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Richard Alarcon, Felipe Fuentes fight over use of government staffs for political campaigns

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An aide to Los Angeles city councilman Richard Alarcon was accused today of campaigning for his boss while on city time – something the councilman strongly denied.

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, whose chief of staff, Raul Bocanegra, is running against Alarcon to succeed Fuentes in the state Assembly, made the accusation. For his part, Fuentes is running to replace Alarcon on the Los Angeles City Council.

In a letter to the councilman, a copy of which was distributed to media, Fuentes alleged that field deputy Maggie Estrada drove a city vehicle to a neighborhood watch meeting in the district on Aug. 1.

“At the meeting she stated – unprompted – that she would like an opportunity to talk about the candidate she is supporting in the race for the 39th Assembly District. Mrs. Estrada proceeded to pass out literature with your accomplishments from the state Senate,” according to the letter. 

Alarcon rejected the accusation in a statement. 

“I find it both troubling and ironic that Mr. Fuentes would use state letterhead and state staff time to attack my staff regarding the use of taxpayer resources,” Alarcon said. 

Estrada did attend the Aug. 1 meeting in her capacity as Alarcon’s field deputy, according to his office, but she “categorically denies the quotes that Mr. Fuentes attributes to her,” according to the statement.

“The people of the northeast San Fernando Valley deserve a representative who will focus on the issues, not waste time with thinly-veiled political attacks,” Alarcon said.

The letter was sent on the eve of a preliminary court hearing for Alarcon. He is charged with 18 felonies, including voter fraud and perjury, stemming from allegations that he lived outside of his L.A. City Council district. 

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