Republican former Rep. Ernie Konnyu has decided not to challenge Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for his seat this year -- mainly because nobody in his party would bankroll him.
Konnyu, 76, of San Jose, had said last Friday he was considering such a run.
"The analysis I did -- just Internet research -- on the lieutenant governor found him, in my opinion, vulnerable despite the Democratic nature of California," Konnyu said.
Newsom as San Francisco's mayor violated state law by authorizing marriage licenses for same-sex couples in 2004, Konnyu said, and violated his own Catholic beliefs both by having an affair with his campaign manager's wife in 2007 and by remarrying in 2008 without having his first marriage annulled.
But Konnyu sent an e-mail Wednesday saying he has decided against it.
Though he still believes Newsom to be vulnerable, "the only problem with my election formula was that I could not find a producer to finance this fun show," Konnyu wrote. "The Republican State Chairman, former Senator Jim Brulte, showed no interest in fielding anybody against Newsom. That was especially true with me since he disrespected me in 2004 and we haven't talked since."
Santa Clara County Republican Party Chairman Charles Munger Jr., who has bankrolled a few campaigns from his own pocket, didn't want to meet with him about such a candidacy, Konnyu wrote: "Same with the state's Lincoln Club leaders, a traditional source of Republican campaign dollars."
And his wife wasn't happy with the idea of him sinking their money into it either, he wrote. "Yep! She put her foot down even though I would not have put in an amount close to the minimum $1.7 million I needed."
"So my friends," Konnyu wrote, "NO CAMPAIGN FOR ME."
Regional approach to homeless? Not so much
In a mayoral debate organized by the Health Trust last month, San Jose Councilwoman Rose Herrera stressed the idea of a regional approach to the city's homelessness problem. By that, she meant trying to persuade other cities to kick in money if their residents wound up in San Jose's homeless encampments.
This was a long-shot idea at best. The history of regionalism from a quarter-century ago suggests that cities are not keen on cooperating with one another when it means parting with money or power. Then, at Tuesday's council meeting, the city's housing director, Leslye Corsiglia, pointed out another roadblock: The great bulk of San Jose's homeless, she said, once lived in houses or apartments in San Jose.
Despite a survey that backed up Corsiglia, Herrera wasn't quite ready to give up: "I'd be curious about the questions, to understand what the path to homelessness was,'' she said. "If there's a possibility of working regionally, that's one of the ways to approach it."
Just don't hold your breath while the debate unfolds in Palo Alto, Cupertino or Los Altos.
Numbers don't add up on 'Condo-gate'
Last month, we thought we detected a smidgen of good news in the debacle of the downtown San Jose condo and underwater mortgage that former county schools' chief Charles Weis sought to dump on taxpayers. The Santa Clara County Board of Education, which in 2008 extended Weis a $915,000 home loan at little or no interest without requiring any monthly payments while he was in office, settled a lawsuit with its ex-employee over the condo's disposition.
The county board won $13,400 and title to the luxury condo overlooking the Guadalupe River. But, it turns out, that sum merely covers delinquent homeowner-association dues, late fees and penalties, which Weis didn't pay.
The county board will pay $18,000 in transfer, closing fees and insurance to take title to the condo -- costs it would have incurred without suing.
So what did the county board get for the $86,000 it spent on the lawsuit? Maybe the ability to say to really ticked-off constituents: "We're not taking this lying down"?
And yes, the same law firm, Lozano Smith, that filed the suit also advised the board in drawing up the contract for Weis' successor, current Superintendent Xavier De La Torre, with the same no-monthly-payments loan perk. Under board pressure, De La Torre has since agreed to pay back principal and interest every month.
Explaining the seemingly meager Weis settlement, board President Leon Beauchman noted that "the law is what the law is, and protects the homeowner." He acknowledged it was unlikely the board would have prevailed in court.
So the upshot of the $86,000 legal action against the former superintendent is Weis ended up paying the $13,400 in delinquent fees, plus just $15,562 in home-loan interest that he paid 2009. Not bad for a fellow who was making $332,000 when he retired in 2012 -- and who bought a $350,000 vacation home in the Gold Country while in office.
We hear the county school board is looking for another superintendent. Are applicants lining up at the door yet? The board even has cool downtown digs it could offer its next executive.
Half Moon Bay Mayor John Muller is a lifesaver
Former Carmel mayor and "Dirty Harry" actor Clint Eastwood wasn't the only public figure lately to dramatically save a choking man. Before Eastwood cleared the airway of a choking AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am executive on the eve of the tournament, Half Moon Bay Mayor John Muller wound up saving a man's life during a January trip to Napa to get some pumpkin seeds.
It was Jan. 19, the day of the NFC Championship Game between the 49ers and Seahawks, and Muller had gathered with fellow giant pumpkin growers to swap stories and Atlantic giant seeds.
As about 50 growers and their families tucked into lunch, "Farmer John," as he's known, noticed the man across from him, Los Altos Hills grower Vince Zunino, appeared to be choking on a piece of tri-tip.
"I just looked at him and could tell he was choking," Muller recalled. "I said, 'Are you choking, are you choking?' I was waiting for a signal."
Zunino didn't respond, so Muller ducked behind him and performed the Heimlich maneuver -- a few tries and the obstruction spilled out.
Once Zunino had recovered, they shared a laugh -- "I told him, 'Now you owe me a couple good seeds.'"" But Muller also found himself shedding tears.
"I'm the one that broke down -- I was crying," he said. "It was very emotional for me. It was weird. You just hope and wish you did the right thing."
Muller said the episode is a good reminder for him, and others, to brush up on their first aid.
"It all worked for the best," he said. "It's not about me. It's about all of us being prepared and reacting."
Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at state and local politics. This week's items were written by Josh Richman, Scott Herhold, Sharon Noguchi, Aaron Kinney and Paul Rogers. Send tips to email@example.com, or call 408-920-5782.
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