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Silicon Valley News Notes

Facebook Politics

Local political consultant Jude Barry exhibited true Politics 2.0 savvy last week, announcing his resignation from John Garamendi's gubernatorial campaign on his Facebook "wall." Barry was characteristically kind: "I like John Garamendi and appreciate the opportunity to have worked with him ... but, at this point, I've done all I can to help him ... and it doesn't feel right to just hang around." Garamendi responded—on his Facebook profile page—with a similarly sanguine goodbye: "I thank Jude for his good work and diligent efforts ... he has been a valuable friend and confidant" blah blah blah etc. etc. In response to a question about the current status of his relationship with Garamendi, Barry said: "We're still friends on Facebook. These days, that's what really matters."

Merc Discovers Puberty

The Mercury News devoted the majority of its front page today to an in-depth look at the hormonal changes that occur in adolescents. Though puberty has been around for at least several hundred years, this may be the first time that it has merited such prominent top-of-fold coverage. This apparently indicates a desire by daily newspapers, in the sunset years of their existence, to examine "real" issues that affect readers' lives, no matter how unimportant, rather than the political chatterings and reports of airplane crashes and terrorist bombings that too frequently masquerade as "news." Under the large, all caps headline "PUBERTY," Silicon Valley's only daily newspaper, winner of several Pulitzer prizes under its previous ownership, breathlessly revealed that humans between the ages of 10 and 16 begin paying attention to members of the opposite sex — and leave clothes on the floors of their rooms. It noted that "puberty is the hormonal hothouse where children take their first harrowing steps toward becoming grown-ups." Following a sentence that gratuitously managed to include the word "sex" three times, the usually clever Bruce Newman additionally disclosed that "boys' voices crack" and girls experience "subtle, yet intense, new feelings, while ... their bodies require layers of secret new armature." An editor's note frames the subject, part of a series on mundane events, by explaining, "The daily news cycle is filled with sound and fury but often overlooks the important events taking place in the lives of ordinary people. During 2009, the Mercury News will publish a story each month about the events that make each life extraordinary." In other news, Google announced a reduction in force of 200 positions—1 percent of its global workforce. The Mercury News story can be found at the bottom of Section E.

Measure B: Still Open for Business

There's been talk that BART campaign leaders are still asking around for donors to their campaign, which came and went in November. It's true that the "Yes on Measure B" campaign still owes a 30 grand "victory bonus" to the campaign consultants, TBWB Strategies. That's on top of the whopping $450,000 the consultant was paid during the campaign. But it's not a bill that can't be covered, says Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and BART campaign leader. He brushes off any speculation that the campaign is hitting up new donors to help pay the consultant bonus. Rather, Guardino says, he's trying to collect the handful of pledges that were made during the campaign to help out with this pending bonus bill. "Collecting is never easy," Guardino says.


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