By Robert Haugh
This bombshell exploded on SanJoseInside.com yesterday.
Former campaign staffer Ian Crueldad says that Santa Clara Councilman Dominic Caserta walks around the campaign HQ wearing just a towel. The story doesn’t say, but we really hope the towel covers the bottom half of Caserta’s body.
In Caserta’s defense, the campaign HQ is also his house. He’s posted a lot of Facebook videos of young campaign staffers and volunteers in his living room and dining room. Since he’s behind the camera we can’t tell what he’s wearing — or not wearing.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s in Caserta’s home or a real campaign HQ. We can see why this would make normal people uncomfortable. But this story is a bombshell for a lot of other reasons.
The last paragraph may be the most significant:
“One former Caserta volunteer, who asked to withhold his name, says Crueldad brought up his concerns about the candidate months ago. The volunteer also says a female colleague told him that Caserta touched her thigh and whispered in her ear, which he says she laughed off at the time.”
Whoa. That’s a really big deal if it’s true. Caserta is a Santa Clara High School teacher and should know better. And Caserta has been out front of the Recall Aaron Persky campaign. He taped a video with recall leader Michele Dauber. Here’s what Caserta says:
“And the reason why I’m passionately endorsing this is our legal system must protect women of [sic] sexual assault and domestic violence. We cannot standby and let judges protect privileged perpetrators instead of innocent women of [sic] sexual assault and domestic violence.”
We asked Dauber about the story. She said that at this point, she sees no reason to change her endorsement of Caserta.
The story also says that Crueldad was paid really poorly. He says he got $500 a month and worked 50 hours a week. Wow. Caserta and San Jose Councilman Don Rocha were co-endorsed by Labor for County Supervisor. If Caserta is paying people a less-than-poverty wage, will that be an issue for Labor? Their website says this is one of their priorities:
“It’s also up to employers to honor the skills and productivity of the workforce by offering the quality wages and benefits area employees deserve.”
So, we asked South Bay Labor Council CEO Ben Field about Crueldad’s claim that he got $2.50 an hour. Here’s how Field responded : “If he was salaried, there is probably no wage violation.” We’ve asked him to say more since this really makes no sense for a Labor leader to say.
Another interesting thing is the suggestion that Caserta has an interesting relationship with the 49ers.
“According to Crueldad, Caserta called to cuss him out on Monday after Fly began inquiring about the letter. ‘He called me a motherxxxxer,’ Crueldad recounts, ‘and he told me … he would rip me through the media and have his consultants and the 49ers come after me.’”
Caserta relies on the 49ers for major political contributions. But it looks like he also sees them as his hitmen. This may explain why when Caserta had a choice to vote with Labor or the 49ers on an employee issue, he sided with the team.
Editor’s Note: SanJoseInside.com is a website run by Metro Silicon Valley, an organization who’s won numerous awards over the years from the California News Publishers Association.