Secretive New Community Group Spearheads Petition to Recall SJ Councilman Sergio Jimenez

Plans to build tiny cabins for the homeless have kindled surprisingly vitriolic backlash since the city proposed the idea more than a year ago. But the anti-homeless hostility reached a fever pitch in August, when District 2 Councilman Sergio Jimenez was cut off at a community meeting by audience members chanting “build a wall.” Jimenez tried to quell the outburst by warning attendees against the kind of divisive rhetoric spewed by President Trump. While the chant ended, the protest has now transmogrified into a concerted effort to derail the city’s so-called tiny homes project and oust Jimenez from elected office. Not long after that meeting, a group called San Jose Action materialized at and on NextDoor, where people left factually off-base anti-homeless, anti-Jimenez comments on the forum. Who’s behind the group was a bit of a mystery. No names were listed on the website or on their Facebook page, and Fly’s emails to the group were ignored. But Jimenez says he got to meet some of the players when a constituent named Patty Fishburn invited him to meet with residents at her place, where he spent three hours answering questions they scrawled on slips of paper in a cookie jar. Despite the effort, Fishburn and her gang are still railing against Jimenez. San Jose Action held its first major meeting this past week at Hayes Mansion, and they expressly told the councilman not to come and refused to disclose who the guest speakers would be. Jimenez staffers Helen Chapman and Vanessa Sandoval showed up along with an impressive turnout—400 attendees, but, oddly, no public officials—to find out that the organizers were promoting Jimenez’s recall and that the surprise speakers included a ghost of election past: Steve Brown, the hard-right anti-LGBTQ candidate who lost to Jimenez in the 2016 council race. Brown took the stage along with fellow fringe candidate Jonathan Fleming, who’s running against Councilman Tam Nguyen in D7. Several attendees who spoke with Fly said they heard a lot of misinformation at the event, and that the speaker lineup only confirmed suspicions of San Jose Action being a political group masquerading as a grass-roots neighborhood association.

Here’s the Facebook Live video of the Dec. 18 San Jose Action meeting. 

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. I think Jimenez is trying to do the right thing, even if he has to stand up to his own bigoted constituents to do it. Liccardo needs to come to his aid to help him consolidate institutional support like what he did for M Nguyen. Jimenez may not be a reliable vote on every issue for the Mayor, but he is clearly taking the hits for a politically sensitive issue the Mayor has been pushing.

    • Not sure who is heading up the recall movement, but i would like to be contacted as i will participate. Politicians are suppose to support their constituents. Not the City Council. You see, Jimenez put together a meeting to discuss the little out houses being placed in our community. Our community is against the project. So, jimenez goes to vote and he votes to have the outhouses placed in our community along with other communities. Is he for or against the people who elected him. Pretty obvious. He does nothing when i report the homeless in our area. They are breaking the law and San Jose is doing nothing about it. What should be done is take every homeless individual, analyse how he/she can be taken off the street. If they are mentally ill, adicted to drugs, and alcohol,, the deal with it according to their needs. Puting them in outhouses is not a solution. They are still in the neighborhoods doing what they do best….destroying them. Blight, drugs, rape, abuse.

      Im not going to bring up the fact that several people is going to make a for each outhouse because 60K to 90K is not only ridiculous but STUPID

    • Do you know the difference between a vagrant and a homeless person? There are truly homeless people in the southbay who need assistance. There are government and private services available. Now, if you knwo what a vagrant is, look around the area. There are people who are crazy and lazy. There are no laws that require one to work.

  2. This article is nothing but a hit piece, and it reeks of politics:

    …suspicions of San Jose Action being a political group masquerading as a grass-roots neighborhood association.

    What’s so “suspicious” about a group protesting something that it disagree with? Are they required to give their names? Or to invite some do-nothing electeds? Or maybe “The Fly” thinks they should register with the Authorities? and why is “The Fly” presuming to be the self-appointed arbiter of whether a group is “masquerading as a grass-roots neighborhood association” or not?

    The anonymous “Fly” continues:

    Several attendees who spoke with Fly said they heard a lot of misinformation at the event, and that the speaker lineup only confirmed suspicions…

    Who were those “several attendees”? Names, please. And what was the “misinformation” that is made to sound so sinister? While you’re at it, how about naming “The Fly” who wrote this paranoid attack screed? Whose suspicions were “confirmed”? The writer takes umbrage at some anonymous citizens expressing their First Amendment rights—and you’ve done the same exact thing for many years. What, are you special? You can be anonymous—but no one else can? You have 1st Amendment rights—but others don’t?

    Your paranoia would be amusing if you were just a neighbor who sent someone an anonymous complaint. SJI might even reach as many readers as the number attending this this event, so you have a greater responsibility to disclose your own identity. Instead, you take pot shots from behind “The Fly”? Well, aren’t you special.

    This whole article is a political attack—the exact same thing the anonymous writer is complaining about. I’m not part of this group, and I knew nothing about it until I came across this juvenile finger-pointing. But I sincerely hope they’re successful, because the City Council has no business playing Landlord with our infrastructure in such terrible condition.

    When will the pot holes in our streets get fixed? At their current snail’s pace, it will be a LONG time before this crew of Landlord-electeds gets around to doing the job they were elected to do. When are they going to start?

  3. The article’s representations regarding my role in the meeting needs clarification. I spoke at that meeting under the condition that there would be no mention or action of a recall against Councilmember Jimenez, as that would distract from my presentation. And so, no presenter spoke of a recall.

    I briefly spoke with Steve Brown for the first time, minutes before the meeting began, and I know little about him other than he had previously ran for Council in District 2.

    My personal beliefs include the fundamental right that every person is equal, regardless of gender, skin color, country of origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability and more. I believe in the equal rights of our LGBTQ neighbors and will fight for them just as hard as I will fight for everyone else.

    My core leadership principles have included listening carefully, researching successful solutions, and acting to benefit all people and small businesses in both my District 7 and citywide. I will continue to support an open and honest government that is in full view of the public.

    Many residents and small businesses consider me the expert on the homeless situation in San José, expressing the valid concerns that I am hearing from neighborhoods and have a developed a well-documented researched plan that has been successfully used in other cities to help our less fortunate residents get off the street.

    Right now only four Districts are housing 93% of the homeless Community and we need to do better. During my presentation, it was very clear that I am in favor of housing solutions with supportive services for the homeless that house 53 or less persons per facility, that are a distance of ½ mile or greater away from each other. This way you do not make the vulnerable homeless population targets for increased victimization or have negative impacts on neighbors.

    This also sets up the solution through a common-sense approach, which is to house the homeless equally throughout all cities in Santa Clara County and all San José districts within our diverse city. My support also includes the tiny home project, which I championed through the Neighborhoods Commission last fiscal year (

    We are at a critical time in San José, with great opportunities and challenges before us that if not handled correctly, our neighborhoods and city will be negatively impacted rather than becoming the great city that we all desire to live in.

    • Jonathan Fleming- Then I suggest you stand by Council Member Jimenez and make your above stated position on, “NO recall” perfectly clear to the public and the media. Otherwise, you are just providing lip service and saving face with your post on here.

      On another note: Why on earth would you speak at a meeting in which Council Member Jimenez was not allowed to attend if you claim to oppose his recall? Is that how you want to be treated if YOU become the new D7 Council Member? This is just dirty politics plain and simple.

    • >Right now only four Districts are housing 93% of the homeless Community and we need to do better. During my presentation, it was very clear that I am in favor of housing solutions with supportive services for the homeless that house 53 or less persons per facility, that are a distance of ½ mile or greater away from each other. This way you do not make the vulnerable homeless population targets for increased victimization or have negative impacts on neighbors.

      I think it needs to be taken a step further, and they need to locate these far away from the temptations of society (liquor stores) Seems a lot of other drug rehab programs do this. Granted not all homeless have substance abuse problems, but all homeless have “homeless behaviors” that they risk backsliding into if the opportunity to do so is easily available.

      Not to mention land in a far flung location would be much cheaper than inside San Jose proper.

    • It is a known fact New York City and Philly tried the outhouse program and it failed. You being the expert you never mentioned talking to these people and find out what their needs are. There are so.mamy jobs out there. They don’t want to we work. The mentally ill needs treatment as do the drivers and all phonics. Ho back to the drawing board because johnatham Fleming you are NOT an expert. The out houses don’t work. Why don’t you begin MN by cleaning up the elevator shafts in the existing housing. Start with the one near the Jack in the box on Curtner across from light rail

  4. wow can we say fake news? I attended this meeting and learned a great deal! Maybe city is worried about this group coming in middle to move forward with their plans.

  5. Unbelievable! So, anyone on the Council who tries to make a difference in our City’s homeless problem, good or bad, should be recalled, and have secret meetings held behind their backs? You can’t tell me that this is in no way politically motivated because it is.

    Council Member Jimenez is an excellent man who is only trying to do the right thing. I guess as they say, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

    • Hmm, “hold secret meetings behind their backs” sounds like a tactic used by other democrats only 7 years ago! This too was against the majority of legal voters!

  6. I believe when Jimenez was elected, he was to be the voice of District 2, which he is failing to be. The tiny homes issue is only one of several where Jimenez refuses to discuss, more than superficially & only in meetings controlled by him or his people, opposing opinions. District 2 residents have heard from Jimenez on numerous occasions, have attended City Council meetings and know where he and the City stand. The meeting held at Hayes was advertised For the Community, By the Community and was a gathering of neighbors – simply that and no more. It was a time for other views to be shared, rather than the official “city’s stance” which we have heard more than once. I attended this meeting and I learned new information from Fleming and Brown and appreciated the opportunity to do so. This attempt by the press to build it up into some type of clandestine meeting is laughable.
    The meeting was not an attempt to “derail” the tiny homes project. What I heard is some people believe it is not comprehensive enough to help our homeless and not happening soon enough. I have heard at Council meetings that the City has declared a housing crisis, and this solution will not help a single person for another year – perhaps altering the City’s plan could expedite assistance. This meeting appeared more to be an attempt to define what the tiny homes project should be and did address the ridiculous expense in the current proposal by the City. Most people seem to agree that besides the cost, the location is critical, and the prevailing opinion is that locations outside of residential areas should be sought. Jimenez has flip flopped on where these should be located, but for now seems to advocate outside of residential areas, no doubt influenced by overwhelming voices in the community.
    I learned from San Jose Action that hundreds of flyers were distributed door to door so I don’t really think “secretive” can be applied to this group of concerned & diverse community members. I saw a website,, for San Jose Action listed on the flyer, so that indicates to me that this is a group operating out in the open with no reason to hide what they are doing. Residents intent on educating themselves can go to their website, as well as to Council meetings, the Nextdoor site, local news reports, etc. and take what they want from these sources. At the meeting, at least 3 of their members were introduced and spoke. No one was concealing their identity, so to report them as secretive is absurd.
    The press does not seem to be unbiased, as indicated by SJI’s own reporting. There seems to be an attempt by the powers that be on Nextdoor to shut down opposing views on that site, one of the ways average neighbors can read differing views to form opinions on topics affecting District 2. Perhaps SJI should investigate this? The fact is, people with opposing views to our councilman and his supporters do seem to be blocked or removed quickly after posting. I understand Nextdoor Leads can monitor the conversations and may block or remove posts. Coincidentally, Jimenez is one of the neighborhood leads on ND.
    There was no mention by any speakers of a recall at the meeting I attended at Hayes. The recall notion seems to be coming from the community at large, who is increasingly unable to put their faith in an elected representative who does not speak for a great number of the people he represents. I agree with much of what Smoky said – he made some very good points in his reply.

    • In regard to above comments made by me, I have learned today that Councilman Jimenez may no longer be a Lead on the Nextdoor site.

  7. I have attended the City Council meetings on rent control, and I am sure that there is PAC funding from real estate interests behind Jimenez’ recall campaign. Plus, having researched the campaign donations to council members who voted to oppose updating San Jose’s rent control ordinance which lowered the maximum annual rent increase from 8% (1979) to 5% (which is still too much for most low-income renters in buildings under rent control). I clearly see a pattern here of real estate PACs donating the maximum allowable donation to candidates opposed to any tenant protections as well as such donations from big names here in the Silicon Valley real estate world plus donations from their family members and business colleagues. I also know that a group of about 50 Asian appearing people wearing red shirts and calling themselves the Bay Area Homeowners Network appeared several times at San Jose City Council meetings to speak out against updating the rent control ordinance. They claimed to be local landlords and accused the City Council staff and members of being Communists. Three of them had to be escorted out of Chambers because of their shouting and unruly behavior. The only Asian appearing speaker to speak up for the rent control ordinance was my husband (we are small landlords and he is 3rd generation Chinese-American) who became disgusted with what he was hearing and decided to speak up for updating the ordinance as being a common sense Bay Area Homeowners Network ‘s address is in Cupertino. Its website is written in Chinese, except for the postings in English and Chinese calling for all members to attend city council meetings in Miipitas, Mountain View, etc. and speak out against proposed rent control ordinances. On one occasion, I noticed a private bus bringing in people (of various ethnicities, but mainly white) with anti-rent control placards to a City Council hearing. The California Apartment Association, of which I was once a member, is one of the richest and most powerful lobbies in California.

    • BAHN has a lot of members who are San Jose voters or housing providers. No matter who we are, Asian, White, Indian, Hispanic, African American, etc. we are ALL hardworking Americans. Identifying BAHN Chinese will not deny that they are Chinese Americans without helping any issues regarding affordable housing. We are all here even during council meetings to provide reasons and suggestions to help affordable housing. All facts and economists have proved extreme Rent Control will destroy housing supply and make housing even furthar from affordable. We are here to help and solve the problem. Please don’t stereotype anyone to divide San Jose further. We need to work together. That is always BAHN ‘s message for Rent Control.

  8. Sam and I and Cindy and Manny were talking about this the last year of the Rooster. Sam sat down in D3 for 8 years and bankrupted the police department along with Chuck ~ after he and Madison and Pete all voted themselves in a pay raise as freshmen councilmembers. Madison said she needed the money to buy a new dress for the Christmas Party. These folks sat through the dot com bust and the recession and bankrupted every social service the city had.

    who ever said they were a homeless expert in previous posts…seriously….who the hell could ever be a homeless expert…and where were you in 1995 when I was writing about this, and in 2006 when I wrote in San Jose Inside while Sam and the rest of the people partied on Ronzos nonsense of the new city hall. Even bankrupt cities like Detroit have better services for the downtrodden this mad house. These elected officials aren’t much more than placeholders trying to Gavin Newsoms job. Please let me know what a Homeless expert knows… are you a supporter of handing food out at St James Park too…I mean these experts at helping people sure aren’t helping….

    • “How can someone do this…?” Mary Jane, do you attend City Council meetings or Neighborhood meetings? I think if you do, you would not be so surprised. I don’t know the person who started this petition, but I think there are people who want to gauge how District 2 residents feel about their representation, or lack thereof. Some support Jimenez, and many do not. Did you attend the 12/18 Community Meeting at Hayes? This meeting brought together a lot of people who were previously unaware of everything happening in the neighborhood and are not very happy about it. When an elected official appears to ignore constituents, he opens himself to public questioning and scrutiny. Whether a recall will happen, only time will tell. All of us have the right to show our displeasure if we feel the person we elect does not represent us.

  9. > 50 Asian appearing people wearing red shirts . . . . people (of various ethnicities, but mainly white)

    Why not just ban Asian appearing people and white people from city council meetings.

    Obviously, “50 Asian appearing people wearing red shirts” are NOT diverse. And of course, white people are never diverse.

    “Our diversity is our strength”.

    • BAHN is a well-funded group (they can afford to bus their people into pubic meetings, buy everyone matching red shirts, print professionall made signs, etc.), of single ethnicity fighting any protections for rents. If BAHN cared about truly representing the interests of all landlords, and improving its optics, it would not be single ethnicity. BTW- my husband, who is 3rd generation Chinese-American, and lived in interior China from 1980 to 1983 as trained ESL teachers and spoke Chinese, are small landlords and we oppose the racism and distorted information presented by BAHN at City Hall during the vote on Just Cause Eviction.

      • > If BAHN cared about truly representing the interests of all landlords, and improving its optics, it would not be single ethnicity.

        Who made up this stupid rule?

        What is the correct number of ethnicities for a community group in the United States of America to have your permission to be allowed to advocate for their interests to local government?

        > BTW- my husband, who is 3rd generation Chinese-American, and lived in interior China from 1980 to 1983 as trained ESL teachers and spoke Chinese, are small landlords and we oppose the racism and distorted information presented by BAHN at City Hall during the vote on Just Cause Eviction.

        Your 3rd generation Chinese-American husband should respect the rights of other Americans regardless of HIS ethnicity and their ethnicity.

        And so should you.

        Are you claiming some kind of Chinese skin privilege?

  10. Anyone who is interested in homeless issue should read this:

    Homeless shelter in south bay area is closing due to lack of qualified candidates, and their qualifications are:
    **** To qualify, the program requires its members to be clean and sober and employable, or at least willing to work.****

    This leads to a question regarding who are going to live in the bridge housing shelter……?

  11. If only District-7 could have the kind of turnouts that District-2 have when it comes to Homeless Housing, then we wouldn’t have the Chronic Homeless Facility currently being built at 2500 Senter Road in San Jose. It is everyone’s Right and Duty to speak out to their government when needed. I think District-2 is doing just that. Bravisimo!

Leave a Reply

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