Website bearing Cindy Chavez’s name is run by enemies in San Jose mayoral race
In the latest dust to emerge from the San Jose mayoral race, an anti-Cindy Chavez website that uses her name as a URL raises ethical questions about the conduct of the campaign as voters receive their ballots in weeks coming.
Users visiting cindychavez.org see a banner that reads “Cindy Chavez. Wrong for San Jose” which then highlights a controversial program that District 2 Santa Clara County Supervisor Chavez and three of his colleagues endorsed in October that gave COVID “hero payout” checks of $2,500 to thousands of county workers. The site also offers links to Chavez’s “mismanagement” on the topics of homelessness, the county jail and hospital building.
The website was created by the Silicon Valley Biz PAC, a pro-business group that backed Chavez’s mayoral challenger, Matt Mahan. Chavez has traditionally drawn support from the county’s labor bloc.
In a statement, the PAC said the website had been released over the “last few weeks” and its purpose was to “bring the facts and results of the vote to voters so they can make an informed decision on who to vote”. According to ICAAN, an online tool that reveals details about a website’s registration, the domain was purchased in January through a company that offers enhanced privacy behind site ownership.
The incident mirrors a situation that occurred in Milpitas in February, when council member Anthony Phan allegedly registered a website domain using the first and last name of his opponent in the mayoral race. The move led the county’s assistant district attorney, John Chase, to warn Phan that he may have violated hacking laws.
Asked about the ethical issues surrounding the use of Chavez’s name in the URL, Silicon Valley Biz PAC said its lawyers approved the website. Deputy DA Chase pointed to state statutes in the Business and Professions Code that may relate to the situation, but declined to comment on this proceeding because it is a civil matter.
According to state cyberpiracy laws, it is “unlawful for a person with bad faith intent to register, tamper with, or use a domain name that is identical or similar to another person’s personal name. alive…”
A Chavez campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Mahan called the website “well researched” and said he was not involved in its creation.
Chavez’s official campaign website is cindychavezformayor.com.
Opponents of Mahan have created their own website to criticize the San Jose board member’s record. Mealymouthmahan.com describes him as having a conservative record, including issues like abortion and the recent Roe v. Wade. “Matt Mahan is trying to hide the elephant in the room,” the site reads with a Republican elephant logo. The website was created by the United Food and Commercial Workers Independent Expenditure PAC.