County Supervisor Race Update and Rankings: Rocha Picks Up Big Endorsement, Caserta Loses Some More (Opinion)

By Robert Haugh

It’s almost exactly a year until we elect a candidate to replace termed-out County Supervisor Ken Yeager. The big news since our last report are some interesting endorsements and un-endorsements.


Here’s an update on rankings and candidate activities:

#1. Pierluigi Oliverio, former San Jose Councilman.

He stays in the top slot although he has not received any new endorsements. But he’s still showing up in Santa Clara in some good places. Oliverio reports that he attended the Old Quad Neighborhood Association meeting. That’s a smart move and a bold one. That’s the home turf of Santa Clara Vice Mayor Dominic Caserta. We talked to one person at the meeting who told us the group was impressed with Oliverio and has been disappointed in Caserta’s recent votes on development and the curfew. Will Oliverio be able to make inroads into what should be Caserta territory?

#2. Don Rocha, San Jose Councilman

He moves up a slot from the last ranking. Rocha tells us that he has the endorsement of Kevin De Leon, the President pro Tempore of the California State Senate. De Leon is also running for the United States Senate against incumbent Dianne Feinstein. He will be getting a lot of publicity in the next year. De Leon is also one of the three most powerful Democrats in Sacramento and can help Rocha with the Labor endorsement.  Rocha had a slow fundraising start, but with De Leon’s fundraising connections, the campaign should be able to raise the maximum allowed under the voluntary fundraising cap ($250,000) by the end of December.

#3. Susan Ellenberg, San Jose Unified School District Board of Education Vice President

She did not have any new endorsements to report and didn’t make any significant Santa Clara appearances so we moved her down a slot. But Ellenberg is still a top tier candidate who should do well in June and has an excellent chance to make the runoff in November. She will be at the Mission City Community Fund dinner in November she informs us. That’s an excellent event to connect with the top Santa Clara community and political leaders.

#4. Jason Baker, former Campbell Mayor

He’ll be at the Mission City Community Fund dinner, too, he tells us. Baker has lots of solid roots in Santa Clara as he’s shared with us on this site so that should be a good event for him to reconnect with the community.

Baker picked up the endorsement of former Republican Assemblyman Jim Cunneen. Cunneen is featured as a major endorsement on Caserta’s website.  But recently he’s endorsed  Oliverio, Ellenberg and Baker, too. That’s four out of five candidates! (Maybe Rocha doesn’t have Cunneen’s cell phone number.)

In addition to Cunneen, Baker will need some more endorsements and some fundraising success to break into the top tier. The next 60 days will be important for him.

#5. Dominic Caserta, Santa Clara Vice Mayor

He’s still stuck in last and recently lost some more key endorsements. Santa Clara Councilwoman Debi Davis and former Santa Clara Mayor Gary Gillmor (father of Mayor Lisa Gillmor) have un-endorsed Caserta. Gary Gillmor is still well known and liked by many around town, so this a pretty big blow. With Davis pulling her endorsement, that makes three of Caserta’s colleagues rejecting him. Gillmor and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe previously pulled their endorsements. Caserta has been losing endorsements for months. Community leaders say they’ve never seen anything like this before. This could be a problem for the accuracy of his brochures unless his campaign is stocking up on White Out.

Despite these serious setbacks, Caserta is continuing to campaign. He tells us that he’s been busy walking precincts and attending community events like the openings of Palo Alto Networks and the San Tomas Community Garden and Park.



  1. Should I post the video of Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio being caught stealing campaign signs? That’s who we have running for a public office? You can google it for yourself. I can’t believe he’s still in politics. Then again, wasn’t Marian Barry re-elected major of DC after being caught smoking crack? The comparisons between Pierluigi and Barry are not even close but it sure makes you wonder about the character of our politicians we have these days.

    Now we have Oliverio running against Dominic Caserta? That choice is pathetic. Lose-Lose. SMH

    Can’t wait for the next BLU-PAC posting/campaign to smear the only good and honest people we have left. Too bad BLU-PAC refuses to reveal the donors who funneled all of that money into them.

  2. Pierluigi, along with Mayor Chuck Reed, decimated the San Jose Police Department. His flawed logic cost San Jose millions of dollars and 400 officers to go to other police departments. Pierluigi is all about himself and Willow Glen, which will continue if he is unfortunately elected as a supervisor. He will come to Santa Clara to tell us what we want to hear, but his allegiance is elsewhere.

  3. Look at history. The unions own this district. For decades the County Supe from Dist 4 was elected with union support. Rocha will get the union endorsement. Rocha will be elected supervisor.

    • Don Rocha will never get my vote. He doesn’t care about anything or anyone but his own career. I’ve lived in his district for 20 years now, and until this BOS race, he’s been MIA.

      He is supporting a development project 169 feet from Farnham Elementary School that will get some kid hit or killed. When we met with him TWICE, and told him we didn’t want Andoil Gas Station to put a car wash and convenience store on their site because it would exit into the direct path of hundreds of kids walking to and from Farnham School, he said this project is “small potatoes” compared to other projects in the city. We have a petition with almost 400 people opposing this dangerous project, but Rocha said, “Oh anyone will sign a petition,” The guy just doesn’t get it! We care about the lives of these kids, but he doesn’t that’s for sure.

      After we waited almost 5 hours to speak, at last week’s Council Meeting, Rocha got the project deferred, asking for a new noise study. That’s his way of pretending to fight this project so that when the study comes back, he can vote to approve the project and make us think he “tried” to defeat it.

      What a joke.What does a noise study have to do with protecting the lives of these kids? Rocha has never even mentioned the safety and well being of these kids and he wants to be our new BOS? I don’t think so.

      I’m casting my vote for Susan Ellenberg. She knows and cares about kids, and isn’t a hardened politician who plays games like the rest of these candidates do.

  4. Dominic supports everybody but the Santa Clara residents. To think of him doing that at the county level makes me nauseated, especially to think he would get a big salary bump. When we walk the neighborhood will make sure our friends and neighbors know about Dominic’s actions.

    It looks like he will have more time to teach our children. Apparently that’s a bust as well.

    I’m not a fan. His only political moves are using his Council votes for his supporters. My hopes are that his self-fulfilling agenda is over.

    • Completely agree. I’m so glad he’s leaving the Santa Clara City Council after all of his pro-development votes decimating our city. It would hate to think about all of the damage he would do if voted onto the Santa Clara County Council.

  5. Just because most females are not supporting Dominic, it does not mean he has a problem with females older or younger, even his students. If that were true, he would not have the support of Patty Mahan and Teresa O’Neill. Keep up the good work, Dominic.

    • @Leave Dominic Alone. Most females are not supporting Dominic? Care to share with us why that is the case?

    • @Leave Dominic Alone = CaptainSaveASleezebag

      Because most females are not supporting him DOES mean he has a problem with older & younger women and even his female students. They all have a problem with him cause he’s a sleezebag

  6. Hey Dom,

    Who cares about the nurses or cop unions. That’s just pay back for votes. How come the people who know you best are un-endorsing you? Man, you must have a character flaw. Voters need to beware.

  7. I can’t wait till next year; maybe the Santa Clara firefighters will catch Pierluigi stealing his opponent’s signs like an off duty San Jose firefighter did with Pierluigi stealing his opponent’s signs in the SJ District 6 race years ago.

    It will be interesting to see who uses more dirty tricks: PLO or Dom?!?

    Let’s hope when either gets busted for their shenanigans that it is far more than a genteel wrist slap from the FPPC!

    Both candidates have fooled a LOT of people. Let’s see if this race pulls the “blinders” off of the voters.

  8. Folks: notice how again Robert cherry picks things to simply give you fake news and make our successful campaign look weak. Our campaign has THREE huge endorsements recently: the SOLE endorsements of the California Nurses Association, the National Nurses United, and the Santa Clara Police Officers Association. With public safety and health services the most important issues to voters at the county level, this is GREAT for our campaign, and Robert would report it as such if any other candidate secured those endorsements but because it is my campaign he doesn’t tell you that: Robert why don’t you report that?

    For authentic transparency this is what I sent Robert when he emailed me asking for info: It begs to ask the question why would Robert, who claims he loves Santa Clara, try and continue to bash the Santa Claran in the race?

    Events attended in Santa Clara:

    Opening of Palo Alto Neworks in SC

    Opening of the San Tomas Nighborhood Community Garden and Park in SC

    A coffee chat at the home on Royanna Gazlay in SC

    My campaign is leading on EVERY objective benchmark of a successful campaign:

    1) Raised the most money over $325,000

    2) Secured the most endorsements over 2,100 and the MOST electeds. With public safety and health services the most important issues to voters, we received the SOLE endorsement of the California Nurses Association, the National Nurses United, and the Santa Clara Police Officers Association.

    3) Have 17 coffee chats lined up between now and Dec 31st, including many in SC

    4) Over 16,000 volunteer hours from over 600 volunteers

    5) Sent out over 25,000 postcards to District 4 voters

    6) Walked over 93% of the District

    7) The most comprehensive website, including a translation page of 11 languages

    Robert, report the facts!


    • Dom is right! You need to give Dom a lot more credit. Nobody is working anywhere near as hard to earn the Supervisor’s slot. Or are they?

      The truth is we do not know. But it is clear that nobody does the bidding of the 49ers and monied Developers than Dom. No one pushes being a faux labor supporter than Dom. No one gets stuck on status more than Dom. No one trashed the Santa Clara Mayor as much as Dom. No one uses his role as teacher like Dom. And almost no one is as arrogant as Dom.

      The arrogant race is a toss up between the slimy Willow Glen/Rose Garden Oliverio and the Old Quad Caserta! Time will tell.

    • Pier and Rocha supported Measure B. That’s why we don’t have enough cops or fighter fighters here in San Jose. They both also support big development. You guys need to do your research before voting for these two.

  9. It’s good when you let us know in advance when candidates will be in town so we can see them. Thank you. I’ve been impressed when I meet them in person.

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