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[whitespace] Pete McHugh Intel Inside: While some county supervisors are sticking with Macs, Supe Pete McHugh, a former IBM accountant, is switching his office over to PCs.

Public Eye

Mac Attack

IN POLITICS, they call them "wedge issues," touchy subjects that evoke highly emotional, partisan positions. Abortion is one. The death penalty is another. And, of course, there's the age-old debate: Mac or PC? On the tenth floor of 70 W. Hedding, where the county's five supervisors have their offices, board members are split over which one to embrace. ... Unlike most county departments, the supes' offices currently use--and have long used--Macs. But a few board offices started suffering regular computer crashes in recent months after installing memory-consuming, Y2K-compliant email software. Later, the Information Services Department did an analysis of the supes' computer setups, causing some 10th-floor wags to grumble that PC-biased techies were trying to get them to part with their beloved Macs. The techies' final report, released a month ago, cautiously recommended each supe evaluate his or her computer needs and take into account "which platform can most easily be supported by county staff." Of course, that would be a PC-related platform since most of the folks in tech support are Window-wonks and not Mac-centric. But the techies, perhaps hoping to stave off complaints from Mac loyalists, were careful not to tell their bosses they had to switch to PCs. As it stands now, supervisors Blanca Alvarado and Joe Simitian are apparently sticking with their Macs. (Simitian actually has a Mac-loving policy aide who does routine computer maintenance.) "We've been perfectly happy with the Macs we've been using," Simitian sniffs. "As long as we take care of our system, it takes care of us." An aide to Chairman Don Gage says a recent memory upgrade seemed to do the trick in handling a few past bugs, so he'll probably stick with Mac, too. Meanwhile, supes Pete McHugh, a former IBM accountant, and Jim Beall are leaning toward converting. "As in any office there are advocates on both sides," opines Caroline Judy, Beall's staff chieftain, who says PCs will allow her to scan business cards into a database more easily. "People have almost religious beliefs about which system is better."

Shark Tank

Being mayor of a big city can often be a thankless job, but the position does have its perks. Last Friday Mayor Ron Gonzales and his wife, Alvina--both sporting Sharks jerseys bearing the number 99 and the name "Gonzales"--sat in the comfy confines of the city's 16-seat luxury box to watch the sold-out playoff contest against the Dallas Stars. But Eye was curious to know who got to fill the remaining seats in the city box. It turns out that joining the First Couple were developer and Gonzo campaign donor George Marcus, Kaufman & Broad exec Robert Freed, downtown builder Kim Small, Assessor Larry Stone and--drum roll, please--Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers, whose company is planning major expansions in Coyote Valley and Alviso (both of which likely will require approval from the mayor and City Council). Of course, the Sharks wound up losing 5-4 in a shootout, but Stone says, "It was a great game." ... Someone else who popped his head into the city box during the game was attorney Ed Alvarez, who it seems has been quite a busy boy these days. He recently joined forces with Gonzales campaign treasurer Ash Pirayou and ex-Mexican Heritage Corp. prez Pete Carrillo to form a new super-lobbying firm called Silicon Valley Advisers. And the former A's executive reportedly just filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court against A's co-owner Steve Schott, the head of Citation Homes, seeking more than $20 million. Details of the court complaint are sketchy and neither Alvarez nor Schott could be reached for comment.

Aerial Assault

Local voter-data vendor Doug Winslow turned a few heads when he showed up at a Democratic Party dinner the night of Cinco de Mayo with two long, red scratches down his right cheek. An attack by a defeated millionaire named Peacock?, you ask. Not a Peacock or a peacock, for that matter, but a silver pheasant on his exotic animal farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which also serves as a home for camels, emus and ostriches. "A lot of people [at the dinner]," Winslow recalls, "were wondering 'What the hell happened to you?' " What happened, Winslow says, is that he made the mistake of getting too close to a male pheasant programmed to protect his territory this time of year. "They get mean during breeding season," Winslow explains, adding, "I didn't really feel anything until there was a ton of blood coming from my face."

Error Message

Usually, Eye reserves its constructive criticism for politicians and celebrities. But this week Eye humbly accepts the award for Goat of the Week after neglecting to properly check its facts. Last week, Eye reported that Gov. Gray Davis needed a little nudging from San Jose's Democratic mayor before he tapped local Republican prosecutor Paul Bernal to the bench a few months ahead of schedule. The item incorrectly identified two other jurist-elects tapped by the guv as Democrats. In truth, neither Dolores Carr nor Linda Condron are of the Democratic persuasion (according to the registrar of voters, Carr is a Republican and Condron is not affiliated with either of the two major parties), meaning Davis acted democratically and not Democratically. Will Eye do this again? Na-a-a-a-ah.

Bumper Picker

A recent Friday afternoon, San Jose City Councilgal Cindy Chavez was unloading groceries from her Saturn sedan when she spotted a foreign object adhered to her bumper: a Tony West for Assembly sticker. Obviously, the sticker was the handiwork of practical jokers, especially with the March election long gone. Chavez is hardly a big fan of West, an assistant attorney general: She defeated him for the downtown council seat in 1998, and co-chaired the 23rd Assembly District campaign of West's opponent, Manny Diaz, earlier this year. "At first I laughed at the irony of it," Chavez reminisces. "I don't even put stickers on my car for anything." Chavez tells Eye that once she spotted the sticker, she crouched down behind her car and scraped it off with her thumbnail lest people think she was going West, even for a few hours. Sleuthing Cindy suspects the perpetrator of the prank struck on a Friday morning at City Hall or the night before while her car was parked in front of her house. No suspects yet, but Chavez says, "The big question is who was cleaning out their Tony West campaign supplies and said, 'Hey, I can still use this'?"

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From the May 11-17, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

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