Local Democratic Party Votes Down Idea to Join Chamber

Two major political adversaries nearly hooked up last week, threatening to disrupt a rivalry in local politics. In its monthly meeting, the labor-dominated Santa Clara County Democratic Party voted on whether to join the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. While these two organizations broke bread decades ago on infrastructure projects and more recently held hands on homelessness issues, they are usually ideologically opposed—namely on issues such as pension reform and minimum wage and the contentious San Jose mayor’s race between Sam Liccardo and Dave Cortese. A source says there was “lots of tension” in the room last Thursday, and perhaps no one was more agitated than recently vanquished San Jose council candidate Tim Orozco. The runner-up in the District 4 special election took the proposal as a personal affront after the Chamber PAC—a separate political committee financially supported by the chamber—spent almost $60,000 to support his opponent, council member-elect Manh Nguyen, and another $16,000 on “attack” pieces. But because party members Craig Dunkerley and Herb Engstrom brought the proposal forward, it had to be considered. The two men serve as president and treasurer of the Santa Clara County Democratic Club, respectively, which is already a member of the chamber and has a history of more conservative politics than the Party at large. In the end, a “vigorous” discussion led to the idea being overwhelmingly shot down. Party chair Steve Preminger noted that his organization doesn’t even join groups in which it is ideologically aligned on all issues—BAYMEC, the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, etc.—but will consider partnerships with the chamber in the future.

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. The Chamber of Commerce is anti-worker,anti-union & the sworn enemy of American labor. They’re against the minimum wage,overtime,paid leave,worker safety & the forty hour work week. They bankroll despicable right-wing conservative candidates & represent pretty much everything that’s wrong in America today. Any good they inadvertently do is more than offset by their repugnant rhetoric & reprehensible agenda. Why any intelligent progressive with a modicum of common sense would join such a vile organization or patronize the businesses of it’s members is a mystery to those who are familiar with their goals ? I encourage those who belong to this heinous cabal of local businesses to withdraw their membership & beseech those who respect the rights of their hard working friends & neighbors to boycott every business that refuses to do so. Why give your money to those who’ll use their profits to undermine everything that you believe in by lobbying against your own self-interest ? Remember when marking your ballots that any candidate supported by the Chamber of Commerce is the wrong person for the job & certainly unworthy of the support of working men & women. If you don’t look for the Union Label when you’re shopping you’d just better look out for yourself;because they hate you & everyone who looks like you & will stop at nothing to achieve their greedy goals. Wake up my friends,these people have made a concerted effort to destroy the middle class in America for decades & favor a theological plutocracy over our cherished democratic system of government. Anyone considering joining these malevolent & moronic merchants obviously needs a check-up from the neck up & has a tenuous grip on reality. Do not support this hateful organization in any way shape or form & take the time to spread this timely message to everyone you know ! God bless the American worker & American labor while you still can !!!

    • Well Frank,
      I’m no big fan of the of the Camber of Commerce, but with out them and watch dog groups like them we can all look forward to $25 MacDonald hamburgers and $10 fry’s. Government workers that make $500K a year and retire at age 50, and property taxes on the average house of $30,000 dollars a year.That doesn’t sound like a utopia I can afford.

      Maybe you could threaten Obama into giving everyone on SSI a big raise to pay for all that crap you just ordered up.

      If one of those organization’s spoke about you like that I’m sure you be yelling about hate speech and calling for lawsuits and jail time, maybe a reeducation camp would do.

      The 40 hr work week?, -30 is the new norm, pay for your own heath care the new norm, $5 soft drinks ,16 oz cup the new norm.

      Profit is what makes those busyness’s work, with out profit the is no jobs, there is no heath care there is no freedom of choice about what you buy, what you eat, where you eat it, or were you live.

      Go ask anyone that has come to this country looking for a better life from those socialist utopia’s.
      They’re streaming across the borders as we speak, dying in the desert trying to get away from all that utopia.
      Have it your way we’ll be putting up walls to keep people in, not out.
      Go Mr Mockery buy your self a ticket to Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Greece.
      See what misery successful people like you bring to the world, and thank your luck stars they stop you here.

      30 years working in a union and traveling and living around the world I learned those lesson’s Frank.
      God bless America Frank and ALL the lucky people who live here.

        • I wonder if Officer Johnson made half a million dollars before his brain was blown out from his skull on Senter Rd?

      • Thanks,but I’m perfectly happy here waiting for you to die & for the demographics to continue to shift in a more progressive direction. Many businesses make their money by disrespecting & exploiting their workers with inadequate wages while they line their own pockets at their expense . Remember this is California where Caucasians are now the minority & Republicans would trade their souls (if they had one) for a whiff of the seat of power. If you’re not happy here perhaps a segregated state like Mississippi circa 1950 would be more to your liking. The Chamber of Commerce supports the same candidates (Republicans) that the most ignorant & bigoted of Americans endorse. Of course while every Republican isn’t a racist;every racist is a Republican & the Chamber of Commerce welcomes & needs their votes. When Eisenhower was President the upper tax bracket was 90%,unions were stronger & the air was cleaner. Now while the rich get richer & avoid paying their fair share,the poor get poorer & these rich bastards have the gall to call them freeloaders. It’s no wonder that working Americans complain about being over-taxed,those with the most are commensurately paying the least & complaining the loudest. Spend your money buying elections in those gullible Red States,the vast majority of Californians are too bright to believe the GOP”s specious propaganda anymore. Vote for a Democrat,it’s better for you ! Republicans suck,but not well !!!

    • As one of the people mentioned in the article as having brought the proposal for the county Democratic Party to join the Chamber of Commerce forward, I just have to comment on the comment of Frank Mockery (Is that name for real or just an indication of his point of view?). The Chamber of Commerce, he writes, is the “sworn enemy of American labor.” To which Chamber does he refer? There are many Chambers, and the national Chamber is much loser to Frank’s description than the local ones. And when did they take this oath? The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber, which we proposed to join, is certainly business friendly, but in this deep blue area it is about as moderate as can be expected. Each month they have been having presentations from various legislators, all of the recent ones being Democrats, and most of those labor-friendly. These include, notably, Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries from Brooklyn New York.

      Frank goes on to write that they bankroll despicable right-wing candidates, like, for example, Democratic Assemblyman of the 28th Assembly District Evan Low, who was endorsed by the Chamber.

      Frank asks “why any intelligent progressive with a modicum of common sense would join such a vile organization.” I think I qualify as intelligent (Ph.D. in physics from U.C. Berkeley, two and a half years in the Peace Corps, two years post doctoral research at the U. of Paris) and as a progressive (My bumper sticker reads that I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party; and like Bernie Sanders, I am a socialist, and a card carrying one at that. I joined the now defunct Socialist Party in 1968.) So let me give some very compelling reasons why I favor joining the local Chamber:
      * There are common interests between labor and business. Both want a healthy economy, and both realize that small businesses are the engines of prosperity. We should be talking to each other and listening to each other about these common interests.
      * A very important reason that the local Chamber is conservative is that liberal voices like Frank’s are not there! It was our intention to change this.
      * In this deep blue area most of the Chamber members are Democrats, and often quite liberal ones at that. Thus, the Chamber represents a fertile ground for engaging liberal Democrats in political activity. Our Santa Clara County Democratic Club has already recruited several people including the Chamber’s Vice President of Public Policy, who is a Democrat!

      Frank encourages “those who belong to this heinous cabal of local businesses to withdraw their membership & … boycott every business that refuses to do so.” I guess if Frank is ever a victim of any crime in San José he’ll be out of luck because he’s boycotting the police: The San José Police Officers Association (a union, Frank) is a member of the San José Chamber.

      Frank’s remaining comments (e.g., a “theological plutocracy”) really indicates that it is Frank who has a tenuous grip on reality.

      • Every Chamber of Commerce is a member & supporter of the national Chamber & contributes to their political & lobbying activities regardless of their own myopic views. This includes supporting the despicable right-wing businesses ultra-conservative lobbying organizations like ALEC;which writes union busting & freedom destroying legislation for GOP legislators nationwide. The Chambers real business is currying favor with politicians both locally & nationally to promote their own self-interest (making more money) & does nothing to improve the working conditions of it’s member’s employees. In fact they’re diametrically opposed to any proposal to raise wages,union organizing,employer mandated health care,paid sick leave,equal pay for women,maternity leave & OSHA oversight. By the same token politicians of both parties will always appear at their functions in their predictable effort to sway undecided voters & fill their campaign coffers. Most often the Chamber will contribute to both the Democratic & Republican candidates in a duplicitous yet successful effort to claim they backed the now beholden winner. The SJPOA is a union in name only – when they are settling grievances & negotiating contracts;the rest of the time they have a right-wing agenda & support the lobbying efforts of such delusional & obstructionist organizations as the California Police Chiefs Assn.,California Peace Officers Assn., & the California Narcotics Officers Assn. (the most vocal & well financed of all antiquated anti-marijuana prohibitionists). I’ve voted for every Democrat who ran for President since McGovern,but couldn’t vote for Obama again because he’s been a bitter disappointment & has become far too conservative to merit my vote again in 2016. Alas,Jerry Brown has also drifted too far to the right for my liking & thank goodness Diane Feinstein is soon to retire & make room for Progressives like Gavin Newsom. Herb,if belonging to such an repugnant organization gives an old school Socialist like yourself peace of mind at your age you ought to have your cognitive abilities tested. I on the other hand look forward to a day when we’re unencumbered by bombastic billionaires buying elections with their unfettered propaganda & the faith fomented foppery of the divinely delusional deity devotees of the Christian Taliban is just another unpleasant memory of our sordid past. “You can lead a politician to water,but you can’t make them think” Kinky Friedman

        • P.S. – Your political acumen is only exceeded by you’re musical talent,no wonder you kept your day job ! “Do you remember the great folk music scare of the 60’s,that crap almost caught on” – Martin Mull LMAO !!!

      • > He’s your mess. You figure out how to potty train him.


        On behalf of civilization, thanks for taking on the Frank Mockery problem.

        Maybe there’s an orphanage out there that will take him. Give him some valium and leave him on the doorstep.

        • I’ve just read up on your other inane,inaccurate,ill-conceived,illogical & indefensible comments on topics dear to smug self-righteous simpletons like yourself. You’re just a hater,another typical low intellect Rush Limbaugh,Sean Hannity & FOX News enthusiast who believes & repeats every lie or opinion he hears as if it were a fact. In a state where one with chronic mental disabilities can be denied the right to vote by court order I find it hard to believe that someone who knows you hasn’t already intervened. On the other hand you probably fold your sample ballot into a hat when you receive it & have no idea where your polling place is actually located. “Civilization” is moving forward leaving dinosaurs like you behind,so do us all a favor,take a bottle of “valium” & step off the planet now ! San Jose Mercury a liberal newspaper,you are out of your mind ? Their editorials & the editorials of every paper that the Media News Group owns always demonstrate a conservative bias;invariably out of step with the views of the majority of their readers & residents of the communities they supposedly serve !! If that fish wrapper/bird cage liner ever landed on my porch,I’d demand that they were cited for littering. Maybe if you had a glass belly button you could see what’s so clear to everybody else !!!

          • “Monkey” ? Really Bubba ? So we can add racist & bigot to your short resume ! Save the shoe polish for your famous minstrel show act,no amount of PR could cast you or your putrid ilk in a better light. Besides hiring someone would require big dollars & common sense,two things you seem to be sorely lacking. It’s too bad Darwin didn’t live long enough to determine how you specifically avoided taking part in evolution,but “monkey’ would certainly be a major leap forward for you. Calling you a “monkey” would be an insult to “monkeys”,though you undoubtedly need one frequently to explain the premise of my remarks to you. Even Pavlov’s dog would be deemed significantly smarter than you & if it had an opposable thumb it could be doing your job both at work as well as at home ! Do try to come up with an amusing or clever retort next time (if that’s even possible);as you’re beginning to bore me & in turn all of the other more intelligent readers as well !!!

  2. Thanks for recognizing my greatness ! It’s the little narrow-minded people like you who make my efforts to enlighten the ignorant masses most worthwhile. That being said I must say that you’re exhibiting quite an unhealthy & perverse interest in the disposal of my bodily waste. Then again you undoubtedly stand on your “soapbox” when you’re peering into your neighbors bathroom windows late at night. If that’s your thing they’ll eventually catch you,neuter you & put you away. The headline will be “OutsidetheBubble Inside the Big House” & we’ll laugh & laugh & America will be a happier & safer place for us all !

  3. Frank: you weaken your message considerably and divert attention from the issues by your vituperative personal attacks on all and sundry who disagree with you. Adopting your tactic, I’d advise you to take an anger management course of at least 52 weeks. Also, please turn in all your weapons at the next buyback program before you go postal, and use the money to buy the meds you sorely need. Doesn’t everybody just love Frank’s sophomoric love of alliteration? WOW! SJI has its very own Travis Bickle. I put the over/under on when Frank’s explosive words become explosive deeds at 9/11/15. I’ll take the under.

    • Better alliterate than illiterate like you John & my other mentally deficient detractors ! Please notice that while few can actually dispute the factual nature of my comments or attack their indisputable veracity;they constantly resort to impugning me personally instead. Yet then when I respond to them in kind & in spades they wet themselves & whine hysterically about my personal attacks. Gentlemen you’re in way over your heads,give up before I’m forced to verbally eviscerate you on an hourly basis. They say it’s better to give than to receive & I always enjoy a battle of wits & witticisms with the “unarmed” & intellectually unprepared. “The pen is mightier than the sword” & Travis Bickle was a regular Shakespeare compared to you John. Besides no one really cares what you hare-brained,hidebound,holier-than-thou halfwits have to say in the first place. So you can take your specious & ridiculous words of derision,roll them into a little ball & stick them in the second place (you’d better have somebody explain that to you). Bring it bitches,I just love it when you’re a) angry b) apoplectic c) livid d) all of the above (the answer of course is D) !!!

      • > illiterate like you John & my other mentally deficient detractors

        > few can actually dispute the factual nature of my comments or attack their indisputable veracity;

        > you’re in way over your heads,give up before I’m forced to verbally eviscerate you on an hourly basis.

        > I always enjoy a battle of wits & witticisms with the “unarmed”

        Mr. Monkey:

        You sound like a guy who enjoys clubbing baby harp seals.

        It’s unclear to me how you think clubbing illiterate, mentally deficient, factless, witless, hare brained, hide-bound internet couch potatoes establishes your intellectual or political creds.

        Shouldn’t you be picking a fight with someone with some real stones and gravitas, say, Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter?

  4. Hey Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, hows Measure B working out for you? I can’t wait to run into Matt Mahood to ask him what other waste he will be endorsing at the California 2016 polls…. Glad you guys have a pretty blue building at your front door. Helps hide the hobo fecal matter that littered the door steps of the old building. Oh and I hope as a tax payer I will be invited to the next downtown special interest Contractor’s Ball…. I hear Devcon and Swenson already got their invites. Ill have to talk to Tom next time I see him around San Pedro Square..

Leave a Reply

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