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Mayor Chief

San Jose police jefe Lou Cobarruviaz has a new sales pitch to would-be backers of his mayoral bid, a source in an opposing camp tells Eye. Cobarruviaz, who's been putting out feelers to decide whether to run for either mayor or sheriff, purportedly has implied on a couple of occasions that former City Hall top man Tom McEnery encouraged the chief to join the conga line for the 1998 mayoral race. If true, that raises a number of intriguing questions about the Macster's motives. (Since neither Cobarruviaz nor McMayor could be reached for comment, Eye is left with the entertaining task of speculating wildly.) For one thing, the ever-coy McEnery is occasionally mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate in '98. Does this cheerleading for Cobarruviaz mean the Macster will remain on the sidelines? If Mac doesn't run, the conventional wisdom was that the ostensible Kingmaker would back his ambitious former aide, San Jose City Councilwoman Pat Dando. Has McEnery jilted Dando in favor of the police chief? Or is the Macster hedging his bets? Another theory offered to Eye presumes the Macster has a more Machiavellian strategy: A Cobarruviaz candidacy would split the Latino vote, expected to go to ex-Supe Ron Gonzales, and thereby weaken both Latino candidates. Chief beneficiary of such a ploy: Fine and Dando.

Life After Death

Motions to adjourn state Assembly sessions in the memory of some famous dead person often pass without a peep. Not in the case of murdered gangsta rapper Notorious B.I.G., a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. Christopher Wallace. Following his shooting death, Assemblyman Kevin Murray (D-Culver City) asked his colleagues to unanimously support adjourning in honor of the slain rap star. Republican Tom McClintock, however, said there was no way he could honor "a convicted drug dealer and thug whose glorification of rape, murder and drugs had made him famous." Murray then asked for a vote. Going along with Murray were local Demos Elaine Alquist, Liz Figueroa and Mike Honda. (Reep Jim Cunneen ducked the roll call vote, no doubt to avoid pissing off West Coast rappers loyal to Tupac Shakur.) When Murray saw he didn't have unanimous support, Demos caucused and decided to shelve the whole idea and expunged the record. Honda press aide Bill Wong explains that his boss wasn't supporting the gangsta rapper per se. "It was less a [matter] of adjourning in the memory of Biggie Smalls than it was supporting fellow Democratic Assemblymember Kevin Murray," Wong explains.

Mighty Magnate

Multimillionaire Beverly Hills businessman Al Checchi once again was sweet-talking Silicon Valley's high-tech execs and politicos earlier this month. In February Checchi, testing the waters for a possible gubernatorial run, made the rounds and chatted with San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer. This time Checchi spoke to a group of 150 suits in the Santa Clara Valley Manufacturers Group and, according to an associate, was scheduled to meet with businessman Yosh Uchida and labor rep Amy Dean. When Eye caught up with Checchi, he was filled with positive sound bites about the nation's high-tech capital. "The more time I spend here, the more I learn about the future," Checchi gushed. The Democratic Checchi is not an official candidate yet, but that didn't prevent him from waxing prophetic about the power the Guv'ner has to make swift changes. Consider the fact that the state's chief executive makes more than 2,000 public appointments, the airline tycoon says. So does that mean the public can look forward to more stylish haircuts and better manicures after Checchi makes his seven appointments to the state Board of Barbering and Cosmetology? ... Pundits predict that the new open primary system should help Checchi, who stands to get a lot of crossover support from moderate, South Bay­type Republicans not thrilled with Doonesbury character Dan Lungren. "The open primary certainly helps him," observes one wag, "but when you have $550 million, you're gonna be a legitimate candidate."

Webb Files

Thumped by the East Coast press establishment for his pieces on the CIA-crack connection, San Jose Mercury News investigative reporter Gary Webb remains a hero among conspiratorially minded leftist and minority organizations. Last weekend, Webb flew to Los Angeles to participate in a "teach-in" being sponsored by some left-of-center groups united under the name of "Crack the CIA Coalition." Outside the Hollywood auditorium where Webb and other "instructors" like sitcom actor Ed Asner spoke, vendors hawked labor, socialist, Nation of Islam and Black Panther newspapers. Backstage, Webb told an Eye correspondent that he isn't limiting his appearances to sympathetic, lefty groups. He'll talk to conspiracy-crazed right-wingers, too. "[If] the John Birch Society wants me to talk to them," Webb says, "I'd be happy to."

Voting Flock

In addition to an almighty combination of the NRA and south county Republicans, soon to be ex-Gilroy mayor Don Gage may have had God on his side to help him strike down evil Demo opponent Rosemary Kamei in Tuesday's runoff election for County supe. Pastor Peter Wilkes, gay-fearing pastor of South Hills Church, had taken pen in hand (under the heading: "Attention All Pastors") urging other church leaders to nudge their ballot-punching flock toward Gage. "Because of low voter turnout at these special elections, I believe the Lord has given us a unique opportunity," Wilkes wrote other clergy members. "He has clearly been orchestrating this from the start." Wilkes apparently likes the fact that Gage --a "committed Catholic Christian"(?!?)-- opposes the domestic partners registry and, according to the pastor, gay marriage. Of Water Board member Kamei, Wilkes opined she "is a classic liberal and her literature says she is a board member of Planned Parenthood." Now, isn't that special? ... Eye also received a copy of an an anonymous fax sent to the San Jose Mercury News signed by "The Voting Public," denouncing the Merc's endorsement of Kamei, which, they said, lacked "creditability." "Why don't you look into how many times she does not show up for a meeting and (sic) especially the water district," the garbled missive thundered. "I doubt you really give a dam (sic, unless meant to be a pun) on our opinions--but the most gratification will be--you are going to lose this one." Well, at least they got the "forcasted (sic) winner" right.

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From the March 20-26, 1997 issue of Metro

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