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Mad Milpitans

What started as a smattering of rumors and grumblings has swelled into mass insurrection in Milpitas, where several employee unions are launching the bureaucratic equivalent of a cruise missile at city manager Larry Moore and the city council. ... It started on Thursday, when the Police Officers Association unanimously voted no-confidence in Moore, and 98 percent similarly decried the entire city council. Ninety-six percent of the cops association voted to withdraw political endorsements of current council members running for elected office, which includes Bob Livengood for council, Henry Manayan for mayor, and Pete McHugh for supervisor. On Monday the Professional and Technical employees union followed suit, voting no-confidence by large margins in Moore and the city council, and pulling its endorsements of Livengood and McHugh. A union of ten supervisors from Maintenance and Accounts Payable unanimously threw in their two cents of no-confidence in Moore, and the Milpitas Employees Association, composed of 60 workers mostly in maintenance, voted no-confidence by a majority. ... The votes were inspired by the police union, which charges that Moore interfered with a police investigation of phone abuse by city employees. The union is mad the council has not taken stronger action against Moore, who is under investigation by the Department of Justice. ... McHugh, who has served on the council for 20 years, calls the votes premature. He says the city council shouldn't act on Moore until the feds complete their investigation. But union leaders say the phone incident just scratches the surface of complaints with Moore's management style. One employee called the phone incident "the straw that broke the camel's back." John Scrempos of the Milpitas Supervisors Association says Moore "doesn't seem to have control of the city." Steve Burkey, president of the ProTech union, says, "A case could be made that morale is at one of its lowest points." Adds Burkey: "I've been with the city 22 years, and we've never done anything like this." ... Moore did not return phone calls.

Is It Soup Yet?

Eye couldn't help noticing it wasn't exactly old home week for Congressman Tom Campbell, who sauntered into his neighborhood Starbucks for a cup o' morning joe last week in his new home, the city of Campbell. ... In a room full of 40 latte- and mocha-sipping constituents, not one appeared to recognize him. As Campbell scanned the room for familiar 15th District faces, the swarm of patrons went about their chocolate-sprinkling and small-talking business. The Camster has finally made good on his promise to move out of his Stanford digs into the district he represents. But it takes time, apparently, to get to know the neighbors.

Reep Madness!

One of the lesser-known groups supporting Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative, is "Republicans for Proposition 215." This Sunnyvale-based grab bag of mods and neocons includes such Reep notables as economist Milton Friedman, William F. Buckley, former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz (who contributed $1,000 to the campaign) and Richard Brookhiser, senior editor for the National Review. ... They say the personal is political, and for Brookhiser supporting 215 goes beyond civil libertarianism. "I'm for this because I'm a conservative Republican--we're the people who are for getting government off people's backs. But I'm also for [215] because I've had to use it," Brookhiser notes. ... Brookhiser tells Eye he smoked marijuana during chemotherapy treatments for his testicular cancer, with excellent results. "My last two courses of chemotherapy were almost nausea-free," he says, adding that he will continue to use pot as medication, legal or not. ... Just how, Eye wonders, did the senior editor for the National Review go about trying to score an ounce? "It turned out to be pretty easy, living in Manhattan," Brookhiser concedes, without naming sources. "But there are people who don't live in Manhattan, who live in the Midwest, who can't get it. Those people will have to suffer," Brookhiser laments. "If you or someone you love does get cancer, they will turn to marijuana. I can tell you that. You will turn to it. Extend that liberty. You may need to use it." ... Local GOP for the Ganj director Eric Garris says that on this issue, Republicans cross party lines: "Personal experiences with these devastating diseases is what changes people's attitudes. The politics melts away. The importance is in relief of pain and suffering." Republicans like Garris and Brookhiser are trend-buckers, of course. According to some in the GOP, word from on high--like Attorney General Dan Lungren and Gov. Pete Wilson--is that campaign funding will be cut off to Republican candidates who voice public support for 215. Or so says Justin Raimondo, a Republican running for Congress in San Francisco. "I have rarely seen such intense pressure regarding a ballot measure on the part of party leadership," he says. ... Party pressures may explain part of Brookhiser's reactions to getting high: "I became anxious," Brookhiser reports. "I found it mildly unpleasant. I worried people were noticing."

Ted Offensive

Back when current north county supervisorial candidate Joe Simitian dropped out of the race for the 21st Assembly District seat vacated by newly elected state Senator Byron Sher, Simitain said he did so to avoid a messy primary fight with San Mateo County Supervisor Ted Lempert, a fellow Democrat who many tagged as the early favorite in that race. However, it now appears that Lempert may be in some trouble of his own. His formerly unknown Republican rival, San Mateo businessman Ted Laliotis, has launched an unprecedented TV ad blitz in the closing days of the campaign that is blanketing north county cable TV viewers with the kind of glitzy spots usually reserved for congressional or statewide campaigns. "We're not alarmed," Lempert insisted bravely this week, adding that his campaigns have always relied on door-to-door, grassroots efforts. ... In the spots, Laliotis, who works at Hewlett-Packard, chides Lempert for having had little private-sector experience before getting elected to public office in his 20s. Calling himself the "Ted that Works," in the ads, Laliotis--whose backers include his boss, HP CEO Lewis Platt, Apple Computer Chairman Gilbert Amelio and San Jose Congressman Campbell--promises a more business-friendly approach. But Lempert laughs off the slacker label, pointing out that while the other Ted has been busy insulting him, he has been busy lining up the support of local council and school board members, including "all of the Democrats, all of the Independents and 75 percent of the Republicans" in the district. "I'm not sensing a strong ground operation" on the other side, Lempert assures Eye, adding that he has no plans to answer Laliotis with paid TV spots of his own. "We're doing it voter to voter," Lempert explains, adding that his literature is being carried in Santa Clara County by Clinton-Gore, Sher and Simitian volunteers. However, no matter which Ted wins, it will be the first time in more than a decade that north Santa Clara County will be represented in the state Assembly by a resident of San Mateo County.

Voter Guise

The Eye award for most deceptive campaign mailer so far goes to Political Technologies Inc. of San Francisco for their piece opposing propositions 207 and 211, which would make it easier to sue California corporations, and propositions 214 and 216, which would create new regulations for health maintenance organizations. Labeled as the "Law and Order Voter Guide," the slate mailer portends to be aimed at stopping violent crime. Neither 207, 211, 214 or 216 has anything to do with violent crime, of course, but the authors of the piece are apparently hoping some voters won't figure that out. The mailer, sent to registered Democrats, urges voters to support President Clinton, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and state Senator Byron Sher, none of whom paid to be included. It then goes on to point out the importance of banning cop-killer bullets, and to argue for the creation of a national registry for sex offenders and a ban on assault weapons. Then, amazingly, it links those locally popular positions with no votes on 207, 211, 214 and 216, all of which, of course, have absolutely nothing to do with any of those issues.

In Their Heads

And finally, we wonder if you caught that off-base headline in the Merc's Peninsula section last week, "On horizon, a challenge to state Sen. Kopp," which maintained that term-limited legislator Jackie Speier, retiring from the Assembly, was preparing to challenge incumbent state Senator Quentin Kopp. Despite the blaring headline, there is not a scintilla of truth in the claim, mostly because it would be impossible. Kopp must vacate his office at the end of the current term (term limits again), so Speier would be running for an open seat if she does run, not against Kopp. The lesson: Careful what you read.

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From the October 24-30, 1996 issue of Metro

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