A grievance filed towards San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and a political motion committee he fashioned to affect the 2022 elections has prompted a wave of response from native candidates and group leaders. The grievance, filed final week, claims Liccardo and the committee “Widespread Good Silicon Valley, sponsored by Options Silicon Valley” has raised greater than $500,000 inappropriately. The declare, first reported by San Jose Highlight, mentioned state legislation has a number of restrictions on how sitting elected officers can function political motion committees (PAC) to help different candidates.

The PAC and San Jose’s metropolis lawyer say metropolis code “doesn’t prohibit” Liccardo — who’s not operating within the present election because of time period limits — from opening and fundraising for a PAC. As of final week, the committee has doled out greater than $230,000 to help Councilmember and mayoral hopeful Matt Mahan, roughly $53,000 to spice up lawyer Joanna Rauh’s marketing campaign within the District 3 Metropolis Council race and $14,000 to assist Fireplace Capt. Bien Doan unseat incumbent Councilmember Maya Esparza in District 7.

The grievance and information studies got here simply days earlier than the consequential election the place San Jose is selecting the subsequent mayor and 5 councilmembers. Some group leaders, together with South Bay Labor Council Govt Officer Jean Cohen, have referred to as for the PAC to halt all spending within the main election. Others mentioned the mayor’s involvement within the consequential election — whatever the legislation — is inappropriate.

“I feel it’s unseemly for a sitting mayor to be concerned on this exercise,” Councilmember Dev Davis, who’s additionally vying for the town’s high seat, instructed San Jose Highlight. “Whether or not it’s authorized or not is for the courts to determine.”

Santa Clara County Democratic Occasion Chair Invoice James mentioned the mayor’s fundraising actions might create conflicts of curiosity.

“To assume that the mayor or another sitting officeholder might primarily increase lots of of hundreds of {dollars} from company pursuits, builders, landlords and others who’ve ongoing enterprise dealings with the town, then put them towards their most well-liked candidates, I feel it’s extremely unhelpful and inappropriate,” James instructed San Jose Highlight.

Different main candidates operating to interchange Liccardo, together with Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and San Jose Councilmember Raul Peralez, declined to remark. Mahan’s marketing campaign spokesperson Adrian Rafizadeh mentioned the councilmember has no involvement with the PAC. He didn’t handle calls to sentence the PAC’s spending on Mahan’s marketing campaign.

Whereas Rauh didn’t reply to a request for remark, Doan stored issues quick.

“I’m concentrating on my race to win, not the politics distraction,” Doan instructed San Jose Highlight.

A tarnished legacy?

Tom Saggau, a spokesperson for the San Jose Police Officers’ Affiliation, mentioned Liccardo’s involvement with the PAC might need tarnished his legacy — and the town’s fame of operating clear elections. The police union has lately fashioned a PAC to help Chavez’s battle for mayor.

“It’s actually disappointing that, in pursuit of victory, he would abandon an moral plan of action,” Saggau instructed San Jose Highlight, including the cash spent by Widespread Good supplied three candidates unfair benefits.

“It’s underhanded. It’s sneaky. It’s unlucky that his legacy — or lack thereof — might be tarnished by the sort of scandal.”

Some councilmember hopefuls mentioned the cash Widespread Good has spent might damage the democratic course of.

“Fifty three hundreds {dollars} is a really important amount of cash for a District 3 race,” Elizabeth Chien-Hale, an lawyer operating to characterize downtown San Jose, instructed San Jose Highlight, referring to the cash Widespread Good has spent to help Rauh. “Injecting massive cash right into a grassroots-level race like a Metropolis Council race blurs the last word aim of serving to voters establish a candidate who is really devoted to the pursuits of the residents.”

Irene Smith, one other candidate vying for the downtown seat, is looking on voters to reject Rauh, who she mentioned is handpicked by the PAC.

“Sadly Sam Liccardo’s historical past shouldn’t be new to District 3,” Smith instructed San Jose Highlight, referring to Liccardo’s tenure as District 3 councilmember earlier than turning into mayor. “For 16 years, District 3 has seen moral nook slicing and ignoring (its) actual issues. Sufficient is sufficient: District 3 is saying no to his hand picked successor, his poor judgement and his legacy of failure.”

Most of Liccardo’s council colleagues didn’t reply to inquiries in regards to the grievance — with one exception. Councilmember Sergio Jimenez mentioned it’s clear to him Widespread Good can be used to assist Mahan’s marketing campaign.

“He and Liccardo are utilizing the identical guide, the identical print store, and so forth.,” Jimenez instructed San Jose Highlight, who lately criticized Mahan’s marketing campaign guarantees in an op-ed. “It’s the identical sort of candidate, totally different identify.”

Mahan responded with an op-ed, refuting Jimenez’s claims. It’s unclear when San Jose’s Board of Honest Marketing campaign and Political Practices — the five-person unbiased committee tasked with investigating violations of marketing campaign guidelines — would decide on the grievance.

A 3rd-party lawyer would want to judge and examine the claims, in the event that they deem it to be credible, earlier than presenting it to the board. James, the Santa Clara County Democratic Occasion chair, mentioned such scandals erode the general public’s belief in native authorities.

“It’s a misjudgment and an error, it’s dangerous (for Liccardo) to have finished it and the mayor ought to simply put a cease to it,” James mentioned, urging Widespread Good to return contributions to its donors.

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