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Beall Jarred: Faced with a budget crisis, Jim Beall is trying something new.

Public Eye

In the Lobby

Cities and counties are crossing their fingers that they don't get screwed out of state funding when Gov. GRAY DAVIS releases the 2002-03 budget next week. In the early '90s, the last time the economy was in the ER, Sacramento balanced the budget by keeping money that was supposed to go to counties and municipalities. Now, with Santa Clara County looking at at least a $43 million shortfall, Board of Supes Chair JIM BEALL is taking preventive action. Beall fired off a letter last month to about 200 county service providers, many of which are nonprofits that get county funding, asking organizations to send letters telling Sacramento to keep its paws off county money. "We haven't received the greatest support from Gray Davis," Beall tells Eye. "Most of the budget increases went to education and prisons." And other counties are following Beall's lead. As chair of the budget task force for the California State Association of Counties, Beall suggested other counties use his approach. CSAC members adopted the plan to partner with local groups on "legislative advocacy." ... But is this just a way to get groups dependent on county funding to lobby on the county's behalf? One county higher up thinks so: "It's just weird. The people giving out the money shouldn't be coming back to people saying, 'OK, now we want you to lobby on this thing for us.'" But Beall doesn't think so. "We're trying to protect health and human services programs, and we want to enlist others who share our concerns. It's an attempt to organize people. It's a direct response to the budget crunch," Beall says, adding that he hasn't had any complaints: "I assume if they felt awkward, they just wouldn't do it. They're very supportive of what we're doing." LISA BREEN, executive director of the Support Network for Battered Women in Mountain View, says she doesn't see anything wrong with Beall's new strategy. "I don't think of it as lobbying. I think of it more as advocacy," says Breen, who's planning to pen a letter. "These budget cuts affect families, and it's my job to make sure that doesn't happen. I'm very worried about my agency's budget in the coming fiscal year."

Scott Moeller
Scott Moeller

Of Lambs and Elephants

Eye felt bad after labeling a trio of long-shot local GOP congressional hopefuls "sacrificial lambs" a couple months ago. Not that it's not true--none of them had a chance--it's just that it seemed impolite to add to their troubles. But after the filing deadline came and went, only one of those three bothered to sign up to run. SCOTT MOELLER, a wealthy young high-tech guy from Los Gatos who most resembled a viable candidate, decided instead to found a company that develops and operates senior housing communities. The fact that the 15th District currently occupied by Rep. MIKE HONDA is solidly Democratic didn't go unnoticed, either. But it wasn't a total waste for Moeller: On one of his trips to D.C., he met a campaign manager turned congressional staffer whom he proposed to over the holidays. ... TOM GRASSIA, a San Jose techie who had dreams of challenging peninsula Rep. ANNA ESHOO in the 14th, also let the deadline pass. Grassia took a job at NASA's Ames Research Center and, thanks to his status as a government contractor, had to drop his bid for partisan office. "I'd been out of work for a few months," Grassia says. "I had to do what was best for my family." ... Meanwhile, another bold Republican lamb signed up to fill his shoes: JOE NIXON, a TV and print reporter from Indiana who recently moved to Bonny Doon on the Santa Cruz County coast. ... The one original lamb still plugging away is Berryessa Union School District board member LINDA HERMANN. Hermann, who writes in a campaign piece that she's running because there's a "moral famine ravaging our nation," set out to challenge ZOE LOFGREN in the 16th but changed plans when she was redistricted into Honda territory. ... All in all, it's an even grimmer picture for local GOPers. Says one local Republican activist: "Any serious Republican candidate for these type offices in the valley best ought to take two aspirin and wait a decade until the districts are redrawn."

What kind of fool am Eye?

Assembly candidate SALLY LIEBER called eye last week to protest part of the Dec. 20 item about the campaign to recall her from her seat on the Mountain View City Council. Eye reported that the gang of vigilantes trying to boot Lieber cited her poor attendance as one of the reasons she needs to go. "Last time I checked. I had a 100 percent attendance record," Lieber boasts. Eye double-checked with the anti-Lieber folks, and sure enough, that's not one of their beefs. The actual complaint, among others, was "sparse and vague employment and political history prior to City Council election." Not much of a reason to recall a pol, but it's what they said. The Mountain View city clerk's office, however, says Lieber has missed only one meeting since taking office in January 1999.

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From the January 3-9, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2002 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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