By Robert Haugh
District 2 candidate Mario Bouza did not fill out the Stand Up for Santa Clara (SUFSC) survey, as reported earlier this week.
It seemed like a big political blunder since SUFSC has 3,000+ members. That includes a lot of active youth soccer parents who successfully beat down the 49ers’ attempt to take the Youth Soccer Park. A loyal reader pointed out that Bouza says on his website that his children played in the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League.
So why wouldn’t he answer a 7-question SUFSC survey? Maybe it was because of the last question:
#7 — Some political consultants use aggressive tactics and threats to force candidates to hire them and sometimes pay them undisclosed amounts of cash, which is illegal. Will you refrain from directly hiring or indirectly hiring consultants who have a known history of engaging in illegal or unethical behavior?
Seems like a no brainer. Every candidate said no way. But Bouza didn’t answer. Hmmm.
A look at his campaign expenditure report suggests why. Bouza has spent about $800 so far. He paid $300 to James Rowen. Yup. Over a third of his money went to Rowen for “consulting.”
Rowen has a really dark history in Santa Clara politics before he recently moved to Richmond, CA. He was known for attacking people online on his blog, the Mission City Lantern. The Save Santa Clara group fought back against him online calling him the “Mission City Loser.”
Rowen was so vicious that local attorney and unsuccessful city council candidate John Mlnarik sued him in 2013 for defamation — and won a $390,000 judgment! Rowen never paid anything but he had to give up blogging because of the lawsuit.
Without his blog, Rowen continues to troll people online with fake names, including me and this site. He’s been accused in a Santa Clara police department report of threatening candidates to hire him. He’s harassed at least two current councilmembers and one current candidate. He also attacks local activists and business people with phone calls and emails.
Last year, a website was set up to track him. It’s called JamesRowenWatch.com It’s unclear who created it. But it was actively shared on Facebook by Unofficial: Santa Clara City Council and SUFSC. This site also documents an assault and battery charge against Rowen. In 1997, he was charged with physically attacking a female VTA bus driver.
Bouza is out of town but said he would answer questions when he gets back in the next couple of days. We’ll have to ask him question #7. Or voters can at the candidate forums.