|Jose Gardea||Ed Reyes|
Jose Gardea has spent more than a decade working as the loyal and dedicated Chief of Staff for First District City Councilman Ed Reyes. But now that he is campaigning to replace Reyes, who is termed out of office, as representative of the First District, Gardea has shown that, at least on one issue, he is not going to always follow in his boss’ footsteps. At a Tuesday night candidate forum in Highland Park, Gardea said he was opposed to a half-percent sales tax hike that will await voters on the March 5 ballot. That puts Gardea at odds with Reyes, who in November voted to put the sales tax increase before voters to help raise revenue. “There’s no accountability,” Gardea told the audience in explaining his opposition.
Reyes was one of the 10 council members who voted in favor of the increase, which if approved by voters would raise more than $200 million in revenue and raise the sales tax to 9.5%. But Gardea, 44, said he would have liked to seen a stronger “community component” and more discussion about the proposed tax.
How does Gardea reconcile the difference between him and his boss?
“We agree on something and we disagree on others,” he said in an interview following the forum. “I respect his decision and he respects mine.”