Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Morning News Round-Up – 12.31.08: It's a wrap, were you there?

The end of the year is a good time to check out how well our elected officials are serving us, or whether they show up. For some of them showing up means getting paid, for the rest of us showing up, well, it’s why we elected them. Let’s get the ball rolling for a number of elected officials. Watch Dog wants to know, how do your elected officials stack up?
  • County Supervisors were around 92% of the time with Supervisor Ken Yeager turning in the worst attendance having missed 3 meetings

  • VTA boardmember (San Jose councilmember) Forest Williams had perfect attendance while Santa Clara councilmember Dominic Caserta had the worst record (for those not out on maternity leave) missing 4 meetings

  • Water District directors managed 95% attendance, Director Joe Judge missing 5 meetings

  • Morgan Hill council managed a 95% attendance record with 36 opportunities to meet, Councilman Mark Grzan missed 5 times

  • Gilroy city council has an overall attendance record of 95%, Dion Bracco and Cat Tucker missed two meetings each

  • Gilroy school trustees also has an overall 95% attendance record, Trustees Jaime Rosso and Javier Aguirre missed two meetings each

  • Morgan Hill school trustees managed only 88% with trustees Bart Fisher, Shelle Thomas and newly elected board president Don Moody each missing 4 of 22 meetings

San Jose PD is in the news again today, if it’s true that any press is good press then Chief Rob Davis is a happy guy. Watch Dog bets Davis isn’t buying, after all it was press letting us know SJPD officers do let friends drive drunk.

First, the ugly, Officer Julio Morales was arrested on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment after touching a woman and driving her around. The former SWAT team member is on leave and SJPD wants hear from you, call (408) 277-4102 with information.

On to the good news, San Jose gangs killed two fewer this year with gang violence dropping by 16%. Mayor Chuck Reed and his off, and on Gang Prevention Task Force buddy Councilmember Nora Campos are bound to be happy with the news. The cost for this decrease is a little over $5 million, no word as to what might be the cost of ignoring the problem. In Los Angeles, with nearly 200% more murders, cost of gang violence is $2 Billion annually.

Sunnyvale Police are in the spotlight as well. In 2007 Jose Francisco Canas was killed after officers rammed his car and shot him while his wife and children watched. Sunnyvale PD said Canas was involved in a gang murder, his family said he was on the way to work. The family filed a lawsuit earlier this year in Santa Clara courts withdrawing it when Sunnyvale complained it was vague. This week the family refilled in federal courts with Greg Fox, attorney for Sunnyvale, saying "They argue that he was not involved in gang activity — we respectfully disagree."

The Merc Editorial Board weighs in on San Jose’s employee pension board fiasco, Watch Dog readers know it was revealed this week the pension fund suffered a $1 Billion loss this year. Mayor Chuck Reed is reportedly going to ask to replace the council representatives with financial advisors. San Diego (the only other city with councilmembers on their pension board) had it’s pension so badly bungled both the city manager and mayor resigned. And... c’mon back, more Watch Dog news to follow…

The Metro’s Fly gets their year end review posted early, and twice. Among the Watch Dog faves drunk Latino disaster, Little Saigon, Forest Williams musical, disappearing sunshine, and of course, Pete Constant at the painful end of a whip. Watch Dog note to Fly: the News does get worse – there were 82 homeless who died last year – 55 died on the street.

Watch Dog tipsters, let’s be careful out there … Watch Dog loves getting the buzz and doesn’t want to hear you got a texting ticket – as of tomorrow, no texting while driving. Thank you Senator Joe Simitian for getting those other drivers to stop the swerving. The Merc’s Bruce Newman wants to know – do you want to continue driving while under the influence of text?

Don’t look to your city for help during the holidays. The Merc reported last night that Saratoga would be closed until January 4, re-opening Monday January 5. The Saratoga website reports they actually closed December 23rd. Curious, the Dog snooped to discover extended closings include Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, San Jose, and Sunnyvale.

In a bit of year end cheer, not like the dog-beating, kitty-stomping stories reported by Watch Dog San Mateo.
Watch Dog salutes the efforts of a unknown pooch who, earlier this year, attempted to rescue a dog from freeway traffic. Watch Dog learned about the doggie hero from the Merc’s Linda Goldston who closes the year on a high note.

No comments: