Now that we’ve all had a little time to absorb the results of the June 5 primary election, as well as the fallout in a few key races, it’s time to dish out some awards. As you might expect this time of year, there’s a baseball theme.
The “Short Bench” Award
I have to admit, I feel pretty bad for Patricia Martinez-Roach. There she was, enjoying another term as an East Side Union High School District Trustee (if such a thing can be “enjoyed”), when suddenly labor leaders and prominent electeds were giving her the full-court press to jump into a hopeless race against a well-financed incumbent in San Jose’s District 8 race for CIty Council. Cue one of the most virulent and bitter battles this big city with a small-town vibe has ever seen. And when the dust cleared, the incumbent was headed to a runoff—but not with labor’s chosen candidate. Instead, Rose Herrera will square off with young upstart attorney Jimmy Nguyen, while Martinez-Roach has become a whipping post for bloggers and disgruntled progressives alike. The moral of the story? The political left in San Jose needs to develop a longer bench—and a bigger tent—if it wants to remain relevant in upcoming elections.
The “Warning Track Power” Award
In San Jose’s District 10, Edesa Bitbadal spent around $100K and missed the runoff by just 90 votes out of more than 17,000 cast ballots. After losing a race that close, the tendency is to second guess every decision that was made over the course of the campaign, to obsess over what could have been done to make up the difference in the final tally. I once worked on a race where our candidate missed the runoff by only 62 votes out of more than 60,000. But I can impart some wisdom from that experience: Life does not begin, or end, at the ballot box. The sooner you pick yourself off the mat and get over the setback, the more opportunities you’ll find for continuing to serve your community. Consider that a friendly tip for all the candidates who came up short on June 5.
The “Brush Back” Award
Less than a week after cruising to re-election in District 6, my Councilmember and fellow SJI columnist, Pierluigi Oliverio, used his weekly blog on this site to take a swipe at two colleagues on the dais who had endorsed his opponent. Apparently, the Councilmember did not read one of my previous columns. We can only hope that this feud doesn’t drag on after the budget recess. It would be a shame if petty differences continued to sour our public discourse.
The “Check Swing” Award
This one’s a tie, and it goes to the State Senate races in Districts 13 and 15. In both cases, two Democrats squared off in the primary, and in both cases, there was a decisive winner who took home over 50 percent of the vote. However, thanks to our old buddy Abel Maldonado (remember him?), the top-two primary system throws both of these races into a November runoff ... between the same two candidates! That means we’ll get twice the mailers, twice the lawn signs, twice the phone calls, twice the independent expenditures, and twice the lobbying for party endorsements. Makes you wonder why nobody saw this coming. Oh, wait.
That’s all for now, folks. Got any awards you’d like to dish out? Leave them in the comments below.
Peter Allen is an independent communications consultant and a proud native of San José. You can follow him on Twitter @pjallen2.