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[whitespace] Pat Dando Standing Pat: City Councilwoman Pat Dando's decision not to run for the Assembly has revived the ambitions of politicians who were once going to give the race a pass.

Public Eye

Pat Stays Put

One week ago, the race for the west valley Assembly seat could be summed up in two words: Pat Dando. The Almaden Valley Republican's anticipated coronation on the Assembly throne had all but scared off everyone from both parties, valiant souls no doubt humbled by the nobility of her enviable Name ID and fundraising prowess. But now that Dando has announced she will seek re-election to her City Council seat and forgo a 150-mile commute to the Capitol, ambitious Reeps are scrambling to put together campaigns. The day after Dando officially bowed out, Monte Sereno Vice Mayor Suzanne Jackson sent an email announcing her nascent candidacy. In her haste, Jackson prematurely boasted that she had the endorsements of her "dear friend" Dando and incumbent Assemblyman Jim Cunneen. An aide to Dando said it's "too early" to say whom Pat is backing; and a Cunneen adviser insists that the termed-out assemblymember hasn't made any official endorsement yet either, although he was seen introducing Reep Los Gatos Councilman Steve Blanton around the Assembly floor Tuesday. ... Blanton had already hit the phones over the weekend to line up support for his newly hatched candidacy. Among the professed Blantonistas: Supervisor Don Gage and ex-Saratoga Mayor Don Wolfe, who once considered running for the Assembly seat in question. Blanton says he isn't an official candidate yet, "but it's safe to say I'm in the thick of things." By the by, Jackson herself was a major supporter of Blanton's ill-fated bid for supervisor two years ago. ... The apparent benefactor of Dando's decision is Rebecca Cohn, the relatively unknown but well-to-do Democratic businesswoman from Saratoga who was the only person brave enough to take on the suicide mission. Cohn already has $100,000 in the bank and a slew of endorsements.

Domino Effect

Prospective Assembly candidates haven't been the only ones taking a keen interest in Pat Dando's career plans. A handful of would-be heirs to her City Council seat have been waiting for months to get a thumbs up from the Patster. Perhaps the most surprised by the news of Dando's decision to seek re-election was her old ally, former Almaden Valley Community Association prez John Redding. Redding, a Dando stalwart who backed her mayoral bid, got the news Friday morning from Assessor Larry Stone, with whom he had a previously scheduled meeting. Redding seemed genuinely baffled when the assessor offered his political condolences. Stone even read Redding a brief news item from the local daily to prove it was true. Another Redding pal in the county building tells Eye, "He wasn't very happy. He was kind of embarrassed." Redding was out of town and couldn't be reached for comment on whether he still plans to run. ... Someone definitely not running now is Valley Christian Schools' chancellor, Claude Fletcher, who thinks Pat, a prayer-breakfast Republican, is just swell. The status of Nancy Pyle's candidacy is less clear. Pyle, a Democrat who lost convincingly when she ran against Dando and others in 1995, has already tapped consultant Ed McGovern to run her campaign. She even sent out postcards 10 days ago announcing her campaign kickoff on Sept. 9, the first day candidates can raise cash under the city's campaign finance law. Unfortunately, Pyle couldn't be reached for comment, since she is vacationing in Hawaii.

In Search Of

It's a poorly kept secret that political operative Doug Winslow, the owner of American Data Management, has been looking for a female Democrat to run against local Republican Congressman Tom Campbell. This weekend at Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's barbecue at Kelley park, Winslow passed around "Dear friend" cards detailing the impressive résumé of his latest find: Former Sunnyvale Mayor and Hewlett-Packard administrator Robin Parker. According to Winslow, Parker is still testing the waters. "We've got a very exciting prospect," Winslow gushed, "someone who can worry Tom Campbell."

Take Stock

Shareholder lawsuits are nothing new in the valley. But it's not every day that the shareholder filing the lawsuit is Dr. Bernie Gifford, former vice president of education at Apple Computer and founder of Academic Systems, the Mountain View-based maker and marketer of multimedia educational materials. Gifford and Jack Gottsman, Academic's ex-CEO, filed suit recently in Santa Clara County Superior Court accusing the company's management and board of directors--which includes former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry--of having a conflict of interest when they approved a $53.3 million merger deal earlier this year with Lightspan Partnership, an interactive software developer in San Diego. They pointed out that several Academic board members either own stock in both companies or serve on Lightspan's board also. ... Gottsman and Gifford groused that common shareholders would only get one share of Lightspan for every 13 common shares of Academic stock they owned, a highly relevant point for the duo who owned more than 3 million of Academic's outstanding common shares. ... Unfortunately for tech stargazers, the suit was settled shortly before there could be a showdown at a scheduled August shareholders' meeting. Academic's current CEO, John Brandon, was tight-lipped about the settlement amount, saying only, "Bernie has agreed to wholeheartedly endorse the merger."

Same As The Old Boss

Former Sunnyvale Mayor Ron Gonzales is bringing another familiar face to San Jose City Hall from his hometown. Gonzo has tapped David Vossbrink, Sunnyvale's longtime public information officer who quit his job earlier this year, to be his new director of communications starting on Sept. 13. He will make $65K. Vossbrink rejoins ex-Sunnyvale city administrator Jim Webb, whom Gonzales recruited at the beginning of the year. ... Meanwhile, Vossbrink's predecessor, Leslee Hamilton, has decided to move on. Initially, the mayor's spinmeisters said Hamilton would assume a policy role in the administration, presumably at a lower wage. Hamilton pulled in $75,000 as press secretary, the second-highest-paying position in the mayor's office. Leslee informs Eye that her next gig will be running the South Bay campaign against the "Defense of Marriage" state ballot initiative. She also plans to help her dear friend Ken Yeager in his upcoming City Council race in District 6.

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From the September 2-8, 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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