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Denelle Fedor
Long Shot: Denelle Fedor, a staffer for SJ Councilman Ken Yeager, was asked to run against the mayor.

Public Eye

First Aide

Whenever the political season starts up, there's never any shortage of loose talk about who's thinking about running for what and who's asking whom to get on the ballot. The same was true this summer, when the spotlight focused on a few prominent locals who toyed openly with the idea of running against Mayor RON GONZALES, then left that task to a starry-eyed council aide, JOSE POSADAS. ... But there's a footnote: Another council aide, with little political experience, was prodded to make a bid. DENELLE FEDOR, an aide to District 6 (Willow Glen) Councilman KEN YEAGER, says she was asked to run. Yeager taught Fedor in the political science department at San Jose State, and two years ago she quit her job as an ad sales rep at San Jose Magazine to work on her former teacher's campaign. The 31-year-old only started working at City Hall less than a year ago. ... But Fedor wouldn't tell who did the asking. "It was by more than one person and by more than one group, at the end of August," she says.

"I was told that no big contenders were running and that funding would be supplied if I would consider it." Fedor says she never considered running against the mayor, and managed to casually mention about a half-dozen times in her brief chat with Eye that "Ron's doing a good job." Why Fedor? A gaggle of political insiders queried by Eye managed only a collective shrug. ... Meanwhile, former CINDY CHAVEZ aide Posadas continues undeterred. From what Posadas says, it sounds like Chavez tried to get him to think more about getting in the mayor's path, but Posadas had already made up his mind. "We had a long discussion after I broke the news to her, and she encouraged me to really think through what this would involve for me."... Although Gonzales has reported raising $73,125 so far, Posadas says he's lining up supporters--but won't say who. "Ron can have a vindictive nature, and so to protect those people who are supporting me I'm not identifying who those individuals are at this point." Posadas says his first fundraiser is scheduled for sometime next month.

Vex in the City

For anyone who ever wondered where San Jose went wrong--or right--the world's most respected expert on urban and civic issues will be in town next week addressing that very question. SIR PETER HALL, who teaches urban planning at University College in London, will be the first speaker in the Salamanca Spotlight Series, which is put together by a group of downtown business owners. "We're bringing him because we've got a city that's at a crossroads," says Fuel nightclub owner CHRIS ESPARZA, the group's ringleader. "We had a chance to get him and we just completely leapt at it. People who know about him can't believe he's coming." Hall, who used to teach urban planning at UC Berkeley, will be talking about how San Jose and the valley got where they are today and where it looks like they'll be going in the future. The 80-year-old professor dedicated a chapter in his book Cities in Civilization: Culture, Innovation, and Urban Order to dissecting Silicon Valley.

Hall speaks Oct. 25 at Le Petit Trianon, 72 N. Fifth St., San Jose. Tickets are $20. Visit www.ticketweb.com or call 408.286.1313 for info.

O BART, Where Art Thou?

Negotiations between BART and VTA are looking up. The two need to agree on the financial details of the South Bay BART extension before the deadline to be included in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's request for federal funds for projects in the region. But because negotiations have been stuck for the last couple months, MTC gave the two sides extra time to come to an agreement--and a drop dead date to do so. MTC board chair SUSAN BROWN, who had already urged BART and VTA to hurry up, sent an Oct. 3 letter informing the two agencies that the commission would push back adoption of the regional plan to Dec. 19 and that an agreement must be reached by Nov. 19 (a considerate Brown even underlined the date for emphasis). ... "It'll certainly light a fire under both of us," says BART General Manager TOM MARGRO, who is also dealing with workers threatening to strike. VTA General Manager PETE CIPOLLA referred calls to a spokesperson, who wouldn't discuss the talks. Operations and maintenance costs is one of the main sticking points, with both sides trying to figure out who pays when tracks or cars or ever-fragile escalators need to be replaced in 10 or 15 years. ... The two agencies did make some headway, however, at a recent American Public Transportation Association convention in Philadelphia. "There were hours and hours of behind the scenes meetings," reports Santa Clara Councilman JOHN MCLEMORE, who sits on the MTC board. "We all walked away from that conference feeling like a lot of progress was made, and everyone feels good because we broke a couple of logjams and MTC is going to come up with some extra money to help bridge the gap."

John & Jim
SJ Councilman John Diquisto (top) won't run against County Supe Jim Beall (right).

Grudge Report

After a perceived snub, San Jose Councilman JOHN DIQUISTO grumbled last week that he might challenge Supe JIM BEALL next year. But this week, Diquisto says he had a good talk with his fellow Cambrian resident and the two are pals again. The termed-out Diquisto tells Eye the whole thing started because Beall hadn't called him to say he was running. While Beall's intent to run wasn't exactly a secret, it hasn't exactly been big news, either: Beall hasn't formally announced. Right now, it looks like Beall could waltz unopposed to another term on the board--a feat he pulled off last time. But because most of his City Council district lies in Beall's supervisorial district, Diquisto says he felt slighted that he didn't get a call from Beall. "DON GAGE called me two months ago," Diquisto snarls. "I never knew if [Beall] was running or not. He hadn't called this office. You'd think that, right away, he'd say, 'John, I'd like to have your endorsement.' But when it got back to him that I was thinking about running, then right away he wanted a meeting." The two made nice at a park dedication Saturday, and this week Diquisto said he wasn't running for the county board seat--unless Beall drops out of the race. "We thought it was a little strange, because I got an endorsement card signed by Diquisto," Beall said, adding that he didn't really want to talk much more about the whole episode. (One insider says Beall shoved an endorsement card at Diquisto at the Saturday event.) "Up until Saturday, when I had a good talk with Jim, I was still a contender," Diquisto says. "But now it's just a matter of when I'm going to endorse him."

Saved by the Bell

While known for its laser-like accuracy, Public Eye's noble work, on occasion, doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Such was the case when we got a call from ex-politico JERRY ESTRUTH--who knew he was a bell expert?--informing us that last week's item on a proposal to move a local Liberty Bell replica had one detail out of line: It's not the Liberty Bell. ... "We're not calling it the Liberty Bell anymore, just the bell," informs political activist and attorney DALE WARNER. "There's this minor dispute about it. Everybody thought it was the Liberty Bell, I mean it was called that, everybody referred to it that way, but now we're just are calling it the city bell." ... The bell is actually dedicated to fallen firefighters, and was recently rededicated to those lost in the New York attack. "It hasn't really had a name," confirms SJFD's JOAN SUTTON. "We've just called it the fire bell." Sutton says the city ordered the bell in 1891 and first installed it in front of a firehouse on North Market Street. The bell later spent several decades at other locations in the city, but is now back in front of the new Fire Station 1 on North Market Street. ... Meanwhile, Warner says his assemblage of community groups isn't working on the bell issue so much as pushing city officials on public safety and public health issues, including a specific effort to get the city to add more firefighters.

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From the October 18-24, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 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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