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06.11.08

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Silicon Valley News Notes

CERTIFIED CRAZY

It wasn't your average Election Day in Santa Clara County. For starters, voters elected a San Jose City Council member who wasn't a candidate. District 2 residents sent Jackie Adams to the runoff election in November, apparently not realizing that Adams had dropped out of the race in early March. The city said it was too late to remove her name from the ballot. Assuming those election results are certified and Adams is indeed the winner, voters will find her name on the November ballot, too. They might want to do what Adams herself plans on doing; in fact, what she did on June 3: vote for her opponent, Ash Kalra. Seems ridiculous, but there are no provisions in the California Elections Code that call for removing her name from the upcoming ballot, said Lee Price, San Jose city clerk. "Our City Charter specifically says that the names of the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the primary shall be the only names on the runoff ballot," Price says. If Adams wins in November, she would have to resign her post. ... In another Election Day twist, San Jose voters in the ethnically diverse and heavily democratic District 8 chose Pat Waite, a conservative, Republican white guy who was endorsed by San Jose's lone Republican on the council, Pete Constant. Waite, a fiscal hawk who is also a favorite of Christian conservative leader Larry Pegram, is headed to the November general election against business-friendly candidate Rose Herrera. Constant summed up the surprise result like this: "Look how much the Vietnamese love me, and I'm not Vietnamese." Indeed, Constant became something of a hero in the Viet community when he supported the popular Little Saigon name for the business district. "I think people are looking for more conservatism in the fiscal areas," says Constant. "You can't deny we are in a financial crunch."


THANKS FOR NOTHING

It's not often voters get a thank you note for keeping a candidate out of office. But some voters in the 22nd Assembly District race got a short, sweet email from the people behind NotCaserta.org the day after election results showed Santa Clara Councilman Dominic Caserta beaten by Paul Fong. It didn't say thanks for picking Fong, but rather for not voting for Caserta, who lost to the community leader and educator by roughly 6 percent of the vote. "Thank you all so very much for helping to spread the word about Caserta," the email read."Take pride in knowing you can make a difference and help shape our community." The group had been hammering Caserta throughout the race, claiming he was not the candidate for the job.


RACKS ROCKED

City officials say the proliferation of news racks are cluttering up downtown, blocking pedestrian walkways and making the area look like a mess. That's why staffers are asking the City Council to hurry up and approve an ordinance to tidy up downtown with uniform newsracks, similar to what other large cities have, including San Francisco and Chicago. Perhaps a tad sensitive to controversy of late, Mayor Chuck Reed heard about this "urgency ordinance" at a recent council committee hearing, and immediately started asking questions about First Amendment issues and whether this issue could turn into a San Jose vs. Newspapers. "Is this going to be a drag-out fight over free speech?" Reed asked. But city staffers assured the mayor and his colleagues that they had the support from most local newspapers. "We are proposing a real enhancement and beautification of downtown," said Paul Krutko, chief development officer with the city. "We are not denying anyone free speech."


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