1998 Inductee - Jose Luis Alva

1998 Inductee - Jose Luis Alva


If this Hall of Fame could only induct one person that honor might go to Jose. Besides being a San Joaquin County Supervisor from 1979 to 1985, he has also served on 22 important boards and commissions and has earned 15 prestigious commendations and awards. But……. he might have ended up a tradesman.

“I had a teacher in the 8th grade that not only cared about me, but advised me as to what to look out for upon the start of my high school years. He told me to make sure that I told the counselor that I was to be placed in college bound classes and not in shop classes,” Jose remembers with appreciation. His counselor tried to force Jose to take shop classes and never gave him any advice about college. “I later learned that other students had been called in and given a lot of advice, they in turn became my advisors.”

Jose’s arrival in Stockton might be due to luck or fate.

While at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill he was planning to major in business at Chico State. “Fortunately for me, a friend of mine had been given an application to the Teachers Corps program at the University of the Pacific (UOP), which he gave to me because he was not interested, and I had at one time expressed an interest in teaching history.”

Jose interned at UOP’s first Teacher Corps in 1968. While at UOP he was one of eight founding members and president of UOP’s first Chicano student organization, later to be called MECHA. After serving almost two years in Germany for the United States Army he returned to work for almost seven years in the High School Equivalency Program housed at UOP. This was a federal education program for migrant and seasonal farm worker youth.

A major turning point in Jose’s life took place in April of 1979 when Governor Brown appointed him to fill a vacant seat on the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors. His first election took place in 1980. “People expected that I would lose the election, because the ethnicity of the district was very low with persons of minority groups. In fact, their prediction almost came true. In the primary I came in second with only 29% against 45% for my opponent. However, with the help of so many people, at the general election we won with a margin of 14 votes out of 21,000 plus votes the night of the election. After the absentee ballots were counted we were ahead by 43 votes, which became the official count, even after a requested recount by the other candidate,” he remembers fondly.

But political life involves sacrifices. “In January of 1983 I became Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. It was during that same year I realized how much I was missing in the life of my children and family by spending so much time in politics. Therefore, in July of 1983 my wife Judy and I hosted a reception for about 150 of our closet supporters to advice them that I had decided to take a self imposed sabbatical from politics, and that I would not run for re-election in 1984 or for any other office indefinitely.”

Jose went on to study law and became a lawyer specializing in land use, real property, business and family law and is still involved with several boards such as the county Economic Development Advisory Committee.

In March 14, 2006, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Jose as San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge, making history as the first Mexican American to hold such as position in Stockton.