Some of San Jose’s District 9 council candidates threw parties that appeared to be an exercise in humility optics. Fly was surprised to see even the most monied contenders like Pam Foley slumming it up in her mid-century million-dollar Willow Glen home with some wine from the prestigious Costco vineyards.
“I could not be more tickled pink,” Foley chuckled while watching the early election results on the living room television and casually swirled her goblet like Queen Cersei relishing the Great Sept’s destruction.
Confident in her victory, Foley savored her commanding lead in the polls with a toast of that Kirkland private reserve red among about a dozen family members, neighbors, friends and supporters. Vince Sunzeri, board chair of the San Jose Police and Fire Retirement Plan, joined in the fun, as did Bill Baron of Brandenburg Properties, Mike Fox from Goodwill of Silicon Valley, and Councilman Johnny Khamis’ Chief of Staff, Shane Patrick Connolly.
Down the street and around the corner, labor candidate Shay Franco-Clausen continued the Costco theme with her inner circle at home and waited to pop her own bottle of that bargain bubbly.
Although she was in third at the time despite being a favored candidate in the weeks leading up to election night (even Foley’s followers were surprised to see Kalen Gallagher pull ahead), Franco-Clausen was “absolutely 100 percent optimistic” that voters would come through for her in the end.
“I think the night is young,” the mother-of-five said. “I’ve seen lots of campaigns turn around in the middle of the night.”
While waiting with family and supporters for people like Sunnyvale Vice Mayor Larry Klein, Sunnyvale Councilwoman Nancy Smith and San Jose councilors Raul Peralez and Sergio Jimenez to arrive, Fly was offered a cheeseburger from the pile of In-N-Out food on the kitchen table.
Franco-Clausen said she’s actually “not at all” a fan of California’s cult fast-food chain (she never eats beef burgers), but noted that the company’s renowned labor practices aligned neatly with her progressive campaign platform.
“They actually do pay a living wage,” she added.
Now there’s something to toast with that hoity-toity vino.
Gallagher, a Campbell Union High School District trustee, ended the night as the surprise runner-up, pulling it off without the institutional backing of labor or business. With more than 70 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, he held a tad more than 30 percent of the votes.
Come November, D9 voters will have their pick between a young independent in Gallagher or business-friendly schools trustee in Foley.
Either way, the race will significantly shift the balance of power on the 11-member council. D9, which spans a largely affluent, home-owning expanse of south San Jose, has long been held by labor-friendly Councilman Don Rocha, who terms out this year.