Sunday, November 16, 2008

Morning News Round-Up -- 11/15/2008: The Election is Over?...not so fast...

The normal Watch Dog Saturday consists of coffee and a danish at a local coffee shop. This week Watch Dog found the weekend news interesting enough to set aside the danish.

Margaret Jenkins made phys ed a way of life, becoming the South Bay’s first Olympian in 1928 and a world record holder in the javelin. Jenkins was a woman far ahead of her time, quickly defending the javelin field from an opposing teams coach saying, "Get out of the way or I'll spear you to the ground." Wednesday Jenkins will be inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame

Devastating news that startup CEO Sid Agrawal, Brian Pugh, vice president of operations and the head of Human Resources, Marilyn Lewis were murdered late Friday afternoon at the Santa Clara offices of SiPort, the suspected shooter was arrested Saturday morning following an overnight manhunt.

Bay Area food banks are being hit by a unprecedented need as we approach Thanksgiving, the national holiday for gorging and lounging on the sofa with family and friends to watch football. Sacred Heart registered has more than 1,300 people needing help, more than half of whom registered after November 1st. Lynn Crocker, with Second Harvest Food Bank in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, said this year they will serve 176,000 families.

In a move to benefit to those hardest hit by the economic downturn, Applied Materials and co-sponsors Silicon Valley Leadership Group, City of San Jose, and the County of Santa Clara hope you get off the sofa on Thanksgiving for the Fourth Annual Turkey Trot. The annual pre-gorge sweat-a-thon benefits three local non-profits Second Harvest Food Bank, the Children’s Health Initiative, and the Housing Trust. Surely Carl Guardino hopes that the Measure B votes will finally be counted by then...

The one bright spot appears to be in downtown San Jose where the sale of highrise condominiums is on the upswing. Units at Cannery Square, The 88, Axis, and One East Julian sold more condos in 2008 than during the same 2007 period. John Weis, with San Jose’s Redevelopment Agency, said, "We remain cautiously optimistic that the products we have downtown are priced right and are the kind of products people are interested in buying." With penthouses at The 88 selling for $1.25 to $1.5 million Watch Dog is looking forward to meeting those people.

The continuing drama following passage of Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in case you just dropped in from the land of Oz, has become all too personal for local public officials. Campbell Councilman Evan Low recently reported he received pre-election crank calls threatening to recall him if he did not change his stance on Prop. 8. Low pointed out a few of the many important issues facing Californians saying, “In the end, how many people can afford health care? How many people have affordable housing? Let's work on the issues that we all care about." Even the normally quiet South Bay has seen half a dozen rallies since the election, on Saturday a peaceful crowd gathered at St. James Park in downtown San Jose.

Watch Dog is interested in knowing whether the Recall Low callers will band together with the folks in San Jose hoping to oust Councilwoman Madison Nguyen in a March 2009 recall election.

Santa Clara County Counsel Ann Ravel probably never thought being an attorney hidden deep inside county offices would make her such a target in the local letters to the editor. Rock on Ravel.

Like everyone else, Watch Dog thought the election was over the day after polls closed. Guess the laughs on us.

BART might just make the grade after all, the Mercury News reported Saturday that Measure B is closing on success. Measure B needs 66.67%, it now has 66.61% and appears to be closing with roughly 17,000 provisional ballots left to tally. The normally laid back Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino is no doubt anxiously watching the results on the Registrars website while biting his nails. Guardino told the Mercury News Friday, "I now have a sense of how Lazarus must have felt."

This got Watch Dog wondering…were there other races that were yet undecided? If Watch Dog missed a favorite race of yours, drop email to

With a little Watch Dog sleuthing, and a lot of help from Watch Dog insiders, here are some races to keep an eye on:

Gilroy Unified School District incumbent Jaime Rosso is battling to gain ground on newcomer Mark Good. Perhaps Rosso’s work on the President’s Council for CSU Monterey Bay took time from precinct walking? Oops, according to the CSUMB website, Mr. Rosso is not on the council, his SmartVoter page must have left off the qualifier “former.” As of Friday the gap had shrunk from 167 Good to just 7 Good.

Santa Clara Unified School District incumbent Don Bordenave is in danger of losing his seat to newcomer, Noelani Sallings. Election night saw Bordenave sailing to victory with an 836 vote lead, as of Friday night that had shrunk to 62 votes. Bordenave and Sallings were both endorsed by the Editorial Board of the Santa Clara Weekly.

In the foothills of East San Jose the race for Alum Rock Union School District is still going badly for Lalo Morales. On election night it appeared incumbent Morales was returning to the board with a lead of 456 votes over embattled Dolores Marquez. By Wednesday Marquez took the lead, as of November 14th, Marquez had increased her lead to 346 votes.

The Berryessa Union School District is more like a game of scrabble with the players simultaneously pushing letters around. Watch Dog will attempt to make sense of it, no promises though. On election night it was:

David J. Neighbors 21%
Rudy Nasol (incumbent) 21%
Richard Claspill 21%
Khoa Nguyen 21%
David S. Hernandez 17%

By Friday November 7th the letters were scrambled and the results were:

Richard Claspill 22%
David J. Neighbors 20%
Khoa Nguyen 20%
Rudy Nasol (incumbent) 20%
David S. Hernandez 18%

As of Friday November 14th the alphabet was again shuffled:

Richard Claspill 22%
Khoa Nguyen 20%
David J. Neighbors 20%
Rudy Nasol (incumbent) 19%
David S. Hernandez 18%

In Saratoga, Brian and Terry Moran have patiently waited for the completion of the Kevin Moran Park in Saratoga. Kevin lost his life at the end of the turbulent 60’s during the bank burning in Isla Vista – while trying to calm the anger and put out the fire. According to Saratoga Mayor Ann Waltsonsmith it was park design that delayed the opening nearly 4 decades. "During the long design stage, there has been much passion, and loud words and demands from all sides. Speaking for the City Council, we are very glad that cool-headed and rational people also stepped forward to keep the design discussion on track and going forward." said Waltsonsmith.

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