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Moot Point? Thirty-five muni judges were promoted to Superior Court judges last week thanks to court consolidation. Jamie Jacobs-May was one of them. Then, why is she still running for a Superior Court seat?

Being There

Thanks to last week's court consolidation, Jamie Jacobs-May now can boast the sobriquet of "Superior Court judge," the title the former muni-court judge sought to attain in the June primary. Nevertheless, Jacobs-May's name will still be appearing on the November ballot to contend for Superior Court seat No. 3, to the dismay of her runoff opponent, prosecutor Joyce Allegro. ... Registrar Dwight Beattie recently determined that state law doesn't allow Jacobs-May to withdraw her name from the ballot, despite the fact that she is already a Superior Court judge who just got a $10,000 raise. Not that Jacobs-May would have done so if she could. She points out that there is a benefit to her running: If she wins, she'll get a shiny new six-year term, whereas now she only has four years remaining on her current seat. She sent a letter out last week, received by some of her colleagues on the bench, reminding people of her candidacy in light of the county's legal ruling and asking for their continued support. ... "I think it's somewhat disingenuous," huffs Allegro, who seems to think Jacobs-May is using the ballot ruling to mask her true motives for making a moot bid for Superior Court. So what are her true motives? "I have no idea why she is doing this," Allegro shrugs. "Every judge that I talk to thinks it seems very strange." Jurist Jamie tells Eye that she plans to inform voters of the consolidation conundrum in her ballot statement. One of the more intriguing consequences if Jacobs-May prevails is that Gov. Pete Wilson or his successor, be it Gray Davis or Dan Lungren, will get to appoint someone to fill in her abandoned four-year seat.


Second Opinion

When the coroner released its autopsy report of inmate Victor Duran, audible groans could be heard emanating from the Department of Corrections and the county counsel. The autopsy all but concluded that someone in the DOC must have strangled Duran in the jail infirmary. This made jail officials nervous for obvious reasons. And with Duran's family planning to file a lawsuit, County Counsel Ann Ravel couldn't have been too pleased to see the coroner's findings, either. ... Jail apologists insisted there was no way anyone in their department could have killed the 350-pound inmate. But how to explain that darned autopsy? Readers will recall that near the time of Duran's death, the grand jury released a scathing report on the coroner's office, suggesting that coroner Angelo Ozoa resign. Eye has it on good authority that the county hired an outside forensic pathologist to get a second opinion, which apparently yielded some different conclusions than those made by local medical examiner Massoud Vameghi. The skinny: If this goes to trial, county lawyers may well be put in the awkward position of discounting the coroner's report and swearing by the outside second opinion as the real deal.


Mission City Mambo

Savvy Santa Clara insiders suspected that soon-to-be-convicted councilmember Jim Arno didn't plan on running for office again when his council ally, Lisa Gillmor, quietly endorsed Planning Commissioner Jamie Matthews to succeed Arno a couple of weeks ago. Indeed, Arno confided to Gillmor that he wouldn't run. ... Nevertheless, Arno apparently kept telling some of his council colleagues otherwise. Matthews, meanwhile, boasts bipartisan support from Gillmor and her council pal Pat Mahan on one side and Nadler-friendly council fella John McLemore on the other. Attorney Byron Fleck, the unfortunate victim of Arno's shenanigans in the 1994 race, was going to run, but now says he's just too darned busy. ... Mayor Judy Nadler won't go unopposed, either, though few expected her opponent would be Agnews activist Deborah Bress. Everyone was keeping an eye on Gillmor. But she says she's too preoccupied taking care of her toddler son and real estate biz to run a grueling campaign for a $1,000-a-month job. Still, as a councilmember, she gets to keep going to those fun-filled Tuesday night meetings that conclude long after Conan O'Brien's opening monologue.


Poor Performance

Surprise, surprise, the politicians on the board of supervisors Tuesday night chose to "give the voters a chance" to tweak local term limits to give them an extra four-year term. What voters won't get a chance to weigh in on, however, is a fairly innocuous charter amendment pushed by Assessor Larry Stone and Supervisor Don Gage to allow performance evaluations of county employees. Believe it or not, about three-fourths of county workers currently aren't subject to job evaluations thanks to weak-kneed politicians and generous contracts negotiated by powerful unions like Local 715. ... At the 11th hour, county counsel told the board it couldn't put the matter on the ballot because they had to "meet and confer" with the unions first. Never mind that the labor-stacked charter review committee has been talking about this stuff for months. A 10th-floor regular suggests that both county counsel and the unions were caught off guard because no one expected the board to razz labor and put the issue on the ballot, especially after the charter committee gave it a thumbs down. ... Turns out the proposed amendment wouldn't even have mandated evaluations. Politically, Stone and Gage thought getting voter approval would later give the county leverage in contract talks. Interestingly, nothing prevents the board right now from getting evaluations inserted into labor contracts. But without the voter safety shield, don't count on that happening.


Mistaken Identities

On Sunday, the town's other paper picked up on last week's Metro cover story on police chief runner-up Walt Adkins. To its credit, Merc gossip scribes more or less accurately told the story of how Adkins showed up at Metro's downtown offices to chat with editor Dan Pulcrano and managing editor Corinne Asturias, although they inaccurately claimed that our brass "refused" an invitation to meet at the PD. The press-shy Adkins disputed Metro's reporting of such incidents as the meeting in which he reportedly didn't recognize a roomful of his own men--though he did ask our editor if he had been on the city committee who had interviewed Adkins for police chief. (He wasn't.) Adkins can't be judged too harshly for mixing up mugs, however, for the Fourth Estate sometimes does the same thing. The Merc's item on Adkins mistakenly ran a photo of ex-fire chief Raymond Brooks, who was fired by City Manager Regina Williams nearly three years ago.


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 eye@sjmetro.com.


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From the August 13-19, 1998 issue of Metro.

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