Kamei Drops Out of Supervisors Race; Endorses Williams

Rosemary Kamei emailed supporters and posted to her campaign website earlier today to announce that she is dropping out of the race for Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage’s seat. In a telephone intervew this afternoon,  she said she’d made the decision partly because of the crowded field.

“I thought long and hard about this after looking at the race and considering all the candidates,” she said. Pressed to elaborate, Kamei laughed. “There’s a lot of candidates! You know—they are good candidates, and for me personally, it was a decision I’ve made for myself. I chose to step down.”

Kamei, a member of the Santa Clara Water District board of directors, had secured endorsements from the likes of former Assembly Member John Laird, and had given up her position as vice president of development at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte to run. Nevertheless, she says, it became clear earlier this month that she was slipping behind in fundraising.

The San Jose Mercury News reported she’d racked up only $51,032, less than half of Teresa Alvarado’s $116,000. Kamei acknowledged that she was also lagging behind candidates Forrest Williams and Mike Wasserman in contributions, but says money was just one factor in her decision.

She pointed out that Wasserman, who is just ahead of her in fundraising, lent his campaign $25,000. “Had I loaned myself $25,000, I would have been closer to him,” she says. “But fundraising is never easy, especially in this economy.”

Many wondered what a face-off between Kamei and Alvarado would look like, given their shared membership in several Latino organizations, though apparently those commonalities do not now mean an endorsement—the letter also revealed she is throwing her weight behind Williams, calling him “an honest and straightforward competitor.”

“I like Teresa,” Kamei said. “She and I are very good friends. But I think that when you look at the magnitude of the problems the county has, I think the skills needed are someone who’s gone through it before. I think when you look at Forrest, there’s just more experience there.”

This was the second time a supervisor’s seat has slipped out of Kamei’s reach—her first attempt ended in defeat to the outgoing Gage 12 years ago. She said this time she’s decided to bow out before the campaign picks up steam with forums and other events.

She added she will finish her term on the water board and said this doesn’t mean she won’t consider running again for supervisor. “I’d like to keep my options open for the future,” she said. “That’s one of the things I don’t need to decide today.”—Jessica Lussenhop

14 Comments

    • Wow, that’s quite the accusation without substantive evidence to back it up. From all I know, Alvarado and Kamei are good friends.

      And yes, Forrest is 72 while JerrBear is a ripe 71.

  1. San Jose’s population 1,006,892 the largest in Santa Clara County and politically SanJose controls Board of Supervisors and VTA

    City of San Jose and Santa Clara County both have very large budget deficits, large government staffs, declining services and high taxes unless we make government more efficient it will get worst

    The obvious next step and solution, like other large California cities that are in the county with the same name. is to combine city and county government and rename to

    – City and County of San Jose – Capital of Silicon Valley also combine all schools district under county Board of Education saving $250-400 millions or more having better services, no city / county lawsuits, and cutting costs and less elected officials and eliminate thousand of duplicate staff jobs over the next 3-4 years as many retire and 2 government are combined

    Department of Finance Demographic Research Unit
    Population Estimates for California Cities

    – 10 Largest Cities City Population January 1, 2009
    & Percent Change 2008-09 with county

    1.Los Angeles 4,065,585 1.1 – Los Angeles County
    2.San Diego 1,353,993 1.5 – San Diego County
    3.San Jose 1,006,892 2.2 – Santa Clara County
    4.San Francisco 845,559 1.2 – San Francisco County
    5.Fresno 495,913 2.2 –  Fresno County
    6.Long Beach 492,682 0.6 – Los Angeles County
    7.Sacramento 481,097 1.4 – Sacramento County
    8.Oakland 425,068 1.4 –  Almada County
    9.Santa Ana 355,662 1.2 – Orange County
    10. Anaheim 348,467 0.9 – Orange County

  2. The Board of Supervisors used to be a real power center in this valley.  The VTA was merely a sub-agency of the Board and the Supervisors handled matters large and small.

    Now that they’ve gone through a bunch of wacky devolution, splitting off both VTA and the Water District, its not what it once was.  That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot at stake.  Lesse, there’s Yeager, Shirakawa and Cortese on their right now from SJ.  That’s 3 our of 5 on the Board from SJ, with 900k people out of 1.8 million in the county.

    I’d say the odds favor a non-SJ candidate despite the formidable Blanca Alvarado machine which would like to elect another politician to the board.  Let’s let South San Jose and South County (Los Gatos, Morgan Hill, Gilroy) elect their own representative instead of someone paid for by larger interest groups.  I’d vote for a credible local candidate over a big name (and big endorsement and fundraising) candidate.  Same reason I didn’t like Gonzales for mayor, I don’t like most of the choices in this field.

  3. Teresa Alvarado, unlike her mother, supports keeping Reid-Hillview open.  Anybody with that ignorant attitude does not deserve to be dog catcher, let alone a supervisor.  Also, I apologize to the dedicated men and women dog catchers of SCC.

  4. It is tough when so many people are running. Several of the candidates are good, well meaning people. I think Forrest has shown himself to be the best candidate for BOS so I’m going with him. He has always been a very caring man who supports the well being of our community.

  5. Eric,
    Have any of you been following the Merc commentary section on the Sheriff’s race? According to the comments on there the DSA Board sent out a ballot and have given recommendations on who to vote for! WOW! That is incredible. If that is true then that is unfair to the candidates who showed up in good faith and asked for an endorsement.

    They are also saying that Sheriff Smith is letting Dolores Carr take the blame on the De Anza rape case because they are saying the Sheriff’s department was the reason not the DA’s Office in why the case couldn’t be prosecuted. I’d like to know what is true and what isn’t! Can you guys look into this and give us the 411 on this? Thanks.

    http://forums.mercurynews.com/topic/race-for-santa-clara-county-sheriff-heats-up-for-first-time-in-12-years

    • Kathleen,
      We’ve been following the race but I hadn’t heard about the DSA endorsement. Thanks for the tip. We’ll follow up. -ej

  6. Like the City and County of San Jose idea and combining all county school district into 1 which will cutting bloated inefficient government staffs and costs while geting more services for tax dollars

    – Elect San Jose’s Forest Williams and we can get less government, less taxes and more services at lower cost

    • If his track record is his tenure on the SJ city council that went on a salary inflation and hiring binge during the boom time which can be directly attributed to the current economic melt-down in city finances, I don’t agree.

      Let’s talk about the County budget and programs and what he and other candidates would do to see that we have a more efficient, public service oriented county government.

      Any debates scheduled yet?

  7. Rather than combining all county school districts into one giant, unwieldy behemoth(can you spell ESUHSD?), why not eliminate the county and state school administrations, and direct that money to the local level? Let the feds set standards and the local school boards enact them. Keep educational tactics as local as possible.

  8. San Jose has 3 Board of Supervisor seats, North county 1 and South county 1

    The land use, property rights, water, highways, healthcare and crime issues and opinions of voters in urban San Jose BOS are very different than small town / residential / agricultural South county

    San Jose supports and votes against South county interests and voters frequently and does not support South county concerns

    If one of 2 San Jose candidates wins South county loses representation on important issues where if one of 2 South county candidates win San Jose still has 3 Supervisor votes

    Vote for one of 2 South county candidates for Supervisor