In Race for County Supervisor, Can Caserta Unite Santa Clara?

In Race for County Supervisor, Can Caserta Unite Santa Clara?

By Robert Haugh

The Mercury News did a story on the District 4 Supervisorial race. County Supervisor Ken Yeager will leave office because of term limits in 2018. It may be a crowded field. It’ll be almost like this Sunday’s WWE Royal Rumble where 30 competitors vie for one win.

Merc reporter Eric Kurhi reveals that Santa Clara councilman Dominic Caserta was the first to officially announce candidacy for the race. Former Campbell councilman and two-term Mayor Jason Baker is not far behind and San Jose councilman Don Rocha will soon enter. Also expected to enter are former San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio and San Jose Unified Trustee Susan Ellenberg. Community leader Patricia Gardner may run, too.

Though he has raised a quarter million dollars already and gained early support from his Santa Clara Council peers and many labor unions, it’ll be a tough race to compete in. 

We asked  a few experts what they thought and here’s what people are saying:

  • Rocha might be the front runner, because he currently represents San Jose. 
  • Caserta and Baker need their cities united behind them if they have a chance of making the runoff.
  • Caserta did win the Santa Clara vote in his failed 2008 Assembly race against Paul Fong, but likely will have trouble uniting Santa Clara in this race. 
  • Caserta and Baker are unlikely to win because their base cities of Santa Clara and Campbell are too small. 
  • Oliverio will have trouble raising money since he’s no longer in office and he lost his race for Open Space District last year.
  • Ellenberg has a good chance of making the runoff as the only woman in the race.
  • Ellenberg is the front runner for the San Jose Chamber and business community support.
  • Ellenberg will have a lot of educational community support. 
  • Gardner is unlikely to run.
  • Caserta will be hurt by his association with the 49ers and the notorious dark money group BluPac. (Editors note – Caserta claims he’s asked to be removed from their site). 

We’ll watch this race closely as it unfolds, and pay particular attention to the Caserta campaign and its attempt to unite Santa Clara.


  1. Robert – Better check Caserta’s FPPC forms. Has James Rowen been hired to work on Caserta’s campaign, as he has worked in the past on campaigns for SC City Council members? Please ask Caserta, because this is something Santa Clarans should know – if Caserta will once again hire a known cyberbully. Rowen has a $400,000 judgement against him awarded to John Mlnarik in SC County Court because of Rowen’s cyberbullying. Rowen’s ‘keys’ to his blogs were taken away as part of that judgement.

  2. Robert, I have said, I regard you as a journalist. I think you sincerely are trying to write news and commentary as a reporter. For years I never said I was anything more than a hack, a journalistic taxi for who ever wants to put coins in the meter. You are important and vital to the community, but you are dead wrong about Dominic. Caserta has done an impressive job in garnering support. He is a county committee member and he has the best shot of winning. Susan Ellenberg is related to one of my earliest patrons, Maureen Ellenberg, a great friend to Israel. Don Rocha is a good council member, he always was. Patricia Gardner is a truly classy person with decades of community service. Oliverio is a sign stealer. Caserta has been a dynamic person, even when he is wrong, he is right. He is the front runner.

    • Thanks James – I won’t allow the attacks on Hosam – very much unwarranted here. You have valuable insight – it sometimes just isn’t presented in a polite manner. Your energy and enthusiasm is to be applauded. I’m not hating on Dominic – and it would be great if he can reach above the division in the mission city and give us a representative at the county level. The race to fill Yeager’s seat will prove to be interesting to watch.

  3. James – please be respectful with your comments. This isn’t an online war. I know you enjoy calling people names, and that can be entertaining to some, but it won’t be tolerated here. Be respectful. Please.

  4. Well James does have some limited entertainment value but name calling can only go so far.
    Also, DC’s resolution didn’t just divide neighborhoods he was able to divide the whole city.

    • Thanks Howard. James has valuable thoughts and insight, however we will not tolerate anything that’s disrespectful. We don’t mind comparisons (such as those I’ve done in columns, but name calling won’t be tolerated – I try to be as lenient as possible here though).

    • DIVIDE? How? How has he divided the city? Specifically how? As the grandson of immigrants I think all Caserta did was make stand. I remember when Dominic wanted to identify parts of ECR as “koreatown” Well, he created a discussion, dozens of people came and expressed an opinion, and Caserta updated his proposal. wow, how this divided people, I do not know. Caserta put forth a resolution, started a discussion about immigration. How terrible! Now Howie of the flatheads is whining about. How did it divide the community? Specifically who? I have known and worked with a lot of council members over the decades. I will say this about Caserta, he is a thoughtful, sincere guy with dedication. I have very, very strong public fights with Dominic, ones that have been in the press. But at the end of the day, DC has been a man and tried to reach a dialogue with me.

  5. James, I focus on Santa Clara. And I will not personally endorse anyone. Ever. Journalists don’t endorse. I’ll share insight into candidates and the issues however – readers can make infringed decisions. Not sure what you mean regarding someone directing me. I’m an independent person here. Im not tied to outside interests or money. In fact, I don’t owe anything to any advertisers or businesses, unlike other media outlets. I encourage dialogue here, and encourage views to be heard from all.

  6. The answer to the title question is ? if you mean the county.
    And NO if you mean the city.
    DC had done a great job of creating two cities where there was one.
    His effort to gain favor in the county by having SC declared a sanctuary city (regardless of the name used) has divided the city like I have not seen since the stadium was voted on.
    And for what? A resolution the supporters insist won’t change anything.
    If the effort was to sacrifice support in the city for fame and acclaim in the county, it may be ill founded but at least makes sense. Except to the city, of course.

    • Huh?

      I think there is a divide over Mk home conversion which is greater than the DC effort about immigration reform which really was not sanctuary city at all. Why don’t you support Rocha and Oliverio who really did put together a sanctuary city. Nice to know John Birchers are still around.

    • Okay, I’ll bite, what is an Mk home conversion? (the homes near the college issue?)
      You are implying Oliverio was very supportive of the sanctuary city status. I’ll check that out.
      John Bircher? I assume that to you that is an insult. Okay.

    • Howard, James is referring to Mackay home conversions. It’s what the hour-plus discussion was on at the last meeting. The discussion was regarding the demolition of a somewhat vintage, yet not historic home. It’s an old story and is back in the spotlight. Lots of architectural stuff and planning stuff. While important, we will try sticking to issues affecting the greater community ad a whole.

  7. The analysis is biased. Rocha has little to boast about. One, Dom Caserta carried SC well for Assembly. Two, I wrote about Caserta’s association, which is more of a link than association. Seriously, Robert, Dom Caserta, warts and all, is far superior than any candidate you wrote about. Are you using the same analysts that claimed Pat N would upset Sellers? A little crumb from Jude goes a long way. No one, and I mean no one, over the years has been more critical of Caserta than me. But I think DC is the clear front runner. Please spare us the fake news. I do think Rod Jr would be phenomenal in the job as would Lisa. I worked on four supervisoral campaigns since I was 16. Dominic is a good bet.

    • James,
      Thanks for the comment.
      Not sure who you’re referring too as far as analysts. Pat N came very close to beating Sellers – those we spoke to were in the end wrong, but they did indeed point to Pat closing the gap remarkably.

      I’ve heard quite different about Dominic from well known sources. This is a guy who publicly used profanity on the dais.

      This county sup race is a long way out. These are just observations. And we speak to more analysts and sources than you may think.

      Let us see how things pan out. Santa Clara can surely use a voice at the County (lord knows that would have come in handy during RDA fallout) …

      Thanks again for your comments. This isn’t news, this article is an opinion with some interesting tidbits. Not sure how it’s “fake” as it has supporting sources. It is politico analysis … Stay tuned. We hope for the best and truly wish Dominic luck.

    • So who are your analysts? Caserta has 24 unions, 250k pledged. News flash, Rocha does not even represent that much of the district. Dev Davis and Chappie Jones do. Patricia Gardner is far more a threat. I worked with Beall, Diridon, Mahan. Caserta could likely get Norm Kline and do not count Chuck Reed or Liccardo for Rocha.

    • James, I have many, many trustworthy analysts and sources. The race for county sup has Just begun. Thanks for your comments and support.

    • James, I’m not endorsing anyone. I wish Caserta the best of luck. Santa Clara could benefit greatly having someone serve the mission city at the county level. So much will be addressed soon.

    • Again, thanks for the comments. I’m not endorsing anyone. Just releasing information on what’s being said around town. Much more to come soon.

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