Cindy’s in. Unless she isn’t.

Cindy Chavez is one of the San Jose area’s cagiest political poker players, not one to show her cards accidentally or stray from talking points. That’s why, when she shared her ambition to become San Jose’s next mayor at a private luncheon of Asian-American and Pacific Islander electeds, it was quite the July bombshell, even though no one will go on record as having witnessed the detonation.

Evan Low, the assemblyman who organized the lunch, claims “I was walking in and out… I could have been outside” when Chavez delivered the news. Supervisor Otto Lee had an alibi too, swearing he showed up late and missed her remarks, but heard about the announcement from others. Santa Clara Councilman Kevin Park says “that was a Big Thing” but wouldn’t repeat what she said. County Board of Education trustee Rosemary Kamei says she must’ve been in the bathroom when Chavez unveiled her intentions.

Others, however, confirm that Chavez left little doubt that she plans to upend the field that already includes downtown councilmembers Raul Peralez and Dev Davis. Her entry would pit two labor-aligned Latinos against one another in the primary and add a second female to the race.

Also kicking the tires is former technology executive Matt Mahan, who won the District 10 seat in March 2020.

While Chavez will certainly benefit from high name recognition and her coalition building as a county supervisor, City Hall watchers remember that she was trounced by almost 20 points in the 2006 San Jose mayoral runoff with Chuck Reed, the most lopsided whooping since Tom McEnery creamed Claude Fletcher four decades ago.

Political consultants to opponents are already sharpening their knives and eager to remind voters about the multiple scandals that swirled around city hall during Chavez’s tenure on the council and to highlight her free-spending ways as a county supervisor. Valet parking anyone?


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. Then there’s the Default Case appeal to many, given the others who are running.

    That may have led her to run, of course.

  2. I 100% would not vote for Chavez. Part of the SCC/San Jose political establishment that has made small problems, massive problems and still have no realistic solutions.

    No thank you.

  3. Absolutely, 100% agree. You captured my thoughts exactly. San Jose residents…time for a massive overhaul of out government. It has and will continue to fail us.

  4. With Chavez probably in the race, the need for a viable, clean candidate becomes critical. Unfortunately Raul Peralez, in accepting an endorsement from Ron Gonzales as an “honor,” has descended into the slime.

  5. The queen ? of the homeless epidemic. If she ever becomes mayor she will ensure that San Jose becomes like Detroit and the flight of the hard workers and producers will only increase. The destruction of San Jose under Democrat rule continues.

  6. Not one person of the Democratic Party would have been out of the room for ANY reason when Cindy Chavez was speaking. Not one. She is that revered by local democratic politicians who believe in giving away money to everyone but those that actually pay the bills.

    Evan Low, Otto Lee, and Rosemary Kamei all lied to The Fly, when they said they were out of the room. Either that or they disrespect her that much.

    If she runs and wins, she will give away the house and ignore taxpayers, and avoid accountability, much as she currently does at the County.

  7. San Jose would be greatly improved with new leaders, new ideas. we’ve had nothing but a revolving door of the same people simply changing hats.

  8. Reed was the beginning of the deteriorating city of San Jose!!! He fired all the mounted police who kept crime down in the downtown area and kept homeless out of the children’s park!!! The horses were paid for so the city was just paying the salaries for the mounted police whose presence is dearly missed!!! Things have gotten worse and worse for citizens who actually own property and pay taxes to live in the downtown area!!! We need to be very careful who we elect!!! Sam Liccardo hasn’t done anything to stand up for
    Homeowners downtown. Each year there is more trash, more break-ins, more thefts and no regard for keeping the homeless out of our parks. The only thing the city has organized is the parking police!!!! We have to go online and change the guest profiles. We are allowed only two guest passes and these passes are only online. It is up to each homeowner to go onto the computer and change the parking pass information and we are not being given card board hangers any longer. My gardener comes on Tuesdays and I have paid the permit fee for his vehicle for all Tuesdays. What happens if I need a plumber while the gardener is here???
    No one seems to be able to help and I am supposed to change the user of the permit on line myself whether I am out of town or not so
    we can no longer get hangers for the people parked in our neighborhoods!!! Only online permits!!!! There are many residents who do not use computers so those people apparently have to go to city hall to the eighth floor in order to get the necessary permits for workers in our neighborhoods. Again there are no physical hangers and we’ll have to hope our temporary workers don’t get fined for parking in our neighborhoods.

    Of course the city has no plans to put in speed limit signs or stop signs in problem areas.

    I have been out of town and if any policies are being changed and improved, I apologize in advance that I am not aware of revisions to the existing instructions.

  9. A meeting for “Asian-American and Pacific Islander” political interests.
    Identity politics is the root of the current rot in our society.
    Do AAPI have a political interest that is different from the rest of us?
    Keep pushing this and the whites will decide they have their own separate interests too.

    The only constituency that should be coddled are those taxpayers that pay more than they take. None of this should be racial.
    By far the most successful highly multi-racial society is Singapore. Their iconic prime minister for 4 decades is Lee Kwan Yew. He brought success to Singapore by crafting a national identity and patriotism that transcended race. Singapore is currently the happiest country on earth and is in the top 3 for standard of living. In the words of Lee Kwan Yew:
    “The easiest way to get majority vote is a vote for me, we’re Chinese, they’re Indians, they’re Malays. Our society will be ripped apart,”
    I wonder if we are intelligent enough to listen to leaders that have actually been successful at this?

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