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Psychic Punditry

Considering how poorly the "expert" political prognosticators fared in the primary, Eye decided to go with an equally reliable election forecaster for next Tuesday's supervisorial runoff: Katherine, the Cambrian area psychic located down the street from Carl's Jr. Using two press photos of District 1 supe candidates Don Gage and Rosemary Kamei, Katherine performed an exclusive psychic reading of the candidates for Eye. (Katherine doesn't regularly vote and insists she'd never heard of either Gage or Kamei before Eye visited her.) About Gage, Katherine senses he "has some good intentions," but she also gets some "negative energy from others around him" who might lead the Gilroy mayor in the wrong direction. She also suspects he's under a lot of stress and may have high blood pressure. Emanating from Kamei's photo, our trusty psychic feels positive energy, sensing that Kamei wants to help people. But Katherine also cryptically suggests that Kamei, currently a member of the water district board, will soon receive papers that carry disappointment. Katherine's final prediction: Kamei wins. Remember, you heard it here first.

Not All Rosy

Those disappointing papers for Kamei may well be the ones on file at the Santa Clara Valley Water District showing that since January, the supe wannabe has managed to get face time at only six of 10 board meetings. On at least two occasions when the Rosy one did show up, she left early. Her absence comes at a time when district staff members are looking to the board for leadership in dealing with employee allegations of racism, incompetence and waste at the agency. That's not all. Water district board members receive a modest per diem of $150 for each meeting attended. By Eye's calculation, that would be $900 Kamei earned at board meetings since the beginning of 1997. "It's not anything that I expect to be paid for," she explains. "It's been very hectic. I still have a family and other obligations." The candidate refused to say if she planned to return the per diem for the meetings she attended and cut out of early. Meanwhile, the chairman of the water district board, conservative rancher Sig Sanchez, did his part to keep Kamei on the water board by endorsing opponent Don Gage last week.

Joe Knows Memos

A sullen Barbara Koppel surfaced at the county Ethics Commission meeting last week--the site of many campaign fisticuffs with her political nemesis, recently sworn-in supe Joe Simitian--for one more battle. The occasion: Simitian's request to have the commission take the sting out of its October hand-slapping for his inadvertent acceptance of illegal campaign contributions from the Bumb family, owners of the Bay 101 card club. The former Cupertino mayor was there to make sure Simitian didn't go away unscathed. Her lawyer, Richard Abdalah, asked the commission not only to deny Simitian's request, but also to investigate a tendentious allegation that a $31,000 donation from Bumb family members to the county Democratic Party financed a hit piece against Koppel--a tale spun by her old campaign consultant, Ron Smith. The commission proceeded to ignore Abdalah's informal last-minute request but, to Koppel's chagrin, accepted an 11th-hour memo from Simitian reiterating his position on the October contribution. After the commission agreed to call Simitian's error a "technical violation" (only half of what Simitian wanted), a perturbed Koppel rose and accused commissioners of appearing to favor her erstwhile opponent by accepting "this little note from Joe five minutes before the meeting telling you what to do." Commissioners agreed that they should try to appear more independent from the supes. Their initial solution: Stop holding meetings right next to Simitian's and other supes' offices.

Small Wonders

Insiders are viewing the latest staff shake-up in the office of San Jose City Councilwoman Margie Fernandes as yet more proof she's warming up for a mayoral trot. Going bye-bye are aides Beth Trask and Vincent Cantore--Trask reportedly boards the government gravy train to work for the transportation authority, while Councilwoman Alice Woody picked up Cantore off the waiver wire. Meanwhile, bringing political connections to Fernandes' office is Ben Tripousis, formerly an aide to Congressman Pete Stark and Assemblywoman-turned-schools-chief Delaine Eastin. ... Jim Anton, Fernandes' chief of staff, agrees that the addition of Tripousis shows his boss is getting more serious about running for mayor. "We're going to be a more efficient and productive council office," says Anton, himself recruited last June from the D.C. office of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Lloyd of Tennessee. "To the extent that makes Margie a better candidate, that's great." ... Still fence-sitting is Frank Fiscalini, who originally promised to decide his career plans by the new year. Explains Fiscalini's chief aide, Joe Guerra, "It's not a lack of decisiveness, it's just simply too early for him to be in the race at this point." Guerra reasons that his boss, a mayoral contender in 1990, already has bountiful name-recognition, unlike the other mayoral wannabes. Jude Barry, chief of staff to ex-supe and mayoral aspirant Ron Gonzales, found that logic hard to swallow. "Joe Guerra is Frank Fiscalini's wonder bra," snorts Barry, a boyhood chum of Guerra's. "He gives Frank great support and always makes him look great."

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From the March 13-20, 1997 issue of Metro

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