Friday, May 8, 2009

Morning News Round-Up – 5.8.09:

San Jose’s Drunk Task Force, with only 3 remaining community members, ended with a whimper Thursday night. Police Chief Rob Davis said his officers, accused of arresting hugely disproportionate numbers of Latinos for being drunk or having attitude, “are not engaged in this to punish somebody.” Free of unruly community members, the Task Force agreed to a drunk tank, breathalyzers and better training for the police. San Jose Insider Erin Sherbert reports Task Force quitters are plotting next steps…

San Jose Insider Eric Johnson reports San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has called on all city employees to put off raises and save 150 jobs. The former San Jose councilmember says he inherited the financial disaster, that he rejected raises after becoming mayor and doesn’t take his car allowance.

Tony Spitaleri, president of the firefighters union, offered Palo Alto’s city council a one year moratorium on raises. City Manager Jim Keene is hopeful Palo Alto’s police will come forward with a similar offer. The two unions could save the city $1.5 million.

Former Palo Alto police chief Lynne Johnson screwed up, sparking a racial controversy when she asked residents to be on the watch for a black man in a do-rag. Jeffrey Smith of Palo Alto was busted, and in jail, for a Menlo Park mugging when Palo Alto authorities decided to pile on.

The Valley Transportation Authority designed and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission approved a change that allows more money for BART. Cheering BART fans hit Milpitas today, because – (re)using those famous words – it’s going to happen, you like it or not. Untrue are rumors San Jose councilmember Pete Constant will throw himself in front of the groundbreaking shovels.

Caltrain, trying to put off a possible $10 million deficit, is proposing an end to weekend (party) trains, charging those pesky bike riders and raising fees – again. Caltrain Board Chair/Supervisor Don Gage said “when there’s no money, there’s no service.”

Proud of his helmet hair, bike commuter/San Jose councilmember Sam Liccardo declared the comparisons to “The 40-year old Virgin” a badge of honor. Fellow helmet head/Webcor Builders president, Andy Ball, admitted to occasionally forgetting where he’d left his bike on Caltrain.

San Jose had its 10th murder of the year Thursday afternoon. Details have not been released for the man who was killed in a drive by shooting in East San Jose.

Filmmaker Heather Courtney brings the story of families left behind in Mexico to Mountain View this weekend. The Judicial Watch bigots from D.C. and their NIMBY Mountain View friends will likely show up to protest. Maria Marroquin, executive director for the Day Worker Center, said the center becomes local family.

Molly Cooper, a Morgan Hill sixth grader, beat 1,500 young authors with a winning essay on gang avoidance.

Riding the green wave, parents in the Mountain View Whisman School District are calling for sustainability to be built into all new construction. Some parents wanted to turn their kids into farmers by growing cafeteria food. Beans ‘n weanies on trees?

Los Gatos kids did their time for the Venue Teen Center phone-a-thon and raised a few bucks using those dialing fingers. The Alan Pinel real estate agency played host while real estate agents had the kids call their spouses for practice.

The Merc’s Scott Herhold jumps in to the Monte Sereno city council salary excitement. Herhold, while (sort of) saying he supports the modest stipend, he thinks Monte Sereno’s city council screwed up the execution.

No parent should bury their child. Friends and family of Heather Russell have asked Mountain View police to dig deeper into the suspicious suicide, to understand why the bubbly young woman went missing for three days before her death and how her abusive relationship may have played a part in her death. Friends will host a fundraiser for a battered women’s shelter in her honor.

Mountain View’s city council also heard from the Governator. An expected $2 million may disappear from the city’s coffers in the state grab. No wonder there’s a cat fight brewing.

Morgan Hill wants false alarm scofflaws to pay for those unnecessary police visits. Police Commander David Swing said responding to false alarms “creates inefficiency,” a secondary goal is to gather more details on everyone with a burglar alarm.

Pissed off water drinkers protested the Santa Clara Valley Water District proposed fee increases. District project manager Darin Taylor blamed expensive imported water for increases.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

I was watching Tuesday's Council Meeting, and the very long discussion of turning over 4,000 very costly arrest records concerns me on so many levels. I was shocked to learn how much it will cost, the time and process involved in doing this, and the staff it takes to recover them from storage, etc. I am deeply concerned that the Officer’s names are not redacted from them before the public views them either. (It seems to me that would make him or her a real target for these anti-Police groups, even though they are just doing their job.)

I was pretty angry to see that if the City grants this request, it would cost taxpayers over 200K! As Raj mentioned in his previous column, these non-profit groups can get fee waivers, so the cost will fall on us, not them. That 200K could hire two more Police Officers, help fund crossing guards, keep a few libraries open for one more day, and a million other things we need!

After many anti-Police groups, and speakers spoke, Sgt. Lopez gave a very sobering statement to the Mayor and Council about our community's safety and our Police Officers. He pointed out that we've lost 33 Police Officers, and are working with less than 1,400 to cover this entire city of 1 million residents. He talked about how these 4,000 arrest records being requested by the former Task Force members, will only over burden an all ready over taxed over worked Police Department, and deprive taxpaying citizens of Police protection and services. He mentioned the morale of his Officers being low because they have become the scapegoat of a small minority's very vocal, and the media's wrath. (I had to ask myself how I’d feel if people who hated me constantly attacked me, or if my face appeared in the media followed with accusations of terrorism, brutality, and violence! I think I’d be pretty angry, especially if I put my life on the line everyday for so many ingrates.)

In all the years I've known Bobby, I've never seen him this upset or frustrated, and I have to tell you it disturbed me to the core. I got a real sense that our Police Officers are starting to feel hopeless, beat down, deserted, and tired of serving such an ungrateful community. It is time we pro-Police citizens take some action, before it is too late, and another Officer losses his/her life to suicide, or homicide.

For all of you who support our Police Department, it is time for YOU to speak up. You can't keep bitching, or blogging, or keeping your support of the Police to yourself, it is time for you to attend a Council Meeting and share your stories about the "good" things the Police do for us. If you're too ill, or handicapped, please send an email, letter, or make a phone call to the Mayor and Council supporting our Police Officers. These men and women deserve our support NOW. They put their lives on the line for us daily, and they get little to no thanks for it. It is time for us to speak up and speak out in support of these courageous servants. So please, take action NOW, tell the Mayor and Council you support SJPD! Thank you!