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November 14, 2008

Morning News Round-Up — 11.14.08: I busted my ass edition…


Santa Clara County Registrar Jesse Durazo is in hot water with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. The Law Foundation sent 158 Watch Dogs of their own out to polling places on Election Day. It seems some polling places were demanding identification from all voters and others had no translators available. Attorney James Zahradka, who monitored three sites, says he was threatened with arrest when he pointed out only a small subset of voters needed to provide identification. Assistant Registrar of Voters Elaine Larson said, “We are a multilingual county, and we take pride in the steps that we take to train our election officers and provide translated voting materials…”

Also in hot water and fighting to keep her job, Palo Alto Police Chief Lynne Johnson urged the Human Relations Commission last night to use caution in looking at the massive amounts of data in front of them. Johnson said, “The use of census data based upon resident population does not have any relation with the people officers stop and have contact with on a daily basis.” She couldn’t just stop there…she kept chatting after the meeting indicating her officers might be influenced by the negative depictions of African-Americans by the entertainment industry. “I believe we all are a total of our experiences…sometimes, unconscious biases come out.” What?

Recent graduates from San Jose State University are still waiting for their diplomas, nearly 6 months later. Kathy Lanford, one of those graduates, summed it up saying, “I busted my ass and I want my piece of paper that shows it…

In a sign that tried and true, grassroots campaigning works, Barbara Spector was re-elected to the Los Gatos Town Council as the top vote getter. Spector ran the numbers and walked 4,500 Los Gatos households — her campaign slogan probably didn’t hurt either — Barbara Spector, Let’s Re-Elect Her. Joining her on the Council will be Steve Rice as the second place finisher, as of Wednesday there were only two votes separating the Spector and Rice. Third place finisher Michael Kane offered this explanation for not winning, “I think, as in many elections, there are 4,000 people who know what’s what and 15,000 who are not informed on the issues and don’t know the people who are engaged. So to the people who don’t know me, those three hit pieces probably hurt.” Peggy Dallas finished fourth and said, “What I really like is talking to people, walking the neighborhoods, and the candidates’ forums. But being in the limelight — I could leave that any day.” Dallas isn’t ruling out another run (for the limelight) in the future.

Non-profits feeding those in need are struggling with the economic downturn, the need is greater and the supplies are fewer. Susan Lang, Milpitas Food Pantry’s director, said, “We are seeing a 50 to 60 percent increase in clients.” The pantry now sees over 1,000 people a month Sunnyvale resident Bob Burkhalter aims to help with the biggest virtual chess game in the world and will donate half the prize money to hungry children in Silicon Valley. He could even end up as a part of the Guinness World Records. “I’m excited,” Burkhalter said. “I’d love to put a dent in world hunger with this chess game.” 75 cents of each $2 game will go to Second Harvest, Burkhalter will earn 15 cents and Pay Pal takes the rest – their website says they take 1.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for non-profit fundraising, that would be about 35 cents. If you’re a chess player, or just big-hearted, you can participate by going to chessfordollars.com/game. Whole Foods, where folks not needing Second Harvest or the Food Pantry shop, is also helping. December 9th 5% of the day’s gross will go to local food banks.

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