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[whitespace] Bill Clinton
Not a Bimbo Eruption: Singh neighbor Marina Sachs (a married woman) posed with the president for a slew of photos, presumably to impress her friends back in her native Czech Republic.

Public Eye

Just Send Me the Bill

PRESIDENT CLINTON FINALLY MADE GOOD on a months-old promise to Democratic congressional hopeful Mike Honda this weekend by headlining a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at the Almaden Valley home of BJS Electronics CEO Jessie Singh. The Honda campaign estimates the president's guest appearance will net a cool $400,000 to spend toward defeating Republican nominee, Assemblyman Jim Cunneen. ... The mood at the Honda bash was relaxed, with the candidate and Clinton trading repartee like fast friends. When Honda told the crowd that he never imagined that he, a third generation Japanese-American, would get to introduce the president of the United States, Clinton retorted, "I never thought I'd be introduced by a Japanese-American wearing cowboy boots." When Honda blabbed on and apologized for his long-windedness, the guest speaker instructed him, "Talk all you want; you're the one who's running." ... Following Clinton's remarks, just about all the 350-400 donors rushed the velvet ropes as Clinton did his rock star thing and Secret Service officers struggled to keep kids from being trampled on the new redwood deck that Singh had built especially for the occasion. Though three saxophones sat on the lower deck like guns on the mantel in a detective novel, rumors that the president would blow some notes proved to be a lot of hot air. Singh built another deck for an Al Gore visit earlier this year. The 40-year-old Indian-born entrepreneur and philanthropist has emerged as a powerful fundraiser in Demo circles and, consequently, an obligatory courtesy interview for any Gore Administration diplomatic posts on the Indian subcontinent. ... Particularly impressive is Singh's collection of life-sized bronze and stone lawn statues, which ranges from club-wielding Greek gods to grazing does and hard-nippled mermaids. And more are on the way. Singh just returned from a high-level mission to the Philippines, where he met with President Estrada and dropped $2.6 million Philippine pesos on filling a 40-foot shipping container with another 40 to 50 statues. That's about $60 grand U.S. for anyone who's counting, or works for U.S. Customs.

Luvvy Dubby

Not to be outdone, Honda's Republican opponent, Jim Cunneen, tagged along with GOP gaffe-master George W. Bush on Tuesday during a quickie visit to parts north of the 15th Congressional District. Bush didn't actually raise any dough for Cunneen, although the big W invited Jimbo to schmooze with him at a Republican Party fundraiser at the Atherton home of Autodesk diva Carol Bartz. From there, the Bushwhackers made an "unscheduled" visit to W's Redwood City campaign office. Prior to their arrival, Secret Service agents had the mostly blue-haired Bushies remove the wooden stakes from their campaign lawn signs. The G-men then collected the vampire-killing devices and stored them in a safe holding place for the duration of the lovefest. ... Once Bush and his wife, Laura, arrived they were immediately surrounded by autograph seekers like fedora-wearing Karen Findley from Palo Alto, who volunteered, "I missed a hair appointment to come here." Bush stayed for perhaps 10 minutes--not long enough to convey any subliminal messages--and was quickly hustled into his campaign limo. Cunneen, meanwhile, reunited with body-man Terry Miller, and headed back to Santa Clara County in Miller's luxurious black Toyota Corolla. ... Privately, a Redwood City Reep worried that Bush's double-digit deficit in California could hurt Cunneen on election day. "I think Jim's bummin'," the Reep sympathized. ... But Cunneen's crew remain confident they'll be sending their condolences to their Demo counterparts in November. In fact, Miller predicts, a Cunneen fundraiser being headlined by New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman will raise more than the estimated $400K Clinton pulled in for Honda last weekend.

The Fair Monty

The valley's political gliterati are abuzz with how slim and trim both Mayor Ron Gonzales and his estranged wife, Alvina, are looking these days. Both have gone from pleasantly plump to fantastically fit. The mayor, his aides say, has dropped two suit sizes this year. Meanwhile, Alvina is telling people that she's shed 50 pounds over the past few months. "She looks fantastic," exclaims a male politico who spotted Alvina this weekend at the annual BAYMEC dinner at the Fairmont Hotel. ... The slimmer-looking mayor was also at the Fairmont dinner, making the BAYMEC bash one of the rare events the former first couple have both attended since his fling with an aide in his office became a matter of public knowledge, sources say. The mayor and his wife reportedly sat two tables apart. San Jose State Prof. Terry Christensen, who was sitting at the table in between, doesn't recall anything extraordinary about the mayoral couple's behavior. "There weren't any vicious glares," he says. "They were just ignoring each other." ... While some folks kept watch on the mayor and Alvina during the dinner, others couldn't keep their eyes off the glamorous new lovebirds sitting next to Gonzales: Carl Guardino, the dimpled-chinned president of the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, and Leslee Coleman, a blonde lobbyist for Milpitas-based Solectron. Guardino and Coleman used to work together at the Manufacturing Group a few years ago.

Educating Ted

Like many of his colleagues, Assemblyman Ted Lempert (D-Palo Alto) is being forced to give up his current job because of term limits. Usually, in these cases, out of work politicians seek higher office. Indeed, Lempert toyed with the idea of running against incumbent state Sen. Byron Sher (D-Palo Alto) for months, but ultimately chose not to. Now comes word that Lempert is taking the highly unorthodox step of vying for lower office. To be more exact, the Tedmeister is running for a four-year seat on the relatively anonymous San Mateo County Board of Education. Since his desired post doesn't draw a regular salary, Lempert will have a day job with a statewide education-advocacy group he is forming with self-styled millionaire reformer Reed Hastings. Lempert tells Eye he wants to stay involved locally, so he declared his candidacy for the Board of Ed. And, of course, there's always that meddlesome term-limits thing. "It was like I said to myself, I'm going to leave the Assembly so I can run for this open seat on the county Board of Education," he chuckles. But another Peninsula pol suggests Lempert wants to keep the "Honorable" in front of his name for career reasons. "[Lempert] is going to bide his time," the pol predicts, "until a Senate seat opens up in San Mateo."

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From the September 28-October 4, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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