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Now Ready for Prime Time

So who benefits from the departure of Margie Fernandes from the mayor's race? Fernandes' exit opens the door for Almaden Valley Reep Patricia Dando to court the women's vote, if she runs. An insider close to Fernandes suspects that Dando now becomes more electable than her old boss, Tom McEnery, since she would be the only female in the race. Dando remains coy about her intentions, only divulging that she's "prepared to run" but hasn't made up her mind. Her preparation apparently includes a brand-new glamorous color publicity photo, which uses more soft lighting than a Joan Collins Playboy spread. "It's gotten a lot of chuckles around here," snickers one City Hall regular. "Everybody's shrugging their shoulders, saying, 'Well, she must be getting ready to run just in case McEnery doesn't.' " Boasts Dando's chief aide, Erik Schoennauer, "We spare no expense for image." ... Former Sunnyvalian Ron Gonzales also could benefit from Fernandes' meltdown. Gonzales becomes the most unambiguously Democratic candidate in a Democratic town, as well as the only Hispanic surname. (Fernandes acquired hers when she wed a Portuguese-American.) He also could conceivably woo the support of Mayor Hammer, who was privately backing Fernandes, her protégé and skiing partner. ... As for Margie, she didn't lack connections, but she definitely lacked the intestinal fortitude to go prime time--something insiders long suspected. As one political luminary observed, the campaign hadn't even made it through the late, late show yet: "She wasn't even in the kitchen when she couldn't stand the heat."

His Own Sand Hill Box

Former Palo Alto Mayor Mike Cobb is a prominent supporter of Measure O, the ballot measure being pushed by Stanford University to widen Sand Hill Road and build housing. Two months ago he and 10 other former mayors all signed a campaign letter saying why Measure O's a great idea. What the letter didn't mention was that Cobb's being paid by Stanford to shill for the university's campaign. ... According to campaign-disclosure statements filed at the end of September, Stanford paid Mike Cobb Associates $22,500 for consulting services like, for instance, helping to gather the signatures of former mayors on the aforementioned letter. (Conspicuously missing from the list was mayor-turned-supervisor Joe Simitian, who has taken the courageous position of taking no position.) "He's using his title of 'former mayor' to further a cause he's being paid for," grouses Peter Drekmeier, campaign manager for Measure M, a competing measure that would limit the development of Sand Hill Road. "I find it very suspicious." Stanford opponents are also grumbling that Cobb has been using his public-access cable television show to promote Measure O, though Cobb has had an opponent on the program, too. ... Cobb couldn't be reached for comment, but Stanford PR specialist Larry Horton says Cobb's support of Measure O has nothing to do with being a consultant paid to sell the measure to voters. Cobb supported the project long before he started pulling a paycheck, Horton says.

Beer and Cherry Garcia

According to Sheriff Chuck Gillingham, his doctor has been trying to get him to change his eating habits and lose weight for 30 years. Well, ol' doc finally got the sheriff to cut out all those beers with Cherry Garcia chasers five months ago. How? During his regular checkup, the county's top cop started boasting how he couldn't wait for the day when he could watch his baby grandson on an ESPN highlight reel. "The doctor told me that unless I got with it and lost some weight, I was going to die. ... I want to be able to see my grandson play football." Gillingham brags that he's dropped 50 pounds since being given the dietary ultimatum, but was shy about revealing what he used to weigh. ... Speaking of weight and football, it occurs to Eye that it unfairly targeted Supervisor Joe Simitian a couple of weeks ago for his expanding trouser size. In truth, all four of the board of supervisors' rotund male members--chairman Jim Beall, Pete McHugh, Don Gage and Simitian--might make fantastic additions to the 49ers offensive line if this politics thing doesn't work out.

What's in a Name?

Politicians are forever scheming to find ways to make voters remember their names, especially in local races where there's no such thing as a 30-second TV spot. In Milpitas a few years ago, the late Regina Patterson legally changed her last name to "Mayor" so she could run as "Mayor for Mayor." But in the Palo Alto and Los Altos City Council races there are two candidates who seem to have been born with memorable monikers: Tru Love and King Lear. "Tru Love is indeed my real name," the enamored one from Palo Alto insists, "the one my parents gave me. It's not a gimmick." Eye couldn't reach his royal highness from Los Altos, but assumes his personal judgment exceeds that of his Shakespearean namesake.

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From the October 30-November 5, 1997 issue of Metro.

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