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May 24-30, 2006

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Silicon Valley News Notes

Mail Haters

Two congresswomen, an ex-mayor and two City Councilgals joined embattled mayoral frontrunner Cindy Chavez at a Saturday press conference to denounce the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce as "evil business people." (Actually, no one said that, but they sure looked like they were thinking something along those lines.) Mustering the strongest words she could find, Susan Hammer suggested that Chamber leadership had "really crossed the line" with a mailer that linked Chavez to "scandals, secret backroom deals and wasteful spending." Congressional power-hitter Zoe Lofgren described the pieces, which called attention to Chavez's initially undisclosed knowledge of Grand Prix subsidy requests, as "scurrilous attacks." "Why go low?" Lofgren's finger-wagging colleague Anna Eshoo asked rhetorically. The answer of course is that it's election season, ladies and gentleman, so don't act so surprised. Where were the Chavezistas when racist mailers slimed African-American Assembly candidate Tony West as an "Oakland Raider" to boost the campaign of fellow labor endorsee Manny Diaz in 2000? Or when Nancy Pyle's campaign mailed a thinly veiled ethnic reference to lily-white Almaden Valley homes that referred to his "East Side" business? Pyle at least deserves credit for honesty. When reminded of the piece, she chuckled knowingly. "I definitely saw some similarities," she admitted.

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