Friday, June 5, 2009

Morning News Round-Up – 6.5.09: Children in jail, again...

Severely mentally ill, a child was booked into Juvenile Hall days after his 11th birthday, nearly a year ago. Not the first time a young child was tossed in the Santa Clara pokey, this child’s case is now being heard by Judge Paul Bernal. The child’s court appointed attorney David Avila said there’s no easy answer for questions of youth competency but didn't say he'd get the child better accomodations.

A short, scathing editorial in the Merc calls on Mayor Chuck Reed to stick to his “principles... his inclination toward sunshine in government” and allow the release of the Daniel Pham 911 tapes.

Sheriff Laurie Smith demoted Deputy James Council who killed two cyclists after falling asleep at the wheel. Karen Clarkson, Mother of Olympic hopeful Kristy Gough, was happy Council would no longer be behind the wheel. Council lost his 10 year old sister in a car accident and is said to be deeply remorseful, in spite of two previous drunk driving counts and a conviction for racing in Los Angeles.

Fence-gate is over. Monte Sereno has been ordered to pay $1 in compensatory damages – and could be liable for Joe Padgett’s legal fees, (now) estimated at over $2 million. Yikes.

San Jose Councilmembers/pension fund trustees Sam Liccardo and Rose Herrera called on fellow trustees to ditch “due diligence” trips except under “extraordinary” circumstances. City Finance Director Scott Johnson agreed. The rest of the trustees decided to keep travel alive and a split board will talk again at their next meeting when trustee/police officer Conrad Taylor shows up for the vote.

Campbell’s Brad Imamura was pissed about Psycho Donuts and got in touch with his elected officials to complain. The end result was a donut free mental health workshop. Councilmember Dan Furtado said his hands were tied and he’s unable to force a name change on the Psychos enjoying their 15 minutes.

Olivia Soza-Mendiola, Mexican American Community Services Agency CEO, wrote “it is with a heavy heart… MACSA is electing to relinquish the El Portal Charter Petition.” Superintendent Deborah Flores and the trustees said they welcome future collaboration and input from MACSA – they didn’t say, as long as MACSA didn’t do the banking. No word yet about MACSA’s San Jose embezzlement problems or the District Attorney’s decisions

Facing a $6 million deficit, Mountain View’s city council cut park/street maintenance, code enforcement, public works staff and library services to the tune of $4 million. Councilmember Laura Macias proposed a $3 charge to non-residents using Shoreline park while Councilmember Mike Kasperzak fretted no one would drive there if the charge were in place.

High Speed Rail Authority boardmember Rod Diridon, Sr. says a reversal by the board could make HSR eligible for federal stimulus dollars. Diridon said the Bay Area would be “giving away billions of dollars,” without the switch.

Just as there’s a tiny bit of economic sunshine, commuters get hit with continuing news about fare hikes and service cuts. VTA Chair Dolly Sandoval is hoping for good economic news quick or “we will be in for more pain.”

NASA and the Navy won’t say they can’t agree, just that discussions over how and who pays for re-skinning the toxic Hangar One are a “struggle” and have “slowed.” Seems no one wants the $15 million plus restoration responsibility.

Google hosted Mountain View’s meeting on the future of the city, NASA and Microsoft were there to pitch ideas for Mountain View’s future. Google construction manager said “there is no land to build on… the only way to go is up.” Oh, and Mayor Reed, Mountain View’s planning director thinks they’re the “Capital of Silicon Valley.”

Assemblymember Anna Caballero is angling for promotion to State Senate. Ready to take her seat are Gilroy Unified School District trustee Francisco Dominguez, political consultant/(Caballero) campaign manager Rick Rivas, Watsonville Councilman Luis Alejo, San Benito County Supervisor Jaime De La Cruz, and Hollister Mayor Eugenia Sanchez from going after Caballero’s seat next year.

The Merc’s Sal Pizarro shares the news that San Jose’s own great speller, Ramya Auroprem, hits the stage in the Rep’s Spelling Bee. Pizarro can be found tonight at San Jose’s SubZero festival where the public voted to see San Jose’s Mayor, city council and police chief hit the dunk tank. No word if Pizarro will needing a post-dunk towel.

Sports Fan/Merc columnist Mark Purdy points an accusing finger at the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors for bickering over the fate of the County Fairgrounds. Purdy asks if an intimate music hall attached to a new off-track betting venue might save the crumbling fairgrounds.

Watch Dog plans to ditch the real world Saturday and hit the 3rd Annual Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby in Mountain View. As many as 40 Silicon Valley kids will compete for a chance to head to Akron, Ohio for nationals. Mountain View Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga and Palo Alto Councilmember Yiaway Yeh will be racing against Mayor’s Cup reigning champion/VTA Chair Dolly Sandoval.

Morgan Hill celebrates the grand opening of the West Little Llagas Creek bike/pedestrian path. Mayor Steve Tate said “it’s a natural coupling of passive recreation” with a needed public facility.

San Jose police have released the image of a man seen just before the city’s 10th murder of the year. Juan Mendoza was shot in early May, if you know the hoody wearing suspect, contact Detective Sergeants Tony Mata or Pete Ramirez of the San Jose Police Department, Homicide Unit, at (408) 277-5283.

San Jose Inside provides more details on San Jose’s consideration of Instant Runoff Voting. An open discussion moderated by San Jose State Professor Terry Christensen follows the Elections Commission discussion next week.

San Jose Revealed makes analogies between the slow demise of Mercury News and the Titanic as well as “the death rattle of the Third Reich,” while congratulating themselves for “scooping” Internal Affairs on the (yawn) news that Councilmember Nora Campos seeks to fill Assemblymember Joe Coto’s shoes.

San Jose Revealed’s review of San Jose’s city council agenda gives us

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