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[whitespace] Pat Dando Not So Fast: Pat Dando says she hasn't committed to her rumored gig as a campaign co-chair for Ron Gonzales.

Public Eye

Musical Co-chairs

SJ Councilwoman PAT DANDO is back at work and trying to stay stress-free since experiencing a mild stroke in November. But some of the talk about whether she'll be one of the chairs for Mayor RON GONZALES' re-election campaign is getting on her nerves. Gonzales announced three campaign co-chairs at his Nov. 1 kickoff: ex-Mayor SUSAN HAMMER, SJ Councilwoman CINDY CHAVEZ and beer baron MIKE FOX Sr. The fourth was promised later, and now there's some confusion about whether or not Dando agreed to be a co-chair. The Merc reported a couple weeks ago that Dando was the one--and that she was negotiating with Gonzo about what she'd get in return. But Dando says that's not really the case and that "there has not been any deal cut." Adds Dando: "We had discussed it before but then after I got sick we just haven't talked about it." In fact, Dando says, she's not necessarily saying she'll be the fourth chair. Dando says she'll probably be talking to the mayor again in January about her role in his campaign. Gonzales campaign manager DUSTIN DEROLLO tells Eye the mayor was talking with Dando about getting her support before she had the stroke, but wouldn't confirm whether or not Dando had been approached to be the chair. Added an indignant DeRollo: "You guys are trying to rain on my surprise parade." OK, but from the sound of it, Dando will be supporting her old nemesis Ron, though it's just not yet clear how or when ... Gonzales, meanwhile, continues to aid imperiled voters. A couple years ago, Gonzo helped administer CPR to a fellow golfer that suffered a heart attack at a driving range. Sadly, that story didn't have a happy ending. But on Dec. 15, as Gonzales was riding with DeRollo and police bodyguard BOBBY AVILA, a motorcyclist went down in front of them on a downtown onramp to I-280. "It wasn't wet or anything, he just fell," DeRollo recalls. "We pulled over and Ron and Bobby hopped out to help the guy up and pick up his bike. He was in a daze, and there were all these cars about to run him over." The motorcyclist was shaken but unhurt.

Dr. Camran Nezhat
Dr. Camran Nezhat

Docs Clocked

Remember the Nezhat brothers? They're the infamous Stanford University gynecological surgeons sued for performing questionable procedures on women. Metro readers know them as the subjects of a recent cover story ("The Scalpel and the Damage Done," July 5, 2001). Well, Stanford's med school checked up on them and didn't like everything it found. After a yearlong study, prompted by a bunch of complaints Stanford won't specify, university officials admitted Dec. 19 that brothers CAMRAN, FARR and CEANA NEZHAT had holes in their research big enough to drive an ambulance through. Panels assigned by Stanford and overseen by ex-California Supreme Court Justice EDWARD PANELLI found "serious discrepancies" between patient records of Nezhat surgeries and medical journal articles the Nezhats wrote outlining their procedures. The university suspended the trio's teaching credentials. Stanford's action means that the doctors can no longer teach their controversial minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery techniques. Other doctors have called the Nezhat surgical procedures--like the one they performed on their former patient and current lawsuit foe STACEY MULLEN, where they (to be troublingly vivid) pulled her bowel outside her body to scrape off what they said was endometriosis but turned out not to be--"bizarre," "barbaric" and "experimental." The doctors' medical credentials (and therefore their ability to perform surgery at the school hospital) so far remain unscathed. Stanford officials stand firmly by the doctors' patient care, says med center spokesperson RUTHANN RICHTER. The decision to bar the Nezhats from teaching at the Stanford Endoscopy Center for Training and Technology also earned the center an upcoming review. At the end of the review, Richter says, "it's conceivable" that the Nezhats could get their teaching privileges back.

Dueling Spinners

Consider these two incompatible faxes that went out last week from the supervisorial campaigns of DON GAGE and DENNIS KENNEDY. The first: Supervisor Gage loses in court. And the second: Courts rule Kennedy attacks violated election law. The discrepancy arose after Kennedy filed a ballot statement that included a pronouncement that "County traffic, sprawl and health care have only gotten worse in my opponent's two terms in office--while he's increased government spending by 56 percent." Gage consultant TAB BERG says that kind of talk is a no-no for ballot statements. "He submitted an illegal ballot statement that tried to use a taxpayer-funded ballot statement to attack," Berg explains. "That's very clearly illegal. We were just surprised that this started off so quickly as a negative campaign. Usually you wait until after Christmas." Gage's attorney contacted Kennedy and requested a toned-down statement, Berg says, but the Kennedy camp would only compromise on the language if the deal included a gag order about the whole thing. Kennedy consultant DARREN SEATON, however, denies asking for a gag. Seaton adds that they offered to settle with the Gage camp but ultimately couldn't shake hands because they wanted Kennedy to pick up Gage's attorney's fees. Unable to agree, the two sides last week wound up in front of a judge, who ordered Kennedy's to drop the statement's "opponent" references. Gage also wanted to delete other passages including one that says, "It's time for a county supervisor who will stand up to special interests," but the judge let those stand. The amended statement lapses into passive voice to skirt the O-word: "County traffic, sprawl and health care have only gotten worse over the last five years--while county government has increased by 56 percent." Different, but not the same. "The fundamental issue," Seaton fumes, "is that Don Gage went to court to try to hide the truth and he lost." Berg and Seaton both offered an identical assessment of the tiff: Their guy won and the other guys were spinning shamelessly. Gage, by the way, asked in court to make Kennedy cover his attorney's fees, but the judge denied the request.

Know Comment

Nuz, Eye's counterpart over the hill at Metro Santa Cruz, did an item last week reporting that Knight Ridder was rumored to be buying the Santa Cruz Sentinel from owner Ottaway Newspapers (Ottaway, an upstate New York-based company, is a subsidiary of Dow Jones & Co., publishers of The Wall Street Journal). The move's an obvious one for K-R, which has been gobbling up dailies up and down the California central coast, and Dow Jones, which is so cash strapped after the post-dotcom advertising meltdown and Sept. 11 that it's been moving its key operations to New Jersey. ...Sentinel editor TOM HONIG, when contacted, could only confirm that he'd heard the same rumor himself. "There's been no definitive word, just rumors," said Honig. The SJ-based news giant gave its usual response to our reporter's queries: nothing. Eye can attest that it's impossible to get anything out of media titan TONY RIDDER--or POLK LAFFOON, the company's tight-lipped spokesman. But then, the Merc itself brought up the issue in a Dec. 20 story under the hed: "Owners want to sell or swap Santa Cruz Sentinel." It sounded promising. Eye read. But Merc reporter KEN McLAUGHLIN couldn't get any hints from his own bad boys at KR's HQ. All he got was that the company doesn't talk about "potential acquisitions or divestitures." Sorry, Ken, but if it makes you feel better, Eye knows how you feel. Oh, and about the sale? No new info as of deadline, but Eye promises to keep watching.

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From the December 27, 2001-January 2, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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