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09.17.08

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Silicon Valley News Notes

Fun With Swears!

Well, the district attorney may have dropped charges, but exonerated lobbyist Sean Kali Rai isn't ready to sing "Kumbaya" yet. When political consultant Jay Rosenthal, who along with Kali Rai was an aide to former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, tried to shake Kali Rai's hand at the Chamber of Commerce's annual COMPAC picnic a couple of weeks ago, he says Kali Rai responded with a comment so colorfully vulgar that even we won't print it. According to, Rosenthal, it went something like this: "He says to me, 'Jay, you . You slander me in the newspaper, and now you want to shake my hand? You . I'm not going to shake your hand, you . He called me a like five times, in front of a bunch of people," Rosenthal says. Apparently, the beef stems from a John Woolfolk story that ran in the Merc in January of 2007. The piece, headlined "Political dreams turn sour for former aides," reports on the dealings of Kali Rai and his colleague Tony Arreola, both of whom were in hot water for influence peddling too soon after leaving the public payroll and disguising lobbying compensation as real estate referral fees. (The DA took the extraordinary step of declaring the two political operators innocent, months after dropping the charges.) In the Woolfolk piece, Rosenthal offered the following observation: "They saw that other people close to the mayor outside City Hall were using that relationship for business, and they wanted a piece of that action." Rosenthal said his statement was far short of slanderous. But Kali Rai still considers it a stinging insult. In a chat with Fly last week, Kali Rai would neither confirm or deny the details of his alleged verbal assault at the COMPAC picnic, but he was distinctly unapologetic. "If he's got a problem with me, why is he calling Metro? Why doesn't he call me and tell it to my face? If he wanted to be a man, he should have just called me. I'm of the old school. Come tell me to my face that you think I'm a piece of garbage." At this point, Kali Rai offered his home address. "Come tell me to my face," he repeated. "We'll talk about it. Maybe we'll have a fistfight. But don't go tell the principal. Don't go call the newspaper."


Turf War

Maternity leave or no maternity leave, Councilwoman Nora Campos found time over the weekend to read Mayor Chuck Reed's strategic draft plan for tackling gang issues in San Jose. And, surprise, she didn't like it! Besides targeting kids as young as elementary school, Reed is also looking to address girls in gangs, a new component to the plan. Also, he increased the spending plan to $4 million, a significant increase over what he was allocating in the last two years, says Michelle McGurk, spokeswoman for Reed's office. But Campos and her staff say Reed needs to allocate even more money toward fighting gang culture in San Jose. "Crime is jumping off the charts; show me how we are dealing with the issue now, not in 2011," says Rolando Bonilla, spokesman for Campos, of the mayor and his plan. "If you won't, then I will take the liberty of showing you the route where I think we find some resources." Reed removed Campos from his gang prevention task force in December, saying she was a no-show to more than one meeting. Since then, Campos, who represents District 5, has been hammering him, attempting to paint him as too soft when it comes to setting aside resources for crime.


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