Herrera, Nguyen Council Race Gets Uglier
Posted by Comments (40)on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
And to think there’s still six more days of crazy before District 8 voters go to the polls. The expensive race between Rose Herrera, Evergreen’s City Council incumbent, and Jimmy Nguyen has had it share of distractions, but now come conflicting allegations over Herrera’s husband putting Nguyen’s campaign signs in a park trash can late Monday night.
Herrera’s campaign held a hastily organized press conference Tuesday morning disputing allegations of theft, claiming that the councilmember’s husband, Matt Wahlin, removed unwanted Nguyen signs from the couple’s front lawn and Wahlin was attacked by two suspects while walking to throw them away in a public trash receptacle.
“Around midnight the evening of October 29th, my husband, Matt Wahlin, while walking our dog, came across Jimmy Nguyen campaign lawn signs placed on our property without permission,” Herrera said in a statement. “This had occurred several times over the past few nights.
“Matt removed the signs from our property and took them to a public garbage bin to dispose of them. When he arrived to the public area, he was knocked to the ground from behind by at least one unidentified suspect, causing lacerations to his face, hands, knee and bruising to his left hand. As he stood up, the two suspects shined a bright light and camera in his face. The suspects subsequently left the scene.”
Herrera’s statement also said San Jose police came to her home Tuesday morning and took a report, including photos of her husband’s injuries.
Tom Saggau, a political consultant for the police union, which has aggressively opposed Herrera’s re-election, told San Jose Inside that Herrera’s statement is a complete lie and Wahlin was simply caught illegally removing and destroying campaign materials.
“We had a couple neighbors come forward (about stolen Nguyen signs), and we have video of [Wahlin] trying to throw them away,” said Saggau, whose partner Dustin DeRollo claims to have videotape of the alleged sign theft and aftermath. “It’s mind boggling, but apparently he thought that was a good idea.”
DeRollo said he and Evergreen community member Duc Lam were staking out a park near the Sikh temple on Murillo Avenue on Sunday night when Wahlin drove up in his car and tossed a Nguyen sign in the trash. The next night, DeRollo said, Wahlin drove to the park with another sign—not walking his dog as Herrera’ statement claims—which is when DeRollo started filming Herrera’s husband. Wahlin then aggressively approached him and Lam while yelling obscenities, DeRollo said, before taking a swipe at DeRollo while holding an unknown object. DeRollo said that’s when he stopped backpedaling from Wahlin and ran away.
“Nobody touched him, nobody laid a finger on him,” DeRollo said. “He was the one being aggressive. That sounds like a good story, but this guy was a half-mile away from his house. He did not have his dog with him. He had his car.”
Below is video DeRollo filmed of the encounter. Readers should be aware that some language is NSFW. (While the video does feature profanity, our comment policy clearly states that any comments with profanity will not be approved.)
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly said the alleged incident of sign theft/assault occurred Sunday night. The incident, in fact, occurred Monday night. San Jose Inside regrets the error.
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