Media

City Manager Debra Figone’s Exit Interview

San Jose Inside’s Josh Koehn sat down in late October with City Manager Debra Figone, who will retire at the end of next week, to discuss her 44-year career in public service. The free-flowing discussion, which has been edited for clarity, touches on topics such as the city’s adversarial relationship with the Police Officers Association, the validity of international travel for elected officials, the possibility of another sports franchise coming to San Jose if the Oakland A’s cannot relocate here, and how Figone views the media’s coverage of local politics.

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San Jose’s Next Mayor Can Lead on Education

There is a dangerous shortsightedness about constricting the role of mayor in San Jose and the campaign to only things that he/she can influence. Doing so makes San Jose seem small minded and insignificant. Are we not the Silicon Valley, the economic engine for the state, nation and world? Are we not the 10th most populous city in America? We must think bigger or we will lose out.

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The Shirakawa Grand Jury Transcripts

George Shirakawa Jr. is currently spending his days in the Santa Rita Jail infirmary, while his county-provided attorney is attempting to seal grand jury transcripts that shed new information on his alleged role in a political mail fraud scandal. Since the documents remain public for the time being, San Jose Inside has decided to publish the grand jury transcripts in their entirety.

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Why NBC Bay Area’s Reporting on Xavier Campos is a Sham

As previously noted in this space, it’s nearly impossible to get Xavier Campos to agree to an interview. It helps, however, if you have a close relationship with the media-dodging councilman like NBC’s Damian Trujillo, who scored a rare on-camera chat last week. What did we learn from Trujillo’s interview and a follow-up report? Hardly anything. But we did learn plenty about Trujillo and NBC Bay Area.

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California’s Student Testing the Next Battleground

I have been so preoccupied with writing columns on the local war between charter and traditional public schools that I have unwittingly neglected another contentious public battle. The standards for testing in California’s public schools are changing, and the looming fight could be as partisan and ugly as the roll out of the Affordable Care Act.

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Campaign Ethics: Lies, Inconsistency and Money

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University held a program on campaign ethics Friday. The central question posed: Do campaigns have ethical standards? It is not a question that can be fully answered in a sound bite. So let’s start with the three core issues: lies, inconsistency and money.

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Did Xavier Campos Relinquish His Ability to Take the Fifth?

Getting San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos to agree to an interview is a difficult proposition. Unless you’re the New York Times or NBC Bay Area’s Damian Trujillo. The latter scored an on-air interview Thursday with the councilman, who invoked the Fifth Amendment in front of the grand jury last month. In his interview, Campos claims that he had nothing to do with a fraudulent political mailer that helped his defeat his opponent, Magdalena Carrasco, in the 2010 council race. He also said he took the Fifth because he doesn’t trust the District Attorney’s office. But, according to NBC’s legal expert, Campos might have said too much, and he could be recalled in front of the grand jury.

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Congressman Mike Honda’s Wake-up Call

Mike Honda—Silicon Valley’s globe-trotting, karaoke-singing, hard-partying congressman—has had a charmed career. Now, a well-funded challenger, Ro Khanna, asks whether being likeable is enough, or whether the public expects a lawmaker to work hard, write laws and fight to keep valley industries competitive.

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Shirakawa Sentencing Date Set; Mercury News Editorial Board Member Could be Defense Witness

More than seven months since he resigned from office and pleaded guilty to five felonies and seven misdemeanors, former county supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. will finally be sentenced for crimes that include perjury and a misuse of campaign funds. Judge Daniel T. Nishigaya, the third judge to handle the case, set Nov. 8 for sentencing. Defense attorney John Williams said he might call a character witness, who happens to be a member of the Mercury News editorial board.

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Millions at Stake in Fight over Fire Safety Requirements for High Rise Buildings

For the last several months, a fight with multi-million dollar implications has quietly been waged over fire safety requirements in San Jose’s tallest buildings. The clash—featuring a tangled array of alliances between elected officials, developers, lobbyists, a monopolistic breathing device manufacturer, a union spurned and an ambivalent fire department—will come to a head Thursday afternoon, when the Public Safety, Finance & Strategic Support Committee meets to discuss the city’s tri-annual review of its fire and building codes.

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Political Consultants, Lobbyists Deny Running The Daily Fetch

The Daily Fetch takes no prisoners—at least that’s what political consultant and lobbyist Dustin DeRollo told Fly when denying he has any role in producing the anonymous links blog. In the past six months, the Fetch—under new ownership—has taken a decidedly aggressive tone in going after everyone from Mayor Chuck Reed, his City Council allies and defeated county supervisorial candidate Teresa Alvarado to Metro and its staff. But one group that has received far less criticism from the blog is the organized labor machine and its elected allies, such as Cindy Chavez. So, when DeRollo’s name turned up as the quasi-editor of a PDF the site posted for a story last week, speculation in Silicon Valley political circles percolated that he and his business partner, Tom Saggau, have been orchestrating the site. Both men say that couldn’t be further from the truth, claiming DeRollo was improperly ratted out as a source for a story he expected not to lead back to him.

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Cindy Chavez Wins County Supervisor Election, PR Flack Continues Media Blacklist

Election nights have morphed into a game of cat and mouse between Fly and Stacey Hendler Ross, PR flack for the South Bay Labor Council. In the county supervisor primary and then the runoff, which took place Tuesday, Hendler Ross has taken to her new role as bouncer. No more than a minute into this week’s election night party for new county Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Hendler Ross grabbed a San Jose Inside reporter by the arm and tried to escort him out before realizing she should use her words. Noting that it was a private party and only “legitimate media” could enter, Hendler Ross also gave an SJI intern the boot, once again stifling the free press. Or so she thought.

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KTVU Fires Producers for Racist Asiana Crash Report, Attempts to Scrub Internet

Almost three weeks afterKTVU afternoon anchor Tori Campbell read fake, racist names while reporting on the July 6 Asiana flight 214 crash, the news station is still cleaning up its mess. The station confirmed Wednesday that it has fired at least three longtime producers over the on-air gaffe, which went viral a few seconds after Campbell stopped talking. But in an effort to erase any video evidence of the blunder, KTVU has also begun using copyright law to demand that YouTube remove videos of its anchor’s mistake.

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