Thursday, May 04, 2006

Debates @ SJSU

What a Show...

Monday morning, SJSU hosted mayoral debates in the University Theatre.

The candidates smiled gently in their seats on stage, dressed to impress students and faculty (potential voters... really, let's be honest) anticipating the event, posted earlier that morning in The Spartan Daily.

John Candeias, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, Michael Mulcahy, Dave Pandori, and Chuck Reed attended, lined up front and center to answer questions posed by two students, a teacher and the audience.

While the questions ranged from what the candidates would do about police profiling to how they would address homelessness in San Jose, the responses were fairly uniformed as expected. Most of the candidates agreed that assisted living (or permanent housing, as Mrs. Chavez said) was needed, as well as more homeless shelters and educational programs throughout San Jose.

Mr. Pandori distanced himself from other candidates in one regard, by incorporating his “green” ideals into his responses about how to best handle Silicon Valley’s business.

In an interview after the debates, Mr. Pandori said, “The money [to expand parks and open spaces in San Jose] is already there in the budget.”

Ruffling through a binder of notes and papers, Mr. Pandori lifted the San Jose City budget, pointing to financial areas he believed could be redirected to those ends. “You don’t have to choose between business and a green San Jose,” he said, “you can have both.”

While Chuck Reed leads in poles by the San Jose Mercury, he seemed very cautious while debating, keeping his responses simple and short.

Mr. Reed’s main focus seemed to be encouraging business growth in San Jose, while at the same time pressing that he voted against the now famous San Jose race track. Reed also said he would, “work for open government,” an apparent response to the troubles plaguing Mayor Gonzales’ term.


Ethics was by and far the main issue of the debates. Vice-Mayor Cindy Chavez tried to distance herself from the ill-dealings of Mayor Gonzales, as did Mr. Cortese and Mr. Reed.

John Candeias and Michael Mulcahy both stressed that neither of them have ever held office in San Jose before, and thus are in no way affiliated with the controversies/scandals of the Gonzales led council.

Courtesy of City of San Jose official website

We need to do top down audits of every city agency," said Mulcahy.

John Candeias later joked in an interview after the debates, “
I hardly have any money for my campaign,” shaking the hands of two audience members as they passed, "so you know I don’t have any conflicts of interest.”

All in All

The debate itself highlighted the importance of the growing SJSU community in the development and sustainability of San Jose's economy.

It also highlighted the outreach that local politicians looking to distance themselves from recent corruption must make in order to secure votes and combat what Mr. Cortese referred to as "
Done deal syndrome" - the feeling that business is really done behind closed doors.

Primary Elections will be held on June 6, 2006.