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Race Baiting In District 10

No wonder the San Jose District 10 race between Rich De La Rosa and Nancy Pyle took on racial overtones. Pyle's campaign consultant was Darren Seaton, the labor-friendly mudslinger from the team responsible for the notorious Oakland Raider hit mailer targeting Tony West in his 2000 assembly race against Manny Diaz. West's face was darkened and put inside an Oakland Raider logo to make it seem as if a gangsta were running against Diaz. Similarly, businessman De La Rosa saw his persona darkened in two hit pieces, one of which, in coded language referring to the Almaden resident's "East Side" business, inferred that a Latino from the wrong side of the tracks wasn't fit to represent lily-white District 10. In a race separated by a few hundred votes, De La Rosa says the hit pieces swung the election: "They distorted people's thinking." In typical unvarnished style, De La Rosa didn't try to put a shine on things, faxing a statement that he could not "offer congratulations on the campaign [Pyle] ran. ... I cannot sanction the 'win at any cost' campaigning or the politics of deceit and manipulation. Our city and the voters deserve better." Pyle, meanwhile, was out of the country. But her fiery campaign manager defended the last-minute literature. "Poor Rich," Ana Maria Rosato said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "I can only imagine how disappointing it is that he didn't make it." The unapologetic handler contends her portrayal of De La Rosa was "100 percent, absolutely accurate ... and provable." Many of the allegations cited related to inflated bills for attorneys' and lobbyists' fees submitted to the city after it lost an eminent domain battle to the Tropicana merchants, of which De La Rosa was one. "It was a great piece," she modestly adds. "I worked on it myself. The truth hurts sometimes."

Peed Off

Looks like the Milpitas City Council isn't yet ready to make the big leap into the adult world. Last month, Councilmember Armando Gomez became irritated by what he saw as petty grandstanding by three of his fellow councilmembers. The three, Trish Dixon, Althea Polanski and Mayor Jose Esteves, were trying to taint another member of the council, Bob Livengood, as corrupt because he was paid $55,000 to be a consultant for KB Homes, which is building a huge development in Milpitas. Never mind that Livengood never voted on issues involving KB Homes. And never mind that it had been six months since Dixon, Polanski and Esteves first heard about Livengood's connection to KB Homes. It was three weeks before the election, and the councilmembers wanted the matter turned over to the district attorney and the Fair Political Practices Committee. Gomez wasn't having any of it. "This is the classic example why people are so pissed off at you three," he said during the televised Oct. 12 council meeting. Piss is apparently one of those grown-up words you can't use in Milpitas—despite the fact that it's been printed almost 900 times by family newspapers across the globe in the past 90 days. Polanski, a former president of the Milpitas School Board, filed a complaint against Gomez, claiming he had violated 28 counts of the city's new ethics laws. Gomez had used "improper language," Polanski declared, which treads upon the city's vow to uphold respect, fairness and honesty in government. Then, to show how ethical Milpitas really is, the three-member Ethics Committee tried Gomez in absentia, slapping him with a reprimand, which Polanski will no doubt use against him in the 2006 election.

The Tam Tam Club

Failed California Senate candidate Manny Diaz, who will be out of a Sacramento job Dec. 6, is "keeping his options open," according to longtime staffer Drina Collins. The double-O words, of course, are a euphemism for unemployed, so don't be surprised if you see Manolo in line behind you at the employment development department, or applying to become a department store Santa. (No, we didn't really say that; that was our evil twin.) Really, now, the word on the street is that he recently floated the idea of becoming San Jose' s next mayor in a meeting with councilgal Cindy Chavez. That's a job Chavez has staked out for herself, so she would have nothing of it. So, Diaz has been running around trying to line up support for taking a run at Chavez's District 3 seat when she terms out in 2006. Even though he once represented District 5, Diaz now has ties to the downtown district. He lives on 15th Street, and famously rolled his SUV while blowing through a downtown intersection. So even though it might be a career step backward, he wouldn't be a total carpetbagger. The laws of physics, though, dictate an equal and opposite reaction, so some worried downtown denizens are shopping around for a candidate to oppose a labor-juiced Diaz juggernaut. One name that came up in a recent powwow is former District 3 council aide Margaret Tamisiea, who is now gainfully employed as an Adobe public relater after a gig at the Community Foundation. With practically two decades of involvement in the district, Tamisea could prove an interesting candidate; about the nastiest thing that could be said about her is that she spends her free time volunteering for downtown beautification activities. Ambushed by a motley passel of draft MTD3 champions following a recent political chowdown, the potential draftee remained politely coy. But our Flyspies didn't hear her say no either.

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From the November 17-23, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

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