Dan Pulcrano

Dan Pulcrano

Posts by Dan Pulcrano

The Redemption of Cindy Chavez

Cindy Chavez, center, poses for photos with supporters and volunteers after first poll results showed her in the lead for the county supervisorÕs election Tuesday.

In what may turn out to be one of the most expensive races ever for a local county office, Cindy Chavez has captured the District 2 Supervisor seat held by her disgraced former ally, George Shirakawa, Jr. The victory places the largest county government in the global home of leading edge technology—from Teslas to Google Glass—firmly in the hands of an old-fashioned political machine; a classic one that delivers votes, wins elections, rewards its followers and dispenses benefits. Over the next two years, the board will vote on billions of dollars in employee compensation contracts—the county spends $3 billion a year on salaries, benefits and pensions—for the members of the unions who returned the former San Jose city official to public office.

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Questions for Cindy

Cindy Chavez is running for George Shirakawa Jr.’s vacated District 2 Supervisor’s seat in today’s election.

Judge Arthur Weisbrodt asked about corruption, dishonesty and backroom deals in a candidate’s debate two weeks ago. Oddly, he posed the question to Teresa Alvarado for not “taking on Cindy Chavez aggressively,” rather than ask Chavez directly. Debates with timed answers are too superficial to probe questions about complex financial relationships. So with one newspaper with its head in the sand, the other unable to get answers and an election opponent who avoided confrontation, the public has remained in the dark. Here are just a few of the questions that should have been asked.

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It’s Time to Sue Major League Baseball

The owners of the Baltimore Terrapins, pictured here, sued Major League Baseball for violating the Clayton Antitrust Act and won, but the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, saying baseball games were “purely state affairs.”

It’s nothing short of bizarre that our national pastime, which ostensibly embodies the all-American values of competition and fair play, remains the only business exempt from U.S. monopoly laws. That a single recreational activity deserves such special treatment—absent any economic reason except greed or convenience—should offend our sense of decency. Who gave a Kremlin in Milwaukee the power to decide whether San Jose could build a stadium with its own money for a baseball team?

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Is Ro Khanna the Valley’s Next Big Thing?

Ro Khanna is profiled in this week’s issue of Metro Silicon Valley. The piece below contains excerpts from that story, as well as material exclusive to San Jose Inside.

Is Ro Khanna the Next Big Thing in valley politics? The 36-year-old Yale-educated Wilson Sonsini lawyer now sits on one of the Bay Area’s largest political war chests. Khanna won’t say definitively whether he’ll run for Mike Honda’s congressional seat — only that he’s “considering where I can best serve and make an impact.” He doesn’t discourage speculation either and keeps a busy schedule meeting with people who could help him with a run. Khanna admits his interest in Honda’s seat is “not a secret,”

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Peter S. Carter, 1943-2013

Peter S. Carter, 1943-2013

Influential local photographer and advertising executive Peter S. Carter died last night after a fall on the stairs of his Victorian home. A gifted strategist, he advised valley political and business leaders and operated a successful advertising agency for many years, reinventing himself as a photographer of social events as the industry changed.

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George, Cindy & The Machine

George Shirakawa, left, and his #1 backer, Cindy Chavez.

Political theater, like a good novel or legend, needs strong central characters. Last Friday, we saw the district attorney ride in like Sir Lancelot, with Queen Guinevere by his side, to mete out a quick and final blow to the morally depraved Saxon,  in this case George Shirakawa, Jr.

If it were only that simple. The triumph of Good over Evil story line quickly morphed into a human tragedy as the county supervisor fell on his sword, resigned his position, agreed to plead guilty and attributed his betrayal of public trust to a gambling addiction.

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Environmentalists Retreat on Coyote Highlands Hillside Carve-up Plan

Coyote Highlands. Source: Google Maps

The 567-acre Coyote Highlands project goes before the County Planning Commission at its 1:30 p.m. meeting today. The proposed subdivision would add 25 homes to an area that is considered historically significant and environmentally sensitive, prone to such natural hazards as earthquakes and landslides. The properties contain watersheds and wetlands, and the new homes will be able to be seen from the valley floor.

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Columnist Leigh Weimers Dies

Columnist Leigh Weimers Dies

We’re sad to announce that Leigh Weimers has passed away at the age of 76. Warm and easygoing, Leigh was a much beloved figure in San Jose who wrote a column for the San Jose Mercury News for 47 years. Leigh went into the hospital a month ago for congestive heart failure and was scheduled for heart surgery this week.

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