Radio Rebuke?

Never mess with Bob Kieve—that’s the lesson San Jose Councilmember Ash Kalra learned after trying to bow out of San Jose Rotary Club’s pension reform debate next week against council colleague Pete Constant. David Ginsborg, a Rotary member and the right fist of County Assessor Larry Stone, says Kalra was scared he would be branded as anti-pension reform in the debate when really he’s just anti-Mayor Reed. But others tell a different tale. Others say Kieve, a former speechwriter for President Eisenhower and longtime owner of radio station KLIV, took the labor-aligned Kalra to task on air after he tried to renege on his promise to trade arguments with the ornery Constant. The reported verbal smackdown of Kalra forced the District 2 incumbent to have a change of heart. In the midst of election season, Kalra, like many other councilmembers, could be just especially touchy these days. But part of that could also be some polling going on behind the scenes. Word is Kalra’s negatives are higher than his positives. That could mean high-tech hexagenarian Tim Murphy, a former councilman in the great state of Ohio, has a fighting prayer.

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  1. Simply not the case.  This was a simple error in miscommunication and misinformation.

    Councilman Kalra thought he was being asked to represent the entire NO campaign against the initiative.  Kalra is not part of the NO campaign, though as a Councilmember he voted against putting the intiative on the ballot. (Constant, on the other hand, is a representative of the Yes campaign)

    Kalra believed he was being asked to represent all of the positions the No campaign has taken or will take—and did not want to mislead the Rotary Club as to his views versus the views of the No campaign.  He suggested that a representative of the NO campaign replace him.

    Once he understood that he was not being asked to represent the campaign, but only himself and his reasons for opposing the measure, he was happy to debate.

    Finally, while he respects Bob Kieve and KLIV, he made the decision to debate once the terms of his appearance were made clear and before anything aired on the station—though I’m sure he was aware the commentary was coming. 

    But the issue for Kalra was that he didn’t want to mislead anyone or take positions that were not his own.  That said, the debate at San Jose Rotary next week is one of the most anticipated programs of the year.

    Both Ash and Pete are to be commended for their knowledge of the issue and their willingness to participate.

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