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[whitespace] Can't Beat 'Em: More bail agents are adopting the controversial business strategy of Jeff Stanley, owner of Bad Boys Bail Bonds.

Bail Bonding

Department of Corrections and Hall of Justice employees may have noticed a few more bail bond agents hawking their services along West Hedding last week. And they can expect to see even more of them in the coming weeks. That's because the county's Professional Bail Agents Association is lifting its opposition to handing out business fliers in front of the main jail and courthouse. The policy change pains the association's preppy Los Gatos president, Tedd Wallace. The Teddmeister has spent more than 20 years trying to change the industry's slimy image. To Wallace, handing out fliers in front of the courts is equivalent to a lawyer chasing ambulances. But Wallace insists that the change is necessary. Many agents have noticed their business volume decline ever since Bad Boys Bail Bonds started aggressively promoting its services one year ago (see "Jumpin' Bail," March 18, 1999). To old-timers in the bail biz, the new kids are not just violating professional standards, but pushing legal restrictions against soliciting inside jails or courthouses. Wallace says the Department of Insurance, which regulates the bail bond industry, won't be able to formally address his complaints for six months. ... "I can't find it in my heart to tell [other bail agents] to tough it out anymore," Wallace sighs. "It really has cut into our business for those of us who haven't been on the street. We're trying to gain back our share of the market that we've lost." ... Some bondsmen wanted the association to take more desperate measures and actually encourage agents to hit the streets. "The goal of this action is ... to make such a nuisance of ourselves that it is deemed by the city inappropriate and they make it go away," bail agent April Estrada wrote association members recently. "In order to do this we need as many people representing every agency out there generating the circus-like atmosphere and really making it a public nuisance." But Wallace prefers a more passive but permissive stance where the association isn't actually orchestrating a nuisance. ... Meanwhile, Jeff Stanley, owner of Bad Boys and a former fugitive bounty hunter, says he has noticed other bail reps illegally blocking the sidewalk. He says he'll tattle on them if necessary, and promises that Bad Boys will continue to "operate very professionally."

Peacock Game

A few weeks ago, Eye reported that a mysterious businessman from Portola Valley named Bill Peacock is seriously thinking about taking on Republican Congressman Tom Campbell. With a little sleuthing, Eye has been able to uncover a few more details about Peacock. ... In 1992 Peacock ran for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate. The reason Californians haven't heard of him is that he ran for the Senate seat in Missouri, where he used to live. According to articles from the time in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Peacock, a Vietnam vet, served as assistant secretary of the Army during the Carter administration. He also boasted that he started the "Be All You Can Be" advertising campaign. His positions on the issues ranged from liberal to conservative: He supported universal health care, abortion rights and a bill banning permanent replacement of strikers. But he also opposed the Brady Bill, the legislation requiring a waiting period before buying a gun. A Reep strategist, salivating at the news that Peacock had opposed a gun control bill, observed, "I'm sure he took positions that went over well in Missouri, but won't play well in Silicon Valley." ... After coming in second, Peacock moved out to California and became a venture capitalist. Eye was able to hunt down Peacock, who proclaims that he is 95 percent sure he will run.

Honda in Neutral

Just a couple of months ago San Jose Assemblyman Mike Honda co-hosted a fundraiser in the capital for Salinas Assembly candidate Sandra Pizarro. But soon after the event Honda was cautioning people that his role in the fundraiser didn't amount to a full-fledged endorsement of Pizarro. That's because he didn't want to offend longtime acquaintance Simon Salinas, the Monterey County supervisor who's also running for the 28th district seat. But friendship sometimes must take a backseat to political considerations. ... Backing Salinas would have annoyed leaders in the powerful Latino caucus who are lining up behind Pizarro, a former budget analyst for Assemblywoman Denise Moreno Ducheny, the vice chair of the caucus. When Honda first ran for his seat in 1996, the Latino caucus supported Patricia Martinez-Roach. Once elected, the Spanish-speaking Honda quickly made friends inside the caucus, who were impressed with his mariachi crooning skills. Still, Honda's team knows that the caucus ultimately views Mike as a guest in a so-called Latino seat. ... The final verdict: Honda is staying neutral, a decision that won't please anyone.

Hog Wild

Joining the race to replace Pete Frusetta in the 28th Assembly District is a man who could make the Cowboy in the Capitol look, well, normal. J.J. Vogel, the whistleblower in the Hollister housing scandal who lists his party affiliation as a staunch "declined to state," says he's driving his Harley into the ring. He's even willing to make a few concessions to the political establishment. "I trimmed my hair around the ears and I bought some clothes I wouldn't normally wear," he says, "but that's as far as I'll go with their game." Not surprisingly, his role in inspiring a grand jury report blaming developers for ignoring building codes has ticked off a few builders along the way. An attorney for Anderson Homes fired a letter off to the local weekly, The Pinnacle, threatening legal action after it ran a story covering the scandal. The paper has since banned its reporters from talking to Vogel and has thus far refused to take even paid advertising from the candidate-to-be. "This housing issue just opened my eyes up to the rest of the world," Vogel says.

Hung Juror

It has been six months since Superior Court Judge Leslie Nichols dissolved the 1998­99 grand jury. Nichols, Eye-gazers will recall, blamed a handful of dissident jurors for the grand jury's unprecedented collapse. ... Imagine her surprise when Margarita Maestas-Flores, one of the aforementioned dissidents, was called in for jury duty last week. "I had joked before," she says, "that we would never be called for jury duty because of what happened." In the juror questionnaire, Flores-Maestas paused at the question asking if she was currently a member of the grand jury, which would have disqualified her immediately. In a handwritten note, she explained that she had been discharged from the grand jury "for publicly disclosing acts of discrimination, retaliation and hostility" and therefore would be unable to "objectively serve the court at this time." Flores-Maestas insists that she would have liked to serve on a trial jury and collect the handsome $5-a-day paychecks, "but because of the situation I felt I had to be upfront."

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From the June 3-9, 1999 issue of Metro.

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