Clinton Visits the Glen
President pays Lincoln Avenue a surprise visit to buy lemonade and stock up on books.
President Bill Clinton took a break from the congressional fundraising circuit Saturday to do what many Willow Glen residents enjoy doing on a hot fall afternoon. Head, that is, to Lincoln Avenue to shop, toss down a cool drink and engage in a little palabadaba with the locals.
The unscheduled whistlestop caught Glenites by surprise. Fremont businessman Bill Boyce was sitting in Le Boulanger sipping coffee with his wife Donna around 4 p.m. when police officers entered the bakery and sealed off the exits. "I thought it was some kind of crime scene. Then I saw a motorcade and thought to myself, 'That sure looks like the president's car'."
Cathy Adkins, owner of Willow Glen Books, said she "had no idea" that the leader of the free world was about to become her next customer. "All of a sudden, people with suits started showing up," the bespecled independent book store owner recalled. "There were helicopters, motorcycles, photographers."
The suits informed her that Clinton wanted to do a little browsing in the bookstore. Clinton bought Gone for Soldiers: A Novel of the Mexican War by Jeff Shaara, a Tom Clancy mystery, The Bear and the Dragon, and Spirit Matters by San Francisco Rabbi Michael Lerner.
Adkins also gave the commander-in-chief three books, including Vanishing Act by Thomas Perry, a thriller about a Native American woman who marries an abusive con artist, and in a shameless demonstration of family values, her brother-in-law's biography of Franklin Roosevelt.
Clinton presented a credit card for the purchase, and the charge for $85.35 was approved at 4:50 p.m. He signed the slip, leaving Adkins with the yellow copy.
The president then crossed Lincoln Avenue, shaking hands along the way. He entered Le Boulanger and asked to use the bathroom, and for something cool to drink., according to assistant manager Dennis McHugh. who presented him with a loaf of sourdough bread.
"He came in and asked for the bathroom and something to drink and got an Odwalla lemonade," recalled McHugh. "He said hi to everybody and shook hands and posed for photos. He really impressed me. He changed my opinions of him. I didn't vote for him in the last election."
Clinton also posed for photos in front of the Details clothing store. Owner Bernie Levine shook his hand and ran into the store to get a Willow Glen T-shirt, but the president was gone before he could present it to him.
Returning from a fundraiser at the Almaden Valley home of high tech entrepreneur Jesse Singh for congressional candidate Mike Honda, Clinton and the Hondas arrived in Willow Glen around 4p.m. Honda campaign manager Jennifer Van de Heide says the Willow Glen stop was at Honda's suggestion.
Clinton was in town to raise money for Honda's race against fellow Assemblyman Jim Cunneen for the congressional seat vacated by Tom Campbell, who's running for U.S. Senate against Dianne Feinstein. The president, along with U.S. Commerce Secretary Norm Mineta--a former mayor of San Jose and, for two decades, the congressman from the district Honda seeks to represent--spoke at a fundraiser at the hilltop Almaden Valley home of high tech entrepreneur Jesse Singh. More than $600,000 was raised at the Honda fundraiser, according to Singh.
From the September 27, 2000 issue of the Willow Glen Resident. Copyright 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.