Here’s who could be appointed to the San Jose City Council
Residents packed into the San Jose City Council chambers to speak for or against holding a special election to fill two vacancies on Dec. 5, 2022. Photo by Jana Kadah.

    Nearly three dozen people have applied for two open seats on the San Jose City Council, some just hours before the Monday midnight deadline.

    As of Jan. 3, 24 people have applied for the District 10 seat, which became vacant after former Councilmember Matt Mahan won his race for San Jose mayor. Thirteen are eyeing the District 8 spot, after voters elected former Councilmember Sylvia Arenas as District 1 Santa Clara County supervisor.

    Applicants who receive support from at least four councilmembers will be interviewed on Jan. 24 and Jan. 26, if necessary. The appointees must receive a two-thirds vote, which is slated to take place by the end of January.

    List of candidates for Districts 8 and 10

    District 8:

    • Matthew Giordono
    • Nick Pham
    • Kalvin Gill
    • Salvador Alvarez
    • Domingo Candelas
    • Aarshdeep Kahlon
    • Tam Truong
    • Jason Xu
    • Kent Campbell
    • Sukhdev Bainiwal
    • Carmen Brammer
    • Patricia Andrade
    • Rose Herrera

    District 10:

    • Gabriel Gomez
    • Sandeep Chaparala
    • Nooran Bayzaie
    • Greg Holsen
    • Maylyne Ho
    • Mike Wilson
    • Forrest Williams
    • Ann Chung
    • Jean D’innocenti
    • Robert Braunstein
    • Rhonda Hruby
    • George Casey
    • Anne Samuel
    • Ron Del Pozzo
    • Jesse Castaneda
    • Wendi Mahaney-Gurahoo
    • Allen Waldman
    • J. David Heindel
    • Anthony Moses
    • Arjun Batra
    • Dennis Hawkins
    • Andrew Toolson
    • James Sodergren
    • Dolores Carr

    Salvador Alvarez, an executive analyst in the city’s Office of Economic Development, said he jumped into the District 8 competition to bring services to the Evergreen area. His father was a civil rights leader with United Farm Workers and his mother is a former Evergreen School District trustee.

    “Evergreen is still the boonies, and we’re isolated from the rest of the city,” Alvarez told San José Spotlight, adding his priorities include bringing in new developments, housing and jobs to the area. “I’m a collaborator, and I’m only interested in identifying problems and solving them.”

    Longtime District 10 residents have also stepped up to compete for the leadership role. Robert Braunstein, an executive producer with the San Francisco 49ers and former District 10 council candidate who ran in 2012, said he’s a progressive candidate who’s fiscally conservative.

    “I could do a really good job for the district and really make a difference,” Braunstein told San José Spotlight. “I want to make sure Almaden and Blossom Valley get the representation that they deserve.”

    Mike Wilson, a retired behavioral psychologist, said he hopes to address homelessness and pension pay. He’s active in a local church and senior art group.

    “I have a real sense of what it means to struggle to raise a family here,” Wilson told San José Spotlight. “There are many different challenges people are facing.”

    Rhonda Hruby, a retired tech worker, said she wants to help small businesses and the homeless population in District 10. Hruby is treasurer at Coyote Creek Community Garden and a volunteer with Almaden Women’s Club.

    “I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to put my skills to use for the community,” Hruby told San José Spotlight. “I’m hoping that being on the council would be a bigger impact.”

    The appointment process comes after San Jose policymakers made one of the most controversial decisions in recent city history—to appoint successors to the two open seats. This came after hundreds of outspoken residents demanded a special election, which could have cost the city between $7 million to $10 million.

    Rich Robinson, political consultant and San José Spotlight columnist, said he anticipates the appointment process to be heated, with each councilmember having a different priority.

    “There’re some councilmembers who would like to see really strong (allies), and there are some people who would like to see caretakers,” Robinson said. “Ultimately, it will be a question of who could get a consensus from the council from both sides?”

    The new councilmembers in District 8 and 10 could have an impact on Mahan’s efforts to build a more moderate business-backed alliance on a city council where the majority opposed his candidacy. But Robinson said it’s important for San Jose to have leaders who can unite the city.

    “There’s so much distrust right now,” Robinson said. “That is having a negative effect on the city.”

    Contact Tran Nguyen at [email protected] or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter. 

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