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[whitespace] Ron Gonzales
Bedtime for Gonzo: Infidel Mayor Ron Gonzalez has already become the butt of tasteless jokes, which we are printing here solely for our readers' edification.

Public Eye

Consensus As Usual

WHO SAYS SAN JOSE POLITICS ARE DULL? OK, so most people do. But Eye's uncovering of the beneath-the-sheets affair last week between Mayor Ron Gonzales and an aide half his age went a long way toward undoing the city's boring image. Still, there were some truly consensus-as-usual moments in the aftermath of the scandal. ... Take, for instance, the funereal behavior of Barbara Vroman, the associate editor of a local daily newspaper, during the mayor's confession conference. While other scribes furiously checked their notes and squeezed in final questions to the city's top banana, Vroman was busy apologizing for "the circumstances" to a red-eyed Rebecca Dishotsky, the mayor's acting chief of staff. Babs subsequently gave a big hug to ashen-faced Vice Mayor Frank Fiscalini, one of only two councilmembers who showed up for the press conference. (According to her voice mail, Vroman was "out of the office unexpectedly" and couldn't be reached for comment.) The small-town touchy-feeliness between newspaper and newsmaker struck at least one cynical San Fran-based pol as something that would never happen in The City. "No one from the Chronicle or the Examiner is going to hug [mayoral spokeswoman] Candace Bender," the city-slicker snorts, "because Willie Brown did another 25-year-old while he was married." Even Gonzo's political enemies refused to use the moment to undress the mayor, so to speak. City Councilwoman Pat Dando, Gonzales' opponent in the 1998 mayoral campaign, took the high road in the Mercury News saying, "If we dwell on it, the real losers will be the people of San Jose. I think we should get back to the business of doing what we were elected to do." ... On the other hand, some San Hosers around North First showed that scandal is no time to turn down the bubble machine. Within hours, would-be comedians had their one-liners ready for launch: "The mayor's advisers told him he should act presidential. He took it a little too far." And for those who have actually followed city politics in recent months: "Of course the mayor changed his position on health care for children. He's dating one."

Short and Shorter

They're considered a couple of the nastiest little critters in San Jose politics and now Jude Barry and Erik Schoennauer are working together. In the same office. On the same side. Barry and Schoennauer are age-old rivals more familiar with backstabbing than backslapping. The Judester is the top strategist for Mayor Ron Gonzales, who won his post after a bitter battle with Councilwoman Pat Dando, whom Schoennauer spent five years shilling for until he left City Hall earlier this year. A reasonable argument could be made that the only thing the two diminutive pols have in common is their inability to meet the height requirements for the adult rides at Great America. Not anymore. Schoennauer will soon be collecting paychecks from Taxpayers for Traffic Relief Now, the campaign committee pushing Measure A, the so-called BART tax. Barry is the campaign's co-director (at least when he's not otherwise occupied running damage control for his jefe in City Hall). "He's going to be a very important part of this effort," Barry says of his new comrade. ... Schoennauer reports Barry offered him the job over lunch a week ago. After giving it a few days of thought, he decided to take the offer (by the by, Schoennauer didn't consult with his old boss before accepting his new job). When Eye asked how he feels having to take orders from his old foe, Schoennauer observed, "[Jude] doesn't bark orders. He's created a team atmosphere here."

Off Track

Manufacturing Group chief Carl Guardino is usually so pulse-defyingly stoic that a local theater company regularly calls on him to play Vice President Al Gore. But last week Guardino stunned spectators during a Chamber of Commerce-sponsored debate over Measure A, the BART tax, by rhetorically torching yeti-sized supervisor Jim Beall. ... At the end of the debate, Beall, an opponent of Measure A, said he would like to work with Carl in two years on a new-and-improved transportation tax should Measure A fail. This surprised Guardino who publicly sniped that this runs counter to a little episode between the two of them a few weeks back. According to Guardino, the night after the Board of Supes refused to put the BART tax on the ballot, Beall had his chief of staff, Caroline Judy, call Guardino and warn him, "If I ever wanted to work with Jim again I would have to call him within an hour and meet with him for breakfast the next morning." Guardino says he called Beall but never heard back from him. ... Witnesses say the grumpy supe turned cayenne red at the revelation of his breakfast invitation practices and left the premises in a huff. Reached later, Judy told Eye that she did express a sense of urgency to Guardino in her phone call but denied conveying any threat from Beall. Guardino, however, is sticking to his story. In fact, he says he'd blab it again if given the chance, though he did manage to add about Beall's staff behavior, "We all have our off days and off moments and I'm willing to chalk it up to that."

Park for Life

Ask any visitor to San Jose City Hall, finding parking there can be harder than finding the table of contents page in Vanity Fair. Even city employees with parking permits frequently bemoan the lack of available spaces. So it's no surprise that Eye received an anonymous gripe about ex-City Attorney Joan Gallo using a special City Hall parking permit--a so-called C-Lot permit generally reserved for city employees--even though she retired in December. According to press handler Tom Manheim, Gallo was given the parking privilege after she retired because she has been acting as a paid legal consultant for the city in its negotiations with county officials over redevelopment zones. Manheim confirms that only a few consultants are eligible for the permits: This year five of them have received C-Lot hang-tags including Gallo (Manheim says he doesn't know who signed off on Gallo's permit). ... Gallo, who now draws a regular salary from San Jose's Terra Law Firm, says she doesn't recall asking for a permit. Rather, she says it was offered to her when she left because she would be coming to City Hall with great frequency--as often as four days a week--on matters like redevelopment. Joan-Joan promises she parks either in the City Hall visitors' lot or at a nearby meter if she's not there on offi- cial city business.

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From the September 14-20, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 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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