The Open, Closed Book that Is County Supervisor Joe Simitian

Joe Simitian wants to run for Congress. It’s the worst kept secret in local politics. What seat the former state legislator and current county supervisor will run for is anybody’s guess. But Mighty Joe will be ready. In the first six months of the year, Simitian raised almost $50,000 through his officeholder account, a good chunk of which came in the last month of the filing period. That’s because the county is soon changing its rules to limit officeholder account contributions to $1,000—right now they’re unlimited. Simitian can spend this dough on any legislative, governmental or political purposes, including his annual district fundraiser this fall. What caught Fly’s attention while perusing disclosure forms was the list of benefactors and trips Simitian took with his political checkbook. Among the largest contributions was $5,000 from Jay Gellert, CEO of Health Net, which happens to be one of the county’s insurance providers that currently has an RFP bid making its way through the process. In his adorable why-must-I-always-be-the-smartest-guy-in-the-room manner, Simitian explained that he and Gellert have been friends for nearly four decades, and the CEO as well as Health Net have been regular contributors throughout Simitian’s career. Foiled on this turn, Fly latched on to two trips the supervisor took to Washington, D.C. Simitian says he took the first flight to attend the Congressional swearing-in ceremony and the second trip was part personal, part none-of-your-damn-business. “Who I meet with on political business is not something I would routinely reveal to the press or share with others, anymore than you would routinely reveal who your sources were in a story.” Touché. But Simitian might not be able to pull such roguery when he’s forced to publish his calendar starting this fall. The supervisor ended the verbal joust with his sincere thanks for informing the public that he’s not using any taxpayer funds for his political activities like, say, George Shirakawa Jr. Duly noted, supervisor.

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

One Comment

  1. Joe Simitian did not take his elected position as seriously or thouroughly as his constituents thought. That is why he is equally as treacherous for government as George Shirakawa Jr. was.

    If you don’t know the saying: “Congress is a farm league for K Street” then you are not paying enough attention to politics in the United States. Joe Simitian continues to play that game that plagues Congress, and he’s not stopping anytime soon.

    Looking only at his resume, he has everything one could ask for in a Representative. But when looking at his actions, it tells the story that he should not even be a Supervisor of Santa Clara. His opposition to the full disclosure of meetings was when I hit my “Bull——Button” as fast as I could. He claims that the public should not know who he is meeting with and to me that means he is hiding his true intentions of how he spends his time (on taxpayer dollars nonetheless).

    Joe Simitian has offered all he could in his life of politics, it’s time he realized that too.