Metro Endorsement: Tam Truong for San Jose City Council, District 4

We don’t know enough about Tam Truong to give an unequivocal endorsement, but we do know that District 4 incumbent Kansen Chu has been a mostly ineffective member of the City Council.

It’s time to give someone else a chance.

At just 30 years old, Truong’s career has clipped at an ambitious pace. He went straight from graduating out of San Jose State University to joining the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, where he worked for four years. Truong then joined the San Jose Police Department, where he was promoted to detective for the sexual assaults unit a year ahead of schedule—partly because he speaks Vietnamese, his native tongue, fluently.

Truong is a political novice, but his stance on pension reform is bold if not admirable. Most police officers admit pension reform is necessary for the city to be solvent in the future, but Truong goes a step further in his opinion that Measure B is the only way to rescue the budget and restaff a department that has been decimated by layoffs, transfers and unfilled vacancies.

We applaud Chu’s proactive approach to the city’s plastic bag ban, which has been met with mixed reviews yet shows San Jose wants to stay ahead of the curve on green environmental policies. One point we strongly disagree with Truong on is his suggestion that the bag ban should be repealed, and all environmental efforts that impact businesses—even modestly—should wait for a county or statewide policy. This is how nothing gets done.

But aside from a bag ban, Chu’s major accomplishments seem to be the installation of LED streetlights, a lengthy process to create the Berryessa Business Association and holding the union line on votes without sufficiently articulating his reasons. He signs on more than he sets up.

Truong will be a work in progress, but we’d rather have someone work their tail off than get four more years of the same.

30 Comments

  1. If elected, hopefully Tam is much more honest, open, and transparent with his constituents than he has been with his brother and sister officers regarding his intentions. What is so ironic is that Tam was one of the officers on the chopping block to be laid off last year if his fellow officers had not voted to take a 10% pay cut to save jobs.

    • Isn’t that the point of pension reform?  It keeps more employees on the job.

      If you’re someone with seniority, pension reform will essentially take money from you so the City can pay someone that would otherwise have been laid off, or never hired in the first place.  I suppose it’s also allowing those hired to essentially be paid less too.

      • No, pension reform, as with the 10% pay-cut will have the exact opposite consequence. San Jose Police Officers have fled this department after agreeing to the pay-cut for higher paying departments or to go back into private sector employment, where many came from in the first place. San Jose Police Department in now amongst the lowest paid departments in the Bay Area, and has the highest employee retirement contribution rate of any police department in the country, at over 20% and climbing of an officer’s gross salary being taken.

        You get what you pay for. You want a good lawyer, a good doctor, a good plumber or a good mechanic, you will pay the market rate. It is no different with police officers. An officer at different times wears the hat of a doctor, lawyer, therapist, grief counselor, marriage counselor, coach, soldier, and teacher, amongst others. It can be a very complex job, and one in which it is expected an officer could lay down his or her life for a stranger, even one that hates that officer.

        If you want to keep taking from the officers, telling them if they are hurt they will be out of work with no income and if they are lucky enough not to get hurt they will soon be paying 53% of their gross income into their retirement system, then agree with Tam and vote for Measure B.

        Go ahead s randall and vote for Tam. You will get what you are willing to pay for – and along with it all the unintended consequences of doing so. Our officers are in demand by other cities who are willing to pay top dollar for these well trained and proven officers.

        • I understand unintended consequences.

          What are the unintended consequences of kicking this can down the road?  You will be like me.  I’m not sure I’m going to collect on my Social Security.  Do you think people are going to vote for parcel taxes to bail San Jose out?  Heck they won’t event vote for a public safety parcel taxes in an armpit like Oakland.

      • Please do some research! What it really does is turn San Jose into a training Center. anyone getting hired here in this cesspool , will take the training and go to a better run, better equipped ,better managed City. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason for any City employee with less than 10 yrs/or any new employee to stay with the City of San Jose, Not under these conditions. San Jose is on the low end of pay and benefits of all citys in the state.

        As for Tam , he is an opportunist. he was a very poor Police officer, who happened to take a promotional exam( and scored o.k.) but because he spoke Viet , was elevated to detective. lets put it this way No one asks him for assistance because if he was bad as a beat officer he is WORSE as adetective. He is someone who is not good at what he does……….and really doesnt care. so of course he will follow in Pete Constants foot steps. exactly what this city needs more incompetance in city hall.

  2. I’m sure Mr. Troung is a nice guy who cares about the City, but I strongly disagree that Council Member Chu has been ineffective.

    I have worked with him on many projects for many years, and I can assure you that he is far from ineffective.

    A few things I’ve worked on him with or seen him do are:

    One year he held a pet adoption fair in his community center that placed over 40 abandoned animals in forever homes, and educated the public on spay/neuter.

    For the past year and a half, he has partnered with many non profits and held educational community forums on everything from gang prevention, anti bullying, domestic violence prevention/intervention, to a forum with the IPA, Chief of Police, and DA Rosen.

    Those forums provided City residents with vitally needed resources and allowed them to have face time with higher ups like Chief Moore, DA Rosen, mental health experts, and the County of Santa Clara’s Ombudsman. 

    He has held beautiful community events on the holidays to ensure that poor children and their families received Christmas gifts, hot food, and resources.

    He works with senior programs to ensure that their needs are met.

    He is well known, well liked, and keeps his word to his constituents. He takes any complaint brought to him seriously, and follows through on it. I’ve been to many D4 events over the years and his constituents love him.

    He does extensive research and community outreach on issues before he votes. I think he deserves another term as D4’s Council representative because he really is a good man with a great heart. He has my support 100%.

  3. Losing a lot of faith in the site, keep asking Josh and others if this site has sold their soul to chuck and the MN!  This is a teriible choice, my God due the research.  He is hated at SJPD not because of his political choices, heck he is worst that Pete Constant.

    He is hated because he is a lousy police officer and worse as a detective in the Sexual Assualt Unit. Now he wants to follow in PC’s foot steps because he knows his PD career wil go no where just as PC faked his disability retirement.

    This BS has got to stop, and it starts at the top with Chuck, he just wants to surrond himself with puppets.

      • The huge concessions offered by the Police and Fire bargaining units would have gone beyond solving the problem, not kicked the can down the road.  Other municipalities have worked with their employees to solve pension problems.  It’s the extreme nature of Measure B and the distain the Mayor and Council have demonstrated for City employees, that will result in the “unintended” consequences, not pension reform itself. 

        And speaking of Oakland, when OPD announced it was hiring earlier this year, they had 2,500 applicants for 55 positions.  SJPD could only get 800 people to apply for 70 authorized positions.  And history tells us that between 30 and 40 will end up making the cut, after the psychological evaluation, polygraph, and background investigation.  San Jose is quickly becoming an armpit itself.  There were at least five armed robberies in the City last night alone.  Assaults involving knives and guns are up substantially this year.

        Businesses and municipalities alike have to compete regionally when it comes to compensation in order to attract high-quality candidates.  SJPD is dead-last in overall compensation in the Bay Area, and far below every other agency in Santa Clara County.  Honestly, I could go to work as a patrol OFFICER for virtually any agency in the Bay Area and make several hundred to over a thousand dollars a month more than I make in San Jose as a SUPERVISOR, along with getting a substantially better pension at a much lower cost.

        • Not sure why this post ended up here… I was responding to s randall’s post above regarding unintended consequences.

          The one about grammar and spelling errors below is for Robert.

      • Do you really want to start down that road, Robert?  I have been kind and refrained from correcting your many grammar and spelling errors.  We all make them.  I think it serves us all to stick to the issues, and set aside pettiness.

        • One more thing Sergeant…

          Maybe you should focus less on my crappy writing, and more on your officers reading comprehension and writing skills.  I already proved the detective from the Lall case lacks reading comprehension.

          I know one former detective (I’ll leave you some initials, MH) who told me he once brought up the issue of the horrendously poor writing that officers used in their reports. 

          His words to Dwyer (I think that’s who he was talking to) was, “Jeesh, all these reports look like a bunch of 4th graders wrote them!”

          Is it really that epidemic in the department?  Just asking.

        • Robert,

          I never suggested that you’re a crappy writer, nor have I focused on your writing ability.  I merely stated that I believe it’s petty to point out mistakes in other people’s posts, when all of us (you and I included) make them.

          Regarding police officers’ writing, there are some great writers among us, and some marginal writers.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses.  Over the last few years, there has been a focus on improving the quality of our written work.  The City Attorney’s Office has pointed out that officers don’t run into trouble because of what we do nearly as often as we run into trouble with how we document, or fail to document what we do.  So, reports have gotten better in recent years.  However, there is always room for improvement, and some officers have more room than others.

        • Robert,

          I was not offended.  You did not point out a writing mistake of mine.  I have always welcomed constructive criticism of my writing; it has helped me improve over the years.  But pointing out a typo, someone using the word due when they meant do, really accomplishes nothing.  I’m sure the guy knows the correct word.  It was a typo.  Just like I’m sure you know that it should be, nobody’s, not, “nobodies.”

          It is never tactically wise to lay down one’s weapon.  However, I never took up a weapon against you on the issue of the importance of good writing, or the value of constructive criticism; I wholeheartedly agree with you.  Making an issue of one typo among hundreds is another thing.

        • Well, nobodies writing will ever improve if nobody points out their mistakes.

          A tiny page out of my life…

          Like you, I used to be offended whenever somebody would point out my writing mistakes, but after a while I realized they were just doing it for my own good.  For the longest time (up until about 2003ish) I had a really bad issue with proper usage of to/too.

          One of my circle of friends happens to be nullsoft.  Nullsoft was the creation of Justin Frankel, creator of Winamp Media player, the very first media player that popularized the MP3 format. 

          Now these guys are from all over the world, and for the better part of the last 14 years, we’ve hung out in our own little IRC channel.  One of them (codename Lone) used to really piss me off whenever he’d correct my improper use of to and too.  I wasn’t just pissed off that he was making a correction into something seemingly insignificant.  Who cares about bad spelling/grammar in what is basically, leisurely chat?  Why was it so important?  He was from France, what possible mastery of the English Language could he have over myself, English is my primary language.

          Eventually I realized he was right, not just grammatically, but in annoying me with his correction of my errors.  When I finally came to my senses I had the epiphany that through his efforts, I fixed just one teensy, small part of my person.

          Criticism of writing mistakes isn’t meant to be an attack at all. It’s meant to help one learn, and potentially become a better overall human being.  Doesn’t just work for writing mistakes either, it’s applicable to any kind of mistake when you think about it.

          When you put your writing out in public (as we do here) it’s in your own best interest to write as well as you can.  In the very least, it serves the purpose that despite our disagreements in politics, we do know how to communicate clearly across this medium.

          So please, I’m asking you to drop your weapon on this one.  You know how bad it looks anytime ANYONE argues, “Who cares about spelling?”

          Side note: SJI improvements

          -Can we have a “preview” button? <—at least turn this on in expression engine

          -TinyMCE?  http://expressionengine.com/wiki/TinyMCE (wysiwyg editor, has a spellchecker, uhhm, works on mac?)

          -Can we have proper href links?  I hate pasting links (like above)

          -The merc has this nice facebook plugin, there’s one for expression. http://devot-ee.com/add-ons/facebook-connect

  4. Promoted to a detective?  You put in an application for a specific assignment away from patrol, you take a test, and you get put on a list.  If you are special needs (speak Viet) you are moved to top of the list.  When you move up in rank (Sgt, Lt, etc) thats being promoted..hahaha classic

  5. Christian and I just got home from a D4 candidate’s forum at the Vietnamese Community Center. We went with the express intention of getting some insight into why the Metro has endorsed Mr. Truong, and to hear his views on the issues. To our great disappointment, Mr. Truong didn’t bother to show up, nor did he give a reason for his refusal to attend.

    Given that this district has a very high population of Vietnamese businesses, and voters, I find his unwillingness to attend concerning, and disrespectful to the Vietnamese community that brings large amounts of tax revenue to our City, and who supported both Mayor Reed, and Vice Mayor Nguyen’s bids for election. I also find it odd that he didn’t show up because both Reed and Nguyen support Truong’s bid for Council.

    Public safety and pension modification were a huge concern at today’s forum, and since Mr. Truong is a member of the SJPD, running for office in support of Measure B, I think he owed it to the community to educate us on why he supports this measure given the increase in crime we are experiencing, and the shortage of SJPD Police Officers, and candidates. 

    His absence at today’s forum sent a very clear message to me about his lack of willingness to be held accountable to the public for his positions on vital issues, his ignorance about the importance of public outreach and education, and lack of respect for those of us who took the time out of our private lives to give him the opportunity to get to know him.

    My hat is off to D4 candidates Council Member Chu, and Rafael Sabic for owing us the respect to show up and be held accountable. Truong could take a lesson from these two respectful, dedicated community servants/candidates.

  6. Councilmember Chu is ineffective?!  At least define how you are measuring that. 

    As a City employee, I have frequent interaction with his office regarding issues in his district, and find his staff very responsive to his constituents concerns.

    Could it be that Mayor Reed is saying this, and it is merely being repeated for the sake of convenience?

    On the other hand, I can’t get a return call or email from Rose’s office.

  7. Troung did not get “promoted to detective for the sexual assaults unit a year ahead of schedule”. He speaks Vietnamese and was assigned to this unit for that reason. It was not a promotion, as any other detective will tell you, and to make it seem as such puts an untruthful spin on the Metro’s endorsement.

  8. When Truong loses and He will Lose , is he planning on continuing to work for P.D.? Public Safety are professions that require absolute Trust and commitment. I can Honestly say None of My friends on P.D.  either trust, like or feel any loyalty to Truong. Just wondering??

    • Troung should leave SJPD and join Chucks staff.  Enough said because he will not win and is hated by his fellow REAL POLICE OFFICERS WHO CARE ABOUT SJ. VOTE NO ON MEASURE B AND NO TROUNG!

  9. Hopefully Detective Truong can now give his assigned cases of sexual assault victims his undivided attention in working on their cases, rather that squeeze in a little work here and there between his failed campaign.