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Paranoid Profile: Milpitas councilwoman Trish Dixon says this particular Metro photo is a 'defamation of my character.'

Public Eye

The Truth Is in Here

PERHAPS IT'S TOO MUCH to expect a town with its city hall inside a shopping mall to elect rational representatives. But last week, the Milpitas mall-ectorate returned conspiracy theorist Trish Dixon to the City Council. ... During the election-eve council meeting, Dixon launched into a soliloquy that, well, made Eye wonder if she's seen a few too many Oliver Stone movies. In short, Dixon accused Eye of conspiring with her enemy, Councilman Bob Livengood, to make her look bad. Literally. Trish was complaining to Milpitians about a campaign brochure recently mailed by Livengood, who was also up for re-election, comparing his voting record with Dixon's. Oddly, Dixon said the mailer's verbal content didn't bug her as much as the ugly photo of her. "What disturbed me more than anything," she testified with Livengood squirming uncomfortably next to her behind the dais, "was what I believe to be the defamation of my character by showing a particular picture [of Dixon]. ... It was the same picture that I noticed several months ago that was in the Metro magazine. ... I know the picture because as a woman you know when you see an unflattering picture of yourself --it's burned into your brain. I can tell you the outfit I was wearing, the bracelet I was wearing that I no longer wear." ... The offending photo--a stock shot taken by a Metro photographer in 1997--accompanied an Eye item about Dixon's falling out with the Bobcat, which ran in the spring. ... Dixon went on to note that hit-piece specialist Vic Ajlouny crafted the brochure. From there, Dixon mysteriously concluded, "Several months ago I was set up by the Metro--I was being harassed by them--and now everything has become clear." ... For the record, Eye has neither the sophistication, the interest nor the time to conspire to de-throne obscure politicians who wear bracelets purchased at outlet malls. Ajlouny admits that he lifted the photo from Metro's website without our permission.

It Ain't Over

Just when you thought council election season was over, a new one is just beginning in San Jose. Even though a special election has yet to be scheduled to replace outgoing District 5 (East Side) incumbent Manny Diaz, who is headed for the Assembly, would-be successors are already lining up: Nora Campos, a longtime aide to Diaz; Richard Tanaka, a trustee of the San Jose-Evergreen Community College Board; and businessman Bud LoMonico. Tanaka has tapped consultant Greg Sellers to oversee his campaign, while Campos has contracted labor's favorite lobbyist, Ed McGovern. Diaz, as might be expected, is backing Campos. So is Tony Arreola, the mayoral-aide-cum-consultant who toyed with the idea of running himself, but decided the money is too good working as a gofer in the private sector. "[Running for office] is a financial sacrifice," Arreola explains, "and a time sacrifice." The council hasn't set an election date yet, though insiders predict it will be some time in March. ... Meanwhile, Eye hears that Diaz is shopping around the name of Planning Commissioner John Zamora as an interim replacement until a new councilor is elected. The catch is that Zamora, who just got re-appointed a few months ago, would have to give up his commission spot because he couldn't serve on both bodies at once. The scuttlebutt is that Zamora already wants off the Planning Commission and a brief stint on the council would allow him a graceful exit. However, Mayor Ron Gonzales has said in the past he prefers to have voters choose their reps, not the city council.

How Mao?

The last Eye heard about former Milpitas mayoral candidate Dan Terry, the cops were treating him as a suspect in a road rage case. And now, a couple of years later, Terry has made it back into the spotlight, this time for allegedly pointing his rage at a reputation rather than a jaw. The victim is Mayor Henry Manayan, who Terry ran against in 1996. Less than a week before the election, Milpitas residents received a mailer referring to Manayan--in big red letters, no less--as "Milpitas' Mao." The 11-x-17-inch piece went on at length to describe Manayan's Maoist transgressions like raising the Chinese flag at City Hall a year ago and signing a proclamation praising the Commies this year. The back of the brochure urges recipients to call Manayan and "demand he stop using your tax dollars to honor Communist thugs." ... The fine print on the brochure shows that it was paid for by something called Milpitas Friends of the American Flag. The flag committee's address is the same as Dan Terry's home address, City Clerk Gail Blalock says. Real or a forgery? Terry did not return phone calls. Neither did Manayan. But he did reportedly describe the mailer as "horrible" at his post-election celebration Friday. By the by, the mayoral party was held at an Indian restaurant, not a Chinese one.

Cake Walk

The morning after the election, one of the lone Republicans on the sixth floor of San Jose City Hall brought a special white-frosted cake inscribed, "Congratulations President George W. Bush." It didn't take too long before the floor's legion of Democrats was milling around the cake, grousing about its content. Someone got the bright idea of switching the lettering around so it read, "Congratulations President Gore." "The consensus was," says acting mayoral staff chieftain Rebecca Dishotsky, who witnessed the episode, "that they wanted a cake to reflect the popular vote." The bringer of the cake was not amused. He removed the pastry from the kitchen and took it back to his office, sources say.

She Will Survive

Talk about your rough weeks. Two days before the election, Joe Chavez, the 74-year-old father of San Jose City Council candidate Kathy Chavez Napoli, died of a massive heart attack. On Tuesday, Forrest Williams soundly defeated Napoli at the polls by nearly 3,000 votes. On Thursday, Napoli attended funeral services for construction worker dad at Oak Hill. "I've had better weeks," Napoli admitted when Eye reached her by phone during the election aftermath. "As far as we knew, he never had any heart problems. It was really pretty sudden." Chavez did, however, suffer from diabetes. ... Despite the election drama and personal tragedy, Napoli--twice defeated in past mayoral races--remains steadfast in her pledge to work for her south San Jose community. "It's one of the things my father always encouraged," Napoli says. Asked if she would run for public office after losing her bids for mayor and, now, City Council, she declared, "I don't know."

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From the November 16-22, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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