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[whitespace] Dolly Sandoval
Friends Again: Dolly Sandoval got an endorsement from former rival Liz Kniss.

Public Eye

Gone Bygones

EYE SPILLED PLENTY OF INK last year over the supe race slugfest between Palo Alto Mayor Liz Kniss and Foothill-De Anza board member Dolly Sandoval. But there was much to cover: Sandoval, a Latina, said a mailer against her had racist overtones, and both sides traded accusations of campaign ethics violations, in addition to other barbs. But Dolly, who is now running for a council seat in Cupertino, and the District 5 supe have apparently been warming up to one another. Kniss campaign-manager-turned-chief-of-staff Kindel Blau faxed out a press release shortly after quitting time Friday evening announcing her boss's endorsement of Sandoval in the Cupe race... Sandoval says she sat down with Kniss earlier that week, and Kniss agreed to make the endorsement. "We talked issues," Sandoval says. "She'll need help from the council on an affordable housing plan, but her main interest is in land use, and that will be a key issue in this race." (Cupertino has a big mixed-use development and a proposed school coming up for consideration.) Sandoval says her former opponent also gave her a few pointers on running for and sitting on a city council. But despite the tough race, Sandoval says politics and policy are different worlds: "If you looked at our issues, we weren't that far apart." ... Kniss says she's met with Sandoval several times since the election, and bumped into her at events a couple dozen times. Kniss offers: "We saw a lot of issues in the same light." But although she's already being besieged by other endorsement seekers, Kniss says she gave Sandoval an early one because "she was a different situation." So why endorse Dolly? "She asked," says Kniss. ... A recent image poll, however, suggests that Sandoval won't need much help: The numbers, from David Binder Research, show Dolly leading the pack with a 35 percent favorable and 4 percent negative rating. Incumbent Sandy James trails slightly with 28 percent favorable and 3 percent negative. ... Incidentally, Cupe residents also responded that they think their city is going in the right direction but the state, on the other hand, isn't.

Group Ease

If you didn't get an email about rugs from San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales recently, you're probably not on the man's A-list. Anyone who is knows that the former high-tech exec isn't one of those political types who's too busy to handle his own email. And anyone who read the Merc's breathless coverage of his love life knows the mayor uses email for more than just business. But a message from the mayor that went out last week may have had a few--OK, a lot--of people wondering about Le Gonz. The message--ostensibly to one of the mayor's preset email groups--went out to councilmembers and more than 150 supporters, friends, former politicians, business leaders, city and county officials, academics, political operatives and other big names, everyone from Amy Dean to Zoe Lofgren. Even jailed sheriff's deputy Armand Tiano made the list, along with mayoral sweetheart Guisselle Nuñez. (Eye notes that its name was not included on the list, but rather had the missive forwarded by someone evidently closer to the mayor's heart.) The big news? The city clerk's office is getting new carpets on Aug. 17, so everything will be boxed up. This made Eye wonder--Did someone steal the mayor's password? A malevolent computer virus? No, mayoral spinmeister David Vossbrink called back to explain, "Just a trip of the finger forwarding a routine memo to staff and hitting the wrong list." ... Speaking of button pushing, Gonzales has hired a new deputy chief of staff. Maria Westfried, who started Monday indirectly fills senior adviser posts left vacant by Rebecca Dishotsky, who is now the mayor's chief of staff, and Meri Maben, who left to run Mike Honda's district office. Westfried comes to town with an impressive set of qualifications for the job: a résumé boasting Washington, D.C., experience as an official at HUD and the Department of Energy. She also worked as director of the White House Intern Program in 1997-98. Make your own jokes.

Tough Times

The L.A. Times think piece on San Jose's fortune, or lack thereof, that graced the paper's front page Tuesday was, in all fairness to reporter Shawn Hubler, not as merciless as it could have been. Although it's distressing that even L.A. is scoring off the misfortunes of slumpsville, Eye couldn't help but notice that some of the observations sounded eerily familiar. The article included a cheap shot from Herb Caen ("Sannazay is probably bigger than S.F. already, but who cares? Nobody goes there.") and an allusion to San Jose's unfortunate but little-used nickname of "Little L.A." Turns out, the same observations were also included in another Times front page story wondering when SJ would become a city--published 15 years ago. Hubler's also updates the '86 article's taunts that the only international flights from SJC go to Canada and that downtown doesn't have any of the valley's biggest corporate HQ's (Angelenos: It's not the case anymore). Reached on vacation at Disneyland, Hubler defended her research: "I used some things from the clips ... The Herb Caen quote hasn't changed much, has it?"

Blue vs. Red

Is there a turf war between San Jose Police and the San Jose Fire Department? An abandoned building at the new downtown City Hall site suggests as much. On the side of one building, SJPD was written in 4-foot-tall blue letters. A week later, an Eye operative tells us, that was crossed out with red paint and SJFD spray-painted next to it, also in red. An SJPD spokesperson didn't have any specifics to offer, but a spokeswoman for the fire department says there's no gang activity in the ranks: Fire crews have been using the soon-to-be-bulldozed buildings for training exercise.

Duff Luck

When Gilroy city officials slapped down a small fortune to buy chairs for the City Council at more than $1,000 each last fall, the investment was supposed to bring comfort to elected rear-ends for two decades. At a recent meeting, however, one of the black leather kiester-holders not only fell apart, it almost dumped Councilman Roland Velasco on the floor. Turns out some of the screws had fallen out, and upon further inspection, other chairs were losing their screws, too. Norwegian chairmaker Hjellegjerde sent someone from L.A. to fix the chairs for free, so the story has a happy ending, but a couple of councilmembers were apparently so steamed about the whole ordeal that they refused to talk about it when asked by a reporter from the Gilroy Dispatch. "I'm not going to bring up the chairs again," Velasco fumed. Councilman Al Pinheiro barked that the paper didn't have anything better to write about. This, however, is exactly the wrong way to handle questions from a small-town paper. Want Eye's advice? Next time, think of a joke. Something like: "Hey, we weigh all the issues heavily..." or "This is not an issue to be taken lightly."

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From the August 16-22, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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