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[whitespace] George Kennedy DA Dynasty: No-nonsense DA George Kennedy pleads not guilty to charges that he's not running for re-election.


Public Eye

West Wing Intrigue

The rumor making the rounds down at the West Wing of the county government center this spring was that District Attorney George Kennedy would not be running for a fourth term next March. Eye heard the names of two possible contenders: Assistant DA Marc Buller, a 17-year veteran, and Deputy DA Jim Shore, who works under Buller in the misdemeanors and juvenile unit. Both now say they're staying on the sidelines if Kennedy runs. "If George Kennedy decides not to run, then I would definitely give it some serious consideration," says Buller, who hasn't appeared on the ballot before. He also forecasts Kennedy will run unopposed: "It would be a waste of taxpayer money if we had an election." Shore didn't have anything different to say. "If George Kennedy decides to serve another term, which is what I understand is his intent, I intend to support George," says Shore. Eye had also heard that Assistant DA Karyn Sinunu might be weighing a run, but she now says that's not the case. Another name floated as a potential contender was that of Deputy DA Mike Gaffey, who concedes that he'd need to move into the county before he gets on the ballot. Although Eye is always saddened when it looks like there won't be a contest, Kennedy-watchers agree that only a fool would challenge him if indeed he's in. Kennedy's last run, in 1998, wasn't exactly high drama, as Kennedy won handily over a comparatively inexperienced challenger, Mel Anderson, who still pushes paper clips in the DA's office. Anderson, viewed as a long shot at best, didn't let the long odds deter him, and lobbed accusations of improper campaigning and being a softie on criminals at the incumbent, all in good political fun. But although that kind of in-office challenge can be awkward for co-workers, both Kennedy nonchallengers dismiss that kind of reasoning being behind why they aren't running and instead sing Kennedy's praises ... What's Kennedy say? An unequivocal yes. "I'm running and I expect to win," he announces. That kind of talk might sound cocky coming from other elected officials, but Kennedy's reputation seems to have frightened off any challengers so far. Asked if he considers himself invincible, the diction-addicted Kennedy says he wouldn't use that exact word, but it seems clear that if anyone does mount a serious challenge, it's just to make a statement.

Stolen Staff

Jude Barry, former chief of staff to S.J. Mayor Ron Gonzales, is stealing the mayor's scheduler. Since leaving City Hall in December, Barry has set up shop in the private sector as a PR and public policy consultant. Although he's a one-man operation, the Judester's affiliation with two established Washington D.C.-based consulting firms (both run by old buddies from Barry's days there) already has him working for a handful of tech companies, the S.J. Chamber of Commerce, and BART, which he cheered last fall as a co-director of the Measure A campaign. Now, Barry's hired a new number two: Jay Rosenthal. Friday is Rosenthal's last day booking Ron's tee times, and he starts Monday working for his old boss. Rosenthal says he was thinking about leaving the government biz for a while to learn more about the business of business, maybe by getting an MBA. Barry says he told Rosenthal he could do better by helping him build the fledgling firm from the ground up. ... So are there any hurt feelings in the mayor's office? As Eye-watchers know, Barry and Gonzales have been together since 1988, and Barry's departure sent shock waves through 840 N. First. But if there's any bitterness over Barry's recruiting, nobody wants to talk about it. Rosenthal gushes about both Barry and the mayor, and says, "Ron's excited for me ... He understands it's a good move." Eye tried to get Gonzales' take on the deal, only to get a call back from Rebecca Dishotsky, his chief of staff, who says Rosenthal's move isn't a big deal--and informs Eye that "it's pretty unusual for the departure of a junior level staffer to be news." As far as Jude and Ron, it's safe to say they don't have one another on speed dial anymore. Barry admits that he's "had very little contact with the mayor" since he left, except for trading pleasantries when they bumped into each another at public functions. Barry says he's not sure if he'll be hiring anyone else; Rosenthal just seemed like a good fit... "He's a smart guy who understands public policy and is a good writer--plus, he has his own laptop," Barry jokes. "And if the rumors about Joe Guerra leaving are correct, I want Joe to know that if he's got a fax machine, he's got a job."

Buddy Break

Double-murder convict Buddy Nickerson, looking hundreds of pounds thinner after 14 years on a prison diet, was released from San Quentin on a half million dollars bail this week because U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel had serious reservations about his original trial and his conviction. As reported in Metro ("Buddy and the System," Feb. 15, 2001, www.metroactive.com/pa pers/metro/02.15.01/nickerson-0107.html), Nickerson's guilt came into question in 1998 after authorities matched the DNA from blood outside the murder scene with Campbell body-shop owner William Jahn, who was serving time on other charges and told lawyers that Nickerson wasn't there on the night of the crime, which matches the story of another convicted murderer in the case, Murray Lodge. ... Judge Patel scolded Santa Clara County prosecutors and police for their mishandling of the case, but according to Nickerson's attorney Ed Sousa, the Keystone cop escapades may not be over yet. He and fellow attorney Jerry Schwartzbach requested the name of the informant who alerted police to Jahn's role 14 years after the fact, thinking the person might be able to help with Nickerson's case. But Santa Clara County prosecutor John Luft reportedly said the name of the tipster was unknown. Several days later, S.J. Assistant Deputy City Attorney Michael Groves showed up in court, saying that actually they do know the snitch's name. Schwartzbach tells Eye that Groves gave the informant's name to Judge Patel this week, but she hasn't said anything yet. The next court date is July 9. The revelation looks like another blunder in what has been dubbed the most expensive series of trials in the county's history.

Clicked Off

Add this low-tech name to the list of high-tech casualties: Click, the Menlo Park-based Silicon lifestyle magazine, is closing the doors after less than three years. After starting out as a weekly newspaper and months later switching to a glossy magazine format, Click published its final issue in May. Last year, the peninsula pub underwent a modest redesign and a much bigger redrawing of its editorial focus: from techie to upper-crust power magnate. As publisher Sloane Citron, who also puts out Gentry Magazine, tried to steer the mag toward the rich, executive lifestyle-- catering more to the CEO crowd than the hip dotcommer-- the whole editorial staff quit en masse. After the announcement, he hired a new crop and tried to keep afloat in dotcom delirium. Whether it was the new formula or the slumping economy or the combination of the two, Citron's tech effort didn't make it, and these days he's back where he started with Gentry and another magazine about interior design.

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From the June 14-20, 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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