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[whitespace] Rep. Zoe Lofgren
Firm Support: Rep. Zoe Lofgren has not endorsed anyone in any San Jose City Council races. But she did cut a $250 check to candidate Kathy Chavez Napoli, whose campaign is being run by Lofgren's husband's consulting firm.

Public Eye

Is That Zoe?

Aides to Zoe Lofgren like to say that the San Jose congresswoman is very selective about whom she endorses. In fact, they say, Lofgren prefers to stay out of the name game entirely, especially in nonpartisan primaries. True to form, Lofgren has yet to officially endorse candidates in the five San Jose City Council races. But newly released campaign finance statements show that Lofgren did write a $250 check to Kathy Chavez Napoli , the scrappy District 2 (south San Jose) council aspirant. Meanwhile, Lofgren didn't feel so charitable toward the two other contenders for the seat, former planning commissioner Forrest Williams and Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Maria Ferrer. Napoli's campaign consultant, Vicki Herl Day, assures Eye that Lofgren isn't endorsing Napoli, she is merely supporting Napoli with a token $250 donation. But not endorsing, got that? Sure. Consultant-speak aside, it's worth noting that Day's business partner is attorney John Marshall Collins, a.k.a. Mr. Zoe Lofgren. The duo formed Collins-Day, a multitasking event-planning and political consulting firm, at the beginning of the year. So far, Napoli is the firm's only San Jose City Council candidate. ... Of course, it would be unfair to suggest that Lofgren is supporting Napoli simply because Mr. Lofgren is involved. The two women have other connections. Napoli was an early booster of Lofgren's underdog congressional campaign against former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery. Lofgren later appointed Napoli, the co-owner of a truck salvage yard, to the White House Conference on Small Business. And Lofgren aide George Gonzales (no relation to Ron) is a longtime Napoli partisan. ... One time when Lofgren did come out and endorse in a primary came a year ago in the San Jose mayoral primary. Within a week of the election, Lofgren announced that she was supporting her old nemesis, Ron Gonzales, and not her old pal Kathy. A local campaign strategist suggests that Lofgren is making up for her snub in the mayor's race by helping Napoli this year. Which would sort of bring things full circle: Lofgren is helping elect the person, a feisty political bomb-thrower, who would be the biggest thorn in the mayor's side behind the dais.

Balance Transfer

Termed-out Reep Assemblyguy Jim Cunneen is making it clear he's very interested in taking over for Congressman Tom Campbell, should the Campster retire or run for U.S. Senate next year. While he waits for Campbell to announce his career plans, Cunneen is preparing to make a run against incumbent Democratic state Sen. Byron Sher. Cunneen may be a credible state Senate candidate, but taking on an entrenched incumbent like Sher is a far stiffer challenge than vying for an open congressional seat where he'd almost assuredly have the backing of the current officeholder. Unfortunately for Cunneen, he may not be able to use the money--$164,551 on hand as of Sept. 30--he has raised for his state Senate bid so far and transfer it over to a congressional campaign account governed by federal election rules. "We're looking into it," acknowledges Kevin Spillane, Cunneen's campaign consultant. Spillane says that there are "severe restrictions" on transferring funds from state to federal campaign accounts. That means Cunneen would have to start from zero like everybody else unless he can find a loophole. One possibility: Using the state campaign funds to "communicate" with constituents in his West Valley district, 60 percent of which just happens to overlap Campbell's congressional district.

Sign Wars

The feud between Los Altos Hills planning commissioner Charles Wong and his nosy septuagenarian neighbor, Mildred Gallo, keeps escalating. Gallo recently mailed dozens of postcards urging people to pressure the Town Council to oust Wong from the Planning Commission for breaking local planning rules on his own property by, for instance, erecting a pool house without permits. Meanwhile, Wong called police this past weekend to complain about a hand-painted 4-by-8 plywood sign on Gallo's property which displays a message, written in Chinese characters, that he found offensive. Gallo told the sheriff's deputy who came to her door that the sign says, "Great man honors truth," though Wong reportedly believes the sign contains references to death and graveyards. Sheriff's spokesman John Hirokawa says that the responding officer determined that no hate crime was committed. "The sign is not derogatory," he says. Gallo, who hasn't taken the sign down, says she made it after being falsely accused by Wong of being a racist. She is now making buttons containing the offending phrase featured on her lawn sign.

Historic View

The last time Monte Sereno Councilman Joel Gambord made the news he was getting heat from city officials for tinkering with his historic home, once owned by author John Steinbeck. Now, Gambord is once again in the news--this time he is trying to prevent his neighbors in Carmel, where the Joelster is a part-time resident, from demolishing a 70-year-old home. Why? Gambord says primarily because neighbors Ron and Alexis Donati plan to build a new house that would block his view of Pebble Beach. But he also has been sympathetic to the efforts of preservationists to stop the house's demolition in court, which earned him a delightful headline in this week's Carmel Pine Cone: "Hypocrisy of historic proportions?" The story asks the salient question, "When is an old house worthy of historic preservation?" The answer in Gambord's case, the Pine Cone opines: "When it belongs to somebody else."

Supe Troop

The congested competition for the North Valley supervisorial seat just got a little less crowded. Facing a competitive re-election to the Cupertino City Council next month, Michael Chang revealed during a televised candidates' forum last week that he would not be a candidate for supervisor in 2000, in response to a question about his future ambitions. Chang gave the usual speech about wanting to spend more time with his family and yada yada yada. "I've been encouraged to run for supervisor, and I'm very flattered," Chang told all the viewers in TV land. "But I've concluded that my interest, my energy and my role right now is in Cupertino." ... There have been rumblings in the past month that Chang might drop out of the supervisorial free-for-all, which now features Foothill-De Anza trustee Dolly Sandoval, former Saratoga Mayor Don Wolfe, Palo Alto City Councilwoman Liz Kniss, ex-Mountain View City Councilwoman Pat Figueroa and county planning commissioner Terry Trumbull. Sandra James, another Cupertino City Council member who considered running for the seat, has also decided to stay on the sidelines and is now backing Sandoval. Chang's decision comes shortly after Kniss and Sandoval announced that they had raised impressive totals of $53,800 and $62,210 over the past three months.

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From the October 21-27, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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