Somebody get word to San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, whose indictment Thursday spawned a feeding frenzy at the Mercury news and probably gave Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez whiplash from forcing her to do such a quick about-face.
In today's story, featuring a classic non-denial denial from Gonzales ("there was no alteration of public documents," he says), prosecutor Julius Finkelstein says the indictment's message "is that public officials cannot use their public office to secure benefits, either for themselves or for third parties or for political supporters.'"
Really? Not to parrot a Republican talking point here, but isn't that that what public officials do?Leaving aside that Gonzales repeatedly lied about the deal to the public and his colleagues, is procuring a contract for the Teamsters much different than Anna Eshoo's effort to procure Navy funding to restore Hangar One for the enjoyment of a bunch of Navy veterans?
In any case, kudos to the Merc for their coverage. The paper has had so many reporters on the story (14 on one article posted on the Web site site), you'd think anarchists were planning to march in downtown Palo Alto or somebody had found a finger in a bowl of chili. Not that I blame them. According to lore, when Mountain View's mayor was on trial for misconduct (with seemingly far less serious charges), a full 50 percent of the Voice staff spent days in the courtroom simply waiting for the verdict.
In the Mario Ambra case, by the way, the prosecution dropped three of its four charges, focusing only on one charge, misconduct in violation of the city charter, that was grounds to remove Mayor Ambra from the council. I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing happen here.