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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    San Jose Mayor Rejects Calls to Step Down ... 3-04-45-12

    Jun 23, 4:45 AM EDT

    San Jose Mayor Rejects Calls to Step Down

    SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Mayor Ron Gonzales rejected calls to step down after he was booked on fraud, bribery and conspiracy charges following a grand jury probe into a secretly negotiated garbage contract.

    Gonzales, 55, was released on a $50,000 bond after being indicted on six counts Thursday for allegedly brokering a backroom deal that cost taxpayers more than $11 million. He continued to deny any wrongdoing in the scandal that has dogged him for nearly two years.

    "The people of San Jose elected me to be the mayor of this town, and I am going to be the mayor of this town," Gonzales told reporters at a benefit dinner for a local education foundation. He declined further comment.

    Prosecutors would not comment on the indictment. They scheduled a news conference Friday to discuss the results of the grand jury probe that had already led city councilors to censure the mayor last year.

    Gonzales' budget aide, Joe Guerra, and Norcal Waste Systems also were charged in the indictment. All three face arraignment Monday in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

    The indictment alleges Gonzales pressured Norcal to recognize the Teamsters union at a recycling plant run by a subcontractor - a move the company said would keep labor peace but would cost millions more a year than planned.

    It said Gonzales suggested to company officials that he could make the city reimburse Norcal, and enacted an elaborate plan to persuade the council to approve the extra payments without knowing where the money was going.

    Guerra faces charges of fraud, conspiracy and misappropriating public money, according to the indictment. His lawyer, Alan Lagod, confirmed his client was booked and released on bail.

    Gonzales also faces felony charges of misappropriating funds and falsifying public documents. He could be sentenced to more than a dozen years in prison if convicted, criminal experts said.

    The indictment named Norcal in four counts, including conspiracy, bribery and misappropriating public money. Its lawyer, Bill Goodman, said the company denied wrongdoing.

    A civil grand jury accused Gonzales and Guerra last year of "duping" the council into approving a 2003 rate increase to cover $11.25 million in increased labor costs. Gonzales did not disclose to city councilors that $1 of a $1.40 per month garbage rate increase was intended to cover labor costs.

    As word of the indictment spread, Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez and three city councilors called on Gonzales to step down. Chavez asked the City Council to convene a special session seeking a resignation. If Gonzales won't resign, she wrote in a memo, the council should seek to restrict his ability to act on the city's behalf.

    Chavez, who is running to succeed Gonzales, said she would not seek to be named acting mayor if Gonzales resigned. Gonzales, 55, is barred by city law from seeking a third term. Both are Democrats.

    Gonzales became one of the first Hispanic mayors of a major U.S. city in 1998, and addressed the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

    Two months later, he acknowledged an extramarital affair with a 25-year-old subordinate. The city soon struggled under record deficits following the dot-com bust and the mayor suffered a stroke during his State of the City address in 2004. Since then, the city has been racked by contract scandals.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member IndianaJones's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Mr mayor needs some help stepping down.
    We are NOT a nation of immigrants!

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