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Public Eye

If It Quacks

The ongoing saga of Milpitas Place continues to rage, the latest plot twist coming in a lawsuit filed last week by ousted City Manager Larry Moore and demoted recreation director Cathy Dressler. The suit alleges that four councilmembers--Bob Livengood, Jim Lawson, Barbara Lee and Patricia Dixon--privately threatened Mayor Henry Manayan, saying that if he didn't vote to ax Moore and selected staff in the January massacre, "he would never again get anything passed by the City Council." If his vote was any indication, Manayan acquiesced. ... While Mayor Manayan preens himself for lame duck status over the next four years, the politician doing the quacking in Milpitas these days, sources say, is Vice Mayor Livin' Good, who controls four votes on the five-member City Council. "I can't think of anything Henry's been able to get passed so far," one wag confides. ... Eye-watchers may recall that a couple of months back, Livengood pimp-slapped Manayan by resurrecting Jim Lawson (who ran for mayor and lost to the affable Manayan) to fill the mayor's vacated council seat. Buoyed by his incumbent status, Lawson should have a slight edge over any challengers in the June 3 special election. Among those who have pulled papers so far are Peter Galde, Manayan's campaign manager; Dan Terry, who ran for mayor last time around; and perennial candidate Regina Patterson, who, according to local legend, once changed her name to "Mayor" so she could run as "Mayor for Mayor." ... Oops: Eye's sincere and profuse apologies to the Milpitas City Council. Last week the math-challenged Eye mistakenly reported that councilmembers boosted their car allowances from $100 a month to $550 a month. In reality, councilmembers raised their allowances by $100, from $450 a month to $550.


You're Welcome!

When Eye spotted a diamond bracelet lying on the carpet at the Hayes Mansion during Gary Schoennauer's retirement soiree, it did the right thing. It immediately pocketed the jewels and asked the DJ, an expert in returning lost owners to their personal possessions, to announce the find. He counseled us to get a description before releasing the chain of end-to-end emerald-cut stones. ... After an announcement alerted all females to check their wrists, a woman in a black party dress, whom Eye did not at first recognize, showed up at the podium to claim the find. "It's mine," former San Jose vice mayor Pat Sausedo blurted out. We asked her to describe it. "It's a diamond tennis bracelet," she informed us. Now, Eye doesn't run with the tennis crowd or wear sport-specific jewelry, so we had no idea what one of these fashion accessories looks like--although a friend in the diamond business later educated us that one with rectangular cut rocks could run 10 grand or more. So we asked her what shape the stones were and how many there were. "Oh, I don't know," the impatient and obviously upset voter-rejected supervisorial candidate said. "They're square." Not wanting to see a grown woman cry, Eye accepted the approximate description and turned over the sparkling rocks. The ex-pol turned developer consultant snatched the bracelet and stomped away without even a peep of appreciation. ... Just to check our recollection--it's hard to imagine anyone so ungrateful and just plain rude--we rang up professional partymeister Chris Monroe of Dublin's Musique Nonstop. "Oh yeah, you were the nice guy," he immediately said. "A lot of times when stuff that valuable is found, people make off with it. I've seen it happen many times." Chris remembers Sausedo, who didn't identify herself, coming up to the turntables, "holding her wrist like something had been cut off her body." His eyewitness report supports our recollection: "I know she did not thank you." he confirms. "She was really annoyed that you didn't hand it right over to her. ... You were just trying to make sure it got back to the rightful owner." ... Well, maybe the saucy one is still ticked off about Metro's endorsement of her opponent last year, the victorious Primo McHugh. Or she's smarting from our suggestions that she's in the pocket of developers. (Let's face it, environmentalists are more likely to wear Indian beads or cubic zirconia.) Or she could be upset about our chronicles of her junketeering to the northern France sister-city of Rouen back when she was on the San Jose City Council. ... Not that we were expecting a reward or civic proclamation or anything, but puh-leeze, let's be civil.


Been There

Worried downtown social service providers, including drug and booze rehab joints, have fittingly hired political hit man Roger Lee to lobby against the city's proposed group-home and amortization laws. Just a few years back, Lee hit rock-bottom, as it were, when he was busted for selling crack to an undercover cop. Since then, Lee has cleaned up his act and now finds himself in a position to give something back--for a nominal fee. After persuading the San Jose Mercury News to run a favorable editorial, Lee's company, Strategy Source, packed the Planning Commission meeting and won a 60-day reprieve. Lee says the proposed laws would effectively eliminate group homes for the mentally ill and drug-addicted in the downtown. Of course, not everyone in these group homes is a stereotypical street hoodlum. Lee spent nearly a year at a sober-living house in west San Jose.


Friends Like These

A recent hit piece funded by the Democratic Party portraying local boy Don Gage as a gun nut raised the pique of conservative editors at the Gilroy Dispatch. The Dispatch flogged Gage's opponent, Rosemary Kamei, in its editorial pages for not condemning the independent mailer "for its inaccuracies and sleazy nature." What's so sleazy about it? Well, it exaggerates the National Rifle Association's financial support for Gage, a lifelong hunter and gun-owner. But mostly it just reminds voters of his troublesome support from the NRA, which might ultimately hurt more than help Gage in the March 18 runoff. "We're not saying Don Gage is an evil man," insists Steve Preminger, chairman of the county Democratic Party, "we're just saying let's look at where his support is coming from." ... Recently, Gage started distancing himself from his NRA backers. At first Gage told the press he was happy to have the NRA's support, and his campaign refused to denounce the NRA's postcard mailing during the primary, which cynically observed, "Voter turnout is low in special elections, so this is a golden opportunity to elect a pro-gun candidate." Now, according to a story in the Dispatch, Gage has asked the gun association not to send out any other mailers on his behalf, and unlike the NRA, he says he supports a ban on assault weapons. ... Etc.: Gun-control advocate Sarah Brady, wife of former Reagan Press Secretary James Brady, is endorsing Kamei.


Carville Live

Squinty-eyed Democratic henchman James Carville will be appearing this Sunday at San Jose Live, downtown's sports theme bar, to raise cash for his so-called Education and Information Project. Basically, EIP is a non-profit opposition research project Carville launched to dig up dirt on Whitewater investigator Kenneth Starr and counter any other "partisan attacks" against President Bill Clinton. The cost to see Carville's political stand-up is $50 a head. ... Some of the grime Carville's researchers say they have found: Starr represented International Paper, which sold land to the Whitewater Development Company and allegedly gave free legal advice to the conservative Independent Women's Forum, a group that supports Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Wild Willie. Kiss that, Kenneth.


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From the March 6-12, 1997 issue of Metro

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