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[whitespace] Too Early to Rejoice: Judge candidate Joyce Allegro made the runoff, but a series of legal twists could decide her fate in November.

Beating the Conundrum

Talk about beating the system. First, smack in the middle of campaign season, deputy district attorney and Superior Court judicial candidate Joyce Allegro got stuck prosecuting a month-long murder trial of a disturbed man accused of raping and killing his elderly mother. Then, three weeks before the election, Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell found Allegro guilty of contempt stemming from an incident during the racially charged trial of firefighter Robert Gremminger. (The contempt ruling has been put on hold pending Allegro's appeal.) Still, the feisty prosecutor got the most votes in the three-way judicial contest, ensuring her place in a November runoff. Despite her election-night respite from Murphy's Law, it now appears as if fate might hand Allegro another raw deal. ... Allegro is scheduled to go head-to-head with Municipal Court Judge Jamie Jacobs-May in the runoff to fill the seat being vacated by Jeremy Fogel, who landed a federal appointment. But even if Jacobs-May loses the election, she's practically guaranteed a promotion to Superior Court anyway. That's because voters gave the go-ahead to court consolidation by passing Proposition 220, which will integrate muni courts into the superior court system. Later this summer, local judges are expected to ratify a plan that will unify the courts on July 30, according to presiding jurist Sandra Faithfull. So far, Jacobs-May isn't saying whether she'll withdraw her candidacy if the consolidation plan goes through. Even if she does decide not to run a campaign--and herein lies the rub for Allegro--Jacobs-May's name might appear on the November ballot anyway. Registrar Dwight Beattie is examining the election code's section on judges to see if Jacobs-May can pull her name off the ballot. The law allows judicial candidates promoted to a higher court during the campaign to bail out. "[But] court consolidation wasn't considered when they made this law," Beattie observes. If Jacobs-May's name stays, that's bad news for Allegro. The prosecutor did well in the primary because Jacobs-May and Muni Court Judge John Cena split the vote for the status quo. In a one-on-one race, court-watchers say Allegro might not be so lucky, even if Jacobs-May doesn't bother to campaign.

Prof. Apostle

Was that moderate Westside Reep Tom Campbell preaching for school prayer with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Christian Coalition two weeks ago? Sure was. The Campster bears the dubious distinction of being the only Bay Area congressional delegate to vote for the so-called "Religious Freedom Amendment," which would have allowed organized prayer in school. (Favorite plea: "Dear Lord, don't give us homework for the next three months.") At least Campbell didn't resort to the standard moral-decay-of-society polemic favored by most political proselytizers. Prof. Tom instead busted out with an intellectual sermon distinguishing individual religious speech and state religious speech. According to this logic, even though a kid leading a prayer over the school intercom might be doing so on public grounds, it's all good because a private individual is leading the chant and not Big Brother. "It was such a bizarre, convoluted argument," a Congress-watcher snickers. Campbell's vote comes on the heels of a summit between Reep leaders and religious right-wingers, where the Newtist Colony puckered big and promised to carry out the Christian agenda to keep Bible-thumpers from bolting the party. By the way, despite Campbell's brain-bending attempt, the amendment failed to win a two-thirds majority to pass.

Casting Call

Eye hears that mayoral poseur Pat Dando is getting cold feet about appearing on stage in this year's Monday Night Live show, the annual fundraiser for the San Jose Stage Company that spoofs local politicos. Both Dando and Ron Gonzales previously agreed to do the show, but apparently Dando is trying to beg off, citing commitments to another comical event that evening--a 7pm council budget hearing. Organizers won't disclose any details about the mayoral sketch, but event promoter Jerry Strangis cryptically promises that it will be a religious experience. Strangis happily adds that City Councilman George Shirakawa Jr. and Supe Jim Beall will be reprising their "Blues Brothers" shtick, though Shirakawa missed his first rehearsal. Sigh. Look for Mayor Susan Hammer and her entourage to be making a spicy farewell appearance, too. ... Eye's disappointed to hear that KNTV anchors Maggi Scura and Doug Moore won't be performing a Dan Aykroyd/Jane Curtin-style "Point Counterpoint." The show's writers played around with the idea, but organizers couldn't enlist Scura and Moore in time. Just hearing the placid Moore calling his counterpart "you ignorant slut" would have been worth the $25-$50 admission price. ... FYI: The show, co-sponsored by Metro, begins at 8:30pm on June 22.

This Is Not a Bill

The war of words between county Assessor Larry Stone and Supe Jim Beall continues. Stone sent out some 60,000 letters before the June 2 election--using money from his campaign account, not public dollars--reminding everybody what an evil guy Beall is for trying, according to Stone, to force the assessor to raise their taxes. Eye-watchers will recall that the Stonemeister wrote a similar missive last year when Beall pushed for a management audit of Stone's department. Stone insists he never objected to a management audit per se (which is now under way), but rather he didn't want auditors without any appraisal experience evaluating the accuracy of the tax rolls. "I felt it was a blatant attempt to pressure me to raise the assessments on those properties," Stone explains. ... Speaking of Beall, his wife, Patricia, was spotted with another man the other night. It was all part of a little joke the Patster and Santa Clara City Councilman John McLemore decided to play. During a break in the council meeting, Ms. Beall came up to the podium and gave MacDaddy a peck on the face, knowing full well that McLemore's wife, Clysta Seney, would be watching the meeting on TV. "That's the only way I'd know that my wife was really watching," McLemore insists. Apparently, she was.

Catty Remark

Sunnyvale City Councildude Stan Kawczynski concluded his regular spiel about the future of Moffett Field last week in a seemingly innocuous way. Arguing that the city should start taking the lead on regional issues concerning the airfield, Stanski opined, "We should stop pussyfooting around." ... During the open-mic portion of the council meeting 3 1/2 hours later, the first member from the public took issue with Kawczynski's use of the vernacular. "I can't believe you would say that," the sensitive citizen sputtered indignantly. "We just saluted the flag and there were children around." Mayor Jim Roberts quickly came to the rescue and clarified: "I believe it was a reference to a feline, uh, as in prancing around."

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From the June 18-24, 1998 issue of Metro.

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