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Silicon Valley News Notes

Is It So, Joe?

Chuck Reed could be the first San Jose mayor in two decades to face a serious re-election challenge if Assemblyman Joe Coto decides to run for the city's top post. Team Coto have been putting out feelers to see if there's enough interest in their man, who will be termed out of representing the 23rd Assembly District in 2010. Officially, Coto's not interested in taking on Reed. He established an officeholder account in November for a state Senate run. Question is, would genial Joe undertake a bruising battle to shorten his commute? "Conversations have been held," says one connected insider. The Labor camp believes Reed is vulnerable because of the policing controversies under Reed's mayorship and the unpopularity of SJPD Chief Rob Davis in the Latino and downtown business communities. Other prospective challengers could include Reed's adversary on the council, Nora Campos, or a recycled Cindy Chavez, who one spy says planted herself in a seat reserved for office-holders during George Shirakawa Jr. 's swearing in two weeks ago. Any ambitions of unseating Reed, however, could be dampened if campaign donors remain frugal in the current economy. And that big sucking sound in the distance is the 2010 governor's race, in which candidates will be tripping over themselves to collect checks from local donors.

No Getting Hot In Firehouses

If City Council staffers can't bring Playboy to their offices in City Hall, then firefighters shouldn't be able to browse pornographic magazines while on duty at the fire house. That's the reasoning behind Fire Chief Darryl Von Raesfeld's recent decision to ban porn from the city's fire stations, which tend to become a second home for firefighters who work 24-hour-plus shifts. The new policy is in line with the city's current harassment policy, which prohibits city employees from carting around Playboy or other porn mags while at work. It used to be that firefighters could have porn discreetly tucked away at work as long as it was hidden in a locker or somewhere not on display. Until recently, when someone at the station was offended by what they saw. "That's when we said, 'Boy, we need to change the policy,'" Von Raesfeld says. So they did. Apparently, the firefighters union wants to discuss this matter more, but the chief says he's rather comfortable knowing porn is no longer allowed at the fire houses. "As chief I need to make sure our station is a place where everyone is comfortable coming to work," he says.

Madison-Haters: Bypass Democratic Process

Some local Vietnamese folks are already lobbying Mayor Chuck Reed to bypass a special election, and appoint someone to fill Councilmember Madison Nguyen's seat, should she be recalled on March 3. Barry Hung Do, an anti-Nguyen community activist, says he met with Reed back in December hoping to talk him into appointing someone to the embattled councilmember's seat rather than spending money on a special election. Do says this is the course of action preferred by the community he represents, provided that the appointee is someone who is "reasonable." Does "reasonable" mean only someone who will go along with the renaming of the Little Saigon Business District, the issue that mobilized Do and his supporters? "It should be someone who can work with both sides," Do says, "not a crony from Madison." Naturally, Do already has some people in mind that he and his colleagues would like to see take over Nguyen's seat. Do wouldn't name names, but several sources have dropped the name Khoa Nguyen (not related to Madison), who happens to work in the mayor's office. Khoa Nguyen, who is also a trustee on the Franklin-McKinley School Board, says that since the recall hasn't even happened, and it would be premature to speculate, but he has no intentions at this time to run. Sounds reasonable.

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