Magdalena Carrasco’s critics contend that San Jose’s vice mayor lives outside her own district, and one went so far as to hire a private eye to try to prove it.
Carrasco denies the charges, which came up in an ethics complaint filed by Steve Haug—who supports her re-election challenger Jennifer Imhoff-Dousharm—and ultimately rejected by the commission tasked with reviewing it because it was not in the scope of its review.
Haug says he asked an investigator about six weeks ago to look into the rumor that’s been swirling around District 5 for more than a year now. What the P.I. found, Haug says, is that only Carrasco’s mobile telephone bill was being delivered to her East Side address. Her utility bills, however, were being sent to an address somewhere in the realm of Councilman Johnny Khamis’ jurisdiction—not to the Toyon Avenue apartment Carrasco listed with the City Clerk’s Office.
Fly tried reaching the investigator at Cooke & Associates in Gilroy, but the woman who answered the phone, Delia Salazar, said he parted ways with the firm after its recent buyout by a company that focuses exclusively on private security.
But Haug says the hired detective stopped short of surveilling the councilwoman, and found additional evidence that Carrasco flouted local law by getting dropped from the voter rolls. In his ethics claim, Haug cites a City Charter requirement for council members to be registered in their district and says Carrasco “lost her elector status” after the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) scrubbed her name because of an “invalid mailing address.”
ROV spokesman Eric Kurhi says Carrasco filed for a change of address last June 27 but that her registration was “erroneously canceled” on Sept. 19 because of returned mail. The statewide voter registration system, VoteCal, bumps a voter’s status to “inactive” if election materials return as undeliverable, he explains.
But Carrasco eventually called to verify the address, and her status was switched back to “active” on Feb. 1. “Inactive” voters are still registered to vote in the county, Kurhi adds.
Through her district chief of staff, Frances Herbert, Carrasco firmly rejected Haug’s claims of carpetbaggery.
“I have lived in District 5 the entire time of my term as councilwoman,” she said, via forwarded text. “I did live at Toyon [Avenue] with my family and moved to my current residence on Clayton [Avenue] in April 2017, [where] I am a resident full time.
“This is a false accusation.”
Article has been updated with additional information.