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GE Whiz

Add another name to the conga line forming for Assembly shoe-in Mike Honda's supervisorial seat--John Redding. A marketing exec at General Electric, Redding boasts that he's snagged endorsements from talk show host Tom McEnery, SJ Councilmember Frank Fiscalini, ex-SJ Councilmember Bob Putman and Almaden Valley millionairess Gayle Jones. ... He's also working on a Republican endorsement from state insurance czar Chuck Quackenbush, even though "at the moment" he says he's neither a Republican nor a Democrat. ... Missing from this stellar list of backers is SJ Councilmember Pat Dando, whose district overlaps with Honda's. Redding says he's talked issues with her, but never got around to asking for an endorsement. ... Our skeptical sources, however, suspect that Dando is covertly pushing Redding as a candidate for reasons of her own. Pat's office, by the way, went silent on us when we inquired about this. ... Redding's endorsements won't necessarily help him if the supes appoint a replacement for Honda, but he's banking on a special election, which seems to be the trend these days. And one of his backers is Almaden Valley Community Association President John Ress, who's part of a group of south San Jose citizens pushing for a special election.


Down, Pat!

And speaking of Councilmember Dando, her office is spinning damage control this week over Eye's recent observation that she was snubbed in the receiving line by Governor Pete Wilson when he was in town. ... "Pat had no official capacity at the press conference," Dando aide Erik Schoennauer explains to Eye. "But at the end she and the governor did spend a few minutes talking as he was preparing to leave." Lest anyone imagine Dando chasing the governor's car, Schoennauer reports that the mayoral contender was in fact handtapped by Wilson to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention in San Diego this August. What did the two members of the order of the pachyderm talk about during their brief tête-à-tête? According to Schoennauer: just good old Republican strategies like increasing competition for city services, one of Dando's stellar subjects. The two, he assures Eye, did not talk about putting a Republican in the San Jose mayor's seat.


Perq Up

Down at the city level, Ellen Oppenheim, a.k.a. "Ellie," San Jose's director of conventions, arts and entertainment, has called it quits. Her new employer? GES Exposition Services in South San Francisco. Oppenheim tells us the company made her an offer she couldn't refuse. She begins commuting to work on May 1, the day after her nine-and-a-half-year stint with the city ends.



Williams Waffles

Spurned political consultant Herb Williams, whom Eye reported was involved in a contract snit with San Jose Unified, has finally come up with a proposal to complete his end of the agreement. Williams, whose Santa Rosa consulting firm, Delphi, received $56,600 for work to be done on the school district's bond campaign, has opted to eat a final $11,834 payment from the district in lieu of getting out. According to his proposal, he will design and provide 25,000 brochures to help in the district's upcoming bond campaign, provide a written document on how the campaign should be run, meet with staff members to give them the information they need and then, presumably, run away screaming. ... Eye has learned that Williams claims he did not complete his contract because of damage done to the campaign by district trustees. In a letter to Superintendent Linda Murray, Williams wrote, "I wish to restate that the reasons for my withdrawal are directly related to two board members who distributed negative information regarding Delphi's competence to opinion makers and certain members of the press. Their activities made it difficult, if not impossible, to complete the tasks required." ... Those same distractions didn't keep Williams from running 11 other campaigns for the March 26 elections. According to his letter, he won eight of the races he was involved in.


Sparing the Rod

As San Jose Councilman George Shirakawa Jr. (son of late George Sr.) and San Jose Assemblywoman-in-waiting Elaine White Alquist (wife of Al) can attest, a well-known last name is usually a sizable advantage when running for political office--although defeated Assembly candidate David Cortese (son of Dom) might well disagree. So when Eye heard this week that Rod Diridon, Jr. (you figure it out) was considering running for Santa Clara City Council this November, we thought we'd check out his chances. Turns out they look pretty good. ... For starters, the politically ambitious young Roddy has set his sights on a seat that will be vacated by term-limited Councilmember Dave Delozier and, so far, no other big-name candidates have surfaced. "He's really paid his dues," says veteran political consultant Yvonne Ryzak, explaining why young Rod, 26, will get help from both Dad's old friends and also from the activists who currently run the local Democratic Party infrastructure. ... A public relations exec at 3COM (the company, not the ballpark), the junior Diridon laughed heartily when we asked whether he is fixated on trains like his transit-guru Dad. "I'm a little more interested in the information superhighway myself," Rod, Jr. jibed before, perhaps, the fear of a spanking set in. "But that's not really right, you know," he quickly added, "because I also do care about transportation."


Wacky Transit

And on a similar track, if you haven't noticed the new rent-a-cops patrolling the buses and light rail system over the last month, take a closer look. These aren't just any security guards, these are bona fide Wackenhut security guards--members of America's finest privately run intelligence agency, protecting United States embassies on foreign soil, guarding nuclear-weapons facilities, and providing security for top-secret government sites in the Southern California desert. ... The Wackenhut name has been linked to the CIA, FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency over the years, as well as duplicity in scandals ranging from Iran/contra to the Iranian hostage crises to other Central American hijinks. ... So what is Wackenhut doing patrolling Santa Clara's buses and trains? Gulp. TA flak Norma Newman said, um, whomever worked on the bid process had to have been privy to the same information as we had. But never fear, she's "positive" Wackenhut was chosen because of its work with other transit agencies around the country.


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From the May 2-8, 1996 issue of Metro

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