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Tweedle Dumb

Eye's impeccable sources swear that Bill Clinton will make a political pit stop in the South Bay next week. He's supposed to hit town on Monday, most likely flying into Moffett Field. Bill's advance people are busy compiling a list of VIPs for him to shake hands with, and nothing's final yet. But this much seems sure: Ex-San Jose mayor and mayoral re-wannabe Tom McEnery will not get his picture taken with Big Bill. ... Word apparently got back to Clinton's office that the Macster referred to the President and Bob Dole as "Tweedledee and Tweedledum," effectively barring his name from the invitation list. Tom made the highly unflattering reference in a Mercury News article about his support of Reform Party presidential nominee hopeful Richard Lamm. Seems that one of McEnery's politically connected opponents clipped the article and sent it to the White House.

Party Girl

On a related note, the Reform Party's nominating convention will be held in Long Beach this coming month, but don't expect to see San Jose Assemblymember Dominic Cortese there. The Domster, the highest ranking elected official in the Reform Party, will be in North Carolina attending his god-daughter's wedding. Cortese's daughter, Mary Liz Cortese, plans to attend for him. Mary Liz recently left her job as the quick-witted, velvety-voiced news editor for Monterey Bay's KSCO radio (1080 AM). Now she describes herself as Dom's "closest adviser" and commutes to Sacramento during the week.

Zen and Jan

Former television newscaster Jan Hutchins has tossed his golf cap in the ring for council in the town of the cats. Hutchins made the move after popular Los Gatos councilmember Pat O'Laughlin announced that he wouldn't seek reelection to take care of his health. ...Hutchins swears that he's only interested in "getting involved with Los Gatos' intermediate future," and that he's just a "Zen guy" without high political ambitions. But he admits that he floated his trial balloon past Tom Campbell and Willie Brown and received their encouragement before pulling papers. ...Expect him to be an unconventional pol if he gets on council. The silver-tongued, Yale-educated Hutchins dabbles in political philosophy and champions free enterprise and individual initiative over government deficit spending and affirmative action programs. Pressed on whether he might enjoy a job in, say, U. S. Congress, Hutchins wisecracks, "I think I should go straight for president--or the World Bank." Having watched these things over the years, Eye wagers that council won't be Hutchins' last political office.

Married to the GOP

Like any skilled lawmaker, Rep. Tom Campbell (R-San Jose) is an expert at the art of spin. Take his deft handling of the political powder keg known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), a Republican-sponsored bill that would deny federal benefits to same sex couples by defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Tom sided with a large majority of the House on July 12 and supported DoMA, sending it to the Senate on a 342-67 vote. ... On the day of the vote, the Stanford law prof editorialized in the Los Angeles Times that he backed DoMA because he believes that the issue of same-sex marriages should be decided at the state level, and not the federal level. "I believe homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples," he wrote. ... But that doesn't fly with local gay and lesbian activists, who suspect that Tom rolled over and supported the bill to preserve his image among the reported 7 out of 10 Americans who oppose gay matrimony. In the wake of his vote, BAYMEC (the gay and lesbian political organization) co-founder Wiggsy Sivertsen, one of Tommy's big supporters when he ran for office, now denounces Campbell as "deceitful," and labels his reasons for backing DoMA as "bullshit." Wiggsy also notes that Campbell not only voted for DoMA but spoke out in defense of it as well. "That's the kind of stuff that's absolutely unacceptable," she says. ... Nonetheless, Tom's local handler, Casey Beyer, stands by his man. "If he was in the state Legislature he would vote to allow same-sex marriages," hypothesizes Beyer.

'Scuze You

After a four-year term pock-marked with controversy, San Jose Unified School District board president Victor Freitas announced at the July 25 board meeting that he would not seek re-election in November, no matter what. When asked by fellow board member Carol Myers why, Freitas blurted, "I can't stand another four years of sitting next to you." Eye watchers will recall departing officeholder Freitas and board member Matt Hurley failed in their coup to oust Superintendent Linda Murray in January, an effort which succeeded only in fracturing fragile relations on the board. At the time, Myers and board member Rich Garcia publicly supported Murray. The controversy led to the attempted recall efforts of both Freitas and Hurley. Hurley, who is also up for re-election, has yet to announce whether he will be on the ballot.

Haz Matters

That bitter laugh you hear may be emanating from the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, which is monitoring with some amusement the recent spitting competition between LSI Logic Corp and the Muslim Community Association. The Muslims are attempting to set up an Islamic elementary school across the street from LSI's Santa Clara semiconductor manufacturing plant and LSI is trying to stop them. The company's argument: it could be unsafe to have an elementary school in close proximity to a facility that uses toxic, corrosive and flammable chemicals. LSI has even taken out two full-page ads in the Merc stating that since 1984, the Santa Clara Fire Department responded to 36 hazardous material accidents within a thousand-foot radius of the school. ... The Muslims believe there's no threat to their children or to children in other schools similarly located throughout the valley, but Carlos Plazola of the Toxics Coalition says, not so fast: "This just points out what we've been trying to say for some time now, that there are significant risks associated with the manufacture of semiconductors and computer components." He adds that his group is cutting out LSI full-page ads and using them to drum up support for their environmental cause. "Here's a statement from the horse's mouth with evidence of the potential risk to communities," he says. "When semiconductor companies first located in the area they were put right in middle of areas with schools and homes. It was thought to be a safe industry, but not any longer." ... The city council decided July 17 to let the school keep its use permit until an environmental impact report comes in.

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From the August 1-7, 1996 issue of Metro

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