Nguyen Secretly Declares Mayoral Run

Madison Nguyen’s plan to run for mayor of San Jose appears to be the worst kept secret at City Hall these days—mainly because she keeps telling everyone before adding that it’s “a secret.” Three of Nguyen’s colleagues confirmed that the District 7 councilmember started spreading word of her plan to run before the June 5 primaries.

Elected officials will soon scatter for the July recess, but when they return in August, the vice mayor first could already be in campaign mode. It seems Nguyen, the first-ever Vietnamese-American on the council, wants a head start to racking up pledges of support ahead of Bellarmine twins Sam Liccardo, the District 3 downtown councilmember, and former vice mayor Dave Cortese, who’s presently on the county Board of Supervisors.

Nguyen has been out of the office much of the last few months tending to a new baby, but apparently she felt more confident in a mayoral run after a phone poll commissioned in May by Bay 101 Casino found her running a close second to Cortese.

Meanwhile, Liccardo is said to have finished a distant third in the poll with Councilmember Ash Kalra coming in fourth.

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


  1. Let’s see here..

    One top candidate (with their buddies) went on a spending spree in the late 90’s early 2000’s, putting this city into crippling debt, while the other one has been doing their best to clean up the mess they left.

    Yup, I’m just dying for round 2 of crippling debt. Who’s with me?  Who wants round 2 of crippling debt?  Raise your hand!

    This my friends is just the tip of the iceberg.

      • You say that, but look at what happened in the district 8 race.  Nobody expected Jimmy Nguyen to beat out Roach. The Vietnamese community is politically aware, and active.  They have numbers, influence, and money (which they’re more than happy to throw around)

        District 4 race was another one that adds fuel to my point.  Tam got 38% of the vote.  Not to shabby.

  2. Vice-Mayor Nguyen has done great things for the district and the city as a whole. We have over 2,400 residents in our area that have supported her in the past, and will continue to support her for Mayor.

    -Robert Sandoval
    President of West Evergreen Neighborhood Association

    • Really, what a joke as is chuck, po, sal, pete and rose.

      No names in caps because not worthy.

      Oh, forgot to mention deb and city attorney and all the other lying city puppets!

      Good bye Library vote, but then as chuck says, more police layoffs!

      If chuck does want to on the ballot, send it to thevotes, or the courts or he crushes it with the rules commitee which he controls with his cronies.

      God I love SJ politics!

      Where is the state audit!

  3. Really. Only in San Jose could an undistinguished, mediocre Councilmember even consider being elected Mayor. Scary thing is, in a town like this, she actually has half a chance.
    No wonder we continue our downward spiral and are laughed at by the other big cities.

  4. Suggest everyone go to see to see how the city cares about public safety and other city unions.

    We are getting flushed down the toilet as we watch. 

    Amused chuck, sam and pete were voted down on SJ Giants.  But as posted, it was political because “I want to run for Mayor, but keep it a secret”, voted for it because “surprise, her district!  And she wants to be mayor.  Never seen her at a game!

    This council is for the most part a joke.  Where was the PO and Rose vote.  Not their districts so could not care less.  Must have traded future votes for something down the road.

    Measure B + Measure Hell for SJ and general fund!

    • Only the “Uninformed and the Uneducated” ! I really dont understand how Madison plans on doing anything ……………………..without Reed their to control her every movement, speech and action. Everyone knows Puppets need to be controlled by someone

  5. And you wonder what Measure B told our police officers:

    Today, an announcement was sent out to all remaining San Jose police officers that lists the departments around the state that have contacted us to let us know that are interested in hiring them immediately. (Once hired elsewhere, most of our officers will see an immediate raise in their take home pay, but most importantly, if they are injured on the job they will be able to receive a disability retirement—something which is now in question in San Jose following the passage of Measure B.) Meanwhile, San Jose officals, blind to the damage they are doing to a department that once ranked as one of the best in the country, are continuing their assault on those who protect us.

    Agencies Seeking Our Officers 

1. Alameda PD
2. Concord PD
3. Emeryville PD
4. Hayward PD
5. Los Banos PD
6. Los Gatos/Monte Sereno PD
7. Marin County Sheriff
8. Monterey PD
9. Redwood City PD
10. San Bruno PD
11. Santa Cruz County Sheriff
12. San Francisco PD
13. San Rafael PD
14. Tracy PD
15. Truckee PD

16. Chino PD
17. Costa Mesa PD
18. Beverly Hills PD
19. El Segundo PD
20. Escondido PD
21. Hermosa Beach PD
22. Hemet PD
23. LA School PD
24. LA County Sheriff
25. Montclair PD
26. National City PD
27. Newport Beach PD
28. Oceanside PD
29. Oxnard PD
30. Santa Ana School PD
31. Santa Maria PD
32. Simi Valley PD
33. South Gate PD
34. Whittier PD

    God Bless these fine officers. funny how so many other departments are hiring qualified oficers like tohose in SJ.

    • It’s better for San Jose if those that leave, leave sooner rather than later.  Those that decide to stay will at least know that it was their decision, and hopefully won’t feel like they’re victims.

      • Funny how other cities have their finances in order, balanced budgets and still have the ability to hire public safety.  Why because they care.  SJ could give a rats behind and still threaten more lay offs across the baord but specificall public safey.  Which tells you they don’t care about your safety.

      • S Randall are you High ? Every single Public servant in this Ungrateful City feels overworked, under appreciated, and yes even hated all because of the lies that Mayor Reed perpetrated . They dedicated their lives to this city . they put themselves and their families at risk of serious injury and/or even death , and what does this city do? Take 13-18% of total compensation , Demonize Its public safety, vote to ILLEGALLY change earned pensions, Try to do away with service connected DISABILITYS ( again Illegal) , attempting to be forced to join the VEEP ( which isnt going to happen) . all this while people like you still expect them to be happy for the honor of serving you. The Public safety in san jose at one time was the best of the best , it is now a running joke. look at all the cities that are lining up to pick up all public safety that is jumping ship. The Criminals of this city are ecstatic with what this mayor has done. Hope you can sleep peacefully knowing that many times within the last few months( and in the future) there might only be 2-3 officers working in your district and the neighborhood fire station will be closed. sleep tight

  6. Maybe SJ Inside would inquire why Councilperson Madision Nguyen gets police team consisting of a sergeant and 4 officers to work a special overtime detail on monday evenings around her Communicaitons Hill neighborhood?  Maddie complained that there are too many homeless around CommHill sooooooo a detail went out and rousted the camps… Someone defaced her campaign signs during her recall election and…. the entire detective staff from the assaults unit spent a couple of days investigating the matter… some on sent out bogus campaign literature during her first run for office and… thats right the police department assigned a team to investigate…  Why does this person get such preferential treatment from the Police Department? The one she has helped Mayor Chuck Reed dismantle? She has played the “race card” with the media and the public against the police department following the Bich Cao Tran shooitng… she has played the “gender card” with Councilman Chu claiming Chu was attacking her because she was a woman when he complained that Tam Troung was campaigning at a Nguyen Sponsored City Flag Raising…  and she is not well liked in the anti-communist segment of the Viet community becasue of her involvement it the Little Saigon fiasco.

    Madsion Nguyen is about as divisive a candidate as you can find. God help San Jose if she is elected – I predict that Public Employees and labor groups in the area will work very hard to ensure she has plenty of time to raise her child.

    • @Mayor Weed….tell the cops to stop working the B.S. paycars(holdover cars/gang cars/prostitution cars/quality of life cars/Madisons private patrol cars/EZ car/etc)…why work more for a city and administration that HATES you…you expose yourself to needless danger to pick up a few extra dollars.  If you get hurt, you and your family are SCREWED!!!  The former POA president told it like it is….“If you have 20 years or less on, GET the F#@K out!!!  Take your training and experience to another city/agency that will treat you with respect and dignity.  I was on the fence, but I’m leaving this City Manager/City Council run department.  If Chief Moore doesn’t care, why should we?  Thanks San Jose for the great training…14 yrs on and will be resigning soon to lateral somewhere else!!!

    • Maybe SJ Inside would inquire why Councilperson Madision Nguyen gets police team consisting of a sergeant and 4 officers to work a special overtime detail on monday evenings around her Communicaitons Hill neighborhood?

      Maybe because there’s been 3 fires on the hillside in the last 2 years, 2 of them caused by homeless encampments?

      Maybe saving millions of dollars in homes from being burned to embers is more expensive than having a few units out there?

      I dunno weed, just throwing it out there.  Most recent fire was 2 weeks ago.

      • So when the police are around nobody plays with matches? The detail ONLY works out there on monday nights. So… Comm Hill Residents your homes are safe one night a week thanks to your resident councilperson… The rest of the rest of the City can burn 24/7 due to staffing shortages in Police and Fire but know you are safe on monday evenings.

      • Negative ! Most recent fire was yesterday a tier 2 . I dont believe that both fires were attributed to the homeless. Public safety is leaving in unprecedented numbers for better cities,better pay,better appreciation. Who are we going to call when all the seasoned experience is gone( and dont kid yourself it is happening as we speak) there are already nights when there are only 1-3 officers in a district , couple that with the neighborhood firehouse being shut down. this city is in for a treat. as of last week this city is averaging at least 2 – 2 alarm fires per week . this is already a very busy season , throw in the increase in graffity, violent calls , and increase in gang activity.  This isnt the city it used to be , at one time our public safety was tops in the nation and now it is a laughing stock. the city of san jose is aggressively trying to hire qualified candidates from other jurisdictions . ” I Can NOT in clear conscience refer anyone to your Dept” that is the standard quote coming in from all over the country. when it comes to public safety………… get what you pay for

        • DISGUSTED IN SAN JOSE Thu, Jun 21, 2012 – 8:47 pm you get what you pay for

          Yah I know right?  $100k to train an officer… That tuition is higher than STANFORDS!

          No.. Read this.. Don’t knee jerk here and go off on me.

          Remember those $1,200 toilet seats, $600 hammers and other rip-offs the Pentagon was buying from its pampered contractors in the 1980s? Well, don’t look now, but … they’re baaaack.

          It’s the whole God damn city pulling this crap.

          We can’t go into bankruptcy. That would be embarrassing as hell wouldn’t it? This city would lose an immeasurable amount of face.  Laughing stock now?  How about when we declare bankruptcy?

          I take a lot of pride in this city.  My family has been here going on 6 generations now.  I can’t leave.. No.. Must tighten my belt, dig my heels in, and stand up for it.

          I mentioned somewhere else that the voter demographic of San Jose has changed.  I can’t find the reference, but here’s an interesting point I read somewhere.

          In the South, there are people who’s heritage goes back to the slave owner days.  Now their linage looks like this.

          Slave or owner>free man>can’t associate with other color>can be friends, but not marry other color>Can Marry other color>two sides are together now

          People are saying, “The south is rising again” but they don’t mean the old addages of racism. Because of the way families have intermingled, and the advent of the internet the kids today are having a spiritual awakening, and completely tossing aside all notions of hate and inequality.  They’re being taught by each other, and online why those messages are wrong.

          In that process, our generation has learned how to think and examine.

          San Jose has gone through that same exact change.  It’s why hate/slam of any kind is becoming less effective as a campaign tool. 

          This is your problem.  Wasteful spending, everywhere.  Until you’re willing to back candidates proposing that as a solution, you’re going to see more of the same.  Problem is, anyone even suggesting it is seen as an enemy by all.

        • “…when it comes to public safety………… get what you pay for…”

          Apparently NOT – at least from my assessment of this whole PBID thing. Didn’t property owners with property in this “PBID” already pay property taxes before PBID was ever a wet dream in a bureaucrat’s rape-the-taxpayer fantasy? When one pays their property taxes to the City/County/State isn’t a portion of that money go towards funding public safety?

          So if I understand this property owners felt they needed more “security”  (a service typically porvided by the police) which they weren’t getting so they voted themselves into this PBID where they pay “assessments” (a fancy word for a tax) that they want used to pay for police services in the PBID area where they own property?

  7. Madsion Nguyen barely made it through her re-election, and the guy running against her wasn’t really even qualified to be a candidate. Having said that, there is no way she will become our next Mayor. And if the citizens of San Jose do elect her as our new Mayor, I will simply move out San Jose, and watch the fireworks she creates from another City.

  8. She hasn’t earned the right to be mayor.  I would certainly welcome a Vietnamese-American candidate to this office, but feel Madison is lacking.

  9. Dear Kathleen,

    I respectfully disagree with you on one major bias comment about Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen’s former re-election opponent. I can see your anger toward Vice Mayor Nguyen, But putting her former opponent down for the sake of making a hasty comment without much knowledge about that person is unfair.

    I am a long time friend and strong supporter of the Vice Mayor Nguyen’s opponent you talked about. I know by voicing my opinion in defense of my friend may come out as bias. However, I promise to stay fair and confidently true to my comment in my posting at this site.

    It is true that ” Madsion Nguyen barely made it through her re-election…” but despite that, she won and that is all that matters in politics. My friend (her opponent) earned my respect for giving her a fight of her life and yet managed to stay calm and best-wishing for his opponent after defeat. Ms. Kathleen, that is a character worth noting don’t you think?

    You said “the guy running against her wasn’t really even qualified to be a candidate.” In the contrary, he has all the qualifications and qualities needed for this city. Please allow me to share a personal story. I have known him since our high school days almost 2 decades ago. He was the type of guy who walks in any room and would grab people’s attention for his speech and thoughts. He was a natural. Amongst us friends back in the day, we called him “Mr. Chair.” For some reason,  people always seem to elect him to chair this chair that. That was why he was elected president in almost every club he joined. His leadership skills developed much further in college and life after it. I can tell you Kathleen, I am proud to say the guy is a real natural. I know the comparison moments between candidates were over, but in my heart I know he surpasses Vice Mayor Nguyen on many levels. I heard she had a poor childhood and that she had to pick fruits to help her family of at least ten contributing members survive. But try being the man of the house at an early teenage years with a mother and a toddler sibling and being on verge of being homeless while still manage to be the top student of his class. Start business at the age of 15 and build a strong enough economic foundation for his family to allow his loving mother to retire when he was 25 and now putting his baby sister well on her way to be a nurse. He has accomplished more than many people in their 50’s even. He has tried, failed, and succeeded in more things than many 50 something years old folks I have known. I strongly believe that someone who struggles so much to learn so much and to overcoming many challenges of life to accomplish so much even at an early age does have the character, experience, and qualification to be a candidate, don’t you think?

    You try to down play Vice Mayor Nguyen’s capability, but being a strong supporter in my friend’s (her opponent’s) campaign in 2010, I can tell you that she had been an extremely effective campaigner. One must not underestimate her for what she can do. has used used her advantage role as a young little Asian lady and manipulated it to the fullest. I applaud her for optimizing that angle to her advantage. She is currently utilizing the “divide and conquer”approach in the Vietnamese American community to weaken opposition that she created through the Little Saigon mismanagement. The oppositional force that may potentially lean over to her opponents later on. I don’t mind seeing a first Vietnamese-American mayor in San Jose, but I just wish she has the qualities, character, and humbleness of my friend.

    Too bad that San Jose may not have such a great potential leader like my friend in the future.

    • Fair and Truthful,

      With all due respect, I think you misunderstood my comment about your friend. I was not putting him down. All I meant was that he was not qualified to run against Nguyen because he did not have previous government experience, nor did he have a great business background. To beat Madison, a candidate must have had a lot more qualifications than your friend did, more money, better endorsements, and no financial difficulties in his/her own personal business.

      Your friend, despite lacking in all these areas, almost beat her in the re-election. Which to me shows that she is not as well loved and liked as her supporters on this blog tout her to be. 

      Secondly, I’m not ignorant to the political games Madison is and has played, and I do know she has and will continue to play the gender card, and divide the Vietnamese community to win at any cost.

      I spent months at City Hall, outside in the cold, with the Little Saigon protesters. I know what Madison promised them when she first ran for council, and was shocked when I saw her lie about it later on, and refuse to give them Little Saigon signs. I heard and saw the disrespectful way she treated her own people when they tried to hold her to her promise. And by the way, every time I drive by her huge “Vietnam Town” sign, it makes me sick.

      Her lack of honesty, and integrity to the very people who trusted her, voted for her, donated to her campaign, and believed in her is why I don’t like or trust her.

      Also, the disingenuous way she treated candidates who supported her, the Police, and Labor after they supported her in her re-call, and re-election campaign is another reason I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could spit.

      If voters in San Jose are truly ignorant enough to vote for, donate to, or support her for Mayor, after all the unethical things she’s done so far, they deserve every rotten thing they will get from her.

    • P.S.
      Fair and Truthful,

      There was one thing I wanted to add to my previous post to you, I admire your loyalty to your friend. It is a rare quality in people today. He is very lucky to have you as a friend.

      Having said that, encourage him to run again, after Madison is termed out. Many candidates lose an election the first time around, and if they learn from their mistakes, and run a better campaign, they usually win on the 2nd round. He should hire you as his campaign manager! With your respect and faith in him, he just might win this time! wink

      Have a great rest of the weekend.

    • prescient,

      You seem like a one issue kinda guy/gal. Supporting someone whole heartily just because they vote on ONE thing you want, isn’t a smart way to support someone. You must look at their entire record, not base your support on ONE issue/vote!

      You said, “She had the courage to look out for the city by supporting measure B. God bless her and all who did.”

      Madison only did that to further her political career, not because she thought it was the right thing to do for our City. Madison only got into office because the very people she threw under the bus put her there. You might want to reflect back to the beginning of her candidacy. She was a very strong advocate for Police, Fire, and Labor. It was only AFTER she beat the re-call, and barely won her re-election, that, “She had the courage to look out for the city by supporting measure B.” (Be sure you applaud her for voting for Measure B, once tax payers are bled dry in legal fees, and the City loses in court and this Measure is found illegal.) 

      I’m often surprised by people like you who seem to forget the many things she’s lied about, and the way she has betrayed the very people who supported her during the most difficult times she has faced while in office.

      Does integrity, and accountability even matter to you? Do you honestly think the way she has treated her past supporters is right?

    • Prescient, throw away your telephone, because when you call 911 because you’re scared of the boogeygirl, no one is coming. But hey, you can always tweet Maddy, Sammy, Petey, or Rufus.

      I know they’re good at telling lies just to make you feel better.