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[whitespace] Hard to Get: Kathy Chavez Napoli still hasn't decided which of her recent rivals she will be backing in the
runoff for mayor.

Courting Kathy

In raw ideological terms, Kathy Chavez Napoli would seem to share a strong kinship with her rival in the mayoral primary, Pat Dando. Both are fiscal conservatives and suspicious of big government. And they both have signed the ballot statement opposing a special tax in the city. Napoli, though, so far hasn't endorsed Dando in the runoff. She continues to chat it up with Ron Gonzales, whom many predict will cruise to victory in the fall. ... During the primary, Napoli constantly needled Gonzales in debates for his delayed opposition to Prop. 227, his inability to speak Spanish and his earlier attempts to pass taxes to finance a baseball stadium. But the chill between the two appears to be melting away. Napoli turned up at a recent barbecue for Gonzales thrown by Latino activist John Zamora. "They've been having pretty friendly conversations," reveals Gonzales campaign manager Leslee Hamilton. "She hasn't committed [to Gonzales] yet, but I took it as a positive sign that she showed up at the barbecue." Explains Napoli: "I showed up at the request of a friend. But I was not supporting anybody." Meanwhile, the other candidate from the primary, roller boy Bill Chew, is endorsing Gonzo, Eye is told. ... Speaking of the Chewster, the Ethics Commission last week dismissed his complaint against KNTV and the Merc for excluding him from a televised debate in June. "The decision on the part of KNTV management to exclude me," Chew argued, "changed this event into [an illegal] campaign contribution of one-hour prime-time network-affiliate live broadcast to the three candidates who participated." So does that mean all the other candidates should have been awarded their own public-access TV shows like Bill had?

Off the Bench

The race to replace Judge Jeremy Fogel, who got booted up to federal court from superior court, becomes more bizarre with each passing day. First, a quick refresher: In the primary, there were three candidates for the superior court seat--prosecutor Joyce Allegro, and then muni court judges David Cena and Jamie Jacobs-May. Allegro and Jacobs-May finished first and second respectively, qualifying for the November runoff. In the meantime, Prop. 220 paved the way for court consolidation, elevating Cena and Jacobs-May to superior court judges making $10,000 more a year. Enter County Counsel Ann Ravel, who initially opined that election law didn't allow Jacobs-May to withdraw from the race. Allegro squawked, so Ravel sought a second opinion from the attorney general. The upshot: Jacobs-May is out, Cena is in and Allegro might be screwed. Jacobs-May decided to withdraw, Ravel says, but the law requires the next leading vote-getter--i.e. Cena--to appear on the ballot. "It turned out to be more bizarre than anyone expected," Ravel concedes. Now Allegro is making noise about Cena's ballot statement, which she says misleads voters into thinking he's the incumbent--a huge advantage in the Year of the Status Quo. "This election," Cena writes, "provides Santa Clara County voters an opportunity to elect an experienced, fair and ethical superior court judge to a new six-year term." At least Jacobs-May in her aborted ballot statement disclosed the unusual situation created by the recent court unification making her candidacy semi-moot. When asked by a Daily Journal reporter why he didn't do the same, Cena replied, "What's the point of doing that?"

Just Spell it Right

Immediately after last week's item on the Merc and Nasdaq, Eye got a call from business reporter Chris Schmitt, and boy was he a bear! (To recap, last week we revealed that the Merc postponed a major article critical of Nasdaq after Schmitt sent an advance copy of the story to Nasdaq officials.) Schmitt was ticked because we spelled his name wrong (our apologies) and because we failed to talk to him before the item was published (sorry about that, too). But after hearing Schmitt's explanation as to what really happened, Eye respectfully rejects his assertion that we got it all wrong. According to Schmitt--who coincidentally has left the paper to do gumshoe work--he did send out a preliminary draft of the story to Nasdaq. Schmitt says he had an agreement with the stock marketeers that they would keep the story to themselves, but the Nasdakkers broke that agreement and contacted the Merc's sources. Schmitt maintains that the Merc didn't turn editorial control over to Nasdaq, and that only a few changes were made in the piece as a result of Nasdaq's intervention. Nonetheless, Schmitt confirms that those weren't CIA officials arriving in limousines at Merc headquarters last Tuesday. They were Nasdaq hacks flying in for a big pre-publication powwow ... Anyhow, the Merc story on Nasdaq--supposedly a year in the making--finally ran last Sunday--a week late but, Schmitt insists, nothing short.

Bygones Be Bygones

Supe Don Gage first proved he was a good sport when he named John Gibbs to be his chief of staff after being elected. Gibbs had served as an unpaid adviser to Gage's opponent, independent John Redding, in last year's special election. Now, Gage is going a step further, naming Redding himself as his appointee to the Parks Commission. Gibbs notes that the two have been friendly for a while. "Redding really liked the team Don put together," Gibbs boasts.

Berry Messy

Politics make for strange bedfellows, and the Berryessa School District is no exception. Ten years ago, political operative Vic Ajlouny teamed up with Berryessa trustee Tonia Izu to recall Diane Kruger. Krueger and two other trustees got yanked off the school board, opening the door for Izu-backed candidates Sue Mitchell and Sue Brooks. In the intervening decade, Ajlouny and Izu had a parting of the ways, precipitating a political realignment evident in this year's campaign season. Kruger is now supporting Izu's re-election. Ajlouny is doing damage control for Superintendent Herb Wadley, a regular recipient of Izu criticism. And the two Sues are the subjects of a recall effort. The more things change ... Meanwhile, Berryessa residents were getting phone calls from an Alabama polling firm on Thursday night, asking them their feelings about local political characters. One person contacted was former school board candidate Dale Warner. "If you heard," the pollster asked, "that Dale Warner was supporting someone, would you be inclined to support them strongly, somewhat strongly, oppose them or oppose them strongly?" "Oh," Warner offered, "I would support the people I support very strongly."

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From the September 10-16, 1998 issue of Metro.

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