By Robert Haugh
Last night’s candidates forum for County Supervisor at the Santa Clara County Democratic Club’s monthly meeting wasn’t too enlightening, but did have some entertaining moments.
All five candidates agreed on the majority of topics addressed, with Pierluigi Oliverio being the lone dissenter on two items. He disagreed with Santa Clara County’s opposition to the Trump administration’s’ federal immigration policies because Oliverio feels the County needs to follow national policy to maintain federal funds (75 percent of its budget according to Oliverio). He also would not pledge to support new local taxes to replace the potential loss of federal funds.
Here are some observations and highlights :
- Susan Ellenberg clearly won the room. Her responses were eloquent, civil and very well thought out.
- Don Rocha admitted he didn’t prep for the forum and it was obvious at times. He did deliver a few line drives with quick wit and humor. At one point he said that there were 4 ½ really good “Democratic” candidates in the race, taking a jab at Oliverio for his more conservative positions.
- Oliverio was often making comments that didn’t play to the room, sometimes getting heckled by the capacity, standing-room-only crowd. He played the role he’s enjoyed much of his career, as a maverick.
- Jason Baker was very well spoken and seemed more informed and experienced than some of his opponents.
- Dominic Caserta made a mistake saying that he was more supportive of Measure A (affordable housing, 2016) than the other candidates, claiming he helped raise $25,000.
- Baker slyly mentioned that he was one of the people who helped construct the Measure A ballot measure and was a signer one one of the ballot arguments in support of the measure.
- Rocha jabbed back at Caserta, too, mentioning he helped raised funds for Measure A, but he doesn’t brag about it, but if he went back, he is sure he helped raise more than $25,000.
- Caserta was laughed at when he mentioned that Santa Clara built a stadium, when San Jose couldn’t. He must be looking at old polling from 2010 when the stadium was popular.
- Oliverio refused to stand early on when answering a question, drawing the ire of many attendees who wanted to see each speaker as they spoke.
- Caserta’s style is to boast about what he’s done in Santa Clara, frequently exaggerating his accomplishments. The audience seem annoyed when he would do this and avoid actually answering the questions.
- Ellenberg answered questions with specific details, offering more information than other candidates.
Debate Report Card:
If you want to watch all the action, here is the link from Kirk Vartan’s Facebook live feed.