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[whitespace] Cop Shop: Walt Adkins officially takes over for retiring Police Chief Lou Cobarruviaz (pictured) this week; controversy seems to have followed Adkins ever since he was named interim chief.


The Enemy Within

This week Lou Cobarruviaz hangs up his holsters as San Jose's police chief. Before his interim successor, department vet Walt Adkins, has even had a chance to change his business cards, a cloud is gathering over the new chief's head. Accusations of misconduct and internal politics could hurt his chances of becoming the city's permanent top cop and San Jose's first black chief. Amid all the disputed allegations, this much is clear: Adkins has enemies. It's not surprising, given that the chief contender once managed the internal affairs unit, a division loathed by almost every cop. ... Among those who have butted heads with Adkins are fellow black officers such as Lt. Ken Stewart, who reportedly wrote a memo to Cobarruviaz last year asking him to investigate to see if Adkins provided confidential information to a man accused of harassing his ex-wife. Adkins was cleared of any wrongdoing. Eye has obtained another memo from Stewart detailing an October 1994 community meeting where Adkins allegedly tried to intimidate him. According to Stewart's memo, Adkins became upset when Stewart openly questioned other officers at the meeting, including Adkins, who justified detaining suspected youth-gang members based on their appearance. At the end of the meeting, another cop warned Stewart that "Chief Adkins was obviously very upset with me and would possibly attempt to provoke a physical altercation. ... Chief Adkins walked over to my location and, in a rude and threatening manner, demanded that I step outside the room with him." But a command officer at the same meeting insisted it was Stewart who lost his cool, not Adkins. "Here you had a lieutenant dressing down the deputy chief at a community meeting, telling him basically to shut up. ... In my opinion, Adkins' calm demeanor deserved a commendation." Adkins refused to comment, saying the incident is a "personnel issue." Stewart also wouldn't comment. ... If anything, Adkins' woes illustrate the difficulty the city might face hiring a new chief from within the department. There is growing support in the city for hiring a new chief from outside San Jose, a cop source says.


The Survey Says

Thanks to the Mercury News for doing what amounted to a meaningless horse-race poll earlier this month. With 90 days to go until the June primary, the poll revealed what any advanced primate with an opposable thumb already knows: The vast majority of San Jose voters have no idea whom they're going to vote for in the mayoral race. (Sixty-two percent of those polled said they were undecided.) Nevertheless, the different mayoral camps were busily spinning the results. Handlers for Ron Gonzales--who topped the bunch with 15 percent saying they'd support him--emphasized that better-known noncandidate Frank Fiscalini only "edged out" their boy in the poll. Meanwhile, Pat Dando's camp quietly attributed Gonzo's better showing--Dando only got 5 percent--to the fact that he's a career politician with a name voters recognize. In truth, more embarrassing for the Dando camp had to be the insurgent candidacy of the freewheeling Bill Chew. The ubiquitous City Hall roller skater polled at 3 percent. Perhaps Ms. Dando would do well to trade in her high heels for a pair of roller blades and a straw hat. But, please, no naked photos a la Bill.


Mariachi Mundo

The Mercury News and its Spanish-language weekly, Nuevo Mundo, are still playing hardball with the local Hispanic press. This time, they slammed the door on La Oferta Review when publisher Frank Andrade attempted to become a sponsor of the March 22 benefit concert featuring Vicky Carr, Mariachi Cobre and the San Jose Symphony. After hearing of the upcoming concert, Andrade called concert organizer Tony Carrillo and offered to donate ad space in four issues of the paper. Carrillo accepted, and the next issue of La Oferta featured a quarter-page ad that read "La Oferta Review is proud to be a Gold Circle Sponsor." Soon after the ad hit the streets, Andrade says Carrillo called and asked him to pull that ad. Carrillo confirmed that he had asked Andrade to not run the ad again, but he wouldn't say if he had been contacted by officials from the Mercury News or Nuevo Mundo. Carrillo is a member of the Nuevo Mundo advisory board. The Merc and the Mundo have made it a practice to sign cultural events to exclusive agreements to shut out the local Hispanic press and buy legitimacy in the Hispanic community. While the Merc and the Mundo are the only print sponsors of the event, two television stations--KGO and KDTV--and three radio stations--KLIV, KARA and 100.3--are sponsoring the event. Also, it would appear the corporate sponsors are more willing to play nice. Adobe Systems, Touché Manufacturing, PG&E and the Hotel DeAnza are all sharing credit on the sponsor list.


Strange Brew

As it turns out, City Councilman George Shirakawa Jr. won't be going unchallenged in June. Eye recently speculated that his opponents feared to take on the Big Man in District 7. Since then, two brave warriors have ventured into Shirakawa's hut: Andrew Diaz, the wandering Vietnam vet who always runs for some office, and Roy Franklin Que-Heath, an engineer for the city. To give readers a sense of the type of threat Diaz poses, Eye points out that he listed the date of the election as June 2, 1989, perhaps suggesting he plans an excellent adventure back in time. Que-Heath, 50, meanwhile, offers a strange brew of progressive and conservative politics. He attacks Shirakawa from the left for trying to privatize Happy Hollow and luring Super Kmart and its crappy wages to the district. From the right, he jeers Shirakawa for voting to give $1.5 million to the Billy DeFrank Gay and Lesbian Center. A Roman Catholic, Que-Heath opposes giving public money to homosexual causes.


Daddy Dearest

Zoe Lofgren did it, so why not sheriff candidate Jose Salcido? On his ballot statement, Salcido lists his occupations as "Sheriff's sergeant/father." "Jose takes his role as a parent very seriously," explains Salcido's spinmeister, Victor Ajlouny. Political junkies will recall that when Lofgren ran for Congress against Tom McEnery, she initially listed her occupation as "mother." The courts ultimately forced Mama Zoe to remove her maternal title from the ballot. Still, she succeeded in winning a lot of free publicity and reminding sophisticated lady voters of her gender. There won't be any court challenges to Salcido's daddy designation, though. Secretary of State Bill Jones is allowing parenthood to be listed as a legitimate ballot vocation. Apparently, we must also endure Asst. Sheriff Ruben Diaz's awful "Tough Cop--Good Guy" slogan in spite of the lowest-common-denominator mentality that inspired it.


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From the March 19-25, 1998 issue of Metro.

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