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Photographs by Dan Pulcrano

Dean thanked the kitchen staff.

Public Eye

Dean Machine

That big cash-sucking sound was the Howard Dean juggernaut that swept through San Jose on Sunday. Dean collected some endorsements and more than 200 grand in contributions at Zoe Lofgren's newly spiffed-up Naglee Park crib in the presidential candidate's most lucrative fundraiser to date. The congresswoman and her spousal unit, attorney John Marshall Collins, hosted a thousand or so of their closest friends in the expansive, walled backyard that they renovated in time for the soiree, extracting a pool and tennis court and replacing it with a big lawn laced with white canopies and bark-covered planting beds. Like Harry Truman on a train car whistle-stop, Dean leaned over a wrought-iron railing on the Collins' dramatic, freshly tiled patio stairway to bash the nation's commander-in-chief for his Iraq lies and spendy ways. ... Dean's speech generated the kind of populist enthusiasm Silicon Valley hasn't seen since President Clinton's compulsive visits in the '90s, or at least since last April's Bon Jovi concert. Speaking without notes, the silver-haired Vermont doctor waxed Kennedyesque with echoes of "Ask not what your country ..." in his empowerment mantra: "The power to change this country is in your hands, not mine." As for tangible power, Dean thinks it should be in the form of renewable energy and told the crowd, "We need leadership other than 'Let's drill in the national parks.'" Earlier, at a $1,000-a-head affair inside the Lofgren-Collins residence, Dean encouraged the high rollers to erect solar panels (even if they drove SUVs) so we could stop "sending money to Saudi Arabia to train children to hate America's Christians and Jews." He also promised the insiders, who included asteroid activist Steve Kirsch, Adobe chairman Charles Geschke, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and PR god Regis McKenna, that he would appoint judges "who would defend the constitution, not rewrite it." Also, drawing on FDR's rural electrification initiative, he vowed he would bring broadband communications "to every corner of rural America." ... The messages clearly resonated with the high-tech millionaires, who have been spurned by the California-unfriendly Bush presidency. Noting Silicon Valley's deep job losses, Lofgren summarized, "The president has created quite a mess inthis country." Dean handlers, such as former mayoral strategist Jude Barry, were clearly pleased with the ability of a campaign Barry describes as "insurgent" and "grassroots" to sell out an affair in the nation's high-tech capital, and for Dean to be able to "hold their attention and get them excited," which was clearly the case as Dean was mobbed by hand shakers and autograph seekers. ... One young Latina, however, was clearly unimpressed by the whiteness of the crowd, which included some hairy people who had come all the way from Marin County. The highest concentration of nongringos was on the steps, where Dean raised arms with three local Latino pols in a salutary victory gesture.

Lofgren, Dean, Barry and Collins caucused before the stump speech.

Dean and Lofgren surveyed Sunday's crowd.

The Vermonter took the president to task for misleading Americans about the war.

Regis McKenna chatted with Nancy and Charles Geshke in Lofgren's living room.

Blanca Alvarado, Dean and Lofgren attempted a theatrical moment. Assemblyman Manny Diaz joined the conga line a few seconds later, and Cindy Chavez smiled broadly.

President Ahnold

It's now 141 years and 30 governors since the last foreign-born whitey ruled California. The state's long-dead seventh head, John Downey from Ireland, would be proud to hear the news that either Austrian hard body Arnold Schwarzenegger or smack-talking Greek Arianna Huffington could break the drought. But that potential isn't good enough for Vietnamese-born San Jose activist Nam Nguyen. Nguyen wants Schwarz'n'egger and his kind allowed in the White House. "I am lobbying Congress for a constitutional change that would allow foreign-born citizens to run for the U.S. presidency," Nguyen announced in an email to Eye last week. He's a big proponent of social justice in politics, which for him seems to mean Asian assimilation into the U.S. political machine. Oddly, Nam now finds himself joined in solidarity with unlikely immigrant-power cheerleader Utah GOPster Orrin Hatch. This summer, Hatch pushed for Congress to amend the federal constitution in order to weed out that snotty part that says, "No person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President." On Sept. 3, a bill to amend the constitution headed to the House Judiciary Committee for a think.

Euro Flash

Dale Warner, an odd mixture of a human who combines Caucasian boosterism and the practice of immigration law, told Eye on Tuesday, Sept. 9, that he's challenging San Jose Councilmember Chuck Reed for his seat next year. Warner generally stands in the city gadfly line throwing proverbial rocks at the Redevelopment Agency and the City Council for its financial management. He describes San Jose's piggy bank as "a crazy quilt of taxes, grants, voter-approved bonds and highly imaginative, Enron-style, barely legal bonds." But his District 4 campaign to replace the American-flag-tie-wearing, dirt-bike riding, nature-loving Boy Scout Reed seems to rest on a fascinating anti-trail, anti-park platform. Warner complains on his website that "millions of dollars are being spent to develop a huge ridge trail ring around San Francisco Bay, especially for horse riders and speedy mountain bikers." He tells Eye, "We should figure out ways of providing access to the [Penitencia Creek] trail for smaller and slower users, people in wheelchairs, students walking to school." Reed hears what Warner is saying. "Dale is concerned about wrecking the creek by having a trail along the creek," he says. And he totally disagrees with the premise. "First off," Reed lectures, "the trail is already along the creek. What we're talking about is paving it, widening it, improving it. ... The presence of the trail does not harm the creek." Reed also officially launched his campaign with its first spare-change letter sent Sept. 4. He received 10 envelopes in response but says he hasn't opened them yet to size up the loot. His first wine-and-cheese fundraiser of the season comes on Sept. 29 at the San Jose Police Officers Association. Of his opponent, Reed concludes, "I think he's running for the wrong office. He should be running for governor."

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From the September 11-17, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

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