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Photograph by Dan Pulcrano

Is Arnold moving to Atherton?

Public Eye

Sacra Blur

Eye wangled a VIP pass to the impeccably scripted inauguration in order to see what our local social and political climbers were up to and what sort of clout they might wield in the New Sacramento, at least as much as can be divined from seating charts. Peninsula rising stars Ruben Barrales, now a Bushie, and tax-refund check signer Steve Westly both merited stage announcements. Actual San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, Shadow Mayor Tom McEnery, former mayoral strategist Dean Munro and current Vice Mayor Pat Dando rated the midsections, while Sheriff Laurie Smith and hubby BT managed to secure seats as good as Eye's, in the section in front of the podium with Rob Lowe, Danny DeVito, Dennis Miller and various members of the Kennedy-Shriver family, including Caroline Schlossberg. (Smith and McEnery also flanked Schwarzy at the Friday Chamber dinner, while Cruz Bustamante supporter Gonzales secured a last-minute seat at the distant end of the head table.) Also on hand to watch the new gov swea-uhh to suppaut the consti-toooo-shun and dis-chaahj his duties widdout any reservations: Schwarzenegger neighbor and front-section VIP Karen Mulcahy Stein, daughter of second-section attendees Henry Schiro and Shirlee DiNapoli. ... Much of the real action was over at the Hyatt Regency, where songstress Vanessa Williams graciously signed programs in the lobby and first brother-in-law Anthony Shriver cut a dashing figure before peeling out in a pearl-colored V-8 T-Bird. McEnery spent part of Sunday evening at the Regency's bar jawboning with San Francisco has-been Frank Jordan. McEnery's "up to something," one of our spies concluded. ... Saratogan Betsy Bryant spent the morning at the Regency Club breakfast room trying to solve the state budget deficit by peppering former state Treasurer Matt Fong and incoming state budget boss Donna Arduin with questions about the bond-or-tax question. The Reeps want to float junk bonds to fund the deficit rather than raise taxes and pay the debt off more quickly, as many Dem leaders prefer to do.

Applied's Michael Splinter.

Cooneen the Barbarian

As promised, the governor-elect appeared at the Chamber of Commerce's annual bash and donated his $50k fee to support after-school activities for at-risk kids. The evening began with a grip-and-grin photo queue for high rollers, but so many donors wanted their photo taken with the movie actor turned pol, who showed fashionably late, that many were disappointed when the photo op was terminated with a few dozen people still in line. ... More than 1,100 people showed up at the Fairmont San Jose for the celebrity-studded bash. Holding Schwarzenegger to his commitment to appear was a big coup for ex-legislator and current Chamber prez Jim Cuneen, even though he tried to give a speech while the audience kept talking and the guest of honor mangled his name as "Coo-neen." ... Riding high was Cuneen's former employer, Applied Materials, which underwrote the evening and had just announced a return to profitability. Sitting with Schwarzenegger were Applied's CEO Michael Splinter and Intel CEO Craig Barrett, both of whom took turns at the podium. (That's an upgrade from the Chamber's old days, when the hottest CEO they could get was the publisher of the Mercury News.) In addition to school kids and educators honored at the lovefest, Mike Fox Sr., whose son Mike Fox Jr. is the Chamber's board chair, received a community leadership award. ... Schwarzenegger promised to reform workers compensation, an initiative Cuneen's Chamber has championed, as well as do what he could to revitalize to valley's economy, which he called vital to the California recovery. "Trust me," he advised the adoring audience. ... Schwarzenegger also remarked that he preferred the Bay Area's weather to L.A.'s, which would add credibility to the reports that we've been receiving about Arnold and Maria house hunting for a crib in Atherton. If that comes to pass, he can carpool with controller Steve Westly, who commutes from there to Sacto several times a week.

Light Bright

Lawyerly superhero Chuck Reed, a.k.a. Captain America, a rather patient fellow, continues to want to let the sun shine in on city government. He's pushing, again, for San Jose to adopt a protocol for responding to public-information requests. "I think we ought to be on the side of giving up as much as we can, as opposed to hanging on to as much as we can and keeping secrets," Reed tells Eye, clearly pandering to Eye's soft spot for eavesdropping rights. In last week's Rules Committee meeting, he proposed a public-records disclosure agenda item he'd like the City Council and Redevelopment Agency to mull over in its joint meeting on either Nov. 25 or Dec. 2. Reed tested those waters last January when he originally introduced the same agenda request. But he withdrew it when the city attorney promised to take care of outlining the policy on his own. So what's the holdup? Excellent question. City Attorney Rick Doyle answers that his office constantly responds to info requests from the press--far more than any other nearby city--and knows what it's doing like the back of its long arm of justice. Doyle simply hasn't gotten around to scratching out the well-worn routine, which is, after all, only one of the many items on his work plan. He has, however, spent the year comparing notes with County Counsel Ann Ravel and neighboring city attorneys on handling (and not necessarily fending off) requests for the public airing of paper trails. Doyle complains about Reed's proposed directive to make preliminary drafts of documents available to taxpayers. "We would be keeping a lot more paper than we normally do," he notes. However, he argues that the city isn't trying to hide anything and maintains that the "entire council is committed to open government." Relieved, Eye looks forward to reading the thousands of pages of previously undisclosed records documenting the council's eminent-domain frolicking in east San Jose, and notes to and from developers, union bosses, lobbyists and other political inspirers.

Cop Swap

Cagey Sheriff Laurie Smith still may or may not depart for Sacramento. Sources say she's weighing a number of options. (One claims she wasn't the first choice for the job she wanted--California Highway Patrol commissioner--and would be offered a consolation prize--like state prison warden.) But as Eye reported earlier this month, someone shot the starting pistol, and lobbying for her job has begun ("Shooting Stars," Nov. 6). The guy who wants Smith's office and helicopter in the worst possible way is Jose Salcido. He's the three-term head of the 500-member Deputy Sheriff's Association who came in fourth in the crowded 1998 sheriff election primary that ultimately led to Smith's reign. Well-placed moles tell Eye that Salcido's been burning up the phone lines to solicit supervisorial endorsements. (That could be problematic if he is doing it on the clock, since lawmen usually aren't supposed to be doing anything but protecting our safety while we're paying them to do just that. But County Counsel Ann Ravel says stumping for a political appointment during work hours isn't clearly illegal.) According to one impeccable source, Salcido has been, and we quote, "aggressively lobbying, almost to the point of distraction to his job." The civilian asserts that the ambitious badge boy has been showing up at officers' association events and bragging to everyone within earshot that he's a shoo-in for the job. Salcido just won re-election as union boss by nine votes. Perhaps not unrelated to this slim margin, on behalf of the association, Salcido championed forfeiting pay raises for a year to give the cash-poor county a break. Salcido isn't the only guy who smells opportunity. Word has it that Captain John Hirakawa, who runs the West Valley wing of the Sheriff's Department, also wants a shot at playing top cop. And sheriff circle insiders bandy about the name Steve Cushing, a retired undersheriff, as a third heel-snapper. If Arnold succeeds in wooing Smitty to Sacto, Hollywood or wherever the state government actually happens, the supes will appoint a successor until a special election can be held within 120 days ... unless there happens to be an election already in the works. To get on the March 2004 ballot, an election would have to be announced by Dec. 5 to give candidates enough time to file.

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From the November 20-26, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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