The only San Jose City Council race this year that lacks an incumbent has no shortage of qualified candidates. However, two candidates—Robert Braunstein and Edesa Bitbadal—seem to be the best fit for District 10.

Of the pair, we prefer Braunstein because he brings more real-world experience to the position, which we think is important because it provides a reality check to an ingrown political culture. Braunstein is an Almaden native who started his career working as a reporter for a small television station in Laredo, Texas, before coming back to San Jose and eventually creating the South Bay’s signature high school sports highlight show: Cal-Hi Bay Area. (The former title of the show, High School Sports Focus, might ring a bell to many eligible voters.)

Braunstein’s political chops are a work in progress, but he has a clear grasp of the issues as well as some interesting ideas on how to generate revenue for the city. He falls in line with Mayor Chuck Reed and the majority of the council that supported pension reform through Measure B. While he’s a social Democrat—he supports gay marriage, unlike the mayor of the 10th largest city in the nation—Braunstein espouses a fiscally conservative approach to budgeting, which he cultivated from running his own small business over the last two decades.

Bitbadal is a professional staff aide who served under State Sen. Elaine Alquist and former Councilmember Linda Lezotte before working as chief of staff under District 4’s Kansen Chu. She also serves on the planning commission. Her comprehension of policy is as sharp as any person’s in this race.

While government experience can be useful, however, we think City Hall needs an outsider’s perspective to pry loose from the current malaise. Working at the speed of business is a common refrain heard downtown, but the culture needs to be repaired. Bitbadal’s endorsements from labor unions despite her support of Measure B, which came late in the game, are also not easily explained.

We also have to acknowledge candidate Denelle Fedor, chief of staff for District 6 Couniclmember Pierluigi Oliverio and the only independent in this race. Her idea to take the lease revenue bonding process out of the hands of the City Council—poor decisions in the past included unfunded budgeting for two golf courses and Hayes Mansion—is the most substantial policy proposal of any candidate in any of the five districts. Her style, however, seems better suited to working behind the scenes.

With six candidates in this race, the primary is merely a prelude to a bigger battle in November. For now, though, Bruanstein gets our nod to bring District 10 back to relevancy.

5 replies on “Metro Endorsement: Robert Braunstein for San Jose City Council, District 10”

  1. Robert, you are for pension reform. Your wife is a public school teacher is San Jose – she is a public employee and is in the CAL-STRs (California State Teachers Retirement system?)

    Should Measure B be passed by the voters it will face legal challenges, should it survive those challenges your wifes pension will be the next thing that politicians will go after along with concilmembers and mayors and judges. Heck, Obama and others in the federal government want to go after MILITARY PENSIONS!  Is your house ready for that?

  2. > Bitbadal’s endorsements from labor unions despite her support of Measure B, which came late in the game, are also not easily explained.

    Perhaps I can explain this:

    > Bitbadal is a professional staff aide who served under State Sen. Elaine Alquist and former Councilmember Linda Lezotte before working as chief of staff under District 4’s Kansen Chu.

    There.  That wasn’t so hard.

    She had her fingers crossed when she supported Measure B.

  3. > The only San Jose City Council race this year that lacks an incumbent has no shortage of qualified candidates.

    Wrong the first time.  Every District 10 candidate seems flawed or limited in some way, with the exception of Brian O’Neill, who is flawed, limited, and unqualified in EVERY way.

    > However, two candidates—Robert Braunstein and Edesa Bitbadal—seem to be the best fit for District 10.

    Wrong the second time. Braunstein and Bitbadal are at the bottom of the fitness scale, not at the top.

  4. While in the context of a local election campaign, it is not possible to know ALL of the inadequacies of every candidate, let’s list some of what we do know about Braunstein and go from there:

    > While he’s a social Democrat—he supports gay marriage, . . .

    In the Almaden Valley candidate forum, Braunstein was the only candidate to make a pronouncement of his party affiliation.  In fact, he went out of his way to mention he was a Democrat in a context where it almost wasn’t even relevant.

    Fair enough.  It Braunstein wants to be a Democrat, lets decode the significance of “Braunstein, the Democrat”.

    In Obama’s America in 2012, there are really two kinds of Democrats:

    Type I Democrats are cunning, amoral, warlords who live inside their heads and seek power for power’s sake. Like the Sophists of ancient Greece, they do not believe in any concept of objective truth; they believe that, as a practical matter, “the appearance of truth” works just as well as actual truth, and that the “appearance of truth” can be attained by the practice of “rhetoric”. Skilled rhetoric, cunning, artful rhetoric, sleazy rhetoric, bullying rhetoric. It doesn’t matter. If you win the argument—BY ANY MEANS—you have “discovered” the truth.

    Think of Type I Democrats as people like: George Soros, Saul Alinsky, David Axelrod, Paul Ehrlich, Barack Obama, Al Gore, Barney Frank, Valerie Jarrett, Nancy Pelosi, etc. etc.  They are all people who will look you in the eye and tell you they love your children, but at the same time they will steal their inheritances and give them free abortions without telling you.

    The other kind of Democrats is the Type II Democrat.  They are dim-witted, shallow, self-centered, narcissistic followers with short attention spans.  Think of them as “Sergeant Schultz”.  They are happy and fulfilled if someone tells them that they love them, promises to give them free things, and gives them permission, endorsement, or moral validation for their selfish or venal wants or desires. They are the “sheeple”.

    Want to have promiscuous sex? OK. The government will give you a free condom AND be non-judgmental.  Want something your neighbor has? OK. Your neighbor is a greedy, rich pig, and the government will take his money and buy something nice for you.

    So what type of Democrat is Democrat Robert Braunstein?

    Well, let’s be circumspect and allow that, at this stage of his career, he probably hasn’t swindled the taxpayers out of $500 million dollars for some bogus, feel-good alternative energy project like Solyndra. So, call him a Type II Democrat.

    But, what does a Type II Democrat do if someday a voice on the telephone says to Council Member Braunstein: “Bob, the people will really love you if you vote to spend . . . blah, blah blah. . . it’s for the children . . . it’s for the gays . . . it’s for the workers . . . it’s for the puppies, butterflies, sea otters . . .” 

    Type II Democrats want to be loved and the special interests will shower him with hugs and kisses, not to mention ego-fluffing blandishments for higher office, TV appearances, audiences with bigwigs, etc. etc.  What would Robert Braunstein do?

    Would he be a pillar of independence, civic virtue, governmental restraint, and fiscal responsibility, or would he opt to be a rock star and sugar daddy for the grifter class and a stooge for the political warlords?

  5. This posting seems to be another by the Robert Braunstein fan club. In fairness to Mr. Braunstein’s accomplishments an innovative ideas, I feel this article does not do justice to the experience of Edesa Bitbadal.

    As a council aide, Edesa organized business associations and worked to expedite the permitting process in San Jose. She also worked extensively with neighborhood organizations to accomplish community-level goals such as opening Smart Start centers and youth centers. She has 15 years economic development experience and is currently a planning commissioner. These two roles have prepared her for 80% of decisions which come before the City council.

    ‘Insider’ does not mean ‘same old’ in the case of Edesa Bitbadal. This is a woman who has the knowledge and proven ability to get it done within City of San Jose policy. To write her off as a career political aide who just happens to be a planning commissioner demonstrates a severe lack of research by the authors.

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