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War Of Words Heats Up Between San Jose City Councilwoman, Police Officers Union

SAN JOSE (KCBS) - Anyone who follows San Jose politics knows that the San Jose Police Officers Association and councilwoman Rose Herrera have long been at odds - particularly, over law enforcement budget cuts and pension reform. Their war of words only seems to be heating up as the November election nears.

The two camps have lodged various allegations via campaign mailers: for Herrera, that includes accusing the police union of engaging in a deliberate and dangerous work slowdown. For the police union, it includes accusing Herrera of resorting to scare tactics to win over voters.

On Sunday, the mother of slain San Jose Police Officer Jeffrey Fontana took part in a press conference condemning Herrera's mailer, insisting that it went too far.

KCBS' Chris Filippi Reports:

"I was absolutely amazed that somebody could write that," said Sandy Fontana. "Making a blanket statement like that is not the way to get votes, it's a fear statement."

Fontana was killed in the line of duty in 2001. His mother remains a staunch supporter of her son's colleagues.

"This department is working at such a handicap, they're responding, they're doing the best they can. I'm sure their response time is up."

"I respect all the San Jose Police Department officers who are out protecting us," responded Herrera, adding that she is critical not of the officers on the streets, but the union.

"They've been trying to scare the residents, they really upped it in August and September trying to scare people and cherry pick statistics and scare the voters and smear me," she said.

The incumbent Herrera is facing challenger Jimmy Nguyen for San Jose's District 8 City Council seat.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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