For the first time in three decades San Jose City Council has filled two vacant seats through an appointment process. After two lengthy meetings and weeks of deliberation, the council voted to appoint Arjun Batra and Domingo Candelas. The new members were sworn into San Jose City Council on January 30.
Stanford University administrator Domingo Candelas has replaced former Councilmember Sylvia Arenas, who left the District 8 seat vacant after her election to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Candelas was selected out of a pool of five candidates and approved with a 7-2 vote after a nine-hour council meeting.
Ahead of signing on as Stanford’s Director of Local Government Affairs, Candelas served as a staffer for Senator Jim Beall and the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Candelas says he plans to focus on housing affordability and social services.
Candelas’ victory has been a topic of debate after three people claimed he cheated during the interview process by having access to questions ahead of time. He has denied these accusations.
The last vacant seat for District 10 was filled by retired tech executive Arjun Batra in a 6-3 vote. Batra replaces Matt Mahan who was elected as Mayor in November. Batra has been positioned as a potential ally for the Mayor among an otherwise more progressive council.
In addition to his work in the tech sphere, Batra has served on various city committees, including Mayor Liccardo’s Smart City Advisory Committee and San Jose’s Information Technology Committee. He is the first Indian-American Councilmember since Ash Kalra was elected to the State Assembly in 2016.
Batra’s goals as the District 10 representative include addressing homelessness and income inequality and public safety.