Op-Ed: Consider Substance over Sisterhood at the Ballot Box

As a woman, a feminist and a lifelong activist, I’ve been aghast at how dirty this campaign season has become—particularly as it relates to several female candidates.

Women often feel we should support female candidates because there aren’t enough women in politics and until there are, we’ll never achieve equal representation, close the wage gap, stop ridiculous attacks on health care, and so on.

However, we have a few female candidates this year who prove the importance of substance over sisterhood.

Assemblywoman Nora Campos and Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Darcie Green have turned this election season into a pilot of Real Housewives of Silicon Valley. The soon-to-term-out assemblywoman and her aspiring successor sunk to a new low by lobbing ludicrous, borderline comical accusations against state Sen. Jim Beall.

(For more on that, see San Jose Inside’s coverage of the fiasco.)

These sisters in scandal presented no evidence to convince the public that they’re being “bullied” and “harassed” by Beall and his union “thugs.” Their words, not mine.

You know, evidence like the kind that got Green’s husband convicted of beating and stalking his exes before she got fake-engaged to him on a Summer Jazz Fest stage last summer.

Or evidence like the kind that got Campos’ brother, former San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos, cornered enough to invoke the Fifth instead of answering questions about a stolen election.

Or evidence—at least in the form of accounts by credible witnesses—like the kind that makes her husband look a lot like an aggressor after a recent rumble that got his balls all a-jumble.

The assemblywoman’s storied turnover in legislative staff tells quite a tale in and of itself. Constituents meet a seemingly sincere leader who promises to do everything she can to help. “Here you go, here’s a card,” she says, offering the contact info for one of her aides. Much good that does when said staffer gets axed in one of her inevitable staff purges.

I personally have gone through this process several times. I’ve even stopped by her Sacramento office, without an appointment, to find it almost empty, and have the receptionist confess they have staffing issues.

If Campos can’t treat her staff well—you know, the people there to support her and her constituents' needs—what does that say about her as a public servant?

Given all these issues, what better way for these two to deflect from their own problems than to point an accusatory finger at someone else? It’s a calculating distraction. In Green’s case, it’s an attempt to become relevant.

If these female candidates truly want to find someone who has put several women through “emotional terror” they’d look at Democratic Central Committee candidates for AD28.

“Putting people over the powerful” reads the cover of one of ex-San Jose Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen’s political action committee fliers supporting her AD27 campaign to replace Campos. How ironic.

That same PAC also put out a piece that seems to brag about her supporting the controversial pension reforms brought by Measure B. Yes, that Measure B—the one that gutted San Jose’s staff and police department. I can’t imagine shy she’d want to brag about that, with San Jose’s murder rate on track this year to reach the historic highs it hit during her time on the City Council.

Meanwhile, that wasn’t her PAC that put out the DUI hit piece against her opponent, former council colleague Ash Kalra. That was her doing. The fact that Nguyen felt she couldn’t win on her own merit, but had to go for a Campos-style below-the-belt hit speaks volumes about her character.

Let’s look at Helen Chapman, who’s running for the District 6 council seat up for grabs as Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio rides out the rest of his term. Chapman became an early darling of both the homeless community and labor groups. Now that she’s publicly stated she’s against stricter rent control, which is one of the biggest issues facing the city, does she still deserve labor’s endorsement? Does another “no” vote on the council support “immigrant women rising?”

When she came out against the Evans Lane project—a transitional housing complex for the homeless—she rightfully lost the support of many homeless residents and advocates. Rent control and homelessness go hand in hand and disproportionally affect women, who stay homeless longer than their male counterparts in Silicon Valley.

Do four years of potential votes against supportive housing and rent control sound appealing to women and other marginalized communities?

Women need and deserve candidates that truly represent us and the issues that affect us with integrity, honesty and an unwavering sense of self that doesn’t change based on polls, donors or intimidation. We are a strong sisterhood when we have good candidates. We have and we will continue to make great strides.

Shaunn Cartwright is an activist, housing rights advocate and co-founder of South Bay Tenants Union. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


  1. http://www.bnsf.com/customers/what-can-i-ship/coal/

    Can we get an op ed about the false message of the “green candidates” like Jim Beall
    Beall claims he is being targeted by the fossil fuel money men

    Beall has received thousands from BNSF, a major coal dust hauler

    Coal dust on your cornflakes from the coal train speeding outside, blame it on Beall

    • He is being targeted….Big fossil fuel money is being thrown at Nora…..

      Jim voted FOR clean air legislation…..Nora excused herself and did not even vote.

      You figure it out


        Well, Beall Chevron. Beall Robinson Oil Beall Union Pacific oil and coal Beall BNSF coal haulers. Beall took money from oil, takes money to checkmate oil, Beall is a legislative ATM

      • Beall in eight years has put one bill for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Money for LA Metro. His restless leg legislation was more successful.

    • Jim Beall is a coward and a liar. Kevin Deleon is a dead beat husband who was not making his alimony payments to Magdalena Curassco. She threatened to oust him to the LA times if he didn’t help get her elected. Look at the money he raised for her and his leverage of his good friend Jim Beall to get her elecetd. Deleon is a deadbeat dad who has used his position to stay out of trouble through helping corrupt people get elected. SJI should investigate further.

  2. ‘Does four years of potential votes against supportive housing and rent control sound appealing to women and other marginalized communities?’

    Gosh that’s one heck of a leap just to throw some shade on a ‘sister’. The attack against Helen is not only misplaced but comes off as petty when slapped at the end of a (another) hit piece against Nora.

    I’d be curious for SC to put some context around this blast on Helen, cus right now its just a desperate attack with a hint of unwilling to name a stronger alternative for women in the D6 race.

  3. Shaunn, honey, why so angry? JMO brings up a great question, what about HRC? Further, what credibility do you have in our local politics when you have spent your life elsewhere?

  4. Yeah well, John Michael O’Connor, I would love to see the end of that day Gender figures on those who vote for Killary, as the: Silicon Valley TechnoRats; Wall Street; and the Military Industry in her corner; are all predominantly (as in 99.99999%) run and endorsed by elite white males). Do you really believe that females, ‘as a rule’ are that stupid, compared against males?

    Seems to me like either a totally uneducated – and could care less, not an ounce of shame, …. ‘as long as it sticks’ – cheap shot against females who have never had any upper hand like males, with nothing, whatsoever, to back up your slur.

  5. Whoah, Ash had a DUI? Can you post a pic of their piece? I haven’t seen it but a quick internet search confirmed Ash was arrested fro drunk driving (report here: http://document.li/7Sdi).
    Yes, I’d want to know if a candidate had the poor judgement to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
    What did he blow? 0.081? 0.082? No, police report shows he blew a 0.12 BAC, which is pretty drunk.
    That and having 2 other people in the car (young staffers?).
    Hell yeah I want to know this, it wasn’t 20 years ago either, it was when he was on council says the report. How many pints do you need to be that drunk? Ash should come clean. He’s never mentioned his DUI and rehabilitation at the forum, (though I only went to one)
    This is a lot different than Helen changing her position. To pander to get an endorsement is pretty lame. Didn’t know she changed her position.

  6. With all this equality and estrogen floating around, is this a good time to ask how you ladies feel about registering for the draft and sharing the rest room with Bill Cosby?

    I’ll stand by for depth charges!

  7. Hillary’s record on Whitewater, Benghazi, and servergate, her duplicitousness and mendacity in criticizing Wall Street while accepting $250k from numerous Wall Street firms for an hour long talk ALONE are enough to keep any intelligent person, man or woman, from trusting her, let alone voting for her. However, a significant majority of people the mainstream media (which are in Hillary’s corner) have asked why they are voting for Hillary respond in a manner such as you have, Diane–because she’s a woman. I prefer the late Margaret Thatcher. One may disagree with many of her decisions, but she had one thing Hillary totally lacks–personal integrity.

  8. Since Andy chose this opportunity to take a shot at Ash Kalra, it’s only fair that his hyperbole be examined.

    — “What did he blow? 0.081? 0.082? No, police report shows he blew a 0.12 BAC, which is pretty drunk.”

    Is it fair to depict a 0.12 blood alcohol content as pretty drunk? Considering that the first drunk driving threshold in California was set at .15 and remained there for four decades, in order to believe that .12 is “pretty drunk” one must believe that Californians either learned nothing about drinking and driving during those forty some odd years, or they simply didn’t care about their own safety. Since neither case is likely, it’s safe to assume that, absent other factors, a BAC of .12 does not qualify as “pretty drunk.”

    Notwithstanding the significant differences in how a given blood alcohol level affects a person, the .08 limit came about as a result of a political campaign by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, not a change in how drinking affects a person’s judgment or driving skill. Therefore, in order to conclude that the councilman exercised poor judgment by putting himself “behind the wheel while intoxicated,” you’d have to conclude that a person with a BAC of .12 would automatically feel drunk, despite that conclusion being contradicted by the history of DUI laws in California. Bottom line: there is no reason to believe that Mr. Kalra felt unsafe to drive or knew his BAC was above the limit.

    Mr. Kalra never disputed he broke the law nor did he seek any special treatment due to his position. As far as I’m concerned, he made a mistake and came through it with his character is intact, which is not something I can say about the likes of anyone who feels the need to distort and inflate this black mark on the councilman’s otherwise clean record.

  9. Shaunn Cartwright you shouldn’t print a story unless you know for sure there is no evidence.stop harassing the Green’s they are a beautiful couple and extended family back off!

    • Darcie Who? She’s a joke and its sad that she’s with that wife abusing guy and now trapped with a baby on the way, not a snowballs chance in hell of winning the election and is trying to convince herself that she can alter her-story to make her public engagement real and spontaneous (when she was already married), and that all is fine with her soulmate who is a serial woman abuser and baby-daddy. Get some help!

      • The entire Green Camp is a Joke. Many of us watched this story unfold starting back in Aug. The picture painted, looked and seemed to be a storybook fit for princess. Unfortunately once the truth started to come out the picture became clear that something was very wrong with this tale, the abusive new husband, the secret wedding, the fake proposal, the name change attempted cover up hubby’s violet past, and yes now a baby. Ms. Green needs to fade away from the pubic eye, take care of her family. Not saying that her little family cant work out and thrive, people can change. I just think the choices she made at the time of her campaign shows that she is not the leader we need or want. Way to much of bad behavior. Not good. Time to take a break…. Move on !

  10. I’ve never read a drunk driving arrest report but this is amazing! http://document.li/7Sdi
    “Kalra began the test and swayed in a circular motion… and displayed eyelid tremors throughout the entire test”,
    “Strong smell of alcohol, red watery eyes”.
    ” was so intoxicated as to be danger to himself and others.”
    Who were the two others that were in the car that he was driving? Anyone, know? It’s blacked out as a few other details on the report.

  11. The Mercury News keeps allowing Darcie Green to needlessly drag Senator Beall’s name through the mud. Any one who knows Sen. Beall knows that he would never even think about, let alone threaten, someone’s job or livelihood, especially for his own personal gain! He’s just not that type of guy, period. End of story. And Darcie Green knows that, too. So does Rich Robinson, who still has an axe to grind. That’s why this is such a disingenuous attack, and I’m so disappointed in her for leveling that charge just to get back at him for not supporting her clearly half-hearted effort for Assembly. She may take issue with that, but everyone knows that campaigns for office are life consuming events for the principal and she has never even walked precincts, gathered volunteers to do that for her (even if she may not be able to walk precincts herself) or any of the things normally associated with a contested race like this. For whatever reason, maybe even because her personal milestones, her effort for Assembly was clearly not an in it to win it effort.

    The new reporter at the Mercury News is also letting Nora Campos get away with murder. Her husband made homophobic and hateful statements against a union leader he has had a disagreement with over Brother Campos. This is clearly a personal matter between two people. And instead of spotlighting this despicable conduct, the press has allowed Nora Campos to “change the narrative” and blame the whole thing on her political rival who had quite literally nothing to do with that encounter or the two individuals’ bad blood. Newsflash: when your husband uses slurs like f—– against someone and that person gets upset about it and retaliates, that doesn’t mean you are the victim of bullying! It means you have serious issues and you need to take ownership of your own bad deeds!

    I’m proud to support women candidates whenever I possibly can, but like I cannot support Sarah Palin or Carly Fiorina because their values do not align with mine, I cannot support Nora Campos the ineffective legislator and anti-environmentalist; Darcie Green who doesn’t really have a clear platform and isn’t running a viable campaign; or Madison Nguyen who is obviously and cynically exploiting issues like education but has never served in a capacity to do anything about those issues.

  12. San Jose Inside Op-Ed? oh please…you kill me with this B.S. When have you and your friends ever supported a WoC?

    • Maybe there hasn’t been a WoC worth supporting in this area. Campos claiming she is being bullied is the funniest part since she is notorious for mistreating her staff and anyone who criticizes her incompetent brother. Darcie is like one of those reality tv stars who are famous for nothing. She got her first taste of the spotlight on the arm of Ash before deciding she wanted to be a solo act. She should have stayed an solo because the convicted wife beater baby daddy isn’t the usual political support that a serious candidate wants.

  13. Ironic to find this posted here. My, my, my how the times change when you don’t have a woman who can open doors and hand out power so everyone kowtows to them. I’m sure Jen Wadsworth would be happy to fill you in on why we should support horrendous candidates just because they’re female, after all, she all but sat on the sheriff’s lap the entire election season knowing there were serious problems. I can’t speak for her and some of the other illustrious “sisters” of this community — you know, the ones like Darcy Green and Angelica Ramos who attacked me as one of the good old misogynist boys because I dared to ask what their organizations were endorsing about the sheriff other than she had female pink bits too — but if it were me, I’d be feeling a little dirty these days watching the sheriff implode knowing I made such an effort to discredit people trying too stop it before people had to die.

    I’ll say it again, women want to be respected in politics, they need to stop endorsing sex organs and start endorsing candidates worthy of voting for on the issues. Not a whole lot of that these days in Santa Clara Valley. Perhaps the women should look to themselves rather than deride voters as misogynists since this used to be a region where women could successfully run. It can’t all be everyone else’s fault — not when we see the rally behind an incompetent like the sheriff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *