The only historically conservative seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors could vanish in 2022.
Former San Jose City Councilmember Johnny Khamis and Los Gatos Vice Mayor Rob Rennie are sweating over one proposed redistricting map that cleverly excluded the two announced candidates’ homes from District 1, which stretches across South County, from south San Jose, Gilroy and Almaden Valley to Los Gatos and Monte Sereno.
But while waiting to learn if they’re even eligible to run for the district they’re campaigning to represent—along with Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine and Santa Clara County Office of Education President Claudia Rossi—another concern has emerged before a decision is made by Dec. 7.
Should all five supervisors ethically be allowed to approve a map, choosing from the Advisory Redistricting Commission’s "Yellow," "Purple" and "Equal and Equitable 2.0" models?
Supervisor Susan Ellenberg endorsed Rossi and Supervisor Cindy Chavez hosted a fundraiser for Constantine on Oct. 30, meaning two of the people voting aren’t exactly impartial decision makers.
Additionally, Chavez was previously the executive officer of the South Bay Labor Council and director of Working Partnerships—two groups that helped craft the Yellow "Unity" map.
Elected officials regularly abstain from votes that even remotely impact their lives outside of their jobs—whether involving family members, personal investments or non-financial interests.
Average voters rarely get worked up over these wonky skirmishes. Still, it doesn’t take a political scientist to see there’s at minimum an appearance of conflict in voting on a redistricting that determines the futures of candidates they’ve endorsed in a race that’s already underway—and whose winner could support a supervisor’s future legislation or next election.