cost, consider it the cost of democracy and the cost of voting a crook into power in the first place.

    – Arvind

  20. I agree with Mr. Cortese to have an election to replace Gregory. If cost is a concern, the city should find ways to cut discretionary spending elsewhere.

    Appointment contradicts the core value of democracy, and only countries like China appoint officials without elections. It’s fundamental to know that District 7 is not any districts in China because people in District 7 have voting rights to elect their representatives.

  21. As a resident of district 7, I am very upset that anyone would even consider the appointmnet of a councilman for my district. With the continuing list of scandals coming out on a regular basis, what makes this council or mayor think that we as residents of this district would have any confidence in their selection? Not only was Councilman Gregory a probelm but I also believe that their are others on the council lus the mayor himself who should be held accountable for many of these problems. Let the people of district 7 decide for themselves whom they want to represent them.

  22. I agree with Dave Cortese for an election. I disagree with Mr. Robinson. Why does he worry about the small amount that will cost for an election. Compared to what its going to cost for the new city hall or to see race cars racing through our down town streets. For the council to appoint some one would be politicaly unfair to those who wish to run for that office. The voters in dist. 7 should be allowed to choose there own councilperson.

  23. District 7 should be allowed to vote for their replacement .  I am not in their district but we had a similar scenario and we were allowed to vote for the replacement of our council person
    that had resigned.

  24. Where there is a lack of balance, an appointment would almost guarantee more of the same.  An election has, at minimum, the possibility of fairness.
    Let District 7 vote!

  25. I want to register my support for the thoughtfulness and sense of duty that Councilman Dave Cortese once again displayed.  I agree with Dave’s comments and the comments of those who agreed with him, especially R. Compitello.  In addition, to deny the democratic right of the voters of District 7 to elect their representative by suggesting that it is too expensive is beyond infantile and ludicrous.  If budget costs were truly an issue, those who are truly concerned would seek accountability for the enormous budget over-runs that continue to increase for the SJ city hall construction.  I’m sure there are many more examples of city government wasting tax payer’s money with the approval of the mayor and the city council…

  26. I agree with Dave Cortese.  The public that elected Gregory should have the opportunity to select a new representative.  To deny them that suggests a lack of confidence in their ability to make an appropriate choice.  That trend of the City wanting keep the public out of matters while they decide behind closed doors seems to continue.  This may be the approach in a corporate setting, but it should not be in a democracy.  This is a democracy we are talking about, not a corporation where the CEO and Executive staff make the decisions behind closed doors.  To suggest other than an election reeks of arrogance and a disregard for public process.  Just because an appointment might be less costly than an election doesn’t mean it will result in public confidence and closure on this matter as an election would.  More division within the council would also be avoided if an open election is held.

  27. The residents of District 7 deserve to pick their own representative – and it should be someone from within – someone who has a vision for the district and the leadership and teamwork capabilities to make it real.

    What this city *does not* need is a carpet bagger like Shelly – he’s damaged goods. Let him stay two heartbeats away from Arnold – he’s got proven record of mismanagement and poor leadership – we don’t want him.

    Money is not an object for this – it’s a smoke screen – there’s always money for doing the right thing for the citizen’s of San Jose (which is sometimes wrong for special interst groups – but they aren’t the citizens of Districe 7)

  28. Oh my Gosh…… How can this even be an issue?! Of COURSE there should be an election and the people of District 7 should choose the person to represent them. That is the foundation of democracy!
    There are many in other countries who are risking their lives and often give their lives for this privilege and yet we have become so complacent in this country that we actually question whether the people should choose their own representative or have their representative chosen for them by others they DIDN’T choose to represent them! Councilmember Cortese is absolutely correct!

  29. I agree with Mr Cortese… there should be an election.  Every other district is represented by someone elected by that district… and so should District 7.  Just because their trust was misplaced in Terry Gregory doesn’t mean that they should lose the right to choose their representative.  Hopefully they will choose more wisely this time around.  Let District 7 elect their new city council member.

  30. Conduct a special election. Cost, voting blocks, party affiliation, etc should have no effect on a basic ethic of democratic governnment, ie, an elective office should be filled by an election. 

    The city charter should be revised to read, “any elective office, which is vacated prematurely, for any reason, more than 90 days prior to the next normal election for that office, shall be filled by special election.”

  31. Ignorance is bliss, and most taxpayers seem more worried about tax increases than fair representation. If they would think about it logically, they would realize its the same thing!

    Perhaps we should save some of the “outcry” for when they try to make the appointment.

    “Beware” is an excellent watchword for a free, participatory society.

  32. The City of San Jose should sue Terry O. Gregory to recoup the cost of a special election, which is estimated at $256,000 to $384,000, and the value of staff time spent on defending him in the past six months.  Why should the citizens of San Jose shift funds from police, fire, library and parks to pay for the special election?  The City fines irresponsible behaviors, so why should this case be an exception?

  33. I, like you believe it is in the best interest of the city of San Jose to have an elected official representing District 7.  An appointment with two (2) left would be totally unjustified.  I sincerely hope the enlightened leaders of this city see it that way as well.  I know that there are costs to hold such an election but in this case I believe the end justifies the means.

  34. An appointment to replace Terry Gregory reinforces back room politics, and would sacrifice upholding democratic principals in city government. Let the voters of district-7 have an opportunity through a special election to choose their city councilmember for the good of their district. There are already enough scandals going on down at city hall to exemplify incompetance. It’s time to turn things around, and restore ethics, faith and fairness in city government.

  35. I commend Dave Cortese for his courage and conviction of the Terry Gregory issue. From the beginning, while others on the City Council waffled, Dave made it clear where he stood. It’s basically about integrity, something in short supply in San Jose. The only way we’re going to fix this situation is to give the people of District 7 a chance to vote for the individual who will represent them. There are enough bad odors coming out of Cith Hall these days. Let’s do this one right!

  36. I was very disappointed that there was not more outrage about the behavior of Terry Gregory. I could not believe that no one started a recall movement. In the past, a recall movement was successful for much less serious offenses.

    Of course there should be an election. It is at least possible that the voters in District 7, having been burned once, will pay more attention to the character of the candidates this time.

  37. Put it to a vote.  The residents of district-7 deserve to retain thier rigth to choose their city council member through the election process.  They did not fail Terry Gregory…..he failed them.

  38. There should be a new election.  And this time the SBLC political support must be made to follow the IRS laws regarding their non-profit union/labor council status.  Or in English, the SBLC’s phone banks should only be used for supporting political causes and NOT SPECIFIC CANDIDATES!

  39. There should be an election. It should be left to the people of District 7 to decide who will represent them. I know there would be additional cost to hold a special election, but it best served to have the people make the choice.

    I am sorry to say that I am not confident in the management of our local government. To many mistakes are coming to the surface recently. Something needs to be done to correct this situation.

  40. I strongly agree with Dave Cortese. “An appointment would be a serious injustice to the citizens of San Jose particularly those residing in District 7. This is a matter for the community to decide, especially given that there are two years remaining on this term.”

    Put it to a Vote . . .

  41. To some extent I agree with Councilman Cortese. However, I also suggest the idea that the third highest vote getter in the Gregory primary might be a good choice for an appointment serving for an interim period until the next regular term election rolls around.  Unhappily, Ed Voss, the “runner up” has disgraced himself in ways similar to Terry Gregory, while Bob Dhillon, the person who got the 3rd highest vote has shown himself to be honest and with the highest integrity all of those who have run for office is the past several years.
    By the way, a debouched State official would be the last choice to fill the vacancy.
    If the council (all elected by voters) made the appointment of an interim person much as they did with Kathy Cole some years ago, the new council person would at least have the backing of our elected representatives throughout the rest of the city.

  42. I strongly agree to have an election. 

    San Jose Council has not skimped on the cost for the New City Hall project, so the cost is not an issue at all here.  Also, remaining term of 2 years is not really an interim position, is it.

    Now, who is going to decide that the election is going to be held vs. appoint the replacement? 

    The same council who wants to appoint an replacement?

    Maybe it’s also a time to tighten up the city guideline on appointment vs. election issue.

  43. Almost any situation involving a council seat replacement/appointment should require a special election, regardless of cost.
    At a time when so many have a feeling of not being heard, a special election appears to be the best solution to the many problems that we currently face.
    Mr Robinson asserts that a qualified person be appointed to the vacated position and then stand for the earliest possible election.
    I respectfully disagree.
    There are many qualified individuals that may not appeal to the majority of district 7 voters
    for as many reasons as there are voters. And there are too many people in current key positions who appear to approve of playing with a stacked deck.
    Our nominating process at least involves more individuals than the Council. For that reason alone I endorse Mr Cortese Special Election proposal.

  44. We cannot “sell” Democracy worldwide and not support the peoples right of selection without an election. 

    It saddens me that as I followed the situation that the issue of race, diversity was not raised, dare I say that people are afraid of speaking about it.  It is not to say that Councilman Gregory did not violate ethical standards, but when comparesd to other issues (Cisco) what are we to think regarding the process.  Truth is truth, is sees no color, it is hard to comment since I do not know all the facts, but I do know that the need to understand the divers nature of our community, how we communicate and how we interact is very important.  It does not take away form the need for ethics.

    Public services should be just that, a service to our community.  I hope that an elected repacement, and all those involved in leading our community realize and embrace ethnics and diversity.

  45. I agree with Dave.  Gregory was elected by his district.  There should be another election especially since there is two years left on the term.

  46. Ever wonder why/how the term, “They’re just playing politics.”, came to be; and why there are negative connotations associated with it?  No coincidence in my mind – let the constituents decide.

  47. I couldn’t agree more with Dave.  With all the talk of scandal surrounding City Hall, it seems that an open election would be the most prudent approach.

    Thanks Dave for speaking out on this subject!


  48. I am sad to see what went on within the last few months with the ethics issues regarding Councilman Terry Gregory. Now that it is over we should not let the people of Dist. 7 stay unrepresented any longer. An appointment to the seat would be the best choice. It will save the city money and give the Dist. 7 citizens a representative sooner. With the election it would takes months to get a representative.

    I would recommend Bob Dhillon to the seat; as he can restore the trust of the people. He stands high on ethical principals and is already volunteering lot of his time.


  49. I had an opportunity to serve District 7 residance in Bob Dhillon and Ed Voss campain during council elections. Bob Dhillon won 26% of District 7 residance vote. Its a better choice for the residance to appoint Bob Dhillon, because he did not take any special intrest money during his campain, and he will look out for his District residance needs.

  50. Almost any situation involving replacement or appointment should require a quick action.
    I simply agree “An appointment would be a quicker and money saving”. 
    Bob Dhillon, “since he got the 3rd highest votes” from the citizens of San Jose particularly those residing in Dist. 7.  An appointment of Bob Dhillon to replace Gregory would be better choice.

  51. I disagree with Dave.

    Have you forgotten that Terry Gregory was ELECTED to his position? There is no guarantee another elected official would not be as unfit to carry the title.

    Whatever the method of selection, election or appointment, we need someone who has proven integrity and merit to take over.

    In my opinion, Bob Dhillon would be an excellent choice.

  52. I agree with Dave Cortese to allow the residents of the District 7, to choose their own councilman by the election process.
    This is the only fair thing to do, regardless of cost. We have seen already a lot of dollars that had been approved secretly, hence the cost of this special election would not crippled the City.
    We have discussed this issue at our latest SNI meeting, and we have all agreed that, if we need to show-up at the City Council Meeting, we will do so, only to oppose the appointment idea.
    By the way, the Mayor has indicated that he supports the election process just recently at the opening of the Tully Community Library, hence, we would hold him accountable if he changes his position these coming weeks.
    I would like to thank Dave Cortese for standing up for the best interest of the residents of the District 7.

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