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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election

City of San JoseCandidate for City Council, District 2

Photo of Sergio Jimenez

Sergio Jimenez

Public Defender Investigator
5,953 votes (32.86%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • A Safer Community. San Jose continues to face too many challenges in keeping our neighborhoods safe.
  • Tackling Our Housing Crisis. As costs conitue to rise and reisdents are sleeping on the streets, we need better, sustainable solutions for everyone.
  • Creating a stable today for a better tomorrow. Jobs, transportation and community services need to work for everyone.



Profession:Investigator, Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office
Investigator, Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office (2009–current)
San Jose Parks & Recreation Commissioner, Current Chair, City of San Jose — Appointed position (2010–current)


San Jose State University MPA, Masters in Public Administration (in Progress) (2016)
San Jose State University BA, Political Science (2008)

Community Activities

Founder and Past President, Oak Grove Neighborhood Association (2011–current)
Non-Profit Board Member, Somos Mayfair (2014–current)
Board Member, Multicultural Leadership Committee, Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Heart Association (2013–current)


Growing up in East San José provided me with the base of my convictions and values. Finding inspiration and strength from my mother, who worked full-time at a fast-food restaurant while also raising six children. My mom's hard work & resilience ensured that we would be safe & provided for.  At San Jose State Univerisyt, I met his wife Patty and we have three children, and I was the first of my family to graduate college, and I am currently working to complete my Masters of Public Administration from SJSU.

I'm committed to San José & District 2. As an investigator with the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office, I am working directly with our community to ensure justice and safety are provided to all.  I see the impact crime and violence has on San Jose.  Seeing the roots of our problems, and what services and actions work to curb crime.

Beyond my career, I am currently serving my secord term on the San José Parks & Recreation Commission, and current Chair.  I am an advocate for expanding our parks, preserving our green space, and beautifying our city by abating graffiti and coordinating monthly litter pick-ups. Additionally, five years ago with friends founded the Oak Grove Neighborhood Association. As President focusing on community well-being, and establishing strong relationships among the District 2 Neighborhood Associations.


I understand that the success of San José starts in our neighborhoods, and together we can work to make them safe & vibrant. District 2 continues to grow and deserves good stewardship that knows our community, someone from our neighborhoods and someone that has a record of achievement and commitment in improving our neighborhoods.  For more information please visit our campaign website  Thank you.


Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (11)

  • DAWN, Democratic Activists for Women Now
  • Silicon Valley Asian Pacific American Democratic Club
  • Silicon Valley Young Democrats
  • Silicon Valley Latino Democratic Forum
  • South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council
  • Oak Grove Educators Association
  • East Side Teacher's Association
  • Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters
  • Sierra Club
  • Santa Clara County Democratic Party
  • Planned Parenthood

Elected Officials (7)

  • Nancy Pyle, Former San Jose City Councilmember
  • Charlotte Powers, Former San Jose Councilmember, District 2
  • Don Rocha, San Jose Councilmember
  • Raul Peralez, San Jose Councilmember
  • Dave Cortese, Santa Clara County Supervisor
  • Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Supervisor
  • Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Supervisor

Individuals (1)

  • Manny Barbara, Former Oak Grove School District Superintendent

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters (5)

What experience related to city government would you bring to the City Council?
Answer from Sergio Jimenez:

The experience I bring comes both from my years of community work as well my work on the City of San Jose's Parks and Recreation Commission.  In my years working in the community and founding and leading the Oak Grove Neighborhood Association for many years, I have experienced the resident's perspective in working with the city to get things done for our community.  I have worked with the Department of Transportation on improving our public safety by getting a crosswalk installed on a street with heavy traffic.  Likewise, I have worked with the Parks Department in adopting our local park and with the Department of Neighborhood Services in coordinating monthly clean ups around our community.  Over the years I have played an important role connecting members from my community with various city departments who often visit and provide neighbors invaluable information about our local government.

With regard to my government experiences, I have spent many years working for the County of Santa Clara, a governmental entity much like the city.  My years on the Parks Commission and my time as Chair of the Commission has allowed me to build strong lasting relationships with city staff.  It has also afforded me the opportunity to see first-hand the importance of public involvement within local government.  I have learned to lead and manage public meetings on controversial issues, getting things done while respecting the public's role in the process.

San Jose budget difficulties have resulted in unprecedented cuts to staff and services. How will you deal with coming shortfalls? Restoring some of the City services? And, if you think the City needs additional resources, what are your ideas for increasing revenues?
Answer from Sergio Jimenez:

Often times in trying to address shortfalls, city leaders almost immediately look to cut services instead of looking to increase revenue.  I would look at potential sources of revenue that often go untouched.  For example, we can look at revisiting our city's 30 year old business tax structure so that businesses pay their fair share towards the city's general fund and to the residents of this city.  It's estimated that the city could reap close to $40 million dollars more a year in revenue through changing the business tax structure to be in line with many other cities in the Bay Area and cities around the state.  Residents and businesses alike benefit from a city that provides adequate services to its residents and it is time we begin to all pay our fair share.  

Additionally, in talking to city staff from various departments including, police, fire, parks and rec, I learned that past budgets and the impact of the pension reform battle left a legacy of short staffed departments, deteriorating moral, and departments trying to get things done on a shoe-string budget while trying to meet the needs and expectations of the residents.

In dealing with the inevitable shortfalls, I will work towards making certain we set aside enough reserves to get us by and will be prudent with budgeting long-term projects when the funding may not always be there.  Certainly in a city as large as San Jose, there are inefficiencies that need to be address so I would work with the City Auditor in addressing efficiency and productivity standards so that we are operating the city in such a way that we are on a financially sustainable footing while providing the desired services to the residents.

I am proud to be endorsed by several of the City's largest employee unions.  I plan to be a good steward of public money while respecting our employees and making certain residents have the desired services.

What concerns are of particular importance to the city and how would you address them?
Answer from Sergio Jimenez:

Safety, housing and an equitable San Jose for all are my top priorities, issues that face the residents of District 2 and all San Joseans.  


As a neighborhood leader and in my career with the Public Defender’s Office I work firsthand to address the crime and violence in our community.  In an effort to positively impact public safety for my community I founded and led a neighborhood association so that neighbors could take ownership of their community.  I have organized National Night Out events as well as coordinated many neighborhood watch meetings around the district.  Additionally, I have reached out to the leadership of all the District 2 schools in an effort to promote better relationships between the city and the schools.


Crime is still an issue, response times are still too long and too many smaller crimes go unsolved and many go unresponded to.  We can’t continue like this, we need to hire more officers, increase and update resources and open our substation.  With pension reform hopefully behind us, we can now focus on rebuilding our departments so that our streets are safer, response times are better and we make San José the safe community that we all deserve.  We need to bolster our staff numbers and make sure positive relationships are maintained with the people who do the greatest to tend to our city.  I will also look beyond just our badged officers, as increased parks, more crossing guards & after-school programs will help our entire safety concerns.


Our housing is in crisis and we are failing one another.  I have been an advocate for helping our homeless residents find safe housing, and supported initiatives that brought a balanced approach to our community impact while on the Parks Commission.  First, we need to make the Housing First model a current solution that sets up our residents for stable housing. We need complex solutions to address the depth of this issues - improving housing means improvements to transportation, commerce and wages.  The housing crisis is more complex than just roofs and walls, but it’s a place we need to start at.  Having been raised in affordable housing in East San Jose, I know full well the benefits of giving families a safe place to call home.   

Having an equitable city and district for all to live, work and play is important to me.  As noted about housing, it’s more than just one small fix, the complexities of our struggles aren’t easily fixed by City Hall alone, but we can help lead the way for a better tomorrow.  We are the capital of Silicon Valley, we should be a community where the least of us are not struggling for basics. We need to raise the minimum wage, we need to ensure better access to health care, family/paid leave, job growth, and a focus on a more sustainable future.



How would you balance the needs of the City as a whole while also addressing needs of your district as well as those of special groups?
Answer from Sergio Jimenez:

First and foremost, when elected, I will be the representative for the residents of District 2.  However, each Councilmember will make decicions that impact the whole city.  I take very serioulsy the challenges of balancing the diverse interests every Councilmember will confront.  My approach will be one of openness and inclusiveness.  I believe that things get done and we make progress on important issues when we all work together.  Over the years while working in the community with diverse neighborhood leaders from around the community, I have always worked hard at bringing folks together and sincerely listening to their concerns.  I plan to do the same when elected.

Communication is vitally important in handling diverse interests.  It's impossible to suggest that everyone will agree 100% of the time but it's crucial the their be clear and unambiguous communication.  I will always listen to diverse perspectives and make well thought-out decisions based on what's best for the residents and the city.




How much money do you expect to raise/spend on your race, and how will you assure voters that financial contributions will not affect your decisions/positions should you be elected?
Answer from Sergio Jimenez:

I expect to raise close to $70k and will spend close to that amount to win this race.  Most of my contributions have come from family, friends, and people in and around the San Jose Community. I believe my fundraising to date and the diverstity of support has shown a strong grassroots campaign premised on truly representing the voice of the residents.  I will make decisions based on the merits of the policy not on what special interest desire.  I pride myself on being honest and evenhanded and will continue being so once elected. 

I have been in the community for many years and have interacted with thousands of residents.  Listening to the resident's concerns has always been of the utmost importance to me.  My longstanding committment to the community has garnered trust that I intend to keep through showing my openess and receptiveness to their concerns, not the conerns of special interest.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

As the son of an immigrant and minimum wage-earner, I saw first hand the struggles that too many in our community face.  My mother provided us the resolve to overcome and to work hard to achieve better opportunities.  While I did not become engaged in politics until later in my life, I have always been active within the community - volunteering as a youth sports coach or working with community non-profits.  We must work for policies that help our neighbors most in need, who are usually the first overlooked by City Hall.  Throughout my life I have always sought ways to help others, a drive that lead me to my work with the County.  My aspirations were never for elected office, but for doing good work for others.  I continue to seek ways to help more and the opportunity to serve you at City Hall provides me the chance to help the residents of District 2 and all of San Jose.  I've been working hard to connect with our neighbors and push for positive impacts.  I have a record of achievement for our community, and hope to build on that as your representative.  Thank you.

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