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Uncle Manny's Band

The Mercury News rolled out it's slick new West magazine with great fanfare last Sunday, with a cover story by Tracie Cone on San Jose's latest hero--ice skating champ Rudy Galindo. But then came the 51st paragraph. Right under the heading "No Sais Nada," (sic) (which, interestingly, translates to "I don't know anything,") we found District 10 Councilman Manny Diaz referred to as Manny Garcia. . . . Eye took the opportunity to call Diaz' City Hall digs to find out what the Eastside rep thought of the mangled moniker. "I wish the Mercury News would do a better job reporting stories, especially on the Eastside," Diaz said, bemoaning the slight. "I'm glad he (Rudy) is getting good coverage, because it's a pretty positive story and it needs to be told, but the Merc needs to make an effort to find out who's who around here."

Theme Scheme

Speaking of who's who, Assembly hopeful Mike Honda is getting plenty of mileage out of the phrase "Si se puede" these days. Translated, the Spanish slogan made famous by Cesar Chavez, means "Yes we can." Honda, a county supe, had 1,900 of the signs printed for his campaign and the placards have sprung up in the 23rd District like giant spores, especially in Willow Glen. As if that's not enough, the phrase also appears in his campaign pieces. In one, it appears six times in seven quick paragraphs--and that's not including the bold type, jumbo-size "Si se puede!" headline. The piece also notes that 1) he is of "Japanese Ancestry," 2) he comes from a family of "strawberry sharecroppers," 3) he started out "pushing a broom" . . . Far be it from us to speculate about Honda's strategy. Let's just say that he's covering his bases. "It's kind of a thematic theme," Honda articulates. "It's a determination, mindset, spirit, attitude about ourselves."

Illicit Bugging

And while we're on the subject of strategy, the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council recently completed an inquiry into allegations that supervisorial candidate Pete McHugh used a fake union bug on some campaign pieces. Union officials concluded that JD Graphics, McHugh's printer, was not a legitimate union shop, but noted that "numerous other labor endorsed candidates" whose campaigns were handled by consultant Vic Ajlouny had likewise used JD Graphics. It concluded, however, that no candidate had "knowingly" violated the promise to exclusively use union vendors. For his part, Ajlouny says he cooperated fully with the inquiry and says the printer showed him a union card when he asked for verification. Of course, that was a couple years back. No answer out at JD Graphics. Meanwhile, it's worth noting that, for some odd reason, the name of McHugh's opponent, Pat Sausedo, appears in parentheses in small type at the bottom of the press release announcing labor's newest findings. "That was just the name of the file," explained a union official. Oops.

Loan Rangers

On the subject of Sausedo, Eye recently did a double-take while scanning campaign contribution reports for the District 3 seat, where it appeared that the former San Jose City Councilwoman has been blatantly defying the county's campaign contribution laws, collecting vastly more than the allowable $350 from 65 different businesses and individuals. The Gregory Group of Belmont gave a hefty $5,000; the San Jose Chamber of Commerce handed over $3,500; Young Chi Shing, Inc. of San Francisco forked over $3,500; Shea Homes chipped in $2,850 and the Building Industry Association came in at $2,000, just to name a few. Eye subsequently learned these generous donations fit into a loophole in the county's campaign finance laws. Because her opponent, McHugh, loaned his campaign $60,000, Sausedo can accept contributions over the limit--up to a total of $59,650. And she hasn't been shy about it; Sausedo has collected $43,700 in loophole contributions.

Procreate This

That "ouch" echoing through the halls of the state Assembly belongs to Michael Machado, one of three Democrats who broke ranks and voted in favor of a bill which would prohibit California from recognizing same-gender marriages performed in other states. The Stockton assemblyman's wrists are no doubt stinging after being slapped by state party chair Bill Press, who was indignant over the loss of party unity. "We are concerned that you chose to support this mean-spirited bill," wrote Press. "We believe it is crucial that Democratic elected officials vote in accord with basic party principles of unity, fairness, and justice for all." ... But the quarrel over AB 1982 appears to be moot anyway, and even Republican author Pete Wright of Palmdale apparently knows so. While the bill gathers moss in the Democratic-controlled Senate judiciary committee, he's introduced AB 3227, which proclaims that "linking the benefits, burdens, and obligations of marriage to only male-female couples is society's least intrusive way of aiding couples that, by the nature of their opposite genders, objectively manifest the possibility of procreation." ... How does that sit with activists who just spent the last six months fighting the first bill? "Makes you want to run a few thousand copies and make wallpaper for an outhouse," says Laurie McBride of the statewide LIFE Lobby.

Name That Tune

Local Democrats have resumed their classic political formation: the circular firing line. First, veteran demo Congressman Norman Mineta cashes in his seat in midterm, creating a small-turnout special election favoring Republican Tom Campbell. The latest self-inflicted fusillade comes with the recent announcement by former California Teachers Association (CTA) president Ed Foglia that he will end his sputtering campaign for the 24th Assembly District seat, despite the fact that his name is already printed on the ballot ... Foglia's withdrawal just days after his old union, the CTA, endorsed GOP incumbent Assemblyman Jim Cunneen takes place after several years of campaigning for the seat (Foglia dropped a race to Cunneen in 1994 by a narrow margin) and just weeks before this year's first round of actual balloting was to begin. Pathetic side note: Foglia's Assembly candidacy was deemed so inevitable that no other Democrat even bothered to file. "Given the fact that this mess was just handed to us at the last minute we're going to do the best we can to find and field a strong candidate," vowed Democratic Party chair Steve Preminger immediately following the news. But to no avail. The Demos leaned hard, apparently, on SJ City Councilwoman Charlotte Powers, who said thanks-but-no and expressed interest in making her assembly bid in 2000, when Cunneen is term-limited out of office (and when, coincidentally, her council term limit expires). Meanwhile, Foglia is staying busy, most notably as a volunteer worker in the Byron Sher for State Senate campaign.

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From the Mar. 7-13, 1996 issue of Metro

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