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[whitespace] Chuck Reed Two-Income Official: San Jose Councilman Chuck Reed still works two hours a day at his old law office.


Public Eye

Job Juggling

MAYBE THE $65,000 SALARY just isn't enough in high-priced Silicon Valley. It seems more and more that full-time San Jose City Councilmembers are moonlighting these days. Linda LeZotte sill lists her law practices in the business section of the White Pages. Frosh Councilor Ken Yeager still teaches a poli-sci course at San Jose State University. But the council's moonlighting champ has to be Chuck Reed, who was elected in November. Reed still spends two hours every morning at his old law office before he heads over to City Hall. "I want to keep [my law practice] alive," Reed explains, "so that I have something to go back to." ... A new client of counsel Chuck--née Councilor Chuck--happens to be the Carnegie Foundation, which wants to build a 21,000-square-foot office building in Stanford's foothills. Carnegie has been trying to win approval from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in spite of objections raised by enviros. One enviro-friendly source grouses that Reed's legal representation of Carnegie creates a conflict of interest. The logic is a little hard to follow, so read closely: Reed's client, Carnegie, wants help from the supes. Meanwhile, the supes are negotiating with San Jose city officials--including Reed--to reach a settlement over redevelopment tax dollars. Eye's tree-hugging source reasons that Reed conceivably could ask supervisors to give Carnegie a break in exchange for taking a sympathetic view of the county's position on redevelopment. But Chuckles, a well-regarded environmental lawyer, assures Eye that he is only providing legal advice to Carnegie. "I'm not lobbying," he insists, "I'm not talking to members of the board [of supervisors]. I didn't even make any phone calls." ... By the by, at presstime the council was expected to raise its salary from $65,000 to $70,000 in the coming fiscal year, and bump it up to $75,000 the following year.

Moving On Out

Shortly after being accused of not living in the tiny Orchard School District anymore, school board members Javier Vega and Ron Baker turned in their resignations last month. Vega made his resignation effective immediately; Baker postponed his final day until June 24. Both men have offered little or no explanation for their midterm departures, but there's plenty of circumstantial evidence suggesting they moved out of the one-school district in north San Jose months ago. ... According to Orchard board member Carol Orr, Baker's former neighbor at Casa del Lago mobile home park, Baker sold his house on wheels months ago, though she didn't know where he moved. When asked by Eye if he knew Baker's whereabouts, Ted Gardener, the district's voice of truth, claimed that the board prez was crashing at Gardener's one-bedroom bachelor pad on North First Street. But records at the registrar of voters show that election material sent to his old address was returned. The forwarding information indicated he moved to a place on Fernside Square outside the district. Reached at home, Baker refused to answer questions. "How did you get this phone number?" he demanded. ... As for Vega, he told Eye after the April 24 board meeting that "as far as I know" he still was living in the district. But property records show that he sold his home in November and bought a new one on Olive Lane in the San Jose Unified School District. ... One reason for Baker's and Vega's evasiveness could be that Michelle Riley, president of the Orchard Parent-Teachers Organization, has been pestering the district attorney to investigate whether the two broke any laws.

Dumb Luck

Well, Terry Trumbull can't say he didn't see it coming. This week Palo Alto Supervisor Liz Kniss sent Trumbull a friendly letter informing him that his services would no longer be needed on the county planning commission. "As you know," Kniss wrote, "I have been interviewing applicants for the past two months, and I know you will be delighted to learn that I will be appointing Lydia Tan to that position." Trumbull wasn't exactly "delighted" but did applaud the choice of Tan. ... Eye-watchers will recall that Trumbull ran against Kniss and Dolly Sandoval in the March 2000 primary for the North County supe slot. Kniss also suspected he backed Sandoval behind the scenes in the general election. "There are not many people dumb enough," admits Trumbull, a 9-year commission vet who submitted an application to Kniss, "to try to get reappointed after having run against the person making the appointment."

Friendly Swap

It might seem a bit pointless to host a fundraiser for a termed-out politician like San Jose Councilman John Diquisto. But that's what Diquisto's old pal Sal Rubino is doing this week. The $250-a-head affair will raise money for Diquisto's "officeholder account," which he says he uses to pay for senior events, community barbecues, tree plantings and neighborhood cleanups. ... But before readers declare Rubino an altruist, consider this: Rubino owns a plot of land near the Capitol Auto Mall that he wants to convert from commercial use (for car storage) to residential use. But Rubino faces opposition from nearby car dealers--particularly Bob Lewis--who want to use the space to park cars. ... Rubino recently applied for a general plan amendment with the city planning department. Diquisto acknowledges that he has personally told Planning Director Jim Derryberry he supports changing the zoning to be housing-friendly. But Diquisto says the upcoming fundraiser isn't his old friend's way of sucking up to the Cambrian councilmember. "We've been sucking up to each other for 50 years," Diquisto exclaims.

Keep It Regular

Stubborn leaders of the Campbell Chamber of Commerce are not about to flush down the town's history by changing the name of the town's upcoming Prune Festival to the more palatable Dried Plum Festival. The California Dried Plum Board--which changed its name in November 2000 from the California Prune Board--is on a mission to rename prune festivals around the state. Richard Peterson, executive director of the Dried Plum Board, says the new name is more "appealing to new, younger users" than the shameful and embarrassing moniker "prune." But Betty Deal of the Campbell Chamber of Commerce argues that changing the festival's name would be misleading because the prunes originally produced in Campbell technically were not dried plums. "It may be a member of the dried plum family, but it's a prune-plum," she explains. "You can change a lot of things, but you can't change our heritage."

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From the May 10-16, 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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