For more than a decade now, the husband-and-wife team of Christopher Stampolis and Anna Song have been a power duo in Santa Clara politics. Stampolis, 48, is a member of the Santa Clara Unified school board, and Song, 46, is a longtime member of the Santa Clara County Board of Education. Both have been president of the Mission City Democratic Club. And both have stirred controversy: Stampolis and three other board members were the target of a no-confidence petition a year ago, and Song has had to fend off attacks from the proponents of charter schools. Politically, the two have been staunch allies.

The duo, however, is apparently no more: Stampolis has filed for divorce in the county's courts, citing irreconcilable differences in the couple's 16-year marriage. His paperwork, first submitted to the court in April, says that he and Song have been separated since last December. Internal Affairs could not get comment from either party. But Stampolis is seeking custody of the couple's two boys, ages 12 and 8. A status conference in the case is scheduled for July 30.

More concerning: according to the Santa Clara Police Department's online arrest log, officers arrested Song at an undisclosed location around 8 p.m. July 7 for alleged misdemeanor battery of a spouse or ex-spouse. A spokesman for District Attorney Jeff Rosen said prosecutors haven't decided whether to file charges.


Advertisement

A's owner, San Jose mayor meet for breakfast

While A's co-owner Lew Wolff was negotiating with Oakland officials on an extended Coliseum lease, he wasn't too busy to check in with his preferred suitors.

Wolff met with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed at the Fairmont San Jose luxury hotel, which Wolff's investment group owns, for an hourlong breakfast meeting last week.

We're told the breakfast was more of a check in, and that nothing came out of the meeting that would significantly alter the never-ending saga of the A's pursuit of a new home.

It figures to be a good time for the A's to take San Jose's temperature, though.

Wolff's visit with Reed came days after the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority approved a 10-year lease extension with the A's. But the Oakland City Council only OK'd it last week with modifications shielding the city and county from liability for lease violations by the Coliseum's other tenant, the NFL's Raiders. Wolff had earlier insisted the deal must be approved as-is, and his team was reviewing the city's amendments last week.

Meanwhile, San Jose is continuing its lawsuit against Major League Baseball, with an appeals court hearing set for Aug. 12, in an attempt to go around the San Francisco Giants' long-running efforts to block the A's move to San Jose. (The Giants have territorial rights to the South Bay and the MLB hasn't officially ruled on the fight despite forming a blue-ribbon committee on the issue more than five years ago.)

It's believed that the Oakland lease contract, however, is structured to allow the A's a chance to flee to Silicon Valley if San Jose wins its court case, gets public approval and works with the team to finance the new ballpark. That would take several years, at the least.

We haven't got the sense around City Hall that San Jose politicians were upset about the A's long-term lease extension given the reality of the city's marathon, uphill battle to land the team. Still, sharing breakfast with the team owner can't hurt.

School district remembers the upheavals of the past

Maybe peace is dawning in San Jose's tiny Luther Burbank School District, which has ousted three superintendents in six years. But we noticed something curious in the contract of the new superintendent, Michelle Richardson.

Richardson, who comes on board Aug. 1 from Fairfield, will be entitled to the same benefits that teachers get, plus membership in professional organizations. However, the contract specifies, "Superintendent is prohibited from any association with California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators."

Why would that be?

Interim Superintendent Richard Rodriguez wrote, "LBSD Board is no longer supporting this organization due to the damage Fernando Elizondo and Antonio Perez did to LBSD when they took over the district in 2008-2011."

Perez headed the school board that booted out Rodriguez as superintendent in 2008, and Elizondo took over the reins of the district. The pair ousted administrators, and also spawned two civil grand jury investigations.

We know that school administrations, like governments, will purge loyalists of previous regimes after taking over. Elizondo and Perez ousted Rodriguez's appointees; when Rodriguez regained the power levers later, he returned the favor. And yes, Elizondo is among the Latino superintendent association's advisers. But this seemed to take political loyalty to an unusual level.

New appellate judge traces school roots back to Silicon Valley

When Southern California lawyer John Owens was confirmed to a prestigious federal judgeship a few months ago, the good news reverberated all the way to his old schoolyards in Silicon Valley.

As it turns out, Owens, the newest judge on the 29-member 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is a local boy who made good.

A Cupertino native, Owens graduated from San Jose's Bellarmine Prep in 1989. And before his Bellarmine days, he attended Harker middle school, before Harker expanded to add a high school. "Harker is mighty proud to have had a hand in his education," Bill Cracraft, a Harker spokesman, tells IA.

Owens stayed in the Bay Area for his college days as well, getting his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and his law degree from Stanford University. He even spent one summer as a marketing assistant for the Golden State Warriors.

Owens' legal career then took him elsewhere, landing him eventually on the nation's largest federal appeals court. The Senate, after the usual delays, confirmed him by a 56-43 vote.

Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at state and local politics. This week's items were written by Scott Herhold, Mike Rosenberg, Sharon Noguchi, Howard Mintz and Paul Rogers. Send tips to internalaffairs@mercurynews.com, or call 408-920-5782.