Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Morning News Round-Up -- 11.12.08: Police Battle Each Other...and Statistics

It’s good to be on San Jose’s retirement board. That is where retired Police Officer David Bacigalupi would like to be. However, there’s a kerfuffle between San Jose Councilmember Pete Constant (himself a former Police Officer and current trustee of the pension plan) and Bacigalupi whom retired officers and firefighters want on the board. An old squabble between the two has re-erupted. The Police Officers Association President Bobby Lopez believes Constant’s opposition to Bacigalupi is rooted in an old grudge. You see, Bacipalupi once voted against awarding Constant his disability claim when he was hurt as an Officer. Bacigalupi eventually supported Constant’s retirement request -- but only after first voting against it -- which seems very John Kerry-esque. Providing insight into the story, POA President Bobby Lopez adds the money quote about Pete Constant: “He has chosen his political stance over police officers...I don’t think the police officers are happy.” To be continued...

In other Police news -- Palo Alto and San Jose have something in common, the mysteries of statistics.

San Jose’s Police Chief Rob Davis was put in a tough spot to defend the Police Department's high rate of arresting Hispanics for public intoxication. The stats show that more than 57% of San Jose’s drunkenness arrests are of Hispanics while the Hispanic population of San Jose is 32%. Those damn statistics!

Now to Palo Alto. If you’re visiting Palo Alto and you’re black or Hispanic, you are much more likely to be pulled over for equipment or registration violations than if you are white or Asian. Police Chief Lynne Johnson blames a high volume of visitors for the out of whack numbers. (That's good Chief -- blame 'outsiders' for your problems.) If you’re African-American and driving in Palo Alto you have a 14% chance of being pulled over, even though the African-American population is roughly 2%. Those damn statistics!

Meanwhile in East San Jose, recent home buyers are facing homes that are “underwater” or values that are less than what is owed. Anne Ramstetter Wenzel, principal at economic research firm Econosystems in Menlo Park, reminded us it could get worse if the economy continues its downward spiral, if more homes land in foreclosure it hinders any recovery of housing prices.

A shooting cost an 18 year old his life yesterday in Gilroy. The shooting took place right next to Gilroy's City Hall. The victim had been out of prison for just a week and was apparently getting his life back together. It is the third murder in Gilroy this year -- leading to a lot of questions about public safety in South County.

Over at San Jose Revealed the battle with Metro’s Dan Pulcrano has taken a nasty turn with Revealed outlining the fraud lawsuit against Pulcrano along with Revealed's reasons for not being a Pulcrano fan. Interested parties, the lawsuit hits the courtroom Tuesday November 18, maybe Pulcrano will get it over with in time for Thanksgiving.

Former Mayor Tom McEnery chimes in on Measure B's narrow loss and talks about what may be ahead for BART to San Jose. He also is clear about who he thinks are the losers with Measure B -- Mayor Chuck Reed, Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo.

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