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[whitespace] Don Gage Politics 101: Republican Supervisor Don Gage will most likely compete with a Kennedy to win re-election next year.

Public Eye

Scheduling Conflict

DESPITE RUMORS TO THE CONTRARY, South County Supe Don Gage will seek re-election next year. Gage has filed the requisite campaign finance forms so he can start thinning wallets, and his chief of staff, John Gibbs, declares, "We're running. Don feels like he's doing a great job here and that he brings balance to the board as its only Republican." ... Eye-watchers will recall that during his 1998 re-election campaign Gage disclosed that he had diabetes and proceeded to shed as much as 100 pounds from his once portly frame. He also gave up his cigar-smoking habit, though he still would indulge in chewing on a stogie now and then (something else his doctor recently told him to give up). But Gibbs says his boss is feeling fine and ready to do battle. That's good because it looks as if Gage will have an opponent next year in the March primary. Morgan Hill Mayor Dennis Kennedy tells Eye, "I'm 95 percent there in going ahead with it." Kennedy says he still needs to consult a few friends before he makes a final decision, but thinks Gage is vulnerable. ... For one thing, Kennedy points out, last year Gage opposed Measure A, the wildly popular proposal to bring BART to San Jose. And Gage backs building a controversial power plant in Coyote Valley, while Kennedy wants it unplugged. "What has he accomplished?" Kennedy says of his would-be ballot rival. "I would have expected to see more specific accomplishments in the years he has been in office." Kennedy bitterly recalls an instance where he called a press conference after a fatal highway accident to stress the need for a median barrier on U.S. Highway 101 near Morgan Hill. Kennedy clucks that neither Gage nor anyone from his office bothered to show, though he invited them. But Gibbs retorts, "[Kennedy] has a tendency to call press conferences and important meetings during the middle of meetings of the board of supervisors." Kennedy assures Eye that if he did so it was unintentional. "I've scheduled meetings when they were necessary," he sniffs.

Crying Wolf

In Los Altos, Bambi and her G-rated brethren are good; Marquis de Sade and his R-rated ilk, on the other hand, could pose a threat to town moral decency. At least according to the Los Altos Town Crier, which has editorialized against a cinema operated by the owners of the Camera Cinemas in downtown San Jose, as well the Los Gatos Cinema. Some Los Altans, among them the members of the Los Altos Youth Commission, would like to see a movie theater on city property located on First and Main streets, which is currently occupied by a dry cleaners. The grumpy old Town Crier, however, opined in an April 11 editorial that the Cameras showed too many films with nudity, sex, violence, profanity and drug abuse--all things that are very high on our list. . . . "We wonder what has happened to the old G-rated movies that once dotted the movie review pages," the editors wistfully wrote, mentioning such films as O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that incorporate naughty industry staples like breasts and bombs. "It is hard to picture any of the above [films] for kiddies' matinees." . . . Crier editor Bruce Barton doesn't seem to have persuaded the town's mayor, the majestically named King Lear, that the Cameras shows smut films, although Councilman John Moss did query the Camera operators about the content of the films they show--it's a slippery slope when government starts meddling in the content business. (Ever hear of a little law called the First Amendment?) . . . No matter, though. Lear says locals want movies. According to the King, an independent poll clearly showed, "People prefer the movie theater over the hotel four-to-one.". . . "The City Council wants to go for the tax dollars from a hotel, but people would use a theater--no one cares about a hotel." Lear, who is a fan of the Cameras, is also a pragmatist. "If you don't want to see an 'R' movie, you don't have to go."

Holy Shih Tzu!

Some watchdogs in the county building are howling over the barking coming from Supervisor Pete McHugh's office. Over the past three months, April Ferry, McHugh's media massager, has been toting her pet Shih Tzu, Kenji, up to the 10th floor of 70 W. Hedding and keeping the critter by her desk. "There's no one to take care of her while I'm at work," Ferry explains. "She's a small puppy and she's very needy." But an anonymous tipster not enamored with Kenji growls, "You walk by [McHugh's office] and you can smell dog poop, and the dog barks constantly. ... A lot of people are upset." Pet pooh-poohers are ticked off because the county has an ordinance prohibiting animals inside the County Government Center with the exception of guide dogs. But Ferry says McHugh--an irrepressible animal lover--has been letting her bring Kenji to work on a temporary basis only. In fact, she assures Eye, Kenji is now only coming with her to work one day a week and soon won't be coming in at all. Ferry also insists that Kenji makes little noise and sleeps most of the day. She blames a "small minority" of 10th-floor dwellers for raising a fuss. "This dog," Ferry boasts, "brings up everybody's morale."

Plug Patrol

In this month's issue of San Jose magazine, Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group's Carl Guardino was asked to play "Mayor for a Day." The mag asked, "What would be the biggest perk of being mayor?" Guardino replied, "Having [Eye scribe] Will Harper of Metro serve as my press secretary." Gee whiz, that sure is sweet, Carl. But Harper says that he's not looking for flack work, though he suggests reporter-cum-gubernatorial-spinmeister Phil Trounstine might be looking for another gig in the near future.

Tony's Harrisment

Knight Ridder strongman Tony Ridder is bravely blaming drearily departed Mercury News publisher Jay Harris for the paper's current financial woes. Eye knows this because it read the Associated Press story on K-R's annual shareholders' meeting, but Merc readers may be in the dark because the paper's editors decided not to run the AP story. According to a Merc scribe, the scuttlebutt going around the newsroom has it that one editor in particular didn't want to run Ridder's inflammatory quotes. In the AP report, Ridder blasted Harris for not recognizing the economy's downturn quickly enough. "The Mercury News saw this coming in December," Ridder said. "They didn't stop hiring in December, January or February, because management didn't get on top of what was going on. The publisher didn't face up to what was going on and didn't react to it." Neither executive editor David Yarnold nor managing editor Susan Goldberg could be reached to make any comments, inflammatory or otherwise.

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From the May 3-9, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

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