Candidate faces last-minute smear campaign

VIDEO: To watch a day at the polls, click

One day before the General Election, residents have received a
campaign hit piece asking constituents not to vote for Denise
Apuzzo for the Gilroy School Board.
For more election coverage, click here.
VIDEO: To watch a day at the polls, click here.
– See where to vote
Check back throughout the night for updated election
coverage.
One day before the General Election, residents have received a campaign hit piece asking constituents not to vote for Denise Apuzzo for the Gilroy School Board.

The letter displays the logos of the County of Santa Clara, Gilroy Unified School District and The Gilroy Dispatch.

The Dispatch and the other agencies were not involved in writing the smear letter, and Apuzzo does not believe the four other candidates vying for the four seats on the board were involved either.

“Nobody would do something like that,” she said. “But there is no way of me knowing.”

The letter stated Apuzzo had not paid her taxes, had her home foreclosed and has been the subject of a lawsuit.

“Who Should You Trust to Guide Our Children’s Future?” it stated.

The letter contained three snippets of Dispatch stories. One of them, from 2004, involved an incident where Apuzzo was called racist by former Gilroy Councilwoman Lupe Arellano when she implied the school board was acting with reverse discrimination by considering adding some Hispanic authors to a list of books. Apuzzo was not running for school board at the time, but Arellano supported her in the 2006 school board race.

The other items referred to a lawsuit, reported in 2009, involving developer Christopher Cote and a 2010 story on trustee compensation.

Apuzzo did not pay her property taxes when her home foreclosed in 2007. The bank takes over those costs in a foreclosure, she said.

Apuzzo further suggested the author of the letter may not know much about real estate. Apuzzo has a real estate license.

The school board candidate said she was not concerned about the letter changing the minds of voters.

“If I opened this up and saw it was about someone on City Council, I wouldn’t pay attention,” she said.

Apuzzo said she expected most voters to have already made a decision on who they will vote for.

According to the County of Santa Clara Registrar of Voters, less than half of Gilroy residents have made their decision.

Out of the 12,992 mail-in ballots sent to residents less than a month ago, the registrar has received 5,493 completed ballots as of Monday morning, said spokeswoman Elma Rosas.

Rosas said she doesn’t expect many constituents to vote at polling stations.

“Sixty-seven percent (of Santa Clara County constituents) vote by mail,” she said.

And the numbers have been increasing.

“Only two years ago, it was 62 percent,” she said.

Polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Rosas said.

She added if a voter took his or her place in the polling queue at 8 p.m., the voter will still be able to cast a ballot.

Rosas said she can’t estimate when the final results will be published, but the registrar website will be showing the preliminary results throughout the night and on Wednesday morning.

Leave your comments