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Weenie Wags: Pasquale's owner Pat Mormon says he's gotten more publicity from this vandalized statue than the loss of his 22-year business.

Reattachable Penis

There's probably a deep psychological reason for all the press being given to the castrated statue of David in front of Patrick Mormon's Willow Glen antique store. Or maybe it's simply that the media can't resist a good story with the word "penis" in it. According to Mormon, he's gotten calls from KRON-TV, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and the National Enquirer. Last month vandals carefully removed the statue's manhood, leaving a Band-Aid to cover their handiwork. But there's good news. Mormon tells Eye that Santa Cruz artist Bo Hinrichs is offering to reconstruct the missing link and once again make the Michelangelo copy anatomically correct. "He said it would be his privilege and pleasure to sculpt it," Mormon reports. "This time, it's gonna stay there." Hinrichs says he's perhaps most infamous for his Tanuki shrine featuring 3-foot-wide cement testicles. The stone penis, Hinrichs muses, will be a solid addition to his portfolio. ... Meanwhile, Mormon's downtown Italian restaurant, Pasquale's, will not be resurrected. "I decided that it was time to retire after 22 years," says Mormon, wearing the gold chain necklaces that have become his trademark. Celebrities like Luciano Pavarotti and Anthony Quinn have eaten at Pasquale's over the years (Pavarotti had the linguine with fresh tomato, basil and garlic, Mormon recalls), as well as San Jose's political glitterati. The kitchen has been closed since January while Mormon, with financial help from the Redevelopment Agency, made the brick building earthquake-safe. Mormon won't say how much he's trying to sell the retrofitted building for, though it's common knowledge that he's been trying to unload Pasquale's for years. Eye did notice, however, that the Redevelopment Agency budgeted $900,000 this year to buy the San Jose Stage Company's building, another Mormon property, next door to Pasquale's.


Another One Bites the Dust

Pasquale's isn't the only SoFA business closing its doors. Just a few doors away, Kismet, a combination art gallery and cafe, abruptly shut down this week for good. Sixteen months ago, owners Donna Fritz and Mike Walden opened Kismet's giant steel doors, hoping to plant the seed that would transform SoFA into San Jose's version of New York's SoHo district. Though the cafe seemed to fare reasonably well, providing a daytime haven for the body-pierced and the briefcase-bearing alike, the cavernous gallery never really caught on. "We've decided that while there's still hope for SoFA, for us it's not going to turn around fast enough," Fritz sighs. Fritz says she might have been able to make a go of it with financial help from the city. "The city's doing a great job in terms of bringing the Adobes downtown," she observes, "but support for small businesses is slim."


Ribbon Bludgeoning

Surgeons are still trying to remove the foot from San Jose City Councilman Frank Fiscalini's mouth after he committed an embarrassing, though innocent, gaffe last week. Fiscalini was filling in for bereaved Mayor Susan Hammer at a grand opening ceremony the day after her father's passing. Hammer was slated to christen the Joseph George wine shop in Willow Glen. Beneath the blazing sun that seems to accompany every South Bay ribbon-cutting, company president Bert George broke the already known news that Mayor Hammer couldn't make it because her dad's death. "We're a family operation," George sympathized. "I would have called and told her not to come, anyway." After George introduced Hammer's understudy to the crowd, Fiscalini boomed, "I wouldn't miss this day for anything."


Kidney Stones

Former Santa Clara Mayor Eddie Souza, is stewing over a column that took him to task in the Santa Clara Weekly recently. Souza opposes Sun Microsystems' proposal to build a new campus on the historic old Agnews property, now home to hundreds of developmentally disabled people. In his "Milestones" column, Weekly publisher Miles Barber, a Sun booster, accused Souza of bringing his disabled 21-year-old son to a Planning Commission meeting "to somehow show that children like his would loose [sic] the benefits of the Agnew facilities." "I didn't even go," Souza grouses. "I stayed at home with my son. My wife went to the meeting." Souza admits that he's taken his son to council meetings recently, but explains he does that only when he has no one to look after him. Barber couldn't be reached for comment. ... Sun's proposal goes to the council later this month, after the Planning Commission narrowly rejected the 82-acre development plan. Right now insiders predict that Mayor Judy Nadler and Councilboy Rod Diridon Jr. will get behind Sun, while Lisa Gillmor will vote against the deal. Keep an eye on Councilwoman Aldyth Parle, considered a key swing vote. Parle ran as a preservationist. Can she still claim to be one if she votes against the history buffs' wishes?


That's the Way, Jose

Attempting an 11th hour save, proponents of saving San Jose's historic Jose Theater are faxing around a letter of interest addressed to developer Gerald Gruzden from CentRe Mortgage Capital which lays out terms for loaning $11 million for a mixed use project that would build low income housing and preserve the theater--unlike the current plan before the city council, which would would demolish the Jose and leave only its facade standing. Preservation Action Council's Karita Hummer says this debunks the oft-quoted maxim that saving the Jose is "economically unviable." The council meets at 7pm on Tues., Sept. 16 at Yerba Buena High School (1855 Lucretia Ave.) to decide whether to send the wrecking ball swinging.


Another Goober

Expect state Sen. John Vasconcellos to formally announce the formation of an exploratory campaign committee to test waters for a gubernatorial run. Helping Vasco is old aide Rich Robinson, who is shelving his plans to work for millionaire Democrat Al Checchi. A source close to the campaign concedes that Vasco's chances of winning the Democratic nomination are a long shot in a field that should include Checchi and Lt. Gov. Gray Davis, and possibly Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is toying with being Al Gore's running mate instead of hanging around the state capitol. Vasco will take six weeks to decide whether to run.


Quite A Row

If he continues to be good, Santa Clara political bottom-feeder James Rowen will successfully complete his one-year court probation this month. Last year police charged Rowen with battery on a transit employee when trying to retrieve a $200 briefcase he left on a bus. According to court records, when a female transit staffer couldn't help him immediately, Rowen thanked her by hurling a gender-based epithet. The Limbaugh-sized pol, once a high-ranking county Democratic official and campaign hand for Councilman James Arno, then punctuated his verbal flourish by allegedly shoving the recalcitrant female bus servant. Ultimately, Rowen left with briefcase in hand, into the waiting car of his mother, who drove him home from the bus yard. Rowen tells Eye that he never shoved the woman or cussed. Yes, he admits he lost his temper and raised his voice. But he felt as though these bureaucrats were giving him the runaround. Rowen later pleaded no contest to a less grievous charge of disturbing the peace.


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From the September 11-17, 1997 issue of Metro.

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