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[whitespace] Bill Peacock Union Jack: Organized labor recently endorsed venture capitalist Bill Peacock for Congress, something Peacock considers 'a conclusive indicator' that he has the inside track on the Democratic nomination.

Public Eye

Bill's Excellent Adventure

PLENTY OF LOCAL DEMOCRATS have been mentioned in recent weeks as possible candidates for the congressional seat now occupied by Tom Campbell (R-San Jose), who is expected to run for U.S. Senate next year. But it's beginning to look as if most, if not all, of those trial balloons have been filled with hot air. A good indicator is that organized labor is endorsing Portola Valley venture capitalist Bill Peacock, even though the filing deadline to become a candidate is one month away. Amy Dean, head of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, says that it isn't unusual for labor to endorse before the filing deadline. "Whether the filing date is closed or not," Dean argues, "you usually know who's in the lineup by now." So far, the officially announced candidates are Peacock, former Sunnyvale Mayor Robin Parker and college teacher Dick Lane. But Dean concedes that this congressional race is more "fluid" than other local races because Campbell's changing career plans have made late-entry candidates more plausible. Nonetheless, labor heavies say privately that two union-friendly local Dems--Supervisor Jim Beall and San Jose Assemblyman Mike Honda--definitely won't run for Congress. And Peacock informs Eye that both Beall and Honda have told mutual acquaintances that they are not running. "I've got labor's sole endorsement," Peacock boasts. He says "that's a conclusive indicator" that neither Beall nor Honda will compete for the Democratic nomination. ... While the official line from Beall and Honda's camps is that the two men won't rule out a congressional bid, both sides sound increasingly pessimistic about the idea. Contrary to Eye's premature speculation last week about Beall positioning himself as the Democratic savior, Van Parish, Beall's chief of staff, now says that his boss "isn't actively pursuing" a run for Congress. Keith Honda, Mike's cousin and top political adviser, says, "We're trying to be realistic about it. It would take enormous resources and we're not sure how Mike would do in that area." ... There does remain at least one possible last-minute wild-card candidate: Santa Clara City Councilboy Rod Diridon Jr. Junior tells Eye that several people have suggested he give it a go. He says he hopes to make a decision by Thanksgiving.

Pay Delay

The last time Santa Clara City Council members received a pay raise, Lyndon Johnson was president and gas cost 31 cents a gallon. The year was 1967 and city voters boosted council members' pay to $200 a month. Among 15 valley cities and towns, only tiny Monte Sereno (no salary) and Los Gatos ($150) pay their elected reps less than Santa Clara, the county's third largest city with a population of 93,600. Now a special 16-member Charter Review Committee is recommending that the city ask Santa Clara voters to raise councilors' monthly salaries from $200 to $600, which is just hunky-dory with most council members. The part of the recommendation some council members don't like is when the committee wants to put the pay raise on the ballot--the November 2000 general election. A few council members want to put the matter on the upcoming March ballot instead. "If it's broken, it should be fixed," declares Councilman John McLemore. "We shouldn't postpone a vote for another eight months." Judy Reinartz, chair of the Charter Review Committee, explains the committee's preference for a November vote like this: "There will be a higher turnout in November [than in the March primary]. And there would be more time for our voters to become educated on the issues." The real reason council members like McLemore want to put the pay-raise proposal on the March ballot, Mission City snoops say, is that they don't want it to become a campaign issue. McLemore, Rod Diridon Jr. and Aldyth Parle are all up for re-election in November. One Santa Clara operative snickers, "It's never good to run on a campaign platform of 'Vote for me and raise my salary.'" Still, a March vote doesn't by any means guarantee council members will get what they want. Since 1967, Santa Clara voters have rejected proposed pay hikes for the council on five different occasions.

Get Paid

In high-priced Silicon Valley, being a full-time, unpaid criminal justice activist is not a formula for financial success. Certainly, that was the case for Darryl Williams, the executive director of the Citizens Tribunal, the nascent police-watchdog organization he helped incorporate earlier this year. Williams recently sent an email to his comrades announcing that out of necessity he will be taking a less active role in the Tribunal's affairs. "Due to the financial hardship to my family during this year of developing and driving the Citizens Tribunal," Williams wrote, "I am going to have to rearrange the priorities in my life." Williams, formerly a machinist at Intel, tells Eye that he has already sent out a couple of résumés looking for a paying job. However, Williams says he still plans to remain involved in helping the nonprofit put together grant proposals. He hopes to bring in enough money that the group can afford to pay an executive director. "I need it to be something," Williams says, "that can financially support the needs of my home."

Un-Sher Thing

With Assemblyman Jim Cunneen (R-Campbell) looking like he will run for Congress instead of challenging state Sen. Byron Sher (D-Palo Alto), Republican Party leaders have been scrambling to find another brave soul to accept the political kamikaze mission. State Senate Minority Leader Ross Johnson (R-Irvine) has already been turned down by more than a few notable local Reeps. ... Party animals asked Monte Sereno Vice Mayor Sue Jackson and Los Gatos Councilman Steve Blanton if either of them would abandon their planned bids for the Assembly and try challenging Sher. Both declined. Johnson also spoke to Deputy District Attorney Chuck Gillingham Jr., the son of the county's recently retired sheriff. Gillingham less than regretfully informed them that he was moving out of the West Valley 24th Assembly District. Johnson also came acallin' on the doorstep of first-year Joint Venture chief Ruben Barrales, the former San Mateo County supervisor and candidate for state controller. No thanks, Barrales said. "I'm still learning this job," Barrales chuckles. And no was the answer from Gilroy Supervisor Don Gage, who would have had to move to run for the seat. The only Reep brave enough to go mano a mano with Lord Byron: 22-year-old West Valley College trustee Chris Constantin, who showed up at the Registrar of Voters office this week on the very last day to file a declaration of intent. Unfortunately, say sources present, he forgot his checkbook and had to go home and retrieve it so he could pay the $990 filing fee.

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From the November 11-17, 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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