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Young Urban Pros: Not a friend of Gonzo in sight

The Fly

Freaks Aren't Us

A man who identified himself as Robert Bass stopped by our office last week, claiming to be one of the gentlemen we lovingly referred to in last week's column as a "yuppie freak." Faithful readers of course will recall the item involved an autograph-seeking downtown denizen who approached San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, his fiancee, Guisselle Nunez, and two unnamed friends while the power crowd enjoyed beverages at SoFA Billiards on the night of the Super Diamond show. Bass found the description "quite disheartening." He said his "phone started ringing off the hook" from Fly readers as far away as Sarasota, Fla., who managed to decipher that he was one of the unnamed "freaks," which Bass, 33, swears he's not. Accordingly, we are happy to set the record straight, and let Mr. Bass have the mic. "I work for the garbage company," BFI's director of major accounts says. "I am not an urban professional." "Guisselle and I are friends," he added, while standing in Metro's lobby in khaki trousers and a knit polo shirt bearing his employer's logo. "She used to work at BFI." Bass put us in touch with Steve Anderson, the other victim of our reckless wit, who called us from his nonyuppie ride (a Toyota truck) to issue a formal denial. "We are not yuppie freaks," Anderson declared, adding that his age—58—"hardly qualifies me as a yuppie" and that he is certainly "not a freak," though he does admit to being "a professional business person." In fact, he's a Cisco marketing manager specializing in Internet telephony products. He says his presence in the Gonzales entourage was purely personal, however, and had nothing to do with the city's purchase of $8 million in Cisco IP telephony equipment for the new City Hall, a transaction that is currently under investigation by City Auditor Gerald Silva and the city attorney's office.

Vasco: Vice presidential material?

Vasconcellos Drops The F-Bomb

It appears that veteran lawmaker John Vasconcellos has joined a growing list of public officials caught using profanity in inappropriate places. (Snitches have outed Hillary Clinton, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, among others.) Vasconcellos let the F-word slip last month during an eight-minute radio interview on KSRO-AM (1350), which broadcasts in the Sonoma County area. Defending a bill that would provide educational, vocational and psychosocial counseling for state prisoners, Vasconcellos became irate at host Spencer Hughes, who said he agreed with Assemblyman Ray Haynes that most people should be smart enough not to rob and shoot people. The 72-year-old liberal senator went on a 30-second tirade, ending with "I want to be safe, man. And to treat [prisoners] like animals and make them more dangerous and turn them back on the streets is really fucking stupid." KSRO was able to bleep the expletive, but it still caught Hughes off guard. "I've never had to bleep out a guest," says Hughes, who's been on the air for 10 years. Vasconcellos didn't return a phone call, but he did say on-air that he was having a bad day. "My patience is short," the senator said. "I'm not sure this is a constructive conversation, that's all." Hughes said he wasn't trying to goad Vasconcellos, only attempting to have the senator justify his bill and a corresponding constitutional amendment. "I wasn't out to get him," Hughes says. Vasconcellos, who retires this year, had to be flown home from Brazil in early June on a National Guard airplane after suffering heart pain on a goodwill trip. Some critics pointed out the senator would have saved taxpayers more money had the state chartered a medical plane to fly the 38-year Assembly vet home. "It's been one thing after another with him," Hughes says.

None Aboard: Train won't track through the Coe

Taking on the Train

This last Friday, Advocates for Coe Park, a collection of South Bay residents intent on preserving Henry W. Coe State Park, California's second-largest state park, released their response to the alternatives to the high-speed train route that will link Southern and Northern California. If the past is any indicator, the planners for the train project—namely, the California High-Speed Rail Authority—had better read the environmental group's response carefully. Just last year, Advocates for Coe Park managed to help ensure that a new reservoir proposed for the county's water district would not flood Coe Park ("Damfoolery," May 15, 2003). This time, the group has decided that three of the Rail Authority's four proposed routes are unsuitable alternatives. Instead, the group has proposed its own route (a "hybrid" route) that will apparently minimize the environmental footprint. It also accepted, with some reservations, the fourth Rail Authority proposal, which would run along an existing transportation corridor. Will it be a hard fight to get their voices heard? "It's hard to say," responds Dennis Pinnion, director of Advocates for Coe. "They had a public meeting in San Jose a couple of months ago, and I don't recall anybody wanting to go through the park."

Gonzo Safe (For Now)

A month after divinely inspired activists indicated they would not pursue a recall effort against Mayor Ron Gonzales, the leader of Recall San Jose has officially ended the effort. "Our purposes have been achieved," businessman Larry Pegram, a former San Jose councilmember, said in a statement. Pegram gave no reason why the recall was "suspended," but according to the downtown rumor mill, financiers feared having councilmembers appoint Gonzo's replacement in the event the effort succeeded. The concern? Their choice would be ultralefty Cindy Chavez.

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From the July 14-20, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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