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Thank You, Blanca

It looks as if county supervisor candidate Scott Mathieson has been getting some unintentional help from incumbent Blanca Alvarado lately, allowing him to pick up steam heading into the March 26 election for the District 2 seat. Mathieson has snagged $1,700 from the pilot and aviation coalition--ever vocal in its quest to keep Reid-Hillview Airport open, which Alvarado has opposed. While Mathieson admits some of his support seems to be more of an "anti-Alvarado" vote, he thinks his overall message has winning qualities as well. Besides, "they haven't come up with that much money," Mathieson says. "But we've gotten some good volunteers out of them." ... The same can't be said from the Silicon Valley chapter of the National Rifle Association, a group which in January swore to defeat the reigning queen and make Mathieson king, due to Alvarado's vote to ban gun shows at the county fairgrounds. All of this despite not knowing Mathieson's name or position on gun control at the time. ... Mathieson says he hadn't heard anything from the NRA in terms of support. Did Eye hear a sigh of relief? ... Meanwhile, Alvarado's campaign doctor, Eddie Garcia, did the reverse spin on his boss's recent votes. "It's been positive for her," Garcia says. "Everywhere she goes, people are congratulating and thanking her for the gun show ban at the fairgrounds."

Lawn Parkers

To make sure campaign sign offenders--those using public property, that is--are being punished, Ed Gawf, ADDDPBCE (short for: acting deputy director for the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement), issued a memo last week in which he put a price on the heads of illegally parked political placards. Gawf gave his inspectors orders to remove all of the offending signs. The reward for the most impounded signs? One hundred greenbacks from the Employee Recognition Fund and a free lunch. ... Gawf's boss, by the way, is none other than Gary Schoennauer, director of public works and dad to Eric Schoennauer, aide to Councilwoman Pat Dando and Mathieson campaign supporter. ... Speaking of pricey campaign signs, the lawn-placard rivalry has developed into a strange turf war between Mathieson and Alvarado involving District 4 Supervisor Jim Beall Jr., former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery and San Jose attorney Robert Jesinger. The way Eye understands the story, Beall, who supports Alvarado, called Jesinger and asked if he and fiancee Liz Alonso, secretary-treasurer for Office Workers Local 29, would support Alvarado. The twosome eagerly agreed and asked for two lawn signs to be brought to Jesinger's downtown San Jose homestead. Beall and two campaign workers stopped by Jesinger's house and were in the process of planting the Alvarado signs when up walked next door neighbor McEnery, in whose yard sprouts a Mathieson sign. McEnery, ever the witticist, asked Jesinger what Beall and company were selling. Jesinger shot back, "Good government." McEnery turned and walked inside with nary a peep. ... Beall swears he had no idea McEnery lived next to Jesinger, but added, "We'll all laugh at this sort of thing years from now."

Fairmont Finaglin'

The Saudi Arabian prince who attempted to buy the Fairmont a couple of years back may have finally gotten his hands on at least part of San Jose's crown jewel, thanks to a deal cut by the Redevelopment Agency. ... Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, along with an investment group fronted by developer Lew Wolff, will save the Fairmont from financial disaster, agency officials said. Bob Leininger, deputy director for the RDA, told Eye the new investors will give the Fairmont an influx of new money while reducing its debt obligation. But at what cost to the city? According to Leininger, the city is giving up its rental income from the land the Fairmont is built on, plus its 50 percent share of the profits. In return, the RDA will receive 16 percent of the profits and an initial $3 million cash payment. Doesn't sound fair to Eye, but Leininger insists that a report that was to be released by Tuesday would show the city would come out ahead. Supposedly the city wouldn't see any profits from the Fairmont for 15 more years, but under the new agreement, the city will start seeing a return on its investment almost immediately. ... Probably something city officials want, considering the Fairmont was originally scheduled to start profit-sharing in 1992. ... But when pressed about the longterm financial situation, Leininger insisted the consultant's report bears the agency's theory out. ... Now if only the agency staff can sell this analysis to the City Council, which will make its decision at a public hearing on March 21.

Don't Quota Me

You probably missed it, but just before President Clinton and Vice President Gore blew into the East Bay last week (the East Bay?) to string cable for NetDay '96, Clinton's old college chum Lani Guinier was busy dissing Mr. Bill during a sparsely attended talk at Stanford University. Guinier, you recall, was the University of Pennsylvania professor Clinton initially nominated to be head of the Justice Department's civil-rights division but quickly backed away from, withdrawing her nomination after a firestorm of negative publicity over several of her previously published law review articles. Guinier's controversial articles, which the commander-in-wonk claimed not to have read prior to her nomination, had made the case that American democracy as currently constituted is not working for all Americans, particularly poor people and minorities. ... Guinier recalled the "nightmare" of her presidential abandonment and then went on to explain her view that the problem with affirmative action is that "it is not radical enough and has not gone far enough," proposing instead that racial and gender quotas, set-asides and preferences be replaced with lotteries that would, for example, give everyone with a minimum qualifying test score an equal chance to be admitted to a university. Guinier reasons that under such a system diversity would be statistically assured, on average, while public indignation would be redirected to the fact that there are not enough opportunities for all who deserve them. ... But the real fireworks came before her talk, when Guinier pointedly noted a speech President Clinton made two weeks ago decrying today's "winner-take-all society," a phrase which Guinier suggested was lifted directly from one of the controversial law review articles that President Clinton claimed not to have read. "Apparently, the dog that ate his homework has a very good memory," Guinier noted tartly about her old Yale Law School classmate.

Talk's Cheap

How much is the 23rd Assembly District gay vote worth? Less than $800, to consider the paucity of print advertising that the four candidates placed in local gay newspapers. San Jose-Evergreen Community College board president Ken Yeager led the pack with three quarter-page ads, supervisor Mike Honda trailed with just one quarter page, and David Cortese and Patricia Martinez-Roach were never heard from. ... In the campaign literature that's gone out so far, nobody--including the openly gay Yeager--has made any of the candidates' sexual orientation an issue. As decision day approaches, however, watch to see if desperation leads to a change in tactics. ... Eye predicts both Mike Honda and Yeager will be making last-minute pitches for the gay vote. On the 24th, just two days before the election, both are expected to speak at the 15th anniversary celebration of the Billy DeFrank Lesbian and Gay Community Center. Also on the agenda that day: an appearance by District 6 City Council incumbent Frank Fiscalini.

Revenue 4 Less

Mayor Susan Hammer's claim to fame for her New Realities Tax Force has been no new taxes. But Eye figures the revenue has got to come from somewhere, and, sure enough, spotted in the parking lot of Food 4 Less on Parkmoor Avenue last Friday night at 9pm in the pouring rain: a San Jose parking control checker, otherwise known as a meter man, writing tickets and slapping 'em down on soggy windshields. Since when has the city taken its parking enforcement into the parking lots of screaming yellow discount food emporiums on a dark and stormy night? For more than a year, according to the city's parking controller, Jim Trotter (and, Eye notes, not too far away from the time the city decided to raise parking fines and fees overall). The checkers, he says, are on the tail of misdemeaning parkers from 8am to 11pm, patrolling beats that include private lots, targeting those who illegally hog handicapped spaces and fire lanes. "It's not a lot of revenue," he assured Eye, lest we think there were dollar signs in anyone's eyes. "It's about educating the public." Which Eye takes to mean that they'll be just as quick about policing the asphalt in front of Nordy's. "Definitely," Trotter adds, refusing to disclose when.

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From the Mar. 14-20, 1996 issue of Metro

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