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[whitespace] Rebecca Cohn What Is Time, Really? A new glossy brochure for Assembly candidate Rebecca Cohn reveals a temporal mishap.

Public Eye

Wake-Up Call

THE STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADERSHIP has lavished 24th Assembly District nominee Rebecca Cohn with money (at least $335,000) and Sacramento foot soldiers. Unfortunately, despite all the resources party leaders are giving the pivotal West Valley race, no one wanted to cover the cost of fixing a major blunder on one of Cohn's brochures mailed throughout the district last week. The piece features a picture of Cohn standing next to Caltrain with the caption, "Every hour we spend stuck in traffic ... is a minute away from our families." ... Cohn consultant Trent Hager--who's on loan from Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza (D-Modesto)--says several campaign proofreaders didn't spot the goof. "We didn't catch it until it was all printed," Hager confesses. "It was a grueling decision whether we should spend $14,000 to reprint it." They chose to go with the typo-tainted version and save their dough. Of course, Reep wags backing Cohn's opponent, Monte Sereno Mayor Sue Jackson, quickly picked up on the error. "And you expect us to believe," one asked incredulously, "[Cohn] can make the trains run on time?" ... Meanwhile, Cohn-heads are openly wondering if they're the victim of a dirty-tricks campaign. According to Hager, dozens of district voters are complaining about getting phone calls on behalf of Cohn as early as 5am and as late as 11pm. Hager tells Eye that the Cohn campaign is not making the sleepy-hour solicitations. And although he has his suspicions as to who might be behind the phony calls, Hager concedes, "It's hard to prove." Shane Sommers, Jackson's campaign manager, assures Eye that the Jackson campaign isn't making the calls. ... Finally, a bit of good news for the Cohn campaign. This week, the mother of Los Gatos Mayor Steve Blanton, who lost a nasty battle to Jackson in the primary, announced her support for Cohn. In a letter to the Los Gatos Weekly-Times, Mama Blanton blasted Jackson for sending two hit pieces on her little Stevie just days before the March election. When contacted by Eye about the endorsement, an annoyed Jacksonite sneered, "Steve Blanton claims we made his mommy cry."

Type A

A couple of months ago, Santa Clara Vice Mayor John McLemore spoke at the press conference announcing the campaign kickoff of Measure A. But apparently his appearance at the event doesn't mean he's backing the transit-tax measure. McLemore surprised A-listers last week by refusing to vote for a city council resolution expressing support for Measure A. "We certainly expected him to support it," shrugs Measure A campaign co-director Carl Guardino, "since he asked us to speak at the news conference." Jude Barry, Guardino's co-hort, adds that not only did McLemore invite himself to the kickoff, "he insisted on speaking first." All that is true, McLemore concedes. But he says he insisted on speaking at the event--held at the Caltrain station across the street from Santa Clara University--as the Mission City's goodwill emissary, not as an endorser of the measure. "I was just trying to be politically correct," maintains McLemore, who pleads neutrality on Measure A, "by welcoming them to my city." ... Furthermore, the Mac Daddy says, no one from the Measure A crowd bothered to call and inform him of the press conference beforehand--even though they were holding the function in his city. That's why he had to call them and insist on speaking. If that wasn't disrespectful enough, when Santa Clara Vice Mayor McLemore arrived at the Caltrain station for the news conference and parked his car, the bodyguard for San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales told him, "I'm sorry, this space is being saved for the mayor."

Open Bidding

While most insiders are obsessing over next week's election, Democratic Party operatives say eBay exec Steve Westly is focusing on the 2002 election. According to the Dem sources, Westly--who served as a super delegate at the Democratic National Convention in August--is talking openly about running for statewide office in two years. The two most likely offices he would covet: controller or secretary of state. Both current Controller Kathleen Connell and Secretary of State Bill Jones will be termed out of office in 2002. ... Westly did not reply to Eye's phone calls, but that certainly won't prevent Eye from engaging in some responsible pre-electoral speculation. Should Westly decide to run, he would have a healthy nest egg to dip into considering his eBay stock holdings hover in the $400 million range. A local political consultant opines that unlike previous moneybag candidates like Michael Huffington and Al Checchi, Westly would have some grassroots credibility because of his history of party activism. "He'll still have to exorcise the ghosts of the other rich guys," the consultant cautions.

Chewed Out

Did hyperachiever San Jose City Council candidate Chuck Reed force dozens of innocent Piedmont Hills High School students to walk precincts for him midday Monday in the driving rain? That's what Reed's composure-challenged competitor, Kansen Chu, claims. And Chu adds that Reed's truck, filled with campaign signs, was illegally parked in front of the school (which Reed doesn't deny). "More than 70 minors were sent out to the rain for a three hour walk with their heavy backpacks," Chu exclaims in a borderline hysterical email. ... Reed insists the precinct walk--which he says student members of the California Scholarship Federation did to satisfy the club's community service requirement--had been scheduled weeks ahead of time, before a reliable weather forecast was available. And Chuckles assures Eye that it didn't rain too hard during the designated walking time. Reed says Chu, who showed up and complained to the school principal about Reed getting free student labor, was trying to recruit kids to come work for him, bad weather and all. "The kids pretty much ignored him," Reed sniffs. "I don't think he ended up with any recruits."

John Yawn

Cynics often say that money motivates politicians. But few politicians are as brazen about it as venerable state Sen. John Vasconcellos is in his latest campaign fundraising missive. In the October letter, Vasco grouses that since announcing his candidacy last spring he has received a paltry amount of cash from those he originally solicited (as of Oct. 21, he only had a miniscule $116,230 on hand). The average donation, he claims, has only been $6 per person. "That's hardly enough to assure my re-election," he laments in the letter. "That's surely not enough to sustain my enthusiasm that I have enough committed partners to realistically hope that by staying in the legislature I can lead us all into a new politics of healing and hope." Not enough to sustain ol' John-John's enthusiasm, eh? One recipient of Vasco's plea cracks, "So this guy needs money to motivate him? It's like, 'Uh oh, We better give more or John will be unenthusiastic. Someone put a quarter in.'"

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From the November 2-8, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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