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[whitespace] Recycled Material: Two-time mayoral candidate Kathy Chavez Napoli is thinking about running for City Council now.

Scrap Mettle

Considering her parochial, anti-establishment politics, it has always seemed like it would make more sense for two-time mayoral speculator Kathy Chavez Napoli to focus her ambitions on something more modest and attainable. For one thing, running for mayor takes a lot of money--the two finalists each raised in the neighborhood of $1 million last year--and Napoli eschews taking dough from special interests, which immediately puts her at a financial disadvantage. And even though her day-care and auto-wrecking biz has made the 'vette-driving wife and mother a wealthy gal, the $55,000 she withdrew from her personal bank account last year wasn't nearly enough to salvage her mayoral tailgate party. But in a less costly race, such as City Council, Napoli could, with her money and the name ID she's established from previous citywide campaigns (which include the fight against the stadium tax in 1992), enjoy a smooth ride to office. And guess what? Napoli confirms that she is seriously thinking about taking over the driver's seat in her neighborhood homeland. Napoli lives in District 2 (south San Jose), where incumbent Charlotte Powers will be termed out of office next year. ... "People have spoken to me," Napoli grudgingly confides, "and said they would really like me to run." Napoli refused to disclose who wants her to run for fear that Eye might make fun of them. ... Nonetheless, Eye is sure that whoever the unnamed Kathy-courters are, they are worth their weight in scrap mettle. ... Should she run, expect Napoli to recycle campaign messages from her earlier attempts at public office, particularly "fiscal accountability." To some extent, her rhetorical thunder has been stolen by Mayor Ron Gonzales' recent efforts to pull the curtain on redevelopment wizard Frank Taylor's spending habits. ... By the by, Gonzo policy aide Jim Webb is also considering having a go at the District 2 seat. So are Planning Commissioner Forrest Williams, who is telling everyone within brown-nosing distance that he's definitely in the race, and county school board president Maria Ferrer.

Buddy System

Traditionally, elected officials play the waiting game when it comes to making candidate endorsements. Protocol dictates that a politician should first find out who's actually on the ballot before making any commitments. This keeps options open and hurt feelings at a minimum. So, given the standard operating procedure, why did Assemblyman Mike Honda announce his support for unofficial Willow Glen council candidate Kris Cunningham nine months before anyone can even pull papers? It's not as if Cunningham, a political neophyte, has been a longtime Honda loyalist. The announcement disappointed another possible District 6 candidate, John Gibbs, who worked alongside Honda for six years in the county building. And Honda's pals in labor and the Democratic Party are leaning toward supporting San Jose State poli-sci prof. Ken Yeager, who ran against Honda for Assembly in 1996. ... Yeager dismisses any suggestion that Honda holds a grudge from their relatively tame '96 campaign. The Yeagermeister theorizes that the Assemblyman's early backing of Cunningham, president of the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association, is an attempt to make inroads in the voter-rich community where a resident once asked for an English version of a brochure that featured Honda's "si se puede" campaign slogan. ... But Keith Honda, Mike's chief of staff and relative, explains that Cunningham and Mike just get along real swell. Hondita adds, "This way [endorsing early], everyone leaves you alone. They'll get mad now, but they'd get mad later, too."

Temporary Insanity

The event surely won't be recorded on the Redevelopment Agency's annual "Milestones" list, but nevertheless last week's heroin scandal at 50 W. San Fernando won't be forgotten anytime soon. RDA regulars got suspicious when they found a Federal Express package left behind by a 34-year-old office temp, Shelley Hughes, who had been recruited from an agency two weeks before. "They were wondering why a temp would be sending stuff out by Federal Express," explains Louis Quezada, a police spokesman. So agency employees performed their moral duty as nosy Americans and opened up the package, only to discover approximately three grams of heroin. Police then paid an 8:30am wake-up call to Hughes' San Jose home, where they reportedly found more junk and stolen credit card numbers. Hughes, police say, was also arrested for being under the influence of a narcotic and for an outstanding warrant. Eye hopes the city learned a lesson here--to do a more thorough background check, darn it all, and get a dog to stand guard at the mailroom.

Blazing Saddles, The Sheriff Is a She!

Lady lawgal Laurie Smith wears her gender like a badge of honor. More to the point, she clearly relishes being the first woman in California elected and sworn in as sheriff. But there were a few people wondering if she was perhaps a little too proud when a deputy's official photo ID came back from the printer reading "Office of the She." ... The deputy then went to check with Smith, to see if the squad cars and business cards were all being changed to say "Office of the She." Ms. Laurie assured the deputy that the office wasn't changing its name. Apparently, a random printing error caused all the fuss.

Stock Reply

What big-city mayor in his right mind would turn down the chance to create 20,000 new jobs? That is supposedly how many extra timecards the proposed $1 billion Cisco Systems expansion in Coyote Valley would produce. Rookie Mayor Ron Gonzales isn't uncorking the Veuve Clicquot yet. Two obstacles he faces: worried environmentalists and a possible $300 million price tag for infrastructure improvements in the still-rural valley. The countywide Greenbelt Alliance is already amassing the troops, taking an early stand against any potential city subsidies to enable the wealthy corporation to become wealthier. The reality, however, is that the project will create jobs, glorious jobs that mayors traditionally love to take credit for. "We ought not to give away the store," one mayoral adviser whispers, "but this is a really, really good thing." The other reality is that some of the key players in this plan are Gonzo contributors: Campaign finance records show Cisco CEO John Chambers gave $1,000, and landowners Drew Gibson and Steven Speno each gave at least $500. Oh, and don't ask mayoral chief of staff Jude Barry about the deal. Barry is a Cisco stockholder and says that he is staying out of the loop on this one, on purpose.

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

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