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Chavez vs. Mahan: Closer Look at Candidates Seeking to Become San Jose's Next Mayor

San Jose is set to get a new mayor.

With current Mayor Sam Liccardo terming out, voters have two candidates to decide between: Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who is largely backed by labor interests, and city Councilman Matt Mahan, backed largely by the city’s business community.

Both candidates are clear on the hot topics – affordable housing, crime, homelessness and jobs – but each wants to address those issues a little differently.
“We’re gonna get San Jose clean again,” Chavez said.

“All these issues we talk about are interconnected,” Mahan said.

The candidates are weaving a message of more housing and jobs with less crime into their pitch to voters.

“VTA has about 200 acres around the county that are around transit nodes,” Chavez said. “We’re looking at building housing and jobs and that means, for every one of those locations, we’re gonna build 30% of the housing that will go there will be affordable.”

“What it means though is that while we’ve had some rough years and seen some of these issues worsen,” Mahan said. “It also means that if we start getting policies right, there can be positive effects, and a virtuous cycle, in which building more housing can create more affordability, which means less economic stress, which means less crime.”

Mahan is relatively new to local politics, having served a year of the San Jose City Council. He has prior experience in tech and Teach for America and said fresh eyes are what the city needs.

Chavez has spent more than two decades in various public offices and said that experience will benefit the city. She said she’d start her mayoral term working to improve San Jose’s standing when it comes to homelessness and safety.

“One of the things I want to make sure people understand is that San Jose is open for business,” she said. “We’re gonna get that housing built, we’re gonna hire the officers we need to make San Jose safer, we’re gonna continue to house homeless people, more effective and efficient at it than we’ve been in the past.”

Day one of a Mahan administration, he said, would include a more efficient city government.

“I think a lot of people are frustrated with the fact that their taxes have gone up, we’ve continually passed bonds and yet homelessness, crime, housing affordability have frankly all gotten worse,” he said.

When it comes to endorsements, Chavez has received support from the San Jose Police Officers Association and labor groups. Mahan has endorsements from Liccardo along with several business groups.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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