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05.21.08

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Silicon Valley News Notes

Skating With The Enemy

Proponents of the ever-elusive Los Gatos skate park are realizing they need a radical new strategy. They're reeling from a double whammy: first, they lost miserably at the polls, when voters shot down Measure D, which would have forced town funds to pay for part of the construction of a skatepark. Now, the district attorney has let the town clerk off the hook for illegally releasing the names and phone numbers of voters who signed onto a petition supporting Measure D. The campaign got dirty when opponents of the measure (which included three of the elected officials on the town council) used those names and numbers to harass voters who said they were supporting D, according to residents. According to the DA's office, the clerk did not violate the election code because she did not intentionally release voter information. Although skatepark supporters had vowed to take the investigation to the secretary of state, they pulled a last-minute revert, to use the parlance of our times. "We're reaching for the olive branch," said Steve Leonardis, a Los Gatos skatepark proponent. "Why continue to investigate and pursue these guys when we could make friends and try to persuade them kindly?" Leonardis, otherwise known as "Mr. Yes on D," says he's been making good-faith attempts to repair relations when he bumps into elected officials around town. After all, his goal is to get a skatepark for the kids in town, and any bad blood between him and the council will make it harder to get, Leonardis said. "So far, it has been OK," Leonardis said. "They are at least talking to me."


Lien on Me

Last week's Willow Glen forum for the District 2 County Supervisor seat featured stumping from candidates Patricia Martinez-Roach, Richard Hobbs and George Shirakawa. What stumped Fly is why no one asked Shirakawa about the lien the city placed on his house last month because he didn't pay his garbage bill on time. The supes' salary would buy a guy a lot of cans: the base pay is $143,031, along with a monthly $600 vehicle allowance and $2,000 a year for expenses. This isn't the first time for Shirakawa—a couple of years ago, the feds placed two liens on Shirakawa's home because he owed mucho dinero on his personal 2003 and 2004 federal income tax returns. It makes us think of Shirakawa's favorite preface to his answers at the forum: "This is obviously a very complex problem." 


World's Worst Spoke Cards

Did last Thursday's Bike to Work Day in San Jose prove that no good deed goes unpunished? There's certainly some positive attention local bikers get for doing their part to promote health and a clean commute, but at least one biker in San Jose got pulled over by the police while riding along Santa Clara Street. In fact, the bicyclist, who asked to remain anonymous, was outraged at receiving multiple citations from the SJPD officer, including tickets for riding without a headlight, no rear reflector, changing lanes without signaling and running a red light. Turns out Bike to Work Day is not the free pass participants might imagine. The SJPD was not able to provide statistics on the number of cyclists pulled over and cited during Bike to Work Week, but they said bikers are governed by the same rules of the road as motorists, even on Bike to Work day. "Cyclists are no different than people driving cars," said San Jose Sgt. Mike Sullivan. It's not often that police catch cyclists breaking traffic laws, Sullivan said, but "if they run a stop light, then we have the discretion to give them a citation." Participants in Drive All Crazy On The Sidewalk Day, take note.


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