Former San Jose staffer enters District 10 race to unseat ex-boss
Nooran Bayzaie is running for the District 10 San Jose City Council seat against his former boss. Photo courtesy of Nooran Bayzaie.

    Former city employee Nooran Bayzaie was considering a run for the District 10 San Jose City Council seat when his boss and sitting councilmember fired him.

    Bayzaie, 22, most recently worked as a legislative and policy aide for District 10 Councilmember Arjun Batra.  Bayzaie said he was let go a couple of weeks ago, the day after he told Batra about possibly entering the race—the same seat Batra is eying. Bayzaie is the second person to officially declare his candidacy to represent the Santa Teresa and Almaden area in southwest San Jose, joining longtime media relations specialist Lenka Wright.

    “A lot of people have been asking me, ‘Why are you running against your former boss?’ But I do not see it that way,” Bayzaie told San José Spotlight. “I’m just giving the residents an option for someone younger, who’s going to be more proactive, who will read the memorandums at every weekly city council meeting and someone who will be attentive to resident needs.”

    Bayzaie’s eye for council shouldn’t come as a surprise. He previously applied for the vacant District 10 seat earlier this year when the city council did an appointment process to fill the role left by Mayor Matt Mahan. Bayzaie did not make it far and ultimately Batra secured the seat.

    Batra was not immediately available to respond to request for comment.

    Bayzaie’s priorities as a prospective city leader center on public safety, homelessness and economic development—the same platform as when he ran earlier this year. He said he has more insight on how to get things done after six months of working in the city.

    In terms of public safety, Bayzaie’s mission is to hire more police officers. He also wants to provide officers with more mental health training because he believes they should be readily equipped to respond to all incidents, including mental health crises.

    On the housing front, Bayzaie said he wants to strike the right balance between affordable and interim housing development in San Jose. To him, that balance means providing more immediate, temporary solutions while affordable housing is in development. He said if he was on council during the contentious Measure E discussion on how to spend the millions of tax dollars, he would’ve voted alongside Mahan to allocate most of the dollars to temporary housing for homeless residents, instead of affordable housing.

    The soon-to-be college graduate hopes to use his economics degree from San Jose State University to hone in on the city’s economic development. He wants to create incentives to attract businesses to San Jose with a goal of increasing the city’s revenues, while bringing more customers to local eateries and smaller businesses.

    “We have a great property tax base because this is a living city. However, a lot of people leave the city, they go to Sunnyvale and Mountain View to work, so we’re missing out on a lot of that income tax,” Bayzaie said. “If we were able to incentivize and encourage businesses to come, we could utilize those dollars to improve our city.”

    Though Bayzaie has a semester left before he graduates, he brings in notable work experience. He said he was the youngest financial advisor at Merrill in the company’s history nationwide. A year prior to joining Batra’s office, he worked as a District 10 parks commissioner. He is also a cofounder of the nonprofit Youth Care Initiative in San Jose, which focuses on wider access to education and medical services to disenfranchised youth.

    Rachael Parakh, a board member of the Santa Clara County Horsemen’s Association, said she is impressed by Bayzaie’s entrepreneurial spirit and sincere interest and passion to help the community. That is why she is supporting his run.

    “Nooran continues to reach out to see how we are doing and how he can be of assistance. His availability and open door policy for constructive conversations is remarkable,” Parakh told San José Spotlight. “(Our organization) knows that if we ever need a new contact or to brainstorm new opportunities for growth, we can count on Nooran.”

    Parakh added she particularly appreciates his “contagious” youthful energy.

    Bayzaie said he knows his age might lead to people underestimating him, but maintains it is a strength.

    “We’re trying to revitalize our local government and trying to give it a fresh face. And the best way to do that is with a youthful face. Someone who’s been living in the district his entire life,” Bayzaie said. “I can definitely bring a lot more to the table than the typical candidate.”

    Contact Jana Kadah at [email protected] or follow @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.

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