Two weeks ago, Larry Pegram hand-delivered a letter to Donald Rocha, his opponent for the District 9 seat on the San Jose City Council. The three-page missive asked Rocha to pledge support for a doctrine labeled the “Pegram Principles,” obviously modeled on the “Reed Reforms” that helped Larry’s friend Chuck win the mayor’s job a few years back. (As if front-runner Rocha would have anything to gain by endorsing his opponent’s philosophy.) Pegram attached a personal note, essentially one of those “no-negative campaigning” promises: “Dear Don, I look forward to a campaign that is worthy of our constituents and is carried out in an honorable manner.”
Six days later, a public records request was received by San Jose City Clerk Lee Price. The request, submitted by James Spence of the San Jose–based Corporate Security Concepts, asked for Rocha’s expense reports, copies of all his emails (particularly those to and from the South Bay Labor Council), his reimbursement requests and his call records. Victor Ajlouny, Pegram’s (and Reed’s) political consultant, confirms that he hired Spence, a former SJPD officer whom Ajlouny advised during a failed run for the District 6 council seat.
Rocha was notified of the request when it was submitted. He pegged it as opposition research, naturally, and is bracing for some negative ads from camp Pegram in the near future—although he says he’s not too worried: “He’s got so much ground to make up that even if he did succeed on some level, I’m still ahead.”
Ajlouny says he doesn’t know why Rocha is worked up. “If there is something in his voting record that he has a problem with, then we’ll probably find it, and the voters will know about it,” he says. “If Don Rocha is proud of every vote he’s ever taken, and believes in every vote he’s ever taken, and thinks everything he’s done in public life can stand up to the scrutiny of the voters, then he’s got nothing to worry about.”