Archive for the ‘drunk tank’ Category

Morning News Round-Up – 12.24.09: More news from the broom closet…

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Mistrust and low morale mark the relationship between the city of Palo Alto and its largest union. Accusations from the largest union include use of funds to fix the city’s $4.8 million budget screw-up. Not a big deal, except union leader Lynn King wonders where those funds were during negotiations. City Administrative Services Director Lalo Perez says it’s all untrue.

Thanks to a Watch Dog spy we go back to the troubles at Wilcox High. Seems principal Tab Taber is accused of his own Lolita who referred to her 3 ½ years with Taber as “very good.” Any more skeletons bouncing out of this (broom) closet?

Understatement of the year, “this hasn’t been a good year for us,” said Tasha Bartholomew following the latest train vs. pedestrian death. This year 17 people have died along the Caltrain tracks.

Palo Alto assistant City Attorney Don Larkin says the affordable housing regulations are not “invalid and we have no plans to end or significantly revamp” the rules following a second developer lawsuit.

San Jose High football’s Matt Blea was sprung from the hospital following visits from Stanford’s Toby Gerhart and three Raiderettes. Blea’s doctor, Lisa Lombard, joked Blea’s “eyes popped out of his head” adding “that’s not usually one of the techniques we use.”

San Jose Inside/Metro report Sarah Palin might be coming to town for a sit down with the Chamber of Commerce. San Jose Insider Pete Campbell seems confused why Caribou Barbie’s (possible) visit stirs emotions.

Before Watch Dog heads out for the long holiday weekend, advice from the locals.

Morning News Round-Up – 12.23.08: More Drunk News…

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Congratulations, Sergeant Manion and Officer D’Arrigo. You received a get out of jail free card from the secret Grand Jury, just in time for Christmas. These guys were not indicted for their part in the Sandra Woodall drunk driving cover up – they may not be so lucky when Chief Rob Davis begins his own internal investigation…but Watch Dog expects they’ll be ok.

The Merc. recommends the drunk Task Force installed by Mayor Reed and Councilmember Campos focus first on the wildly disproportionate arrests of Latinos. What the Editorial doesn’t say is that this Task Force won’t start until 3 months after the problem was identified by their reporter Sean Webby and that the Task Force won’t make any recommendations until April…six months?!

Make note of this name, Ausaf Umar Siddiqui. He managed to scam Fry’s Electronics, and vendors, for $65 million since 2005. This story includes “secret backroom” deals, masquerading as an owner, casino jets, exotic cars, and swarms of FBI agents invading Fry’s to take Siddiqui away in handcuffs. Fry’s spokesman Manuel Valerio says that while Siddiqui made off with millions “neither Fry’s nor Fry’s customers were damaged by this.” Watch Dog wonders if the Fry’s family would agree. (As an aside, does anyone out there remember rising political star Manuel Valerio? Same guy…)

It’s a big week for travelers. The weather around the country is not cooperating. If air travel is on your mind, be patient and bring your sense of humor. David Vossbrink, spokesman at the Mineta International Airport, says that the cancellation of hundred’s of flights across the country due to blizzards raging from Seattle to Chicago to Washington, D.C., were most troublesome for San Jose flights. And take it from Vossbrink — he knows something about patience and sense of humor from his last job

Mr. Roadshow received a request to make 2009 the Year of the Pedestrian – making travel safer for those on foot. Pedestrian deaths are on the rise, making streets more pedestrian (and bike) friendly seems a logical solution.

San Jose Revealed does a holiday rundown of the less than cheerful variety. Revealed is surprised that the ball playing skills of the President-elect’s appointees are more newsworthy than torture. Well, perhaps Revealed never saw the Bush Basketball Team — Cheney sucked! We needed a change…

Morgan Hill looks at budget cuts that include shutting off residential streetlights, letting potholes go unrepaired, shutting down playgrounds, letting park turf die, and decreasing code enforcement. Mayor Steve Tate says, “It’s not anything real dramatic that you would notice a whole bunch. Maybe if you’re going to a park every day, and see half the grass gone, you’d notice that. It depends. Generally, I don’t think you will.” Mayor Tate — voters have a funny way of noticing such things. You know who else notices such things?…the Morgan Hill Police showed up in force with nearly half the department at the Council meeting to protest the loss of three police officers.

The Los Gatos Observer posts photos of the Monte Sereno and Los Gatos Councils being sworn in. Watch Dog is a little confused as the Observer ran the story of the Los Gatos swearing in on November 18 – complete with photos of Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner delivering the oath of office. Is news so slow in Los Gatos that the Observer needs to rerun old news?

Morning News Round-Up – 12.19.08: Perhaps the drunks could go to downtown Campbell?…

Friday, December 19th, 2008

San Jose Revealed admits Mayor Chuck Reed was right – at least when it comes to San Jose Police arresting people because they’re poor – not drunk. Revealed, like Watch Dog, was entertained by Councilmember Pete Constant’s dismissal of the Merc.’s statistical review saying, “While statistics do paint a picture, they don’t always paint a complete picture.” That sounds like John McCain discussing the fundamentals of the economy…(stay tuned for more on this issue…)

Nick D’Arpino’s plans for a Vegas style nightclub in hopping downtown Campbell were squashed when he lost title to the Gaslighter Theatre early this year. That hasn’t stopped D’Arpino from asking County and federal agencies to investigate Susan and Mark Gaetano along with the City of Campbell for, among other things, possible racketeering. City Manager Dan Rich hadn’t heard about the charges and wisely declined to comment. Susan Gaetano said she was, “not surprised because we’ve already been down this road.” Really Susan? You’ve been accused of racketeering before?

An unnamed 26 year old San Jose man died early this morning after being “tased” by Campbell Police at Valley Medical Center. For a non-lethal tool, the taser is at the heart of a number of deaths, the ACLU says the stun guns are unregulated and controls on use are inconsistent. The use of Tasers also also cost the City of San Jose some serious cash this week…

The Fly at San Jose Inside has a rundown on fundraiser for San Jose Councilmember Madison Nguyen – she raised $10,000, shrimp was eaten, and Mayor Reed said angry people would go to the polls in March. He (and Madison) better hope that non-angry people vote as well — or District 7 may be looking for another replacement…

Cupertino’s Planning Commission is prepared to kick off the new year with a meaty discussion on the merits of a ‘Main Street Cupertino’ proposal from Sand Hill Property, Co. Commission Marty Miller sympathizes with community members who want the process to move more quickly by reminding them, “As I’m sure that most of you in high-tech know, you build quality in, you don’t add it later.” Resident Jennifer Griffin expressed hope that the project would bring residents to shop Cupertino saying, “What a fantastic time for the residents of Cupertino to master plan one of the last remaining holdings in the city.” (“Master Plan” as a verb?)

Also on San Jose Inside, Metro columnist Gary Singh adds to the list of successful public markets: Vancouver’s Granville Island. Singh says that a market next to the Peralta Adobe could add to a better understanding of San Jose’s history.

Home prices in Silicon Valley continue to drop, bargain hunters can pick up a home for less than $500,000 or a condo for less than $300,000. With mortgage interest rates at their lowest since 1971 maybe even Watch Dog could get an affordable loan? Pretty please?

Morning News Round-Up — 12.18.08: Rock and Roll Edition…

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Looking an awful lot like real news, San Jose Inside and the Metro have cross-posted an interesting piece by Erin Sherbert in which she outlines the mixed results of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce under the leadership of Pat Dando. Although the political fundraising is way up the policy wins at City Hall are way down. The Chamber Board refused to meet with Mayor Chuck Reed when he sought support for Measure B – BART to San Jose. The Mayor’s senior policy guy still seems a bit pissed…Jeffy Janssen said about the snub, “”I was surprised…The Chamber had always endorsed BART in the past and it had been active in the BART campaigns. And it was a lot more work to get their endorsement than I thought it would be.” Dando’s reasoning was that there were differing opinions on the Chamber Board. The same Board met with Councilmember Sam Liccardo on inclusionary housing and one would have to assume there were differing opinions on that too…but whatever.

Santa Clara County tops 1.85 million residents as new babies are being born and immigrants come to realize the Silicon Valley dream (or at least the potential dream when the economy isn’t tanking…) Growing by 32,000 people, Santa Clara County was fourth fastest behind Placer, Imperial, and Riverside Counties in new residents. Supervisor Don Gage says this surge in people won’t translate to a need for new housing as, “The newborn baby doesn’t get a house of its own and when people do come here from foreign countries they generally don’t establish their own new household. They are more likely to live with kin or friends.” Thank you Supervisor Gage for showing us all your knowledge of housing and immigration…is 2010 here yet?

So much for jump starting the economy. You might never have heard of them but the Pooled Money Investment Board will be well known through the state now. The three members of the Board (State Treasurer and Chair Bill Lockyer, State Controler John Chiang, and Finance Director Michael Genest) could be the ones stopping $59 million in affordable housing projects, a San Jose homeless shelter, park improvements as well as school improvements and road projects. Mayor Chuck Reed says this is a blow that will have a serious “ripple affect” throughout the area. The Merc Editorial Board isn’t any happier. One of the best ideas coming forward is keeping the legislators in lockdown and pumping in Alvin and the Chipmunks until a compromise is found…or perhaps this could be freshman Assemblymember Paul Fong’s big break to help Republicans see the light

In an emotional ceremony at the Boccardo Center, the names of the 82 homeless people who died this year were read aloud and candles were lit in their honor. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed expressed amazement saying, “Here where there’s so much wealth, we have people dying on the street. We need to rededicate ourselves to ending homelessness.” Well Mayor Reed, you set the budget priorities in the City…

A secret Grand Jury heard a stunning admission this week when former San Jose Police Officer Sandra Woodall confessed she was drunk the night she crashed her Cadillac Escalade into two cars sending a teenager to the hospital. No word yet how this affects the two officers who kept the secret of Woodall’s drinking though it’s doubtful they’re happy as she is spilling it on the stand…

In a move sure to be cheered on by frogs, deer, and environmentalists the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District (based in Los Altos) is restoring 14 acres of a former Christmas tree farm to native habitat. (Un?)Related, the move to support the environment might be too late to affect the mysterious disappearance of bees from the Silicon Valley landscape.

Asking “To Whom Does San Jose Belong?” San Jose Inside founder Tom McEnery’s $6 million Peralta Plan from the San Jose City Council is called into question by Pete Campbell. Since transition away from McEnery, Inside has made a few changes that signal a changing of the guard – among them the new banner and the occasional article questioning Tom McEnery.

Count V defined the sound of San Jose, rock historians called them “proto-punk”. Dan Orloff, co-founder of San Jose Rocks, says their hit was “one of the most pivotal songs in rock history,” taking the 60’s British sound and twisting it until it haunted you. Now they say goodbye to their lead singer, John Byrne, an Irish immigrant who made every instrument he touched sing. Byrnes daughter Tina said her father was a hip rebel to the end with long hair and dark sunglasses and “Aerosmith called him a rock and roll legend.”

Morning News Round-Up – 12.16.08: Animal cruelty…the issue of the week in Northern California…

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Santa Clara County is looking at an animal cruelty ordinance which some say targets Mexican rodeos while other say it doesn’t go far enough in preventing animal abuse. Toby De La Torre, president of the Federation of Charros, says steer tailing allows the rodeos to carry, “on the traditions and the sport that our ancestors have taught us.” This animal cruelty story is not to be confused with a slew of them in San Mateo County that Watch Dog San Mateo has followed – they include a cat stomping and a dog killing

The Board of Supervisors will hear a pitch from Probation Chief Shelia Mitchell to add beds at the juvenile ranch for boys. In her final meeting, Supervisor Alvarado is not likely to support the Probation Chief’s request, noting that an expansion made a decade ago increased the number of youth in jail without rehabilitation.

Watch Dog readers will remember the fracas about how to deal with the drunk arrests in Downtown San Jose…Councilmember Liccardo wanted action over another Task Force, while Councilmember Campos and Mayor Reed wanted a Task Force over action. While the Task Force seems to be moving forward, albeit at Task Force pace…the San Jose Police Department is implementing one of Liccardo’s ideas in advance of being asked to…they are going to administer a breathalyzer test to drunk arrestees. Without public announcement San Jose Police began offering breathalyzers two weeks ago. While some (like DUI attorneys) believe there is evidence that breathalyzers are not 100% accurate, it’s a safe bet they are more accurate than an Officer’s hunch. The (fired) Independent Police Auditor Barbara Attard said “…it’s long overdue.”

Campbell has a new Police Chief. 21 year Campbell police veteran Captain Greg Finch will take the helm as Chief Dave Gullo retires. City Manager Dan Rich said they didn’t need to conduct an expensive national search as the “best person was already here.”

In Los Gatos the Police will be moving into the former Verizon building two years after purchasing the building and following a $4 million remodel approved last night by the City Council. The ever-eloquent Mayor Mike Wasserman celebrating with a cheer, “Yay! Congratulations!” “This is probably the most efficient act of government that I have witnessed in ten years on the council,” Councilmember Joe Pirzynski observed. Really?

The Gilroy City Council voted last night to layoff 2 firefighters and a police employee while restoring on police officer in the face of ongoing gang violence. Councilmembers Dion Bracco, Perry Woodward, Craig Gartman, and Bob Dillon voted to restore the officer. Councilmember Peter Arellano dissented saying, “Some people here may think they’re more in tune with the police department, but I think that’s what we hired the chief to do.”

Who ever thought building in a creek bed was a good idea? Apparently a lot of people. The State has ordered Willow Glen apartment owner Paul ten Doesschate to protect a creek with a new retaining wall and to repair an existing one. San Jose City Planners are waiting for state agencies to make clear the difficult project before allowing ten Doesschate to move forward – with a little luck this will happen before rains cause the building (and Lincoln Avenue) to slide into the creek.

I think the Bush Administration smelt too…the affects of the Bush administration will linger long after Obama settles into the Oval Office. The canary-in-the-coal-mine Delta Smelt is a predictor of the health of the Delta. The Bush Administration violated the Endangered Species Act with increased pumping and now Fish and Wildlife has cut back the amount of water available to the Silicon Valley. Santa Clara Water District spokeswoman Susan Siravo said, “It feels like a double whammy. We’ve had two dry years and we’ve had reduced imported water from the delta.”

Before she had a chance to sit through her first board meeting, newly elected Luther Burbank School Board member Doreen Hassan resigned. Perhaps her only goal was to prevent the firing of Superintendent Richard Rodriguez? (Oops, that happened before she was seated) Or perhaps she watched the antics of Alum Rock and East Side Union and thought better of being on a school board…or maybe she forgot to check with her employer – whatever the reason, the tiny district now faces the option of an expensive special election or appointing someone. Watch Dog word of advice, don’t attempt the Shirakawa-Garcia Cuba-like appointment process.

Hello, is anyone there? Willow Glen Resident Matt Baxter wants to volunteer for the VTA, he’s called three times, apparently the VTA can’t afford to check their voicemail. Here’s a Watch Dog call to new Board President Dolly Sandoval, San Jose representatives Nora Campos, Sam Liccardo, Nancy Pyle, Mayor Reed or Forest Williams – c’mon help the guy out. All he wants is a litter stick and a bag to clean.

Cupertino City Council unanimously elected Orrin Mahoney as (rotating) Mayor with Kris Wang (Mayor in 2007) as Vice Mayor.

(very late) Morning News Round-Up – 12.15.08

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Christmas came early for San Jose Councilmember Nora Campos when the bid for rebuilding a fire station in her Council District (and the busiest in San Jose) came in a million dollars under engineering estimates and $3 million under original estimates. Astute Watch Dogs with good memories will remember that when Campos got the Council behind her to vote for this fire station, it was an indication that Mayor Reed could be beaten on specific issues — and Campos beat him first. Council colleague Pete Constant still argues against a complete rebuild for the East Side fire station saying, “When we’re spending taxpayer money we should be looking for the best value.” Perhaps he’ll remember this as he pushes to spend money on a useless city-censorship device for library computers…

San Jose Police Department lost two of its own to suicide last month while the Walnut Creek Police Department also lost a member. SJPD Sgt. Mike Sullivan says the three suicides in such a short time has everyone stunned, “Morale is low and we’re all asking ‘Why did they do it?’ Both were stellar police officers. That’s the thing — why?”

Is San Jose Councilmember Pete Constant looking for a new wife? Constant recused himself from a discussion about benefits for second spouses saying, “potentially I could have another spouse as a retiree some time in the future, and this would affect me.” Nothing like planning for a second wife

Who watches out for the children? That’s the question being asked as proposals come from law firms and the District Attorney’s office to represent children in court. Why is this an issue? Because the Merc did a series this year which questioned the viability of the DA’s office to adequately represent children. Chief Assistant DA Marc Bueller says the DA’s office is doing a fine job representing children, “We will continue to have the same commitment to quality representation, with experienced lawyers who have expertise in the area of dependency.”

The Cupertino Union and Montebello School Districts will consider merging or shifting territory at this weeks meeting. And now that Pearl Cheng is moving on, Cupertino will also need to discuss how to fill her vacancy. With any luck Pearl won’t advocate a plot to replace herself with a failed candidate a la George Shirakawa/Eddie Garcia

Sunnyvale’s City Council will hear a year end financial report, maybe Otto Lee will be happy to be leaving for Iraq at the end of Tuesdays meeting. Sunnyvale will also work out how to replace Lee while he’s gone.

The tumultuous meetings in Alum Rock will continue as they review the decision for a generous parting gift for Superintendent Norma Martinez along with replacing legal counsel.

Yes, Virginia, that is snow you see at Mt. Hamilton. Lick Observatory guide Wendy Hansen said the weather was unusual this early in the winter season. While no one expects it to stay long there are places you can go to play.

Cancel that party! Around the valley corporations are stepping up to help the many non-profits struggling to support area residents. Three Cheers to T.J. Rodgers (Cypress Semiconductor), Michael Hsing (Monolithic Power Systems), Paul Maritz (VMWare), Hank Nothaft (Tessera Technologies), Steve Specker (Electric Power Research), and their boards for redirecting the money for parties to Second Harvest Food Bank. Dr. Zbigniew Radzimski (Silicon Quest International) is hoping the San Jose Family Shelter will find a better use for their party money. Sacred Heart’s Executive Director Poncho Guevara says the new phenomena is an indication companies are trying to find new ways to get their employees involved.

The economic crisis has created a rush to local libraries. San Jose Library Director Jane Light says ,“the library is a natural place to go,” as people live more frugal lives. There is a fear that as the crisis deepens funding to libraries will be among the first to go. This must make Larry Pegram nervous — you know how dangerous libraries can be…

San Jose may not be the safest place in California but it among the most diverse. In fact, San Jose ranks fourth for both diversity and safety. Ironically, it is diversity and safety are the center of the San Jose drunk arrest controversy…

The Metro’s “The Fly” was out late Saturday night to observe the traditional SJPD party zone shutdown. The Fly reports on San Jose Inside that club patrons paused to vomit on area businesses prior to driving off in their cars, SJPD officers arrested others, and a Metro photographer was cited for iPhotojournalism. Like The Fly says – there are a few bad apples on both sides of this ongoing problem.

The fraud lawsuit against Dan Pulcrano was dismissed when the case was settled out of court, much to the chagrin of San Jose Revealed writers

What has been a bright spot on the San Jose sports scene — the San Jose SaberCats may not be playing this season…owners voted to cancel the season for financial reasons. While the positive spin come from the owners sounds good — the USFL thought it would be back too…

Morning News Round-Up – 12.12.08: Drunk San Jose…continued…with a twist

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Although ‘The Lioness’ has left the Chambers on Hedding her presence will still be felt. Supervisor Blanca Alvarado’s career had dramatic ups and downs, she’ll take some time off and return to San Jose to continue her work. Alvarado was San Jose’s first Latina Councilmember and the County’s first Latina Supervisor, appointed when Congresswoman (former Supervisor) Zoe Lofgren left for D.C. (after Lofgren beat-up on this guy.)

Whether the booze is to dull the pain of the economic crisis or to celebrate the holidays – watch out. Without any drunk tanks it could cost you as much as $8,000 in addition to the night in jail if you get pulled over for a DUI. A drunk tank might have prevented the death of a Sunnyvale man this week. A drunk driver driving North in the Southbound lanes of 280 killed one man and injured another.

But not everyone gets arrested for being drunk in San Jose. District Attorney Dolores Carr is expected to ask a secret grand jury to investigate a possible cover-up by two San Jose police officers for driving drunk. (Ironic, given the zero-tolerance policy usually in place.) Earlier this year District Attorney investigator (and former San Jose police officer) Sandra Woodall smashed her Cadillac Escalade into two cars injuring a teenager. Officers then (reportedly) helped her answer questions and delayed a blood alcohol test long enough to render any results inaccurate.

Angry parents, students, and coaches yelled at East Side Union Superintendent Bob Nunez for his threat to take away sports in an attempt to balance the budget. The San Jose Earthquakes (Lew Wolff) and Oakland A’s (Lew Wolff) have stepped up with offers to help the District raise money for sports. Watch Dog gnaws on this bone, come June when the final decision is made how likely is it sports remain while teachers, administrators, and staff disappear? What do you think, should East Side toss sports?

Without athletics to unload, the City of Morgan Hill is laying off as many as 13 employees in an effort to cut $2.1 million from its budget. At a community meeting, attendees offered ideas ranging from a 10% pay cut for management (savings: $40,000) to shutting off street lights (savings: $150,000). Councilmember Greg Sellers expressed concern that the budget cuts made now might be a prelude to a more painful situation if the state again takes/cuts City funds.

The Merc. makes a case to the Alum Rock Board of Trustees to put aside rancor and move forward – put the children, not the personalities, first. That truly would be a first in that school District…

Monte Sereno has selected Curtis Wright as its new (rotating) Mayor and Don Perry as Vice Mayor.

It was a mix of celebration and nostalgia as Campbell said farewell to Mayor Don Burr who has spent 50 years supporting his community in various roles and welcomed new (recycled and rotating) Mayor Jane Kennedy and Vice Mayor Evan Low. While Kennedy celebrated her fourth Mayoral appointment, newcomers Mike Kotowski and Jason Baker were sworn in to their Council seats in front of friends and family.

New VTA Board Chair Dolly Sandoval has asked her colleagues to stop bickering and get behind implementation of BART saying, “If we are going to max federal stimulus dollars or our own local dollars, we’ve got to make sure we are singing from the same hymn book.” Amen sister…Outgoing VTA Chair Liz Kniss reportedly told a packed room of Measure B supporters she didn’t expect to see BART in her lifetime. Looking surprised, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino voiced an expectation of the first trains rolling through in 2017. Perhaps 2017 if we all sing from Dolly’s hymnal…

Morning News Round-Up – 12.10.08: 20 years, 18 months, 5 hours…

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

20 years of waiting + 18 months of study + 5 hours of debate = a major push forward toward more affordable housing in San Jose…not to mention a win San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo. Inclusionary zoning comes to San Jose, beyond Redevelopment areas, that is. Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Shiloh Ballard told the City Council that employers have listed a lack of affordable housing as a serious problem in recruitment. Tax Assessor Larry Stone helped to bring inclusionary zoning to Sunnyvale and says, “It works and it’s been working for years.” The Ballard/Stone attack put the issue over the edge…that and 9 votes…

The “Peralta Action Plan” a.k.a. McEnery’s Plan sailed through the San Jose City Council on Tuesday with Councilmembers trying to separate the business decision from concerns over (alleged) violations of the City’s Sunshine guidelines. Outgoing (soon to be Supervisor) Vice Mayor Dave Cortese says of the McEnery family, “As business people, they have been good neighbors and friends for three generations. We owe them enough trust on this deal to keep it moving forward.” Mayor Reed, feeling a little snippy at the criticism, complained other downtown projects have not received the scrutiny of San Jose’s “Pike Place Market.” The Merc’s Scott Herhold summed it up best saying that while aspects of the “Peralta Action Plan” were about business, in the end it was all about Tom McEnery and the decision was personal.

Meanwhile on San Jose Inside Tom McEnery says the decline in San Jose’s safety rating means little and the objective is to build the city – an oblique reference to his success?

The County Board of Supervisors wants to join the Campos/Reed Drunk Task Force to study the San Jose problem. Lioness (Supervisor) Blanca Alvarado roared at San Jose Police for, “attempting to regain its status as the safest city at the expense of our people. If the police department is arresting people without proof of inebriation — if for no other reason than justice — we ought to stand up.” Will Shirakawa be able to fill Alvarado’s shoes…not literally, of course.

Assemblymember Paul “see the light” Fong’s seat on the Foothill-De Anza Community College Board has been given to Pearl Cheng, President of the Cupertino School board. Cheng needs to update her website as she’s now got “More Pearl News.”

Mission City Lantern opened with “This is a cranky blog, no question…” Rowen then launched salvos at one of his favorite targets, Santa Clara Councilmember Jamie McLeod. Thanks to Santa Clara’s efficiency you can judge for yourself here, the discussion begins about 4 minutes in. Councilmember Dominic Caserta recused himself and stepped off the dais, if Santa Clara retained old videos or keep specific votes this wouldn’t have been an issue in the first place. On the upside, Rowen gave a nod to Watch Dog yesterday calling the Dog’s writing crisp.

San Jose State Journalism professors Michael Cheers and Bob Rucker hope to lead a team of multi-media savvy students on the road trip of a lifetime. They plan to explore the historic locations of the civil rights movement on their way to be part of the Obama inauguration. They need your help to make it so, contact Amy Freitag at (408) 924-3241.

Sal Pizzaro reports Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a little Oprah magic going on when he handed the keys to the 100th roadster to Oprah’s election night “shoulder to cry on” Sam Perry. Perry had been on the list for years but his recent publicity is likely the reason his car showed up.

Judge Steve Sanders dismissed DUI charges for Hollister police sergeant James Egan when it was revealed Egan had called the accident in himself and was at a hospital with a medication filled drip line in his arm. Defense attorney Greg LaForge called the attempt to figure out the blood alcohol level at the time of the accident “Voodoo science.”

Threats from a highly invasive mussel has local water officials ordering boat inspections. The quagga has shut down fishing lakes, wreaked havoc on water supplies, and caused millions of dollars of harm throughout the state. Water District Director Rosemary Kamei says of the inspections, “This is something we’re going to have to live with a very long time.” Not a boating friend, District Director Joe Judge would like to see a complete boat ban. Before you ban that boat, Watch Dog suggests a call to Brenna Callero for her “Quagga Goo.”

Morning News Round-Up – 12.08.08

Monday, December 8th, 2008

San Jose is in a budgetary bind. No question about that. So with that in mind, they are about to answer some pressing questions:

Tomorrow’s San Jose City Council meeting will answer some of these questions…

Across town on Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors will ponder the decision they made in 2003 to close the sobering station a.k.a. Drunk Tank. Following Mayor Chuck Reed/Nora Campos’s lead, maybe they’ll form a task force. Watch Dog predicts more finger pointing and less action.

Soon-to-be termed out Supervisor Don Gage was a no-show at the annual Los Gatos parade this weekend. With 2 more years to serve as a Supervisor it seems a tad early to call him a lame duck. None of the replacement hopefuls bothered to show up at the parade either.

Cupertino’s School Board will consider placing a parcel tax on the June ballot tonight.

‘Boots’ Del Biaggio’s (see These Boots were Made for Prison) victims will give the U.S. Attorney’s their perspective today in San Francisco. Former U.S. Attorney Charles Stevens said the sentencing for the $100 million in fraud takes sentencing “off the charts.” Stevens said it was more likely ‘Boots’ would serve a little over 10 years. The Merc set up a page dedicated to the ‘Boots’ saga for you to follow.

San Jose, after having been the safest big city for 6 years, has dropped now to 4th place. Bobby Lopez, President of the San Jose Police Officers Association, says there was only enough manpower to investigate 13% of the robberies which took place. (Perhaps the Chief put attention here as opposed to robbery investigation.) Mayor Reed says he is committed to getting back to number one because, “We like the bragging rights of being one of the safest big cities.” And here Watch Dog thought it was all about safety not bragging…How safe do you feel in San Jose? The Merc wants to know.

The Alum Rock Neighborhood Coalition meets tonight to discuss the Norma Martinez bailout package from the Alum Rock School District, whereby she will leave her position and get paid a handsome sum. New Trustees Esau Herrera and Dolores Marquez have joined with Trustee Gustavo Gonzalez to call for a review of the $300,000 severance package this week. In an ironic twist, the three Trustees who want the review are in violation of California open meeting rules. Trustee Herrera, an attorney, noted that if rules were not followed on the original bail out, then those actions would be voided –- of course, he meant the other Trustees who might have violated open meeting laws.

After bouncing Councilmember Nora Campos from the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, Mayor Chuck Reed has put his on-again, off-again challenger/Vice Mayor Possibility back.

The Merc’s Internal Affairs continues the Sam Liccardo for Mayor chant after reviewing Mayor Reed’s new committee assignments. (No mention of Pete Constant, which must make him angry…) Meanwhile, Los Angeles political blog PolitickerCA.com is floating Liccardo’s name as a possibility for the rumored maybe-soon-to-be-vacant Congressional seat held by Mike Honda. Liccardo is in good company as PolitickerCA also lists Mayor Reed, State Senator Joe Simitian, Sally Lieber, and former Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez. Most would need to move into Honda’s District. A real question though, Chuck Reed as a Democratic nominee for Congress? Watch Dog doubts it…especially after his Guiliani-loving Presidential no show.

San Jose’s Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio wonders if his colleagues are playing ostrich and ignoring his ideas for fixing the budget deficit.

San Jose Revealed toots it’s horn as source to breaking stories (but don’t talk about the conflicts of interest with Shirakawa’s staff picks) while wondering how the Merc. will manage to outsource local news reporting to India. Did Molina move to start running the Indian bureau of the Merc?

In Morgan Hill 14 city employees will likely lose their jobs -– City Manager Ed Tewes says the new Morgan Hill organization, “is going to be smaller, but an excellent one.”

Trees at Live Oak High School disappeared over Thanksgiving weekend –- District officials know the trees were diseased and in the way of the schools solar project -– but they don’t know how many disappeared. District spokesman Dan Ehrler said all removed trees will be replaced either with rosebushes or healthy trees. It makes the school’s name ironic…no?

Perhaps Gilroy could use Chuck Reed’s Gang Prevention Task Force –- with more than 750 gang members and 1,300 parolees in this small town Police Chief Denise Turner says, “I think it’s important to unite, as gang members unite, and for a strong front against crime. We really do want to prevent violence in our community.”

Add to the gang issue, Gilroy’s financial profile has weakened, the housing market looks bleak, development is off, foreclosures are high –- no surprise that their bond rating has been downgraded from A+ to A.

The Los Gatos Observer reports newcomer to the Los Gatos City Council, Steve Rice, came in 6 votes ahead of incumbent Barbara Spector. (Barbara Spector, let’s re-elect her…) Both are to be sworn in at tonight’s special meeting.