Husband of County Supervisor Cindy Chavez Blasts Chamber PAC for Election Role

Mike Potter, husband of Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, appears neither ready to forgive nor forget slights real and imagined in the lead-up to last week’s election. At last week’s Democratic Central Committee meeting, Potter blasted the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee for its efforts to help defeat his wife, and/or support her opponent, Teresa Alvarado—perspective dictates the distinction. Out of turn, Potter stepped to the front of the room, took the microphone from DCC Chair Steve Preminger and excoriated the Chamber PAC’s actions as unethical. Potter’s ire, in part motivated by a speaker who preceded him, apparently stems from allegations that the board of the Chamber’s political action committee illegally coordinated with the Alvarado campaign. There’s just one issue with this indignation—Potter’s job as a state and governmental affairs rep for Cisco, one of the largest members of the local Chamber, requires him to work directly with the Chamber and its policy makers. There is some concern within the business-boosting organization that Cisco CEO John Chambers, a staunch Republican who co-chaired John McCain’s presidential run, doesn’t realize Potter, his hired hand, is also firmly in labor’s pocket. But Potter isn’t the only government relations gopher who moonlights with the South Bay political machine. Other labor allies whose day jobs could be a little antithetical to their political affiliation include Jonathan Noble, a government affairs manager for Microsoft who previously served as Chavez’ chief of staff on the San Jose City Council, and Javier Gonzalez, a former George Shirakawa Jr. crony who works as a pseudo lobbyist for the California Restaurant Association.

Clarification: A previous version of this report attributed Potter’s comments toward the Chamber, rather than the organization’s PAC.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. Totally inaccurate.

    Herb Engstrom, the speaker that had immediately preceded Mike Potter, had called out Mike Potter by name and incorrectly asserted that Cisco was a member of the Chamber PAC Board. Therefore Mr. Potter was totally justified to respond.

    Cisco is not a member of the Chamber PAC Board due to the PAC Board’s (mis)conduct in previous election cycles, the explanation was given.

    There was no blasting, excorciating, ranting or raving of any kind.

  2. Hey fly, i swear you must have been on LSD. Your description of Mike Potter addressing a question from one DCC member and a supporter of Alvarado’s campaign at last weeks County Central Committee meeting was nothing close to reality.

  3. OMG people. Move on! Labor has more elections to worry about than this lingering high school drama. Chavez won.

    Labor and the Democratic party has every right to participate in elections, and even though I disagree with them Chamber does as well.

    We need to realize that the Chamber is not going anywhere, move on, and focus on electing more pro-labor Democrats to office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *