Editorial: Attacks on mayoral candidate are grossly misleading and lead to distrust, further polarization


Three labor hit pieces on Matt Mahan mailed this week to women voters in San Jose say far more about the instigators than they do about the San Jose mayoral candidate.

For starters, they tell voters that supporters of one of Mahan’s opponents, Cindy Chavez, are worried that Mahan’s message about bringing accountability to City Hall is gaining traction. But they also tell voters something about the character of those supporters. The hit pieces aren’t just grossly misleading. They’re also divisive and encourage the kind of politics that leads to anger, distrust and polarization.

Is this the kind of dirty politics Chavez embraces to win support? If not, she should denounce the United Food and Commercial Workers Independent Expenditure PAC that sent the hit pieces.

Let’s be clear. Mahan is a lifelong, pro-choice Democrat. In fact, every member of the current San Jose City Council, including mayoral candidates Mahan, Dev Davis and Raul Peralez, signed a letter in support of Roe v. Wade in the wake of the recent leaked Supreme Court opinion.

As a more moderate candidate than the labor-backed, progressive Chavez, Mahan was endorsed by the Silicon Valley Association of Republican Women. So labor is now using that to falsely imply that Mahan is a closet Republican and anti-choice.

It doubles down on the misleading attack by falsely portraying Mahan’s position on reproductive rights.

Mahan has been a strong supporter of pro-choice organizations such as Planned Parenthood. At a recent mayoral forum, he was asked if he supported funding that would ensure access to reproductive health care. He said he wasn’t sure it was an issue that the council would take up or that is applicable to city government, which happens to be true. But opponents are now falsely claiming that means he doesn’t support pro-choice values.

What really angers labor backers is that Mahan won’t cater to their every whim, which is what it takes to win labor’s endorsement. One of Mahan’s greatest strengths is that he doesn’t have a knee-jerk reaction to any individual issue.

“I want us to be more pragmatic,” Mahan said in a recent Editorial Board interview. “I’m willing to sit down, listen and seek compromises to find a way to make progress on an issue.”

That’s a value that San Jose voters should embrace and speaks to why we recommend him in Tuesday’s election.


Note to Voters:

I have registered to vote many times and my memory is always registering to vote as a Democrat. Our campaign has been shown a form showing I registered as an independent at least once. While I have no memory of this, the form appears accurate. I have always considered myself a Democrat. But in terms of voter registration, it was incorrect to say I am a lifelong Democrat since for at least a brief period of time I was an independent voter. As Mayor it will be my job to represent all voters regardless of party and to work to move beyond the kind of toxic partisanship that prevents us from working together to solve our common challenges. 


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