DNA Links Shirakawa to Fraudulent Mailer that Helped Campos in 2010 Council Race

A cloud has been cast over the 2010 election of San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos with this morning’s announcement that George Shirakawa Jr. participated in a covert effort to change the election’s outcome, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney.

Shirakawa, the disgraced former county supervisor who is scheduled to be sentenced for unrelated crimes on Friday, allegedly licked stamps affixed to fraudulent literature that was designed to brand council candidate Magdalena Carrasco as a communist in mailings to Vietnamese-American voters. Carrasco lost two close elections in 2010 to Campos, a Shirakawa friend and staffer at the time of the alleged crime.

“It is illegal and simply wrong to falsely impersonate and defame your political adversary,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “Democracy works when voters know the true source of campaign materials.”

Unlike previous charges that allowed Shirakawa to blame a gambling problem for his misuse of campaign and county funds, this new charge appears to show he had motivations other than funding food, liquor and gambling expenses. He’s now accused of breaking the law to elect political allies to public office. Shirakawa and Campos have both been key players in the South Bay Labor Council’s political machine—and Campos worked on Shirakawa’s 2008 supervisor campaign, which featured a similar attack piece to the one against Carrasco.

“This was a crime against our democracy and our electoral process,” Rosen said.

Campos’ office said the councilman had no comment, while a message requesting comment was left with Carrasco.

The 2010 hit piece, which carried credits falsely identifying it as one sent by Carrasco’s campaign committee, “Neighbors for Magdalena Carrasco for Council 2010”, placed the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s flag next to the candidate’s picture. The DA’s affidavit notes “the flag is considered very offensive to many members of San Jose’s Vietnamese community, particularly those who fled to this country to escape the communist regime.”

Carrasco subsequently received backlash from Vietnamese community members who received the flyer, and she lost the 2010 primary to Campos by a mere 20 votes. Campos later went on to win the runoff against Carrasco by less than 400 votes.

The photo in the flyer came from Carrasco’s campaign website and referenced her committee’s name, as well as its Fair Political Practices Commission number, according to the DA’s affidavit.

More than a dozen witnesses were interviewed back in 2010, and Carrasco told investigators her campaign was not the source of the mailer.

When Shirakawa was booked in March for his misuse of campaign and public funds—he later pleaded guilty to five felonies and seven misdemeanors—a DNA sample was taken. That sample was then sent to a state database. Less than two months later, on April 22, the county’s crime laboratory identified a match between Shirakawa’s DNA and that found on a postage stamp from the fraudulent 2010 mailers.

Rosen said his office also believes Shirakawa’s DNA was found on another flyer during the 2010 campaign season. On this flyer, the committee name was made up and the FPPC number was listed “cleverly,” as Rosen said tongue in cheek, as “123456.”

“There’s an additional piece of evidence here,” Rosen added, noting a flyer put out in 2008 against Richard Hobbs, who opposed Shirakawa in the 2008 supervisor primary and runoff. The flyer includes the same Vietnamese flag used against Carrasco. There was no FPPC number or campaign committee name on the 2008 flyers.

“We believe it does not” affect the plea deal relating to Shirakawa’s prior charges, Rosen said Wednesday, before adding: “I think it’s worthy of additional jail time.” The DA would not say how much additional time.

The timing of the DA’s announcement has caused considerable discussion, as a special election was held Tuesday to help decide who will fill the seat left vacant by Shirakawa’s ouster. Teresa Alvarado and Cindy Chavez advanced to a runoff set for July 30, and Rosen said his office purposefully decided to delay today’s press conference until after the primary. “We did not want to interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, in that election,” Rosen said.

Rosen noted the “connection between the different players and alliances within the county” political structure, as Chavez previously lobbied the DA over lunch to drop charges against Shirakawa. Chavez and Campos, whose sister is state Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose), are also close political allies.

Click to read the DA complaint and affidavit for George Shirakawa Jr.

Josh Koehn is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to josh@metronews.com or follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Koehn.

24 Comments

  1. The most obvious question now is exactly how many times can one person self-destruct?  He can’t really blame this on being a Raider fan can he?

    Rosen made a mistake by delaying the announcement until after the primary THE PUBLIC HAS AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CANDIDATES, THEIR AFFILIATES AND THEIR SHADY DEALS BEFORE (BEFORE, NOT AFTER) THEY ARE TO VOTE FOR THEM.

    Had they investigated Gluttonous George’s failure to file thoroughly not only would he not have been re-elected unopposed.  This is costly (the obvious $2 million for special elections) but also the money he continued to steal and hide during the time he was left in office

    PLEASE finish the investigations into Campos quickly and publicize the results BEFORE his relection kicks off! Isn’t anyone besides SJ Inside looking out for the public interest?????

  2. From May 18, 2010’s The Daily Fetch:

    “…Richard Hobbs, Supervisor George Shirakawa’s opponent for in 2008 released a statement about a hit piece that was mailed against him during that race. It had a striking resemblance to the hit piece mailed against Magdalena Carrasco late last week. Of course, Xavier Campos, Magdalena Carrasco’s opponent for City Council works for Supervisor George Shirakawa, raising obvious questions, but prompting a Clintonesque response from George Shirakawa…”

    http://www.thedailyfetch.com/2010/05/18/morning-news-round-up-5-18-10-commie-gate/

  3. “It is illegal and simply wrong to falsely impersonate and defame your political adversary,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “Democracy works when voters know the true source of campaign materials.”

    TAKE A HINT FLY.  Jeesh.

      • Macias already won his first case against rowen, Metro didn’t even bother to show up.  What does that tell you?

        Before this latest round, metro was a stout supporter of Georgie and his buddies.  The last 15 or so articles has been nothing more than a smokescreen to distance themselves from that whole mess.  I’m going to guess that at some point, records will be found implicating metro’s involvement with these political hit pieces.

        The internet never forgets.

  4. A

    AYE A YI!
    THERE ARE FOLKS, LOOKING TO SEE HOW GEORGE JR. WAS PASTED TO US, AS THE SECOND COMMING, OF HIS DAD!
    ARE WE NOW SURPRISED, THAT NEPOTISUN IS A WAY OF LIFE IN THE COUNTY?
    PERHAPS ESPECIALLY IN THE MEXICAN HERITAGE PLAZA AND GARDENS?
    WE KNEW THAT THERE WOULD BE AN OTHER ANOUNCEMENT, ON GEORGE JR., SHOULD BLANCA’S KID NOT DO WELL, IN TODAYS ELECTION!
    NOW THE FOCUS IS ON THE PUBLISHER THAT GEORGE JR HAS ON THE SIDE LINES!
    THE VILAGE BLACK SMITH  

     

     

     

    ye

  5. “It is illegal and simply wrong to falsely impersonate and defame your political adversary,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said.

    While it is no doubt true that elections have been stolen by such dirty tricks, the far bigger threat to democracy lies in the willingness of elected officials and journalists to suppress the truth and depict political posers like George Shirakawa as qualified for office. Everyone who ever endorsed him, depicted him favorably in a news story, or served with him on the board or the council is guilty, by way of their support or silence, of depriving the public of competent representation. And Shirakawa is only one of a score of elected posers.

    With reliable regularity, police officers who take serious their oaths alert their departments to the presence of the unsuitable among their ranks, subjecting their peers to discipline, termination, even prosecution. And by doing this, an action that is often distressing and even heartbreaking, they do a service to their agencies and the public they serve. This is something that does not happen at city councils, supervisor boards, or the state legislature. Our council members and supervisors simply don’t care enough about their oaths or the public they serve.

    In the case of George Shirakawa, it is quite evident that his incompetence and lawbreaking were not only tolerated by his peers, but that the climate of toleration around the board was thick enough to dissuade non-elected others from doing their jobs and exposing him.

    • “While it is no doubt true that elections have been stolen by such dirty tricks, the far bigger threat to democracy lies in the willingness of elected officials and journalists to suppress the truth and depict political posers like George Shirakawa as qualified for office. Everyone who ever endorsed him, depicted him favorably in a news story, or served with him on the board or the council is guilty, by way of their support or silence, of depriving the public of competent representation. And Shirakawa is only one of a score of elected posers.”

      You are a genius Finfan

  6. Speaking of nepotisom is there a score card somewhere thats illustrates the entire federal, state and local political inbred activities?

    Its one think for an individual to have the hubris to feel they know what is good for the rest of us by inserting themsleves into the governing system and it really high handed to bring on to the public payroll a spouse, child, relative.  Moxy I think they used to call it.

  7. This whole Shirakawa episode, is getting more laughable as it unfolds on San Jose Inside.
      It reminds me of the Little Saigon,Guy that set up a tent in front of City Hall for months. He had Reed over a barrel, They keeped him alive on Burger Kings!
    And this is the guy that wants to set himself up to talk with the A’s? I don’t think so!
    Great detective work Da’s office! DNA lickem on envelopes! Who would have thunk! Give it up, Nepotisom looses over spit!
    The Village Black Smith

  8. He should go to jail for not using self-sticking stamps. Geese how many stamps did he lick? Sounds like an amateur operation .

    • They probably would have gotten skin particles from the self-sticking stamps.  If Shirakawa was dumb enough to lick the stamps, I would imagine the folks that sent the mailers weren’t smart enough to use gloves either.

      Now that Shirakawa’s been caught, if there are other DNA samples, they might have probable cause to get samples from likely Shirakawa associates too.

  9. DNA aside, this is very similar to former DA George Kennedy’s decision not to bring criminal charges against former Mayor Ron Gonzales until after the 2006 primary election for mayor.  If you recall, the three candidates were city council members Cortese, Reed, and Chavez.

    Kennedy justified delaying his prosecution of Gonzales similarly to DA Rosen’s post-primary announcement reported here.

    But I suspect it was simply to hang Gonzales around Cindy Chavez’s political neck in the mayoral election, and that it wouldn’t have been done had the winners of that primary turned out to be Cortese and Reed.  And of course, it worked.

    It wouldn’t be unfair to say that only one vote, that by George Kennedy, was needed to elect Reed to his first term as mayor in 2006. 

    And it is obvious that this last little wedge of Shirakawa’s or a relative’s DNA will assure the 2013 victory of my friend’s daughter, Teresa Alvarado.

    Poor Cindy…first Gonzales, and now Shirakawa!

    • Maybe Poor Cindy should be smarter and use better judgement about who she affiliates herself with both personally and professionally.

      She’s not too smart if you judge her by the company she keeps.  At the very best she is terrible in her assessment of who to trust.  At worst her support and lobbying on the behalf of these convicted felons is a shameful part of HER legacy.  They’re the criminals but she is being revealed as either a total opportunist or an absolute failure in judgement.  Either way she doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near the public funds.

  10. The other question certain people have to be asking themselves:  Would Shirakawa rat them out to get deal?

    He might not even have to testify. He might just have to do enough to get the search warrants signed.  “Wise Guy” used the term “Clintonesque”.  What could be more “Clintonesque” than bodily fluids and DNA?

  11. I have posted that anyone could have gotten George Jr. in The past. It was common knowledge, he was doing his thing on our dime.
    The thought occurred to me that this was another song by Merle Haggard and Willy Nelson, like their hit , “Poncho & Lefty” Yep, I listened to it on YouTube, and it matched! ” All the Federals said, could have had him any way, only let him slip away!There were lots of people that needed you in office!
      Write the book George, We must know who all the federals,are! I’m in line to buy the first book!
      If you did the licking, keep on ticking!
    The Village Black Smith

  12. QUESTION! How many stamps were checked for DNA. How many different DNA were collected from that batch of fliers?
    How did they find the Shirakawa stamp? Is there a mole working with the DA?
      Timing is suspect! The press has been working too hard to get Alvarado in position!
      George Jr. is just the grease, to slip some one useful into that seat!
    Are we having fun yet? What do you think Detective Columbo?
    The Village Black Smith