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[whitespace] SoFA
Ten Years After: One of the original masterminds of the SoFA street fair says half of the organizers wanted to drop it.

Public Eye

SoFA Away

SOMEONE FIND the Merc's Joe Rodriguez--quick. He'd be the one to start memorializing the passing of the SoFA music festival, a veritable Very San Jose if J-Rod were still keeping tabs. Organizers of the music festival and bazaar, which helped benefit charitable organizations in the area, have declared this the 10th and final year. "No one wants to do it," laments Agenda owner Jacek Rosicki. "It really doesn't do anything for us; all it does is create a lot of work." Rosicki says he would have pushed on if the crowds reflected the 20 to 40 crowd instead of the 15 to 25 crowd. Co-founder Gary Walker says that the SoFA organizational meetings revealed changes were afoot, with participants split down the middle on whether to stop or continue. Walker adds that some organizers wondered if it might make more sense to create a new and different event in the future. "Everyone put their heads together and said, 'Ten years is a good way to go out. Let's do this with a big blowout, a celebration of local music.'" There may be a SoFA revival, but not the kind that beer swillers and sweaty moshers might expect. "It's not to say that there's not room for another alternative festival at another time of the year, or in a different location," Walker says. "I've certainly talked about moving the event, creating a new event ... something quite a bit different, a little more upscale." He also reveals that SoFA was "becoming more difficult to make it more successful," given the pricey festival requisites of police services, tables, chairs and Porta Potties. Logistically, it wasn't happening, says Scott Knies, executive director of the Downtown Association, which has paired with Walker and SoFA since the festival's inception. "From an event production standpoint, we have to ask ourselves, Has the SoFa street fair run its course? Are we whipping a dead horse here?" SoFA was "hip, bohemian, cutting edge," says Knies, but "frankly, as an event producer, the attendance has declined. We've lost money at the event as well--that's another indication that the customers aren't there. It's time to move on and think of something else." The final fest is set for Sunday, Sept. 16.

Line Dance

State lawmakers released the draft maps of the new Demo-drawn Assembly districts last week. Mountain View councilwomen Sally Lieber and Rosemary Stasek didn't get shuffled out of the 22nd Assembly District they're running to represent. And while he didn't get Mountain View, Assemblyman Joe Simitian may not like the looks of his new 21st District, which stretches south from San Carlos to pick up the more Republican areas of Los Gatos and Almaden. Simitian, however, says he's still digesting the new lines. "I didn't really have any expectations," Simitian says, adding that his proposed district dropped from a 15 percent Demo over Reep margin to a slightly lower 12 percent.... Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn, by the way, picked up Cupertino and some pretty Democratic parts of San Jose, making the freshman a little safer by dumping her Republican areas into Simitian's territory. Additionally, it looks like a few local Republicans--and potential challengers--have been drawn out of Cohn's district. Los Gatos Councilman Steve Blanton and Monte Sereno's Suzanne Jackson, both of whom tried for the 24th last year, and San Jose Councilwoman and Almaden resident Pat Dando, who could be a strong GOP challenger, now live in Simitian's district.

Pat's Plans

Speaking of Dando, she's still a potential challenger in the San Jose mayoral race, and although few insiders think she's planning a run, Pat told Eye last week that she'd have a decision sometime after the holiday weekend. But what about Sacramento? "I was being encouraged to run in 2002 for the 24th," Dando says, adding that it's not likely to happen. Dando says she was also being pushed to make an Assembly bid when Jim Cunneen left the 24th open in 2000, "but the timing with my family wasn't right." Had she run, one political observer thinks, Dando probably could have beat Cohn without breaking much of a sweat....Duf Sundheim, chairman of the reep-cultivating Lincoln Club, says he's been staying in touch with Dando. "We're strongly encouraging her to run," says the Dufman. "She says she's very interested but wants to make sure it's a race she can win." In years past, the Lincoln Club pushed Dando to run for San Jose Mayor, and if Pat makes a move for higher office, the group will likely be a financial backer. Sundheim brags that the group's 300 members in the Bay Area raised $3.5 million for GOP candidates last year, most of which went to George W. But although Dando's a big name in the South Bay, if she wants a shot at Simitian's seat, she'll need to start introducing herself to voters up as far north as San Carlos.

Party Hardly

It's not the job she wanted, but Suzanne Jackson recently started collecting a paycheck from the State of California. After her unsuccessful Assembly bid against Cohn last year, the Monte Sereno councilwoman is getting back to her roots as a registered nurse. She recently started work as a health facility evaluator with the Department of Health Services. Part of the move, she concedes, is to help pay off some of lingering campaign debts. And, sure, while the council gig may look nice on a résumé, it doesn't pay anything.... Although Eye had heard Sue might be looking for a rematch with Rebecca, it looks like that won't happen now that little Monte Sereno will probably be drawn into Simitian land. But whatever district she's in, the pro-choice Republican says she's not planning any Assembly bids these days because the political landscape is dominated by Democrats.

Gun Lobby

One of the downsides of being an elected bigwig is that someone always wants a piece of you. Worse, some have guns. So when a cranky constituent called Rep. Mike Honda's district office on Stevens Creek Boulevard last Friday threatening to drop by with a shotgun, nervous staffers immediately called police. FBI agents and San Jose police came to the office while other officers set up surveillance on the suspect's house. According to a police spokesman, authorities nabbed Andrew Defaria, 41, when he returned to his Santa Teresa home that evening. Defaria is out on bail, and the case is in the DA's hands. Honda Chief of Staff Jennifer Van der Heide says Defaria was apparently upset with the outcome of an immigration case. ... The funny thing, she adds, is that U.S. Capitol Police were at the office the day before to give a security briefing. "Threats are very commonplace, either against specific members or on an office in general," says Capitol Police Lt. Dan Nichols. "But we take them all very seriously." One more Mike item: Vince Duffy, the Honda campaign's media man, recently started as a speechwriter for Gov. Gray Davis.

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From the September 6-12, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

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