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[whitespace] Ron and Alvina Gonzales
Mayoral Ex-Files: Ron Gonzales and wife Alvina call it quits after 22 years.

Public Eye

Mayor's Stock Split

IT WAS A ROUGH WEEK for San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, especially for a man on his way out of town to head to the Democratic National Convention. First, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors threw cold water on his dream of bringing BART to San Jose. Then, on Friday, Gonzales filed for divorce from his wife of 22 years, Alvina, citing "irreconcilable differences" and a separation date of almost two months prior. News of the breakup stunned pals of San Jose's First Couple, who raised three children together. "I'm just deeply distressed and saddened," lamented Assessor Larry Stone. "Both Ron and Alvina are really good friends." Stone said he first heard the news about a week before Gonzales filed divorce papers. "I was shocked," Stone recalled. "But when you look back on it, there were certain signs." ... One of the first signs that all was not right in the Gonzales marriage: Alvina's conspicuous absence from the San Jose Stage Company's annual June 26 "Monday Night Live" sketch show, in which her husband had a cameo. More recently, Alvina--who rarely if ever dabbles in political events not involving her husband--co-hosted a fundraiser for congressional candidate Mike Honda, even though Ron hadn't endorsed Honda. The mayor moved out of the couple's Berryessa home on June 18, court papers indicate. Aides to the mayor would only say that Gonzales is staying somewhere in San Jose. ... More than one insider suggested that the breakup was a political loss for the mayor as well as personal one. In contrast to the mayor's stiff, PowerPoint persona, Alvina, a hairstylist, is an irrepressible extrovert with an infectious laugh who charmed volunteers during the 1998 mayoral campaign. "She was so likable. She provided a lot of balance to Ron," observes one local campaign operative critical of Gonzales. "She's what made him human. Without her, he's just a machine--an aggressive, heartless, politician." ...

Tiano Trouble

Former candidate for Santa Clara County sheriff and 25-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department Armand Joseph Tiano, Sr. was arrested at his home Tuesday evening for multiple counts of child molestation. According to San Jose Police Department Sgt. Steve Dixon, Tiano was arrested at his home in San Jose for allegedly molesting his two stepdaughters, now 15 and 16 years old, over a three-year period. Following his arrest, Tiano was transported to the Santa Cruz County jail where he is being held without bail. Dixon says that Tiano was moved to Santa Cruz for "safekeeping," since there still may be some folks in the local slammer who remember the sheriff's deputy from when he was working on the other side of the law. ... Eye-watchers may recall that this is not Tiano's first brush with trouble, although it is by far his most serious. The subject of a Metro news story earlier this year ("Badge Calls," April 27), Tiano had been under investigation by the district attorney's office for questionable fundraising practices after police raided the offices of his nonprofit charity, the Santa Clara County Police and Sheriff's Athletic League. ... Tiano had been employed for the last two months at Cope & McPhetres Marine, where he worked in boat sales. Tiano's arrest caught his manager by surprise. "You just threw me for a loop," said Jerry Odel when Eye broke the news of Tiano's arrest. The sales manager described Tiano as a "really good employee" and a "real likable person" to boot. "He seemed totally like a trustworthy type," adds Odel. "What a shock."

Head Lines

Defense attorney Denise Zengali, Deputy DA David Pandori, and Superior Court Judge Rodney Stafford were supposed to be the only ones present in judge's chambers last week to try to work out a plea-and-sentencing agreement in the three-and-a-half-weeks-old resisting arrest trial of Aaron Rivera. But the biggest presence of all, perhaps, was the lawyer who wasn't there: San Francisco brain injury litigation specialist Randall H. Scarlett, who has been hired by Rivera family to sue the city of San Jose for what happened to their son after his interaction with San Jose police. ... As reported in Metro ("Night Clubbing," June 17, 1999) the 20-year-old Rivera suffered a serious head injury and a broken arm when he was allegedly beaten with a nightstick by San Jose police officer Robert Reichert after a 1999 San Jose Arena concert. Rivera still has two long scars on the top of his head from subsequent brain surgery. ... The DA's office charged Rivera with instigating his own beating by running from police and then threatening the officer with a metal pipe, which was never found. ... The jury was unconvinced and last week acquitted Rivera on the weapons possession and unlawful assembly charges, and hung on the charge of resisting arrest. The jury did find the Hayward resident guilty of the misdemeanor charge of running from a police officer. ... Pandori, a former San Jose City Council member, admits that a plea agreement is being discussed, but gives a tight-lipped "no comment" when asked if he will retry Rivera on the resisting arrest charges. Rivera himself continues to insist, "I didn't have a pipe. I didn't fight them. They just beat me."

Trading Places

Republican District 15 Representative and senatorial-hopeful Tom Campbell couldn't get a speaking role at his own party's national convention, but was happy to take a turn behind the mic at, of all things, the Shadow Convention down the block from the Demo derby this week. ... And the Gingrich-supporting, pro-defense-spending Campbell may have actually won some lefty fringe votes with his vocal criticism of the drug war. ... Eye, on location for the festivities, overheard a bandanna-wearing woman in sandals tell her pal after the speech, "He's cool," an adjective not often heard in a sentence about the local Reep Rep, and echoing Campbell's own assertion that he's a Republican because he's a strict constitutionalist. When the newfound fans were asked afterward if they'll cast their votes for Campbell, there was a long, silent pause. One, who identified herself as a member of the Green Party, said yes. The other said she didn't believe in voting. ... At the other end of the block and the spectrum, Campbell opponent and Senate incumbent Dianne Feinstein, expected to glide into re-election, raised cheers by talking about what's traditionally been a favorite reep subject--the economy, stupid. No word on whether the Republican fringe was listening.

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From the August 17-23, 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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