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01.07.09

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the fly

WAITE On board

Silicon Valley News Notes

Frenemies Forever

It was a little surprising to learn that City Councilwoman Madison Nguyen was recommending Pat Waite for an open seat on the Planning Commission, considering the fact that Waite, who lost the District 8 council race to Democrat Rose Herrera in November, had stood in front of a group of Vietnamese-Americans before the election and told them he was looking forward to helping them with their effort to recall Nguyen. (After the YouTube clip of Waite's speech became Must-See-TV for local politicos, he immediately backpedaled, which probably explains why he and Madison are Facebook friends now.) Word on the 18th floor is that Waite's application for Planning Commission has made his former opponent Herrera a little insecure, considering the Planning Commission is a stepping stone onto the council. "Some said she wasn't really happy, but I don't live my life to make Rose happy," Waite said. Apparently, Herrera had been lobbying to keep him off the commission, City Hall insiders say. Maybe that explains why Waite didn't make the cut for Planning Commission interviews after all?


Safety Meeting

Silicon Valley citizens will now be able to crawl out of wrecked train cars in a calm, organized fashion with the recent installment of large safety signs inside all of VTA's Light Rail cars and buses. Posted in the last few weeks, the new signs give detailed instructions on what passengers should do in case of an emergency, including how to press a button to talk to the vehicle operator, and how to exit a train in a tunnel (Fly's head's hurting already). These signs might seem like a no-brainer, given that other Bay Area transit agencies, like San Francisco's MUNI, have had similar safety information posted all over their vehicles for years. Fly is sure that VTA's sudden new concern with passenger well-being has nothing to do with the fact that Measures C and D passed last November, or that they're making a visual show of how new funds are being put to good use. VTA public information officer Jennie Hwang Loft admits that these new safety precautions are a direct response to the Light Rail train wreck last March. In that accident, a number of passengers were injured when a train derailed near the Virginia station. VTA's emergency procedures came under question when VTA staff did not evacuate the train, leaving injured passengers to crawl out of a rip in the side of a derailed car, hike down the tracks and find their own way to safety. Eugene Bradley, founder of the Santa Clara VTA Riders Union, says that although it has taken the VTA 11 months to install the safety signs, he's glad to see them, even if it's too little too late. "Voters passed these ballot measures, so the VTA is trying to put on a big show that it cares," Bradley told Fly. "It shouldn't take an accident and the passing of ballot measures to care about passengers."


Ta-tas in the Garlic Capital

News that Saratoga developer Ante Bilic is moving forward with plans to convert a Gilroy restaurant into a topless bar has set South County tongues wagging. Some locals are worrying aloud that the proposed Showgirls nightclub would be a crime magnet. Others seem to find some humor in the situation. The Gilroy Dispatch couldn't resist headlining the story "Putting the strip in strip mall." That drew a letter from reader James Fennell, who pointed out that "it doesn't take rocket science to see that Gilroy's Planning Commission will be presented the opportunity to 'stimulate' local economic growth." Tongue in cheek, he continued: "Just think, not only new jobs for Gilroy, but the possibility for local girls to legally show off what they've got."


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