Lee’s commitment to public service is admirable. He served on the Sunnyvale City Council from 2003-11 before vacating his seat for a yearlong deployment in Iraq as a U.S. Navy reservist.
In District 5, Joe Simitian is running unopposed. In District 2, incumbent Cindy Chavez has two challengers with no public office experience. And in District 3, four qualified candidates are vying to replace termed-out Supervisor Dave Cortese.
The county has a $7 billion budget and employs 22,000 workers in more than 70 different departments. In addition to serving as the safety net for those in need, the Board of Supervisors’ broad responsibilities include funding public safety and ensuring a fair criminal justice system, preventing homelessness and maintaining county roads, parks and libraries.
We recommend Simitian in District 5, Chavez in District 2 and former Sunnyvale City Councilman Otto Lee in District 3.
Chavez stands head and shoulders above her opponents, Anthony Macias and Jennifer Celaya, as the candidate with the experience, knowledge and leadership skills to serve as supervisor.
We have disagreed with Chavez on many issues, but we respect the passion she brings to protecting the lives of the most vulnerable county residents. She played a major role in the passage of Measure A, the $950 million housing bond passed by voters in 2016 that is designed to substantially reduce homelessness.
As a former San Jose city councilwoman and labor leader, her institutional knowledge is exceptional. Finally, as a Latina, she brings needed perspective and diversity to debates on county issues.
Macias and Celaya have never held public office. Macias, a supporter of President Trump, is running on a platform of limited government, individual liberty, fiscal responsibility and government accountability. He ran for the state Senate District 15 seat in 2016 and received only 3 percent of the vote in the primary.
Celaya is a health service representative for the county who demonstrates a passion for helping foster children and revamping the family court system but is not well versed on county issues.
Chavez is the superior candidate.
We recommended Otto Lee for the District 3 seat in 2012, when he ran against against Cortese, and we haven’t changed our minds about his strengths.
An intellectual property attorney, Lee is the most thoughtful of the four candidates and has a proven track record on public safety, finances and the environment. Then there’s his independence. When discussing the issues, it’s clear that his first priority is the public good, meaning he can work with business and labor without being beholden to them.
Lee’s commitment to public service is admirable. He served on the Sunnyvale City Council from 2003-11 before vacating his seat for a yearlong deployment in Iraq as a U.S. Navy reservist. He was awarded a Bronze Star for helping bring home troops from Iraq. Lee retired from the Navy reserves in 2018, concluding a 28-year career with the rank of Commander.
He is well-versed on the county’s housing challenges. Finally, as an Asian immigrant, he would bring welcome diversity to the board.
Lee faces strong opposition from Assemblyman Kansen Chu and San Jose City Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco.
Chu took the unusual step of running for supervisor instead of seeking another Assembly term, saying he wanted to “focus on the important issues back home.” He has a wealth of experience, having also served on the San Jose City Council and Berryessa Union School Board.
He, too, is an immigrant who would bring diversity to the board. But he has not been a strong leader in the Assembly. His most notable bill in 2019 was his effort to eliminate Daylight Savings Time. His long list of labor endorsements signals that he would not be as independent as Lee.
Carrasco also has labor’s backing, but she has built a reputation on the San Jose council as an independent thinker. Her background as a social worker makes her knowledgeable about safety-net issues, and as a Latina who grew up in San Jose, she would bring insight into women’s and immigration issues.
The fourth candidate in the race, former San Jose Planning Commissioner John Leyba, a Dartmouth graduate, has a strong financial background. He has support from former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. But he does not have the experience or name recognition to be a serious contender.
Lee has the best combination of experience and independence. We recommend him to voters.
Link to the Full Article: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/02/02/editorial-elect-simitian-chavez-and-lee-to-board-of-supervisors/