San Jose council member Matt Mahan announced on Saturday that he is officially embarking on the race to become the city’s next mayor, on a platform he described as “a common sense revolution.” .
Announcing his campaign, Mahan – a junior politician who joined the council earlier this year – said he plans to use his experience working in the tech industry to bring more accountability and results. to the highest elected office in San Jose.
“I think if there is a theme in my campaign, it is a common sense revolution that takes us from dealing with dysfunctions to solving problems,” he said in an interview. ââ¦ Part of what I try to do is focus on the basics. “
Mahan joins board members Dev Davis and Raul Peralez, both of whom announced their candidacies in April, in the race to succeed Mayor Sam Liccardo in two terms. Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez also appears to be a candidate, but has yet to make any official proclamation. The primary election will take place on June 7, 2022.
Mahan said he believed the city was “going in the wrong direction” with its growing population of homeless residents, the worsening plague and deteriorating conditions in the city’s parks and roads. He wants senior officials in San Jose to be held accountable for getting things back on track.
In his pitch for the mayor’s seat, Mahan proposes that the city create a data dashboard to track key performance goals – from moving more homeless residents into stable housing to better park and road maintenance. from the city to reducing wait times for building permit applications and inspections.
If these annual performance targets are not met, Mahan believes that city council members and senior city hall officials, including the city manager and department heads, should not get a raise.
âI don’t know how an organization that doesn’t have clear public goals and regularly report on progress can be a good steward of taxpayer dollars,â he said.
Regarding the homelessness crisis in the city, Mahan would like the city to identify suitable public land where modular prefabricated housing can be built faster and more cheaply than the large permanent supportive housing projects currently. built with county bond funds. He also wants the city to put more pressure on the county to expand its mental health and addiction treatment programs.
Mahan opposes the elimination of single-family zoning throughout the city and instead calls on city officials to focus only on higher density development in transit corridors and commercial areas.
In his first run for office, Mahan proved to be a formidable candidate when he overwhelmingly won the three-candidate contest for the District 10 seat in March 2020. He not only garnered the biggest sum of money from all the candidates of the five San JosÃ© district races held at that time, but it also landed the most prominent mentions. Mahan received support from Mayor Sam Liccardo, Deputy Mayor Chappie Jones, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and the Silicon Valley Organization PAC, the former political arm of the region’s largest chamber of commerce.
Although he has spent the least amount of time in the public service of the mayoral candidates, Mahan sees his advantage.
“Anyone else whose leadership has been in local government for 5 to 20 years will have to respond to what they are going to do differently from what they have been doing for years,” he said.
“I’m more of a problem solver than a politician, and I don’t think I need another year in town hall to figure out what the problems are or how we might start to solve them.”
Mahan grew up in Watsonville, attended Bellarmine Prep High School in San Jose, and went on to graduate from Harvard University. Prior to joining city council, he was co-founder and CEO of Brigade, a tech company that provides tools to promote civic engagement and political transparency.
Ann Ravel, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and former Santa Clara County councilor, said she felt Mahan was the best candidate to lead San Jose, describing him as “exceptionally intelligent”, “incredibly thoughtful” and someone ‘one that would do the job’ truly as a public service ‘.
“He won’t be one of those people who is just looking to get elected because he needs the next job or because he may be beholden to some of his donors,” Ravel said. âHe does it because he has a lot of great and creative ideas on how to tackle important issues in the city and he’s committed to the public.
Mahan, who has been widely supported by business organizations and other business-backed politicians during his council campaign, will compete against Davis for support from the city’s business faction. Davis – one of the most conservative members of City Council today – represents District 6, which includes the neighborhoods of Willow Glen and Rose Garden. She was elected to the board in 2016 and was re-elected to retain her seat last year.
Peralez, who represents the city’s downtown core, was first elected to council in 2014 and was previously employed as a San Jose Police Officer. He has always received strong support from the town’s labor base, but it is unclear who the town’s largest labor groups would support after Chavez – a longtime South Bay labor leader – formalized his candidacy.
A poll commissioned by the San JosÃ© Police Officers Association in late June found that 23% of likely voters supported Chavez, while 7% leaned for Peralez, 5% for Mahan and 4% for Davis. Almost three in five – out of 59% – of those surveyed were still undecided.