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Sex on the Beach: Even this 'Swimsuit Issue' didn't help Knight Ridder's faux alt conquer Miami.

The Fly

The Fast Track

Why would Deputy DA JULIUS FINKELSTIEIN call for a civil grand jury investigation in the TERRY GREGORY case when the criminal grand jury was already meeting? A waste of taxpayer dollars, you say? Not if you want Gregory out of office as soon as possible. Criminal grand juries can hand out indictments that might lead to a jury conviction but that does not guarantee that Gregory, who is accused of receiving free baseball tickets and red wine, some campaign reporting violations and using his office to wrangle money from corporations for district projects, will be removed from office. An accusation from a civil grand jury and jury conviction will remove Gregory from office—quickly. In 2001, it took prosecutors slightly more than four months to formally accuse former Mountain View Mayor MARIO AMBRA of misconduct. Ambra's trial began in March 2002, eight months after allegations first surfaced, which is lightning speed compared with criminal procedures, which can be mired in motions to produce evidence and appeals. Finkelstein, speaking about the civil grand jury process in general (and not the Gregory case specifically), said the reason for quick civil grand jury results is that accusations of the civil grand jury are given priority on judges' calendars. "The idea is to remove spoiled fruit from the shelf as quickly as possible," the deputy DA says.

Reed Talkative For Now

Let the record show District 4 San Jose City Councilman CHUCK REED is already making campaign promises he probably won't want to keep. In opposition to the uncommunicative grump currently holding the San Jose mayor's title, Reed has told at least one reporter he's willing to distribute his cell phone number to the media if elected to office. Reed, who became the first candidate last week to announce for the 2006 mayor's race, has a reputation for accessibility. He either answers his cell phone by the third ring or returns calls within 10 minutes. A Reed mayorship will likely be in stark contrast to the handlers and spin doctors who must work overtime to make Gonzo seem friendly and interesting without ever allowing him to speak to the public in an unstructured setting.

Knight Ridder Shuts Faux Alt Weekly

Somehow it didn't make it into the local daily that its parent company shut down another newspaper last week. The Knight Ridder-owned Miami Herald Publishing Co. closed its weekly arts and entertainment tabloid, Street Miami, which competed with Miami New Times for young readers in the Florida city that was Knight Ridder's hometown before it moved to San Jose. The publication, which targeted "young readers on the go" and, by its own immodest description, was "edgy, colorful and irreverent," was one of a handful started by big media corporations to emulate free independent weeklies. Despite Miami's thriving fashion and club culture, the faux alternative weekly couldn't sell enough advertising to meet its expenses, prompting its cost-conscious publisher to close the 70,000-circ paper's office. Thirteen staffers were given a three-month severance offer or invited to work at the Herald. Street Miami is the second newspaper Herald Publishing has closed in the past two years. The company sat shiva for the Jewish Star Times in 2002.

To Victor, the Spoils

Apparently worried that its conservative readers were being underserved by a regular rotation of George Will, Charles Krauthammer, William Safire and Pat Buchanan, the Merc introduced its newest Op-Ed contributor last Thursday, Jan. 6. Victor Davis Hanson's first offering, whimsically titled "Winds of democratic change blowing,' brought the good news that America is winning the war on terror! Yes, Virginia, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Take a look through Hanson's rose-tinted glasses, and you'll see that "a billion people in India increasingly share our wartime concerns over the global dangers of Islamic fascism and terror." In Iraq, "we are shepherding social change not seen since Japanese women were given the vote." Indeed, the burgeoning electoral power of the Shiites and Kurds is a "remarkable revolution comparable to the ancient liberation of the Spartan helots." Wow, that arcane reference to Greek history is sure to impress. Hanson, ensconced at Stanford's righty think tank the Hoover Institute, co-authored Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom, in which he chastises that familiar enemy within—the leftist academic historian—for callously discarding the teaching of ancient Greek values in favor of trendy multiculturalism. Hanson, who earned a B.A. at UC-Santa Cruz in 1975, also published Mexifornia: A State of Becoming, a free-form screed about the harm being inflicted on bedrock American values by the hordes of immigrants overrunning our shores.

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From the January 12-18, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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