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[whitespace] Consultant Shopping: Mayoral underdog Pat Dando is talking with a Sacramento strategist about taking over her campaign in the fall.

Titanic Shuffle

Underdog mayoral candidate Pat Dando is close to signing Sacramento-based Reep political consultant Ray McNally of McNally Temple & Associates to take over her limping campaign operation for the general election. Dando's consultant in the primary, Ron Smith, tells Eye that he and the Dander "have some differences" and, in fact, he recommended she talk with McNally about the job. Smith technically hasn't been on the campaign since just after the June election, when Dando shut everything down to save money. And he doesn't rule out the possibility that he will return in some capacity in the fall. "We're talking about it," Smith hedges. ... There have been rumblings ever since her poor performance in the primary that Dando has been shopping for a new consultant. McNally earned something of a golden-boy reputation among local Reeps a couple years ago when he guided another underdog, Supe Don Gage, to victory over a better-financed Democratic opponent. In that campaign McNally made shrewd use of evangelical Christian footsoldiers, with whom Dando is also acquainted. ... A media-massager for Dando nemesis Ron Gonzales opines that she is "test-driving" consultants for a future bid for public office, quite possibly the seat now held by Assemblyman Jim Cunneen. Talk about overconfident. ... A Republican operative thinks cutting Smith loose and shaking up her kitchen cabinet is a smart move for Dando, who needs to prove to insiders that she wants to turn things around in November. Gonzo's folks, of course, dismiss any personnel changes as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. ... Meanwhile, Gonzales has hired Leslee Hamilton as his new campaign manager. Hamilton, a crud-fighter for the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, ran Ken Yeager's failed 1996 Assembly bid. She replaces wunderkind Jamil Khan, who quit the campaign to take care of a nagging knee injury he suffered from kicking campaign volunteers in the butt too much.

Don't Shoot!

A recent spate of good news emanating from 750 Ridder Park Drive has Merc executives hoping pressroom employees will leave their firearms at home. For one, alpha-dog Jay Harris reports in last month's Inside Business, the Merc's Spanish-language weekly Nuevo Mundo has landed some mongo corporate advertising recently and should stop hemorrhaging Franklins in no time. Maybe soon someone besides Redactora Marina Hinestrosa will get a byline in the paper. Eye picked up the Mundo a few weeks ago, tantalized by the cover photo of Subcomandante Marcos and the headline "Dónde Estás Marcos?" Had Hinestrosa made the trip to Chiapas? Nope--just an unbylined import from Knight Ridder's Spanish paper in Miami, El Nuevo Herald, repeating rumors from Mexico's El Proceso that El Sup might be dead. Harris, nevertheless, is so happy with the Mundo's outlook he promises a Vietnamese equivalent next year. ... Also in the Merc's Inside Business, marketing "Team Leader" John O'Neill reports the Merc's confusing, unreadable and monotonous "Don't Blink" campaign will soon debut on CBS affiliate KPIX by way of a "media trade arrangement." The three spots, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, will feature "innovative" typography and "dramatic" audio clips from Merc editorial story meetings. Cut to Merc editor Jerry Ceppos: "Is there an El Niño angle?"

Party On, Chris

The United Democratic Campaign, the local arm of the Democratic Party, held its barbecue bash this weekend at the fabulous Willow Glen mansion of Chris Schumb to honor the political grunts who worked for free this year. The peripatetic volunteers were honored by having to pay $20 to attend the shindig. Among those attending were out-of-towners Bill Lockyer--who's running ahead of his Reep foe Dave Stirling in early polling of the attorney general's race--and the aptly named Gray Davis. The gubernatorial contender started to tell a charming tale of how he met his flight attendant wife, when he interrupted himself because lovey doesn't like him to repeat the story. One attendee gushed about how colorful the Gray-man came off during his brief spiel. "It was reassuring." ... The fiesta also featured an auction with such valuables as Lockyer's pen, a mug signed by Davis and a rafting trip with party activist Dolly Sandoval. Also on the auctioning block: a lunch with mayor-apparent Ron Gonzales and a lunch with lame-duck mayor Susan Hammer. Guess it's a better investment to cozy up to the chief in waiting. Someone paid $150 to dine with Gonzo, while Hammer's company only attracted a $100 bid. ... By the by, for those who can't quite place Schumb's name, he ran and lost for San Jose school board a couple of years ago. Word is that the Schumbster has his sights set on the council seat being vacated by Frank Fiscalini in two years. It never hurts to do some early partying with 300 of your closest party friends. Yet, a Schumb ally casts doubt on his council aspirations, asking a salient question: Why would the guy leave his plum law practice for a thankless $60,000-a-year job?

Diminishing Returns

Diminutive D.C. Bible-thumper Gary Bauer, whose "moderate Purist" tendencies have left him leaning further to the right than Ralph Reed, appeared at the Hyatt Sainte Claire on Monday, the invited guest of local religious wise men. Among the pastors sponsoring the event was Peter Wilkes, head of South Hills Community Church as well as soldier against evil and the domestic partner registry. Outside the banquet room, fresh-faced conservatives peddled an initiative petition that would bar the state from recognizing same-sex marriages. Apparently, gay people are taking over the world, and we've got to stop them before we're all directing drivers not to go straight but to go forward. In front of the hotel lobby, a dozen sign-wielding activists from the ACLU, Gay & Lesbian Alliance and other groups were protesting Bauer's lunchtime appearance inside. Also among the usual suspects, however, was Judy Purrington, one of 21 moderates who wrested control of the local Republican Central Committee from the conservatives in June. "I object to his [Bauer's] message," says Purrington, not exactly purring. "It's not inclusive, and as a Christian, I think his message is not Christian." Sorry, Judy. With or without your support, Bauer will probably still seek the Reep presidential nomination in 2000.

Signing Off

Last Sunday ex-Mayor Tom McEnery concluded the final broadcast of his radio talk show on KEZR (106.5-FM). Rumors abound that KEZR plans to replace McEnery's show with an hour of static, which should equal or surpass the ratings of "San Jose Sunday Night." The Macster apparently is busy with other projects like reading the sports page from his stool at Blake's and finishing those daunting TV Guide crossword puzzles. Ad-man Dan Orloff claims that public TV is interested in giving Bill Chew a run for his money and adapting Mac's show for television. Eye, of course, has its own format suggestion: "Mr. McEnery's Neighborhood," where Mr. McEnery dons his Hush Puppies and visits the land of make-believe each week. The first episode's storyline--Tom gets elected to Congress.

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From the July 23-29, 1998 issue of Metro.

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