Shirakawa, Campos Play Political Chess

Craig Mann vacated his county school board seat in August and filling it should be no big deal. But the appointment has set off a flurry of activity that will reverberate in other races, because that’s the way things work around here with ambitious rising politicians and established ones who want to keep their privileges in the era of term limits. Two candidates want Mann’s old job:  Alum Rock school boarder Darcie Green, who dreams of a 2016 State Assembly run, and lobbyist Javier Gonzalez of the California Restaurant Association. Supporting former Nora Campos aide Gonzalez are the power trio consisting of Supervisor George Shirakawa, his staff chief Eddie Garcia and Nora’s bro, San Jose Councilmember Xavier Campos. They furiously lobbied other county trustees for Gonzalez’s appointment last month. Shirakawa went so far as to take meetings with board trustees Leon Beauchman, Michael Chang and Joseph Di Salvo in the span of four September days—all on county time—and Xavier joined him for at least one of those meetings. Councilmember Campos’ calendar miraculously makes no mention of such a huddle. This all happened after Shirakawa went to bat for one of his staffers, Andres Quintero, getting him appointed to the Alum Rock school board in September. (Years ago, Shirakawa did the same for Garcia with the East Side Union school board.) Dolores Marquez initially passed on Quintero joining her on the Alum Rock board, but then she mysteriously flip-flopped to approve Quinteros’ addition by a 3-1 vote. Shirakawa apparently repaid the favor by attending two of Marquez’s re-election fundraisers two weeks later. None of this has much to do with school board seats, though. Green’s appointment could hamper Shirakawa’s intention to run for Assembly in 2016. By then, his supervisor seat would be occupied by Xavier, while Gonzalez would slide into the East Side council seat in San Jose. Of course, this all assumes Big George or Xavier won’t be prosecuted or face further legal problems from the former’s 2008 campaign violations or the latter’s closeness to the MACSA pension diversion.

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


  1. > Shirakawa went so far as to take meetings with board trustees Leon Beauchman, Michael Chang and Joseph Di Salvo in the span of four September days—all on county time—and Xavier joined him for at least one of those meetings. Councilmember Campos’ calendar miraculously makes no mention of such a huddle.


    One wonders how all this public servant socializing squares with open public meetings laws.

    What law enforcement agency is empowered to kick down the doors and demand to know: “What’s going on here?”

    • All the information that has come forward since this initial report about Shirakawa’s shady dealings and misuse of county funds for personal gain, is anyone surprised that he’d violate public meeting laws?  Campos is his crony in the worst possible way.

  2. Javier Gonzalez has some support from this corner, too.

    An African-American lady of my acquaintance was very badly treated by the bank and the servicer on her mortgage…actually a couple of state and at least four federal statutes were violated starting with her application for a modification and commencing right through the auction and the subsequent filing.

    I was helping her on a purely volunteer basis having known her since 2003, and she wanted to contact various politicians.  Javier Gonzalez was the only aide to respond positively to her concerns, and was very responsive to the situation, thinking outside-the-box, always courteous, and always patient. 

    He doesn’t know I’m writing this, but he would make an excellent county board member…he’s sophisticated about policy-making, he’s sensitive to the community, and he would make an all-around great board member.

  3. Gee Lou that is a great question. Wont be SJPD…way understaffed – heard they went out with only 7 sergeants Monday night when the City mandated minimum for grave yard is 10 and only 1 lieutenant with a minimum mandate of 2… San Jose’s ethics commission might take the job since Campos isn’t on Reeds good and they might even arrive at an outcome Reed benefits from.

    But serioisly, “open public meeting?” Where did you stand when those “bullies and thugs” from San Jose’s public employee unions and even the great Pierluigi Oliverio were calling for open negotiation meetings between the unions and the City?  What was it that Mayor Reed and city manager fFigone didn’t want you too know about?

  4. The fact that Shirakawa (he of the I just don’t want to file my financial disclosure papers so I’m not gonna scandal), Garcia (he of the never elected always appointed and even then I too won’t file my financial disclosures scandal) and Campos (of the my bully buddies sheltered me with a job as I jumped off the sinking MACSA ship scandal)support Gonzalez is reason enough NOT to support him.

    Ms Green may be politically ambitious and should probably finish out her term in Alum Rock but Gonzalez knows little to nothing about education issues and I would hope the current County Board of Ed members would realized that shoving yet another appointed but never elected member of that Mexican Mafia down the public’s throat is bad for everyone.  Ms Green is a much better candidate overall because she has actual demonstrated leadership in the community.  She would be moving from a position that she was elected to with full support of the residents to an appointed position in the same area.  This restaurant lobbyist wants to make the decisions for schools in our county based on his personal connections with no mandate from the community behind him??????

    If these jokers have such loft goals as to move to the other political positions, let them get elected and actually represent a constituency.  They have zero clout with the people they bully in the eastside. 

    Get rid of all of them.  Start with Shirakawa and work your way down.  The city deserves better and the kids and students definitely deserve better.

  5. This is why I’m against appointments in general.  Lobbying should have no place in who gets appointed.  Too bad Craig Mann didn’t resign before the filing deadline so that this seat wasn’t placed on the ballot.

    I’m also against using school board seats as a ladder to climb to higher office.  In what way is lobbying the county board for an appointment of benefit to the students the county board is responsible for?  No where in this article are the qualifications of any of the individuals who have applied for appointment discussed. What qualifies them to serve on the county board of education?  Other than wanting to climb to higher office, or wanting an elected seat without having to run for office, what are their reasons for wanting to serve?  What will they do if appointed?

    Appointments are a disservice to voters.  Appointments allow people to run the next time using the words ‘appointed incumbent’ which gives them an advantage over newcomers.  Use of the word ‘incumbent’ in any form gives the appearance of being vetted by voters.

    I also believe that when someone is elected to a 4 year term, that barring unforeseen difficulties (medical, spouse employment transfer, etc.) that an individual has a contract with the voters to serve that 4 year term and not jump ship, at least for the first 4 year term of service.  As a voter, I want my elected officials to fulfill the promise they made when elected.  If you don’t intend to fulfill the term of service, then please don’t run for office. If you’re just running to climb to higher office, then please tell voters.  Don’t pretend that your real interest lies with educating children if your real interest lies in political power for yourself.