[Metroactive News&Issues]

[ San Jose | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

[whitespace] Ed McGovern Full House: Bay 101 lobbyist Ed McGovern has pitched skeptical city officials on the idea of expanding the card club, and then closing it down in 10 years, sources say.

Public Eye

Risky Business

SHORTLY AFTER 55 card-club employees and patrons were indicted in late April on loan-sharking and other charges, Mayor Ron Gonzales vowed to find a way to shut down San Jose's two gaming houses. But after making the vow, the mayor rejected a proposal by Bay 101 reps to voluntarily shut down both card clubs within a decade, a spokesman for Gonzales confirms. Of course, Bay 101's owners, the Bumb family, wouldn't close the club's doors out of the goodness of their hearts. They would only do so after their wallets got a little fatter. ... According to City Hall and gaming sources, Bay 101 lobbyist Ed McGovern pitched a plan to mayoral aides in which Bay 101 would buy out financially ailing competitor Garden City and then shut down its cross-town rival. After closing Garden City, Bay 101 would seek voter approval to add as many as 20 gaming tables to its existing 40. To sweeten the pot for the straightlaced mayor, whose support for a ballot measure would be crucial, Bay 101 would close its doors for good in about 10 years. ... Even though the plan would ultimately accomplish Gonzo's anti-gaming goal, the mayor and his aides were cool to the idea of expanding Bay 101. Mayoral mouthpiece David Vossbrink says his boss also thinks closing the clubs in 10 years is too long to wait. "Our goal is to find a way to close the card rooms sooner than later," Vossbrink says. "If there's a reasonable proposal that accomplishes that goal, we'd be willing to listen to it." At this point, of course, it is probably too late to get anything on the November ballot. A Garden City source familiar with the Bay 101 proposal opines, "It's a dead deal." ... Neither McGovern nor Bay 101 spokeswoman Jackie Rose could be reached for comment before Eye's deadline.

Jimmy Come Lately

On Monday of last week Department of Insurance attorneys provided an Assembly committee with damaging testimony that sounded the death knell to Insurance Commish Chuck Quackenbush's once-promising political career. On Tuesday, the Quackster's attorney started talking to lawmakers--including angry Reep legislative leaders--about resigning so his client could avoid testifying under oath later in the week. By Wednesday morning, everyone in the Capitol was talking about Quackenbush's imminent resignation. "We all knew a good two hours before he officially resigned," reveals Rand Martin, staff chieftain for state Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara). "It's hard to keep something like that under the bushes here." Literally minutes before the commish turned in his official resignation, ever-cautious moderate Reep Assemblyman Jim Cunneen (R-Campbell) bravely issued a statement calling on Quackenbush to quit. (The statement, distributed via email, shows it was sent at 12:12pm. According to a report in the Sacramento Bee, Quackenbush quit at 12:20pm.) We checked with Cuneen flak Bob Hines to get his spin on his boss' late arrival to the hanging party of the former member of the local Republican assembly delegation. Hines suggests that his boss magnanimously wanted to give Quackenbush, who used to occupy Cunneen's Assembly seat, a shot at defending himself first. "Once it became clear that Quackenbush had no response or was unwilling to respond," Hines explains, "then he lost the trust of the people and that made him unfit for office."

Not Right, Said Fred

Assembly Speaker pro tem Fred Keeley got glowing press for his part in the inquiry of soon-to-be ex-Insurance Commish Quackenbush. But the egghead says he isn't the least bit interested in picking up the pieces of the wrecked department. The Santa Cruz Democrat accomplished a near impossibility in politics--emerging from a scandal smelling like a rose--and would like to keep it that way for awhile. "Expectations will be impossibly high" for whoever takes that job, says Fred. "It will be the most important appointment this administration makes."

Tony East

Everyone got so caught up in the resignation of San Jose Councilgal Margie Matthews last week that they didn't notice the noteworthy departure of senior mayoral aide Tony Arreola. But while Matthews is saying goodbye to her colleagues for good, Arreola could be returning to the sixth floor of City Hall very soon if all goes according to plan. ... Arreola is contemplating running for the District 5 (East San Jose) council seat now occupied by his old boss, Manny Diaz, who, barring assassination, will be going to the state Assembly in January. Arreola insists he still hasn't decided whether he's going to make the plunge into electoral politics. In the meantime, Arreola is starting his own government relations bizness, Silicon Valley Strategies. He plans to advise developers and high-tech companies and already has a few clients lined up, though he wouldn't name them. Arreola assures Eye he won't violate San Jose's revolving-door policy, which prohibits former city employees from lobbying City Hall for one year. However, he notes that the law doesn't prevent him from giving clients advice as to how to deal with City Hall.

Old and in the way

Former Mercury News columnist Murry Frymer says he and other retired newsies are thinking about suing the Newspaper Guild for screwing them over in the recent contract settlement with management. In a missive to MediaNews, Frymer fumes over the union's concession to not make bonuses and pay increases retroactive for Merc staffers who retired during the two years in which contract talks took place (including our pal Murry). Current Merc employees, though, will receive the retroactive dough. "Some retired [Guild] members, who were assured that they qualified for retroactive benefits in making their decisions to retire," Frymer grouses, "stand to lose in the neighborhood of $1,500 to $2,000 a piece. Also The Guild's deal, which includes a $1,000 bonus for each active member, also bypasses the retired because there is no retroactivity in that." ... On June 23, union and management negotiators reached a last-minute agreement to raise reporters' pay 4.15 percent. Luther Jackson, the Guild's executive officer, says union leaders tried to get retroactive pay for everyone, including retirees. "It was one of the issues we fought for," Jackson says, "but we were unable to get." Guild members will vote whether to ratify the new con-tract on July 9.

Public Eye welcomes tips. Leave messages 24 hours a day by calling 408/298-7818 and then pressing 2, followed by 412, to reach Eye's voice mailbox. Send email messages to [email protected]

[ San Jose | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

From the July 6-12, 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.