The following editorial was just posted online by the San José Mercury News, and will be published in the Sunday, July 7th, print edition.
Please read it and share the link with your friends and family in District 2:
Mercury News Editorial
Posted: 07/05/2013 12:01:00 PM PDT
In the July 30 election to replace felon George Shirakawa Jr. as Santa Clara County’s District 2 supervisor, Teresa Alvarado and Cindy Chavez face off — and the choice comes down to relationships and allegiances.
Chavez, a friend of Shirakawa’s and until recently the head of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, will solidify the power structure that kept Shirakawa in office and will increase the power of unions in county governance. Alvarado will draw on deep ties in the East San Jose community and on private and non-profit sector work experience to bring a fresh outlook to the job and an ability to work with both labor and business interests for the public good. She is by far the better choice for both the district and the county.
Relationships and allegiances are the key here because these candidates of great intelligence and ability are similar in general philosophy and priorities.
Both are lifelong Democrats. Chavez has official support of the Democratic Party, whose chairman, Steve Preminger, works for the labor council’s policy arm, Working Partnerships USA, which Chavez still heads. Some Republicans are backing Alvarado in this race, but that mainly reflects their opposition to Chavez.
Alvarado’s values, including support for the labor movement, are grounded in progressive politics and her East Side upbringing: Her mother, former Supervisor Blanca Alvarado, and late father worked with Cesar Chavez in the earlydays of the farmworker movement.
The difference is that Alvarado can be objective when the interests of residents and taxpayers may conflict with those of politically powerful unions.
Chavez will cut deals behind the scenes. She is not a big fan of open-government policies. Alvarado is running on a platform of transparency and accountability.
One place this could play out is in assessing county management. County Executive Jeff Smith is scrambling to save face after the Shirakawa debacle laid bare the failures of his administration to enforce financial controls. We trust Alvarado to look objectively at how the county is being run and deal with it head-on rather than, as one possibility, using shortcomings to gain more personal control over operations.
Like most local governments today, Santa Clara County faces growing health, public safety and social service needs as the federal government and even the state are backing away — and as long-term debt for pension and health care obligations becomes harder to ignore. Elected officials need to take the long view, even at the cost of immediate popularity. Alvarado can do that. We recommend her to District 2 voters.