San Jose City Council election heats up

The San Jose City Council election is heating up as the deadline to file for candidacy nears. All odd-numbered districts are up for election this year. Districts 1, 3, and 5 have open seats as current councilmembers will term out. Incumbents for Districts 7 and 9 will be running for reelection.

Long-time Mayor Sam Liccardo will also term out in December of 2022, setting up arguably the city’s hottest race of the electoral season. So far, the pool for mayor consists of seven candidates: Councilmembers Dev Davis, Matt Mahan, and Raul Peralez, Santa Clara Supervisor Cindy Chavez, former Nevada congressional candidate Jonathan Royce Esteban, former crisis counselor Tyrone Wade, and East San Jose resident Brian Smith.

Adding further complexity to the 2022 slate is the city’s adoption this week of new district boundaries, a once-per-10-years exercise that has brought to the forefront issues around population growth, ethnic and socio-economic representation and voter suppression.

Mayor Liccardo called the process ‘unnecessarily messy’, but added “at the end of the day, we have a map that addresses population changes, complies with federal law and fairly responds to the needs of our diverse community.”

With the district boundaries now in place, it’s likely that more candidates will finalize their applications in the coming weeks. Here’s how the current field is shaping up in District 5.

District 5

District 5, currently represented by Magdalena Carrasco, is also slated to be a closely-watched race as numerous high-profile candidates have filed to run.

Andres Quintero, vice president of the Alum Rock Union School District Board of Trustees, has become the fifth to declare candidacy for the District 5 seat. Local Vietnamese language radio anchor H.G. Nguyen, Planning Commissioner Rolando Bonilla, Santa Clara Board of Education Trustee Peter Ortiz, and former Assemblymember Nora Campos are also vying for the seat.

Andres Quintero

Quintero is a unique candidate as he is not a current resident of District 5, residing in what is currently District 8. His campaign will focus on developing a safe and secure community for East San Jose.

H.G. Nguyen

Nguyen previously acted as the founding president of the Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce of Santa Clara. She now works at KVVN, the only Vietnamese radio station in the Bay Area owned by a local Asian-American woman. Nguyen has acted as an advocate for San Jose’s Vietnamese population.

Rolando Bonilla

Bonilla has encouraged public health efforts and economic relief throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, introduced a neighborhood parking permit program and campaigned for increased illegal dumping fees while sitting as Planning Commissioner. Bonilla has stated his campaign priority is to develop safe and clean neighborhoods.

Peter Ortiz

In his role as Board of Trustee for the Santa Clara Board of Education, Ortiz has advocated for establishing a job program for at-risk youth, expanding Ethnic studies within the San Jose public schools, and utilizing local leaders as a resource for students. Ortiz has pledged to create a New Deal program for East San Jose that will focus on supporting COVID-19 recovery.

Nora Campos

Nora Campos previously held the District 5 seat from 2001 to 2010. Her most recent political endeavors have centered on supporting recovery of East San Jose businesses effected by the pandemic. Bonilla and Campos have ties dating back to her days on city council when he acted as her communications director.