Gilroy City Councilman Dion Bracco filed a public records request last month for information on mayoral opponent and Councilman Perry Woodward’s private home security system, including billing records and whether police have ever responded to his Eagle Ridge residence for false alarms, according to documents obtained by the Dispatch.
Bracco, who rescinded his request Dec. 8 – one day after submitting it – says he was advised to file the request on the Eagle Ridge address because someone told him, “I’d be surprised at what I saw,” Bracco said Monday.
Bracco said he had no idea the home was Woodward’s and canceled the request as soon as he learned that information. Bracco wouldn’t reveal the identity of the person who he says told him to submit the request, and provided no further details as to why he wanted information on Woodward’s home.
Bracco suggested asking Woodward to find out more details.
“He knows what it’s about,” Bracco said.
But Woodward says he is “100 percent baffled” as to why Bracco filed the request, which he says prompted City Administrator Tom Haglund and Gilroy Police Department Chief Denise Turner to visit Woodward’s home for an “awkward” meeting to inform him of the request.
“I don’t understand. The documents showed I paid my fees. They show there’s never been false alarms at my house,” Woodward said.
The City of Gilroy’s alarms ordinance requires residents and business owners who have security systems to pay a one-time $20 fee to register their alarm. Multiple false alarms can draw hefty fines from the GPD. Woodward had no false alarms at his home from Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec.7, 2010, according to GPD emails obtained by the Dispatch.
Woodward’s only guess is that Bracco was attempting to “dig up dirt” on him with less than a year before the November election. Bracco and Woodward are the only two candidates who have announced they’re running for mayor.
“I hope that’s what it was,” Woodward said. “Otherwise it’s kind of creepy.”
Councilman Bob Dillon said early Monday evening he had heard about the request, saying, “I thought it was kind of silly myself.”
“It puzzles me,” Dillon added, “It’s a little early in the game to try to get a political advantage, and what would be the advantage?”
When the Dispatch first contacted Bracco with questions about his request Monday afternoon, the Councilman and owner of Bracco’s Towing and Transport didn’t want to say much.
“I dropped it, so I’m not going to go there,” he said.
Several minutes later, he called the Dispatch newsroom to offer slightly more detail on why he submitted the request. After he filed the request on the home’s address, Bracco said his source then called him to reveal that the residence belonged to Woodward.
“Someone just told me to request,” Bracco said.
When pressed again as to who that person was, Bracco replied, “I don’t actually know,” then stopped to instead say, “No, I don’t want to say.”
Bracco said his wife, Christy, was a records technician for the GPD up until about a month ago, but left because she was only working there until the department hired someone full-time. He said her leaving the department was not related in any way to his records request.
Woodward said he is not satisfied by Bracco’s vague explanations.
“Dion Bracco hasn’t come up to me and said, ‘Gee, I am sorry I made that request.’ He hasn’t said a word to me why he did it,” Woodward said. “Frankly, I think he owes me and the community an explanation.”
Woodward called his 30-minute, Dec. 9 meeting with Haglund and Turner “unusual,” especially since Haglund requested the meeting not happen at City Hall.
“He said, ‘No don’t come to City Hall. I’ll text you a location,'” Woodward said. They settled on Woodward’s home, where the three met in the afternoon, he said.
Woodward recalled the meeting was for “safety reasons,” to inform him someone had made a request for information in his home. Neither Haglund nor Turner could provide an explanation as to why Bracco filed the request, Woodward said.
“We’re all just kind of shaking our heads,” Woodward recalled.
Turner said she was consulting with City Attorney Linda Callon on whether releasing the information to Bracco would present a public safety concern, but because Bracco rescinded his request, she did not need to “render a verdict.”
When asked if she knew of any explanation as to why Bracco made the request, Turner said no.