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It's Del's Deal

Did City Manager DEL BORGSDORF fall on the sword to protect the mayor's office and save his job? There are still some unanswered questions on the City Hall-Cisco scandal that Borgsdorf doesn't want to answer. "He's not going to talk about it," spokesdude TOM MANHEIM informed Fly when Manheim returned our call to Del. "He's moving on." One unanswered question concerns a communication from the city's defrocked information technology head, WANDZIA GRYCZ. She emailed Borgsdorf Sept. 15, 2003: "Del, this is the document I will be sharing with JOE GUERRA tomorrow morning regarding the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) pilot project. I am hoping that you will consider being part of the pilot as well." The email is interesting because Guerra is Mayor RON GONZALES' most powerful staffer, and the memo tends to erode the credibility of statements by the mayor that no one from his office was aware of the Cisco VoIP mess. Grycz and Guerra both officed on City Hall's fifth floor, ground zero for an aborted pilot project to test out loaned Cisco telephone technology. "She did brief me" about the pilot project, Guerra confirms. However, it was not a "detailed" briefing, he says. "Her office is 100 yards from mine. It wasn't a passing in the hallway thing. She did come over and explain. We had an internal discussion in our office." He explains that "Wandzia came to me and said they were going to do some new project related to phones. ... I knew it was voice over Internet." Guerra says he was unaware that Cisco was the specified vendor. Although Grycz's memo, attached to the Sept. 15 email referencing the Guerra briefing, clearly describes "development specifications of RFP for procuring Cisco Systems specified equipment," Guerra doesn't recall reading the memo. And while Guerra may have been aware of the project's early stages, no documents have surfaced involving him in the RFP process that illegally specified Cisco equipment. Three months after Grycz's memo, Gonzales flew to Sweden and Norway with such luminaries as AL GORE. The 7 grand junket was paid for by Cisco. Gonzales was also one of the strongest advocates for the controversial, now-shelved Cisco plan to build its corporate campus in Coyote Valley, and, he reportedly shared golf greens with Cisco CEO JOHN CHAMBERS, an early Gonzales political supporter. Guerra, Borgsdorf and Gonzales hold a high-level meeting each Monday. Although Guerra is intimately involved in construction decisions regarding the new City Hall, and Gonzales in his past life as a county supervisor took a detailed interest in the county's network systems, it's unknown whether the three ever discussed steering the phone business to Cisco. If Borgsdorf, who knew about the RFP, did take a bullet for the mayor or budget director Guerra, it won't be the first time. In January 2004 mayoral aide MEGHAN HORRIGAN emailed colleagues about the impending revelation of City Hall cost overruns in the Mercury News. "The story, if it's ugly, should stay with the City Manager. ... They should get the heat for this, not the Mayor.'"

Campos Moves Out, Looks Up

The good news for San Jose District 5 voters is that, unlike District 7, they still have a councilmember representing them. The bad news is that, if things go her way, District 5 Councilmember NORA CAMPOS won't be around past 2008. Last spring, she purchased a home with husband NEIL STRUTHERS in a cul-de-sac on the easternmost part of her district. The area just happens to sit among the five precincts connecting Berryessa to Evergreen in county Supe PETE McHUGH's district, an office we were told Campos covets. The question is, Why isn't Campos interested in BLANCO ALVARADO's district, where Campos moved from and whose seat expires in 2008, the same year as McHugh's. The answer: Campos would have been outclassed in that race by SJ Councilwoman CINDY CHAVEZ or another political heavyweight expected to succeed Alvarado. Campos, ever the leader, failed to return calls.

No Rigo

Former ABC (Channel 7) newscaster turned real estate agent RIGO CHACON says he's flattered but uninterested in the '06 mayor's race. He's content to run his nonprofit, which distributes money and books to school kids. Chacon says he doesn't know how the rumor began that he was interested, adding he's frequently encouraged at gatherings to run for political office. Chacon says he'll let Fly know if he changes his mind. For now, he's comfortable watching from the political sidelines.

Weed Wars

In the wake of Metro's exposé on the shady Santa Clara pot clinic ("Suffering Suspicion," Jan. 5), medical marijuana advocates are shaking their heads and groaning. STEPHEN CORNELL from Advance Magazine for Physician's Assistants used his online blog to take a jab at PA World, the website that posted clinic owner DONYE MITCHELL's ad seeking PAs to partake in his scandal. This is the danger, Cornell says, of "Internet job sites that will post an ad for pretty much anyone for almost no charge. ... The entire situation makes the PA profession look bad by association." One DR. JAY writes on www.overgrow.com, "Between dinks like this Mitchell character and clubs filled with teenagers we look like idiots." On the local front, Oakland attorney WILLIAM PANZER tells Metro he spoke with Mitchell on the phone in the fall of 2004. Panzer says Mitchell denied falsely representing himself as a lawyer and claimed he was only a law student. Last week Santa Clara police found the clinic had moved out, and it looks like Mitchell may have fled the state. Lt. JIM BUCHANAN says the clinic on Stevens Creek Boulevard closed in January. The physician's assistant who used to work for Mitchell (and is now pursuing a small claims case against him) has been unable to locate him at his businesses in Salinas and Southern California.

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From the January 26-February 1, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

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