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Jack Walker is dropping his Assembly bid.

Public Eye

It's Junior!

After dodging calls for a few weeks, Sunnyvale Mayor JACK WALKER confirmed Eye's suspicions and announced last Thursday that he's going to steer clear of the 22nd Assembly District race. The announcement, made in a press release fired off by Santa Clara Councilman ROD DIRIDON JR.'s campaign, included news that Walker is endorsing Diridon. . . . "I wasn't running the campaign I thought I needed to run to win," says a newly available Walker, who never really entered the race to begin with and didn't raise any money. "I just thought, you know, this isn't happening right now." Walker adds that Diridon Junior had already soaked up a lot of the endorsements and that he's happy with the younger Rod anyway. . . . Walker hands over the mayor's gavel at the end of November, and he's termed out when his second council term ends in 2003, but says he hasn't ruled out another run or another office. "I hate to say never," he muses. . . . Speaking of Diridon, Eye watchers will recall a recent item about DENELLE FEDOR, an aide to SJ Councilman KEN YEAGER, getting an improbable request to run for mayor. Now, Fedor is ditching City Hall for a gig managing Diridon's campaign. Fedor, who made an unsuccessful bid for a San Jose Union School District board seat in 1996, worked as Yeager's campaign manager last year in the primary and general contests for the District 6 seat. That's how Fedor met Diridon, who also helped out on the Yeager campaign. After 10 months on the job, Fedor stresses that she wasn't unhappy with the councilman, just looking for something bigger--like, Eye suspects, a job in the Capitol, if Diridon makes it. "I thought this would be a good move for me," she offers. Fedor starts with Rod this week. . . . Diridon also grabbed the endorsement of the Mountain View firefighters union, which snubbed its own councilwomen Sally Lieber and Rosemary Stasek to back Rod. Lieber tangled publicly with union prez DALE KUERSTEN this summer over recruiting issues, and Stasek says the firefighters never gave her a call.

Simon Salinas Simon Salinas won't run for state Senate. Jack Walker (right) is dropping his Assembly bid.

Simon Says ...

Freshman Assemblyman SIMON SALINAS (D-Salinas) announced last week that he's going to run for re-election, instead of taking a last minute shot at the state Senate. Pay attention: Eye reported a couple weeks ago that Salinas was thinking about running for the 12th state Senate seat into which he was recently redrawn if fellow Assemblyman DENNIS CARDOZA (D-Turlock) pulled out of that race to run against Rep. GARY CONDIT (D-Modesto). Cardoza did announce that he would challenge Condit, but Salinas says he's going to stay on the sidelines of the race to succeed state Sen. DICK MONEITH (R-Modesto), who is also running for Condit's seat. . . . Salinas says he's ending his flirtation with the Senate race because it's too late to start trying to introduce himself to a Central Valley Senate district where 70 percent of voters haven't heard of him--and do it before the March primary. "It took me two years almost to get to know the whole 28th AD," Salinas says. "I needed time to get to know the area, the communities, the voters, and so with this the crunch time is just too tight for me." Salinas, a single dad, says he also wasn't looking forward to spending all of next year away from his 11-year-old son. . . . Meanwhile, Jeff Denham, who lost to Salinas last year, confirms that he's been eyeing the 12th Senate seat, but hasn't made any decisions yet. "We're trying to make sure we have the support," says the Republican agribusinessman, who is still working with his consultant from the Assembly race.

Dick Gephardt Frequent Flier: Dick Gephardt flew in for a quick speech last week--and quickly flew back out.

Illustration by Jeff Kearns

See Dick Run?

House Minority Leader DICK GEPHARDT went out of his way to court valley execs last week, keeping a months-old promise to speak at the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group's annual Public Policy Luncheon Friday at the Fairmont. Gephardt flew in that morning, spent a half-hour onstage, then ducked out and flew back to Washington. . . . Speaking to reporters before the event, the eyebrowless Missouri Democrat took shots at Congressional Republicans, who he said are trying to block passage of the airline security bill because it would federalize airport screeners. Gephardt dedicated most of his speech to addressing terrorism and the U.S. response, but also threw a few bones to the 1,200 business leaders in the audience, including calls to make permanent the R&D tax credit, fix the AMT and promote broadband service. . . . Dick failed to live up to his boring-guy image, delivering a slick speech that kept bigwigs from dozing off. It was, however, impossible not to hear the stump speech coming through, as Gephardt, forceful at times, sounded more and more like a presidential candidate. A couple times, he sounded unmistakably like GEORGE BUSH, lifting a few phrases right out of the president's mouth. "We must root out and bring to justice the evildoers," Gephardt intoned, adding that the transgressions "must not stand." Gephardt also gave a shout out to Infoseek Founder STEVE KIRSCH, whose name also appears on a $240,000 check to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. That's a national organization whose sole purpose is to send Democrats to the House--and, next year, try and grab a majority that would turn Gephardt into the House Speaker. . . . Gephardt took a few softball questions before leaving, including: "Will you run?" Formulating his response, Gephardt opened his mouth a bit, but didn't speak, then allowed a thin, knowing smile to spread across his face, and deadpanned: "I think we should fight terrorism in every form."

Mouse in the House

With all the Merc's internal memos leaking to industry websites, it seemed there must be a rat in the office. But as it turns out, it was another kind of rodent infestation: mice. Newsroom sources say they have been taking turns boxing up their stuff so exterminators can get in and put the whiskered pests on final deadline. One scribe says that a couple of the fuzzy critters fell out of a light fixture and landed on the copy desk (screams) and a graphic designer was surprised to learn that a nest had been found in her cubicle. . . . A couple of scribblers surmise the uninvited guests came calling after a field adjacent to the Merc compound was plowed under, sending the mice in search of that elusive valley commodity: New housing.


San Jose Councilman CHUCK REED began questioning Mayor RON GONZALES's budget authority last year, and he still wants to know where the buck stops. It's not Reed's first shot at the Gonzatollah, either. As chronicled by Eye, the City Charter-toting legal eagle recently pushed for--and won--a more council-centric evaluation process for top city employees. Reed is now pushing to give the council a bigger role in the annual budget process, which in past years has been dominated by Mayoral Budget Director JOE GUERRA. . . . In a memo to the Rules Committee last week, Reed proposed a series of improvements to get councilmembers involved earlier in the process and reach out more to the public. Most importantly, Reed says councilmembers should get the city manager's budget request at the same time as the mayor--something the mayor's office says is already the case. He also calls for a searchable budget to be posted online early in the process along with instructions on how to search it. . . . "I went through last year's budget process and I was not pleased with the way it was handled," says Reed, whose beef is that the council doesn't get some parts of the $2 billion budget until it's too late to make meaningful input. Usually, department heads submit their budget requests to the mayor so he can work on the budget forecast, Reed says, but there's some behind-the-scenes tweaking that goes along with that early peek. "The budget is going into the mayor's budget office to be edited and reworked before it comes to the council," Reed charges. "I don't think that Joe should be doing the City Manager's job of putting together the budget. The manager ought to put it together and then give it to the council and the mayor at the same time. That's what the charter says." . . . Guerra, on the other hand, says the mayor's office doesn't get the budget early and "is abiding by the charter 100 percent." . . . The issue is scheduled to go to the full council, along with some analysis from the City Attorney, on Nov. 6. One councilmember says it should get interesting: "This is a constant battle. [Reed] is always doing this. He's challenged the mayor several times on who gets information and whether the mayor has more of a say than the council, so I think we will see this continue to escalate."

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From the November 1-7, 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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