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[whitespace] Chuck Reed Badder Than Old King Kong: Councilman croons for dollars.


Public Eye

Bye-Bye Blinky

When guv wannabe BILL SIMON unveiled his new webpage last week, Eye, who enjoys all things new and fears the old, just had to check out the makeover. And sure enough, on the opening page, there's a giddy Simon sharing an embrace with a feral-looking GEORGE W. BUSH (and you can tell by the look on Simon's face that--oh, boy!--this guy's gonna get Big Energy out of politics; after all, he's friends with RUDY GIULIANI! He'll fix everything!). Poking around the bottom of the Simon "news page," however, Eye found something even more interesting: Blinky, the three-eyed fish from The Simpsons. Clicking on Blinky opened up a humorous little comparison between the gubernatorial campaigns of incumbent Gov. GRAY DAVIS, Simon's adversary, and MONTGOMERY BURNS, the malevolent nuclear-power-plant owner (who's not actually real) from the TV show. As Simpsons fans know, Blinky mutated because of the pollution spewed out by the nuclear plant, which became a campaign issue when Monty Burns launched his bid for governor. In campaign ads, Burns insisted that the fish was perfectly fine, but when MARGE SIMPSON served up Blinky on a plate in front of live TV cameras, Burns couldn't choke it down. ... Fast-forward to reality. As Simon fans know, Gov. Davis accepted generous contributions from Tosco at about the same time the state granted permission for one of its refineries to dump dioxins into San Francisco Bay. The handy comparison chart notes that, among other things, Burns' source of wealth is his energy company, while Davis' is energy companies. The Simon folks were so proud of their creation that they sent it out in a mass email to reporters. The gag chart even made it on to CNN's Inside Politics. OK, Eye thought, that's kind of funny (ha). But what also seemed funny (strange) is that Simpsons creator MATT GROENING, a well-known lefty, would willingly lend his creations to a right-winger like Simon. Eye phoned the Simon press office to see if they had permission to use the cartoon characters. A confused-sounding dude said he'd take a message (nobody called back with an answer). In search of answers, Eye next rang up Fox Broadcasting's impressively angry and hostile spokeswoman ANTONIA COFFMAN, who oddly refused to verify the spelling of her name but confirmed Eye's suspicion that the campaign wasn't allowed to use the likenesses of Blinky and Burns for political purposes. "No, they wouldn't have permission," Coffman barked. "We have a trademark and a copyright, so we restrict any usage of the show, especially in a political forum. It's not an authorized usage." Coffman also prodded Eye for the Simon camp's website, so she could forward it to the Fox legal team. Which might explain why the photo of Blinky disappeared from the web within a couple hours. Of course, Eye was also entertained by the way Simon's flacks apparently missed all those jokes about how Burns is a heartless Republican businessman--and that he loses the election.

Going, Going, Cohn

Almost since the day Assemblywoman REBECCA COHN took office, anyone with enough spare time to follow South Bay politics has wondered where she'd try to go next. Now that term limits put members of the lower house back on the streets after just three two-year terms, those who don't want to give up their political ambitions must start scrapping for a Senate seat as soon as they take the oath of office. Cohn, however, got dealt a lousy hand last year by redistricting, which dumped her into a misshapen 15th Senate District that runs from her front door in Saratoga all the way down the coast to San Luis Obispo. And if she didn't like it, she'd have to move into either BYRON SHER's 11th District or JOHN VASCONCELLOS' 13th District and make a run there. In a twist, the senators in all three of these odd-numbered seats are termed out in 2004. The options aren't great for Cohn. Registration in the 15th is split equally, and the Republicans have been itching to run party darling Assemblyman ABEL MALDONADO, a young moderate from San Luis Obispo who's also Latino. In the other two heavily Democratic districts in the valley, Assemblyman JOE SIMITIAN and ex-Assemblyman TED LEMPERT have been gearing up for a while to capture Sher's seat. And on the other side of town, Assemblymember ELAINE ALQUIST is already trying to grab Vasco's seat. (Incidentally, it's hazy whether MANNY DIAZ is actually hot for Vasco's seat or the supervisorial race, given the only slightly substantiated rumor that labor fave CINDY CHAVEZ could beat Diaz to the punch.) Eye learned last week that Cohn has been doing a little polling in both the 11th and the 13th recently to help her decide. "It's a big decision, and she wants to be grounded in her decision," according to a Cohn staffer. The same staffer reveals that the freshman Dem has decided to cross Vasco's seat off her list, but she's still eyeing the other two.

Bad, Bad Chuck Reed

Serious land-use lawyer and San Jose Council Feller CHUCK REED busted out with a secret side on Thursday (July 25), when he sang "Achy Breaky Heart" and "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" at a karaoke fundraiser for young San Jose boxer CHRIS MARTIÑON, 15. Latino group consortium La Raza Roundtable held the fundraiser and raised about $1,000. "We've basically adopted her," says La Raza co-founder ROSE AMADOR, because "she's an excellent role model." Martiñon's heading to defend her title in the 2002 National Women's Golden Globe Championships in Chicago from Aug. 21 to 24 (and she's got her eye on the Olympics as soon as women's boxing is added, perhaps in 2004, says her mom) and needs cash to fund her national tour as she beats up everyone in her way. Reed boxed in 1966 as a freshman in the Air Force Academy. But the Berryessa rep tells Eye, his first choice sport was "anything but boxing." He also confesses that his karaoke voice is "meager." Eye is pleased to note that lack of talent does not hold back our city leaders.

Eye So Sorry

Unfortunately, Eye was only half-open last week and totally overlooked naming a couple of the Camera Cinemas' very important persons. Namely, DENNIS SKAGGS must be honored as one Camera co-owner who goes way back three decades to the institution's start. Also, Eye now sees the error of our failure to mention ED RATHMAN and GLENN THOMPSON, two fabulous owners of Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizza who now own the eatery Willow Street Cinema Cafe in the lobby of Camera 7 Cinemas. Eye is very repentant.


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From the August 8-14, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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