[ Metro | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

Public Eye

The Green Stuff

If you want to learn first-hand why Redevelopment projects always take longer and cost more than planned, stroll by the Twohy Building on First Street this week for a visual teaching aid. The building, located on First Street behind the Fairmont Hotel, still has its scaffolds up because, our sources inform us, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency's Thomas Aidala, asked that the window frames be repainted with a different shade of green for the third time. ... The most recent color mix--a classic, deep Mediterranean green--is, tragically, being covered over with a light sea-foam green, briefly trendy in the mid-80s and commonly used in mental institutions in the 1950s. ...Also at issue after-the-fact: the material used for the outdoor seating partitions (to be aluminum now, and not the less expensive canvas originally selected.) All told, the $400K project has seen $50K in change orders.

Hotel Lobby

Students at Stanford are plastering the Palo Alto campus with fliers this week, urging parents in town for graduation ceremonies to avoid the Stanford Park Hotel. The highbrow hotel's crime seems to be its relationship to two sister hotels in the Western lodging group, where employees say they are being subjected to union-busting tactics as they attempt to organize. ... Student leaders estimate that the Stanford Park, located on university land, gets three-fourths of its business from the institution. The students are also pressuring faculty departments to stop holding banquets and putting up visitors in the hotel, a favorite spot for bigwig encounters. ... A National Labor Relations Board attorney said the government has accused the Monterey Plaza, a Western Lodging hotel, of firing two employees for union organizing. But attorney Paul Eggert said the NLRB has also found that the hotels are each separate employers. Eggert says that while the hotels share owners and some services, they each set their own wage rates and hiring policies. ... And also on the union front, delegates from the hatchling Labor Party gathered in Cleveland last week received a high-five from God when city employees decided to stage a walkout a few blocks from the convention. "The first action of the new Labor Party was to close down Cleveland City Hall," San Jose delegate-at-large Sol Zeltzer bragged to Eye. "Our time has come."

Web of Death

Just before he died from prostate cancer last month, Harvard's best known former professor, Timothy Leary, told his friends he wanted to check out live, online, in cyberspace. Instead, it looks like Leary is going to go right on living inside the machine, thanks to longtime friend and cyberspace tutor, Portola Valley's Joi Ito. Ito's Portola Valley server (eccosys.com) now houses a mirror Web site featuring an animated image of Leary, smoking something, while the blue flame atop the lighter in his hand flickers on and off. Although the tasteless Moody Blues lyric ("Timothy Leary is Dead") finally rings true, Leary, it should be noted, was not terribly concerned about shuffling off this mortal coil. "Death is just another Madison Avenue marketing fraud," Leary told Eye during a small gathering at Ito's house a few months back. "People don't die," he explained, "unless, of course, they never really lived." ... Leary was at the time working on a draft of his next (and as yet unfinished) book which he said would be titled The Immortality of the Human Soul. "We're not born with souls," Leary informed us, taking one last jab at conventional thinkers, "We build them." ... Ito says he will keep Leary's page alive, oscillating smoky puffs, indefinitely.

Not So

Speaking of smoke and mirrors, Gary Robinson, SJ Mayor Susan Hammer's top staffer, denies that he's advising Councilmember Margie Fernandes on political strategy, as the Merc recently reported. The story sparked minor speculation that Hammer would bless a mayoral dash by Fernandes rather than Supe Ron Gonzales, who has all but tossed his sombrero in, but Susan's top dog is saying there's no commitment. Not yet, anyway.

Koppel's Dance

Mark O'Connor, the third-place loser in the March District 5 supervisor's race, has endorsed front-runner Barbara Koppel. O'Connor's endorsement would presumably give Koppel enough votes to claim victory in the November runoff against Joe Simitian, a favorite of the current board. Koppel took 46 percent of the vote in the March election, while Simitian racked up 39 percent. O'Connor's 14 percent would give Koppel a seemingly insurmountable lead. ... Simitian shrugged off the news of O'Connor's endorsement. "Mark's endorsement didn't come as a big surprise. He's a newly minted Republican," Simitian said. "[And] there doesn't appear to be much of a following there that can be delivered." Simitian told Eye he is counting on a different atmosphere in the fall. "It's a much larger and different group of folks that show up in November," Simitian explained.

[ Metro | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

From the June 13-19, 1996 issue of Metro

This page was designed and created by the Boulevards team.
Copyright © 1996 Metro Publishing and Virtual Valley, Inc.