Since we have been following the Los Angeles CD 14 race on the blog, I thought it would be worth cluing you into some of the latest developments.
The Jose Huizar campaign has been making an issue out of a story that came out about Rudy Martinez possessing an LAPD badge of an officer who was slain over 30 years ago. At the time he possessed the badge, Martinez was a volunteer with the LAPD and was issued the badge to make miniatures for a celebrity golf event sponsored by the police department. Now, this issue with badges is one that has come up in other localities, including in neighboring Orange County, where former Sheriff Mike Carona had a loose policy about the sheriff’s badges. In my view, the badges should only be issued to sworn officers, but I can see how a police department could entrust one to a volunteer. The bigger issue is whether there is ever any documented proof that the person who has the badge was in fact impersonating an officer, which leads me to an interesting message that was sent out by the Huizar campaign referring to this badge issue.
On Friday evening, I received an e-mail message that was sent by Michael Trujillo, the campaign manager for the Huizar campaign. This e-mail was titled, “So Rudy Wants to Fight – Please Open” and was addressed to 23 e-mail addresses and cc’ed to five other e-mail addresses (I don’t know how many may have been blind carbon copied on the message). The message begins with a verse from the bible, then talks about unleashing the dogs of Satan on Rudy Martinez, and putting a political bullet between Martinez’s forehead and making him pee his pants. It really is an ugly e-mail that could be construed a number of different ways, but this type of rhetoric is precisely the kind that people have been buzzing about since the Tucson shooting last month.
Having received this message from an anonymous member of Team Huizar, I called Michael Trujillo on Saturday evening to ask him whether he did in fact write the nastygram about Rudy Martinez and what his team has coming in terms of an LA Times article, an upcoming press conference tomorrow, and an LAPD report. And I also asked Trujillo about the language used that could be considered threatening to his opponent. Trujillo admitted to me that he authored the e-mail over the phone, and even prior to speaking with me, he had sent me a message saying that he understood that I had received an e-mail that contained “some politcal [sic] locker room talk.”
Trujillo tried to dismiss the message over the phone as simply being something that was sent internally to rile up and mobilize his political team, and he said that it was sent to some current staffers, campaign team members, and former team members. Trujillo likened the message to being something that a football coach or even priest (I’m assuming he was referred to a Catholic high school football team) says to a team before the players hit the field, but I’m not sure sure that a coach would put something as aggressive in writing, especially to send out to over two dozen recipients during a time when people are calling for more civility in politics. Furthermore, another issue that came out of the e-mail is that Trujillo addressed this message to some current paid city staffers, who are not supposed to be acting in a “campaign capacity” while on the job.
So here is the infamous nastygram from Michael Trujillo with a self-righteous religious introduction and then veering off into a macho, street-fighting tirade. What are your thoughts? Should Latino elected officials and wannabe elected officials condone this kind of campaigning? Finally, I find it ironic that Trujillo chose to sign off as Chief Parker, especially in light of the badge issue with Rudy Martinez. For those of you in need of a quick refresher on LAPD history, here is some information about the controversial former police chief.
UPDATED 7:30 PM 02/06/11: Michael Trujillo has been fired.