Fleming: San Jose special interests choose division and lies over unity and truth
An aerial view of downtown San Jose is pictured in this file photo.

    Every two years we go temporarily insane during elections while choosing the elected officials who are supposed to represent us, people who generally care about the wellbeing of our community, but who oftentimes make promises they know they cannot keep and sometimes make wild claims they know are untrue.

    Logical thinking is thrown out the window as an all-out war of words erupts, tearing apart neighbors and ending friendships… at least until we move on with our normal day-to-day lives.

    The election season is our chance to believe the special interests. Wait, shouldn’t we listen to the candidates themselves? Obviously not—special interests have the money to make their voices heard the loudest so they must be right, and they would never say anything that isn’t true… yeah right.

    Unfortunately, San Jose tends to vote in alignment with special interests most of the time:

    Us: It’s too expensive to live here

    Special Interests:  So let’s raise taxes

    Us: The homeless population is not getting the help they need

    Special Interests: So let’s keep funding the same programs that have failed them and made things worse

    Us: Traffic is terrible

    Special Interests: Then let’s reduce the number of lanes on our roads

    The truth is our quality of life is getting worse, and voters fall for the same tricks and lies year over year and it’s destroying our city.

    I support our union members who provide the labor for our community, but shouldn’t our unions be using their member dues to support their membership instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on attack ads against candidates that a significant amount of their membership supports?

    The South Bay Labor Council has spent over $70,000 on attack ads this primary on the Santa Clara County Supervisor District 1 race alone. That’s just for attack ads against one person. One of their attacks equated a local candidate with COVID, insinuating a vote for him will make you sick. Another one of their attack ads was filled with unacceptable racial undertones against our Arab community.

    Why aren’t we holding the executive board of South Bay Labor accountable and demanding their resignation like we did with the former SVO?

    The Santa Clara County Democratic Party viciously attacked a Democratic mayoral candidate numerous times on Twitter. In one attack they wrongfully insinuated he agreed with a speaker who called for the execution and murder of an individual.

    A common tactic both of these organizations abuse is the use of the political minority as a weapon to destroy bipartisanship and to divide our community by mislabeling nearly 20% of our neighbors as evil people, intentionally poisoning our city with false rhetoric and lies, alienating good people with good ideas and getting away with it because there are no consequences to them.

    This is the sewer level that San Jose politics has sunk to. This is why nothing is ever accomplished. This is why most good people stay out of politics. This is unacceptable and we deserve better.

    As a candidate for office in 2020 I met people from all parties and backgrounds, and that reaffirmed my belief that the best part of San Jose is the people who live here. We should be focused on unifying, healing and improving our city with new ideas based on facts.

    But special interests lie to us and divide us, make us despise one another and do so for their own gain. Don’t listen to them.

    Take the time to do your own research on the candidates running for office, treat people how you wish to be treated and vote with your heart.

    Jonathan Fleming is executive director and CEO of the nonprofit Silicon Valley Public Accountability Foundation.

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