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[whitespace] Rod Diridon Hot Rod: A year after splitting up with his wife, former Supervisor Rod Diridon is planning to tie the knot again.

Public Eye

What Goes Around

IT WAS THE FIRST time since they announced their split a year ago that anyone could remember having Mary Ann Diridon and her ex-husband, Rod Diridon Sr., in the same room together. The occasion: a weekly luncheon meeting of the San Jose Rotary Club earlier this month. But even though the ex-power couple was in the same room, they weren't exactly chummy. As a former Rotary prez, Mary Ann--who now lives in Washington and was in town for just a few days--got to sit at the head table. ... Despite a little discomfort, snoops say the luncheon went by without incident. But Rotary wags did note that Rod showed up with a cast on his hand, suggesting maybe things didn't pass without incident beforehand. A Diridonista, however, says Rod got the cast after breaking his hand in a biking accident. An unforeseen side-effect of having broken his hand is that Diridon hasn't been able to shave for a while and is sprouting a beard. "I offered to do it [shave] for him myself, but he won't let me near him with a razor," chuckles Gloria Duffy, Rod's fiancée. That's right--fiancée. A few weeks before the aforementioned Rotary meeting, Diridon proposed to Duffy, whom he's been dating for at least a year, under a tree on Mt. Shasta. Actually, Duffy insists, she and Diridon "proposed to each other at the same time." After a little prodding from Eye, she confessed that Diridon first announced his intent to propose, but she felt like they should both ask each other. "It should go both ways," argues Duffy, the chief of the Commonwealth Club who was previously married to Mercury News editor Rob Elder.

Kidney Stone

Not even a surgical procedure in which he was put under will stop media-friendly Assessor Larry Stone from returning a press call. Eye got a buzz from Stone Monday night, just a few hours after he woke up from having treatment for painful kidney stones. Still groggy, Stone, never one to gloss over the details, described the procedure he endured: "They knock you out and go up your wee-wee with a scope and they blast these things." Stone also revealed that before calling Eye, he had called several TV and radio reporters who wanted info from him about the A's possibly moving to Santa Clara. "The news can't wait until I recover," Stone explained. ... Given his condition, it might not be the greatest time for the folks over at the San Jose Stage Co. to ask Stone if he would be offended if they poked fun at his speech impediment at the seventh annual Monday Night Live show on June 26. The sketch comedy show, which raises money for the Stage Company, is famous for skewering local politicos for their philosophies, lack of hair and height. But the show's writers are wondering if an actor who is playing Stone in the Godfather sketch should stutter. One benefit: People in the audience would know the actor is supposed to be playing Stone. The downside: Some people might consider the joke in p-p-poor taste. "I brought it up several times," reveals actor Randall King, "but there was some resistance to doing that." Stage Co. chief Kathleen King (Randall's wife) adds that ticking off the tax assessor may not be a wise financial decision. "We pay property taxes, you know," she says.

Barry, Quite Contrary

Contrary to the rumors, mayoral chief of staff Jude Barry is not quitting his job. But he could be taking a leave of absence later this year to work on a high mayoral priority: a tax measure on the November ballot to bring BART to San Jose. Barry, Mayor Ron Gonzales' top strategist since 1988, says he hasn't yet decided if he will go on leave because he's still waiting to see if the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will put the BART measure on the fall ballot. "I'll know more definitively by August," he predicts. Despite Barry's denial, one well-connected gossip hound still suspects the Judester is on his way out. "It will be difficult to run the office and the campaign at the same time," the source observes. "I'll bet it is the beginning of a graceful exit."

Girl Named Sue

It's a common ploy by political consultants to persuade women clients with androgynous names to use a feminine variation of their moniker to ensure the support of she-voters. To wit: The transformation of San Jose City Councilgal Pat Dando into Patricia Dando when she ran for mayor in 1998. But what about the transformation of Monte Sereno Mayor Suzanne Jackson --as she is listed on official town literature--into Sue Jackson, Republican candidate for the 24th Assembly District? Both versions, Suzanne and Sue, clearly belong to a woman. ... According to Jackson, people are always screwing up the pronunciation of Suzanne, which she says is French and thus pronounced Sue-Zahn, not Sue-Zanne, as most unsophisticated monolingual Americans are wont to say. "That bothers me a lot," Jackson admits. But she has other practical reasons for switching to the abbreviated version of her name: "We thought it would be a lot easier if people called me Sue. ... Sue is fast and clean. It also makes writing checks [to the Assembly campaign] easier."

Tumor Rumor

District Attorney George Kennedy stunned a few people watching last week's county budget hearings when he justified hiring a full-time health officer by saying, "we have a high incidence, for example, of cancerous brain tumors out of our building." Yes, folks, he did indeed say "brain tumors." But before readers start accusing the county's top prosecutor of having a brain tumor himself, consider this: During the '80s and early '90s, at least eight county employees working in the West Wing of 70 W. Hedding St.--where prosecutors have their offices--suffered from brain tumors. That was enough for health investigators to declare a cancer cluster in the building. Still, some county cheapskates thought the DA was going over the top to justify the extra money to hire someone who would be dealing mostly with more mundane afflictions like repetitive stress syndrome. "It seemed like a bit of overkill," opines one board aide, "to explain why we need a safety officer." Another wit couldn't resist joking, "That [the high number of brain tumors] would explain a lot of bad decisions that get made over there."

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From the June 22-28, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 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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