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[whitespace] Nancy Pyle Pyle It On: San Jose politico Nancy Pyle saw the man who started firing shots at the White House last week.


Public Eye

Witness To History

LAST WEEK when cornbread-head Robert W. Pickett of Evansville, Ind., stood outside the White House and fired a gun into the air, he may have gotten a tad bit closer to the dude inside than was widely reported. That's according to Eye's source on the scene, Nancy Pyle, an elected board member of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College District. ... Pyle, also a Democratic Party activist and twice-failed San Jose City Council candidate, was visiting D.C. for a national junior college trustees' conference. After finishing a tour of the District, Pyle was strolling behind the White House when she heard a flurry of feet and watched a pack of security guards pass her by. Pyle took to a high spot on a nearby hill to get a good look-see and that's when the Secret Service's two retaliatory shots rang out. After the G-men dog-piled the wounded Pickett inside the gates, Pyle notes, press hounds surrounded the scene within minutes. ... But the S.S. was quick to dismiss the story with an it-wasn't-even-close spin, offering that the troubled Pickett was picked off outside the gates. With all the witnesses on hand, Pyle didn't know her version would contradict the Official Version, and the only person who got a statement from her was a small-town radio reporter. "When they tackled him on the lawn, he was inside the gates," Pyle insists. ... Aside from avoiding body slams and flying bullets, Pyle also chatted up Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), who Pyle reports is "very worried" about the new Republican administration, and pressed the flesh with new dude in town Mike Honda (D-San Jose). Just in case readers suspect Pyle of merely networking on the public dime, she says the two sessions were fruitful. She boasts that cash-strapped community college students can look forward to a piece of legislation that will bring more computers to their fingertips, and enable them to more easily access her future campaign websites.

Double Tripping

As difficult as it may be to believe, Eye every so often receives anonymous faxes from shy whistleblowers who want to protect their identity. Last week, Eye received an unsigned fax from a local Kinko's from someone who obviously doesn't care much for Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group chief Carl Guardino. ... Eye wasn't the only recipient--the fearless faxer also sent copies to the sixth floor of San Jose City Hall and the 10th floor of the county building, where the elected officials and political hacks reside. The fax was a one page excerpt from the Measure A campaign's most recent financial report that showed the Carlmeister's earnings for his two months of work as campaign co-director: $29,250. Not too shabby, even by Silicon Valley standards. ... But Eye was a little unclear as to the sender's exact gripe. Did the tipster think Guardino got paid too much? A county building recipient suggests some people might be surprised to hear Guardino was drawing a tidy salary from the campaign while also still getting a paycheck at his regular job. Hmmmmm. ... Explains Sir Carl, "I was working full-time in both roles. ... As anyone in my organization knows I was working about 125 hours a week." Guardino's co-campaign director, Jude Barry, tells Eye that his counterpart worked "full-time plus." "There's no one," says former mayoral staff chieftain Barry, "in the valley who works harder than Carl Guardino." Not even your old boss, Jude?

Guess Speaker

In spite of all the rumbling that he'd like to be the next Speaker of the Assembly, new Palo Alto Assemblyman Joe Simitian insists that he personally has never told anyone he wants the job. Speculation grew after Simitian's high school pal Mike McCurry, former White House Chief of Obfuscation, predicted on national television that Joe would be the next speaker because of, in part, term limits. But Simitian insists that he himself has set his sights on more modest goals like passing his first piece of legislation. "For something that is nonexistent," Simitan argues, "it's gotten a lot of play. ... It's not on my agenda." Of course, Simitian has been playing the Sacramento ladder-climbing game nicely, thank you. His generous donations to party leadership--at least $100,000 by the latest count--no doubt helped him get him some choice committee assignments. And as Eye reported last week, Simitian received a well-timed $100,000 donation from high-tech exec Steve Kirsch to avoid new state contribution limits, which should help him suck up to party leadership in his first term. ... By the by, Eye understands that Simitian has a lead on a new, more reputable location for his district office. Eye-watchers will recall that because of the high price of office space on the peninsula, Simitian took a temporary spot in what used to be a bar on Florence Street. Well, the Palo Alto Daily News has since discovered that the bar was shut down by the cops after an undercover police investigation uncovered handguns, marijuana and cocaine in the place. A Simitian spokesperson told the paper that Joe didn't know anything about the bar's troubled legal past.

Linear Thinking

Part of being mayor of a big city is being able to govern. And even though San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales has a safe majority on the City Council, he's taking no chances in the near future. The mayor and his minions, from what Eye hears, have been working to ensure a Ron-friendly lineup on the new redistricting committee in charge of drawing the new council district boundaries based on the latest census data. Consider this: The mayor and the 10 council members are supposed to get one appointment each to the redistricting committee. But El Ronzo has managed to have a say in three appointments. He himself tapped ex-Vice Mayor Frank Fiscalini to chair the committee. The mayor also persuaded his colleagues to let him make the appointment to the District 5 slot vacated by Manny Diaz, who left his city post to recently to become an assemblyguy. Who did Ron appoint? Tony Arreola, a former mayoral staffer-cum-land-use consultant who now backs Ron's replacement for Diaz, Nora Campos. ... And then in District 9, incumbent John Diquisto initially told unionista Bill Brill that he planned to appoint him. But Diquisto later informed Brill that the mayor's office had conveyed to him that Susie Wilson--a Gonzo loyalist--wanted the slot. Result? Wilson is now the District 9 appointee. The recurring theme, kids? Districts 5 and 9 will be up for re-election in 2002 and Arreola and Wilson will be helping keep the lineup Gonzo-friendly, Eye predicts.

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From the February 15-21, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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