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Mrs. Unincorporated

Well, congratulations to 41-year-old Debbie Giordano for being named Mrs. Milpitas. Giordano, formerly a Realtor and planning commissioner, will compete in the Mrs. California International Pageant--an international state contest?--being held in Sun City in June. The Milpitas City Council was so excited about Mrs. Giordano's good fortune that it kicked in $250, presumably to help her cover the entry fee and incidentals. Eye hates to rain on all the pageantry, but technically, the new Mrs. Milpitas doesn't live in Milpitas. She and Michael Giordano live in unincorporated county land on the east side of Evans Road, according to the Milpitas Post. "It never crossed my mind," the faux Milpitas resident was quoted as saying. "I'm very confident being called Mrs. Milpitas and am moving forward with the pageant,"she promises. The Giordanos are apparently showing their gratitude to Milpitians by spoiling their views of the hillsides with a 9,600-square-foot structure--called "the barn from hell" by one neighbor--built on their county property without city approval.

Home Improvement

Working quarters for the San Jose City Council and Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors are looking nicer these days, thanks to some remodeling. The council and supes' lobbies--they're in different buildings--have both gotten a face lift in the past few months. The city spent $41,000, according to mayoral message man Kevin Pursglove, to paint, re-carpet and add some new furniture to the sixth floor of City Hall. Even though voters gave the council the go-ahead with a "cost free" relocation of City Hall downtown, the move is definitely in the semi-distant future, frugal sources assure Eye. One sixth-floor regular recalled the widespread embarrassment felt by all when visiting Russian dignitaries practically cringed at the dismal state of the council lobby. But it wasn't just Russian dignitaries who smirked at the conditions, Pursglove says. "It was embarrassing to have taxpaying residents walk in that place." Meanwhile, over at the county government center, budget analyst Gary Graves estimates the county has spent around $285,000 to remodel and upgrade the 10th floor, where the supes and board clerk reside. That money paid for new carpeting, office furniture--including a $570 adjustable graphite Herman Miller chair for the office of Supervisor Blanca Alvarado, records show--and an electronic security system restricting access to the supes' offices. (Apparently, uninvited guests such as a roaming flasher have been an occasional problem on the 10th floor.) Still unprotected from the rogue public is the county controller's offices, where the receptionist keeps a "Bomb Threat Checklist" next to the phone. Not a bad idea, since the most recent bomb threat was last Thursday.

Ferret Fever

The ferret lobby flooded Assemblyman Mike Honda's office last week with some colorful letters and faxes supporting AB 363, a bill that would allow people to legally keep ferrets as household pets. Honda sits on the Water, Park and Wildlife Committee, which recently considered the bill. One fax featured a drawing depicting a forlorn ferret dressed in jail pinstripes, holding a "WANTED" sign. Previous legislative attempts to classify ferrets as domestic animals have failed, a source tells Eye. This time, however, insiders give the ferret bill a 70-30 chance of passing. For his part, Honda helped push the bill out of committee. "The ferrets are displaying political muscle," muses Honda aide Ruben Pulido. "They're letting the lobbyists know they're not the only weasels in Sacramento."

No More Rich Guy

Upon reading the news of the Cupertino City Council's vote to pass a local campaign finance law, South Bay political consultant Rich Robinson promptly crafted a self-serving but entertaining three-page diatribe berating what he called "The Suppression of Speech Act." Robinson, whose office is in Cupertino, indirectly helped inspire the law when he designed a controversial hit piece in 1995 attacking candidate Marshall Goldman as pro-growth. The San Jose Mercury News criticized Robinson for distorting Goldman's record; Robinson still insists the piece was accurate, and he merely exposed Goldman's hypocrisy. "The backers of this free-speech suppression ordinance don't want any information that they don't like to reach voters. Well, folks, the truth isn't always positive, and positive mail isn't always the truth." The law, co-authored by Councilman Wally Dean, limits contributions from individuals to $100, among other things. Ridiculous, Robinson complains. How are candidates going to get out their message and pay their campaign consultants on such a meager allowance? "This law came about for two silly reasons: one, because Michael Chang (who raised more than $50,000) got more votes than Wally Dean; two, because the losers of the last campaign don't like the information voters received during the last election." Campaign finance laws are the scourge of political consultants everywhere, but Eye senses something personal in Robinson's invective. The longtime South Bay operative tells Eye he won't be doing any more paid work on local campaigns, though he admits he plans to help out wealthy gubernatorial wannabe Al Checchi. Robinson, a law student at Santa Clara University, is preparing for the notoriously difficult state bar exam. He cautions that his written invective is "a personal opinion and not a legal opinion."

Gino Toretta for Mayor

One San Jose wag read with raised eyebrow the mayoral speculation piece in the Sunday edition of the Merc. In the story, Councilwoman Pat Dando said she wouldn't run if her old boss, former Mayor Tom McEnery, decided to give it another go. In turn, antisocial Councilmember David Pandori, another McEnery minion, said he wouldn't run if either Dando or the Macster threw their hats in. "So," our mischievous wag quipped, "that means David is the equivalent of an emergency third-string quarterback on a football team."

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From the April 24-30, 1997 issue of Metro

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