In an era of still-fragile finances, few dare call it pork. But San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's budget message last week included a clutch of nearly two dozen earmarks from City Council members. As good reporters here at Internal Affairs, we totaled them up to see who brought home the bacon. See the list at www.mercurynews.com/internal-affairs.

It's no surprise that Councilman Sam Liccardo, who represents downtown, got the most money allocated. His district has many citywide attractions, like the downtown ice rink ($70,000 for repairs). In total, a little more than $1 million went specifically to Liccardo's District 3.

Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen returned home with $275,000 for District 7, with the lion's share going toward an Ace Charter School in the Franklin-McKinley school district. And Councilwoman Rose Herrera got $146,500 toward keeping the Evergreen Library open on Saturdays.

A lot of other council members, particularly from the pro-labor bloc, got very little for their districts. But Councilman Don Rocha secured $400,000 for maintenance of the city's cultural facilities. And Councilman Pete Constant engaged in what might be called an earmark diet. He is contributing $38,600 from his office budget to a program centered on domestic violence. There also was funding for citywide concerns, like $4 million for "rapid rehousing" to deal with homeless encampments over the next two years.

Council loser Braunstein not going away quietly

The City Council race for San Jose's District 10 ended back in November. But not, some say, for runner-up Robert Braunstein. The Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area broadcaster continues to take shots in an online newsletter, ABVNews (after the district's Almaden and Blossom valleys), at winning Councilman Johnny Khamis and others he feels abetted his defeat. Fair enough in politics.

But he's also rebuffed Khamis' olive branches, including the councilman's efforts to meet with him and discuss issues. Braunstein even turned down Khamis' offer to send flowers a few months ago after Braunstein's father-in-law died.

Sources tell us the ongoing iciness toward Khamis -- surprising after a relatively tame race between candidates with similar positions -- has made some of Braunstein's campaign supporters uncomfortable enough that they've suggested he lighten up and move on.

Braunstein insists no one's told him that. He doesn't deny the flowers incident. His mother-in-law, he said, was "not very happy with the way I was treated by his campaign." But Braunstein, who says he has no plans to run for office again, told us he harbors no grudges and has put the election behind him.

"I have no animosity toward Johnny or anything," Braunstein said. "I don't talk to him. There's no relationship there. I let this election go a long time ago. I've completely moved on."

Khamis isn't convinced, and he feels an intervention may in order to help his former rival "get over the loss."

"I'm really concerned about his well-being," Khamis said.

Alvarado parts ways with political advisers

Halfway through her battle for George Shirakawa Jr.'s Santa Clara County supervisorial seat, Teresa Alvarado is replacing her team of political advisers with a new group she hopes will lead her to a come-from-behind victory.

In the June 4 election that featured six candidates seeking to replace the disgraced Shirakawa, labor leader Cindy Chavez bested Alvarado, a water district communications manager whose mother once held the seat, by 1,953 votes -- almost 9 points. Because Chavez didn't get more than 50 percent, the two now head to a July 30 runoff.

While Alvarado lauded Los Angeles-based consultant Leo Briones and the local team he put together, the two of them agreed to part company after "philosophical differences."

So Alvarado has now hired Sacramento-based strategist Jim Gonzalez, who once served as a San Francisco supervisor. She's also picked up Sacramento-based consultant Barry Wyatt to oversee volunteers walking precincts and manning phone banks. Wyatt worked on the first half of Magdalena Carrasco's unsuccessful San Jose City Council run in 2010 against Xavier Campos. Joining Wyatt is Jonathan Young, who worked on former Assemblyman Joe Coto's unsuccessful state Senate race last year against fellow San Jose Democrat Jim Beall.

Carrasco, who was Alvarado's campaign manager, is now also off the team.

Coincidentally, it was that same 2010 race that featured the dirty mail prosecutors have now tied to Shirakawa in a new criminal charge accusing him of falsely impersonating Carrasco's campaign in Vietnamese postcards that painted her as a communist.

Briones -- who served as District Attorney Jeff Rosen's consultant in 2010 and is in place to do so again for Rosen's 2014 bid for re-election -- said he has no hard feelings against Alvarado.

"I wish her the best," he said. "She is the best candidate to beat Cindy Chavez."

Meanwhile, Alvarado and Chavez are still seeking endorsements from Scott Hung Pham, who came in third with 3,139 votes. Fourth-place finisher Patricia Martinez-Roach (1,537 votes) has endorsed Chavez, as has last-place finisher David Wall (668 votes). Joseph La Jeunesse, who came in fifth with 711 votes, has endorsed Alvarado.

Shirakawa has his say in vote for replacement

Speaking of George Shirakawa Jr., a check at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters office revealed that the ex-supervisor voted by mail in the June 4 race, just three days before he was to be sentenced for a dozen charges of abusing county and campaign money and ushered into the county pokey.

Once behind bars on felony convictions, Shirakawa wouldn't be allowed to vote.

His sentencing is now on ice because of a legal dispute. His camp argues that new charges alleging he impersonated Magdalena Carrasco's 2010 San Jose City Council campaign against his former aide, Councilman Xavier Campos, with dirty mail proclaiming her a communist should have been part of his original plea deal for no more than a year in county jail.

Meantime, we spotted Shirakawa hanging out at his modest home not far from the county fairgrounds, where last week a wooden sign in front proclaimed these words of wisdom: "It's nice to be important, but more important to be nice."

Who did he vote for? He wouldn't say. But it's assumed he cast a ballot for labor leader Cindy Chavez, who had been a political ally and was accused by some close to District Attorney Jeff Rosen of pressuring him to go easy on Shirakawa.

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