Op-Ed: Don Rocha Deserves Your Vote for County Supervisor

When Ash Kalra moved on to the assembly from D2, many folks were alternately thrilled and depressed, feeling as if nobody could possibly fill his big shoes. Sergio Jimenez has done an incredible job of not only filling those shoes, but already making such an impact in less than two years, one can’t imagine someone being able to fill his shoes.

Sadly, that won’t be the case once Don Rocha vacates his D9 council seat, leaving an immense void. Pan (how she spelled it on her own campaign lit) Foley, queen of the awful photo (again, she posts them on her own page), is seen as a Chamber of Commerce (sorry, Silicon Valley Organization) and Mayor Liccardo lackey and I tend to agree.

Cowardly Kalen Gallagher should have resigned from the race when he allowed a fellow Campbell Union High School District board member to espouse racist and transphobic bullshit unchecked. But no, he’s still running.

Shay Franco-Clausen is also running in this race—mostly on half truths, pilfered volunteer sheets, and her knack for bullying and using people to further her career. In her campaign infancy, folks were receiving calls and the only connection those people had to Shay was working on other campaigns/issues she also worked on—they had never signed up for her campaign.

She uses elected officials’ names and other issues she’s worked on as currency despite repeatedly having left a trail of destruction behind her due to her temper, bravado, spitefulness, ignorance, pettiness, and unwillingness to change those traits. I know people are excited to vote for a woman, but if they carry the same personality flaws as men the Democratic party has disowned, what progress is made?

And speaking of progress, the South Bay Progressive Alliance is heavily promoting Shay and their other endorsee Omar Vasquez as “Corporate Free Candidates.” Omar has received donations from businesses. That doesn’t seem very corporate-free.

He also seems thin skinned, hot tempered, makes rash accusations and likes to argue with people online. Now, why does that sound familiar? He has defended and friended fellow D7 candidates Jonathan Fleming and Chris Le who have made several anti-homeless statements. Chris said he would sweep out the homeless with an “iron fist” and Omar took him to his brother’s wedding. Jonathan also has ties to the ridiculous recall against Jimenez who has led on housing and homelessness.

Has Omar rebuked them for these statements? No.

So far he’s saved most of his strongest statements for people who allegedly tamper with his campaign signs—because those win elections.

On the flip side, Maya Esparza has been a champion of the homeless as a Veteran’s advocate, teaches at SJSU, has been a school board member and staffer to Congressmember Zoe Lofgren, knows the issues and only lost to Tam Nguyen (#NeverTam) by 200 votes. This is the kind of woman we need in city hall.

While I’m on city hall, we need to ensure that Santa Clara City Hall breaks up its all-white council, a tradition it’s maintained since 1951. We do that by voting no on Measure A. I know, it’s confusing to a lot of folks on the left who think rank choice voting is a good thing, will lead to more people of color getting elected, eventually, but it won’t. Look at the folks fighting for Measure A, the vast majority are white while the vast majority of folks opposing Measure A are not. Get it?

Lastly, I’ve personally worked with nearly every candidate mentioned above, my opinions are formed by that experience, usually over several years. There is no candidate I’ve known longer than Don Rocha, one of the most thoughtful , humblest, fiercest, dogged advocates we have on the San Jose City Council.

Rocha has been a champion of women, families, the elderly and homeless; fiscally responsible, eager to think out of the box, and has such a depth of knowledge, it’s hard to find something he doesn’t know the details about off the top of his head. He’s also an incredibly dedicated and involved father, always dashing off to coach a game, watch a performance, or just spend quality time with the family.

For all these reasons, I encourage everyone to vote for him for county supervisor.

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. Interested in writing an op-ed? Email pitches to [email protected].


  1. Agreed. Really a very biased piece. Where do you even get your information? A lot of lies here.

  2. This looks like a dark money hit job. Is there any evidence or multi-witness corroboration to back-up these claims or is all just hearsay? Opinion is one thing, purporting fact without substantiation on the eve of an election, is another.

  3. > Look at the folks fighting for Measure A, the vast majority are white while the vast majority of folks opposing Measure A are not. Get it?

    Got it!

    If you’re white, vote for the white candidate.

    If you’re colored, vote for the colored candidate.

    Seems simple enough to me.

    • More importantly, George Soros and John Arnold, both billionaires outside California want Measure A.

  4. WTH? This seems more like a hit piece than an endorsement for Don. I don’t think Don would ever approve of this piece of trash. He has too much class to ever condone this, and that’s why I support him. An OP-Ed like this would cost him votes, not get him any. Do him a favor and go away!

    On another note: I know all of these people except Gallagher, and I can say that much of what you wrote are outright lies. Foley isn’t the best choice for D9. but picking on her looks just isn’t cool. Omar, and Shay are good people who have worked very hard for our community, and while I do like Maya, she hasn’t worked as hard as Omar and Shay have worked.

    You sound like some kind of gossip columnist. Where did you get your information Shaunn, from the Inquirer?

  5. This has all the hallmarks of a False Flag, counter-narrative, planted, “op-ed” attack ad, most likely paid for by the people who have spent the most money this election cycle, by about 30-1, and if you are wondering who has spent well over $300K against the $10K spent by the people being attacked, check your mailers…if an ad is coming from outside the campaign, campaign finance law requires that the ad list how much was spent and who paid for the ad. There have been at least two dozen direct mail pieces that cost $13,000 each flowing like water this cycle. That’s a lot of money to spend on a city council election, until you realize how much money is to be gained by moving the city council to the pro-corporate side, and also building out on all of Coyote Valley.

    People might wonder, ‘why would a progressive attack other progressive candidates?’ Maybe they are compromised, maybe they have sour grapes, maybe they have had their organelle funded for the next ten years to put their name on what is a literal attack ad. Readers might also, say, ‘well this op-ed attacks everyone.’ Not exactly, this op-ed ad goes at Foley in a way that would engender defensive support for her by women, NeoLiberals (Pro-Corporate Democrats), and Republicans…the other attacks go in deep to the bone, but in no verifiable way. Pure damage hearsay of a tabloid nature.

    San Jose Inside should do some research on the Super PACS, 501s, 52Xs who are dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars on this county and these city council races, not publish what is clearly an attack ad that I would expect to see in a tabloid. This is a free-ad against all of the people attacked on the eve of an election. Nothing on the issues, nothing that has any evidence, or the attempt to even fact-check that which is presented as fact. These are people’s lives we are talking about. The assertions made are vile and will live forever on the internet. Nobody deserves personal attacks of an unverified nature when they attempt to stand for election. For Shame!

    Op-Ed publication should still undergo some editorial standards, some journalistic analysis, such that this paper isn’t being duped into carrying water for anyone.

    The point of the article isn’t to support Don Rocha, it’s to attack the runoff viable Progressives in D9 and D7. As an added bonus, this ad attacks primary ranking, with an overt attempt to insert the wedge of race, in a try to exploit any rifts, or create them where there are none.

    If this isn’t paid advertising who’s source is a web of LLCs/Dark Money I would be shocked. I wish San Jose Inside would do an investigative report on dark money campaign finance in our valley. Not doing investigative journalism is as easy and cheap as this wicked “op-ed” propaganda advertisement.

    If this is a legit attempt at an op-ed, where is the evidence for any of the personal attacks? Where is the evidence for any of the assertions of fact? All of the techniques utilized to misdirect the reader from the actual intent of the ad are as old as Tobacco Corporation PR. It should have never been published.

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