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Silicon Valley News Notes

Who Needs Bolt?

When we said we were looking forward to this season's political races, we didn't mean for Pierluigi Oliverio and Dave Cortese to take us literally. Perhaps unwilling to let go of that Olympic feeling, the councilmember and the vice mayor ended up in an actual foot race to get their own rebuttal to Measure L to the city clerk's office first. This particular competition started out as a team sport, with the duo cooperating on their opposition to Measure L, which if passed would allow the city to open one fire station and perhaps close another station. But if they had to split, at least there was a photo finish! "They came in within a minute of each other," said City Clerk Lee Price. And the winner? "Councilman Oliverio came in one minute earlier," she confirmed. There's no silver in this race—the clerk can only accept one rebuttal. Additionally, the vice mayor had turned in his rebuttal with a signature from a Willow Glen neighbor, according to Price—it was supposed to be signed by Cortese himself. Oliverio believes his rebuttal included more pertinent information, including a website address that would give up-to-date information on the fire station issue all the way up to Election Day. Here was the run-up: Oliverio is less concerned about whether the city was or was not going to use parkland to build a new station; he's more worried that the city doesn't have a clear policy that uses response times to dictate whether to close a fire station. But Oliverio was getting flack from a handful of Willow Glen residents who wanted their rebuttal to be the official language filed with the city, because it specified the objection to the city using parkland to build a new fire station. When it became clear that they weren't getting what they wanted, they turned to Cortese for help. Denelle Fedor, Oliverio's chief of staff, believes Cortese's split could have been influenced by his campaign for supervisor. "As a courtesy, councilmembers should always consult with each other, but when you are a candidate you can get in another frame of mind," Fedor said. Cortese did not return calls about his failure to win, place or show.

Pillow Talk

In Milpitas, this season's city races are shaping up to be a battle between the good old boys and the newlyweds. Termed-out Supe Pete McHugh is contending for a spot on the Milpitas City Council, where he served for 20 years. And Bob Livengood, who has held countless local offices over the past 30 years, is running for mayor. Opposing these two stalwarts are a couple of newcomers who are, in fact, a couple. Mayoral candidate Craig Donnelly and City Council candidate Heidi Pham were wed on July 26. Although the groom is definitely a new kid in town (he moved to Milpitas in January), Donnelly is district director for Assemblymember Gene Mullin. His bride works in the county's probation department. As testament to Donnelly's juice, the wedding was well-attended by local heavy-hitters, including Mullin and fellow Assemblymember Jim Beall, as well as Congressman Mike Honda, state Controller John Chiang and Board of Equalization Vice President Betty Yee. Outgoing Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves was also in attendance, as was City Councilmember Althea Polanski. While the crowd seated for a 10-course post-nuptial feast at Thanh Duoc Restaurant on Abel Street was huge, some of the uninvited supporters of Livengood and McHugh apparently felt snubbed. One tipster called Fly claiming that Donnelly and Pham were trying to keep the wedding a secret—even standing in opposite sides of the council chambers during an Aug. 5 meeting. Livengood himself points out that if the two are elected, their relationship could prove legally problematic. Because several of the city's council committees are made up of only three members, the married couple could constitute a quorum on any committee. That would mean every time they sat down to dinner (or climbed into the sack) they'd risk violating the Brown Act.

Due South

Yeah, Barack Obama made another stop in San Francisco last weekend for another private fundraiser from Bay Area donors, where tickets were $2,300. Big deal, what we want to know is where's the Obama love in Silicon Valley? He apparently can't stay away from San Francisco—he spoke at an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees event there just a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps it should be noted that Obama only won two congressional districts in Northern California; one was S.F. and the other was right here in Silicon Valley (Anna Eshoo's district, covering parts of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties). So when will Obama make a swing through the South Bay? Are we not audacious enough or something?

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