Model Candidate

Who knew that Don Rocha was related to it-supermodel Coco Rocha?

When the District 9 San Jose City Council candidate stepped in front of the camera a few weeks back, Fly couldn’t help but notice what a natural the longtime political aide was in front of the camera.

Without any pushing or prodding by photographer Felipe Buitrago, the former San Jose Redevelopment Agency official instantly stepped in front of the white screen, put his hands in his pockets, pulled a flattering three-quarters stance and looked intensely into the camera with a Derek Zoolander-esque “Blue Steel” look.

Buitrago commented about what a natural Rocha was, impressed by how confidently the normally shy politician seemed in front of the camera.

Turns out that back in college, Rocha and his chiseled features dabbled in a bit of professional modeling to earn extra cash.

Here’s to hoping that Larry Pegram, Rocha’s equally tanned, polished and blue-eyed run-off competitor, manages to uncover some embarrassing Macy’s catalog work of young Rocha frolicking through fields with puppies in skimpy swimwear.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. “impressed by how confidently the normally shy politician seemed in front of the camera.”

    PLEASE give us a break here. Stop talking to us like we’re morons.  Some of us do have a functioning brain you know.

    None of us could give a flying fig about candidate’s tans, their looks, clothes, or how well they photograph. We want to know their stands on issues, their experience, and their voting records.

    Normally shy Rocha? Are we talking about the same guy?

    So why did the Metro endorse Rocha? I’d like to know after the sad endorsement the Merc gave him, and my seeing him fail to directly answer questions in public forums. Or is it his “good looks” that garnered your endorsement?

      • Just Sayin,
        I refuse to vote for either one of them. I don’t see either one of them as good for D9. I’m going to write in Donald Duck! wink

        • I. Remember,
          Amen to that! I watched Pegram speak at Council both Tuesday and today. He is just out of touch today, as he was when he served on the Council before.

        • Well, in fairness, I was only ten years old when Mr. Pegram left the City Council in 1980.  But in a race between the public employee union-backed candidate, and the guy they hate, well, I’m leaning towards the latter.

          I am a member of the UFCW Local 5 myself, and I fully support private sector unionization, but public sector unions seriously need to be reigned in.

  2. “None of us could give a flying fig about candidate’s tans, their looks, clothes, or how well they photograph.”

    So how do you explain Schwarzenegger? wink

    • That great. But is this a popularity contest or is this council member going to make a difference? As a taxpayer this is all I care about.

    • The voters have spoken indeed.  Rocha will probably beat Pegram, and we’ll get another Councilman who basically holds the same views as the liberal, pro-public employees union Council majority.  Hence the voters are morons.

  3. What is this a fashion show!

    Did the council vote to raise our property taxes to upgrade to city’s water/sewer system? I believe the vote was yesterday (6/15).

    Now that the election is over, will the candidates follow through on their promises?

    How else wants to start a taxpayer’s union?

  4. What purpose does this article serve?

    While he certainly has looks, does he have the b***s to get the job done? Is he looking to truly make a change or just to advance a political career on the back of the taxpayers?

    Mr. Rocha and his wife came to my house asking for my vote. I gave it to him and now I’ll wait to see if I got conned or made a wise choice.

    • Was I a fool?

      That is his ex-wife. They are divorced.

      Please answer a question for me. I’d really like to know why you voted for him? Exactly what made you think he is the least bit qualified?

      • Since “Was I a fool” hasn’t responded, I’ll attempt to explain to you why so many people voted for Rocha.

        Because the Mercury News told them to!

        • So what if the Mercury recommended who to vote for. What makes a candidate qualified?

          Bowing to union rhetoric or making irresponsible decisions with tax dollars?

          Either way, the taxpayer gets fleeced.  I was real scientific on my selection; I tossed a dart to determine my vote – Chad Greer. Maybe next time.

      • Kathleen,

        It it true they are divorced? What was with all of the campaign literature depicting a family man!

        As for the reason why I voted for the man, I’ll keep that to myself.

        I just hope that budget mess gets cleaned up.

        • Was I a Fool?

          Yes it is true. Ask him. Also, go to his Face Book, it clearly states he’s in a relationship. It doesn’t say married. Don’t get bent out of shape though, he never said they were married. By the way, just because they are divorced doesn’t mean they aren’t good parents, or that they aren’t a family despite a divorce.

          “As for the reason why I voted for the man, I’ll keep that to myself.”

          I’m very curious about why simply because he is not qualified. Working at City Hall doesn’t mean he is capable of understanding and “cleaning up” the budget.

          Why don’t you ask him the tough questions like, why he got on the School Board. What has he accomplished on the Board or in the community period? What is he going to do when Labor wants him to vote a certain way etc.? I think you’ll find his evasive answers very telling.

        • Kathleen

          “he never said they were married” – sure he did.  Repeatedly.  Rocha introduces Shawna to people as his wife.  He referred to her as his wife in several community candidate forums.  And she used to be his wife, before they divorced Of course, introducing her honestly, as his ex-wife, or his partner, or his girlfriend, doesn’t seem quite as American Apple Pie as the image he wants to project, so he just lies.

          It seems like no big deal, right?  Who cares if the guy is divorced or married or living with his ex-wife and their kids, or whatever?  I wouldn’t care, if he were not being so damn dishonest.  It really isn’t a big deal.  But Rocha (and his advisors) know that the way to sway some independents who might otherwise lean Republican is to present the image of a traditional family.  Getting divorced and then having a couple more kids together is not traditional, so they hide it.  They lie about it.  So stupid.

          Divorce is a reality in our society.  Most people really don’t care if a politician is divorced – how does it affect their ability to govern?  But I care if a politician is honest.  If he’s willing to shade the truth and outright lie about something so inconsequential, what else will he do?

          Of course, now that he’s only running against Pegram, it’s even less of an issue.  Pegram’s divorced, too (though he’s not lying about it).

        • Hard Hitting Journalism,
          I agree with everything you said.

          I didn’t know he was introducing her as his wife. I thought he was being honest about it because on his Face Book he simply defines himself as “in a relationship.”

          I also agree that if someone would lie about something as small as that, they’d certainly lie about bigger things. 

          Pegram got divorced? When did that happen?

        • Pegram was divorced from Sandra Ann Pegram quite a while ago.  Court documents show that he failed to pay more than $25,000 in alimony and child support and was ordered to do so by the court.  He has admitted this is true and says it was before he found religion.  He is now married to Shelley Pegram.

          Given his track record, it’s awesome that Pegram thinks he’s qualified to make any judgments about what threatens the “sanctity of marriage.”

        • Hard Hitting Journalism,

          Thank you for the 411. I knew about his former wife. I met his present wife Shelly a few years ago and thought you meant they were divorced.

          His political agenda concerns me more than his divorce. But I guess if you treat your ex wife badly during a divorce, you can’t be counted on to do the right thing on Council.

          I honestly don’t think Rocha is any better. I guess he isn’t be honest about being divorced. I saw him in candidate forums and he couldn’t answer a direct question. He seems very inept to me.

          I thought Jim, and Dave were pretty good. I just don’t think the choice we are left with is workable for me.

          May I ask you thoughts on which you think would be best?

        • Kathleen

          It is tough to choose between Rocha and Pegram. 

          I agree with you that Rocha could not answer direct questions at the forums.  Maybe he’s inept, maybe that’s his plan.  Punt, punt, punt and don’t get pinned down on anything.  His candidacy was bought and paid for by the political establishment – Beall, Cortese, Yeager.  I don’t trust him to make decisions for the people, but expect he will make decisions that will further his own political aspirations.

          I do not like Pegram’s social politics and his claim to espouse “family values” disgusts me.  However, he is intelligent.  And like his positions or not, at least he stands up for them.  And a city councilmember doesn’t really have any particular influence over many social issues.  However, he clearly also has higher political aspirations, and I’d hate to give him a platform to get somewhere that his hate will matter.

          Cogan was the best candidate as far as taking care of neighborhoods and truly understanding the issues facing the city.  He took a big hit because labor and police/fire endorsed him, and neither is politically popular right now.  But he was always the best prepared to answer questions, always had a ton of facts at his fingertips.

          Maybe I’ll write in Bill Chew.

        • Hard Hitting Journalism,
          Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree, Cogan was the best candidate. I don’t know how he lost to these two.

          I am waiting to see these two in public debates. I have some tough questions for them both, that is if the sponsors of these forums allow actual tough questions to be asked!

  5. Wow.  Seriously?  Instead of gushing over the pretty, pretty “normally shy politician,” how about asking him to actually stake out a position on an issue?  Any issue.  Rocha won the primary, and will probably beat Pegram, by refusing to actually stand for anything.  He gave different answers to questions about the issues depending on who was asking.

    By the way, he’s not shy, and he’s not a model.  He’s an actor, and he’s playing his part beautifully.  And when he wins, D9 voters will get exactly what they deserve – a guy who wants the job, instead of a guy who wants to DO the job.

    I don’t like Pegram’s social politics, but at least he’s honest about what he stands for.

    Finally, why are you calling Rocha a “former San Jose Redevelopment Agency official?”  He still works there.  I know checking facts is challenging, but please do give it a try.  For once.

  6. > It it true they are divorced? What was with all of the campaign literature depicting a family man!

    Campaign literature?

    Does any one actually READ campaign literature and learn anything?

    I swear, EVERY piece of campaign literature says the same stupid things:

    “A candidate for a new tomorrow”

    “No more politics as usual”

    “A candidate with NEW IDEAS”

    Blah! Blah! Blah!

    Mindless, dishonest crap, and anyone who votes on the basis of campaign literature should have their voting privileges revoked, be made a ward of the state, separated from society and put into a work camp.