SVLG CEO Carl Guardino Plays Favorites?

Roughly 1,300 people attended the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s (SVLG) Annual Lunch last week at the Santa Clara Convention Center—but not everyone left satisfied. This is what happens in the lead up to election season, when slights real and imagined bruise political egos. While Congresswomen Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren accepted lifetime achievement awards, and former Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano and California’s first lady Anne Gust Brown spoke on a panel, some of San Jose’s councilmembers were wondering what happened to their shout-out. Of the San Jose officials in the house, SVLG CEO Carl Guardino only name-dropped downtown councilman and mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo, while the rest of the City Council were relegated to seeing their names included in a slideshow. And with nearly the whole council present—several members of which are also running for mayor—only Liccardo got a seat on the big stage. The perception was that Guardino is so in the bag for his friend to win the mayor’s race that they might as well commute via tandem bike to City Hall. “Obviously, Carl has a huge hard-on for Sam,” said one council attendee. Making things just a wee awkward, Liccardo wasn’t even there to acknowledge the love—he left for another meeting on city business. SVLG spokesman Steve Wright said Guardino had prepared remarks and only mentioned Liccardo because of a partnership they have on the “1,000 Hearts, 1,000 Minds” education initiative. But some political wags aren’t so sure. While the SVLG doesn’t endorse candidates—only policy—there is a perception that Guardino is not only rallying support for Liccardo in his free time, but also using the SVLG brand to push support the candidate’s way.  “Carl is a United States citizen and he’s free to do whatever he wants to do on his own personal time,” Wright said, before adding a defense of the leadership group. “I would say we give recognition to everybody.”

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


  1. Guardino’s bromance with Liccardo carries a price tag, namely taking on the baggage of the tax-tax-tax policies of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and its predecessor group.

    Only the Mercury News is more completely in the “tax-em and than tax-em some more” group.  Otherwise in the tax policy arena, the SVLG is as eager to pluck our wallets as is the South Bay Labor Council.

    An example is the sales tax increase we voted for expanding 101.  It was popular when we thought it would add a lane for motorists, but oops, upon completion the extra lane was a diamond lane and reserved for just some motorists, even though we all paid the sales tax.

    This is not what was promised during the campaign to promote the sales tax increase—it may be the best thing for planners & insiders since sliced bread, but it put a taint on the SVLG and its predecessor group.

    This is just one of the bait & switch tax proposals pushed by SVLG, so beware of the influence that group will have on the next mayor.

    • I understand the sentiment, but using half truths doesn’t strengthen your case.  Diamond lanes are not reserved for only “some motorists”, everyone has the exact same access to them.

  2. Seems a lot of the 1% like the white collar thugs like Oliverio, Khamis, Liccardo, Reed, etc.  (Khamis please do not complain to the police department, you made your own bed)  I wonder why?

  3. God help SJ residents but probably only .05 % of voters read this blog.  Once again be careful what you VOTE for.  It is really sad voters in San Jose do not do their home work and usually vote on the nicest flyers (mostly lies) they receive in the mail and are to lazy to even vote.  69% approved Measure B when only 15% bothered to vote. 

    Now you complain about crime!  Good luck with that one.

    • I’m happy to report that traffic has increased in recent years and we now get .07 percent of voters to visit the site—kidding, we’re actually doing quite well.

      As to this ongoing “15 percent” debate, more than 138,680 voters cast ballots for and against Measure B. Based on the population of San Jose, that would be close to 15 percent. But only 386,804 people were registered to vote in San Jose at the time of the 2012 primary.

      By this math, almost 36 percent of registered voters took a side on Measure B.

      Thanks for reading,


      • Thank you, I love the gossip site.

        But even you have to admit for a city of 1 million to only have 138 thousand vote is weak at best.  Why on 386 registered to vote?  Do we have more illegals and convicted felons than I am aware of?  Or just lazy people who do not care about the city they live in?

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