Friday, May 22, 2009

Morning News Round-Up – 5.22.09: There's a new Sheriff in town?

Swine Flu alert, swine flu alert! Santa Clara County health officials reported 14 more people have the porcine peril. Before you panic, health officials want you to remember that, while new and scary, the swine flu is less dangerous than the annual fall flu.

The first San Jose union to heed Mayor Chuck Reed’s call for a wage freeze was the Association of Building, Mechanical and Electrical Inspectors. Building Inspectors union president Tom Brim said it was easy “if you care about the people you work with, you’ve got to step up.” Reed, hoping the other unions care, announced he’d spare libraries, community centers, fire stations and park rangers in the face of a $78 million shortfall and the State’s threats .

San Jose Fire Captain/pension trustee/(former) union VP Mark Skeen will be joining the ever growing ranks of the pink slip proud. Skeen is pissed, city manager Debra Figone isn’t talking and San Jose’s controversy ridden pension fund stays in the news.

San Jose Inside’s Fly reports San Jose Councilmember Pete Constant has a hankering to be Sheriff. Constant isn’t ready to make up his mind, saying “I have about two years before I have to make a decision,” on whether to run for Sheriff, Mayor, assembly or dogcatcher in 2010. Assuming Constant decides to stick with his council gig (and wins) he’ll have plenty of time to campaign as a (part-time) councilmember.

Sometimes you do your homework, sometimes you cross your fingers and pray. City attorney Michael Martello told Mountain View’s city council missing paperwork prevented them from approving developer Wayne Aozasa’s senior housing project. Councilmember Jac Siegel said $700,000 was hardly affordable senior housing. Aozasa left wondering if there’s more to it than prayer…

Also in Mountain View, Councilmembers will use federal stimulus dollars to give energy saving tools to local homeowners.

Morgan Hill teachers settled a year long battle, Federation president Donna Ruebusch expressed relief with the union contract ratification. In the end, no teacher furloughs but less teacher training.

Morgan Hill teachers can use the breathing room, now the contract is settled it’s back to the books. Morgan Hill schools showed slight improvement in the annual (dreaded) Academic Performance Index tests. The Morgan Hill Charter School dropped the most, signaling big problems to fix. School Board president Don Moody said “there’s a lot of work ahead.”

Signaling a lack of faith in promises from the Mexican American Service Agency, Gilroy Unified School District Trustees took the first step towards closing Gilroy’s only charter school, El Portal. Trustees pointed to embezzlement, possible illegalities and a lack of a balanced budget as reasons to close MACSA’s Gilroy school. Board president, Javier Aguirre, held up the school's charter saying “MACSA has not met those goals laid out in the charter."

Gilroy Councilmember Perry Woodward accused Gilroy’s labor lawyer Charles Sakai of misleading the city council on the complexities of binding arbitration, he wants a do-over. Woodward will be asking his council colleagues to put binding arbitration on the ballot and let the voters decide…

San Jose Insider Stett Holbrook let his passion for beer shine with two Inside brew pub tips. Rumors are flowing that the Tied House could be leaving downtown San Jose, hot on the heels of the rumor Holbrook follows with confirmation – Tied House out, The Hermitage is in. Yup, former Tied House brewmaster Peter Licht is opening a Belgian brewery in San Jose’s SoFA district.

Speaking of altered minds....

Silicon Valley has a new home grown, family business and it’s all about the green, money and dope not energy savings... Commander Bob Nishiyama, with the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, said Josey Shun, Phat Nguyen and Randy Gip had a pot farm in Ukiah with HQ in San Jose and Santa Clara. The rumor Mayor’s Chuck Reed and Patricia Mahan will be cheering this small business is untrue.

The Environmental Protection Agency agency has given the initial go-ahead on the Navy’s plans for Moffett’s toxic Hangar One. The EPA asked the Navy to work up a “comprehensive work plan” including prevention of toxic spread. Lenny Siegel, member of the Moffett Field Restoration Advisory board, said there’s agreement on skeletal cover-up, and “no one wants to pay for it.”

Proving it's not all about knocking heads, by day he’s a tough San Jose police officer, by night he (sometimes) grooves the brass funk with Tower of Power or Journey. Robert Payne dreams of the day when he can ditch the gun for a full time trumpet, Mic Gillette, a Tower original, said of Payne, “he delivers, man.”

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