Internal Affairs: San Jose business group asks county for $508,000 — and gets denied

County elected leaders denied a request for half a million bucks from San Jose’s renamed chamber of commerce, the silicon valley organization — an usually large ask for taxpayer dollars that’s raised eyebrows in South Bay political circles.


“That’s a non-starter for us,” said Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors president Dave Cortese. “There was no meeting of the minds. We have a lot of other fish to fry — we’ve got the Trump administration breathing down our backs.”

Cortese said Matt Mahood and Derrick Seaver, top officials from the silicon valley organization, initially had asked for a “seven-figure grant over three years” to launch a regional branding campaign. Cortese said he couldn’t justify giving away that much in taxpayer dollars, but he’d be willing to lend them a hand by allocating staff resources.

svo letter 2svo letter 3Not long after the meeting, Mahood and Seaver wrote a letter to Cortese asking for $508,000 to hire four new employees to work on the rebranding effort. But Cortese said the request will be denied.

Mahood and Seaver did not respond to multiple requests for comment, neither did spokeswoman Mayra Flores De Marcotte.

There have been whispers that giving the business group a grant might somehow influence it’s political action committee’s activity. But Supervisor and former labor leader Cindy Chavez said that’s “far-fetched.”

She said the county gave the chamber about $150,000 before the 2014 San Jose mayor race in which Cortese, endorsed by labor, lost to chamber-backed Sam…

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