‘Tis the season for people to ponder making a political run, and a newcomer to the scene intends to shake up San Jose’s City Council. Fly has learned that Tam Truong, a 30-year-old detective for the San Jose Police Department, picked up filing papers from the City Clerk’s office this week and plans to file them on Monday to challenge District 4 Councilmember Kansen Chu in the fall. Truong was one of more than 100 officers who received pink slips in the spring, but he managed to escape the axe.
What makes Truong such an intriguing candidate, aside from being young and well educated, is who he intends to align himself with. Apparently, Truong approves of the way Mayor Chuck Reed is going about pension reform and balancing the budget, and he would rather work with the mayor in the council chambers than wait for another round of pink slips. A source tells Fly that Reed does not plan to give Chu his endorsement.
“The majority of police officers—you can see their voting records for the union—we believe there is something that needs to be done,” Truong says about agreeing with the mayor. “We voted to give back 10 percent last time, and especially young police officers, they want their jobs.”
If elected, Truong, who was born in Vietnam and came over to the United States as a young boy, might give the mayor a crucial vote in his final two years in office. That would be huge considering some of the most important agenda items voted on this year, including the Dec. 6 pension reform ballot measure vote, were split at 6-5, with Reed’s bloc (and wild card Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio) just edging out more labor-aligned officials such as Chu, Ash Kalra, Nancy Pyle, Xavier Campos and Don Rocha.
But there is a question of how exactly Truong gets elected and replaces the incumbent Chu. Voters in District 4 might be fed up with Chu, but Truong will most likely need the support of the Police Officers Association—some of whose members wouldn’t spit on the mayor if he was on fire—to get enough votes.
“When I run, I believe I represent the public interest. Kansen Chu, right now, I think he’s out of touch with what the public wants. I think the pubic wants fiscal reform,” Truong says. “I’m representing my district and my community—not just the police department alone.”
Truong has been in law enforcement for almost eight years after graduating from Silver Creek High School, receiving a bachelor’s degree from San Jose State and a master’s degree from Phoenix University. He apparently studied the idea of running against Chu for about two to three months. But aligning himself with the mayor, at least for now, might be one to think about a little longer.