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Public Eye

Doing the Shuffle

Frosh Supes Primo McHugh and Joe Simitian named chiefs of staff this week, sans fanfare. ... McHugh campaign volunteer Gordon Reynolds will now pull a pay stub as Primo's top staffer. The hire ends speculation that Keith Honda would again punch the clock on the 10th floor. Hondita, cousin of departed Supe Mike Honda, debunks loose talk that he wanted too much dough. After having served as Mikee's chief of staff for six years, KH--once the smart money favorite for appointment to his namesake's abandoned supervisorial post--sounds like he wants a room with a different view. "It was more an issue of whether I was willing to do the same thing again," he elucidates. Keith's now mulling over the possibility of following his cuz to Sacramento, where he would hold down the Honda family Assembly office. Meantime, he's just enjoying some time off after coming up short in the February special election. Getting his car fixed and fertilizing his lawn are tops on his to-do list at the moment. ... Simitian hired former Norm Mineta aide Michelle Poché. If the name rings a bell, it could be because her mom, Terry, ran Congressman Don Edwards' district office for 20 years. Or it could be because dad Marc is an appellate court gavel pounder who previously dispensed advice to Gov. Jerry Brown.


Motoring Milpitians

Milpitas City Council members have pushed the pedal to the carpet with a 450 percent boost in their monthly octane allowances. The local elected contingent last week turbocharged the auto perk, lifting it from $100 to $550 a month--that's $200 higher than their counterparts get in sprawling San Jose, and enough to get a 4-cylinder C-class Mercedes on a 60-month closed-end lease at Claridge's Ltd., just a few miles up 880 in Fremont. ... Only fair, reasons Mayor Henry Manayan. While Milpitas' part-time council members earn just 500 clams a month, San Jose's full-time pols pull down close to 60 grand a year. It all balances out, Manayan calculates, adding that travel is part of the job. Over the weekend, the Milpitas mayor made three official appearances that took him outside the county. Eye regrets that it didn't get a callback from Councilman Bob Livengood, who pushed the increase. Probably got caught in traffic somewhere.


Sunnyvale 49ers?

Eye has learned that some local political sorts are having damp dreams about the notion of luring the San Francisco 49ers down to Santa Clara County should San Francisco voters kill the upcoming $100 million bond measure for a new stadium-mall complex. The move would make some sense. After all, the 'Niners' training facility is already in Santa Clara, as are important 49er social resources, like Birk's and the Mission Ale House. ... A potential playing site being floated is Moffett Field, which is big enough to handle a new stadium and mall, and probably a few Home Depots and Costcos, too. Rachel Richman, chief of staff to boss Supervisor Jim Beall, says her employer is interested in bringing the 49ers south. "Depending on what happens in San Francisco," Richman says, "the possibility of the 49ers coming to Santa Clara County is something Jim thinks we ought to look at." ... At least one Santa Clara political wag is all but certain that fickle San Francisco voters won't approve a publicly financed stadium. "If they win, best of luck to 'em," the pol says. "But if there's any public money involved, I don't think they'll win up there. Then I think you have the Sunnyvale 49ers."


Chamber Dance

Going into the San Jose Chamber of Commerce's recent endorsement meeting, supe candidate and president of the Japanese-American Chamber of Commerce Rosemary Kamei seemed to have the edge over opponent Don Gage. The Morgan Hill Democrat is backed by business leaders like Yosh Uchida, Mike Fox Sr. and Tommy Fulcher, chairman of the Chamber's board of directors. But conservatives prevailed and the Chamber's political action committee endorsed Republican Don Gage, a big coup for the anti-abortion mayor from Gilroy. Insiders suspect that Kamei's campaign was perhaps a little too confident, came unprepared and got caught off-guard. It didn't help that Fulcher, an ex officio Chamber officer, couldn't cast a vote. Says one campaign handler for Kamei, "Our friends were in the room. ... It came down to party lines. It's a fairly conservative organization." ... Another name that won't be appearing on Kamei's list of endorsers is state Sen. John Vasconcellos. Kamei made the mistake of supporting Vasco's opponent in the primary last year, Tom Hayes. Vasco has been smarting from the indignity of having to raise $600,000 and respond to Hayes' scrappy political insurgency to stay in Sacramento and is still pissed off at those who failed to support him in his Senate race.


Charge It!

There's just something counterintuitive about credit cards saving money. But that's what the city of San Jose claims. After concluding a year-long pilot program using plastic, city bean counters have launched the program citywide. About 400 employees from every department except the city attorney and airports have been issued plastic to use for purchases between $50 and $1,000. Number-crunchers expect to save big money in reduced staff time and paperwork on smaller purchases that don't require a formal bidding procedure. "We think it will be a big benefit to the city," General Services Director Ellis Jones assures Eye. Like most things in life, the new municipal credit cards aren't free. Since San Jose's piggybacking on the state's credit card system, the city must pay a fee of one-half of 1 percent of all plastic purchases. For example, the city would have to pay a $5,000 fee for $5 million worth of purchases, officials say. ... City council members had good reason to support the new purchasing system. They'll be packing plastic in their purses too.


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From the February 27-March 5, 1997 issue of Metro

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