Monday, March 9, 2009

Morning News Round-Up -- 3.9.09: Pink Slip Week...

This Morning News Round-Up delay is brought to you by Daylight Savings Time...

Watch Dog has said it before: things just keep getting worse for San Jose’s Police Department. Turns out PD kept disagreements over fingerprint identifications to themselves. Michael Kresser, Director of the Sixth District Appellate Program was dismayed the law enforcement agency blithely broke the law. Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney David Angel got little support from his own office and encountered resistance from SJPD when he tried to correct the problem.

Mountain View Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga wonders what the City’s rainy day fund is for if not to address the immediate fiscal crisis. Finance Director Patty Kong confirms the City has $37 million set aside that could be used for a budget emergencies, but warns that without budget cuts Mountain View could face a $20 million shortfall in ten years. (On an unrelated note, Mayor Abe-Koga is a sought-after endorsement, apparently. A candidate for San Mateo City Council received her thumbs up recently as reported on Watch Dog San Mateo.)

Like everyone else, the City of San Jose is facing dire times and let go 28 from their Planning Department – except, they didn’t really. All but two landed other jobs within the City. Neighborhood activist/accountant/resident-grinch Ed Rast wonders how the faux layoffs saved the City money.

San Jose’s Redevelopment Agency’s Kip Harkness has been quietly negotiating to bring an urgent care facility downtown after the Hospital Corporation of American (HCA) closed the San Jose Medical Center. The grim economy seems to have a silver lining in that the land is now affordable enough for the Gardner Health Clinic to take over. It’s certainly not a done deal but, San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo believes they are close.

The Department of Alcohol and Drug Services (DADS) is struggling to resolve a $230 million shortfall. DADS Director Bob Garner doesn’t want to end services, saying the County either pays a little through DADS or a lot with more folks heading to jail, child welfare, and hospitals.

Throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, the FBI raided homes early Sunday morning arresting 42 gangmembers calling themselves “The Taliban.” The Fed’s, working with local police, picked up enough weapons, drugs, and money to fuel a small country. Officials acknowledged that while these bad guys are going away it could make room for others to move in, they vow to remain vigilant.

East Side’s Superintendent Bob Nunez moved Tuesday’s meeting to the gym at Independence High in anticipation of a large (angry) crowd of parents and students. Maybe after they hear he won’t be shutting down swimming – at least for now – they’ll ease up. Board President Patricia Martinez-Roach thinks pool maintenance is unreasonable but is hoping a fundraising committee can raise $1 million with a 5k run/2k walk. Good luck with that.

Supervisor George Shirakawa, Jr.’s cozy lobbying of officials from the Raiders and Niners is pissing off County Assessor Larry Stone. The Assessor has been having his own meetings and stands by Santa Clara as the ideal location for. Shirakawa staffer Andrea Flores-Shelton dismisses the irritation saying Grand Poobah supports Stone’s plan but says the fairgrounds are “an ideal backup plan.”

The Merc’s Editorial Board takes time to remind San Jose Councilmembers that it’s more helpful to work together if they really want the A’s to move on down. After the Fremont meltdown, Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilmember Sam Liccardo expressed interest in meeting with A’s/Earthquakes owner Lew Wolff. Councilmember Nora Campos, excited about the possibility of being in the Major Leagues, shot off proposals for meetings, a poll, and having staff start negotiations with the League over territories. Wolff, no doubt flattered by the San Jose giddiness, reminded everyone that negotiating with the MLB Commissioner was his job, not their's...

Palo Alto businesses are the only ones in Santa Clara County that don’t pay a business tax, but that could end if the City Council (and voters) agree. Councilmember Larry Klein says he sees two sides of the argument – thus proving politicians can successfully be indecisive making no one happy. The economic crisis is driving City staff to make the proposal, City Manager Jim Keene points out the ballot measure wouldn’t show up until November. Apparently Mr. Keene believes the economic crisis will be long gone by then...

Four years of construction delays and a possible $15 million cost overrun but the County’s new Morgan Hill courthouse will open next month. Supervisor Don Gage looks forward to having the new facility online to handle everything from traffic to criminal cases.

The Gilroy math teacher, Alberto Gomez Vicuna, Jr., who raped a 14 year old girl was in court Friday. Vicuna met the girl, and 100 others, while posing as a 15 year old boy on an online social networking site, If you have additional information on this case, you can call Detective Kendra Nunes or Detective Sgt. Randy Schriefer of the San Jose Police Department's Child Exploitation Detail at 408/277-4102.

Mountain View’s Alvaro Urbina is getting props from McDonald’s and the Merc’s Patty Fisher. Urbina is giddy after being named as one of McDonald’s top 1% of restaurant managers. Urbina arrived in East Palo Alto as a 13 year old who spoke no English and joined a gang. He took a job sweeping the floor at McDonald’s, and, as they say, the rest is history. Congratulations, Alvaro Urbina. Oh, Watch Dog note, McDonald’s is one of the few whose stock prices are rising. I guess Wall Street must read Patty Fisher...

Silicon Valley’s Raging Grannies made it to the big screen. Mountain View documentary filmmaker/director/producer Pam Walton followed the Grannies to create ‘Raging Grannies: The Action League.’

A quick review of what's on tap for our elected officials this week:
  • Tonight San Jose’s Envision San Jose 2040 Task Force will discuss scenarios for future job and housing growth...
  • On Tuesday, San Jose’s City Council will talk sidewalk cafés: make them permanent or let them disappear. Also on tap, raising the hotel occupancy tax...
  • San Jose’s Elections Commission will weigh next steps in the pending complaint filed against the San José Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce's Political Action Committee over mailers in the 2006 mayor's race and discuss a request from former Mayor/lobbyist Tom McEnery, to reconsider procedures for the filing of anonymous complaints. I guess if you don't like the rules, try to change them...If you don't like the rules, try to change them...
  • East Side Union High School Trustees will consider eliminating about 120 teaching and support-staff jobs, as well as a proposal to fund and continue after-school athletics...and
  • The Mountain View-Los Altos High School Board will consider issuing preliminary layoff notices for 2009-10...and
  • The Los Gatos Union School Board will consider reducing 7.4 full-time-equivalent positions...and
  • The ever exciting Alum Rock School board will consider issuing preliminary layoff notices to administrators and support staff...and
  • On Thursday the Campbell Union board will consider a contract with the union representing support staff...and
  • Santa Clara Unified School District Trustees will consider approving a lease for Curtis Middle School, cutting adult ed staff, and a possible May parcel tax...and
  • Speaking of pink slips and layoffs at schools, check this out...

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