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[whitespace] Ernie Konnyu & Don Gage
Ex-Rep. Ernie Konnyu (top) is putting his name out as a potential state Senate cadidiate. Republican Supe Don Gage (right) grabbed a key labor endorsement.

Public Eye

Konning Himself?

ERNIE KONNYU, the one-term Republican congressman and three-term assemblyman from Saratoga, is getting his name out as a potential contender for the 15th district state Senate seat in 2004. Konnyu last week faxed a letter to the Saratoga News, a sister paper of Metro, asking for feedback about the idea. ... Responding to an article on how Saratoga jumped from BYRON SHER's (D-Palo Alto) 11th Senate district to BRUCE MCPHERSON's (R-Santa Cruz) 15th district, Konnyu charged that Assemblyman ABEL MALDONADO (R-San Luis Obispo) "was able to force us into the 15th through a deal that Democratic and Republican state senators cut to keep the 15th district in which he lives Republican."... Konnyu's letter informs he could "make lemonade out of this lemon of reapportionment," by running against Maldonado. "He's a fair-haired boy up there [Sacramento] because he's one of three Hispanic Republicans in the Assembly, and there are none in the Senate," says Konnyu, who runs his own accounting biz these days. But since three years is something between a lifetime and an eternity in politics, any number of players from either party could be crowding the field when the time comes. ... Konnyu lost to fellow elephant TOM CAMPBELL in the 1988 primary election, after two Konnyu aides alleged sexual harassment. And after Campbell announced that he was leaving the House to take a long shot at Sen. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, Konnyu briefly flirted with the idea of trying to regain his seat. Konnyu also ran for county assessor in 1994, losing to LARRY STONE. Ernie says he's not running unless he's sure he can win. "If I don't think I can get 50 percent plus one in the primary, I won't run," he says. Meanwhile, Konnyu, 64, says he hasn't talked to any local electeds or party brass about his idea, but given the fact that local Republicans went out and recruited Campbell to run against him, it seems doubtful that party folks will beg him to run.

VD or Not VD

San Jose has endured more than its fair share of taunts over the years, especially from our worldly betters to the fogbound north. But these days, the city has one thing to brag about that may not make it into the glossy Convention and Visitors Bureau lit. In its November issue, Men's Health catalogs the best and worst cities for men, ranking American metropoli by important factors such as health, environment and fitness. The mag awards San Joseans the impressive distinction of being the cleanest for sexually transmitted diseases, logging seven times fewer cases as men in the dirtiest spot: Baltimore. The blurb doesn't venture a guess as to the reasons for this, but Eye can't help but wonder if it has something to do with all those rich-but-lonely geek dudes we read so much about last year. ... San Jose also took overall honors as the second-healthiest city in America (behind Boston). Ranked on 28 criteria, SJ scored A grades for categories like homicide, lung cancer and hiking, but got an F in superfund sites.

An Elephant In Labor

County Supervisor DON GAGE recently grabbed the sole endorsement of the South Bay Labor Council's Committee on Political Education (COPE). The supe, a Republican in a nonpartisan office, is being challenged by Morgan Hill Mayor DENNIS KENNEDY, a Democrat. So what's with a Republican walking away with labor's backing? The biggest factor may be that Gage is an incumbent--he didn't get it last time--but he's still pleased about the whole thing: "It was a big step for them to endorse a Republican," he confides. Kennedy could not be reached for comment, but a supporter mutters that labor didn't set the bar very high for Gage. ... Labor council Executive Director AMY DEAN says the party thing isn't such a big deal, though, nor is the process a beauty contest. "The basis for labor's endorsement is issues, not party affiliation," Dean instructs. "Don Gage has been a good labor vote and he has supported all the issues that are important to working families. I wish there were more Republicans to endorse." The COPE endorsement represents all of the unions in the region that are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and delegates vote upon whom it will be bestowed. Gage also grabbed the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce COMPAC endorsement. ... And though Kennedy was off to a pretty good fundraising start, beating Gage by a healthy margin in the first reporting period, Gage came back in the second period, reporting $110,000 to Kennedy's $54,000. Kennedy only raised about $16,000 in the second period, which ended Sept. 30, while Gage reports raising $26,000 at one event --a Sept. 29 fundraiser in Gilroy.

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From the October 25-31, 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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