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Public Eye

Air Margie

When lightning strikes the same spot twice, it's time to call in the vice mayor. In a move that looks to Eye like further evidence of a little pre-mayor's-race grooming, Margie Fernandes has taken charge of the inquiry into the airport's beleaguered security system, brought to its knees first by a toy gun and a second time by who knows what--a hair drier, perhaps? The first lapse was explained away as a slipup by one of the screeners employed by ITS, the company that holds the contract to operate the airlines' checkpoints. In the second, ITS accused one of San Jose's finest of searching the wrong bag. After Fernandes unravels the recriminations Eye suspects she will run into the same brick wall the Gore Commission did when it examined airport security: the screeners make minimum wage and the airlines see no reason to pay any more. [See Metropolis, Jan. 2.] Meanwhile, in an attempt to speak to one of the screeners at the center of the storm, Eye crashed into a brick wall in the form of ITS task master Alexia Scott. "I have instructed screeners if they talk to the papers, it could mean their jobs," Scott blurted as Eye loitered outside the ITS office at lunch time. "We do not need the security breach, and the papers have done enough already."


Poker Face

On the agenda for the state Fair Political Practices Commission next week is the case of alleged campaign thief Ted "Theo" Frazier. Frazier was the treasurer for Citizens for a Cardroom Referendum, a committee opposed to a 1992 proposal to build a card room in Santa Clara. All hell broke loose when Karen Hardy, head of the committee, accused Frazier of pocketing nearly $3,000 from campaign coffers for his personal use. According to the official FPPC accusation, Frazier used campaign money to pay for his apartment rent and an associate's phone bills and rent, and also bought someone else a television. Frazier later spent three months in jail when he couldn't make bail. But the DA never took the case to trial, handing the matter over to the FPPC, which could fine Frazier and the committee $14,000. Citizens for a Cardroom Referendum was one of two committees that formed around the 1992 cardroom proposal. The other was Santa Clara Citizens Seeking a Vote. The FPPC is currently suing Agold Corporation, a Mountain View architectural firm, for allegedly laundering $30,000 in campaign contributions to that committee.


Psychic Mistake

Eye must admit that its faith in alternative forms of political prognostication was irrevocably shaken when our hired psychic incorrectly predicted Rosemary Kamei would prevail in the recent supe special election. Eye decided it needed an explanation from Katherine, a San Jose soothsayer, who tells Eye she had felt more positive energy coming from Kamei than from her opponent, conservative Republican Don Gage. In other words, she mistook that positive energy to mean Kamei would win. "I kind of had a feeling he might get it, even though I felt like it was meant for [Kamei]," Katherine says. "Sometimes people are more drawn to negative energy." Not entirely satisfied, Eye asked for at least a partial refund. To her credit, Katherine offered to give half of Eye's money back--that is, when she returns from a spiritual journey to the mountains. (Memo to Katherine: Stay away from Mt. Umunhum.)


Who's Next

The Don has only started to move in his office furniture, but Eye couldn't resist asking insiders who they think might take him on in '98. It's Gage's race to lose, several South Bay political hacks tell Eye. Unless he does something totally insane, voters are going to give him a shot at a full term. Those who know him insist he's not the pro-growth, gun-toting, gay-bashing, religious right-wing conservative Eye has lampooned him for being. Gage himself appears to be leaning toward the center now. Reliable sources say that The Don even offered his chief-of-staff spot to Cathy Ming Hyde, a land-use aide to Gage's Demo predecessor, Mike Honda. Hyde apparently turned Gage down to go work down the hall for Supe Joe Simitian instead. ... Meanwhile, Kamei's backers say she should be given the first right of refusal by the Demos if the party should want to field another candidate in '98 against Gage. Another possibility is San Jose City Councilwoman Charlotte Powers, once said to be interested in pursuing a job promotion. If Kamei gets snubbed, Powers would qualify as the "institutional choice," posits a Democratic operative. Someone who should be discouraged by the The Don's victory, Eye's sources say, is limousine liberal Meri Maben, who'd politically be better-suited if she moved to downtown San Jose. ... Independents John Redding and Keith Honda are keeping their options open, insiders say. Even though Hondita says he won't rule out the possibility of running next year, he's planning to move to Sacramento, where he's going to work for Cousin Mike on the Assembly rules committee. Keith won't totally cut his South Bay ties, though. He'll do some consulting for Supe Pete "Primo" McHugh in the coming months. GE exec Redding, meanwhile, conspicuously didn't endorse either Gage or Kamei. But if Councilwoman Pat Dando runs for mayor, don't be surprised if Redding emerges as her heir apparent. Speaking of hair, Dando's is becoming less apparent as she morphs from the flippy Almaden big hair look to a smart urban close crop. Is a nose ring next?


The N-word

Bottom-feeder attorney Tony Cresap stunned attendees at a recent special city planning meeting when, during a slide presentation, he referred to people supporting a proposed zoning law that would phase out downtown group homes as "R-1 Nazis." (R-1 is the zoning designation for single-family homes.) "I have four neighbors who lost people in concentration camps and are not amused," lawyer and downtown resident Scott Ewbank informs us. Eye reached an embarrassed Cresap, who confessed he had used the onerous phrase. "I admit I got carried away," says Cresap, who's working with interests opposed to the so-called amortization law, adding, "I should never have used that term." Cresap insists he was speaking as a private citizen and not as anyone's official representative. He recommends Ewbank take a chill pill.


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From the April 3-9, 1997 issue of Metro

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