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Public Eye

The Exec's New Clothing: Since shedding 56 pounds, beer exec Mike Fox Sr. has had to buy a new wardrobe.

Weights & Measures

From the looks of his expanding waistline, it appears that Supe Joe Simitian has pulled an Oprah since being elected to the board. Eye-watchers may recall that candidate Simitian shed 25 pounds during his peripatetic supe campaign, braving 95-degree heat to make his precinct rounds during the summer and fall of '96. But the other day at a finance committee meeting, Eye spotted a visibly tubby Simitian waddling over to the dais. A friend dryly observes, "Yes, it would seem that having won the election has been good for indulging his appetite." ... Also, let's not forget that Simitian tied the knot earlier this year with his political consultant, Mary Hughes. Now that he's off the dating circuit, dare we say, perhaps Simitian's not as worried about keeping his boyish figure. Quips Mary, "I can assure you that it has nothing to do with my cooking." (Memo to Mary: Just think of it as having more of Joe to love.) ... Leaving less of an impression on the scales these days is beer distributor Mike Fox Sr. Fox says he ballooned up to as much as 226 pounds before hiring a dietitian in January who helped him drop 56 pounds, forcing the suds exec to buy new shoes, shirts and suits for his slimmer frame. In fact, Fox reveals, while shopping for some smaller dresswear at Nordstrom last month, he bumped into Simitian, who was searching for slacks. "I wonder now if he was buying some [bigger-sized] pants," Fox muses. ... Fox says he's had to relearn everything he knew, or thought he knew, about food, substituting bagels for Danishes, swordfish for steak. He's even added some items to his personal menu like (yuck!) ostrich, which he assures Eye tastes like beef. "It's absolutely fantastic," Fox drools, "and it has less cholesterol than turkey or chicken." Having been re-educated about his diet, Fox is confident that he can avoid the Oprah phenomenon. Rotary Club prez Terry Graff snickers that having to lug that heavy wallet of his around should help Fox keep himself trim, too.

War of the Weaklies

Last year, George Slavich was a contributing writer for the Santa Clara Weekly. This year, the 19-year-old Stanford sophomore with a seven-page résumé may drive the 26-year-old Weekly out of business. First, he hired away the Weekly's most experienced reporter, Pam Costa, and he secured the services of venerable Weekly columnist Cleo Stuckrath. Then, Santa Clara's homegrown golden boy launched his own weekly, the Santa Clara Vision, eight weeks ago. "I sat down and thought about the Santa Clara Swim Club, the university, Great America, Silicon Valley--you have all these wonderful things going on in [Santa Clara], and none of it is being covered," he sniffs. About the Weekly, Slavich observes, "the whole time I worked there I never heard one positive comment." But the final slap came when the upstart Vision became the official sponsor of Santa Clara's Art and Wine Festival in September. Slavich distributed 100,000 copies of the Vision with the official program at the festival. When Weekly employees showed up with copies of a special full-color festival issue, festival organizers turned them away. Santa Clara Weekly publisher Miles Barbour won't comment on the festival sponsorship flap but musters the sincerity to say, "I love competition, I love it." Slavich runs the paper from his dorm room in Wilbur Hall at Stanford when he's not in class or dining with Chelsea (she lives in the next dorm over).

Still Hibernating

While speculation is rampant, no one can say with any certainty what Sheriff Chuck Gillingham plans to do next year: retire, run for re-election or seek another elective office. Gillingham is silent, but the latest scuttlebutt is that he won't run against Supervisor Jim Beall while Beall's still on the board. Knowledgeable head-scratchers theorize that, like firefighter-turned-councilman John Diquisto, Gillingham wants to run for San Jose City Council so he can collect two paychecks--one for his pension, another for his council duties. Most observers agree that if Gillingham runs he stands a very good chance of winning the District 1 seat against Planning Commissioner Linda LeZotte, who has already announced her candidacy. One thing Eye does know: Gillingham is holding a fundraiser Oct. 20 at the Spring Valley Golf Course to retire the remaining $83,000 debt from his 1994 sheriff's campaign. Chuck Garland, Gillingham's campaign treasurer, won't say what the sheriff's ultimate career plans are. "The usual order of business is to take care of the past and then deal with the future," Garland professes. "We've got to take care of the past first." ... However, the fundraising letter sent out by event coordinator Tom Sing, another cop who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for sheriff, cryptically says the golf event will serve as "a springboard for Sheriff Gillingham's future political aspirations." The golf gala is supposedly doubling as a charity event for unidentified local youth programs. Corporations are being encouraged to cough up $2,500 to $5,000 to sponsor a hole to pay for the event's estimated $10,000 price tag. Swanson Ford of Los Gatos will also donate a new car for anyone who sinks a hole-in-one at the second hole, a very kind in-kind contribution indeed.

Admit Nothing

In a world of rumor, sometimes even gossip columnists must keep each other honest. This Sunday, the Merc's Insider column gently corrected Eye for mistakenly suggesting that Demo campaign spook John Huang attended the same presidential coffee as Mayor Susan Hammer. Eye's source had confused Huang with S.F. businessman George Chu, who sipped coffee from the same carafe with Clinton and Hammer, and who gave some ungodly amount to the Democrats anyway--at least $5,000 through Huang.

Bad Carma

For the second time in two months, a high-ranking Sunnyvale city official has gotten into a car crash. In August, new city manager Robert LaSala rear-ended a stewardess on her way to work in his city-purchased Pontiac Bonneville. Just two weeks ago, Mayor Stan Kawczynski got into a three-car accident 500 feet north of Homestead Road. On this occasion, however, the Sunnyvale official was the one who got rear-ended while sitting in traffic inside his Volvo. "[The guy behind me] just failed to stop, and I tapped the car in front of me," the mayor recalls. Doctors instructed Kawczynski to stay home for a few days, prescribing pain pills for his aching neck, back, shoulders, head and cheekbones. "I'm still trying to figure out how I hurt my cheekbones," a sedated Kawczynski wondered aloud to Eye. The mayor has since returned to his post, though he still suffers from a pain in the neck, better known as former Mayor Frances Rowe.

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From the October 16-22, 1997 issue of Metro.

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