Chavez Campaign Coordinators Spend Big, Disconnect Phone Numbers

With less than three weeks remaining in the county supervisor runoff between Teresa Alvarado and Cindy Chavez, supporters on both sides have now volleyed accusations of illegal assistance from outside groups. In the more recent complaint filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), Alvarado and her political consultant Jim Gonzalez are accused of an illicit powwow June 19 with the top brass of the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee. Steve Preminger, chair of the county’s Democratic Central Committee (DCC), accused the Alvarado camp of unfairly coordinating for the final weeks of the race, and a quick look at campaign disclosure forms shows that the Chamber PAC did, in fact, give $75K to the independent Community for Accountability Opposing Cindy Chavez in the days following the meeting. But Preminger sure has some nerve calling out names. A quick look at the DCC’s United Democratic Campaign records, found on the Secretary of State’s website, shows that county Democrats have spent more than $206,000 supporting Chavez in the first six-plus months of the year, allowing her to more or less flaunt traditional restrictions on campaign fundraising and spending. While the DCC’s money is supposed to be strictly spent on “member-to-member” communications, many of the costs are listed under broad categories that include salaries and food. A call over to the FPPC’s Gary Winuk confirmed that this seems to comply with the Political Reform Act, which more and more resembles Swiss cheese. And let’s not fail to mention the third member of the coordinated Chavez campaign triumvirate—the South Bay Labor Council’s Committee on Political Education, which also claims to be doing strictly member-to-member outreach. But unlike the DCC, the SBLC’s COPE group has not filed any disclosure forms with the state, and it has a disconnected phone number listed on its active committee webpage. Fly called over to the county’s Democratic headquarters to ask Preminger what was the deal, but the phone number listed on the party’s website was also disconnected.

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


  1. Proving once again that old chestnut: When you don’t like what the facts tell you, it’s best to come up with ways that will allow you to simply ignore them. Whatever you do, SJI/Metro, don’t pay attention to the facts or you might have to come up with some bad spin on a really really lame story.

  2. The local Democratic Central Committee gave one of its party members $206,000 to make sure that she wins over another of its party members?

    Rich Robinson wrote this about another race:

    Instead of expanding opportunity in congressional districts around the country, these two will be utilizing precious resources to fight each other. Those dollars cannot be replaced and the ultimate winners are John Boehner and Eric Cantor, who could never win California’s 17th District but won’t have to contend with the extra money raised by Honda to support candidates elsewhere.

    So instead of using the $206k to promote “Democratic Values” in races with Republican candidates, the local Democratic Party Machine decides to spend its money to promote one Democrat over another.  I wrote “its money”, because it clearly doesn’t belong to the Democratic Party membership.

  3. Fly says, “A call over to the FPPC’s Gary Winuk confirmed that this seems to comply with the Political Reform Act, which more and more resembles Swiss cheese.”

    So Fly, you’re saying that Ann Ravel who made Swiss cheese of the county’s rules & records on expenditures by individual supervisors when she was County Counsel has proceeded along the same lines now that she runs the Fair Political Practices Commission? 

    What a surprise that a sloppy manager on the county level has turned out to be a sloppy manager on the state level.  In the law, implementation and energy are everything.

    By the way, no offense intended to the nation or peoples of Switzerland, the domestic dairy industry, or cheese-makers.

  4. From now until election day the Labor army will bombard voters of District 2 with nasty “hit pieces” and thousands of phone calls, condemning Teresa Alvarado.

    Steve Preminger, Ben Field, Cindy Chavez and the other scoundrels at the South Bay Labor Council/Democratic Party HQ/Working Partnerships (Yup, they all exist in the same “Labor Temple” building, folks!) are nasty enough to make a buzzard puke.

    • Funny, My mail is bombarded with campaign mailer “hit pieces” on Cindy Chavez that are nothing more than collages of reprints of “news” articles culled from the MercuryNews and blogs from San Jose Inside.

      I am simultaneously bombarded with with other collages of “puff-pieces” singing the praises of Teresa Alvarado which are also nothing more than collages of “news articles” from the Merc and blogs from SJI.

      No one is complaining about local “journalists” producing campaign material for Alvarado in print and internet medias for later use in campaign mailers though.