There are Two Democrats Running for Mayor. What’s the Difference?

I’m Matt Mahan, one of the two Democrats running for Mayor of San José. The other Democrat is Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

We are both 100% pro-choice. We both support sensible gun laws. We both support protecting the environment.

So – what is the difference?

Supervisor Chavez has been in office more than 20 years and is a fierce champion of the political establishment. In many ways I’m an outsider; a former public-school teacher who went on to found a software company building tools for civic engagement. 

I am fighting to change how we address homelessness by building safe modular units on government-owned land at just a small fraction of the $850,000 per door Supervisor Chavez is spending. I believe we need to focus on mental healthcare, and require those who are a danger to themselves and others to seek treatment. 

Supervisor Chavez and Santa Clara County have delayed sensible laws, like Governor Gavin Newsom’s CARE court, which I strongly support. I also believe we need to implement Laura’s Law, which would allow a judge to require someone who is a danger to themselves and others to receive treatment for a short period until they are stabilized. Supervisor Chavez has failed to efficiently implement this law, impeding its progress multiple times under the pretense of further study. Under her watch, the County has failed to invest in the mental healthcare we need to address the needs of our residents, help lower the rate of homelessness and also lower crime – with 50 percent or more of our jail population suffering from mental healthcare conditions. 

I believe during these trying times, we should strive to spend our tax dollars more effectively – investing in the basics like homelessness, reducing crime,  building affordable housing and advocating for mental healthcare. Supervisor Chavez, on the other hand, took $76 million dollars intended for COVID relief and put them towards bonuses for county staff, including those making over $200,000 per year. She has funneled millions into valet parking for top government staff, and even approved over $1 million in taxpayer dollars to be paid to a supporter to write a book about the county’s purported achievements.

I believe we must require accountability – starting at the top. I have proposed that we end automatic raises for politicians and department heads unless we make measurable progress on reducing homelessness, crime, untreated mental healthcare conditions and other vital issues. Supervisor Chavez has proposed no accountability programs for top government leaders.

My focus is on a new approach to solving our problems – uniting around common-sense solutions – which I am proud to have published for you to see on our website,  Already nearly 40,000 San Jose residents have joined us, and we are running one of the largest grass-roots campaigns in San Jose history. Supervisor Chavez has run a political campaign focused on attacks so relentless and intentionally misleading that one of America’s leading advocates on clean campaigning has published a piece entitled “When Will Cindy Chavez Tell the Truth?”

I know campaigns full of charges and counter charges can be confusing – which is why I have created a feature on my website that allows you to ask me questions directly about what matters most to you. You can find it at

I also know from the many thousands of conversations I have had with voters that the people of San Jose want a new approach to government and a new approach to politics – which focuses on solutions. That is what we are working to provide. I hope you will learn more about our campaign for common sense before you vote. 

Thank you,

Matt Mahan

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