The San Jose City Council election is just over a month away. Wednesday, there was a significant shakeup in one of the campaigns.
Assemblyman Paul Fong is apologizing for an email that went out to raise money for his City Council campaign that some care calling racist and xenophobic. Fong named a new campaign manager Wednesday after accepting the resignation of his current campaign head, Dennis Chiu.
Fong and Charles “Chappie” Jones are competing to replace outgoing San Jose Councilman Pete Constant.
Chiu resigned after a controversial fundraising email was sent out to Fong supporters this weekend. It included inflammatory statements about his opponent's campaign manager, Vic Ajlouny.
The email said: "Ajlouny is a top Republican consultant and Palestinian activist, who served as a high-ranking member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1990s, and is known for his negative political attacks."
The PLO was once considered a terrorist organization.
Ajlouny, who was only reachable by phone on Wednesday, said, not only is that comment false, it is racist and intended to “motivate anti-Arab contributors, people who don’t like Arabs to give money to Paul Fong.”
Fong released a statement Wednesday saying his campaign manager made a poor choice. “What Dennis did was wrong, and I’m taking this action to state that clearly,” Fong said in the statement.
Fong also denied accusations that the email was racially motivated, writing, “I do not believe that Dennis ever intentionally attempted to insert race into the campaign.”
But the Jones camp isn’t so sure.
“They were racist,” Jones said. “They were inappropriate, and to be honest, they were bizarre. I don’t understand what they were trying to accomplish.”