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Race-Wrecker: Kathy Chavez Napoli, the candidate of Sally Lieber, makes Pete Carrillo see red.

Public Eye

Party Animals

Last Thursday, June 19, Jim Beall wasn't the only political attention-getter at his own Assembly campaign kickoff held at the famously unleased Sobrato Building, Eye hears. North County Assemblywoman Sally Lieber got a dressing down--indirectly-- for her efforts to sculpt a female, non-status-quo-approved candidate to take Assemblymember Manny Diaz's Latino seat. Lieber's choice, Kathy Chavez Napoli, filed candidacy papers this month, raising the ire of those backing a male Latino, East Side schools Superintendent Joe Coto. Lieber's part-time aide Doug Winslow tells Eye that Democratic Pete Carrillo approached him, and "showed his anger about us recruiting a candidate in the 23rd." And, Winslow adds, the failed council candidate was "a tad impolite." Silicon Valley Advisors consultant Carrillo, as Eyewatchers know, is down with the area's Latino power bloc, an elite which includes Nora Campos, Blanca Alvarado and Manny Diaz, along with friends in higher places, like Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. "He thinks he is the Latino power structure," confides one snarky observer. Which would explain why he felt entitled to accost Winslow with a flurry of information, not all of which most newspapers would print, but Eye will. "He said something about--we've been working on this for 35 years and [Lieber] just comes along and, I think he said, 'fucked things up.' Then he said, 'If she doesn't stop fucking things up we're going to run someone against her in the primary.'" Winslow says he assured Carrillo he would pass along his concerns. "Now that I'm a legislative aide, I have to be polite," he pointed out. Carrillo didn't return Eye's calls by presstime. Possibly he was getting his mouth washed out with soap. A knowledgeable but less emotionally involved source tells Eye that Lieber's power play has harshed the mellow of dems who see her as an arrogant outsider/newcomer dictating who should represent them. "This has nothing to do with women's rights," huffs the Lieber critic. "This is Sally Lieber's game play to position herself to become a governor of California. She has grabbed every committee chair. She has told people that she wants to run for governor. This is all part of a power grab." Understates Lieber, "I wouldn't want the job right now," but adds coyly, "I'm flattered that my critics would think I have that much potential. I think that lieutenant governor is a much more interesting job."

Cunneen 4 What?

On the subject of mayoral rumormongering in the capital of the City Formerly Known as Silicon Valley, Eye has it on good authority that San Jose's Chamber-made man Jim Cunneen is technically undecided about whether he'll dip his big toe into the growing pool of candidates seeking the mayor's job in 2006, but he's thinking about it as he sips sodas at the Chamber offices. The authority would be the written word of consultants Jude Barry and Jay Rosenthal, who penned the first edition last month of a political action committee newsletter that Cunneen coincidentally edits, called "Eff Why Eye" (a moniker not lost on this columnist). The perky little missive funded by the Chamber's political action committee, Compac 100, ruminates about the runnings of everyone from Cindy Chavez to Pat Dando, Chuck Reed and Dave Cortese and even stretches its speculative tentacles to San Pedro Square land banker and mayor-for-life Tom McEnery--and as far as Washington, D.C., dropping the name of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren as a "might-be" contender, all of whom, Eye notes in reading FYI, have many fine traits but somehow lack that definitive "Vote for me!" quality one normally looks for in a candidate. Accident or interpretation, you ask? And Eye wondered the same, and with the luxury of three years looming ahead, ventured to ask budding journalista Barry (the man many credit with getting Mayor Ron Gonzales elected his first time out) if this newsletter might one day include such compelling reads as: "Top 10 Reasons I'm Voting for Jim," "What's Wrong With All These Other People?" and "Voting Habits of San Jose's Most Successful People Who Benefit from Development" among other searing exposes? Barry assures Eye that the newsletter is simply "a convenient way to keep track of who's running," lest anyone lose track. He does not mention, as is common knowledge in the rumormongering business, that his newsletter would also be a subtle way of creating that track, should anyone be unsure of whether they were on it or off it. But Eye digresses.

Free Bird

The new MLK identity crisis library (am I a college collection or public sleeping quarters?) is merrily on its way toward opening in August. But if you ask its neighbors from downtown's West of Fourth Neighborhood group, the building has already skipped right over the shiny and new phase. "There's pigeon shit all over the front of the building," reports West of Fourth head pigeon hater Steve Cohen. Cohen, who has become passionate about bird crap and who unabashedly reinforces the filth stigma popularly pinned on pigeons, has collected top-secret information on pigeon habits ("pigeons must have water," "pigeons are monogamous," etc.) to try to foil their evil schemes. He says the library is just one of the latest victims of the City Council's failure to act on the pigeon poo crisis. Cohen's group started pressing the council more than a year ago to outlaw feeding pigeons (as the Board of Supervisors did in San Francisco) and also to hire people to trap the persistent ones. "It's one of our highest priorities," Cohen says with a straight face. "It's been our No. 1 priority for over two years." Cohen also notes that he recently overheard City Manager Del Borgsdorf complaining about all the pigeons in town. "Generally speaking," says Jim Holgersson, deputy city manager for neighborhoods, "we don't have a plan for getting rid of the pigeons." Instead, he says, the city is working with county vector services to figure out a humane technique to handle the "growing concern about the number of pigeons." Lucky for its staff, the new MLK library (oddly) comes equipped with showers for employees. San Jose Public Library shower spokesperson Sharon Russell tells Eye the city installed showers to keep its high proportion of staff members who commute by bike or on foot clean. But a nice wash could help with that not-so-fresh pigeon feeling, too.

Boss Hog

One tentative dismissal by a federal district court judge isn't stopping Big Apple law firm Goodkind, Labaton, Rudoff & Sucharow from going after a local tech company, JDS Uniphase, in a federal securities class-action suit. The Park Avenue firm is stepping up efforts to build a case against San Jose-based JDS locally by buying full-page newspaper ads claiming company insiders lied to shareholders. Goodkind and friends filed the case last year for allegedly screwing over shareholders in one of those huge corporate profit trading scandals that we haven't heard so much about lately. Now, using the magic of advertising, the firm's lawyers are reaching out to former JDS employees to come forward and snitch on the high-tech fiber-optics company. "The defendants are saying that we don't have a basis for a lawsuit," says attorney Barbara Hart. "We have facts. ... We are undertaking an investigation to get more facts to substantiate our claims that the company was manipulating its results." Hart says that after running similar ads seeking JDS enemies in Connecticut last month, a "dozen" former employees came forward. On March 14, Oakland Federal District Court Judge Claudia Wilken dismissed the suit, whose lead plaintiff is Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds. The judge gave Goodkind wiggle room to tweak and refile its complaint, and attorneys are now waiting for the judge's permission to go to trial. The suit claims JDS falsely reported its earnings, and in August 2000, when insiders sold more than $3 billion worth of stock, the company caused shareholders to lose more than $65 million in pension fund money. JDS disagrees, albeit quietly. "It is our company policy not to comment on pending litigation," explains communications captain Gerald Gottheil.

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From the June 26-July 2, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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