Foley Drops Out of District 9 Race

Pam Foley dropped out of the San Jose City Council District 9 race this morning, saying she had decided that cannot balance being a mother, a school board member and a businesswoman while running a campaign. “I’m really, really sad about it,” Foley told Fly—somehow managing to sound extremely confident in resignation: “It was tough because I know I was going to win this race,” she said. “I had everything I needed to win.” She wanted Fly to assure her supporters that “this is not an ‘I will never run,’ but rather a ‘not now’ announcement.” Foley pointedly did not endorse Jim Cogan, the only other candidate running for the seat. Foley, who is a trustee on the San Jose Unified School District board, announced her decision at 9am after considering it for two weeks. Perhaps her decision to drop out will influence Donald Rocha, a Cambrian school board trustee, to jump in the race. The day before Foley’s announcement, Rocha, who works with the city’s redevelopment agency, said he was “seriously” considering a run for the open seat, but said he wouldn’t be ready to make a decision until October. Rocha is already getting comfortable on the 18th floor, where he is filling in as chief of staff for Councilmember Rose Herrera while her chief of staff, Jennifer Malutta, is on maternity leave.

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


  1. It is really unfair.  Why do we get money for autos, when we could trade in these clunkers on the San Jose City Council?

    Could we get some cash for trading clunkers like Pyle and Constant?  400 bucks at least?

  2. Goodbye and so long. The kind of arrogance Foley displayed here speaks volumes about what a terrible Council Member she would have made.

    Jim Cogan will do an excellent job as my new Council Member.

  3. I guess Pam comes from Michael Crabtree’s world. There’s a reason football games are four quarters long, and a reason that we have elections.

    Jim Cogan has potential. But let’s let the game be played before coronating him.

  4. Fly, you should reproduce Foley’s “I cannot continue on this quest.” e-mail.

    She details her 3 “full-time jobs” – school board, her business, and being a wife and mother.  She claims to have considered these jobs before jumping into the race earlier this year, and is now quitting due to concerns about balancing all three “jobs.”

    There is no indication in her message that anything has changed between her initial decision and today – she was certainly aware of the demands of all three roles when she started calling herself a candidate.

    If her initial decision to run for council was the product of the sort of thoughtful analysis Foley has to offer, it’s a good thing she bailed before there was any chance she’d be required to make complex decisions on the council.

    P.S.  I am also a wife and mother.  It’s not a job.  Nobody pays me for either role.  Parenting and marriage are volunteer opportunities, for both genders.

  5. #4-Pat Waite said, “Jim Cogan has potential. But let’s let the game be played before coronating him.”

    Pat how long have you know Jim, and what exactly have you worked with him on?

    You don’t live in D9, but I do. I have known Jim Cogan for many years now. He has always worked hard to make D9 a safer place. As a matter of fact, he has worked hard to make our entire City a better place. He has a child and wants to ensure that the schools, public safety, libraries, parks, etc. are safe for his children to be in.

    He works tirelessly to serve this community. The fact that I see him at neighborhood clean ups, Library functions, youth functions, victim’s rights vigils, you name it, speaks volumes to me about who he is. He is walking his talk not just running for office like Foly and Rocha. (I have never seen or heard of these two attending anything that isn’t politically motivated, high profile, and a media opportunity.)

    Pam Foly, Don Rocha? Who are these people? Since I don’t hear or see them out there doing the dirty work to improve our district, well they can just stay unknowns.

    #5-Well said!

  6. Kathleen’s right.  Jim Cogan is a good guy who will serve his district and the entire city well on the council.  While I support him and hope he wins, certainly a little competition is never a bad thing.  Maybe Waite’s problem with Cogan is that he’s not a conservative or registered Republican.

  7. Cogan is probably a fine guy but he will have a lot of explaining to do before I would vote for him. How can he work for a guy like Constant and help him advance his ideas and then expect me to believe he really didn’t support what his boss supported? Constant has not been good for the City and if you helped advance those ideas then you also have not been good for the city.
    Sometimes principle has to rise above all and it seems Cogan chose not to do that.
    That leaves him suspect in my book and a long way from getting my vote.
    Besides, there will likely be one or two much stronger candidates emerging in the district before this is over.

  8. So you’ve never disagreed with your employer or supervisor about anything, D9er?  Lucky you. 

    Here’s another perspective:  that Cogan can work with councilmembers as different as Linda LeZotte and Pete Constant demonstrates his ability to work with people of all ideologies, always a good thing.

  9. The folks that work closest with Mr. Cogan—the City Councilmembers themselves—chose not to endorse him.  Judy Chirco, Rose Herrera, Nancy Pyle, Sam Liccardo, and probably one or two others already made up their minds to endorse ABC:  Anybody But Cogan.  And it wasn’t as if Mr. Cogan wasn’t courting those same folks. 

    (We await Kathleen’s Cogan-written response.)

    • ABC –
      You sound like someone who works on the 18th floor in City Hall.  How would you know who is endorsing Jim Cogan and who is not when these people have not made it public who they are and are not endorsing? 

      I can tell you, as someone who has worked for a Council Member, you follow the rules the Council Member you work for sets down.  As staff for a council member, you REPRESENT THEM, and as such, you need to make sure you do so in the manner they require.  If the council member you work for is strict, then you do nothing unless you have talked to them first.  Other council members will allow their staffs to have their own opinions, under certain conditions, like if they are representing a group, like Crime Stoppers.  But you follow the lead set by your Council Member.  If your Council Member is not working closely with another Council Member, then neither do you.  If you disagree with your Council Member on an issue, then you talk to them first, and follow their lead.  For example, the council member I worked for did not agree with Linda LeZotte on many issues, and as a result, I did not work with Linda or her office closely on those issues.  If Pete Constant disagrees with other council members like Sam Liccardo on certain issues, then Jim Cogan will not work closely with Sam, Nora, Rose, Kansen or any other Council Member, on those issues.  That does not mean that Jim himself agrees or disagrees with the council member he works for at the time.  It just means he is doing his job as required by the council member.

      I have to say that the council member I worked for and I did not agree on every issue, but we discussed our disagreements behind closed doors.  When Jim Cogan disagrees with Pete Constant, he probably discusses those disagreements with Pete behind closed doors.  The two times Jim Cogan disagreed with Pete Constant publicly, he was responding to a question asked of him by the press, and was criticized roundly for disagreeing with Pete Constant.  It might surprise us that a politician like Jim would answer a question honestly; I believe we should encourage it.  By the way – it might be interesting to you to note that Pete Constant backed Jim’s right to have a separate opinion.  After all, Pete Constant did not fire Jim…

  10. 9 – Big difference between disagreeing with an employer about a business decision and one that becomes public policy.
    Perhaps his also having worked with LeZotte just shows that he’s trying to have it both ways and cover his bases.

  11. #6, Kathleen, I like Jim. A lot. I first met him a couple of years ago during the Archbishop Mitty High School bleacher project meetings in District 1. He is intelligent and dedicated to his work. But there is a reason we have elections.

    Let the process work. People need to become comfortable that he will stick to his beliefs and fairly represent the will of D9.

  12. #10-ABC,
    All D9 Candidates haven’t even declared that they are running for office yet and here come the anonymous bloggers like you bashing candidates. How predictable. Geech. We have a ways to go before candidate filing ends so your false prediction is a mute point and your motivation transparent.

    Amazing how you would know which Council Members will or will not endorse Jim or anyone else, when they haven’t declared who they’ll endorse and who they won’t THEMSELVES. Do you work on the 18th floor, or for someone who hasn’t declared their candidacy yet?  Are you the new City PR person? It sounds like it.

    The best way for you to make a decision is to call Jim Cogan and arrange a sit down with him. That is what I do when I don’t know someone who is running. To judge him based solely on whom he works for is completely unfair. I’ve worked for people I don’t agree with, it is called a paycheck.
    Just because someone works for a Council Member, Rocha for Herrera, or Cogan for Constant, doesn’t mean they necessarily support their bosses beliefs or positions. People work on the 18th floor to get experience in policy, to serve their city, to earn a paycheck, and many other reasons. Hopefully you’ll look at HIS record and hard work in our city and not confuse him with his boss.

    By the way, exactly what do you think Constant has done so wrong that you’d refuse to vote to anyone connected with him? 

    Well Pat you won’t need to worry about who gets elected to D9, you don’t live here. While I agree that having several people running and a lot of choice on who to vote for is healthy, my mind is made up, Jim is the best candidate for D9 for me. When my friend was murdered Jim was and has been right there for his family. As a matter of fact, he has fought for victim’s rights all along. As President of Crime Stoppers, he works very hard to help families get the justice they deserve and need. (This is just ONE area I respect him for.) 

    I don’t need to wait for these grand standing politicians who are hiding out for free press coverage when they declare at the last minute, who lie in wait to see what their opponent is saying or doing so they can come out, declare late, and plot on how to take their opposing candidate down. I have always hated politicians who play the “I’m still deciding game,” so they can have an unfair advantage over early declared opponents. It is so lacking in integrity and transparent.

    I know what you really mean, you mean let’s wait and see whom the Chamber, or some other conservative group will put up to run to decide, but again Pat you don’t live here and you don’t know the needs of our district.
    Voters need to stop voting by party, associations, endorsements from the old guard, and special interest groups. They need to start voting for people who have a proven track record of walking their talk. Jim Cogan is the best choice for me because his actions match his words.

    • Anyone who supports censorship in our public libraries is wrong.  That’s just one example.  The job of the chief of staff is to promote the policy platform of his/her boss.  That said, I am still open to supporting Jim, as he may very well be a good candidate.  He just has to answer for the clash betwee his supposed ideology and that of his current boss.

      And all of us who live in San Jose have to worry about who gets elected in each district, as they all have a say in policy city-wide.  For example, Constant is supporting policy that is wrong for the city.  And that’s why it was good news that Pat Waite didn’t win in District 8.

      And here you are judging candidates who haven’t declared after bashing others for judging candidates this early in the race.  This is very early for folks to declare they are running.  And now that Foley is out, there is an opening for others who may have sat it out otherwise.  Does that make them “grandstanders?”  And of course, it isn’t clear that waiting has any kind of intrinsic advantage over those who declare early.  Cogan now has all the news coverage to himself.  That’s a candidate’s dream.

      Of course, voters should vote based on which candidate best matches their ideology, which 90% of the time means voting by party or affiliation.  That’s why those of us who care about certain issues are a bit concerned by Cogan’s current job.

      • Glad to hear you are keeping an open mind. As to your concerns, Jim Cogan came out publicly disagreeing with censorship and porn filters. He made it very clear that he disagreed with Pete on that issue. (So do I!) And Pete stated that Jim has a right to his opinion Chief of Staff or not. Did you miss the article?

        I agree that we need to be concerned with who is elected in other districts, and I agree I’m glad Pat Waite lost because he too supports porn filters, and other things I don’t agree with. You are 100% correct about Council Members having a say over City policy etc. What I have a problem with is when special interest groups come into my district pushing for candidates that support only one person who will do their bidding. They don’t care about our libraries, our potholes, etc. Knowing a candidate’s affiliations are important to me, and should be a warning to voters as to where this candidate will go on issues.

        ABC is a ringer. They come out of the woodwork every election. I find it amazing that this poster is speaking on behalf of Council Members who haven’t even endorsed, or even addressed this issue.

        I disagree that this last minute declaring isn’t used to garner an advantage. And no, Jim isn’t going to get free press coverage. You watch and see newbie’s will get a lot more. 
        We can agree to disagree on the rest.

        • ABC,
          Boy are you twisting the facts! I think you better go back and read what I said! 
          Jim Cogan has to do his job and if his BOSS tells him to write something for HIM he HAS to! Just because he does his job doesn’t make him a follower of his bosses beliefs and ideas. You are outright lying about Jim on this. Jim believes in First Amendment freedoms. Instead of spreading misinformation about him, try talking to him instead of anonymously on a blog. I have so I know you are not representing his position on this correctly.

          “And everyone on the 18th floor knows that Cogan wrote the Memo in support of filters for this boss.” Oh, and thanks for letting us know you work on the 18th floor. Hope you are blogging on your lunch break and NOT on the taxpayer’s dime.

  13. Kathleen, I don’t need to live in D9 to be concerned about who gets elected to represent that district. The council makes decisions that affect all of San Jose. I want the best representatives from every district, so that the best decisions are made. Jim may be the one for D9, he has a good background and a good heart. I agree with you that he’s the best candidate in today’s field, but who’s to say that a better onee won’t emerge?

    Apparently you believe that conservatives are incapable of independent thought and will blindly follow whatever the chamber recommends. The astute observer of San Jose politics might conclude that I’d take the chamber’s endorsement with a grain of sand, given that they endorsed my opponent in the D8 race last year.

    “Voters need to stop voting by party, associations, endorsements from the old guard” was my campaign message, by the way. And many people in D8 listened. (just not quite enough)…

    • Pat, to deny that money, who is backing you, and how many political endorsements you have, have nothing what so ever to do with winning is silly, and you of all people should know that. The Chamber endorsed Herrera too, but Labor didn’t endorse you. You lost because of your stand on porn filters, Prop 8, and a few other things.

      I’m not of the mind that all conservatives can’t think for themselves Pat, any more than I am that liberals can’t. Your bad. I happen to be very financially conservative myself. You can’t deny that the Chamber runs after whatever cheap deal for business, or business friendly policy they can get. You can’t deny Labor goes after better paying jobs, and benefits. So what? But if you have Labor candidates, or Chamber candidates stacked on the Council, what do you think the outcome on policy and voting will be? Hum….

      So Pat, besides being concerned with city policy, what are the problems we are having in D9? Shouldn’t you know what those are too?

      • Kathleen, in a district where 45% of the voters are registered democrats, I lost by about 4%. Porn filters, Prop 8 and other things didn’t cost me the race. The sheer size of the mountain that I had to climb did (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).

        D9 problems? Libraries, neighborhood safety, the disrepair of the streets, traffic congestion, lack of good parks …am I warm?

        • Pat,
          Out of respect for you I’ll leave it at this, your associations cost you the race along with the things I mentioned. I do a lot of work in social justice areas and know a lot of people. I know what “mountain” you had to climb and how you did it. Enough said. We’ve been down that hamster wheel before remember?

          Nice guess. What district DOESN’T have those problems? Keep going or try living here and you’ll know first hand what the problems are. After all, isn’t that who we elect people who actually LIVE in our district because they know the problems first hand? Yet again Pat, we are never going to agree on this one. I’ll wait and see whom you endorse/support in the D9 race and we’ll talk then. Have a great weekend. wink

  14. Money has has been proven time and time again to not play a big role in elections, though many like to point to it.  Issues really are what matter.

    Paragraph 2 “we did not identify trends with independent committee expenditures to determine that these types of expenditures definitely helped a candidate or another.”

    Though I cannot link it at this time, the Chavez IC supporters spent a considerable amount (3X – 5X? – Millions) more money than her opponent and lost .

    There are many other examples where the message wins, and the money loses.

    The voter are brighter than you think.

  15. Who said unknown people be elected?  Why should they?  Why are they unknown?  You get known by being involved at some level.

    You’ve spent a considerable amount of space here writing that it’s the positions that will sink a candidacy.  I agree, it’s not the money.

    I accept your apology.