After getting a bit of rest, former San Jose Councilmember Johnny Khamis is back at work.
Not at San Jose City Hall. He just accepted a job as a part-time public relations consultant for the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors (SCCAOR).
SCCAOR provides educational and networking opportunities to more than 6,000 Realtors across the county. Khamis will write articles to help SCCAOR explain complex housing policies to news outlets and the public.
“I’m excited to stay involved in issues that I’m passionate about like homeownership,” Khamis told San José Spotlight. He said home-ownership provided stability to his family after they immigrated to the United States from war-torn Beirut, Lebanon, in 1976. “Ownership was the way we worked our way out of poverty and I think that opportunity should be more easily attained here in Santa Clara County.”
Khamis has a one-year contract with SCCAOR and is just starting to look for future gigs post-council service. He served on the San Jose City Council for eight years, and is now mounting a run for county supervisor in 2022.
The former District 10 representative said he had a restful January where he slept in until 8 a.m. — two hours more than usual — and binged shows on Amazon Prime. He also set a goal to walk 12,000 steps a day now that he doesn’t have to sit in front of a screen for hours for Zoom council meetings.
“I relaxed like I’ve never relaxed before,” Khamis said.
Shortly before he left office, Khamis announced he would run to succeed Mike Wasserman on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, representing District 1. He said working with SCCAOR will give him the opportunity to analyze housing policies at the county level so he can offer suggestions to the board on how to address the local housing shortage, if elected.
Neil Collins, SCCAOR’s CEO, said Khamis will bolster the organization’s mission to provide housing opportunities and protect private property rights in Santa Clara County. Collins writes a monthly column about real estate for this news organization.
“We haven’t always been the best at telling our story. With his housing policy background and years of public service, Johnny will be a tremendous help on improving our public outreach,” Collins said.
Khamis is a homeowner, housing provider and a small business owner. During his time on the City Council, he was a staunch advocate for San Jose property owners. He voted against raising property taxes, voted in favor of making accessory dwelling units — or “granny units” — easier to build and sought new ways to provide more affordable housing opportunities for low-income and middle-income families.
He took heat from fellow lawmakers for voting against a rent freeze in April shortly after the pandemic began. Khamis worried the rent freeze would hurt landlords who are struggling due to COVID-19.
“SCCAOR has always endorsed Johnny during his time on the City Council,” said SCCAOR board President Doug Goss. “And we are happy to get a chance to work with him to help spread our message.”
Contact Carly Wipf at [email protected] or follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.