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What's All the Racket?

If you missed this during your supermarket checkout-line reading, visiting tennis ace Andre Agassi had more on his mind than ground strokes during the Sybase Open at the San Jose Arena earlier this month. ... The March 12 issue of the National Enquirer linked the tennis punk (and Brooke Shields suitor) with porn queen Jeanna Fine (star of such provocative films like Ubangis on Uranus, Edward Penishands and Guttman's Paris Vacation). With the help of some internal gadfly, the Enquirer noted that Mr. Agassi and Ms. Fine were checked into the San Jose Fairmont during each other's gigs: the Sybase Open at the San Jose Arena and an exotic dance revue at the Pink Poodle, respectively. ... Apparently, Dre and coach Brad Gilbert went down to the Pink Poodle to catch Ms. Fine's live interpretation of Showgirls before the trio returned to the hotel together, where Agassi allegedly ordered up some special attire from Victoria's Secret. Are Fairmont concierges paid to run down frilly underwear for No. 3 seeds? ... "We're here for the requests of the guests," blanked one concierge who requested anonymity and admitted that there was a lockdown on leaks to the press regarding the rather high-profile incident. ... A bellhop, who asked not to be identified, said the word in the corridors was that a star chaser in Human Resources snitched, possibly to defend Ms. Shields' honor, and then later bragged about the money she made selling it to the tab. "All I heard was how easy the money was to call the Enquirer and make the $1,000 to $2,000," the loose-lipped bag-toter said, adding that the employee involved "doesn't get along with a lot of people at the hotel. I don't know how she would have had exposure to him, but she was saying what a creep he was." ... Inquiries made to Human Resources were transferred to Fairmont PR, who issued a strict "no comment." Hey, maybe Dre just needed someone to talk to.

Norm Dropping

And speaking of talk, those wacky Byron Sher phonebankers are at it again, but this time the folks in Sher's headquarters claim ignorance about who is making the calls. Three weeks ago, we told you about the call Eye fielded from one of the Demo state senate candidate's paid telemarketers who kept referring to his hero as Brian Sher. ... Well, last week Eye received yet another call seeking support for the nationally recognized environmental majordomo (yes, we are on all the good lists) but the script for this one was different: "Hello, I'm calling on behalf of former congressman Norman Mineta," the phonebanker announced, going on to explain why Norman Mineta is supporting Byron Sher (pronounced perfectly this time, we should add). In fact, the caller mentioned Mineta's name so frequently during the call that we were left wondering if someone was trying to resurrect the once-lofty reputation of the former San Jose congressman, who cashed in his office midterm for a cushy job at defense contractor Lockheed Martin. ... However, while the calls may help convince recipients that Mineta does still care about things other than his own personal finances, Sher's campaign workers were taken aback by the script. "I can think of more effective appeals," a top Sher campaign official conceded earlier this week, adding that the calls-from-Norm idea is not part of the official Sher campaign strategy. "There are a lot of people who are doing things independently to support Byron in this race," Sher's campaign worker says. "We have no control over who calls or what they say." Referring to the strict $1,000 campaign contribution limit imposed on special elections, Sher's handler noted that it is illegal for their candidate to interfere with independent efforts, such as the one paid for and starring Mineta, since those efforts can legally spend as much money as they like but only if the candidate is kept in the dark about what is going on.

Dying to Vote

Tom Campbell protege Gregory Zlotnick, running for an open seat on the Santa Clara County water board, may be in hot water these days. Then again, maybe not. Appointed in 1993 by Governor Pete Wilson as assistant director of the state Department of Fish and Game, the former Campbell aide has been running a low-key campaign for the hydraulic post. In fact, it's been so low-key county officials didn't initially notice that Zlotnick doesn't live in Santa Clara County. ... Unlike the federal rules that govern his mentor (Congressman Campbell, who has yet to move into the San Jose congressional district he represents), state and local law requires that local office seekers maintain a legal voting residency in their district. Zlotnick, it should be noted, has been living in a Sacramento apartment for the last three years, working full time at his post in Sacramento, but the 32-year-old GOP appointee assures Eye that he slumbers in his old room in his parents' Palo Alto home "almost every weekend." ... And Zlotnick does promise to move back to Santa Clara County if elected. "Legally, my residence is where I say it is," Zlotnick helpfully informed Eye during a telephone interview conducted after we caught up with him at his Sacramento apartment earlier this week. "I am on temporary assignment here in Sacramento." Zlotnick explained that no matter what happens in the coming election he expects to return to the area at the conclusion of the Wilson administration in 1998. "Basically, as I say, I am from Palo Alto, always have been, my legal residence is in Palo Alto, my driver's license is Palo Alto, my voting is in Palo Alto. That's how it works." ... Well, mebbe. Eye discussed the matter with Chief Deputy Secretary of State Rob Lapsley who says that what Zlotnick is doing is "perfectly legal," but adds: "Unfortunately, the court has taken a very liberal interpretation of this law. The current statutes in this regard lend themselves to abuse." ... Lapsley goes on to tell Eye that his boss is preparing legislation that he hopes will prevent similar occurrences in the future. He also said his office estimates that up to 20 percent of the voter registration rolls are composed of people he calls "deadwood" who are not legitimate voters for one reason or another. Some active voters, he informs Eye, are even dead.

Wannabe Registrars

Meanwhile, Registrar of Voters Dwight Beattie says he is "very concerned" by a report Eye fielded coming out of Palo Alto last week about an individual claiming to be a representative of the registrar's office who is apparently going door-to-door and "disqualifying" certain voters. ... Palo Altan Mark Mensick, a Democrat registered to vote at his parents' Palo Alto address despite the fact that he actually lives across town, says his mother was visited by one of the registrar's minions and informed that her son was fraudulently registered and would not be allowed to vote in the upcoming March primary election. ... "I was really outraged," Mensick says. "I have never missed an election, we like to vote as a family, and now it is too late for me to reregister." The only thing is, Beattie says, no one from his office ever visited the Mensick home--and furthermore, Mensick, a mail carrier, remains eligible to vote. ... "That is disturbing news," the registrar tells Eye. "We don't have any employees out canvassing neighborhoods and disqualifying voters." The registrar says that if anyone does come around making such claims, voters should get the visitor's name and phone number and call his office immediately. "It is illegal for someone to claim to be an official in our office if it is not true," he notes. "I'd certainly want to hear about incidences of that sort." ... Meanwhile, Beattie says that Palo Altan Mensick will be allowed to cast his ballot on Election Day.

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From the Mar. 21-27, 1996 issue of Metro

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