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[whitespace] Stan Kawczynski Bud Nipper: Sunnyvale City Councilman Stan Kawczynski recently took the usual step of rebutting gossip about himself during public meetings.

Pre-emptive Gripe

Occasionally in politics, a rumor becomes so widespread that the victim of cocktail-chat hearsay is forced to do what is called a pre-emptive strike. This is when a politician or his damage-controllers raise the subject of a rumor without being asked, then proceed to deny, denounce or spin it (something the Clinton PR team has done effectively time and again). It's a risky strategy, but sometimes it's riskier to remain silent. Perhaps that is what Sunnyvale City Councilman Stan Kawczynski had in mind when he called a fellow councilmember (whom he wouldn't identify) "cowardly" during a recent public meeting for spreading gossip about the Stan-man (which he wouldn't describe in any detail). Vice Mayor Pat Vorreiter thought it in poor taste to bring up a personal gripe at a council meeting, so she later phoned Kawczynski to tell him so--privately. "I don't know what the rumor was or who started it," Vorreiter informs Eye. "I just wanted to say to Stan that we shouldn't air our dirty laundry in public." Evidently, Kawczynski didn't take too kindly to being lectured by his colleague. So at the following council get-together, Kawczynski reported for all to hear that between meetings Vorreiter had admonished him for his previous comments. "I need to nip these things in the bud," he explained. He went on to say that four years ago the good taxpaying folk of Sunnyvale suffered when he didn't immediately expose ex-Mayor Frances Rowe's alleged rumormongering about city employees. ... Eye finds it interesting that Kawczynski should bring up Fran's name. According to a highly placed Sunnyvale snoop, the loose talk that started all this identifies Kawczynski as a secret supporter of Rowe's latest attempt at a comeback. This would constitute a major turnaround considering that Kawczynski helped oust Rowe as mayor in 1995 when she started acting loopy around City Hall. Asked if she was pals with Kawczynski now, Rowe clarifies, "The hell we are." ... Alas, it appears that Kawczynski won't be helping Rowe in her council quest after all, and she, in turn, won't be assisting Stanley in his second attempt to unseat Assemblywoman Elaine Alquist next year.


Johns Doe

When police busted madam Raeshel Keavy last year (see "Caught in the Silicon Trap," Feb. 4), they turned over a client database with 15,000 names--a lifetime supply of blackmail material--to Santa Clara County prosecutors. To date, the DA's office selectively made public the names of a few "johns" during grand jury proceedings in October but refuses to release the names of any others. Former Keavy escorts reveal that their paying clients included TV personalities, movie actors and directors, and two patriarchs of a prominent South Bay business family that has donated tens of thousands of dollars to local politicians. (OK, moneybags, you know who you are!) None of those names has surfaced in court--yet. Practically everyone in the case cut a plea deal with deputy DA Chuck Gillingham Jr., thereby forgoing a trial in which more client names might surface. But two of the accused--husband and wife duo Daniel and Rachel Love--pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to go to trial in April. That means the public may still get a glimpse of the true lifestyles of the valley's horny, rich and famous.


Make Room for Tony

So just why did the Standard Parking Corp. restripe the parking lot on level B2 of 50 W. San Fernando? Is it because that building, a crown jewel of downtown office space, recently became home to Knight Ridder, corporate parent of the local daily? Is it because section B2 is where the Knight Ridder execs will dock their oversized bombers and town cars? One insider swears on Tony Ridder's good name that the restriping is being done to make room for the land-barges they drive to work. But Eye, never one to cast aspersions on the undeserving, checked with Merc Central. ... "Heavens no," replies KR vice president Polk Laffoon, who says he himself only drives a modest 4-year-old Chrysler Concorde to work. And the valet staff in the garage say they can accommodate some pretty mammoth cars in there already. "We have a few Navigators and a few Expeditions and they fit pretty well," one car shuffler reports. The restriping, says Brenda Baines of Standard Parking, is just a part of a $200,000 garage face lift ordered by the new building owners, who have their own eight-cylinder behemoths to navigate between the painted lines.


Ready, Aim, Chair

For those of us who have suffered through a movie disrupted by laser-pointer-wielding teenagers, help is on its way: State legislators, always willing to ride a wave of popular discontent, are aiming to restrict the use of the annoying devices. Three Assembly Democrats--Scott Wildman, Herb Wesson and San Jose's Mike Honda--are scrambling to craft legislation prohibiting the pesky pointers from being sold to minors and making it illegal to aim such devices at the eyes of a person driving a car. Laser pointers seem to have replaced leaf blowers as the suburban issue du jour in the Capitol. As for who will get top billing in the legislative sweepstakes to eclipse their use, Honda would seem to be the point man as chair of the powerful Public Safety Committee, which has domain over the issue. As chair, Honda controls when bills are heard and greatly influences whether they make it out of committee. But look for Honda to strike an accord with his colleagues so he can take partial credit (after all, being the primary author of a bill requires extra staff time). "Mike plans to meet with the other authors to decide what gets out of the committee," says Honda mouthpiece Ruben Pulido. "The decision-making process won't be a game of rock, paper, scissors."


Teacher's Pet

At last week's San Jose City Council meeting, new downtown rep Cindy Chavez saluted a young schoolgirl in the audience from the distant land of San Francisco. At first, it wasn't clear exactly why Chavez was rolling out the red carpet for a student from a city 50 miles away. Cynics might say--actually, they did say--that it had something to do with the fact that the girl's papa is Ed McGovern, Chavez's political consultant. McGovern explains that his daughter and her fourth-grade classmates are doing reports on cities throughout California. As luck would have it, Miss McGovern was assigned San Jose. "I don't think it's all that unusual," McGovern informs us. "I'm glad she got San Jose so she could meet all these council people." Chavez adds, "Every child who wants to do a research paper on the city of San Jose will get the red-carpet treatment from me." Chavez showered McGovern's daughter with official city pencils used by real government bureaucrats, a coffee mug, a faux commendation and a Sharks banner. Research for the report also involved the McGoverns visiting the Winchester Mystery House and the Tech that same day--both of which the Edster says he paid to get into. "We didn't get any special privileges," he assures Eye.


Public Eye welcomes tips. Leave messages 24 hours a day by calling 408/298-7818 and then pressing 2, followed by 412, to reach Eye's voice mailbox. Send email messages to eye@sjmetro.com.


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From the February 18-24, 1999 issue of Metro.

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