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No Plans

Who will replace departing SJ planning master Gary Schoennauer? Schoennauer, the city's longtime planning chief, is retiring at the end of February and will likely go into private consulting work, sources tell Eye. The diminutive Schoennauer will leave big shoes to fill: He's been a giant inside the city bureaucracy. ... In his 300-page love letter to himself, The New City-State, author and former Mayor Tom McEnery describes Schoennauer as a man of "Napoleonic temperament" who kept the city focused on reviving the downtown. Also credits Schoennauer and Redevelopment czar Frank Taylor with handling the city council's few "wackos"--i.e. those who disagreed with McEnery--"in easy style."... On the replacement front, two months ago the city paid Sacramento-based headhunters Shannon Davis & Associates $12,500 to conduct a nationwide search. That doesn't mean locals can't give it a shot. Head of codes Ed Gawf is expected to submit his resume. There's also speculation inside City Hall that one of Schoennauer's underlings--such as deputy director Jim Derryberry or Kent Edens, or principal planner Pat Colombe, Joe Horwidel or Carol Painter--might apply for the post. Another local favorite mentioned (although not necessarily in the running) is building chief Andrew Adelman, whom many credit with turning around the city's building division. "If he wanted the job, he'd clearly have the political support," says one City Hall insider. "He's seen as one of the shining stars inside the bureaucracy."

Frank's Folly

The New Year has come and gone, and so has SJ Councilman Frank Fiscalini's self-imposed deadline to decide whether he'll run for mayor in 1998. His aide, Joe Guerra, explains that unexpected obstacles--like Guerra getting sick over the holidays--have delayed Fiscalini's announcement. ... Fiscalini nearly became mayor in 1990, barely losing to Susan Hammer after the Hammer campaign ran a last-minute hit piece that pegged Frank as an incompetent. But that was more than six years ago, and Guerra says the two get along swell now. Fiscalini recently co-chaired the mayor's New Realities Task Force, and Hammer just appointed him vice chairman of the new joint city/redevelopment finance committee. Despite their new public chumminess, don't expect Hammer to join the Fiscalini conga line if he runs for mayor. Conventional wisdom has it that Hammer will support protegé Margie Fernandes if she decides to run. ... Last week Fiscalini had lunch with local campaign shark Roger Lee, who ran Hammer's bruising 1990 campaign, causing Eye to wonder whether Frank and Roger were negotiating the latter's consulting fee. "Not one iota," insists Guerra. "It was actually Roger who suggested the meeting." ... Lee's prospects for becoming Fiscalini's campaign guru may appear grim, but he did get some good news last week. A judge agreed to cut Lee loose from his remaining probation, over the objections of the district attorney's office. Eye-watchers may recall that Lee--now a clean and sober 12-step disciple--was busted a few years ago for selling crack to an undercover cop.

Tax Busters

In its weekly travels, Eye may have inadvertently shoved the lawsuit over Measure B into the public spotlight by alerting county officials of its existence. As late as Monday of this week, county wonks were pleading ignorance about the suit, filed by three county taxpayers: Robert Coleman, Charles Moore and Robert Wilson. By the next day, the news was all over town, and County counsel Steven Woodside and the local taxpayers association alike were fielding questions from the media pack. ... Both the Sacramento-based Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Association and the local Santa Clara County Taxpayers' Association tell Eye they will sit on the sidelines for the new lawsuit against Measure B, the half-cent retail sales tax earmarked for transportation projects. Jonathan Coupal, the Jarvis group's director of legal affairs, told Eye that he's too busy fighting cities over Prop. 218--which requires assessment districts to be approved by property owners--to wage a court battle over Measure B, too. Meanwhile, the Santa Clara County Taxpayers' Association issued a press release this week saying it "morally" supports the lawsuit. Apparently, moral support won't translate into financial support. The nonprofit group's executive director, Pat Shrum, explains that her volunteer organization is already tied up with other legal actions such as its pending lawsuit against the county's open space authority. ... Coleman, Moore, and Wilson filed their seven-page complaint on Jan. 6--the final day, according to Coleman, to challenge November ballot measures. The anti-tax trio argue that the county and the media suckered voters into supporting Measure B by using Measure A, the companion advisory measure, to promise a smorgasbord of popular transportation projects. They say Measure B (which got 52 percent of the vote) really needed two-thirds voter approval because, despite the county's semantic trickery in calling it a general tax, it was still a special tax. Coleman, a longtime light-rail opponent, says he expects to get outside financial backing to help pay for legal costs now that the lawsuit has been filed. He didn't say who he expects to cough up the cash.

Polled Punches

Supe candidate Steve Blanton takes exception to the "findings" of a $7,000 poll paid for by one of his opponents, Rosemary Kamei. The poll results suggest that Kamei is a front-runner in the seven-way race for the vacant District 1 seat, with her stiffest competition likely coming from Keith Honda. The poll also concluded that Kamei, currently a county water board member, has decent name recognition in the district. "That's bull," scoffs Blanton, a member of the Los Gatos Town Council. "Nobody knows who Rosemary Kamei is except her friends. ... You can structure a poll to have it tell you whatever you want it to. I find it hard to believe she has a lot of name ID." Greg Sellers, Kamei's campaign manager, says he was surprised how well Kamei did and how poorly Blanton fared in his hometown. "A lot of people in Los Gatos didn't know who he was." But Sellers adds that it's all relative; none of the candidates qualifies as a household name.

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From the January 16-22, 1997 issue of Metro

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