Alvarado camp cries foul over Chavez mailers with union connection

Santa Clara County Supervisor District 2 candidate Cindy Chavez, whose chief rival is Teresa Alvarado, has been flooding mailboxes with oversize mailers touting the former San Jose vice mayor's experience as an elected official and her support for cops and firefighters whose unions are among her backers.

But Alvarado's camp last week filed a complaint with the state election watchdog Fair Political Practices Commission arguing Chavez' campaign mail matches mail pieces paid for by political committees of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, which Chavez led until this year, and the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee. That, they allege, evidences unlawful collusion between Chavez's campaign and independent political committees that skirts campaign finance limits.

"Rules are important, and people need to live by them," Alvarado's campaign chief, Leo Briones, fumed.

Chavez campaign consultant Ed McGovern argued the mail is allowable as Labor Council and Democratic Party "member communications" sent only to their members.

Gary Winuk, chief of enforcement at the FPPC, would not comment.

There was another issue: Chavez's mail and campaign website listed an endorsement from the Sunnyvale Public Safety Officers Association, whose president, Tim Ahearn, told us the union hasn't issued any endorsement.

"Why do we want to go and get involved in something" in another supervisorial district, he asked, "when we have our own City Council races coming up?"

Like it or not, Alvarado gets backing from GOP

Speaking of endorsements, Teresa Alvarado got a nod from a group that may not help her.

An email blast from the Santa Clara County Republican Party of Silicon Valley urged members to support Alvarado for District 2 supervisor. Since there are no Republicans running in the special election -- Alvarado's a Democrat -- the county GOP "officially recommends that Republicans vote for candidate Teresa Alvarado on June 4th" and "invites all Republican volunteers and activists to get involved and make an impact in this local critical race."

Local GOP Chairman Charles Munger added in urging the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce's Alvarado endorsement that "Teresa enjoys the support of the major Republican elected officials in our county." While the local GOP had backed Alvarado rival Mike Wasserman in her last supervisorial bid, Munger said she campaigned in an "honorable way" and would "represent the interests of all the voters."

All of which is very nice, but for the fact that more than half of district voters are Democrats while less than a fifth are registered Republican.

Which is why labor advocates baking rival Cindy Chavez have been making hay over the GOP's Alvarado support.

Alvarado campaign consultant Leo Briones said she finds the "right-wing political agenda objectionable." But they share the GOP's distaste for the "political machine" of disgraced former Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr., which they link to Chavez.

What's behind new slant of anonymous blog?

The Daily Fetch (www.thedailyfetch.com) blog used to be a reasonably nuanced guide to political news breaking in San Jose and its environs. The anonymous author would occasionally take a gentle jab at a politician or a writer, but its bread-and-butter was a sharp eye for news.

Lately, however, the Fetch has been far more partisan, taking shots at Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and supervisorial candidate Teresa Alvarado. It has sarcastically labeled the DA as Jeff "I am the Law" Rosen and referred to Alvarado as "GOP Darling." In short, it's amped up the harshness with a labor-oriented tilt.

What's happening? Our sources say the Fetch was acquired by labor organizations or their allies, which might account for the new political line that echoes the days of San Jose Revealed, another anonymous blog that slashed at labor's foes. Alvarado's chief rival is labor leader Cindy Chavez, and a government attorney union has accused Rosen of violating the law by granting extra time off to his top prosecutors.

We got no response from the Fetch. But South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said "that's ridiculous."

Fong may be pondering a run at S.J. council

It is still more than a year to the 2014 primary, but the political cauldron is already bubbling in west side San Jose Council District 1, where Pete Constant will be termed out. The headline news first: Constant tells us that his wife, Julie, will not run -- for understandable reasons: Pete is running for mayor and the family has five kids.

Among the names bandied about are those of Steve Landau, a neighborhood leader and marketer for a technology company; Rich McCoy, a veteran DJ and owner of a sound entertainment business; Charles Jones Jr., a manager at Apple; Robert Varich, an insurance agent and a trustee for the Moreland School District; Art Zimmerman, an administrator and coach for AYSO soccer; and former planning commissioner and environmental leader Bob Levy.

Perhaps the most interesting name on the rumor list is that of Assemblyman Paul Fong, who is being termed out of office next year. If Fong were to move from his Cupertino home into San Jose, he could provide labor with a pickup of a seat that now belongs to a conservative. But Fong was coy about his intentions.

"Currently, I'm focused on my work in Sacramento, and serving my constituents," Fong said. "At the appropriate time, I'll be looking at my options, which possibly include going back to the classroom and resuming my teaching career."

Ex-police chief gets job with wireless designer

Former San Jose police Chief Chris Moore, who retired from the force in January, has landed a new gig as senior vice president and board member of Rivada Networks, a wireless interoperable public safety communications network designer. The company's announcement notes that developing interoperable public safety communications so cops, firefighters and other first responders from multiple agencies can communicate in a big emergency was among Moore's passions as chief.

"We are pleased to have him on board as we all work together to make the nationwide public safety broadband network a reality," said Rivada CEO Declan Ganley.

"I'm excited to join Rivada," Moore said. Although he will remain based in California, he expects the job will involve a lot of travel.

Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at state and local politics. This week's items were written by Tracy Seipel, Scott Herhold, John Woolfolk and Paul Rogers. Send tips to internalaffairs@mercurynews.com, or call 408-975-9346.

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