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09.03.08

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Silicon Valley News Notes

Not So Fast

Put down that McNugget and step away from the honey mustard sauce—the ban is back! Though her proposal to ixnay fast food restaurants temporarily in San Jose failed at the committee level recently, Councilwoman Nora Campos has directed her staff to charge ahead on the issue while she's on maternity leave. Those staffers say they plan to reintroduce the proposal before the entire council within the next few weeks. "We are pushing forward," said Rolando Bonilla, spokesman for Campos. "Without a doubt, it's not an issue we are going to let go." The proposal failed at the council rules committee Aug. 20—the same day Campos went into labor—with Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilman Pete Constant hammering the idea of restricting fast food restaurants. Both councilmembers acknowledged childhood obesity as a problem, but suggested it was better to address it in a more proactive way. To save face, they kicked the proposal to an esoteric committee of school superintendents to discuss, suggesting that schools could get a better handle on addressing what kids eat. But to Campos, it's a citywide problem that should be taken up by city officials. "One thing we were perplexed about is how the mayor excitedly opposed it without reading the bill," Bonilla said. "This is an instance where we are deeply concerned with the overall direction of where the city is going with its inability to regulate a growing industry." Despite ridicule from her critics, don't be so sure this issue is, as Taco Bell likes to say, good to go.

Sig Alert

It was hard to get a read on how the effort to recall Councilwoman Madison Nguyen was going, since the committee leading the charge was tight-lipped. That inspired plenty of talk that they were washed up, but they proved doubters wrong. This past weekend, the recall committee turned over more than 5,000 signatures of folks who are on board to recall their District 7 councilwoman; that's well over the 3,162 signatures they needed, according to city clerk Lee Price. The county now has to verify those signatures, but the clerk's office noted that there have been a number of people who have asked for the city to remove their names from the recall petition they signed. According to Price, many voters had asked that the clerk strike their names from the recall petition, which had to be filed to the clerk's office by Sept. 12 in order to qualify for a special election ballot. State law says that anyone can withdraw their name from a petition after signing it, but only if they file a formal request for removal with the clerk's office. That request has to be made before the deadline to file the recall petition. Once the petition is filed, the clerk will go through and remove the names of those voters who had filed formal requests with clerk, Price said. Voters do not have to give reasons for withdrawing their names. "They are confidential," Price said. "But the proponents of the recall may review the requests to withdraw only at the time the petition qualifies or disqualifies." Nguyen certainly made it easy on voters who wanted to change their mind about the recall. Her campaign has been blasting District 7 mailboxes with the forms to do so via postcard—all voters have to do is sign it at the bottom and send it into the clerk's office. "It's been very effective," Nguyen said. Recent campaign finance reports show that Nguyen has pulled in double what the recall committee has raised in terms of fundraising. So she's decided to slow down on raising money and instead has been focusing her efforts on outreach. Recently, about 250 people joined her to walk precincts in District 7 to talk to voters about the recall. "I guess the voters are getting the other side of the story now," Nguyen said.


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