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Chuck Reed: An excess of riches.

The Fly

No Gay Love

Gays and lesbians will soon be able to marry in Santa Clara County--as soon, that is, as they convince the current group of county supervisors to direct County Clerk Phyllis Perez to issue gender-neutral marriage licenses. The county has no law limiting marriage to heterosexuals, meaning Santa Clara can begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples as early as this week. As San Francisco has shown, local governments can offer more freedom to citizens than allowed by state law, which has prohibited gay marriage since Proposition 22 was passed in 2000. Three county supes were too weak-kneed to return phone calls asking if they might direct Perez to change licensing practices. A spokesperson for Pete McHugh, who is apparently unfamiliar with an apparatus called the telephone, excused the chairman by saying he was out of town until Friday. Kristine Cunningham of Blanca Alvarado's office was more reassuring. She said the District 2 supe would endorse filing a supporting brief whenever the San Francisco lawsuit inevitably hits the appellate level. District 5 supe Liz Kniss went a step further, saying she expected Santa Clara to begin licensing same-sex marriages if San Francisco prevails. At this point, two out of five ain't bad.

Mo' Money

Mayor Ron Gonzales' latest State of the City address was notable in more ways than one, Fly learned this week. On the mayor's website, www.sjmayor.org, there's still a live link to the webcast of his speech. Click on that link, and you'll find that the speech has sponsors. Some are the kind you would expect, such as the convention center and the city's parking reps. Others you wouldn't. Included among the sponsors of Gonzo's State of the City address are Jerry Strangis, a registered lobbyist, and Robert Bettencourt, a noted local landowner and developer. When reached by telephone, Strangis told Eye that the sponsorship cost him a cool $2,500. Fly probably isn't alone in thinking that underwriting the city address by people seeking favors from the city--a tradition pioneered by Gonzo's predecessors--makes things look a little cozy around here.

Haves vs. Have-Nots

The big winner thus far in the council money sweepstakes goes to District 4 Councilman Chuck Reed, who has collected more than $111,000 for his re-election bid, according to campaign disclosures filed at the city clerk's office. Reed will spend the money hoping to squash Dale Warner, whose campaign chest was a mere $18,000 as of the middle of January. Next up was Councilmember Ken Yeager, who has received $82,600 in contributions to defeat pet-groomer Daniel Beasworrick, whose contributions recently reached a mid­five figures. District 2's Forrest Williams wasn't as popular with constituents: His contributions totaled $43,000. His opponent, real estate broker Ted Scarlett, had no money in his account. In the race for the open seat in District 10, two candidates, Richard De La Rosa and Nancy Pyle, collected more than $35,000 each while the richest guy in that race, Ronald Siporen, reported only $754 in his account. Another big winner? David Cortese of District 8. Contributors poured more than $75,000 into his campaign even though Cortese is running unopposed. But as Cortese explained, much of the dough was collected in the period between September and December, when it was too early to tell if he would have an opponent. Cortese will spend his campaign cash on voter registration materials, he says. He would have returned the money to contributors, but that was probably more trouble than it was worth. "We would have had to write something like 500 checks," he says. "That's almost a campaign in and of itself."

Editor Wanted

Asian identity-politics activist Nam Nguyen is calling for a boycott of Hewlett Packard in protest of Carly Fiorina's overseas job fetish. Nguyen is head of United Asian and sender of many legislative email updates. This week he writes: "There are many area in our country is still very cheap labors and high qualify work force. Right now, our country unemployment is so high and a lot of people out of works. It is OK to export jobs overseas only if our country has no unemployed workers."

Sex and the Assembly

Rebecca Cohn may be feeling the heat now from her nutty sex-kitten foray in San Jose Magazine. But, as folks with a memory will know, she isn't the only officeholder from her district who has pushed the sexual envelope. Republican Congressman Ernest "Ernie" Konnyu said something about some body part once and remains immortalized on mindlesscrap.com's stupid quotes website. "Why you got your boob covered up?" Konnyu reportedly inquired of a 26-year-old aide. He later explained. "At the press conference, she wore her name tag ... right over her boobs ... I didn't think it was right for her to have her name tag on in a--it should be up high. She's not exactly heavily stacked, OK? ... So I told her ...to move the darn name tag off her boobs." Konnyu, who like Cohn represented Saratoga in the Assembly before going to Washington, lost his seat to Tom Campbell after the press had a field day with the inappropriate comments.

Oops Department

The Spartan cheerleading squad was grounded last week as the San Jose State administration changed its policy in the wake of the first major cheerleading accident in school history. Cheerleaders will not be permitted to perform tumbles, cartwheels, aerial tosses, pyramids or basket tosses, a stunt in which three or more cheerleaders toss into the air. Rechelle Sneath, 18, of Fremont, fractured a vertebra after falling head-first during a basket-toss maneuver last month. Nearly 25,000 cheerleaders were injured in 2002, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Peace in the Valley

San Jose will be part of an international peace rally March 20 demanding the return of American troops from Iraq and a reallocation of U.S. tax money for such peaceful purposes as housing and education. Members of the South Bay Mobilization group expect several thousand protestors to attend, which will place the political rally on the scale of last February's antiwar demonstrations, when more than 800 international cities took part in antiwar protests. The March 20 rally, which will also be located at Roosevelt Park, coincides with the date of the American invasion of Iraq. Cities across America, including Oxford, Miss., Fayetteville, N.C., and Mobile, Ala., will host rallies the same day. For more information, contact the Mobilization group at 408.998.8504.


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From the February 18-25, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 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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