Council race gets ugly as sides argue over signs

October 30, 2012 10:31:28 PM PDT
There are new allegations in an expensive City Council race in San Jose. The hard fought campaign comes as Council Member Rose Herrera has supported pension reform and the police and fire unions want her defeated. A videotape has both sides talking.

The video, taken Sunday night, shows what appears to be Herrera's husband Matt Wahlin taking down a campaign sign of his wife's opponent.

A political consultant for the police officer's union, which is fighting Herrera's re-election, released the "caught on tape" activity and says the slashed signs of candidate Jimmy Nguyen have been turning up in area trash cans.

"There is no good reason to be dumping lawn signs after midnight in a secluded park," union political consultant Dustin DeRollo said.

Wahlin does admit in this heated campaign he has taken down and thrown away what he considers illegally placed campaign signs.

"I was just tired of seeing these things being put up where there was no permission, clearly illegal," he said.

But the accusations take another turn on video. The political consultant says they caught Wahlin a second time, around midnight on Monday, and there was a confrontation. DeRollo says Herrera's husband lunged at him.

"He charged at me and after he kept coming at me I kept moving backwards," he said. "He eventually said I have a knife right he pulled something out of his pocket and I jumped back and I ran."

Wahln says he was only trying to defend himself after he says he was assaulted first.

"I was knocked down; I was walking around the corner, someone hit me to the corner and I went to the ground," he said.

Wahlin has minor injuries and filed a police report. DeRollo says Wahlin was never knocked to the ground.

Jimmy Nyugen supporters say this ugly episode has answered some of their questions about disappearing campaign signs.

Herrera is standing by her husband and calls the videotape a set up.

"It's a cowardly act, people hiding behind the bushes jumping up and knocking him to the ground," she said.

An investigation may get to the bottom of the back and forth accusations but probably not before Tuesday's election.


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