Endorsement: Don Rocha for San Jose’s District 9

Don Rocha has oftentimes been the decisive swing vote on the San Jose City Council these last four years, showing a willingness to break ranks with labor supporters over pension reform at the behest of his constituents. While he demurred early in his first term, citing a lack of experience, he has grown into the job and become one of the more interesting councilmembers.

Rocha’s memos of late have exhibited a nuance and sophistication that would have seemed far-fetched just a couple years ago. He is correct that Measure B should be tweaked and he’s articulated these points better than just about everyone.

His challenger, family therapist Lois Wilco-Owens, has taken a strong stand against increasing municipal taxes, which admittedly is a revenue crutch for officials who lack imagination. But the incumbent has shown nothing that warrants removal from the council.

Rocha said repeatedly last year that he was unsure if he would run for re-election, and while we never expected him to follow through on such statements, his dissatisfaction has translated into a willingness to challenge colleagues. It’s a welcome development. Too many elected officials would rather congratulate one another than debate the issues with vigor.

We’ve poked fun at his modeling gigs, but Rocha has proven to be more than just a pretty face. His impatience for political games appears genuine.


  1. I’m in Don’s district and I’ve had the pleasure of having a few brief discussions with him. He’s a genuinely nice guy who was always able to make time for my questions. His frustration with his fellow councilmembers and the process demonstrates how much he genuinely cares about public service.

    • Two years ago he was whining about quitting because everybody didn’t see it his way. Guess he couldn’t find a real job, so he’s running for re-election.

  2. When Rocha spoke at my sons 8th grade graduation (ida price) 2012. We thought he would have some words of inspiration for the graduating class, but that wasn’t the case. He told the class 3-4 anecdotes about various pranks, he did in school, and few things he & and ‘friends’ got away with. Everyone in the audience kept waiting for him to get to the point, or lessons he learned, but there was no lesson or point.
    I felt embarrassed for him, and especially the school officials that asked him to speak and many of the parents around us commented on ‘ what the heck was that speech about?’
    On the way home,I could hear my boys talking in the back seat. They said ‘that guy that gave the speech sounds just like the kids that are the ‘jerks’ at our school but think they are cool’.
    I think that pretty much sums it up.