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[whitespace] Ron Gonzales Jogging in Place? Mayor Ron Gonzales will definitely run for re-election, his aides say. Some insiders think otherwise.

Public Eye

See Ron Run

QUIET BUT PERSISTENT speculation among insiders endures that San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales won't run for re-election next year. At least not if a credible candidate whose primary mode of transport isn't roller skates takes him on, the thinking goes. ... In the wake of Ron Juan's mid-term crisis, pals privately feared that his heart was no longer in his work. But Gonzo's impressive performance in the Nov. 7 election--where all the council candidates and ballot measures he backed won easily--seemed to renew his enthusiasm, reassure his minions and scare off would-be opponents. Briefly. ... Three months later, in an unrealistically upbeat state of the city speech, he stubbornly refused to acknowledge the economy's imminent nosedive. He declared the downtown "sizzling" and boasted, "We're on a roll, baby." ... Then Calpine Corp. operatives--desperate for their power plant in Coyote Valley which the mayor, Cisco and the neighbors don't want--commissioned a poll to see if they could make voters blame the mayor for not doing enough about--well--everything, especially their energy bills. ... The benefits of Ron skipping the re-election-go-round in March 2002? Should he openly reunite with his former aide--as many people predict--he could keep the shades drawn on his private life. ... For someone known as a Robo-campaigner, Gonzales has been surprisingly slow to start cornering the campaign market and scare away hostile takeovers. ... But since Zoe Lofgren briefly floated a trial balloon last month, Gonzo and his team have aggressively tried to reassure supporters that the mayor is in for a second term. Assessor Larry Stone informs Eye that when he recently asked the mayor if was going to run again, Gonzales replied, "Absolutely."

Can I Wash Your Wingtips, Tony?

Readers of the San Jose Mercury News learned Monday morning that the paper was undergoing a, uh, ... redesign. Another one. (The previous one happened in September.) This time, though, the redesign is largely a cost-cutting move trimming the papers' dimensions and lumping seven unimportant counties into a new Northern California edition. Those counties, by the by, would be Santa Cruz, Monterey, Merced, Contra Costa, San Benito, San Joaquin and Sacramento counties. In addition to allowing coastal readers to keep close tabs on important events in Walnut Creek and the Central Valley, there will be other improvements to the newspaper, according to new president and publisher Joe Natoli. Why, the Merc will now be "easier to read and handle" in its smaller size, Natoli promises. ... Will fewer editorial people be needed to fill the Merc's new slender little pages? Merc brass, still smarting from getting bitten in the ass by Jay Harris' resignation and his resurrection as the patron saint of embattled newsrooms everywhere, say that won't be the case. That means they are less likely to get letters like the one that Mark Schlueb, a former staff writer at Knight Ridder's Akron Beacon Journal, sent to CEO Tony Ridder, whom he addressed as Tony "The Axe-Man" Ridder. In a one-page missive, Schlueb calls the media titan a "brainless moron," "dipshit" and many other expletives that wouldn't be fit to print in any Knight Ridder paper. ... "[Y]ou're cutting these fine people off at the knees, you asshole," Schlueb writes using that famous Midwest charm. "How do you expect the dedicated and loyal reporters at the Beacon Journal to keep putting out a quality paper when you're eliminating nearly a quarter of the reporting staff? You faceless corporate hacks take a break from your golf game long enough to scream that circulation must stay up, but then you order arbitrary budget cuts that force the elimination of entire sections from the Sunday paper. ... What kind of witless dolt are you? Seriously, the kid who changes the oil in my car could run Knight Ridder with more foresight than you." ... Schlueb concludes that his only regret before emptying his desk was never experiencing a visit to the Beacon Journal from the High Commander. "I would have loved to piss on your shoes." ... "So long, you prick."

Stripe Tease

San Jose Police Chief William Lansdowne says that a woman who stripped down to her bra and thong underwear during a party last month at the Police Officers' Association hall was not a paid, professional exotic dancer. According to Lansdowne, the woman was merely a friend of one of the male officers at the party and got carried away after having a little too much to drink. Internal Affairs has been investigating what happened at the off-duty hoedown--which reportedly attracted 80 cops including 20 female cops--after receiving an anonymous complaint that the dancer took the stage between boxing matches and seductively removed her miniskirt and black leather top. Lansdowne says that videotape of the event confirms the nameless complainant's accusation that the half-naked woman subsequently gave lapdances to some of the men in attendance. But the chief argued that severe punishment didn't seem warranted in this case because the party happened after work-hours and didn't take place on city property. "There is no criminal conduct at all," Lansdowne reasons. "The most we'd look at is un-officerlike conduct."

The City's New State

'Tis the precampaign season when mayor-for-life Tom McEnery's name inevitably surfaces as a potential candidate for his old job. But this time the ex-mayor isn't so much floating his own name--though he won't rule out a bid--but beating the bushes for someone else to run against the current incumbent. "I think there's a lot of concern with the direction of the city," McEnery opines, "and a lot of disappointment with Ron Gonzales." McEnery grouses that his old rival has left the downtown in a "limbo" state, blowing the opportunity to kickstart projects during the now-fading tech boom. McEnery wouldn't say who he's talked to about competing for the city's top job, but confirms that "people" have approached Sand Hill Capital prez Bill "Boots" Del Biaggio. But Del Biaggio tells Eye he has no interest in taking a major paycut and dealing with reporters, day in and day out, who don't want to lick his boots. "I'm very happy doing what I'm doing," the young financier says.

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From the April 12-18, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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