Thursday, June 25, 2009

Morning News Round-Up – 6.25.09: Nothing but words, baby...

First, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to know if toxic chromium from Cupertino’s Lehigh Cement plant made its way to an elementary school. Now, proposed new rules from those pesky regulators are causing neighbors to jump for joy while Lehigh’s Tim “We’re safe” Matz is worried.

As if public employee pension funds (especially in the City of San Jose) don't have enough problems, a Pension Trustee from San Jose was arrested in San Mateo following a domestic violence call... Patrick G. Skillsky then attacked police called to the scene Perhaps he was just really, really upset about all the market losses he didn't see coming... Ironically, the City of San Jose is considering having professionals oversee the Pension Funds rather than appointed, untrained folks. It seems like there is no time like the present...

Santa Clara County Supervisors found a replacement for outgoing executive Pete Kutras. Dr. Jeffery Smith, executive director of the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center steps in during the worst economic disaster since the depression. President Liz Kniss said the supervisors were impressed by Smith’s range of experience in “medical, legal and public policy.” Smith will need his multiple degrees, and a healthy sense of humor...

East Side Union High School athletes will breath a sigh of relief, the board of trustees are expected to approve a budget that moves money from an insurance settlement to partially fund sports. The remaining $1 million is expected to come from athletes and donors who have so far stepped up with $150,000. Fundraiser/Trustee Eddie Garcia expressed rousing optimism saying “I think we’re going to get there.”

Gilroy’s divided police union approved a contract saving the city $1.1 million by just 5 votes. Police Officer Association President Mitch Madruga blamed city council saying there had been a “total lack of leadership” calling the 3 months of negotiations “ridiculous.”

Mountain View’s city council unanimously rejected a proposal to rehab a “blighted” building for reuse as affordable housing. Councilmember Ronit Bryant said the developer had provided “nothing but words.” City planning staff said it was tough to see how an existing “slum” could be rehabilitated sufficiently to remain habitable for another 55 years. Councilmembers also agreed to purchase the United Pentecostal church for $3.5 million, Councilmember Jac Siegel called it a “strategic location.”

Cupertino city councilmembers have an “economic uncertainty fund” to hold them over when the Governator comes calling with his hand out. Councilmember Dolly Sandoval reminds us the state’s budget crisis is “not going to be solved in one fiscal budget year.” No doubt Sandoval is (not) looking forward to hearing from the Guv again next year…

Updated 2010 campaigning news… A Watch Dog tipster pointed out an oversight, the Merc’s Sal Pizarro mentioned yesterday a potential candidate for San Jose’s downtown area. Nightclub owner Mauricio Mejia is contemplating a run against incumbent Sam Liccardo. Thanks, tipster.

Busted. Peter Be of Beohana Solar fleeced Silicon Valley residents of hundreds of thousands of dollars, promising a free solar system. Santa Clara County deputy district attorney Ken Rosenblatt said green minded residents got the bad news that nothing in life is free after writing big checks. Those with information on Beohana Solar may contact the District Attorney's Office at 408-792-2572

Attempted cop killer Pete Valdez III has been declared mentally unfit, for a second time. County deputy district attorney Dana Overstreet will figure out whether to go to trial, ask for a 3rd doctor or send Valdez to the rubber room; she’ll get back to us on July 8.

Caption-free artwork at the Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC for frequent flyers) is driving the Merc’s Scott Herhold to distraction. Perhaps one of the 54 Silicon Valley hand models in Christian Moeller’s “Hands” will help Herhold find the pithy comment he seeks as he opens a Valley wide competition.

Finally, one Watch Dog tipster kept their television tuned in to San Jose’s Planning Commission soap opera. Big surprise, the center chair is filled by co-conspirator Thang Do, again.

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