Herrera, Nguyen Council Race Gets Uglier

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.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. They probably figure that, if Pierluigi Olviero can get away with stealing signs, so can Matt Wahlin. It’s just another bit of shady political dealing conducted by a husband and wife who have a well-documented and demonstrably shady past and involving a councilmember who has been running a shady deceptive campaign.

    But, she’s in good company with Reed, Madison Nguyen, Sam Liccardo and, yes, Pierluigi Olviero; and this has become altogether too common in San Jose politics.

    • Officer Anonymous:

      Rose’s husband is her agent. What he does in her campaign is HER responsibility. Thank goodness his rotten, illegal behavior was caught on video. Are you waiting for her to take responsibility or issue an apology?  Don’t hold your breath.

  2. Is anybody buying this load of crap , From Rose and accomplice??  If as they have said “people have been leaving signs on their lawn for the last few nights” then where is the Police report???

    Also If someone had left something on my lawn , I would throw it away asap ( and that means throwing it in my own garbagecan ……….NOT a public Can.

    He was knocked to the ground for no apparent reason??????? really? thats the best you could come up with? you might want to have your wife call SJPD , Oh wait they will only respond to REAL emergencies( not imagined)

    Imagine that the Mayor has been caught in many lies, caught overcharging the city, misrepresenting pension totals , illegally funneling monies to rose , and 2 of his chosen ones have now been caught with stolen signs.

    birds of a feather…………….

  3. I believe DeRollo’s account of what happened and I am looking at this honestly and not one side or the other. But I am not surprised at the lie the other side is telling being that their history is not that pristine for doing what is right.

  4. My belief is that it took them from Sunday night to Tuesday morning to think up a good lie or try to figure their way out of this. Filing a false police report is a crime and if he is found to have done so, he should be held accountable. It is very evident that he was the aggressor.

  5. Wahlin said “I was knocked down; I was walking around the corner, someone hit me on my SHOULDER and I went to the ground”. There must be a hitting mark on his shoulder. Why didn’t he show that to the news?

    • Rich,

      I understand you represent Nguyen, but why don’t you expose x- police officer Martin Monica for the fraud he is for filing a complaint against Nguyen.  He is as bad as Constant.  Claims he was a chief of police, true, but for a central valley PD who maybe had 5 officers and he still got fired.

      • The San Jose ethics committee ruled yesterday that “even if everything in Mr. Monica’s complaint were true, it violated no law.”

        Mr. Monica has no credibility—and a major problem with our ethics complaint system is that anybody can make a claim and the city spends a significant amount of dollars dealing with these false assertions.

        But while we can afford to investigate meritless claims, we cannot afford a burglary investigation unit.  An nobody has a problem with that?

  6. Let’s see, the Mayor can accuse the San Jose Police Department of “profiling young black males” on the street, miss use 40k of city funds, illegally contributing 100k to Rose Herrera’s campaign and get caught, embellish the retirement deficit at 650,000,000- proven by outside professionals- and now this.  Rose Herrera’s husband caught on tape “being the primary aggressor.”  Hmm?  What will happen?  Let’s see, what happen to P/O when he did it?  Oh that’s right…..nothing!  The same thing will happen here.  The citizens of San Jose are so complacent that this will just slide by like everything else these dirty politicians do in San Jose.  The Mayor has been and will cost the city more money with illegal measure B.  Do you think there is a reason why the City has lost “every” court motion brought forward so far by the Unions in regards to fighting Measure B.  But again, it doesn’t matter, the citizens of San Jose don’t care and they will blindly follow the Mayor like sheep.  Wake up people!

  7. I have watched Rose Herrera through the years as Council member for District 8. I have found her to be a hard working professional business woman. She is the first to really work at developing a sense of community in Evergreen and Silver Creek.  i.e. Library, Evergreen Village, Music in the Park, Farmer Market, etc.  Her support for new businesses in the community has been genuine an in support with the continued progression for our young community.  I realize she has had to make tough decisions and the challenger (jimmy Nguyen) is attempting to exploit these areas in a desperate attempt to take office.  The reality is that we do not need a change at this time and Rose deserves our support on this recent attack.  I watched the video and I felt compelled enough to say that someone (or more than one) was spooking the husband of Rose, with daunting sounds – the type of low-end tactic that can bring even the best of us down and certainly does not warrant a leadership chair in our upward community.  Those of us who pay attention know that Rose believes in our community and has been the driver behind many positive elements which we leverage today.

    • Clearly you are bias in your comments.  Low-end tactic? That is what Rose’s husband is doing by stealing and destroying Nguyen signs.  Clearly he has something to hide by sneaking around in the middle of the night.  If signs where place in his home lawn, take photos of it and dispose of it at home.  Supporters of Nguyen has been reporting missing signs, now we know who has been doing it.  Pretty ridiculous.  If Herrera condones these actions, who knows what else she has allowed (but just hasn’t be caught doing it).  You highlighted some good times that she has done, but I really wonder what negative/bad things she has done behind close doors.  Wake up District 8 residents!

        • San Jose Murky News isn’t the most reliable in terms of unbiased news.  Real all their articles related to this race and you can notice a clear favoritism towards Herrera (not providing all info, soften anything that Herrera negatively does).  They endorse and support her, so I guess it’s to be expected….  Read all the facebook comments and you will see most people don’t buy it.

        • sj408,
          I would agree with that. I don’t buy it either. But Herhold, who I can’t stand by the way, makes a valid point, Rose’s husband should have filed a complaint with Code Enforcement, and let them do their job. Eventually they would have been fined for the alleged “illegal signs.”

          Those signs cost money, and no one should steal them, destroy them, or throw them in the garbage. All he had to do was file a complaint, and or call the Nguyen campaign and ask them to remove them.

          Also, Dustin Derollo should have just video tapped the incident, and left without confronting Rose’s husband like he did. He is lucky he didn’t get injured doing what he did.

          The bottom line for me is this: Candidates needs to act in a professional manner and run on the issues. All this fighting, stealing of signs, and acting crazy is just ridiculous. Who wants someone to represent them if they are going to act so unprofessionally? Not me!

  8. To the officers receiving your awards on November 1st, congratulation! Your honor and dedication to the San Jose Police Department and the City of San Jose goes without saying another word!

    Reed and his dirty council allies do not deserve to be in the same room as you.
    They do not deserve your handshake, a picture with you or your name coming out of their mouths.

    Remember they called you union thugs, gravy trainers and cancer!

  9. What is this, a disgruntled San Jose employee blog?  Rose Herrera will win reelection because the electorate is full of people like me, sick of paying an arm and a leg for below par city services just to fund the fire chiefs “pension” (sic) and retirement at age 55.  Good for you, Rose, and a pre-congratulation from me in advance of your win.

    • Thats right!  I agree!  I also agree that:

      The pension fund is over $650 million in the hole!
      Chuck Reed was Framed for his ticket!
      Pierlouigi was framed to look like he stole campaign signs!
      The Crime rate is at an all-time low!
      The Fire and Police Departments are properly funded!
      Herreras husband was viciously and violently attacked for no reason!
      All Firefighters and Police retire in Hawaii and Barbados on our dime!
      A serial campaign sign-planter is loose in San Jose!
      My taxes went down because we made the Fire and Police give back 10.5% of their pay!


      Rose Herrera will win the election!

      Wishful thinking squirrelshaver.

    • Squirrel

      Time to climb a tree and get a nut, I mean a clue.  City services suck because Rose, chuck and others have cut them to the bare bone. And don’t forget Chuck voted to approve this sad retirement benefits.

  10. SCR you just made me throw up….. Obviously your house has not been burglarized YET! Rosie is doing a great job rah rah rah….. Ask her what she really thinks of the indian population in her district. This woman is at an all time low along with her drunken husband

  11. Silver Creek Resident;
    I have also watched Rose Herrera over the last several years and have the complete opposite view.  I think she does not care about the citizens of San Jose but only cares about herself.  She seems ill informed on the issues and what is going on in her district.  This latest stunt buy her husband shows how desperate she is to keep her job.  Time for her to go!

  12. I guess Rose’s husband is a liar just like her.  I wonder if the husband called PO to get some tips. This just shows how low Herrera will go to win.  I hope Nguyen files a police report as well but we all know the outcome the last time a council member stole campaign signs.  Is this going to become a common practice for council members?  Does the PD even have any officers left to investigate this type of crime, probably not.

  13. Pretty scary stuff.  I don’t know how I would react if I was approached by two men outside at night in a dim lighted area with no one else around to call for help and then to have them aim a camera at you. Common sense would be for those two men to identify themselves to whoever they are videotaping before someone gets hurt.

    • tony

      common sense tells you not to run around in the middle of the night stealing / destroying signs of your wife’s opponent in an election.  Careful what you wish for.

      He should be arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and rose should be exposed for the lair that she is.

  14. I noticed not one of the commenters here, supposedly so respectful and reverential about public safety- not one mention about Officer Jeffrey Fontana. Sunday marked 11 years since his death- the last SJPD line of duty death- a 24 year old kid. Kind of makes me wonder about the true priorities of those who are so singleminded about getting their pro-union candidates in there.
    I respect the badge. I’m grateful to those men in blue who put themselves in harms way and to whom we owe unquestioning cooperation, obedience, and respect. But this election and this whole pension debate are not about that no matter how the unions try to spin it.
    Good luck to Rose Herrera next Tuesday. She’ll better represent the interests of the people than would the other guy.

    • You’re right, they make no mention of it….maybe because they are mainly sticking to the topic of the article, which is Rose Herrera and the election?

      Perhaps your righteous indignation about observing the anniversary of Officer Fontana’s death in the line of duty should be more pointed to the editors of San Jose Inside.  I know I will never forget that night, and I doubt that anyone who walks the halls of the police department past the wall of Fallen Officer’s pictures (or loves somebody who does)will forget it either.

      • Very well said Marie.

        I held several candle lit vigils for Officer Fontana, and victims of violent crime. I have held his mother, Ms. Fontana, while she cried a river of tears. I saw a lot of Police Officers and a few Fire Fighters, the families of the murder victims, but very few members of the public attended these vigils, even though they were highly publicized.

        I think Mr. Galt is being very hypocritical in his post, and might want to go to Protect San Jose to see for himself that the SJPOA did most certainly honor, and remember their fallen brother on this 11th year anniversary of his death.

        Rest in peace Officer Fontana, and thank you for your service.

    • Have you no shame. Think, before you speak! Separate the politics from life and death.

      As a member of the MERGE team at the time, I walked by Jeffrey Fontana’s body that morning in search of the suspect while you slept in your comfortable bed.


      Sheep like you do not respect the badge with comments like that.

      RIP Officer Jeffery Fontana #3702. A police officer for the city of San Jose, a member of the San Jose Police Officers Association, a union man, who died for John Galt and the rest of the citizens of San Jose.

  15. John Galt you did not have to view a young dead police officer that morning lying face up in a cul de sac with a bullet in his head. Shut your fat mouth and do not speak on topics you have no clue or business….. Maybe the people commenting on this thread have far more class than you could ever hope to acquire as to not use a fallen young police officer to further their agenda as you just have…..

  16. Rose Herrera’s husband got caught stealing signs on behalf of his wife. He then goes to a park a mile from their house, cuts up the signs, and throws them away. Rose Herrera said he was out walking the dog. He said he drove his truck. He doesn’t make a police report till a day later. Why? Getting his story straight? His injuries are inconsistent with what he says happened.Of course nothing will happen to him or Rose for stealing and throwing away these signs, just as nothing happened to Pierluigi for doing the same thing. If Rose Herrera caught her opponent stealing her signs and throwing them away she would demand their head on a platter.

    • observation:

      It should also be said that people in the area have been complaining for about the last month that their Jimmy-campaign lawn signs have been stolen from their lawns repeatedly, even in one case taken from the homeowner’s fence. No one was ever caught because it always happened in the middle of the night. This is not playing fair. We deserve better.

  17. I saw a news clip yesterday of Rose stating that the nitetime encounter of her husband was a “setup”. Was it a setup because he was caught? She also stated that the encounter was a “cowardly act”. Is driving around after midnight, in the dark, stealing, cutting-up and throwing-out your opponent’s campaign signs noble and courageous? Besides, there are lots of bushes and public trash cans all over district 8. How did the photographer know which one to wait behind to catch him in the act? Could it be that someone in the area noticed a PATTERN of behavior and assumed he would keep returning to the same spot? Hmmmmmm.

  18. A set up! I love it! Ya they lured him out at midnight to sum dark and dank dumpster a mile and a half from his house! What a load of dung! San Jose D8 residents are you really going to vote for this crazy woman?

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