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[whitespace] Doug Winslow
Animal attraction: Exotic animal rancher Doug Winslow received lots of calls from lovelorn ladies after a feature on him ran in a local paper. Too bad he's gay.

Public Eye

Nag Hag

IF SILICON VALLEY is famous for its high-tech prowess, it's also infamous for its lack of available single women relative to the number of unattached male cubicle dwellers (see April 8, 1999, Metro cover story, "Where The Guys Are"). But voter-data vendor Doug Winslow found no lack of lovelorn ladies here after a cover feature on his exotic animal ranch in the Santa Cruz mountains ran last month in The Almanac, a peninsula weekly. The story coyly mentioned that Winslow "wouldn't mind an amiable human companion of his own" and listed his phone number in a photo caption (which he gave without realizing it would show up in the paper). According to Farmer Doug, president of American Data Management in Santa Clara, about 55 people called, including several women who left very long voice mail messages about their qualifications as prospective companions. "One said she was 'fit and trim, lean and mean,'" Winslow recalls. "Another said she also loved animals and that 'I do have a cat.' ... Another woman called and said, 'I am calling because I know this is meant to be.' What is she talking about?" While the article did accurately suggest Winslow is single, it neglected to mention another relevant factor. He's gay. Winslow says he hopes future stories about him "emphasize I'm gay if they say I'm single. It gets tiring disappointing good people." ... A man, however, finally did call Winslow with an offer he couldn't refuse. Unfortunately, the male caller was from the Palo Alto Rotary Club and wanted the Democratic political operative to speak at an upcoming breakfast meeting of the club. "Maybe straight men on the midpeninsula need to do something different to entertain the single women in the area," Winslow opines.

Rubberneckers Anonymous

Doug Winslow isn't the only Silicon Valley socialite with an affinity for exotic animals. To wit: Barb Ellison, the extroverted ex-wife of Oracle strongman Larry Ellison, brought in more than 20 non-domesticated critters and their trainers to her Woodside mansion last month for one of her famous parties. This year's fiesta had a safari theme, with our hostess playing the role of "Barbzan, Queen of the Jungle." Ellison acquaintances say some 300 partygoers were driven around Barb's estate in Land Rovers, catching glimpses of alligators, ostriches, camels, a full-grown tiger, a sloth, a giraffe, giant cockroaches and several monkeys. The Rovers also traversed water obstacles created for the party. At the end of the ride, spectators came upon an orchestra-sized drum circle where three actors in gorilla suits staged a hairy abduction of our heroine, Barbzan, in comical fashion. No sweat for a smiling Babs, whose previous marriage made her a pro at dealing with chest-pounding behaviors ... No major catastrophes were reported during the bash, except for an unexpected necking incident. A partygoer says that before the festivities started Barb managed to rub the giraffe the wrong way: "She [Barb] had a bit of a tussle with the giraffe. She was OK; she just got roughed up a little bit."

Piercing Scream

Body Exotic proprietor Bil Brierley called Eye with his nipple rings in a twist over the latest "scandal" involving his business license tax bill. He had just received in the mail a delinquent notice from the City of San Jose demanding he pay $189.75 to renew his license. One problem: Body Exotic moved in March from its old spot on Meridian Avenue, within city limits, to its new location at 957 W. San Carlos. His new locale is in an unincorporated county pocket of San Jose, meaning Brierley isn't subject to the city's biz tax. "The scandal here," Brierley fumed, "is that they're collecting money they're not entitled to." ... Five years ago, when he originally opened his piercing parlor on Meridian, both city and county officials told him he was in the county and therefore not subject to the business tax. But city bean-counters later discovered that Body Exotic was indeed inside city limits and began bugging him to pay and took him to small claims court. Ultimately, the two sides compromised with Brierley agreeing to pay the $150 business license tax but not the late penalties. ... Still sore from the last go-round with city bureaucrats, Brierley pointedly refused to call officials to settle the latest disagreement. Always the peacemaker, Eye dutifully phoned Mark Burton, the city's acting finance director, to see if Brierley's complaint had any merit. A few hours later, Burton called back and admitted it did--his new location is indeed in the county, not the city. Somehow the city got Body Exotic's forwarding address and put it in the database. "No tax will be due to us," Burton proclaimed, adding that finance staff would contact Brierley, which it did. Brierley, however, still isn't satisfied. He informed Eye sharply that there are other nearby businesses being improperly taxed by the city and "the city is doing absolutely nothing to rectify the situation" unless business owners like him complain first.

Babs and Buck

Republican Jim Cunneen's congressional campaign can boast the backing of high-tech heavyweights like Cisco CEO John Chambers, but Democrat Mike Honda at least can say he's got Hollywood diva Barbra Streisand on his side. The latest contribution reports show the Yentl director wrote Honda a $1,000 check. But the Honda folks aren't exactly sure why Streisand donated to the campaign. Honda did happen to bump into Streisand's The Way We Were co-star, Robert Redford, at a recent event, but his campaign manager Jennifer Van der Heide doesn't think there's a connection. More likely, Van der Heide speculates, party operatives from D.C. hit her up for the dough (Streisand is a Democratic stalwart who has donated to President Clinton in the past). "The truth is," Van der Heide says, "is that the check just showed up." ... Streisand isn't Honda's only connection to Hollywood. His campaign press secretary, Vince Duffy, has a cameo in the new indie film, Chuck & Buck. Huff grew up in Pasadena with writer Mike White, who also stars as Buck. "He asked me to be an extra," Huff reveals, "but then one of the actors didn't show up, so I got my big break." Huff plays a record executive who has all of two lines: "How's it?" and "The good old days."

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From the July 27-August 2, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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