Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Morning News Round-Up -- 4.7.09: Today's Round-Up...whether you like it or not...

San Jose has sports on the brain these days. Earthquakes/A’s owner Lew Wolff will get to take advantage of the cratering economy for the Earthquakes stadium land. San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo said, “...prices have come back to earth...” about the proposal to discount a smaller parcel of land for the proposed Earthquakes stadium. Council colleague Nora Campos was also supportive saying jobs would be created and an ongoing revenue stream created with the arrival of the Earthquakes.

San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo screwed up. In an email to constituents Liccardo said he wants to use “an abundance of caution” in moving forward. Apparently, Liccardo is the most newsworthy item in San Jose, the Merc can’t seem to get enough (re-writes) of this story. Watch Dog is about to point to something more newsworthy that the paper can focus on...here is a hint: It rhymes with Harry Seagram...

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, with community leaders, expressed concern over the data coming out of the San Jose Police Department. Rev. Jeff Moore, head of the NAACP said, “Chief Davis encourages strict enforcement with no apologies.” After other law enforcement experts suggested the data shows racial profiling and an overly aggressive policy towards minor street crimes, former Police Officer and Councilmember Pete Constant denied there was any problem saying the public expects a “standard of conduct.” (Watch Dog is sure that Police Officers wish Constant would have stood up for them when their contract was on the table...better late than never...) Drunk Task Force Member Pete Carrillo becomes the first (as far as Watch Dog can tell) to call for Davis' head...

San Jose Revealed asks if the Police Chief runs an (allegedly) overaggressive Police Department because of his religious beliefs. We'll let Revealed take the heat for even asking the question, and keep our snout shut.

The Merc’s Editorial Board says charter schools are coming “whether you like it or not.” (Newsom much?) They say that the best way for school districts to deal with it is accept the competition and step up their own efforts to educate children.

Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone sees a decline in property tax rolls – for only the second time since the Great Depression. The County, already struggling to make ends meet, will see lower revenues as a result by nearly $30 million. Supervisor Don Gage pulled out his crystal ball and said next year will be even worse. San Jose Insider/Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio calls on residents to pray “for the stock market to rise not just for your own 401k but for your City services.”

San Jose’s “villages” could see high-rises popping up in coming years. Planning Director Joe Horwedel said projects like the Ohlone planned for Midtown would ease San Jose’s anticipated growth spurt. Resident Dan Chapman worried that the tall buildings could create a mini-downtown.

The Morgan Hill Unified School District is seeing a growing rift between unions and administrators. The District proposed a one-day furlough, saying it could save over a quarter of a million dollars and could ask for another two furlough days. SEIU President Pam Torrisi wants reassurance that the furloughs will save jobs and that administrators are going to suffer as much as the custodians. Trust much?

Tempers flared in the usually mellow Palo Alto City Council chambers yesterday. Vice Mayor Jack Morton accused the Fire Department of "giving the City the finger" because it was refusing to figure out where to cut its own budget. This caused people to go ballistic, including Councilmember Larry Klein, who wants to keep Palo Alto mellow. Klein called Morton's choice words, "unprofessional and intemperate"...the gloves are coming off as the economic reality sets in.

Gilroy Unified School District Trustees want their money back. The District suffered a foul up when Measure J taxes were left off property owners tax bills but the District voted to tax residents at a higher rate for the last two years of the measure. Trustees had hoped the County Supervisors would be the bad guys but the County dropped it back in their laps – absent a court order.

Los Gatos normally looks down its nose at the mainstream chain store, but this month they’ll be welcoming J. Crew downtown. But, when the President’s wife and daughters are wearing J Crew…it must be good enough for Los Gatos...

Mountain View’s City Council is trying to deal with a $6 million shortfall this year. City Manager Kevin Duggan said the challenges are “so significant” they need more time to figure out how to cut the budget. First up, cutting maintenance in public parks and fees to residents to use sports fields. Lower on the list cuts to Police and Fire, which make up half the general fund operating budget.

The public has spoken and now it’s up to High Speed Rail officials to sift through all the comments to figure out the word. Dominic Spaethling, High-Speed Rail Project Manager, looks forward to digging through the mountains of comments saying cities provided “a wealth of information for things we should be aware of.”

Cupertino officials have been responding to complaints by neighbors upset with construction at the Villa Serra apartments. Seems residents can’t park at home and driveways are in a mess. Councilmember Mark Santoro said to residents “for having the fortitude to live there, I applaud you. No matter how good a job they do, it’s going to be a bad environment.” Construction won’t be completed for two years, in the meantime, if you live there good luck.

Sunnyvale City Manager Gary Luebbers will be talking with Councilmembers tonight about making “appropriate changes in the City’s business model,” and believes the changes are needed to address the global financial meltdown.

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