Endorsement: Madison Nguyen for San Jose Mayor

In Metro’s March 2012 cover story, “The Sam and Dave Show,” we predicted a race between two products of elite schools and connected families. Now, after seeing Big Business, Big Developers, Big Media, Big Labor and Big Political Party Machine anoint their candidates—before a single regular person’s vote was cast—it sure looks like the fix was in.

This artwork donned the cover of Metro's March 14, 2012 issue.

This artwork donned the cover of Metro's March 14, 2012 issue.

We think San Jose citizens should reject the buying of the mayorship by special interests. And the best way to say no to Putin-style election-rigging is to vote for one of the candidates who haven’t hocked themselves wholesale to the usual suspects.

The smartest of the nonaligned is fiscally-conservative/socially progressive Pierluigi Oliverio, who has crafted a campaign around rejecting the institutional endorsements that he wasn’t likely to get anyway. His grasp of policy issues is far enough ahead of the pack it sometimes makes him a bit of a lone wolf.

Displaying independence along with enough emotional intelligence to be an effective organizer is Madison Nguyen. The city’s vice mayor has been battle-tested and shown the courage that leadership requires. San Jose’s next mayor will need to make tough decisions, and we believe Nguyen would continue to bring common sense and balance to the dais. Her rise from humble roots to the city’s No. 2 spot speaks to her achievements, and she is uniquely equipped to give voice to the demographic winds transforming California.

Sam Liccardo has displayed a sincere interest in forging an urban vision marked by bicycle lanes, mass transit, trendy pop-up stores, sidewalk cafes and high-rise residential buildings. His enthusiasm for clamping down on nightclubs, cannabis collectives, bikini bars and sidewalk bicyclists, however, betrays a bias for idealism over pragmatism. We’re not sure if the city should return to the days when City Hall planned all the projects and wielded a heavy enforcement baton. If Liccardo makes the runoff, we’d like to see him balance his top-down vision with street smarts.

Dave Cortese has called for a “new direction,” but that sounds more like a return to the Alice in Wonderland-style economics that nearly bankrupted San Jose. He failed to speak up against corrupt colleagues and must overcome his willingness to play along before he earns his leadership stripes.

Our hope is that the November election will be something other than an oversimplified punchcard polarized by two classes of organized economic interests. Given the large field, there’s no assurance how that ballot will shake out, but we think Madison Nguyen represents the best shot at having a runoff candidate with loyalties to constituents rather than powerful lobbies with lots of money.

That’s why we’re supporting her in the June primary.


  1. Josh,
    News flash. I sent in my absentee ballot and found out AFTER I sent it in the mail, that you are required to put TWO stamps on it. No where on the envelope did it say, EXTRA POSTAGE REQUIRED! After a futile call to the Register of Voters, we still do NOT know what to do if they send them back to us because we didn’t have enough postage on it. What happens to those who are gone on vacation etc.? What a mess!

      • Kathleen,

        Here is what county Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey wrote in an email:

        “[There was an] insert page that was mailed along with the VBM ballot which shows that $.70 postage is required. The envelope does not show the amount. It is not on the envelope because we use these envelopes for all types of elections. With all types of elections the postage can be different each time. It depends on the size of the ballot card and how many ballot cards. We have an agreement with the post office that they are to forward the VBM ballot to us and we pay the additional postage. If a voter gets it back then they can add additional postage, drop off at our office, drop off at our VBM drop off sites on the weekends, or drop on election day at any polling place in the county.”

        Hope that helps. In the future please send questions through tips (http://www.sanjoseinside.com/contact/) rather than a comment on an unrelated post.

        Thanks for reading,


        • Thank you Josh. I am working with Shannon and Elizabeth at Mike Wasserman’s Office to get this and other information out to the community.

    • Come on, get a life no ballot envelope has ever taken a single stamp. Put 2 or 3 if you want to get your vote counted. More than limey the post office will return your envelope if a couple of weeks. Pony up and pay for for vote or go to a voting station. Don’t forget to sign!

      • Another reason, albeit a rather trivial one, to get rid of election “season” and get back to Election Day in which elections are decided by those of us (I know this includes you too Kathleen!) who care enough to make the effort of going to the polling place and casting our ballot in person. A worthwhile tradition that should be restored.

        • …Are you serious? This is a primary election. Primaries happen every election cycle. Vote by mail is a modern invention to increase voter participation and even then only a meager 20-ish percent of eligible voters decide to cast a vote.

          If you are unable to grasp the concept of postage by reading the directions, how much easier would it be to get yourself to the poll?! Come on. Stop blaming other people and the inclusive process for your inability to follow directions.

          • VM,
            Evidently your reply was temporarily “lost in the mail”.
            But seriously, maybe we should question the assumption that easier is better.

        • Yes, I agree. Unless you’re physically disabled, or out-of-town on Election Day, you should have to show up in person, in order to vote. One problem with by-mail voting is people wind up casting their ballot one way, perhaps six weeks before the actual election, and then subsequent information comes out that makes it clear their choice wasn’t a wise one (after all, the majority of the information about an election generally comes out within the last few weeks). I got burned that way myself, when I voted for Darrell Issa over Matt Fong in the 1998 Republican U.S. Senatorial primary. By the time Election Day rolled around, I knew enough about Issa that I wished I’d voted for Fong.

  2. No thanks! Don’t need another “chuckie” groupie and the same ole lies and actions. Same goes for all of Chuckie followers on this current council. Tired of this council tearing down this city.

    Time for a change. Vote Cortese !

    • A vote for Cortese is a vote for the politics of Shirakawa. I hear he is helping Dave on his direct mail campaign.

      • “I hear” Do you believe in Santa Claus as well? I guess you believe in this corrupt city council as well. You sound like Chuck when you make up stuff like this.

        • Keep drinking that union kool-aid. The difference is that Central Labor wraps itself in self-righteousness on the backs of working people who far too often don’t benefit from Ben Field’s actions.

        • Mr Cortese had a pretty big window of time to come out strong against the antics of Shirakawa. He should have made a clear statement condemning the actions of Shirakawa and made a pledge to voters that he would not engage in these sort of criminal acts and dirty politics. He chose not to so he could get the lucrative union endorsement and the windfall of money that comes with it.

          Unfortunately Mr Cortese traded his integrity in his quest for the top seat. I supported him in his previous Mayoral run and wish I could again but his failure to come out strong against the criminal acts of his peers and the betrayal of the public trust AND his endorsement of Xavier Campos who is still under criminal investigation in these matters makes it impossible for me to trust Cortese’s judgement. My vote is going to another candidate because not only is integrity important but so is good judgement.

    • Honestly, what makes Cortese different? That he just came out of a different pool of corruption? That’s a pretty weak argument to vote for some one to be honest. You have five candidates…. voters would do well to look at IDEAS for a change rather than accepting or disposing of anyone out of hand for such facile points. I’ve really seen few ideas from any of the candidates discussed or torn down to the roots to see their value.

    • Of all the candidates running for mayor of San Jose, Madison Nguyen is focusing the most on who she is as a person and the least on what she’s done as an elected official. Even the Mercy news got this one right

    • No more Madison Nguyen, , I’m so sick of her . The district 7 has not improved , getting worse everyday . We need to change pleaseeee.

  3. Jean, when all else fails try to link shirakawa to everyone else? Cortese will be a fantastic Mayor with the integrity that the other candidates lack.

    • Jordan, I simply find that hard to believe. Dave Cortese voted to approve the Rural Metro Contract after a $50,000 donation was made to the Democratic Central Committee. Seems like a payoff. He has additionally not challenged the tens of thousands of dollars donated to Central Labor by card clubs, including Casino M8trix, which we’ve seen is ethically challenged. Mr. Cortese ought to challenge these donations and demand them refunded.

      Also, it seems like Cortese is bought and sold by unions. How much does he owe them for all the work they are doing? I may not be a life-long San Jose resident, but I know enough about politics to know that he has to owe them something and that’s going to bankrupt the city.

    • I understand why the union leadership and backed candidates would like everyone to simply forgive and forget about Shirakawa but it is pretty incredulous that they expect the public to forgive millions of dollars that were pilfered (either outright stolen or racked up in special election costs). There will never be a true accounting of the damage Shirakawa has done to the community in his decades long run of corruption and criminal activity. The people who supported him, promoted him and benefited by him should be accountable for their bad judgement. It doesn’t mean they can’t be redeemed but it has to start with a public apology for promoting the thieving behavior for so long. To have been fooled by it is not an excuse, what it means is that they aren’t all that sharp to work that closely and been duped that completely.

      Failure of leadership should not be rewarded with additional responsibility.

      • Tapped out voter,

        You hit it on the head, BUT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CITY OF SAN JOSE NOT THE COUNTY!!!!

        Failure of leadership should not be rewarded with additional responsibility.

        This whole CITY council has failed us for years, take the crock Shirakawa out of the picture (county) he should be serving prison time.

        All on the city council running for mayor walk in Chuck’s foot print the worst lier of them all. We need a new mayor and city council who will bring this city back. Downtown businesses are closing at an alarming rate, crime is on the increase. Public safety is at an all time low. Would you take your family to downtown after hours when the bars are full? I think not. Council wants to repave Santa Clara Street which includes in front of city hall, what about residential STREETS?

        Im sorry but Cortese is a fresh start.

        • I wish Cortese was a fresh start but it would actually be moving in reverse. His being duped by Shirakawa isn’t limited to the County. They served together on the East Side School board and then on city council before the county. The fact that Cortese has sought endorsement from Xavier Campos when he is on his second criminal investigation for fraud (the first being the MACSA mess) and Campos is also tied to Shirakawa’s office and was the beneficiary of Shirakawa’s current criminal charges (the false mailers) shows Cortese’s lack of judgement. Leadership means that sometimes you need to stand against the crowd and stand for justice and competence. Cortese has pandered to the money this election and it is pretty sad because I do think he has some great skills he’s just exhibited very poor judgement and either doesn’t have the strength of character to stand up to the criminal types surrounding him or he doesn’t see it.

          As a voter its not an easy choice for mayor and to be truthful I haven’t made my decision yet because it certainly feels like having to choose the lesser of all evils in this pass. Not good for San Jose at all.

  4. This was a cogent analysis of some of the candidates and is much appreciated.
    There’s a big differences between Nguyen and Oliverio though, in their positions on affordable housing. Pierluigi clearly sees the folly of building too much “affordable housing”, whereas Nguyen is blind to it and would continue, even accelerate the city’s current misguided housing development policies.
    Well anyway, let’s just hope a runoff is necessary in November that isn’t just Big Koolaid Dave vs. It Takes A Village Sam.

  5. Seems interesting that the only candidate who pays for SJI advertising is getting the endorsement. Is Madison paying you for the endorsement like the COPS mailer?

    • Jordan my lad, how is this any different from the massive amounts of money Cortese will give public sector unions if elected mayor? Madison pays a few thousand dollars in advertising no one really gets hurt. Cortese continues unsustainable pensions, San Jose goes bankrupt like Stockton and Vallejo.

      Wise up son, labor is a special interest just like the chamber of commerce. We’re in the real world and Cortese is no white knight, he’s just as sullied (if not more) than the other candidates in this race.

      • When all else fails attack the Unions. Unions create job security and piece of mind. Unions created the middle class, protects worker’s rights, and human rights. The sad part of today’s American workforce is that most Americans are not represented. This creates an unfair advantage of the wealthy and has created huge income disparities. It’s sad that only the public sector values workers’ dignity and rights to a living wage. If you believe that human beings deserve to be treated fairly, you should support these unions, because the rights they are fighting for are the rights you will receive after the unions are done fighting the hard battle to obtain them. I believe you would not mind unions as much if the private sector had not destroyed them in the private sector. It shouldn’t be “I no longer have health care, a living wage and a pension so why should public employees”! It should be “they still have all these protections that took decades to achieve, we need to fight for those same protections in the private sector as well”.

        Redirect your anger to the private sector to live up to their responsibility to their employees and society!

        • Unions should organize in the private sector, but you know what they’re not. Look at the UFW. The UFW has a long history of labor organizing and it was the right thing to do because farm workers were some of the most vulnerable amongst us. Nowadays, the UFW no longer organizers, they’re really a foundation, not a union. In fact, organizing is no longer in their charter.

          Labor should spend more time organizing in the private sector than trying to protect their public sector interests. I would donate to a cause to do so. This is why SEIU left the AFL-CIO a few years back, but they weren’t spending enough organizing. I challenge you to tell Ben Field and Cindy Chavez to get a real labor movement going, not a political power base.

        • In your world, Jordan, is there any responsibility for the employees to live up to THEIR responsibility?
          To give their employer value for the wages they’re paid? For showing up to work reliably? For not faking injury or illness?

          • You’re making a general claim as if a lot of employees are doing that. Employees are going to put in the amount of effort depending on their value to their employer. Employers need to pay fair and living wages. It’s a social obligation in my opinion. Conservatives like yourself don’t like government handouts, however the government is required to subsidize the minimum wage when businesses don’t want to pay fair or living wages. Government handouts are ok if they are for the rich right? If they are poor middle class racial minorities conservatives don’t give a damn.

  6. Kathleen,

    Get a provisional ballot and vote. If your original ballot was received and processed, the provisional ballot will be ignored. If not, your provisional ballot will be counted. You can also go to the Registrar of Voters site and see if your ballot was counted:


    If it was, you’re in fat city, otherwise you can use a provisional ballot.

    • Thanks Randall. I tracked my ballot and it was received. I usually drop my ballot off in person either at my polling place or at the drop box. My problem with the way they are doing this is that postage changes, and there’s nothing on the envelope telling you what it is. I also take issue with the County using tax payer money to cover lack of postage, and the terrible way they informed us of the cost. I’m not the only one who mailed in my ballot with insufficient postage. Hundreds of others did too. I’ve learned my lesson on this one! Thanks again!

      • I don’t how some elections, like parcel tax ones, can be vote by mail only, and some have to have polling places. In vote by mail elections, postage is paid for by the government. That’s another source of confusion.

        I do think it’s appropriate for the government to pay for insufficient postage, because it’s in keeping with the mantra that every vote is important. I think it would make more sense to always have the government pay for the postage in all elections, and to pass that cost on to the entities that have elections. That would remove the confusion and the source of errors in mailing.

  7. Find it hard to call Nguyen a leader , when all she ever did was follow Reeds lead. I don’t believe that she ever voted contrary to the Mayor. she along with the Reed Regime have destroyed a once promising city. a vote for any council member running for Mayor is a wasted vote. it just means more of the corruption that is prevalent in City Hall

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