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Public Eye

Post-Op

He ducked. He stalled. He failed. Local Reep Rep. Tom Campbell refused to join the apologists in his party and vote for PR nightmare Newt Gingrich for a second term as House Speaker. ... When he emerged from a four-hour closed-door party caucus Monday evening to make a conference call with anxious reporters, the Campster announced ambitious plans to dethrone the Speaker, even at the risk of alienating party pachyderms. "I expect this to be damaging to me," the congressman told reporters prior to Tuesday's vote. When one interviewer asked him what if he were exiled to, say, the postal committee, the good boy scout shot back, "Delivery of the post on time is a high priority."


Dale's Warning

Unlike most gadflies who buzz around the political scene unnoticed, SJ immigration lawyer and European American Dale Warner can afford to buy full-page ads to pester politicians and whomever he feels like bugging. His latest target: SJ Councilmember Margie Fernandes. In the December Berryessa Sun, Warner uses his "Taxpayer Letter" to taunt Fernandes for plumping up the downtown with redevelopment pork, while not bringing any bacon into her home district. Warner tells Eye the rationale behind his latest rhetorical assault: If Fernandes wants to run for mayor, he reasons, she's going to need support from her political base in Berryessa. So, Warner's using the opportunity to get her to fix up some blighted Berryessa properties. But does anyone actually pay attention to the haymaker's paid screeds? "He certainly doesn't go unnoticed," chuckles Jim Anton, Fernandes' chief aide. "We think he's hilarious." Anton suspects that Warner, who crusaded a few years back to have whites referred to as European Americans, is positioning himself to run for the district council seat whether Fernandes runs for mayor or not. Warner says he's not interested in the job. "That really reveals more about how they think," says Warner. "Her office is so intensely political, they don't understand there are other areas of interest outside of politics." Politics haven't always been kind to Warner. Two years ago, Warner's bid to sit on the Berryessa school board was derailed when allegations surfaced that he used heroin more than 20 years ago while a state legislator in Michigan. Warner adamantly denies the allegations, and a court dropped the charges.


Who Honda?

The results of a $7,000 poll paid for by the Rosemary Kamei campaign confirm what Eye has thunk all along: Many voters in the Feb. 4 special election won't be able to tell Keith Honda and ex-Supe Mike Honda apart. That may be a good thing for Keith, the poll suggests, unless voters realize whom they're voting for beforehand. Top-notch SF firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates first asked 400 likely voters whom they'd vote for after having just the candidates' names and ballot titles read to them. Honda and Kamei both did relatively well. But 26 percent of those who voted for Honda in the first match-up said they would "reconsider their vote after they were told that Keith Honda was not Mike Honda and was, in fact, his cousin." At the same time, 70 percent of those who didn't vote for Honda say it didn't matter to them that Keith and Mike are cousins, although it probably matters a lot to Keith and Mike's mothers. ... Keith, meanwhile, got his hand slapped after Kamei's campaign raised questions about Honda's ambiguous job description on his ballot statement. For several years, Keith has been one of Mikee's top staff aides. But you'd never know that from how he originally described his occupation: "Deputy chief/attorney." Huh? Was he a prosecutor? Registrar Dwight Beattie told Honda that he'd better clarify his job title because it could mislead voters. His corrected ballot designation: "Staff chief/attorney." Ahhhh. Much clearer.


The Law Recalls

A few months ago Santa Clara City Councilmember Jim Arno avoided the embarrassment of a recall election, but that didn't mean Jimbo was home free for the remainder of his term. This week Arno's political career took another nose dive when the district attorney's office issued a warrant for his arrest. Arno allegedly failed to disclose nearly $13,000 in campaign contributions from a city garbage contractor before the 1994 election. One month before the election, the owners of Mission Trail Waste Systems, Nicholas Rinauro Sr. and Nicholas Rinauro Jr., pleaded guilty to skimming $540,000 in cash from Santa Clara's old landfill. Bill Larsen, special assistant district attorney, tells Eye that Arno had a motive to hide contributions. Having a couple of convicted felons as supporters, Larsen says, probably wouldn't have looked too good--especially right before the election. Councilman Arno couldn't be reached for comment.


Tree Huggers

How does one of America's safest big cities use 911? In life-threatening emergencies, of course. So when one Willow Glen scofflaw wanted to chop down a large tree without a permit, upset neighbors frantically dialed 911 to save it. But before you could say, "Timber!" the tree went down. The cops arrived too late. At least that's what Willow Glen Neighborhood Association president Larry Ames tells us on SJ Talk, a conference on Metro's Virtual Valley computer bulletin board service. ... VV administrator Bill Elias couldn't resist putting in his two cents regarding Ames' 911 revelation. "No offense--but I'd rather see 911 used for real life-threatening emergencies," Elias writes. "I'd hate to think that someone having a heart attack ended up with a busy signal simply because a tree was being cut down." ... Larry explains that neighbors tried to contact the property owner without success. Furthermore, "the tree trimmer wouldn't come down out of the tree to talk to us." Then neighbors tried calling the regular nonemergency police number, but it was a Saturday and they only got a recording. As a last resort, they "reluctantly" called 911.


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From the January 9-15, 1997 issue of Metro

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