San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco says she’s been followed and photographed by political rivals ever since her initial and unsuccessful 2010 run against scandal-plagued Xavier Campos for the District 5 seat.
Over the ensuing years and even after dethroning Campos in a stunning upset in 2014, Carrasco says they’ve hired private investigators to stake out her apartment in attempts to discredit her ties to the East Side. They’ve snapped cellphone photos of her holding court with constituents at Starbucks. She says they’ve even tried to run her car off the road and paid one of her neighbors to keep an eye on her comings and goings.
But never, to Carrasco’s knowledge, had anyone sent their mom to do the dirty work.
That apparently changed last week, when strident Carrasco critic and re-election challenger Danny Garza upped the ante by deploying his mother dearest to stand sentry outside the councilwoman’s house.
Armed with a black point-and-shoot camera and clad in a matching “Vote Garza” T-shirt, Helen Garza—wife of notoriously corrupt former San Jose Councilman Al Garza, who’s been called the “deadbeat dad” of the city’s modern ethics rules—dutifully snapped pics of Carrasco and her children outside their home.
Carrasco seemed more irritated than intimidated by the 84-year-old woman’s presence, but rebuked it as an extension of Garza’s relentless provocations.
“It does not surprise me, given Garza’s history of intimidation of women, even by his own admission,” Carrasco says, referencing a decades-old domestic violence allegation filed against him by his ex-wife. “He verbally harasses my staff every day and disguises it as so-called transparency.”
Garza calls his ex’s claim that he struck in in the shower unfounded and any assertions that he’s a danger to women a lie. In a May 26 campaign email sensationally embellished by bolded and capital letters, Garza accuses the vice mayor’s campaign of, among other things, “political bullying” and slander for twisting the facts about his case.
As for his mom’s visit to Carrasco’s digs, he says the elder Garza was “just trying to be involved” with her son’s campaign.
The vice mayor shrugs off Garza’s latest antics as a needless distraction. Instead of talking about important issues such as housing, she says, the long-shot candidate “has consistently spread false and alternative facts to divide our community”
Below is a copy of Garza’s cease-and-desist letter.
Dear Councilmember Carrasco:
This is to inform you of unfair and deceptive practices by your campaign in violation of my rights, First Amendment rules and California campaign laws. Below are just a few of the violations already discovered and under investigation. We are reporting these actions to the proper authorities.
SLANDER AND DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER TO DECEIVE VOTERS. As you know, your campaign supporters are defaming and slandering my character with misrepresented facts from incidents in my past. Cease and desist IMMEDIATELY from spreading any more distortions and lies about my character in phone calls, letters, conversations or any other form of communication with residents of District 5 or any other organization in any form from you or anyone in your campaign or network of supporting organizations. Residents have informed me of the violation of my rights with your false political advertising claims. This is a blatant attempt to deceive voters and I am reporting this violation to the California Secretary of State’s investigations unit immediately. Any organization supporting you in this slanderous campaign against me may also be in violation of the law and will be reported to the authorities accordingly.
VIOLATION OF UNION RULES: SLANDERING A FELLOW UNION MEMBER—POLITICAL BULLYING. I am also going to file a complaint with the unions who support you as a long-time member of local unions part of the South Bay Labor Council. Union members in the phone banks need to know of your attempts to defame me, an ironworker and union member with a history of honorable service ... to the community. I am an honorary disabled member of Ironworkers #337 with over 30 years of local service building Silicon Valley. I was also a member of the SEIU, Local #715 (now #521) serving as an Instructional Aide at Juvenile Hall. There are strict rules with fines against union members slandering fellow union members in an attempt to damage a reputation. It is unfortunate that your campaign organization is abusing the support of union members in this way. I will be filing official complaints with each of the participating unions supporting your campaign.
VIOLATION OF FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS. Furthermore, public officials are prohibited from blocking free speech or any other citizen’s speech on public official Twitter account in violation of First Amendment rights. This is unconstitutional behavior by an elected official. The courts have ruled that public officials like you are prohibited from censoring public communications with citizens. I posted my rebuttal to your campaign’s slanderous false advertising actions on your Twitter account and it was censored by someone. This behavior will also be reported to the authorities and the citizens of District 5. You cannot treat a public Twitter account you use for public service like your personal account.
VIOLATION OF FPPC AND STATE CAMPAIGN ADVERTISING AND FINANCING RULES. You may also be in violation of FPPC campaign advertising rules by using the cm_magdalena Twitter account for campaign purposes and public use simultaneously. You may be unfairly and illegally using your public account for campaigning. This account has the prefix “CM for Councilmember” and is listed on the City of San Jose District 5 webpage. The account improperly lacks your FPPC number notice required of any campaign advertising medium—printed, digital, etc. You may also be illegally using City resources to manage and promote that account in violation of State financing rules prohibiting the use of public funds for campaigning. This violation will also be reported to the FPPC and other relevant authorities. It should be removed from the City of San Jose site or you must cease campaigning using that Twitter account. This matter needs to be investigated by the proper authorities.
FACTS MATTER. Below are the FACTS of my personal history for you to disseminate to your campaign supporters immediately to correct the defamation and slander activities.
My supporters will be monitoring this situation and I am asking for anyone receiving any further reports of slanderous information from your campaign or supporters to immediately inform me at [email protected].
I will vigorously defend myself against all parties violating my rights. The truth matters in District 5. You need to publicly acknowledge these violations and how you intend to correct them. Your political bullying activities and deceptive practices need to stop immediately.
Very truly yours,
VOTE FOR DANNY GARZA, Accountable To The East Valley, District 5
Maybe Carrasco deserves to be returned for another term. I will give you that. I will also accept the other candidates are not very good.
Home life is off limits. Kids are off limits.
But it is true, Carrasco has violated campaign laws and is not very ethical, and has an unapologetic link to the most corrupt politician in California. She has posted a 25k debt for 6 years to the most corrupt consultant in California.
What makes her more qualified than the other candidates, that she simply existed on city council for last four years? If you have three people up for the spot, and the only difference between her and the two challengers is her political corruption, wouldn’t either of the other two be a better fit?
Magdalena, first you attack me with lies about my past regarding proven false allegations with my ex-wife and her illness then my 84-year old mother supposedly tailed you as a “secret agent”! Your “home” address is public information available to everyone. Why not address your lack of support for District 5 over your term? Where is the affordable housing funds going? The city receives over $100m in public housing grants per year from the Federal Government yet District 5 gets little of it. Where is it being spent? Are you spending the D5 funds as the “Vice Mayor” elsewhere for political favors? The Apartment Owner’s Association supported you in the last campaign. The new Rent Control Ordinance you promoted heavily favors the owners rights to shut down properties and do mass evictions. These are some of the issues we need to review with facts. We can easily have a public debate if you want on any topic but you have declined to participate in any public discussions about the issues. You also threatened me with the police to shut down my email inquiries and criticisms and failed. You also censor public discussions on your social media accounts which is illegal and unconstitutional violating many laws and civil rights. You accuse me of harassing your staff daily. Where are the records? The city claims you do not have any records of communications with me. I am ready to discuss the issues with you at any time and place. Stop the personal attacks on me and my family. They are diversions from the truth. In community spirit, Danny Garza
A little too defensive here Danny. I think it’s time to take the high road, focus on the issues in San Jose and stop the bullying tactics – they obviously aren’t working.
By the way, my mother was taking a picture of your signs around 9:45am because the signs may be in violation of the District 5 boundaries. The city is reviewing it. You can check with them. She was there for that purpose and that purpose alone. Where is your home near there as you claim? You claim that is your home where the pictures were taken? No one followed you there. Why were you there at that time? In fact, you are the one that approached my mother and asked to photograph her at that location. She was minding her own business until you approached and she willingly agreed to the picture. She has nothing to hide. Let’s the get facts straight rather than creating fake news stories to support your deceptive campaign. Many District 5 residents are calling us to alert of your campaign’s deceptive practices. This is just another deceptive advertising hit piece by you. In community spirit, Danny Garza
You’re mother is a stalker – plain and simple. She was trying to get unflattering photos for use in your campaign. Not you are lying to cover in up. Way to promote “community spirit”.
That sign is not in District 5. Sam Liccardo goons are at it again……
Wait for the metro to keep slamming outsiders. I’m guessing that Sam Liccardo Google check is a good one for Metro.
Hey Garza…High School ended many years ago for you. This is real politics, with real consequences. Not a High School Student Body popularity contest. Get over it.
The fact that Mr. Garza did not heed the simple advice of you Ted J. and continued his defense just after your recommendation speaks volumes on why American politicians are not so revered. They argue more than they get anything done.