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Can't We All Get Along? Jude Barry is expected to be the next mayoral chief of staff. Question is: Can Barry share office space with his old high school rival?

Power Shift

It's a good thing for Ron Gonzales that he eked out a victory in the mayoral marathon. An aide of his acknowledges that the frontrunner never even drafted a concession speech. The confidence level was so high in the Gonzo camp that one of his top strategists was wagering on a double-digit victory just a couple of weeks before Election Day. Eye can only wonder what might have happened had Pat Dando run television ads. ... But a win is a win is a win, no matter how Ally McBeal-thin. And this week, Gonzo took a few baby steps toward his sixth-floor throne in City Hall. Before jetting across country for a business trip to Boston (on behalf of his old boss, Hewlett-Packard), the Ronster took the classy step of offering his campaign team patronage jobs in the mayor's office. Two cronies likely coming aboard are Jude Barry, Gonzo's longtime chief of staff at the county, and Barry's erstwhile school rival from Bellarmine, Joe Guerra, currently top staffer for Councilman Frank Fiscalini. City Hall wags are already placing bets on how long it takes the two self-styled Machiavellian apparatchiks to be at each other's throats. "We're deciding how we should configure the [betting] pool," chuckles one insider, "whether it should be in days, weeks or months." Both Barry and Guerra assure Eye that should they share office space they will continue the detente established during the campaign. ... Pols also might consider how long it takes until Gonzales' much-ballyhooed working majority on the City Council starts to show some strain. Throughout the campaign, Gonzales boasted the support of six of the seven returning councilors. But not all six showed up at his victory party on election night. True, the loyal Gonzo troika of Fiscalini, Manny Diaz and George Shirakawa Jr. were spotted soaking up the camera lights and champagne. Conspicuously scarce, however, was on-paper backer Margie Fernandes, who only gave Gonzales her lukewarm blessing during the campaign. And despite boasting the support of several incumbent councilmembers, Gonzales can't count on newcomers Linda LeZotte and Cindy Chavez, since he did nothing to help either one. In fact, one of Gonzales' deputees actively campaigned for Chavez's opponent, Tony West. Add it all up, and Gonzales might have a few thorns to contend with before he starts wielding his big stick.


Smoking Joint Venture Speculation

Contrary to last week's speculation in Eye, friends of Susan Hammer insist there ain't no way the outgoing mayor will try to fill the power pumps of Becky Morgan as leader of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley. Mayoral soothsayer Kevin Pursglove tells Eye it is highly improbable that Hammer will head up the industry-sponsored advocacy group. Another name being tossed around is Ruben Barrales, the San Mateo County supervisor who lost his bid for state controller on Election Day. Barrales is already on JV's board of directors and, like Morgan, is a Republican. ... Hammer herself is keeping quiet about her plans, telling friends that she is looking at everything and anything that doesn't require a charismatic personality or voice inflection. (Eye, however, doesn't mean to insinuate that Hammer plans to make a bid for vice president.) Hammer-watchers say other opportunities for the departing mayor include a seat on a corporate board; a plum role as director of the Packard Foundation; and an executive post with either the American Basketball League or the San Jose Lasers. Friends predict that one prospective employer, Gray Davis, won't come a-calling anytime soon. Hammer snubbed the Gray White Hope in the gubernatorial primary in favor of Jane Harman.


The Sues Fit

So exactly who was behind the vicious four-page campaign hit piece labeling Berryessa school trustee Tonia Izu an unstable, foul-mouthed, narcoleptic 'ho? San Jose legal eagle Chuck Reed is taking credit for the mailer, though Izu sympathizers are dusting the pages for other fingerprints. Campaign reports indicate that the wife of embattled ex-superintendent Herbert Wadley helped finance the hit; Izu has been Wadley's most vocal critic on the board. The tabloid style of the piece, observers suggest, is reminiscent of past mailers designed by political operative Vic Ajlouny, who was recently hired by the district--i.e., Wadley--to do "outreach" work. Ajlouny denies any formal involvement (certainly nothing as part of his official duties for the district), though Reed acknowledges he did talk to the Vicster about his plans. "I suspect he talked to a lot of people," Ajlouny retorts. Meanwhile, board members Sue Mitchell and Sue Brooks apparently showed up at district watchdog Kim Adams' house on Halloween night, warning of legal tricks if Adams didn't stop spreading rumors that they were behind the hit piece--which the two Sues deny. Adams fired back a letter with plenty of CCs to the media accusing the Sues of "making false and defamatory allegations without the facts." Speaking of defamatory allegations, the Izu hit makes liberal use of accusations made in a lawsuit filed against her by the district. Reed stresses that he got all his material from court documents. "I didn't make this stuff up," he says. Bottom line: The piece probably cost Izu the election.


Horse Play

Election Day was a great day for Democrats around the state--except for Assembly candidate Alan Styles. The Salinas mayor made a valiant effort to unseat incumbent Pete Frusetta, who seemed to self-destruct during the campaign. Instead of riding off into the sunset, the Capitol Cowboy enjoyed his greatest margin of victory to date. ... Barry Barnes, Styles' political swami, blames the loss on a late ad blitz by the Reeps. In the campaign's final two weeks, Reep leaders dumped at least $232,000 into Frusetta's coffers. The Dems, meanwhile, would only part with $87,000 for Styles during the same period. Eye is at least comforted by the fact that it will have another two years of hoof-in-mouth Frusetta fodder to horse around with.


Local Boy

He may look like a 98-pound weakling, but Santa Cruz Assemblyman Fred Keeley is a Sacramento powerhouse. Keeley is the favorite to be the next speaker pro tem, the No. 2 leadership post in the Assembly, replacing Sheila Kuehl, who's giving up her post to become chair of the Judiciary Committee. Keeley is now the Democratic Caucus chair, and surely has made plenty o' friends by spreading money around in Assembly races. Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa will make an announcement on leadership jobs next month. ... Sources also tell Eye that Keeley is being considered for two other slots: Budget Committee chair and a Resources Agency cabinet post. The prospect of becoming speaker in two years would make the pro tem position more attractive, if Keeley is given a choice. The Fredsel had no comment, except to note that Villaraigosa has been "very, very good" to him.


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From the November 12-18, 1998 issue of Metro.

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