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[whitespace] Stan Kawczynski Stan Unusual: Boisterous Sunnyvale City Councilman Stan Kawczynski's colleagues don't appreciate his recent combative behavior behind the dais.


Public Eye

Nerf War

In San Francisco and Oakland, where politics is a full-contact sport, the recent antics of Sunnyvale City Councilman Stan Kawczynski wouldn't even draw a warning, let alone a penalty flag. But in the Nerf-politics of Sunnyvale, where politicians like to brag about their nationally recognized "model city," the irascible New York native's public attacks on City Manager Bob LaSala are considered unsportsmanlike conduct (see "Unhappy Days" in last week's Metro). Over the past few months, Kawczynski has repeatedly criticized LaSala for allegedly dragging his Rockports in producing a full accounting of the city manager's travel budget, consultant contracts and the proposed $8 million senior center. Most recently, the Stan-man asked City Attorney Valerie Armento whether the city could seek legal action against the headhunting firm that recommended LaSala. This final line of questioning struck the rest of the council as particularly gauche and embarrassing. So last week the council formed a special three-member subcommittee to investigate whether Kawczynski--no relation to Ted--is creating a hostile work environment and violating the city's code of ethics. "We are confident that you would agree that councilmembers should exhibit dignified behavior while working on behalf of our citizenry," Mayor Manuel Valerio and Vice Mayor Pat Vorreiter wrote Kawczynski in an Aug. 16 letter, "and that you would desire your remaining months as a member of this council to be positive and productive." It may come as no surprise that the etiquette-impaired councilman is vowing to fight back. "These are trumped-up charges," Kawczynski exclaims. "It's a total waste of city resources what they're doing." One not-unsympathetic Sunnyvalean opines, "Sure, Stan gets on everybody's nerves from time to time, but you can't sanction him for that." ... Kawczynski also has a surprise cheerleader in his corner: ex-Mayor Frances Rowe. Eye-watchers no doubt recall that Kawczynski and others ousted Rowe in 1994 from her mayoral perch for, fittingly enough, allegedly harassing staff. "Let me say that I think what the council is doing to you is downright wrong and appalling," Fran told her newfound pal Stan earlier this week.


Idling in Neutral

In politics, just because two people are married doesn't mean they walk in lockstep. To wit: In the San Jose 1998 mayoral race, beer exec Mike Fox backed Ron Gonzales in the primary, while wife Mary Ellen endorsed Pat Dando. Still, insiders wonder how truly "neutral" outgoing Palo Alto Supervisor Joe Simitian is in the free-for-all to succeed him when his wife, political consultant Mary Hughes, has agreed to run the campaign of one of the challengers, Liz Kniss. "It certainly sends a signal as to where Joe's at," an impartial pol pontificates. "It definitely takes Joe out of the 'neutral' category behind the scenes." ... Before Kniss announced her candidacy, Hughes told Cupertino City Councilman Michael Chang--who is seriously considering a bid for supervisor--that she planned to stay out of the District 5 race. Chang says that Hughes recently informed him that she agreed to work for Kniss, a relative latecomer to the race, because Kniss is an old friend of hers. ... Even before Hughes became Kniss's campaign consultant, pundits suspected that Simitian had a hand in persuading his old Palo Alto City Council ally to run for his soon-to-be-vacated seat. Publicly, however, the song remains the same: Simitian says that he has not endorsed anyone yet.


The Right Thing

Much has transpired in the month since Eye first reported that Redwood City venture capitalist Tim Draper was perturbed over the ballot title given to his proposed education initiative by Attorney General Bill Lockyer ("Vouchers. Public funds for private and religious schools"). Draper issued an angry open letter to Lockyer complaining that the title was inaccurate. For one thing, he calls his $4,000-a-student allotment to parents, which they can use to send their kids to private schools, "scholarships," not the v-word. "This is freedom! This is America! Do the right thing," Draper implored. The investor also accused Lockyer of refusing to meet with him (see Public Eye, July 22), a charge that seemed to confound the attorney general. A spokesman for the state's top lawman insists that neither Lockyer himself nor anyone handling his schedule knew Draper wanted to meet. Barry Hutchison, spokesman for the Local Choice 2000 initiative, says that he initially tried to contact a scheduler on behalf of Draper, but ultimately got passed along to a representative in the justice department's ballot-title division. That person, Hutchison recalls, told him that Lockyer couldn't meet with Draper because the attorney general is "impartial." "If they can't track their own calls," Hutchison sniffs, "then that's a systems problem in their office." The bottom line: The two men are meeting in Sacramento on Aug. 31. But Draper shouldn't expect any big changes. Nathan Barankin, Lockyer's press secretary, says the attorney general is confident of the ballot title's accuracy. "There are no second thoughts around here just because someone is irritable," Barankin clucks.


Believe It

Was that acting San Jose City Manager Debra Figone Eye saw last week at Shoreline rocking out to Cher? Indeed it was. Earlier in the day, the BMW-driving bureaucrat had been passed over for a permanent appointment to the city's top administrative post in favor of Charlotte, N.C., Deputy City Manager Del Borgsdorf. But by the evening, Figone's poor fortune was all but forgotten as she let herself be consumed by the dulcet lip-synched sounds of Sonny Bono's ex-wife. "It was great," Figone tells Eye. Her favorite moment of the concert: Cher's performance of "Believe."


Domain Dame

Porn star Nina Hartley was in San Jose last week for a gig at the Pink Poodle strip club and brought some good news with her: She won her court battle to maintain the right to the "nina.com" domain name. Last year, Nina Footwear of New York accused Hartley of trademark infringement and complained to Network Solutions--the domain-name assigners--about the actress's website, which has been up since 1995. Hartley tells Eye that "her heart dropped out" when she first received the legal threat. But she ultimately decided to say "F 'em"--her phrase--since she had registered the domain name first. After all, she has used the stage name Nina Hartley for 15 years and appeared in more than 460 adult films during that span. Nina.com features interviews with the porn princess, her upcoming tour dates, essays and educational videos like Nina Hartley's Guide to Fellatio and, for more experienced lovers, Nina Hartley's Guide to Advanced Oral Sex. When Hartley fought back in federal court, Nina Footwear's lawyers backed off and settled. "Justice prevailed here," the well-rounded blond proclaims.


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From the August 26-September 1, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 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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