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Nobody for Supe

Why did District Attorney George Kennedy fax off a media alert to let the world know he was not endorsing supe candidate Steve Blanton? Last Thursday, Eye reported that Kennedy popped up at a Blanton campaign kickoff event, and an overreaching photo caption suggested that Kennedy had taken sides in the supervisorial race. Not at all, Kennedy corrects. He rarely endorses candidates because he doesn't want to politicize his office and doesn't plan to make an exception for this race. If Eye had called him, Kennedy press-releases, it would have learned that he was at Blanton's fiesta only because he had accepted "a last-minute, gratis invitation from a friend to attend a gathering for the purpose of learning more about one of the candidates." It occurs to Eye that there are more intimate and neutral settings to learn about one of the candidates than a campaign kickoff rally. Nonetheless, we're happy to help our fearless crime fighter set the record straight.

Road Worrier

With the fate of his party's leadership hanging in the balance, no one can seem to find local Congressman Tom Campbell--including his staff. On Jan. 7 the House is scheduled to vote on whether to retain ethically challenged Speaker Newt Gingrich. Eye called the Tomster's D.C. office on three separate occasions to find out how he plans to vote next week. Flak Joel Starr explains that his boss is incommunicado because he is driving his mom back from Florida, following a Christmas visit. Starr tells Eye he's tried contacting Campbell by cellular phone without any success. "I'm not trying to put you off or anything," Starr swears, "but we haven't heard from him yet. He's the boss." Starr promises to call as soon as the congressman stops for gas, even if it's somewhere along I-95. Tom, check your voicemail! ... It will take 20 Republican defections to defrock the Speaker, a politically daring move, even for giraffe-hunters. The more moderate Campbell could be a swing vote. So far, however, Tom has managed to stay off of the list of Reep fence-sitters being outed in the national press. Stay tuned.

Money Pit

Last week the seven candidates vying to replace Mike Honda in the upcoming Feb. 4 special election turned in their initial campaign fundraising reports covering the first three weeks of December. Well ahead of the pack was Rosemary Kamei, who reported $26,625 in her war chest--$16,625 in contributions and another $10,000 out of her own pocket. That's more than twice as much as the nearest competitor, Keith Honda, who pulled in $10,745 in donations, and sighs that his campaign pledge not to take money from developers is hampering his fundraising efforts. When asked if Kamei, well-regarded by environmentalists, would make a similar pledge, her campaign adviser, Greg Sellers, elucidated: "No." Doing so would only create more problems than it solves, Sellers reasons. For example, Honda's already taken heat for accepting money from contractors, which some perceive as a loophole in his pledge. Besides, Sellers concludes, developers won't be giving a lot of money to Kamei anyway. Translation: We need all the cash we can get. ... Kamei's campaign has been given a boost by Japanese-American shogun Yosh Uchida. Uchida's support of Kamei, who sits on the county water board, came as a surprise to some who figured that because he was an ardent supporter of ex-Supe Mike Honda, he'd naturally gravitate to Cousin Keith. One piece of loose talk went like this: Uchida was sore at Mike Honda for voting to close down Reid-Hillview Airport in November. (For the record, Keith Honda says that, if elected, he wouldn't vote to close down the airport.) ... Uchida, however, tells Eye that Kamei asked for his support long before the board's airport vote. "It's not a matter of my going against Mike Honda," the Yosh explains. He adds, "I wanted to push someone who was the most qualified."

Long ago Keith's campaign manager reported that his candidate had the support of Yosh's son-in-law, Jerrold Hiura. Or so they thought. Campaign records show that Hiura donated to Kamei's campaign but not Honda's. Says Keith: Jerry will probably give money to my campaign, too. Apparently, both the Honda and Kamei campaigns are expecting a lot of bet-hedging. ... And while supe candidate Steve Blanton may not have the support of beer distributor Mike Fox--one of the biggest local campaign contributors--he does list Mike Fox Lite, a.k.a. Mike Fox Jr., as an endorser. Big Mike, by the way, is supporting Kamei.

Battling Milpitans

When Milpitas finance director Larry Sabo recently told his boss, City Manager Larry Moore, about a job offer in Kentucky, it seemed like the end to a long feud. It was well-known around City Hall that the two men didn't get along. Instead of bidding him good riddance, Moore put Sabo on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation. Sabo's building keys were confiscated, and he was escorted out of the building "like a common criminal," according to his ambulance chaser, Phil Griego. Exactly why Sabo can't report for work isn't clear. Moore didn't return phone calls, and Sabo won't talk. New Mayor Henry Manayan did tell Eye that the city's lawyers say there's a solid legal basis for Sabo's forced hiatus. ... Last month the attorney general's office identified Sabo, a former cop, as the person who asked state officials a few months ago to investigate whether Moore had inappropriately interfered with a police probe into misuse of city phones. (Two former part-time city employees were arrested in November for allegedly making $13,600 worth of long-distance calls on city phones to sex-talk and chat lines, mostly in Canada.) State investigators concluded that there wasn't sufficient evidence to base a criminal case against Moore, who has long contended he acted within his authority when he called a brief halt to the cops' investigation of the love-dialers. Sabo is scheduled to start his new job in Kentucky in February, his lawyer says.

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From the January 2-8, 1997 issue of Metro

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