Attack Ad Gets Personal in San Jose’s District 8 Council Race

With four weeks to go until California’s primary election, the mudslinging is in full force in some of Silicon Valley’s local races. Labor groups are throwing everything they have at the San Jose City Council District 8 contest as they fight to keep Councilwoman Sylvia Arenas in her seat for another four years.

A website paid by the San Jose Police Officers’ Association PAC cropped up Tuesday morning suggesting Arenas’ opponent—Evergreen School District trustee Jim Zito—may have some anger management issues in his relationships.

The POA-funded website comically portrays Evergreen school trustee Jim Zito as a hothead.

The cop-sponsored anti-Zito site features a cartooonified GIF of the challenger’s head exploding, face flushing beet red and smoke billowing from his ears. His eyebrows also appear to be edited to give him a more menacing look. In bold white-and-peach font just over the comical effigy blares a question: “Can Jim Zito control his temper with women?”

The website also brandishes records from his 2007 divorce-and-custody battle with his ex-wife Zoe Bizzell-Zito.

The cited case file shows that a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge had more to decide than how to divvy up the kids’ holidays between mom and dad. Apparently, the court also ordered Zito to complete a 16-week “accountability in relationships” class.

Scroll to the bottom, and there’s a promise that there’s “more to come.” The final statement, emblazoned over a red banner, declares that the information unveiled “makes you wonder what kind of man Jim Zito is.”

POA President Paul Kelly defended the attack ad as a public service. “The San Jose Police Officers Association will always support standing up to a bully,” he told Fly. “And in our opinion, what these court documents reveal is that Jim Zito is a bully and does not have the temperament and respect for women to be an elected official.”

Zito did not respond to calls for comment by press time.

Send a tip to The Fly

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

14 Comments

  1. “Does not respect women” a quote by police. Yet Jim Zito works in the Evergreen School District as a trustee, a *school district* which is probably employees more FEMALES than males.

    …..but that graphic is out of control and unnecessary

  2. Something is up, these hit pieces are come fast and furious. Is Arenas that vulnerable that there are articles reinforcing attack ads, divorce papers dug up, and some claim that Zito wanted to make Arenas look ‘dark’? These rags are going in overdrive to run interference for her.

    Given the politics of San Jose, Ms Arenas should win 65-35, why lower your integrity like this? What are you not saying about Arenas?

  3. > Labor groups are throwing everything they have at the San Jose City Council District 8 contest as they fight to keep Councilwoman Sylvia Arenas in her seat for another four years.

    Just wondering.

    Does this suggest that “labor groups” have given up on saving D10 candidate Jenny HIggins Bradanini, since they don’t seem to throwing much of anything in her direction?

    • Glad you brought that up today. We haven’t seen a single endorsement rescinded, unless the fly knows something we don’t. It’s sickening that our politics are this way now.

      As far as the picture edits, I thought Arena’s made her look better (reduced some of the wrinkles on her face) and Zito’s is just funny.

      • I think Bradanini stepped in it at the AVCA District 10 candidate forum. At any rate, she offended me, which should alarm and distress all District 10 voters.

        Bradanini began her candidate statement by declaring that she would have nothing to say about her vehicle incident in Los Gatos in which a man was killed.

        GRRRRRRRR!

        Almost nothing triggers me more in politics than politicians asserting the right to decide what voters are allowed or not allowed to know or talk about.,

        Ironically, Bradanini, as did the other two candidates, made the customary noises about the need for “openness” and “transparency” in government.

        I have, in the passed, complained to every one of the D10 candidates and to anyone else who would not run away how outrageous and unacceptable to the public it is for local governments to suppress or withhold the results of investigations which are of public interest:

        * the violence and SJPD NON-response at the Trump rally
        * the murder of Bambi Larson in her home by a sanctuary protected illegal alien
        * the mysterious death of Erin Valenti
        * the fatal vehicle incident involving . . . Jenny Higgins Bradanini

        WHERE ARE THE INVESTIGATIONS?
        WHERE ARE THE REPORTS?
        WHERE IS THE ACCOUNTABILITY?

        People have a right to know what is going on in their community and to know the competency and integrity of officials charged with the public interest.

        Any candidate who is NOT SERIOUS about openness, transparency, and accountability should not bother to file papers. Just stay home and enjoy your privacy.

        • Southside bubble, You have to know damn well that is not what Jenny Bradanini said or even what her intent was. I was there with my husband and I read this to him and he agreed that you are totally out of line. It was obvious that she was having a hard time even talking about the accident and she was very sincere when she said that she “cant add any more than her original statement that the police report hasn’t been filed and legally she cant talk about it” She also said something like people could contact her after if they have any questions but at this time she can’t talk about anything beyond what has already been said. Southside bubble don’t vote for her if you are so GRRRRRR but to not vote because she cant publicly give you details on a tragic horrible car accident that is still under investigation is creepy. Why are you so special that you deserve to know details before the family or her know. Regarding D10 forum,I was impressed with all of them and they were all three very respectful of each other and seemed to be friendly. I watched Jenny and Hellen hug hello and goodbye. That tells me a lot about their character. D10 would actually be in good hands with any of them but the more I learn about Hellen Wang the more I like her. She is smart and doesnt seem like she is going to fall into labor or business but be an independent vote. I trust her motives more than Matt or Jenny. Regarding Zito he would have done much better by giving a public apology to his wife and family admitting he was sorry that they all went through a bad divorce and he wished it went differently and he has learned from it ..But the denying all of it and then victim blaming isn’t a good look, whomever is advising him is making it worse for him. And there is no way he was totally innocent of anything like he claims, I know many people who go through a divorces and fight over custody in court and are never ordered to go to anger management or accountability classes. I do think this matters, it matters if he doesnt respect women. I read on FB from friend who was at the forum with Slyvia Arena and him last night, that he compared himself to Vinny Barbarino and how he had a hard time with male toxic because that was how Italian boys grew up. (for those young ones out there Vinny Barbarino was a character played by John Travolta in late 70’s early 80′ sitcom called Welcome Back Kotter) . I am falling into the troll trap, I didnt hear it frist hand so I shouldnt post but it was too funny not to!

          • SJOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE said:

            > “Bradanini began her candidate statement by declaring that she would have nothing to say about her vehicle incident in Los Gatos in which a man was killed.”

            YOU said”

            > she said that she “cant add any more than her original statement that the police report hasn’t been filed and legally she cant talk about it”

            What’s the difference?

            I think my characterization of her statement was generally accurate.

            Since there is no police report, and appears to be no investigation, I question your assertion that “legally she cant talk about it” .

            I actually don’t recall her saying she was legally constrained from talking about it.

            I suspect this might be narrative embellishment on your part.

          • > I am falling into the troll trap, I didnt hear it frist hand so I shouldnt post . . .

            Good advice.

            You should listen to yourself when you’re making sense.

            Otherwise, you shouldn’t.

        • Thanks for the link Grace, but it just reinforces my belief that labor/liberal/Democrat people are swine.

          Everything in this story about Zito’s divorce are all allegations. My parents divorced in 1978, but didn’t stop going to court until 2003, a full 25 years after the divorce. It goes without saying that people get really petty when it comes to divorce, and make up all kinds of half-truths. There was no criminal charges he was brought up on, just a civil judge telling him to get counseling.

          Even with these allegations that are potentially half-truths, the conservative/business/Republican supporters distanced themselves from Zito.

          There’s my rub. Brandinini killed a man driving recklessly, open and shut, but to date not a single endorser has said, “We’re rescinding our endorsement due to her actions”

          Still, I have to say I’m happy with Mayor Liccardo’s actions. I wish more people were like him in politics.

  4. > POA President Paul Kelly defended the attack ad as a public service. “The San Jose Police Officers Association will always support standing up to a bully,” he told Fly. “And in our opinion, what these court documents reveal is that Jim Zito is a bully and does not have the temperament and respect for women to be an elected official.”

    OK. If POA President Paul Kelly wants to go there, let’s have ALL public officials and ALL candidates fully disclose their divorces, court proceedings, and settlements, and deem them to be authoritative and conclusive proof of the truth of any accusation.

    I’m sure we will discover a lot of lizards and bastards engaged in public service or running for public office.

    Maybe even some lizards and bastards in the POA.

  5. The POA publishes another misleading POS.
    Why did they not publish a complete story rather than misleading voters? They have now lost credibility at a time when law enforcement is frequently criticized. This really does reflect upon the rank and file.

    • I’d like to call on local officials to ban public agencies from being involved in the political process. The fact that the POA is a government agency that is getting involved in politics is insane. They’ve not brought charges against Higgins-Bradanini for killing a man two months ago, but bring up Jim’s divorce from 16 years ago?! And we are supposed to trust the cops to enforce the law without bias?!

Leave a Reply to SJ Kulak Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *