Former three-term state California Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, whose 21st Assembly District included wealthy communities on the Peninsula as well as Los Gatos and the Almaden Valley, died Thursday evening at the age of 70.Read More 6
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.Read More 7
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.Read More 3
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?Read More 12
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,”Read More 33
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.Read More 7
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.Read More 11