In the June primary we endorsed Rose Herrera and Robert Braunstein for San Jose City Council seats because they stood out from a field of candidates. As both races moved to runoffs, two surprise second-place finishers emerged: Johnny Khamis in District 10 and Jimmy Nguyen in District 8.

We wanted to take a closer look at the second-place finishers before issuing our general election endorsements, and that opportunity came last month at the San Jose Downtown Association’s debate.

Although Nguyen is a candidate worth watching for the future, he’s not there yet. He came across as unprepared on the issues and out of sync with his district’s voters. There’s little to suggest that Nguyen is thinking for himself rather than just toeing the union party line.

When asked whether he supported a municipal minimum wage higher than the state’s, Nguyen said: “I’m still iffy on it. I’m leaning towards not supporting it, but I’m open to it.” Sorry, Jimmy, “iffy” stances aren’t a good thing for decision makers in a city this big; voters need to know where you stand on key issues in this election.

Rose Herrera, despite some missteps earlier in her term, has seasoned politically. She takes stands and communicates them clearly. That’s something her district deserves. With the city’s challenges, there’s just no time for on-the-job training.

We have similar concerns about Johnny Khamis in District 10. At the downtown forum, Khamis read his opening and closing comments from prepared statements. Voters need to know if candidates are thinking for themselves or just reading what a political consultant wrote. When a candidate reads scripts, there’s no way to tell.

Luckily, District 10 voters have a well-qualified candidate in Robert Braunstein, the primary’s second-place finisher by one vote. Braunstein, a sportscaster and small business owner, can think on his feet. Like Khamis, he supported pension reform and opposes a minimum wage, but he’s better than Khamis at explaining why. Braunstein says he “doesn’t want San Jose to be an island” while neighboring cities don’t have municipal ordinances on wages.

Khamis also seems less interested in San Jose issues than in broader philosophical questions. He gets caught up in side issues and doesn’t stay focused on what matters in a local race. He’s also thin-skinned, and politicians need to learn to roll with the punches to remain in the public light.

Braunstein’s moderate, competent and thoughtful, though not afraid to take stands and say what he thinks. We think he’s well suited to represent the Almaden Valley district on the San Jose City Council.

19 replies on “Endorsement: Braunstein, Herrera for Council”

    1. But she helped get Measure B passed and, therefore, saved San Jose from complete annihilation. I happen to live here and that’s kinda important to me. Both of the guys in the other race supported Measure B soooo I need to do my own research on it.

      1. Measure B HAS NOT saved San Jose from complete annihilation. Measure B is not going to make it past the courts. The courts have already denied the City a “stay” and the suit is moving forward to the next round. The City now has to pay all of the union’s legal fees for round one due to their (the City’s) loss. But we told you that would happen. Measure B was an illegal measure that should not have made it to the ballot in the first place. If your hope is for Measure B saving San Jose, I think you better brace yourself. Until the City corrects the mess they have made, what Measure B is doing is sending the employees fleeing to other cities and now the City is starting to face a crisis due to lack of staff—and they are aware of it. It’s all over the news. Believe me, it will get worse by early to mid 2013. All of this affects YOU, so you should be concerned. Lack of employees equals lack of decent service to the communities. There won’t be enough staff to do the work. You can see that now with the police department staffing and the water waste treatment plant, whereby the City has had to hire temporary contractors to come in to do the work, to avert an emergency. Not only those two departments, however. Employees are leaving from ALL departments; highly educated, top, experienced employees. If anything should be important to you, it should be that the city try to work this out, legally. THAT is what you should be pushing for. Not some illegal measure. Some people just can’t see past the nose on their faces.

      2. Prescient ,

        Are you so full of yourself that you cant see what going on in San Jose?  Annihilation is coming , thanks to Measure B . You talk an awful lot about how you live here, how this is your city, your kids live here , good for you. My question to you is WHAT have you done for this City ? How are you going to feel when Measure B is Overturned in the Courts , How will you feel when you hear the Bottom line on what the total cost in dollars will be to San Jose , Lets not even talk about the massive loss in experience ( workers who have left for better Opportunities )  what about the fact that it will take at least 5 to 6 years to get new public safety up to speed. Not only do you need to do your homework , you need to wake up!

      3. >But she helped get Measure B passed and, therefore, saved San Jose from complete annihilation.

        Don’t you think that sentence is a little hard to take seriously?

  1. Are you serious?? You say Nguyen “Toes the Union Party Line” But as usual fail to mention that Herrera Has been nothing more than a Hand Puppet for the Reed Regime. Not once in her Extremely Disappointing time as a council member has she voted against Reed . Is that your definition of someone “thinks for them selves”??? Need to do more research on the other race

  2. How can a person who can’t take care of their own finances (filed bankruptcy twice) be trusted to make the correct finance choices for our city? Hererra is the wrong choice. Go with someone who has more stability. Jimmy Nguyen. We need a fresh change.

    1. She supported Measure B and he didn’t. She obviously has a better grasp of finances than he does. At least as it pertains to San Jose. Which is after all is what’s important here, right?

      1. She supported Measure B, which is her right…but she comes with a LOT of baggage that tells a true story about stability. I could care less whether Jimmy Nguyen supported Measure B, or not. That is not the point. Herrera supporting Measure B does not negate the fact that she could not take care of her own finances. Like I said…we need a fresh change.

      2. Three arguments against Measure B I’d love to hear addressed:

        1. Measure B has been bad for San Jose because it has resulted in a record number of police resignations and low police morale (While the city happens to be in the middle of a crime wave)
        2. Measure B violates the contract clause of the Constitution and judicial precedent suggests that it will be overturned in court (Which will cost taxpayers millions in court fees)
        3. City workers have taken a 10% wage cut, increased health care costs, and will soon pay 15% towards health care funding for future retirees. With the addition of Measure B, workers will lose 40% of their net pay over the next six years.

  3. I know we like to have fun and all but there are some serious issues on the statewide ballot. Take Prop 32. Written by anti-labor billionaires, this proposition seeks to stop labor from having a fair say in the future of this state. If you want to show your a bonafide labor supporter please vote NO on Prop 32.

  4. > Braunstein’s moderate, competent and thoughtful, though not afraid to take stands and say what he thinks. We think he’s well suited to represent the Almaden Valley district on the San Jose City Council.

    Even though no one asked, Braunstein volunteered that he was a “Democrat” during a candidate forum.

    After watching the freak show identified as the “Democratic National Convention”, the words “moderate, competent and thoughtful” do not leap to mind.

    Democrats could not decide whether “God” belonged in the Party platform.

    Democrats could not conduct an honest vote on whether to approve a change to the Party platform.

    The keynote speaker was an impeached politician who had his law license suspended for civil perjury.

    The party’s nominee for President was the leader of an administration charged with both Contempt of Court and Contempt of Congress.

    A number of convention delegates candidly admitted to a reporter that they would support laws to prevent businesses from making profits.

    The Democratic Party platform document called for government funding of abortions with no exclusions for partial birth abortions (or “born alive” abortions).

    > … not afraid to take stands and say what he thinks.

    It would be refreshing and informative if Braunstein offered voteres a clear and forthright assessment of the conduct and policies of his Democrat comrades-in-arms.

    Do the Democrats at the DNC represent the kind of Democrat that Braunstein imagines himself to be?

  5. IMO:

    Measure B has been bad for San Jose because—

    1. It is an illegal measure that should not have gone to the ballot in the first place. It is being challenged in the courts and round one has been won by the employees. The judge denied the City a stay and now it is moving on to round 2. City is responsible for all legal fees for round one. The millions of dollars that the City is going to have to pay to fight this losing battle could have best been spent in the communities. All the City had to do was to negotiate. They told the public that they negotiated, and that was a lie. They folded their arms and made “take it or leave it” demands and when the employees did “take it”, they declared impasse. That is NOT negotiation. The City would have been much better off had they negotiated. Now you, the citizen taxpayer has to suffer because of it;

    2. Not only is the City losing police and fire personnel, they are losing top, experienced, educated employees across all departments, which are starting to face crisis due to staff shortage. This is bad for the communities. If you do not have enough experienced staff to service the communities, the communities suffer. That is what is starting to happen and unless something changes, it will get worse by early to mid 2013;

    3. The employees had a reasonable expectation that the salary they negotiated for would be the salary and benefits they would receive. They purchased homes based on those wages. They lived within those wages. When those wages were cut and their pay into benefits increased, they no longer had the financial support to live as they had been living, which caused many to lose their homes and scramble to take care of their families.

    4. Morale is low because the citizens have turned against the public employee. Tell me how you would feel if you lost part of your salary, you lost your home, you are struggling to take care of your family and then on top of that, you are beaten down by the public and then have to take care of them when they need you. How would that make YOU feel?

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