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[whitespace] Condit Domino Dancing: Several ambitious pols are waiting to hear if Rep. Gary Condit will run again.

Public Eye

Misfortune Cookie

Remember Rep. GARY CONDIT? It looks like a South Bay lawmaker may be one of the heirs to the Modesto Democrat's vast misfortune. Freshman Assemblyman SIMON SALINAS (D-Salinas), whose district includes south Santa Clara County, may be taking a shot at the 12th state Senate district seat, which is being vacated by Sen. DICK MONTEITH (R-Modesto). Assemblyman DENNIS CARDOZA (D-Turlock) had been gearing up to go for Monteith's seat. But instead of state Senate, Cardoza is considering a run for Condit's seat instead. Monteith has already announced that he's running for Condit's seat, and state Sen. JIM COSTA (D-Fresno) has previously said he'd run if Condit doesn't. ... Meanwhile, Condit hasn't made any decisions. Cardoza hasn't announced anything either, and his decision is further complicated by the fact that he's a friend and former aide to then-Assemblyman Condit. And Salinas, in turn, says he won't run challenge Cardoza for the Senate seat. "Everybody is waiting," Salinas says. "But the longer it takes, the less interested I am." Adds Salinas: "I talked to Cardoza and he says he's waiting on Condit." But will Cardoza make his announcement before Condit makes his? "I expect in the very near future he'll make his intentions known," Cardoza Press Secretary DOUG WHITE tells Eye. ... Another wrinkle is that Salinas was drawn into the 12th Senate District only this year. Previously, the district stretched from the Modesto area up into the Sierras, and almost to the Nevada border. The new district still includes Modesto, but now stretches west, almost to the ocean, and includes Salinas--both the city and the man--and Hollister. This means Simon would have to start introducing himself to voters in the Central Valley, who've never heard of him, but at the same time, the numbers look good for Salinas: The 12th District is 50 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican, and 49 percent Latino.

Simon Salinas Assemblyman Simon Salinas is thinking about a run for state Senate.

Bell Bottom

Since the hijack attacks, European-American wave-maker DALE WARNER has been pushing a patriotic agenda of his own. Posting signs around downtown San Jose that ask, "Why Marginalize the Liberty Bell?" the SJ immigration lawyer says the new location of the city's 110-year-old replica of the cracked icon--in front of a fire station on North Market Street--doesn't do it justice. Warner sent a missive to the mayor and city council proposing that the city restore the bell to its original home in Plaza de Cesar Chavez. "It would be hard to imagine a less-appropriate place," Warner tells Eye of the current spot. "There is no bench, no lawn, no flagpole, no place to meet or assemble for civic events. It's a natural and unifying American symbol and we think it should be given a place of dignity." But so far, the controversial activist says he hasn't heard anything from City Hall.

The Last Empire

BOB KIEVE, the spry septuagenarian majority owner of Empire Broadcasting, said for years that he wouldn't sell any of the company's three radio stations: KRTY-FM (95.3), KARA -FM (105.7) and KLIV-AM (1590). Sure, bids came in, but Kieve wouldn't discuss it, even as other local radio stations were snapped up by corporate owners. Today, his two FM stations are the last locally owned English-language radio stations in the South Bay. But in early September, someone made Kieve an offer he couldn't refuse. ... In an Oct. 1 memo to Empire employees, Kieve revealed that the company's two FM stations were up for sale. "As you know, we have never wanted to sell Empire or its holdings," the two-page message said. "Unfortunately, we must now do so." ... Kieve told Eye last week that two things were different about the offer that melted his resistance: It was in writing and it was a lot of money. Kieve said a broker is accepting additional bids for the two stations. The radio kingpin wouldn't disclose who made the whopper bid, how much it was or whether he's had any additional offers. ... He would say, however, that he's planning to keep KLIV, the South Bay's only all-news radio station, which he bought in 1967. "I love it," Kieve says of his AM baby. "I think it's a station that San Jose badly needs because it's a news station, and San Jose doesn't have a news station." Kieve bought KARA in 1972 and KRTY in 1992. ... While some of the San Jose-based company's 52 employees may be sad to see their local stations passed off to new owners, staffers won't be crying when they get a piece of the action: Kieve told workers that, to thank them for their efforts, everyone on the payroll at the time of the transfer will get a bonus equal to a year's pay. "Everyone's glad they work for Bob," one staffer reports. "That's a very generous offer, especially in radio."

Jay Harris Jay Harris says good journalism equals good business.

Diversity 101

Last week, Eye found former Merc publisher/martyr JAY HARRIS alive and well at San Francisco State University, lecturing journalism students on "diversity in the newsroom." St. Jay was schooling the scribes of tomorrow on how to turn a profit while reporting on minorities. "If you don't do good business," St. Jay argued, knowingly, "you can't do good journalism. It's a closed circle. You can't do one without the other." By the end of the 45-minute talk, though, Harris sounded a little more learned in the art of doing good business. He opened by playing a 10-minute industry-made video designed to give newspaper executives tips on how to "capture the ethnic market." The instructional video was titled, subtly, "Mining Gold." Some highlights: Offer minorities freebie coupons; report more on entertainment; report lots on sports--especially high school sports... (And all this time Eye thought the Merc was covering the adventures of the Andrew Hill Falcons just because they cared). ... Harris spent much of his time behind the podium boasting about the success of his two dearest children, Viet Mercury and Nuevo Mundo--each paper now exceeds $2 million in annual revenues and soars beyond KR's mandated 20 percent profit margin. The two papers "gave us the audience we needed if we wanted to be the mass market paper in 10 years," said Harris... During the Q-and-A session, Harris dissed a suggestion that the birth of Viet Mercury and Nuevo Mundo stomped out San Jose's community ethnic papers, especially the dozen or so Vietnamese rags. "None of the other papers suffered," he snipped. "In fact, we legitimized their business plan. We went into Macy's, so now they could go into Macy's." Besides, Harris added, the Vietnamese papers were one-sided "advocacy papers" that ran poetry, and the Merc's presence in the market only "made everybody raise the level of play." ... Before Harris strolled away, with the aid of his hand-carved walking cane, he reminisced that as a college student himself, he was consumed with his work as a Black Nationalist and spent too little time reading outside the genre. He challenged J-students to become generalists on all things and avoid the "cocoon of journalism."

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From the October 11-17, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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