By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez led the effort to approve a map for the Board of Supervisors that will help a candidate she’s endorsing in District 1.
It removes two strong candidates from that district by dramatically changing the cities included within the boundaries.
The vote was 3-2 with Supervisors Otto Lee and Susan Ellenberg, who represents Santa Clara, voting with Chavez. Supervisors Joe Simitian and Mike Wasserman voted against the map.
Chavez is supporting Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine who will be on the ballot in the June 2022 primary.
He’s running for the seat being vacated by Wasserman who is termed out of office.
Former San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis and Los Gatos Vice Mayor Rob Rennie were declared candidates for the District 1 race. But because of the new lines, they no longer live in the district.
Almaden Valley and Los Gatos have been moved from District 1 to District 5.
Critics charge that Chavez, Ellenberg, and Lee were influenced by the South Bay Labor Council and Working Partnerships USA.
Those two organizations are the top labor groups in the County and where Chavez used to work. They created the map that the three Supervisors approved.
The law firm of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk LLP sent a letter on behalf of the critics of the process threatening legal action. They claim Supervisors can’t consider where candidates reside when shaping district boundaries.
The labor groups worked with some community organizations to promote their map and change district lines.
One of them was the Asian Law Alliance and its executive director Richard Konda.
Konda and his group sued Santa Clara to create districts that led to the election of members of the new City Council that many residents consider dysfunctional.
Konda was also used as a “frontman” by the 49ers and their political consultant David Beltran to justify the team’s spending on city council elections.
It’ll be interesting to see if a County lawsuit turns up similar tactics and information.
This is a developing story.