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November 1-7, 2006

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Silicon Valley News Notes

Clean Slate?

From our Just When You Thought the District Attorney's Race Had Ground to a Halt Completely Department comes rumblings about candidate Dolores Carr buying advertisements in two Republican slate mailers run by a convicted child molester. One source pointed out the apparent irony: Carr has been a crusader on sex-crime issues, so why's she doing business with that kind of sleazeball? Fly did some snooping and confirmed that a Southern California man named Tim Carey, convicted of three counts of child molestation in 1992, works behind the scenes of "The California Voter Guide" and "The Early Voter." According to recent campaign filings, Carr paid $9,500 to appear in these publications. When we asked her about Carey, she said, "That's news to me." But our source insists Carr should have known: an Internet news search brings up articles from Southern California newspapers linking Carey and his criminal record to the GOP slates. Don't expect Carr's opponents to jump on this one: The Orange County Register reported in 1998 that John Kellogg's ploy to burn his opponent for state Assembly, Ken Maddox, with the same criticism backfired. Kellogg put out a last-minute mailer claiming to expose "the truth about politician Ken Maddox and his ties to a convicted child molester" when Maddox said he didn't know anything about Carey. As a result, several state Assembly members pulled their endorsements, calling Kellogg's tactics unfair. Then the Orange County GOP slapped him with a censure. Maddox went on to win the Assembly seat. Here's the final twist: Even if Carr had the foresight to dig up this article, she wouldn't necessarily have known that Carey still had anything to do with the slates. In 2000, he merged his operation with a company called Jenlax—effectively shielding his name from public scrutiny on documents associated with the business. When we called the Jenlax office in Torrance, a woman abruptly told us she wasn't going to answer our questions about Carey because "all that information is public." Then she hung up. And we discovered that Carey's most recent place of employment and residence is indeed the Jenlax office. So what does Carr's opponent, Karyn Sinunu, think of all this? She told us that she could only speak for her own actions. "I knew about that guy [Carey]," she said, "and I didn't want to deal with him."

Developer Developments

The web between Cindy Chavez and developer Republic Holdings just got stickier. Last week Fly discovered that the Connecticut-based company dropped $50K into the coffers of the local Democratic Party, and individual employees gave a total of $5,500 to the Chavez campaign directly. The question remains: why would an East Coast company take such a generous interest in San Jose politics? Could it be that Republic recently won a development contract with Valley Transportation Authority when Chavez chaired the VTA board? Republic spokeswoman Yvonne Ryzak glossed over this coincidence when she told the Merc earlier this week that Republic wanted to introduce themselves to the local Democrats and support Chavez's vision. Sounds spiffy on the surface, but there might be more to it: Chavez's council calendar shows that she met with Ryzak on July 19, just seven weeks before $50K appeared in the Democrat's bank account. What did they discuss during that meeting? And was Ryzak working for Republic at the time? Ryzak could not be reached before presstime and Chavez, once again, refused to comment. Log on to sv411.com for updates.

Sorry In Santa Clara

It was a moment to remember for Santa Clara mayoral candidate John McLemore—and for anyone who's followed the Mission City's political scene since 2002: McLemore's archrival, incumbent Patricia Mahan, apologized to him. Fly still isn't sure exactly what she apologized for (she was out of town when we called), but she made the following statement at a recent political forum. In response to a general question about her "code of ethics," Mahan pulled from her Catholic school upbringing and said, "Let love and compassion be my first response to everything." With a furtive sideways glance at her opponent, she continued, "Mr. McLemore alluded to some campaign things in our last race together, and for those I would like to apologize to him." McLemore responded by asking the moderator to stop the clock. "I don't think most of you realize what just happened," he told the audience of Santa Clarans packed into City Council chambers. "I want to accept Patty Mahan's apology for things that happened in the 2002 election." Unfortunately the "things" Mahan and McLemore were talking about remained the white elephant that no one wanted to name that night. So here's the quick recap: McLemore and Mahan ran a tight race for mayor in 2002. A few days before the election (leaving virtually no time to respond), Chris Stampolis mailed a publication called "Mission City News" to thousands of Santa Clara voters with content slamming McLemore for his campaign finance history. McLemore still blames the "hit piece," as he calls it, for costing him the mayor's seat. Mahan and a few other local politicians in her slate purchased ads in the Mission City News, although it is unclear what other involvement they had. Mahan's apology sounded even more intriguing to Fly since it comes on the heels of a new legal development: It looks like Stampolis is off the hook. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Julius Finkelstein last year filed a complaint against him for failing to register his publication as a political slate mailer, but a superior court judge recently ruled that it was not a slate mailer because it did not reject any advertisers. Stampolis called the decision a victory for community newspapers, but Finkelstein said the outcome could have far-reaching consequences for campaign finance disclosure standards. He said he is considering an appeal to a higher court with the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state group who backed him on the original complaint.


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