Wild West in Milpitas

Two of San Jose City Hall’s most prominent political figures are causing quite a dustup in Milpitas. The mayor’s budget director, Armando Gomez, also a Milpitas councilmember, has been battling behind the scenes with Chuck Reed‘s longtime political consultant, Vic Ajlouny. As recent as four years ago, the two men sat in on Reed’s senior staff meetings. While maintaining decorum in Silicon Valley’s capital, the political paintball has busted loose a couple exits up the freeway. Milpitas Councilmember Debbie Giordano enlisted Ajlouny to help her oust Mayor Jose Esteves. Giordano made an unprecedented request last year for video and key card records at Milpitas’ City Hall. She thought Esteves and Gomez were double dipping by staying on the clock at their day jobs while also carrying out Milpitas duties. (Fly detailed Esteves’ activities last fall, and word is the story resulted in his earlier-than-planned retirement from the Santa Clara Superior Court.) Judge Peter Kirwan sided with Giordano earlier this month. In a possible countermove, Gomez and three Milpitas council colleagues set a new policy on disclosing meetings with political consultants. The new rules basically target Ajlouny. Mayor Reed has little control over the situation, but as one observer said, Gomez and Ajlouny have made Milpitas “like the Wild West of politics.” Ajlouny believes the conflict stems back to Mayor Reed’s selection of Pete Furman over Gomez as chief of staff. Gomez denies he was slighted. Either way, things are getting uglier the closer we get to Election Day in November. But it is Milpitas. As one wag put it, the situation is like a tree falling in the woods. “If there’s a huge political battle going on and nobody pays attention, does it even matter?”

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

14 Comments

  1. Now Amando is a true double dipping idiot and of course Chuck doesn’t care.  Kind of like his “Gang Consultant”.  Chuck can make the rules but he doesn’t have to follow them.  Gee these two are only costing us about 350,000 K and for what!

  2. Sounds like a mini Milpitasgate.  I don’t know much about Milpitas politics but the old story goes….If you retire before you wanted to……something stinks.  People in Milpitas must be running scared if you have to disclose meetings with political consultants.  Let me see…Judge rules in favor of plaintiff other team being sore losers or covering up something do the meeting disclosure.
        All because of a request of video and card keys for the City Hall.  Something smells in Milpitas more than Dixon Road.

  3. Really, politically tone deaf Reed is San Jose’s political mentor, really, really

    Reed is a political front guy doing what he is told by San Jose’s real political memtor

    Look at Reed’s endorsement record – they lose

    Look at Reed’s political statements – they make reasonable people angry

    Look at Reed’s recent TV interview – he looks guilty of lying about inflation pension debt and lost voter’s trust and his credibility

    Reed is not someone who can mentor anyone or would anyone who wants to win want his political mentoring with Reed’s political blunders

    Look deeper and you will see who is San Jose’s real political mentor.

    San Jose’s real political mentor mentored Reed to defeat Chavez and has selected San Jose’s next Mayor to continue to get millions taxes, city land cheap and make more political deals

    • Quite a riddle proposed just above by “San Jose’s real political mentor,” and I’d like to see his or her answer.

      Whoever the “mentor” is, we know that the only vote that mattered in Reed’s first campaign for mayor was that of DA George Kennedy. Without imputing a motive to him for making it happen, Kennedy definitely elected Reed.  Let’s review.

      Kennedy’s own mentor (assuming there is such) seemed uncertain as to whether he or she wanted Reed or then City Council Member Dave Cortese as the next mayor. Both appeared to be acceptable to the mentor. This created the need to wait to see whether the top two winners of the mayoral primary election would be Reed and Cortese, or Reed and Chavez, or Cortese and Chavez. 

      Had the top two primary winners been Reed and Cortese, I seriously doubt that Kennedy would have brought criminal charges against then Mayor Gonzales.  After all, Chavez would have been knocked out of the race by the mayoral primary election, thus no criminal charges against Gonzales would have been necessary to defeat her bid for mayor.

      Appearing to guarantee the defeat of Chavez in the mayoral general election, Kennedy brought criminal charges against Gonzales within a few days after the mayoral primary election which had selected Reed and Chavez as the top two finalists.

      Kennedy brought manifestly inappropriate criminal charges against Mayor Gonzales.  We know the criminal charges were inappropriate because a judge said so, and explained exactly and clearly why that was so…unfortunately that happened after the mayoral general election was over.  But the mere existence of criminal charges severely eroded the chances of then Council Member Cindy Chavez to succeed Gonzales.

      So who was the “mentor” who appears to have directed Kennedy to wait until the mayoral primary election was over, and then appear to knock Chavez out of the race in the mayoral general election with his faux criminal charges against Gonzales?

      Maybe the “mentor” was Kennedy himself, but whoever it was, he or she was willing for Kennedy to put a big blotch on his professional record with the unsightly, inappropriate criminal charges against Gonzales with the sole result being the defeat of Chavez in the general mayoral election and the election of Reed as mayor.

      • Tom McEnery wasn’t able to elect himself to Congress, what is his special gift that enables him to control City Hall?

        Hundreds of meaningless endorsements are given out each election year.  McEnery has seen two mayors come and go (Hammer & Gonzales) and one lame-duck mayor (Reed) since he held office.  No one under 35 even knows who he is.

  4. Whoever is doing the fly this week needs to learn how to group thoughts into cohesive sentances.  This whole article is like one giant run on sentance.

    I expect better.  I can type better, and I’m doing it from my phone. (I do miss the spell check)

  5. The City of Milpitas, acting on behalf of two politicians and with no concern for PUBLIC tax dollars, spent tens of thousands of dollars in an attempt to keep from being made PUBLIC a few videotape recordings of PUBLIC officials going in and out of city hall—a building owned by, and allegedly in operation for, the PUBLIC.

    Fortunately the judge ruled against the city officials responsible for this outrage; unfortunately, he did not at least attempt to sentence them to the gallows.

  6. “Chavez stood and railed against challenger Jeff Rosen. Rosen, Chavez reasoned, is endorsed by Sam Liccardo, who is linked to former mayor Tom McEnery and Deputy District Attorney David Pandori.

    Pandori was involved in prosecuting pro-labor lobbyists Tony Arreola and Sean Kali-Ray until Carr pulled him off the case and dropped charges. Carr also went easy on a former Chavez associate who hacked into Liccardo’s girlfriend’s email and posted material found there to an anonymous Labor Council-aligned smear blog.”

    http://staging.sanjoseinside.com/news/entries/04_15_10_carr_talk_with_cindy_chavez/

    Key Endorsements
    Former Mayor Tom McEnery

    http://www.smartvoter.org/2006/06/06/ca/scl/vote/pandori_d/

    Key Endorsements
    Former Mayors Janet Gray Hayes and Tom McEnery

    http://www.smartvoter.org/2006/06/06/ca/scl/vote/liccardo_s/

  7. How does he work a full time City job and also work as a council member for Milpitas? Is he on his phone or using his computer on City time? I can’t quite understand how he can be in two places at one time.