Mahan Announces Mayoral Run

San Jose City Councilman Matt Mahan has thrown his hat into the San Jose mayoral race.

Mahan announced his run before a group of supporters Saturday morning at the entrance to the County Fairgrounds and took aim at the county’s inadequate efforts to address the homelessness crisis. “Behind us sit 150 acres of county land,” he said, declaring that government land must be deployed to build low cost units for unhoused individuals. “At $850,000 per unit we will never solve the problem,” he said, a veiled reference to the county’s nearly billion dollar Measure A housing program.

Instead, Mahan suggested that local government could provide “clean, safe modular units with a door that locks and a bathroom” for one-tenth the cost.

Casting himself as a problem solver, Mahan declared, “We can end street homelessness” and added “We have the money right now to end it.”

The Mahan for San Jose  web site went live earlier with a platform declaring his intention to wage “a revolution of common sense” and detailing his programs for smart growth, neighborhood preservation and construction of low cost housing for the city’s unhoused population.

The Harvard-educated former technology startup executive was elected to the City Council in 2020 to represent District 10, which includes the Almaden Valley, Blossom Valley and Vista Park neighborhoods. He defeated two other candidates in the March primary with 58.5% of the vote.

Mahan was raised in Watsonville and attended San Jose’s Bellarmine College Preparatory school. He and his wife Silvia are raising their two young children in the West Santa Teresa Foothills neighborhood.

He enters a field to replace termed-out Mayor Sam Liccardo that includes fellow councilmembers Dev Davis and Raul Peralez, and former Nevada congressional candidate Jonathan Royce Esteban. A committee has filed campaign paperwork for Councilmember Cindy Chavez, but she has not yet announced her candidacy.

This article has been updated.





  1. Mahan, 150 acres “down the tubes.” That will be a one-way trip and in short time the entire fairgrounds will be occupied by homeless people.

  2. For those who have any doubts about Matt Mahan’s political and policy outlook and proclivities–not to mention his value system–all you have to know is that he, like Mayor Liccardo, is a graduate of Harvard, an elite university whose calling card is the networking and socialization of this country’s elites and the cultivation of affiliation and allegiance to those elites from non-elites (;

    It’s no surprise, therefore, that Mahan sits on the boards of Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) and Joint Venture Silicon Valley, two of the major lobbying and influence-peddling organizations representing the largest, wealthiest and most elite corporations and propertied interests in the region (; While not descended from an elite family, Mahan is a member in good standing of the club, largely the result of his attending both Bellarmine and Harvard.

    His post-Harvard background as a tech businessman broadened and deepened his connections to CEOs and their minions that no doubt figured into the strong endorsement and support Mahan garnered very early on in his campaign from the Silicon Valley Organization (SVO) (recently renamed the San Jose Chamber of Commerce), the largest chamber of commerce in town ( SVO was absolutely giddy about Mahan. He was prominently featured on the SVO website here: and here: before those pages were removed–along with others–after the SVO race-baiting scandal in October 2020 ( Among his earliest supporters were neoliberal Mayor Liccardo and conservative former Mayors Chuck Reed (who has endorsed Dev Davis for mayor) and Ron Gonzales (who has endorsed Raul Peralez for mayor), as well as conservative councilmembers Chappie Jones, Lan Diep and Pam Foley.

    More significantly, former SVLG chief, and current Bloom Energy lead lobbyist, Carl Guardino was a key supporter and fundraising linchpin in Mahan’s council campaign during 2019-2020 ( Guardino has for more than a quarter-century operated as a key capo of the local shadow government that wields enormous power and influence in the city and county ( He was also chiefly responsible for the grooming and promotion of Sam Liccardo, both in his campaigns for city council and for mayor (; In a very similar way, Guardino’s support was pivotal in Mahan’s win as the District 10 Councilmember in 2020 and Guradino and associates have been grooming Mahan for the mayor’s position for some time, seeking to build on the their successes with Liccardo for a repeat performance.

    If you want to see how his background figures into his early voting record, just consider that barely one month into his council position, and in the midst of a frightful and exhausting pandemic, Mahan was one of only three members (joining his mentor and supporter Liccardo and Dev Davis) in voting against a piddly $3 per hour/ 120-day hazard pay mandate for San Jose retail food workers for putting their health at risk during an unprecedented pandemic. Mahan cited a lack of good information about the “unintended consequences of such a policy (” This is from a man who, as a candidate for office in February 2020, indicated he was “very focused on upward mobility and maintaining a strong middle class in San Jose and making it accessible to everyone’” ( So much for coded and loaded platitudes.

    Combining elite Harvard grooming networks with financial and political backing of wealthy local elites, Mahan leaves no doubt as to his primal allegiances. Like his mentor and supporter Mayor Liccardo–himself the spawn of Carl Guardino–Mahan now aspires to be the capo’s next Manchurian mayor. We’ve seen this movie before, it involved another Harvard graduate and it was a blockbuster (; Whether such a template can be successfully deployed by Mahan and the Guardino team locally (or nationally) remains to be seen.

  3. He sounds like a good alternative to “show more compassion to the homeless” Peralez and “I only meet with labor leaders” Chavez. Someone not already a crony.

  4. >>SALEM Sep 25, 2021 @ 6:17 pm
    For those who have any doubts about Matt Mahan’s political and policy outlook and proclivities–not to mention his value system–all you have to know is that he, like Mayor Liccardo, is a graduate of Harvard, attending both Bellarmine and Harvard.

    That’s really the only bad thing you can say and honestly, that’s not all that bad. The rest of it reads like a SBLC hit piece full of ranting conjecture. You mention him voting against a $3@hr wage increase for grocery workers during the initial months of the COVID shutdown, and that’s about it.

    I agree with Mahan. $850k per unit for homeless housing is ridiculous. Army is housing Afghan refugees in HVAC cooled tents at Fort Bliss in New Mexico. We should be looking at doing the same as building permanent structures innuendo’s that we’re going to be dealing with this forever.

  5. Mr Cortese,

    The $850k per door is the design outcome this whole narrative was driving for, along with $3k per month social/management fees. It has been a boondoggle from day one.

    This guy won’t change a thing, the “Mayor” of San Jose is just one vote and the options the council are given are baked by bureaucrats with serious skin in the boondoggle racket.

  6. Mr. Cortese: You are underestimating the damage that the graduates of Harvard (and other elite universities) have wrought on this country. Think aggressive wars, the design and production of nuclear weapons and the basic research for a broad spectrum of weapons systems, the creation and management of the Cold War and the militarized economy, research and development for the CIA and others in their overt and covert interventions in other countries’ affairs, the design and management of the national security state and mass surveillance, anti-labor and anti-social systems of business and corporate power, Wall Street banks, brokerages and law firms to supercharge wealth accumulation and legalized theft of every description. This is Harvard’s living legacy in the imperial system.

    While there are notable exceptions to the rule, a Harvard connection is highly correlated with the promotion of anti-popular public policies and a general sociopathy. The most recent and glaring examples would be the Obama and Trump administrations which were swimming in Harvard alumni and were utter disasters for common working people in this country (;;; Not to be outdone, the Biden administration is double-dipping at the Harvard trough, presaging an equally disastrous outcome (

    This, of course, leaves out the large number of Harvard-trained business leaders, e.g. Zuckerberg, Sandberg, Gates, who have wreaked havoc on our economy and society and account for a significant share of unequal wealth distribution over many generations (

    Beyond this, Mahan’s close association with Carl Guardino should be sufficient evidence as to what he’s all about. Guardino has been poison for San Jose’s working people and residents who are exposed to deadly pollutants from business operations he has represented, defended and promoted as a lobbyist at the municipal and county levels ( Every tax break and taxpayer funded subsidy gifted by our local governments to wealthy property owners, developers and business owners is brokered by the likes of a Guardino. The results are the continuous attrition in public resources for infrastructure and services (except for the police, of course) and ever more regressive taxation.

  7. > NOT HIM Sep 26, 2021 @ 8:08 pm
    > SALEM Sep 26, 2021 @ 9:59 pm

    It’s cool you two still have hope for San Jose. I’ve given up. Between all political parties involved nobody represents the little guy anymore. The $850k boondoggle is likely promoted by labor (I’m sure Swenson or Sobrato will have some involvement in it)

    You can’t say every regressive tax or grant was brokered by Guardino either. San Pedro Square was solely brokered by Tom McEnery. The property tax processing fees (which seem to account for a 3rd of my bill) are a hidden tax not voted on, but rather installed through “regulations” The $0.10 plastic bag tax wasn’t brokered by Guardino, I remember who was on council when that was voted through.

    Try not to use sweeping generalizations or stereotypes.

  8. Mr. Cortese,

    I have no hope for San Jose or most of California in general.

    I hope to help the clueless see through their self delusion and possibly conclude the only path forward is to take control of their life the best they can, even if it’s baby steps like paying the 30% of rent these women seem incapable of conjuring up even on Social Security and/or disability. Perhaps they can sell their tears from the innumerable weekly crying sessions they perform for the cameras. Or at least post them on social media and get ad money.

    I hope to archive lessons of government malfeasance in hopes of educating leaders in other places I invest in to not repeat San Jose’s stupidity and emulate the futile malaise of ressentiment that people like Ms. Cartwright ooze from their pores.

    But as long as San Jose gets dragged around by the nose with this racial equity, most vulnerable, decolonization, etc nonsensical dismantling of human agency it is addicted too, there is no hope for San Jose or its poor.

    By the way, SJI is sending me your email address on this reply autofilled in the Name, etc below. I deleted it, but none the less.

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