Dan Pulcrano

Dan Pulcrano

Posts by Dan Pulcrano

Liccardese for Mayor

Two private school-educated Italian-American lawyers who have spent the majority of their careers in government jobs will face off in November with hopes to become mayor of Northern California’s largest city. Here's a guide to the next five months, as San Jose chooses a new leader.

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The Redemption of Cindy Chavez

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

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

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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Chavez Paid 2012 Political Campaign Staff With Santa Clara County Funds

The Working Partnerships USA executive’s signature appears on county contracts that included salary reimbursements for herself, South Bay Labor Council’s then-chief of staff and current chief executive, Ben Field, and other key campaign officials. The county gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Working Partnerships USA, including more than $200,000 to expand local anti-smoking ordinances […]

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Is Ro Khanna the Valley’s Next Big Thing?

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 Carter’s Legacy

Like all the portraits Carter took of friends or people who attended events he chronicled, San Jose has never looked better. “It’s a panorama of ten or so shots stitched together in Photoshop with a nice sky dropped in and a special filter applied to give it a painted quality,” Carter explained. “There’s an eight […]

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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

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

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

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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Graniterock Sunday-punched

Members of Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 showed up at 4pm Sunday to close the cement and asphalt plant at Graniterock’s A.R. Wilson Quarry. Aggregate Division Manager Jack Leemaster looked none too happy with the surprise when he drove up in a white pickup truck 45 minutes later. “My understanding is they had a pretty good sized order going out tonight,” said one plant worker, resting his placard’s pine stick on his shoulder. “Three hundred tons for night paving.” Twelve hours later, things would get worse for Graniterock. Before Monday crews punched in to start their weeks, picketers descended upon the company’s recycling plant at Monterey Highway and Capitol Expressway, at the sand and gravel facility in Hollister and at Graniterock operations in San Jose’s Berryessa district, Redwood City and South San Francisco.

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Evidence Disappears in Mercury News Rack Theft Case

A key piece of evidence has disappeared in the Mercury News rack theft caper. At least one news rack in the Mercury’s possession vanished as the San Jose Police Department prepared to commence a criminal investigation into the daily’s dumping of its competitors’ racks. Mercury News executives offered no explanation for the disappearance—only that they had “triple checked” the yard.

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