San Jose Council Candidate Tim Orozco Admits to 2 DUI Arrests

Last week Fly took a close look at the life of Manh Nguyen, a Vietnamese media executive and candidate for a San Jose City Council seat. It turns out he rented an apartment in District 4 last November, just weeks before he declared his candidacy, which sounded like an odd maneuver for someone who claims to be a longtime D4 resident. We also learned that he’s a bit of a Ladies Manh. Several readers suggested Fly turn its attention on Nguyen’s opponent in the June 23 special election, Tim Orozco, and some of those tips had merit. Orozco said in a phone interview that he has twice been arrested for driving drunk—the first incident occurring more than 30 years ago in college, and the second occurring almost 17 years ago, around the same time he was working on the campaign of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. Orozco said they were mistakes in judgment he’s learned from and that he’s fine to still have a drink from time to time in social situations. He admitted, however, it was a bit “unnerving” to see his personal life being discussed publicly. A former staffer to Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and now an employee for state Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont)—in addition to campaigning, Orozco said, he still works a minimum of 17.5 hours a week to retain health benefits—the microscope that comes with getting out front and running for public office has been a new experience; as has fundraising. Orozco said his advisers told him he needed to raise $70,000 in the runoff to defeat Nguyen, and right now he’s only about halfway to that goal with five weeks remaining in the race. As for any residency claims, Orozco said he moved home from San Diego to North San Jose in 2012 to be closer to family. The Registrar of Voters confirmed he lives at his mother’s house and has voted in each election since returning to San Jose.

Send a tip to The Fly

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. So D-4 voters have a choice between (1) Tim Orozco, a 55 year old who has lived with his Mama in the district since 2012 and works a mere 17.5 hours a week so he can “retain health benefits”, and (2) Manh Nguyen, who only leased an apartment in the district last November, just within the 30 day deadline. WOW! Neither of these two seems to possess much of a connection with the district. For a labor-backed candidate, it seems that Timmy boy is not a big fan of work. 17.5 hours/week? Wish I could support myself on that. Oh, I forgot, he’s sponging off Mama. And he’s the odds-on favorite to win? So how does 17.5 hours/week get him health benefits? Oh, that’s right, he works for a State Senator representing Fremont, so that probably means the taxpayers pay for his health care benefits. So, he sponges off the taxpayers as well as off his Mama. Wonderful! Although Mr. Nguyen has apparently worked hard since fleeing from Vietnam, he did file bankruptcy in 2009. And he wants to make billion dollar budget decisions? Well, they say that voters get the representation they deserve; but do D-4 voters really deserve either of these two bozos?

          • Jordan is right. Candidates running for office often reduce their work hours in order to run their race. Though less than commendable for the notion of moving back to help his parents, it is understandable that he would want to maintain the 17.5 hours in order to retain his benefits.

    • If he is 55, then he has elderly parent(s). He probably IS living with them to care for them. They may have health issues. I had to move my parents in with me for the same reason.

  2. People make mistakes. It pisses me off when a member of Congress from Florida is forced to resign for using cocaine and a council candidate’s press coverage consists of his criminal record. Policy positions are far more important than candidates’ personal lives.

    • I think you’re mistaken, 2 dui’s is a major indication of irresponsibility. Isn’t being convicted of a felony an automatic candidate dismissal. Why are we having a June election?

      • 17 years ago? Some of our sitting council members have more recent and more character defining incidents than a DUI that is so old that it wouldn’t appear in a drivers DMV history….love the double standard….

      • Having a DUI arrest from 30 years ago or from 17 years ago might be relevant if Mr. Orozco was trying to be elected to drive a school bus or an 18-wheeler but, since he is not, what is most relevant here now is Mr. Orozco’s policy positions.

        Mr. Orozco is a staunch supporter of public safety. He has been endorsed by the San Jose Police Officer’s Assn and the San Jose Fire Fighter local 230 so obviously they are sure enough in his sincerity that they chose to endorse him. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the SJPOA has thoroughly scrutinized Mr. Orozco’s minor “indiscretions” and are obviously unconcerned. Critics can make all the spurious claims about the SJPOA “selling out” their endorsement for political advantage but I can absolutely guarantee you that they would not endorse a crook no matter how much he promised to do.

        Mr. Nguyen, on the other hand, is endorsed by mayor Liccardo and by former mayor Chuck Reed, arguably the architects of the destruction of public safety services in San Jose.

        Drinking and driving might have indicated poor judgment 17 years ago but it is not a character flaw nor does it speak to Mr. Orozco’s integrity or honesty as a person. Mr. Orozco’s mistakes have likely been expunged from his driving record. (Even DMV finds it irrelevant after 7 years).

        While I am the last person who would, or should, pass judgment on anyone’s character or soul, the apparent ease with which Mr. Nguyen engaged in his self-admitted philandering while remaining married to his wife speaks more to a certain propensity for and comfort with dishonesty. He must though be an accomplished “muti-tasker” to have been able to juggle all those women for all those many years.

        I don’t live in D4 and have no ax to grind. I’m just making observations based on what some might consider a somewhat unique perspective regarding human nature.

        • JS Robillard: I must admit I am somewhat confused by your position.

          You are essentially okay with a candidate drinking and driving but you have a problem with another candidate who dated other women after he’s separated from his wife. Is that right?

          • Mr. Ellis,

            Drinking and driving 17 years ago speaks to less than stellar judgment but it seems to have been self-correcting. When asked, Mr. Orozco was forthright about it, albeit he didn’t have much choice.

            I make no value judgment here concerning Mr. Nguyen. However, “dating” other women while separated and living apart from his wife, who he has apparently yet to divorce, for over a decade, speaks to at least a certain narcissism and perhaps a bit of dishonesty since I seriously doubt that these women that Mr. Nguyen was “dating” just suddenly popped up out of nowhere only after he separated from his wife. Of course I have no definitive proof, though as a former investigator, I strongly suspect, that Mr. Nguyen engaged in this extramarital “dating” before he separated and that this is apparently a recurring pattern of behavior for him. This doesn’t make him a bad person but it does tend to indicate that Mr. Nguyen may be somewhat comfortable with dishonesty. This is not a condemnation. It is just an observation. I may be wrong and I am certainly not perfect myself.

            Yet, it also seems strange to me that Mr. Nguyen, who has previously stated that he lives much of the time in a residence in or about his place of business in D3, still lists his wife’s residence on Sierra Rd., in D4 ( the same wife who he says he has been separated from for about a decade), as a place of residence but then he also seems to hedge his bets by also renting an apartment in D4 only about one month before the election so as to satisfy the residency requirement for a D4 candidate.

            I don’t personally know either candidate and of course people are free to make up their own minds but Mr. Nguyen, while he may be a nice person, just has too many inconsistencies in his past behavior and statements. Cynically, I believe that all politicians are inherently untrustworthy but Mr. Nguyen just doesn’t seem very adept at hiding it as well as some can.

          • He dated with a married woman, his friend’s wife, and has a son with that woman.

      • 17 years and 30 years ago is a long time. I know I was a completely different person 17 years ago. To say that one can’t learn from past mistakes is absolutely not true.

        He was rather open and honest about it. I don’t think his past has anything to do with what he will do as a Councilmember. This story is not relevant, and goes to show what kind of reporting (drama) SJI likes to spew.

        • Jordan: Did Tim openly disclose it or did he answer it after SJI asks him about it? If he disclose it prior, then I would agree with you that he’s rather open and honest. If he disclose it after the media got wind of it, then I am not sure that I can agree with you.

      • Jessica: Being convicted of a felony isn’t a automatic candidate dismissal so we would still need to have an election. However, I do agree with you that it might be a red flag about his character especially if Orozco is still drinking even after 2 DUI arrests. It is one thing to have a single incident when he was a college student but it’s another thing if it happens when he’s older. If he didn’t learn from his first mistake, how do we know that he has now learned? Frankly, it scares me.

    • That’s backwards, Kathleen More talented people either have the money or know who does. This is a race where every voter will vote his/her ethnicity, and nothing more.

    • We had 8 other candidates and some of them were very qualified – Alex Torres and Lan Diep to name 2 of them. But, neither of them had Labor’s funds behind their election.

      Now, District 4 goes through 2 more years of sub-standard representation. (We suffered 6 years of this under the prior rep.)

      Mahn Nguyen will likely win the election because of his ethnicity. In a recent school board vote, Khoa Nguyen, someone who is not qualified to be on the board, got the most votes over two other more qualified candidates. Most of his votes were from the Vietnamese community. Fortunately, there were 3 openings and the 2 more qualified candidates won. But, District 4 is not going to be well represented by either of these clowns.

  3. THIS tabloid style reporting of “gotcha” politics is so awful no matter who’s being targeted. When are people gonna realize, no matter who the person might be, there’s always something potentially shaming that can be dragged out of the closet…

  4. With all due respect to JohnMichael O’Connor, but I think that he has been a bit less than kind to both candidates. We don’t know Tim Orozco’s specific situation yet. The Fly could have probed further before we can make the presumption that Tim is living off his parents or we should applaud him for helping his parent(s). If he is living to help his parents, then kudos for him.

    The 17.5 hours work week to retain medical benefit is understandable though less than commendable. The DUI raises a great deal of questions that we need to learn more of the circumstances before we can fully pass judgement. How did it happen? Was it an arrest or a conviction? Had Tim taken step to avoid another DUI? Have any of us make a dumb mistake when we were in college? Honestly, none of us ever make a mistake when we were in college?

    As for Manh Nguyen, from various sources including the article by the Fly, it appears that Nguyen had separated from his wife for a long time. If so, it is reasonable to expect that Nguyen would date other women. To accuse him of “having more than one wives” for dating other women after he’s separated is grossly unjustified, and frankly, plain silly. Who he dates/dated is not relevant just as who Tim Orozco is dating/dated in the past is also irrelevant.

    My aunt (a 50 years residence of Berryessa) lives nearby Manh’s home when he and his then wife and young children just move in. Thus, it is completely false to say that he just moves into the district. Try 25-30 years ago. Of course, after he is separated from wife, you can understand that she might not want him to stay in the same home during the campaign especially since they still have an tenuous relationship (“on/off” according to the article). Do you think that his separated wife would want their private lives to be air publicly? If not, then shouldn’t Manh do the honorable thing by living in a different place? If that is the reason, then we should commend him for protecting his wife even if they are separated. Kudos for Manh!

    • The Fly is not big on in-depth investigative journalism ( not exactly the hallmark of the publisher or journos who post here either). the Fly is exactly like a fly… it buzzes around feces, lands on it picking up little bits an pieces on its filthy body (can’t collect the whole pile…too much effort required) then buzzes around some more landing on this or that and spreading pollution and filth….yep that’s a fly.

    • Damon asks: “Was it an arrest or a conviction?” Seems a bit naïve to me. Don’t you think that if there were no convictions Mr. Orozco would have shouted that fact from the rooftops? Cousin Cortese pleads on their behalf that “I don’t see anything less than 2 average guys with issues.” Yeah, that’s just who I would want to represent me and have control over budgets in the billions of dollars—2 average guys with issues. Jeez, is everybody dumbing down everything these days?

    • Let he who is without beer, cast the first stone.

      Ash Kalra made a mistake, took responsibility, took his punishment without whining and without asking to be treated any different than anyone else. He had a couple beers with friends during a Sharks game and on the way home, he was stopped because he had a malfunctioning tail light, not because of his driving. Read the police report and the court transcript. I don’t excuse the behavior but the man made a mistake, took his punishment without a whimper and this is more than we can say for most people and especially most politicians.

  5. DUI is bad (98 for me) but then again, 30 and 17 years ago is a long long time. That would put it at 13 years between each incident, with 17 years passing since the last. I can’t fairly make any judgement on that. 17 years, you’ve made life choices to change yourself without backsliding into another DUI, and honestly that’s pretty commendable.

    Damon Ellis explains away Manh’s situation with a very to the point explanation. He’s separated from his wife and moved into an apartment.

    In either case though, I think both parties are grasping for straws at each other. A lot of people are trying to find some major fault with these men, but I don’t see anything less than 2 average guys with issues I’ve known several friends and family to have had. I appreciate THAT honesty more than I could of someone feigning perfection.

    So maybe you two should draft a press release and send it out, signed by both of you. May the best man win.

  6. We still listen to the Rollingstones, Creedence Clearwater, The Doors, AC/DC, THE WHO… They have all been in trouble but good at what they do and we still listen to them .. Tim Orozco is ONLY being honest and has proven a point .. He moved back to his childhood home to take care of his elderly mother.. Is that so wrong? I take it as being a responsible son. He’s not a BACKSTABBER..;) I thank him for being truthful.

  7. > … and the second occurring almost 17 years ago, around the same time he was working on the campaign of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

    I can — maybe — overlook a DUI from 17 years ago.

    I CAN’T overlook working on Barbara Boxer’s campaign 17 years ago.

  8. It looks as if Tim Orozco has all the experience to get the job done. I understand his elderly mother lives alone and Tim has stepped up to the plate. It shows what a huge heart he carries for not only his family but for ALL the people in his community and whoever he meets. We need more like this in the world.. PEACE

  9. > It shows what a huge heart he carries for not only his family but for ALL the people in his community and whoever he meets.

    EVERYONE should care for his or her elderly mother.

    I don’t know how this shows that the candidate “carries for not only his family but for ALL the people in his community and whoever he meets.”

    The central issue of government in this day and age is: “How is the candidate going to pay for all the caring he is going to do for ‘all the people in his community and whoever he meets'”.

    And, by the way, is he going to care for people NOT in his community, or for people he DOESN’T meet?

    This is an important question because the conventional answer to the question of PAYING for the mercenary “kindnesses” that politicians so glibly promise is to SCREW THE CHILDREN and SCREW FUTURE GENERATIONS.

    Our kids don’t realize it but they are already dead broke and headed for debtors prison, or worse.

    I’m not impressed that the candidate “cares for his elderly mother”. I want to know that he cares for todays children and doesn’t intend to buy an election by planning to rob kids of their future.

    We need to look at people who fund their elections by stealing from kids the same way we look at child abusers.

Leave a Reply

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