Still, we have to ask the question, “What were voters smoking?” The state voted not to legalize pot, but in 420-friendly San Jose, we voted to tax it anyway, by a 4-to-1 margin. And we re-elected that crazy ole Jerry Brown over the eBay scold who got confused.
“Election?” Meg Whitman must have been saying. “I thought you said auction.” No Meg, high bids don’t win. Maybe someday democracy will come with a blue “Buy It Now” button.
San Jose voters sent a mixed message to City Hall. While they tough-loved the generously-pensioned public employees—despite threats by public safety workers to show up late for fires—voters appeared to elect three pro-labor council members.
At the “Yes on V and W” campaign’s appropriately sparse command center in Willow Glen, doors opened just a few minutes after the announced 8pm time press event was to begin, and a handful of reporters entered to find the campaign consultant Victor Ajlouny sitting in an empty room surrounded by stacks of huge, unused red-and-white campaign signs. Pat Dando peered over his shoulder at what appeared to be a landslide.
“That’s it,” Dando said. “We can go home.”
Nobody in the room appeared happier than councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, who danced with himself and jumped up and down, blurting out “It’s fantastic!”
Mayor Chuck Reed declared it a “turning corner” event and gloated in interviews about the “mandate.” But one of his endorsees was going down in flames and the others were either up or down by less than two points.
The mayoral entourage headed over to Larry Pegram’s strip mall headquarters in Cambrian, where about 30 well behaved supporters applauded Reed’s entrance while enjoying a healthy snack spread of pizza, cheesecake and salted cashews. Reed told the Pegramites that “long time friend” Larry “took some heat,” and added, “I appreciate you doing that.” Pegram drew laughs with his observation that “We’re not real excited about what we’re seeing so far.”
The mayor’s Batmobile (okay, a black Crown Victoria) then sped off to the East Side, and we followed in pursuit, but his driver/bodyguard finally shook us off by weaving in and out of lanes on Highway 85. We located Madison Nguyen’s party amidst a tangle of foot spas, noodle restaurants and medical marijuana dispensaries. It was the most packed party of the evening. “What’s the capacity here, and does the fire department know about this?” we asked Nguyen, who looked stylish in white blazer and pants, with matching rhinestone-studded white, long-toed shoes. Nguyen admitted that she was nervous. “I didn’t think it was going to be this close.”