Chuck and Larry, Part 2

Fresh off what may have been the biggest victory of his political career, Mayor Chuck Reed last week decided to immediately blow some of his hard-earned political capital, endorsing the conservative Christian council candidate Larry Pegram.

Unless Fly is missing something, the timing of the mayor’s announcement couldn’t have been worse. In recent years, Pegram has been San Jose’s most high-profile anti-gay activist. He campaigned locally for the ban on gay marriage, without success.

Voters in San Jose, a decidedly live-and-let-live bunch, overwhelmingly rejected the proposition. So why did the mayor choose the day after Prop. 8 was overturned to announce his support for his old pal?

Perhaps he was riding high after ably forging a majority on the council, just days earlier, to put a financial-reform package before voters. Or perhaps the mayor has some perverse blind spot when it comes to endorsements; back in April, he threw his support behind Richard Calderon, who was running a doomed race against the powerful, popular Sheriff Laurie Smith.

Justifying his man-love for Pegram, the Chuckster said social issues such as gay marriage never come before the council, conveniently forgetting that in 2004, the City Council was asked to consider providing benefits to same-sex married city employees. As the political blog Daily Fetch pointed out last week, then-Councilmember Reed voted against the measure—which passed. 

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

20 Comments

  1. The mayor’s political instincts are pretty much on life support. He does not seem to have any interest in backing a winner.
    It made no political sense for him to make any endorsement in the sheriff’s race, his chosen candidate in District 4 was a loser out of the gate, and now he picks Pegram as his losing candidate.
    It’s disappointing to have a mayor who is so far out of touch with the electorate when it comes to picking candidates.
    Wonder what office Pegram will decide to run for next after this one doesn’t work out? Don’t forget he was going to run for Congress out of the area but pulled out of that.

    • Reed M. Andweep,

      May be our Mayor is just a person who endorses people he believes in rather than someone who endorses for political favor. I voted for Mayor Reed, and worked on his campaign. I don’t always agree with him on everything but I do know he is a very independent man. He doesn’t follow other people, he’s his own man. He listens to all sides and goes from there. That’s why I voted for him.

      As to Pegram, I wouldn’t vote for him no mater whom endorsed him!

    • Reed’s endorsement of Magdalena Carrasco, in District 5, worked out pretty well.  She finished just 20 votes behind Xavier Campos in the 1st round, and looks well-positioned to win in November (she should do very well among people who voted for Aaron Resendez, for example).

      Larry Pegram is always going to be a tough sell in 2010 San Jose, of course.

        • Resendez actually got 517 votes, which was nearly seven percent of the total, so in a close race, as this one is apt to be, that could easily make all the difference (specially considering how voter turn-out isn’t all that high in District Five).

      • I’d rather he endorse a competent candidate without the baggage that Pegram carries. Pegram brings years of holier-than-thou advocacy to the campaign and no matter what he says now, that is baggage he would carry to the dais in the off-chance that he should be elected.
        We need competent public officials—some we may agree with and some we may not—but we don’t need religious extremists from any religion making public policy.

  2. I wouldn’t worry too much about what office Pegram might next chase.  Politicians of all stripes become life-long public trough feeders, grasping at one cushy government job after another, until finally their pulse and respiration cease.

    • Pegram hasn’t run for public office since he narrowly lost a race for state Assembly to Dominic Cortese, in 1980, and hasn’t drawn any sort of public paycheck since early 1981, when he was a member of Ronald Reagan’s Office of the Presidential Transition.  So the idea he’s a either a perennial office seeker, or a lifelong feeder off the public trough, doesn’t really hold water, the fact he briefly considered a run for Congress in 2008 (for a seat in a district that includes Morgan Hill) notwithstanding.

  3. Reed and Chamber’s Dando are desperate for any business candidate who will run against South Bay Labor candidates, no matter how poorly qualified or having strong negatives like Pegram to get Reed a Council majority

    Weak candidate is better than no business candidate

    SBLC trashed San Jose city government for decades   Time for new non labor Council members

    Hold your nose and vote for Pegram, better than another tax, borrow and spend Labor Council candidate

  4. Hopefully, most voters will make a more informed decision than just holding their nose and vote for an unqualified candidate.
    Voting for a candidate that stinks seems like a poor choice. Pegram has offered nothing in decades to our community other than his own brand of moral authority. At the end of the day I will gladly select someone like Rocha who has been in the trenches of education and municipal services. That is a much more positive approach than Pegram has taken.

    • How, precisely, is Larry Pegram “unqualified” to be a Councilman?  He already spent six years (1975-1980) on the San Jose City Council, for crying out loud.  There’s a big difference between I-don’t-like-this-candidate, and this-candidate-is-unqualified.

  5. It appears Dando gets money from the city of San jose’s neighbors too. The ESD department of san jose alledgely gave Dando and the C and C 15k of money that comes from TPAC which is the contributing agencies to the Water Pollution control Plant. I’m sure that the rate payers in neighboring cities want to pay Dando’s group money to push the developement of a port in Alviso.
    There is so much more that goes on behind the curtain.