Fun With Swears!

Well, the district attorney may have dropped charges, but exonerated lobbyist Sean Kali Rai isn’t ready to sing “Kumbaya” yet. When political consultant Jay Rosenthal, who along with Kali Rai was an aide to former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, tried to shake Kali Rai’s hand at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual COMPAC picnic a couple of weeks ago, he says Kali Rai responded with a comment so colorfully vulgar that even we won’t print it.

According to, Rosenthal, it went something like this: “He says to me, ‘Jay, you [bleeping vajajay]. You slander me in the newspaper, and now you want to shake my hand? You [repeat double expletive]. I’m not going to shake your hand, you [see: ]. He called me a [bad word for a part of female anatomy] like five times, in front of a bunch of people,” Rosenthal says.

Apparently, the beef stems from a John Woolfolk story that ran in the Merc in January of 2007. The piece, headlined “Political dreams turn sour for former aides,” reports on the dealings of Kali Rai and his colleague Tony Arreola, both of whom were in hot water for influence peddling too soon after leaving the public payroll and disguising lobbying compensation as real estate referral fees. (The DA took the extraordinary step of declaring the two political operators innocent, months after dropping the charges.)

In the Woolfolk piece, Rosenthal offered the following observation: “They saw that other people close to the mayor outside City Hall were using that relationship for business, and they wanted a piece of that action.” Rosenthal said his statement was far short of slanderous. But Kali Rai still considers it a stinging insult.

In a chat with Fly last week, Kali Rai would neither confirm or deny the details of his alleged verbal assault at the COMPAC picnic, but he was distinctly unapologetic. “If he’s got a problem with me, why is he calling Metro? Why doesn’t he call me and tell it to my face? If he wanted to be a man, he should have just called me. I’m of the old school. Come tell me to my face that you think I’m a piece of garbage.” At this point, Kali Rai offered his home address. “Come tell me to my face,” he repeated. “We’ll talk about it. Maybe we’ll have a fistfight. But don’t go tell the principal. Don’t go call the newspaper.”

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. I heard Sean yell at Jay, everyone within 50 feet did. 

    Does Sean think that in the largest political event of the year with every media-savvy person in San Jose in attendance, that someone wouldn’t want to take a shot at him? 

    Sean should watch what he says and where he says it.  While he thinks he has lots of friends…he truly has none.

  2. Jay is a class act. He is well respected and liked by everyone who knows him and have worked with him. It is shame this guy is acting like a 13 year whose ego was bruised. Shouting out his home address… Ridiculous!

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