After San Jose City Council District 10 candidate
Johnny Khamis eked out a one-vote lead over
Robert Braunstein in the June 5 primary that left the two competing in a Nov. 6 runoff, Khamis sought endorsements from termed-out incumbent
Nancy Pyle and third-place contender Edesa Bitbadal.
Khamis, a financial adviser, said Bitbadal told him she wasn't happy with Braunstein, a high school TV sportscaster who, during debates, often questioned her commitment to popular pension reforms opposed by her public-safety union backers.
And Khamis said Pyle felt Braunstein hadn't given her enough credit for the work she's done in the district representing Almaden and Blossom Valleys.
Khamis said both women indicated they wouldn't endorse in the runoff. But Pyle and Bitbadal have now thrown their support behind Braunstein.
Khamis believes Pyle and Bitbadal are bowing to union influence, as the powerful San Jose Police Officers' Association has endorsed Braunstein as well. Though Khamis and Braunstein both backed the city's pension-reform Measure B, which police are suing to block, Khamis has been a vocal critic of a pricey perk allowing police and firefighters to cash out unlimited unused sick leave upon retirement.
Pyle was unavailable for comment. But Bitbadal said her endorsement comes from observing both men on the campaign trail. She felt Khamis' ideas were lackluster and that his
Chuck Reed showed he wouldn't be a leader in his own right.
Braunstein, meanwhile, said police backing doesn't undercut his commitment to pension reforms.
"People that don't like that don't endorse me," Braunstein said. "But if they're able to put that aside, they do."
Ex-Morgan Hill schools chief receives a nice payout
The Associated Press last week revealed the state's top 10 recipients of lump-sum payouts by the California State Teachers Retirement System.
And right there at the top was former Morgan Hill schools Superintendent Alan Nishino, who received a one-time payment of $421,058 when he retired in July 2009.
CalSTRS created the lump-sum option in 2000, intending to boost recruitment and retention of classroom teachers. But the provision granted by the Legislature also allows retiring administrators to tap into their pension accounts for a large cash payment, in exchange for a smaller monthly pension check.
Nishino's resulting smaller annual pension, which he'll receive for the rest of his life: $201,006.
East Side board balks at endorsing tax measure
California school officials are hoping one of the two November state tax measures will pass and stave off midyear budget cuts and deep slashing in years to come. Many local school boards, like both countywide boards in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, have adopted resolutions endorsing both Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 and Molly Munger's Proposition 38. The resolution language is boilerplate, provided by the California School Boards Association.
But in the East Side Union High School District, what was thought to be a routine vote was stopped it its tracks last month when union rep Marisa Hanson stood up to remind trustees that the state's largest teachers union opposes Munger's bill.
That appeared to be enough for trustee Patricia Martinez-Roach, who withdrew her motion to endorse both measures.
Roach, asked whether Hanson's opposition swayed her, said, "I value input from all stakeholders; especially valuable information."
So the board split up the propositions and voted to endorse Brown's Proposition 30. Then, in discussing Proposition 38, trustees Lan Nguyen and Van Le also jumped ship, so Proposition 38 supporter and board President Frank Biehl withdrew his motion. "I preferred not to have any vote taken at all," he said, rather than a "no" vote.
For the record, Biehl agrees with his California School Boards Association colleagues. "Our best interest is to support both initiatives in hopes that one of them passes," he said. "I didn't want to create any confusion by selecting one over another."
Federal Judge Ware gets a musical send-off
With a short and sweet tenure as the Bay Area's chief federal judge, James Ware, a fixture in the San Jose federal building for decades, stepped aside two weeks ago with a rousing send-off from colleagues and the legal community.
The 65-year-old Ware handed over the chief judge's reins to U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, an Oakland-based judge who has been on the bench since 1993. Ware spent less than two years in the chief judge's role and is retiring to join JAMS, a powerhouse private judging firm in San Francisco.
Ware spent most of his federal court career in San Jose, a 1990 appointee of former President George H.W. Bush. He was considered one of the local bench's intellectual stars, his career blemished by an infamous public lie about a civil rights-era murder in his family. The incident cost him elevation to a federal appeals court, but he restored his reputation and told this newspaper when he became chief judge that the controversy became a "teaching point" in his life.
Ware's colleagues celebrated him recently in San Francisco, injecting plenty of songs into the ceremony in honor of his renowned karaoke skills (he goes by "DJ Jazzy Jim" in that realm). An account of the ceremony in The Recorder, a legal newspaper, said Wilken played "Leader of the Pack" to summarize his tenure as chief.
Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at state and local politics. This week's items were written by Tracy Seipel, Sharon Noguchi, Howard Mintz and Paul Rogers. Send tips to email@example.com, or call 408-975-9346.