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[whitespace] All For NOT: High-tech heretic Keith Henson lost his battle with Scientology, but the court accidentally published "trade secrets" now posted all over the Internet.

Tied Up in NOTs

The Church of Scientology scored a major legal victory last week in San Jose's federal district court when a jury ordered Palo Alto computer consultant Keith Henson to pay $75,000 to the Scientology-aligned Religious Technology Center. The fine was punishment for Henson's posting to the Internet of internal Scientology document NOTs 34, which Henson claimed was essentially a manual for illegally practicing medicine without a license, using E-meters, auditing and other Scientology-oriented techniques. "The jury held that copyright laws are sacrosanct, even when they're being used to conceal criminal conduct," said Los Angeles attorney Graham Berry, who represented Henson and has often crossed swords with Scientology. "That's a disturbing decision, and one that lawyers for the mafia might want to take note of." . . . While unrepentant for his actions, Henson himself was predictably disappointed, though his marginal financial situation makes any significant recovery of damages unlikely. Still, that didn't stop Scientology representatives from expressing their elation with the verdict. "This award is a great victory for all copyright owners," said RTC president Warren McShane. "The copyright law has once again been upheld in the face of an assault by an outright copyright terrorist who thought he was above the law." . . . But RTC and Scientology's jubilation at their victory was likely short-lived. For immediately after the verdict was announced, the court released the complete transcript of the trial. In a major oversight by the court, the transcript included a sealed portion of the trial in which the document, its contents and alleged criminal components were discussed in great detail. The court immediately recalled the transcript, but too late: the very information that RTC had fought was immediately posted to multiple Web sites. "And once something's on the Net, there's no way to recall it or get it back," chuckles Henson, who views the publicity the trial received as some solace for his defeat. "That's worth an imaginary $75,000 to me."


Name in Lights

His bronzed shoes are memorialized on the Guadalupe River. A San Jose street bears his name. And as of this fall, San Jose's tallest office building will advertise for Tony Ridder's newspaper empire. Fifty W. San Fernando, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency's fortress-in-the-clouds, won out over more suburban locations in Palo Alto, and more central ones in Santa Clara. The San Jose move was a successful Ridder sales job to his top execs, who initially pushed for a location closer to San Francisco International. What turned the tide was the resilience of San Jose International's EIR, which survived a court challenge and opened the door to expansion. Also, one city insider said, the city's offer to put Ridder's name on the building put "a glimmer in his eye." One wonders if the glimmer will fade when the Ridder contingent finds out that Councilman David Pandori's Traffic Relief Initiative could monkey-wrench airport expansion for years to come. To make way for the move, Redevelopment has to find new digs by September. Rumored to be under consideration are the Sumitomo and Adobe buildings. Ridder touted the move as a chance to land his company in the thick of the information age. Eye prefers to believe he just got tired of having his company referred to in this column as Miami-based Knight Ridder.


Domino Effect

The City Council pulled a fast one a few weeks ago when it invoked its emergency powers to allow pet projects like the Town & Country to bypass the pesky Planning Commission. But the Planning Commission might be getting the last laugh on another key project. Next week, the Redevelopment Agency is scheduled to hold a development-permit hearing for its plans with developer Jim Fox to tear down the Jose Theatre and erect a mixed-use apartment building. Since the hearing officer is Redevelopment's downtown cheerleader, Dennis Korabiak, the plan should get the agency's full blessing. But insiders fully expect the agency's decision to be appealed to none other than the Planning Commission. If the commission agrees with the appellants, it can kill, or at least mortally wound, the agency's plans. There are a few other wrinkles, though. The commission will be shorthanded when it's scheduled to hear the appeal in June: Commissioner Gil Garcia, a local architect with redevelopment contracts, probably won't be able to vote; and commissioners Linda LeZotte and Tony West stepped down earlier this year to run for City Council. Without enough warm bodies behind the dais, the appeal would get delayed until two more commissioners are appointed by--that's right--the City Council, who approved the Jose's demolition last year. Sources tell Eye that the agency is cutting corners on restoring the auditorium, meaning an appeal could be successful--but don't count on it.


Take This Job

The county is ordering Correctional Peace Officers' Association prez Richard Abbate and veep Ed Meyers back to work in the jails for not paying at least $96,314 the union owes the county. ... The dispute is over so-called purchased release time, for which the union pays the county to allow labor execs like Abbate and Meyers time off with pay so they can do union stuff. Trouble is, the CPOA has fallen several months behind on its payments, and now county bean counters want their cash. "Typically, we obviously want the money to come to us as it is owed," sniffs labor relations director Luke Leung. "There is a problem in terms of collecting [the money owed by the CPOA]." In January, Leung and other county officials even worked out a payment plan with CPOA, so the union could pay off its debt in installments over the following four months. But an April 16 memo indicates the union missed its first seven payments totaling about $70,000. Fed up, Leung ordered Meyers and Abbate back to work. ... Eye finds it puzzling that the CPOA could be strapped for cash. Last year the union imposed a disputed assessment on its members to raise $300,000 to wage a campaign to gain full-fledged peace officer status (see "King Richard," Aug. 21, 1997). How well was the rank-and-file's money spent? Just a couple of weeks ago, the CPOA's bill in the state Legislature quietly died in the Assembly's public safety committee.


Plug Him In

He might be ahead in the polls, but wind-up guv candidate Gray Davis proved himself less than masterful during his speech last week at the Amdahl Corp. in Sunnyvale. At first, the blow-dried automaton wowed the crowd with his ease for intimacy by reading his script from a TelePrompTer. But then, according to one attendee, the TelePrompTer went on the fritz, thereby causing Gray to go on the fritz, too, stumbling over his words. He hissed at the guy running the TelePrompTer for screwing up his speech. Of course that's the snippet of the speech that made it on the 11 o'clock news that night.


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From the May 21-27, 1998 issue of Metro.

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