Khamis Has Strong Early Support in New Supervisor District 1

Although it’s early in the election season and a third of respondents to the latest San Jose Inside Power Poll have not yet formed opinions, former San Jose city councilmember Johnny Khamis garnered as much support as all three of his challengers in the race for District 1 county supervisor.

In the race for Santa Clara County Sheriff, more than half of our respondents had not yet formed an opinion but, among those who have, three of four candidates have significantly more support than incumbent Laurie Smith. The six-term sheriff, who faces a state investigation and a civil grand jury trial into corruption allegations has not yet indicated whether she will seek reelection.

Opinions are well-formed, however, on the topic of whether noncitizens should be granted the right to vote in city elections. Almost 63 percent of panelists who expressed an opinion oppose the idea.

Regarding whether the state should consider taking over PG&E following years of utility-ignited fires that have devastated large swaths of Northern California, almost 59 percent of people with an opinion backed the idea.

Finally, 83 percent of voters support the recent ordinance requiring anyone attending large events at city-owned facilities to test negative for Covid-19 or be vaccinated and have received a booster shot.

Here are the specific questions and responses to our poll:

Question 1

Four candidates are running for the District 1 seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, which represents a large portion of southern San Jose and all of the county south of the city. If the election were held today, whom would you support from among this list of candidates?

Johnny Khamis, former San Jose city councilmember — 33%

Claudia Rossi, Santa Clara County Board of Education member — 14%

Sylvia Arenas, San Jose city councilmember — 12%

Rich Constantine, Morgan Hill mayor — 9%

I don’t yet have an opinion — 33%

Question 2

The race to be Santa Clara County’s next sheriff now contains at least four announced candidates. Incumbent Sheriff Laurie Smith has not yet said whether she will seek a seventh term. But if the embattled sheriff were to seek reelection while facing a state investigation amid grand jury allegations of corruption, whom would you support from among this list of candidates?

I don’t yet have an opinion — 59%

Dave Knopf, former assistant chief of the San Jose Police Department —20%

Christine Nagaye, sergeant in sheriff’s office — 10%

Kevin Jensen, retired sheriff’s captain and 2014 candidate — 8%

Laurie Smith, Santa Clara County sheriff — 2%

Sean Allen, sergeant in sheriff’s office — 0%

Question 3

The San Jose City Council recently agreed to consider letting noncitizens vote in city elections, as is permitted by the cities of San Francisco and New York.

Is this a good idea?

No, voting is a privilege that should be reserved for citizens — 57%

Yes, noncitizens who live here deserve a say just like the rest of us — 34%

No opinion/don’t care — 9%

Question 4

Even as PG&E recently exited federal probation stemming from its conviction for crimes related to the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion, a federal judge called the company a “continuing menace to California”—citing its culpability for 31 wildfires that destroyed tens of thousands of homes and killed 113 Californians. Should the state explore a takeover of the utility?

Yes — 54%

No — 37%

No opinion/don’t care — 8%

Question 5

The city council recently approved an ordinance that requires anyone attending large events at city-owned facilities must have been vaccinated and received a booster shot or tested negative for Covid-19. Do you approve of this policy?

Yes — 83%

No — 14%

No opinion/don’t care — 3%

Analysis of Question 1

Former councilmember Khamis was written out of supervisorial District 1 by the new boundaries recently adopted by the very board he hopes to join. To remain in the race, he recently signed a lease to move from his long-time Almaden home to South San Jose. But the drama of being temporarily ineligible to run in District 1 doesn’t seem to have diminished Khamis’ prospects.

Khamis had the support a full third of respondents, with another third undecided and the final third’s support divided among county board of education member Claudia Rossi (14 percent), San Jose City Councilmember Sylvia Arenas (12 percent), and Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine (9 percent).

Would-be candidate Rob Rennie, the mayor of Los Gatos, also was rendered ineligible to run for the district 1 seat. He has announced that he will defer his quest to join the board until 2024, when he will seek election to the District 5 seat currently represented by longtime Supervisor Joe Simitian.

Analysis of Question 2

With 59 percent of respondents saying that they don’t yet have an opinion about the candidates to be the next sheriff of Santa Clara County, it’s too early to say much about who leads this race.  But it’s not too early to observe that any plans that Smith might have to seek reelection to a seventh term look to be on life support following a series of embarrassing revelations about her conduct in office.

Former San Jose Assistant Police Chief Dave Knopf boasts as much support as all four of his publicly declared opponents, but the race is quite early, and no candidates have yet done much to introduce themselves to voters.

Analysis of Question 3

Although governments in San Francisco, Maryland and New York have sparked a progressive movement to extend voting rights to noncitizens, members of our panel are more skeptical of the idea. Two out of three people offering an opinion oppose the notion.

Analysis of Question 4

The biggest surprise of our survey was the high degree of support for state exploration of a takeover of PG&E. The company’s public standing has plummeted in recent years, following the devastating 2010 San Bruno gas explosion for which it was culpable, and the dozens of Northern California wildfires that have been attributed to faulty maintenance by the San Francisco-based utility.

Evidence that PG&E charges ratepayers for never-performed maintenance has dogged the utility for at least a quarter century. What’s new is the steadily growing pressure for the state to do something about it.

Analysis of Question 5

Once again, a huge percentage of our panelists support aggressive governmental action to help quell the pandemic. Panelists clearly don’t believe that the unvaccinated should be allowed to jeopardize the health of the vaccinated.

San Jose Inside Power Poll is not a scientific poll. Rather, we ask questions of influential people with a wide range of viewpoints to help advance informed dialogue about the city. Power Poll is studiously non-partisan.



  1. How can you “journalists” continue to write articles based on Power Polls?

    These are not POLLS

    They are communiques informing the plebs what the aristocrats deem worthy of us

    Fake news never seems to end.

  2. So you ask a bunch of Democrat activists and politicians (is there really a difference?) loaded questions and you get loaded answers. I wonder if you ask how many in your poll voted for DJT if you would get even one.

    And, who are the 34 percent who said non-citizens should be able to void. Talk about “useful idiots!”

  3. So, Johnny Khamis changed his party affiliation from Rep to “none” to protest Trump’s separation of families policies — the same policies of the Obama/Biden Administration. Sounds like a true conservative ? — really rock-ribbed.

    Unfortunately, there is really no other option if you want to see even a small shift in the makeup of the Board of Supervisors.

  4. For sure Johnny Khamis is the most capable and deserving of being elected. The question is can he serve in that position without his head exploding every day from all the absurd ideas and policies proposed and approved by everyone else?

  5. Agreed, can you image dealing on a daily basis with Samitian, Otto, Chavez and Ellenberg? Virtue signaling on everything from “birthing people” to “the more people we let out of jail, the lower the crime rate will go.” ?. I couldn’t do it — best of luck to Johnny. He is going to need it.

    If he sticks to any of his conservative principles and voices them, they will go after him just like they go after Sheriff Smith. I hope that he derides them when they behave like silly wankers. While they have no shame and cannot be embarrassed by their idiocy, they should be publically mocked at every oportunity. They are not serious people. They are not serious about solving problems. They are only serious about getting elected to higher office and pushing the same old tired Marxist rhetoric.

  6. Part I: Birds of Feather

    As noted in an earlier comment, the people included in the Power Poll are almost exclusively drawn from elites in the local economic hierarchy, a propertied and privileged minority ( High net-worth people almost exclusively socialize with each other, live in the same zip codes, send their children to the same private schools and flock together in the same luxury consumption and leisure venues. They don’t want government at any level that threatens the lopsided concentration of economic, social and political power that they wield vis-a-vis the vast majority.

    As a servant of an insufferable status quo, Johnny Khamis is as good–or as disastrous–as the next neoliberal politician maneuvering to heap favors on the wealthy at public expense while blabbing about fiscal responsibility. For some details on Mr. Khamis’ San Jose City Council record in the past few years, and on his current gig shilling for realtors, see:;;;

  7. We watched Johnny Khamis for 5 years fight hard for all San Jose residents by consistently saying, “NO NEW TAXES!!” during Council meetings. We have watched Arenas call anyone and everyone, including Khamis, a “racist” if they don’t agree with her on almost everything. She seems to be toning it down a bit as the election process continues.

    We have every intention of voting for Khamis because of what we have watched what he has done and tried to do for ALL of San Joseans.

  8. Part II: More Than Two Can Play This Game

    The libertarian bots are beside themselves, head over heals in love with Johnny Khamis. That alone should be the kiss of death for the County Supervisor District 1 contender. Note how they have skipped over the second choice of the Power Poll crowd–Claudia Rossi–and juxtaposed Sylvia Arenas with Khamis. Econoclast strongly suggests readers take a closer look at Rossi, a candidate steeped in the fields of health and education–both of which are core County responsibilities–and grounded in community-level work for decades (;

  9. Is this the guy who said he had a private email server in his home similar to Hillary’s? Roll the tape of him at the San Jose Police and Fire Board meeting to get the full sound bytes.

  10. Khamis was a breath of fresh air on the San Jose City Council – and would be the same as a Supervisor. We need more moderate/conservative leadership in the Bay Area/CA.

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