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[whitespace] Trish Dish: Milpitas City Councilwoman Patricia Dixon has some powerful Mall Town players trying to oust her from office.

Public Eye

Bob Loves Bob

When last Eye visited Milpitas Place, bouffant-haired City Councilgal Patricia Dixon was feuding with her Mercedes-driving neighbor, Mayor Henry Manayan. Readers will recall that Tricky Trish teamed up with the city's former mayor, 7-Eleven proprietor and perennial public official Bob Livengood, now a humble councilor, to make Henry as politically impotent as a pre-Viagra Bob Dole. But times change and so do allegiances. Now, Master Henry and the Bobcat are bedfellows of the strange variety, both determined to oust Dixon from the City Council in the November election. Dixon says she had been hearing for months that Manayan and Livengood, among others, were actively recruiting a woman candidate to foil her re-election bid. Enter Noella Tabladillo, a policy aide to jolly Santa Clara County Supervisor Pete "Primo" McHugh, another ex-mayor of Mall Town. This past week Tabladillo told pals she is running for Milpitas City Council and thus will be competing with Dixon and, technically, Livengood (who is up for re-election) for the two open council seats. But according to Dixon, her old pal Livengood is backing Tabladillo along with Mayor Manayan, who will be co-hosting her campaign kickoff party with McHugh. "My family has supported [Livengood], that's what is so sad," Dixon sighs, adding, "There's only one important person in Bob's world and that's Bob." Dixon suggests her falling out with Livengood goes back to last year when she opposed putting a measure on the March ballot converting Milpitas to a charter city. As a charter city, Milpitas could do fun things like raise council members' salaries and--an idea floated by Livengood--switch from at-large elections to district elections where candidates go head-to-head for a specific council seat. So there's the charter city thing, Dixon sniffs, "plus the fact that I have the audacity to run at the same time as Mr. Bob Livengood." For his part, Livengood says he had nothing to do with recruiting Tabladillo to run. He thoughtfully adds that everyone on the City Council is endorsing Tabladillo rather than their collegue, Dixon. "I'll let other people draw their own conclusions as to why that must be," Livengood hints.

Pat Loses Erik

Eye is sad to say that it won't have Erik Schoennauer to kick around anymore. At least not in the near future. After five years as chief li'l buddy to ambitious San Jose City Councilwoman Pat Dando, Eye's favorite bite-size City Hall pol is calling it quits. June 2 will be his last day. "I just thought it was time for a change," Schoennauer explains. As for what's next in his life, the single thirtysomething says he's going to take a break for a while. He plans to work on the family's Christmas tree farm in the Sierra Nevada foothills and train for the Honolulu marathon. After that, he says, he hopes to advise a political Internet startup, which he wouldn't name, but he assures Eye it isn't www.hornyintern.com.

Copy Cat

Even careful readers of the Mercury News may have missed a little story buried in its local section last week about a man named Nguyen who hasn't been implicated in the cardroom loan-sharking scandal. The Nguyen in question in this case was San Jose attorney Tam Nguyen, editor of the Vietnamese-language newspaper Saigon USA. As the seven-paragraph story reported, Nguyen won a modest victory in federal court earlier this month when U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte gave him the preliminary go-ahead to sue the Viet Mercury, owned by the Merc's corporate parent, for copyright infringement. "I caught them stealing my original cover story," Nguyen exclaims. ... Nguyen says his paper ran a November cover story on the grand opening of Queen Martyrs Vietnamese Cultural Center. Four days later, the Viet Mercury ran its own story on the event and, Nguyen says, lifted a 28-word passage directly from the Saigon USA story as well as paraphrasing other portions. ... The Merc's brief story on the lawsuit managed to omit a salient part of Whyte's written ruling: "It appears that rather than expend the time, effort or expense of sending a reporter to cover the event, defendants used plaintiff's article as the source of information about the event and copied plaintiff's [Saigon USA's] exact words ... without attribution." Merc lawyer James Chadwick says someone--he wasn't sure if it was a reporter--from Viet Mercury did go to the event. But when asked if the Viet Mercury copied from the Saigon USA story, Chadwick replied, "All I can tell you is that the words are the same."

Zion Nation

During the aftermath of "Anti-Zionism Week 2000 Santa Clara University," last week the Muslim Student Association hosted a speech by professor Hatem Bazian analyzing U.S.-Israel relations. Normally history lectures by stiff-suited professors don't even inspire attendance, much less campuswide controversy--but fliers and banners featuring Israel's flag and captions like "The Last Apartheid state" tend to get some attention. Kate Lapan, president of the Jewish Student Union, says, "I don't think it was appropriate, but they said they wouldn't have gotten any attention if it had been Palestinian Week." Barry Holtzclaw, university apologist-in-chief, says he doesn't think that the event was itself a problem. "We support academic inquiry and free speech," Holtzclaw says. "There are a lot of students who think anti-Zionist is anti-Semitic, but it's not. Nothing in his comments that I heard was anti-Semitic." Members of the Muslim Student Association didn't return calls. Meanwhile, Lapan hopes to bring in a speaker of her own, to talk about peace in the Middle East.

Color of Money

It took months of research, finger painting, focus groups and the advice of a $50,000 consultant. In the end, San Jose leaders bravely chose to replace the city logo's old color scheme of salmon and gray to blue and bronze. The new bold color-combo is just starting to appear on the city's revamped website, a few select business cards and letterhead. According to city flackmeister Tom Manheim, the city didn't pay Mountain View ad firm The Kimball Group just to help him pick the logo colors. He says the consultants were brought aboard to help advise color-blind city officials "on logo usage," whatever that means. Anyway, Manheim does acknowledge that the consultant spent a good deal of time putting together eight different possible color combos for a focus group to judge. "Only two [color schemes] stood out," Manheim reveals, "blue and gold and blue and bronze." City luminaries felt the blue and bronze to be more distinctive than the blue and gold combo. ... Contrary to rumors, Manheim says the city isn't forcing departments to throw out their old business cards and letterhead. In fact, the cost-conscious color analyst notes, city officials are supposed to keep old cards and paraphernalia until they run out. Even then, only a few VIPs--department heads, the mayor--will get the honor of two-color cards, Manheim says.

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From the May 25-31, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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