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[whitespace] Welcome Back Fodder: Tony West moved back to San Jose from Oakland last month so he could run for Assembly.

Public Eye

Native Carpetbagger

DURING A campaign forum at Lou's Village last week, local Assembly candidate Tony West introduced himself as a "lifelong" San Jose resident. What West neglected to mention was that he had just moved back to San Jose from his new home in Oakland a few weeks earlier so he could run for the Assembly seat being vacated by incumbent Mike Honda (D-San Jose). West says he had been living in Oakland for three months in a condo he and his wife, Maya, purchased this summer. West acknowledges that he returned to San Jose in December after Honda made his surprise last-minute decision to run for Congress. West and other Democrats didn't expect the 23rd Assembly District seat to open up until 2002, when Honda was scheduled to be forced out of office by term limits. ... After consulting with his family about re-locating, West hastily rented an apartment in Japantown. "I'm spending 100 percent of my time in San Jose," West assures Eye. He says his wife splits her time between San Jose--where she serves as the dean of Lincoln Law School--and their place in Oakland, which is her hometown. His stepdaughter remains in an Oakland school. ... West says he moved to the East Bay after growing weary of his two-hour commute from San Jose to Sacramento, where he works as an assistant attorney general under Bill Lockyer. He insists that he is not worried about being labeled a carpetbagger, because he grew up in San Jose and knows the area. "I've demonstrated my commitment to serve San Jose," says West, who boasts stints on the city's youth and planning commissions. ... Most readers probably recall West from his failed bid for the downtown San Jose City Council seat in 1998 against Cindy Chavez. During that campaign, interestingly enough, West criticized Chavez for moving into the downtown council district only a few months before becoming a candidate. Chavez is now campaign co-chair for Assembly aspirant Manny Diaz, West's most formidable opponent. Eye-watchers will recall that during his 1994 campaign for the east San Jose council seat, Diaz deflected criticism of his own carpetbagging ways by saying, "Isn't it more important what a candidate has done to improve the East Side, instead of who's lived here the longest?"

Sign Abatement

Just a few days after District 8 (Evergreen) San Jose City Council candidate Patricia Martinez-Roach's signs went up around town earlier this month, somebody began taking them down. That somebody turned out to be neighborhood neatnik Earl Magoun, who took down four signs himself and says he pointed out another 10 to a city code inspector. Magoun is part of a volunteer neighborhood group that removes signs illegally posted on public property, i.e., utility poles and parking strips. After taking down Martinez-Roach's signs, Magoun sent her an email threatening to remove more if necessary. The Roachmeister, who insists that her signs were posted legally, then complained to city code enforcement officials about their rogue volunteer (she suspects Magoun is working for an opposing campaign, which he denies). Code enforcement supervisor Mike Hannon says that the city has told Magoun and other volunteers not to remove political signs anymore. Code inspectors will handle the removal of campaign signs from now on, Hannon says. Magoun, meanwhile, tells Eye that he isn't picking on Martinez-Roach. He has also complained about illegally posted signs for judicial candidate Dolores Carr. "What happens is that the politicians put up these signs," Magoun grouses, "and then they don't take them down after the election. Then they become litter." Martinez-Roach says she is considering sending Magoun or the city a bill for her 14 lost signs.

Institutional Memory

Given that longtime KNTV news personality Maggi Scura is a South Bay institution, one would expect station managers to give her a big sendoff for her final newscast as anchor. But it almost didn't happen. Scura, who sat in the KNTV anchor's chair for 20 years, was scheduled to sign off on Jan. 4. But programmers apparently didn't realize that her regular 6pm newscast was being bumped by college football. After learning of the scheduling conflict, the station delayed Scura's farewell until the next night when she could say goodbye properly during her regular time-slot. ... Scura tells Eye that she quit her job as anchor--though she will stay on in some undefined part-time capacity--so she can spend more time with her 6-year-old son. But there are whispers that Scura, the station mascot for local coverage in the wake of Granite Broadcasting's expansion into the San Francisco market, was fed up with the whole North Bay vibe. To add to the speculation, station execs replaced Scura with Lisa Kim from KNTV's sister station, KBWB in San Francisco, apparently passing over channel 11's own Mary Babbitt, who anchors the 11pm newscast and has filled in for Scura on occassion. To add to the general harumph in the newsroom, rumors are circulating that Kim will earn significantly more than Scura and co-anchor Doug Moore. All a bunch of, er, private matters--says vice prez of news and operations Eric Hulnick, who claims the station is "doubling" its news coverage and hiring 31 new positions, only five of which will work in SF. As to whether KNTV will take on the airs of a locally produced CNN, he says: "Our niche is the South Bay, but just because you live in Cupertino doesn't mean you don't care who gets elected mayor in San Francisco."

La Vida Poco

Just four months after the gala opening of the $34 million Mexican Heritage Plaza, sources say Mexican Heritage Corp. president Pete Carrillo plans to resign and become a lobbyist. According to Carrillo confidants, Pedro is planning to team up with attorney Ed Alvarez, a close ally of Mayor Ron Gonzales with clients like the San Jose Water Company. Word of Carrillo's exit comes one month after reports surfaced that some MHC board members were unhappy with his performance and had authorized an audit of plaza operations. But Carrillo compadres insist that those reports have nothing to do with his career change. They say Carrillo, who has run MHC since it incorporated in 1992, had previously indicated that he wanted to do something more worthy of his talents. Indeed, Carrillo should make a swell butt-kisser-for-hire. After all, he is on a first-name basis with the mayor, City Councilman Manny Diaz (Carrillo is Diaz's campaign co-chair), Supervisor Blanca Alvarado and state Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles), the powerful chairman of the Legislature's Latino Caucus. No need to pad that résumé (anymore).

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From the January 20-26, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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