Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Morning News Round-Up --- 12.17.08: Sports teams leaving, coming, and (hopefully) building downtown...

If using the Taser stops being cool, will police departments go back to bullets? This summer, after the dismissal of 70 lawsuits, TASER International was found partly responsible in the death of Robert C. Heston. (Apparently not related to this gun-loving Heston.) Yesterday, the City of San Jose agreed to pay $70,000 to the wife and child Jose Angel Rios – the City’s first Taser-death-related settlement. San Jose officials face the dismal prospect of two more lawsuits for Taser-related deaths.

After nearly three decades as a public servant, Supervisor Blanca Alvarado attended one last heated meeting as the Supervisors decided to renovate, not expand, the William F. James Boys Ranch. Supervisor Don Gage fought to expand the ranch saying, "We need to go for the 108 beds — this society is getting more violent." (Not everywhere Supervisor Gage, mostly just in your neck of the woods...)

At the same County Supervisors' meeting, and in a presumably much less contentious discussion, Supervisors decided to continue inspecting boats for the invasive quagga mussel.

Crackberry users might need a ranch of their own soon. Mr. Roadshow reminds us that texting while driving joins playing an accordion while driving as a jail-ready offense beginning January 1, 2009. Put the Crackberry and accordions down while driving people...

In spite of a request from San Jose’s outgoing Vice Mayor (Supervisor-elect) Dave Cortese and patients, Good Samaritan Hospital is closing a medical rehab program for cardiac patients. San Jose businessman Tim Bumb says it’s a mistake to close, because he has been using the facility since his quadruple bypass last year. Between Bay 101 and the San Jose Flea Market, Bumb can probably afford a treadmill if not an entire spa.

An excited Lana Malloy took office Tuesday as a Monte Sereno’s Councilmember. A fan of protecting hillsides, Malloy said serving on the Towns Site and Architectural Committee was a must before election to council and reported working on pressing issues such as correct story poles. (story poles?) Malloy fears a proposal from Russ Stanely to convert the La Hacienda Inn into a multi-story senior housing complex saying, "My fear is if [Stanley] gets his way with multi-family housing, it puts the city in jeopardy." After all, who wants those pesky seniors living nearby.

While some cities still can’t manage to get their council meetings on television (Attention Watch Dog San Mateo -- your cities of Atherton and East Palo Alto can't seem to get this right...) Morgan Hill has taken the fireside chat to a new level. As if the world was clamoring for it, now you can get your fix of City Manager Ed Tewes via podcast. Most recently Tewes chatted with Councilmember Marby Lee about the economic struggles faced by Morgan Hill.

As Sunnyvale’s Sailor/Councilmember Otto Lee leaves for Iraq the City Council voted to appoint former Councilmember Dean Chu to keep Lee’s seat warm until his return. Chu came closest (but still lost) in the November 2007 election. David Whittum (the highest vote-getter) and Chris Moylan voted against the proposal. (In an unrelated note, for those of you interested in San Mateo politics...check out what happened yesterday in San Mateo County when a seat opened up -- our northern Watch Dog is an angry dog...)

The Merc's Sal Pizzaro reports Santa Clara University’s Father Paul Locatelli accepted a replica of the St. John’s Bible worth nearly $100,000 from university benefactor Tita Crilly Diepenbrock. If you’re able to repeat the name of the Bible’s home three times “Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, and Orradre Library” you can visit, and touch the beautiful reproduction.

Opera lovers are a passionate bunch but they don’t normally pay in blood. Opera San Jose’s General Director Irene Dalis is giving opera lovers the opportunity to win tickets to the opening night of Cosi fan Tutti with a donation to the Red Cross. An offer even Dracula would love.

Saratogans will soon be able to get their tea fix locally, Maria Tran’s Teas the Season received approval from the Saratoga Planning Commission – along with a request that the restaurant stay open past 4 p.m. daily and have outdoor seating.

Cupertino is filling a position for Environmental Coordinator in spite of a heated debate on the Council. Councilmember Dolly Sandoval was determined to keep the position funded saying, “I am hoping that we're not going to backtrack on that decision by being penny-wise and pound-foolish. This position is going to pay for itself over and over again." Colleague Gilbert Wong worried the State might (might?) take more money from local jurisdictions – seeking to ease concerns City Manager David Knapp said Cupertino is “…very careful with our pennies. We have an organization that knows how to react in hard times." Famous last words...

The Merc Editorial team cheers the idea of a A’s ballpark in downtown San Jose. Lew Wolff is encouraged to look for private funding ala SBC/Pac Bell/AT&T park. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball hates that idea, but Scott Knies probably loves it...

Music makes the news in Saratoga – the drum major along with the rest of the marching band of Redwood Middle School head to D.C. for an appearance in the Obama inaugural parade. The kids need your help getting there – sending 115 kids will cost $200,000. The Merc’s Patty Fisher asks you send your check for the Saratoga Music Boosters to Redwood Middle School at 13925 Fruitvale Ave Saratoga, CA 95070.

Vova and Jenny Ekhilevsky lost their 4 year old daughter to a mysterious illness and want to know why. Originally thought to be meningitis, the child’s death had parents in Los Gatos and the Santa Cruz mountains terrified. Now, the Coroner’s office has no idea why this otherwise healthy child died.

Apparently seeking to outdo Supervisor-elect George Shirakawa, Jr. for expensive taste, Morton's Steakhouse in downtown San Jose saw the New England Patriots chow down following their victory of the Oakland Raiders. San Jose Inside’s The Fly says that while the steaks are expensive at Morton’s it was the champagne and cognac that helped the bill tip the scales at $30,000.

Also hanging out in San Jose restaurants, Sal Pizzaro attended a farewell party for San Jose’s (fired) Independent Police Auditor Barbara Attard at Smoke Tiki Lounge. The party included De-Bug’s Raj Jayadev, former IPA now Superior Court Judge Teresa Guerrero-Daley along with a host of Councilmembers. Attard promises to continue consulting on police-oversight issues saying, "I'll still be a thorn in the sides of those who need that, and a beacon of light to others.”

San Jose Inside's Tom McEnery chides The Fly for referring to the boys in blue as “rogues” preferring instead to lay that moniker at the feet of federal judges considering the release of 52,000 inmates due to overcrowded prisons. McEnery worries that poor neighborhoods may see an influx of ex-cons.

The death of the SaberCats leads San Jose Revealed to a long diatribe about the various sporting maneuvers underway in San Jose.

Can it really be MacWorld without Apple? Yep, Steve Jobs has yanked Apple and himself from MacWorld after next months event. Rumors abound that Jobs’ health is the real reason for the disappearance from MacWorld...and the tumble in the stock price...

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