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[whitespace] Frank Taylor Unruly Behavior: Frank Taylor will no longer be the lord and master of the Redevelopment Agency board meeting agendas if the mayor has his way.

George Sakkestad

A New Set of Rules

His critics frequently complain that redevelopment ruler Frank Taylor is accountable to no one. To wit: Taylor controls what appears on the agency board's meeting agendas, regularly adding items at the last minute, giving the public little chance to study their meaning or impact. Such a luxury isn't afforded to the city manager and other department heads, who must go through the City Council's Rules Committee before they can get proposals formally put on future agendas. For the eight years since the agency seceded from the city hall bureaucracy, Taylor has not had to suffer the indignity of such procedural niceties. New Mayor Ron Gonzales, whom pundits expect to keep Taylor on a much shorter leash than his predecessors, is proposing to change a few things. ... Gonzales is asking his colleagues to create a Rules Committee for the redevelopment agency, which would impose the same procedural requirements on Taylor that already exist for the city manager. The mayor is also proposing to hold redevelopment board meetings the same day as City Council meetings. Mayoral budget minister Joe Guerra insists the idea is merely consistent with Gonzo's concept of everyone in the city working as "one team." But the move also clearly is an attempt to put a shorter leash on Taylor, who now must prepare for the possibility of his pet proposals getting buried or delayed by Rules gatekeepers, i.e., all councilmembers who backed Gonzales during the election. ... In the past, even though Taylor had final say over what appeared on the agency agendas, he worked closely with mayors Tom McEnery and Susan Hammer to shape their content privately. Gonzales' proposal forces Taylor to do what he hates most: conduct his business in public.

Trial Separation

Next week Valley Medical Center will be without its longtime one-two tandem of chief Bob Sillen and his deputy, Anne Moses. Both hospital executives will be out on extended leave: Sillen is taking four weeks off; Moses, meanwhile, called in sick in mid-January and won't return for at least another month. Several sources, however, say the only thing Moses is sick of is Sillen himself. Word in the corridors is that Moses won't ever be coming back to work under her old boss. ... Reportedly, Moses and Sillen have had a falling out, though it isn't clear over what. The dispute comes at a time when VMC officials have been rejoicing about their new and improved $200 million high-tech hospital for the poor. "It's strange," shrugs one county insider, "I thought the two of them got along well." Neither Sillen nor Moses would confirm the rift to Eye. In their absence, VMC chief financial officer Kim Roberts will take over as interim director.

Do the Fight Thing

After a few months of trying to steal the spotlight from each other, neither of the two rival political factions of Silicon Valley's African American community appears to be able to land the starring role. The latest stage-hogging began last month when the African American Democratic Coalition, led by former Alum Rock school trustee Tony Alexander, asked the venerable African American Democratic Club to remove the word "Democratic" from its marquee. Eye watchers may recall that during the mayoral campaign last year, the Democratic Club annoyed party-liners by ad-libbing an endorsement for Republican Pat Dando. Alexander and other supporters of Ron Gonzales responded by forming the Democratic Coalition, which was quickly given charter member status by the party central committee. Officials for the Democratic Club informed Coalition leaders to kiss off--they were keeping their donkey costume. ... Both organizations are vying for the right to declare themselves the true political voice of Silicon Valley's African American community. In that spirit, an understudy inside the club tells Eye that they have a dramatic announcement planned for the NAACP banquet this weekend. Apparently, the Democratic Club and the NAACP are in the process of forming the African American Political Action Committee. Democratic Coalition members need not audition: The PAC's board will be selected by the Democratic Club and the NAACP.

His Good Amigo

Speaking of San Jose's first Latino mayor, fortunately he has yet to be beckoned to a Spanish-only gig (Gonzo, of course, never learned his ancestral language). However, when such an occasion does arise, he can always tap Italian Stallion Frank Fiscalini to do the honors. One wouldn't know from looking at him, but the SJ council's Willow Glen patriarch possesses a practiced Spanish-speaking tongue. It's something he learned as a kid in his parents' grocery store. Since a vice mayor's duties include showing up at important occasions in the community, Señor Fiscalini should prove a great asset when it comes time for events en español. Gonzales' English-speaking mouthpiece, Leslee Hamilton, assures Eye that Fiscalini's Spanish had nothing to do with his selection as number-two guy behind the dais. Unfortunately, if Fiscalini is ever asked to address Santa Clara County's sister county, Florence, in Italian, Gonzales won't be able to return the favor. Neither man speaks Italian.

Y2K Bug

Last week Eye reported that Democratic Assemblyman Ted Lempert is seriously considering taking on his former college professor, state Sen. Byron Sher. But Lempert isn't the only termed-out legislator looking at Sher's seat. Republican Jim Cunneen is also sweet on the idea of moving to the more prestigious house. In December Jimbo changed his campaign committee name from "Cunneen for Assembly" to "Friends of Jim Cunneen," to prepare for a possible run against Sher. "This is something that would be a logical step for me," Cunneen asserts. ... Over the past two weeks, however, Cunneen has had little time to ponder his career plans. His second child, newborn Nicholas, spent eight days in intensive care suffering from a variety of ailments that made it hard for him to breathe. Good news, though: Nicholas is faring much better. "He's at home now," Cunneen reports, "on a monitor and healthy. He's gonna be fine." ... With Cunneen in his final Assembly term, the political buzzards are circling over his lame-duck carcass, too. Demo dreamers include peninsula playerette Dolly Sandoval and kindhearted SJ council dragon lady Charlotte Powers. And there's always prayer breakfast Republican Pat Dando, who continues to try to figure out some way to keep Erik Schoennauer from having to look for a real job.

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From the February 4-10, 1999 issue of Metro.

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