Los Gatos Weekly Times
Khamis is the best choice for county supervisor position
It's common to have a logjam of candidates in a Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors race when an incumbent is termed out — but it's unusual to have five fundamentally qualified candidates. This is the challenge for South County and Evergreen voters in deciding who should replace Mike Wasserman in District 1.
We recommend Johnny Khamis, the former two-term San Jose councilman who would provide a voice for fiscal sanity that the business-oriented Wasserman brought to the board.
Board positions are non-partisan.
But that doesn't mean they aren't political. Wasserman, who has served the maximum 12 years, is a dying breed, a moderate Republican who supports business interests and is fiscally conservative. Khamis largely mirrors his views on issues. The board already has two progressive, labor-friendly members in Susan Ellenberg and Cindy Chavez, who is running for San Jose mayor and would likely be replaced by a labor-backed candidate if she is elected. If a third progressive were elected this fall, it would give the board a distinct tilt.
Labor and civil rights groups last fall tried to ensure that would happen when they gerrymandered Khamis and
another strong candidate, Los Gatos Town Council Vice Mayor Rob Rennie, out of District 1 when redrawing new county maps.
Rennie is now running for the District 28 seat in the state Assembly. Khamis, who has lived in the county for 46 years, moved out of his Almaden home and leased a condo within the newly drawn District 1 boundaries to continue his candidacy.
Khamis would shine a needed spotlight on the county budget. He also brings a track record of being responsive to residents' needs as a city councilman.
We don't always agree with him on issues, including his notion that a lack of affordable housing is not the main reason most people end up homeless in the county. But we wholeheartedly concur that more focus and coordination of mental health and drug and alcohol addiction programs is in order.
Khamis' passion for helping those with mental health is obvious. He has also successfully worked with nonprofits, which is essential for the county.
Khamis supported affordable housing efforts as a councilman. He has a solid record on open-space issues, having worked with the Open Space Authority to help purchase land in the Santa Teresa foothills to create public trails.
Khamis' opponents include Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine, Santa
Clara County Board of Education member Claudia Rossi, San Jose City Councilwoman Sylvia Arenas and Denelle Fedor, a case manager for a nonprofit that provides housing assistance to residents.
All are solid candidates with a wealth of political experience. Constantine, a retired firefighter, would bring in-depth knowledge of public safety issues to the board. Rossi, a registered nurse, is especially well-versed on health care issues, which account for roughly 60% of the county's budget. Arenas would be a tireless champion for the needs of children and would fight for social justice. But all three would be beholden to labor interests and would not provide the necessary check on spending that Khamis would provide.
Fedor has served as a staff member for a number of San Jose officeholders. She is centering her campaign around fiscal accountability, but she has never held public office.
Khamis is the best choice for District 1 voters in the June 7 election.