Ask Matt

Ask Matt

Matt Mahan believes we deserve real answers on how San José will address homelessness, crime, untreated mental illness, the cost of housing and on so many other vital issues – not just more political excuses.

Do you have a question for Matt? Let us know using the form below, and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 

Ask Matt a Question:


Why is Matt Mahan running for Mayor of San José?

Matt Mahan is running for Mayor of San José to bring common-sense solutions and accountability to City Hall. Matt says it is time to acknowledge that “more of the same” isn’t working to lower crime, address the crisis of homelessness, create new housing our families can afford, finally treat the epidemic of untreated mental health conditions we see on our streets and other pressing problems. Mahan is bringing a new approach grounded in holding government accountable for results, starting by ending the automatic pay raises politicians now get even when they are failing.

How is Matt Mahan different from Cindy Chavez?

Matt represents a change in direction while Supervisor Cindy Chavez is running on her record of nearly 20 years in office. A good example is that Cindy Chavez says her record on housing for the homeless is a reason to elect her. Matt Mahan says the Chavez approach of building new homeless housing paid for by taxpayers at the cost of over $800,000 per unit is an example of a failed policy. Matt will focus on housing the homeless in safe, individual modular units on public land at less than one tenth of the cost the Chavez plan requires – and unlike Chavez, he says we should require people to use those units when available.

What is Matt Mahan’s plan to solve homelessness in San José?

Matt believes we can end street homelessness by building affordable and basic shelter for a fraction of what current plans propose and then require people to use it when it is available. He believes we must rebuild our mental healthcare system so that those who are a danger to themselves and others can be required to seek treatment. He is fighting to make sure every city in our county, and every county in California, does their fair share.

Under past policies, San José has been asked to take on more than our fair share of the county’s homeless population. Matt has fought for programs that allow the homeless to work their way off the streets by being paid to clean up San José and is expanding these programs as Mayor.

How will Matt Mahan keep San José safe?

Matt has been working to fully staff the San José Police Department and focus on tackling crime from every direction. He is working to stop the “Catch and Release” policies that allow those who have repeatedly violated the terms of their pre-trial release to continue to be released into our city, even when they have previously committed serious and violent crimes.

Today, San José has fewer officers than we did 15 years ago, largely because politicians supported massive, unfunded spending commitments that ballooned to over $4 billion in debt – which we are still struggling to pay. Matt will treat every tax dollar as precious and he will not expand debts, so we have the funds needed to take care of the basics – starting with hiring enough police officers.

In the months since Matt was elected, we are already on track to hire more police officers and paramedics so that San José can once again become the safest large city in America.

How will Matt Mahan clean up San José?

Since taking office, Matt has made cleaning up our city one of the core priorities of government and linking pay raises of politicians and department heads to making progress on a clean and safe city. He is working to expand the San José Bridge program that hires homeless residents to clean up the city and offers them additional job training. He is focused on ending street homelessness, which contributes to our trash problems. And he is working to enforce existing laws against littering and dumping, and demand accountability from other agencies – like Caltrans, which does not always stay current on trash pick-up on their properties.

How will Matt Mahan hold city officials accountable?

He has proposed linking the pay raises of politicians and top department heads to measurable results. When passing the annual budget, Matt worked with the council and the community to set clear goals on top priorities like lowering crime, reducing homelessness, cleaning up the city and addressing affordable housing – and then publish these goals and our progress toward meeting them on a public dashboard. Matt believes that pay raises and bonuses should be tied to performance. If progress isn’t made toward key community goals, there should be no raises for those at the top. This has worked before. It used to be that in California the state budget was almost always late. Angry voters finally stepped in and created a law that prevents the legislature from being paid if they don’t pass a budget on time. Since then, our state budget has always been on time.

Will Matt Mahan build more affordable housing in San José?

Matt will focus on building more housing downtown and near jobs and transit. He is working to fully staff the Planning Department and speed up permitting, work to make sure we have trained enough workers to build the housing we need, use prefabricated, modular construction that is much less expensive, embrace affordable-by-design solutions like dormitory-style buildings for young adults, support using backyard cottages where they make sense, and make sure that as we add new housing, we are also investing in transit options so we don’t increase traffic gridlock.

Does Matt Mahan support SB9 and SB10?

He does not. These laws take away our ability to shape San José in a way that makes sense for us and will lead to worse traffic, more air pollution, and higher costs for local taxpayers because new growth can now go forward in a way that benefits developers, not residents. Matt supports smart growth downtown and near transit and jobs in the “Urban Village” format already identified as right for growth because they are near transit and jobs.

Matt believes all cities must be accountable for building housing for future generations, but Sacramento should not dictate exactly how and where each city should build that housing given that each city faces unique challenges and opportunities. San José, specifically, was built as a residential bedroom community for the job centers to our north and west. As such, we face serious budget challenges that we cannot afford to exacerbate by doubling down on low-density sprawl.

Will Matt Mahan fight for a clean environment?

Matt is a lifelong environmentalist who has worked to bring safe, clean and now more affordable renewable energy to San José. He believes we can create new high-wage jobs while we create a cleaner and safer environment – particularly if we focus on the new technologies that address climate challenges in smart new ways, including renewables and storage solutions. Matt believes that San José and Silicon Valley are uniquely positioned to benefit from state and federal investments in climate change and green energy and he is working hard to attract these industries, and the jobs and tax revenue they bring, to San José. Matt is also committed to protecting open space, expanding our water recycling capacity, and expanding our urban forest, especially in historically underserved neighborhoods.

What is Matt Mahan’s political party?

Matt Mahan is a registered Democrat. The office of the Mayor is non-partisan and Matt strongly believes we must all work together, regardless of party, to solve our common problems like crime, housing, homelessness and the rising cost of living.

Is Matt Mahan a Republican?

No, he is not. Cindy Chavez is trying to imply that he is because Matt founded a non-partisan technology platform that did not censor the normal range of political views. The Chavez attack is essentially that Matt did not censor those with whom he disagrees.

Is Matt Mahan pro-choice?

Yes. Again, Cindy Chavez is trying to mislead voters about this. One of America’s leading election integrity advocates, Ann Ravel, has called out Chavez for lying about this. You can read the piece she co-authored here.

Who has endorsed Matt Mahan?

Matt’s campaign for common-sense has been endorsed by the Mercury News, four out of five of San José’s living mayors, and most importantly over 30,000 community leaders and neighbors who agree it is time for common sense and accountability at City Hall. If you would like to join this growing coalition you can sign up here.

Was Matt Mahan on the San José City Council?

Yes, Matt represented District 10 (Almaden, Santa Teresa, and parts of Blossom Valley) on the City Council.

What did Matt Mahan do before politics?

After college, Matt worked on economic development projects in Bolivia, including building irrigation systems that expanded opportunities for family farmers. He then returned to San José as a public school teacher in the East Side (Alum Rock School District) . Matt went on to work in the private sector, starting with a company called Causes that helped tens of millions of Americans support local nonprofits and community groups working on issues ranging from food security and education to public health and protecting our environment. Matt later founded a company called Brigade–the world’s first nonpartisan social network for voters–which built tools to empower citizens to learn about and discuss issues, organize with like-minded neighbors, and engage in advocacy and electoral politics to hold their government accountable.

Does Matt Mahan have a family?

Matt and his wife Silvia are proud parents of two children, Nina and Luke. Matt met Silvia, who grew up in Miami and is the daughter of immigrants, in college and convinced her that San José is the best place in the world to raise a family! Silvia is the President of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in the Little Portugal/Five Wounds neighborhood, which helps low-resource students become the first in their families to attend college.

How old is Matt Mahan?

Matt is 39 years old. 

Where did Matt Mahan grow up?

Matt grew up in Watsonville, where his dad was a postal worker and his mom was an educator. He earned a work-study scholarship to Bellarmine and attended high school in San José as a commuter, taking public buses nearly four hours each day to get a better education.

Where did Matt Mahan go to school?

Matt went to Moreland Notre Dame in Watsonville, then Bellarmine for high school, and he earned a scholarship to, and graduated from, Harvard University, where he graduated with honors and was student body president.

Is Matt Mahan Pro-Choice?

Matt is pro-choice and believes a woman’s reproductive freedom belongs to her alone. Please read more on this from one of America’s leading voices on clean campaigning – Ann Ravel. You can read her op-ed in the San José Spotlight here.

Is Matt Mahan Supported by the NRA?

No, Matt is not not supported by the NRA. Before his political life, Matt worked at and founded a technology company that did not censor legal content. In fact, the entire point of Matt’s platform was to encourage open civic debate about critical issues. Cindy is launching these attacks on platforms that also do not censor legal content and paying those platforms to run ads. In other words, she has one standard for herself and another for Matt Mahan.

How Does Matt Mahan Feel About Housing Development In San José?

Matt believes we need to put housing where it makes sense – downtown and near well-served transit so we can create new housing without traffic gridlock. San José spent many years developing an “Urban Village” plan to do exactly this. It is a good plan with a focus on housing near jobs and transit. But now San José needs to implement it, not throw it away for new plans that seem to give developers a free hand to build whatever they want wherever they want. Matt does not think new state laws like SB 9 and SB 10 don’t make sense in San José. Matt believes we can accommodate more backyard cottages, and secondary units in homes (things like garage conversions where that makes sense).  What we have to remember is that new housing needs to be paired with new infrastructure – like transit – and the ability to provide vital needs like water to new residents. Matt believes we need a comprehensive approach here, not a political reaction. 

There is a large aging population in San José. I want to know what Mahan has in mind for the aged and the disabled?

As our population ages Matt believes we need to make sure our city meets the needs, and taps the talents and wisdom of these residents. He supports common-sense policies like home sharing, that match seniors with extra rooms with younger people who want to rent a room, which helps seniors stay in their homes longer and provides affordable housing San José needs. He wants the city to explore matching seniors with qualified and vetted tenants – and would like to look at starting with our city workers and other government workers, so these workers don’t have long commutes (and we lower traffic). He is also exploring a “Senior Corps” proposal to pay a stipend to seniors who help with vital tasks like mentorship of our public-school children – and other ways we can tap into the deep generational wisdom of our senior population. Matt knows it goes without saying that what is good for everyone is good for seniors – so lowering crime, cleaning our streets, working to end street homelessness and holding politicians accountable for results is going to improve the lives of seniors and all residents.

How are you different from Cindy Chavez, particularly around the issue of homelessness?

There couldn’t be a single issue that distinguishes our campaign from Cindy Chavez more than homelessness. She is one of the chief architects of the failing plan on homelessness. The rate of homelessness has risen steadily over her nearly 20-year political career, particularly since she became a member of the Board of Supervisors. At the same time, she has allowed the homeless population to be concentrated in the City of San Jose while other cities in the county do less than their fair share. She supports building housing that now costs $800,000 per door and under her plan we will never be able to build enough housing to address the homeless crisis. She has underfunded the mental health services that help prevent homelessness and help people stay in houses. Matt is fighting for a common-sense approach that will build safe and individual modular units on government owned land at as little as 10 percent of the cost of the Chavez plan – and Matt says once those units are available we should require people to use them. Matt also believes every city in the county should pay their fair share to address homelessness. 

Does Matt Support Defunding the Police?

Absolutely not, he supports fully staffing our police department as we continually work to improve our police practices by targeting the handful of serious and violent offenders who commit a disproportionately high number of crimes, hiring and retaining officers who speak the many languages used in our community, and focusing on programs that prevent crime like drug treatment and job training.

Does Matt Mahan Support Proposition 27?

No, Matt does not support an expansion of online gambling and sports betting in California. 

Matt believes we deserve real answers on how San José will address homelessness, crime, untreated mental illness, the cost of housing and on so many other vital issues – not just more political excuses.

Do you have a question for Matt? Let us know using the form below, and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 

Ask Matt a Question: