Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Marshawn Lynch Back Out of Hot Water

by Lauren Gard
Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Marshawn Lynch is in the clear after the DA determined that the allegations presented by the Emeryville woman accusing him of sexual assault would not stand up in court. Still, the restraining order stands, meaning that Lynch won't be able to get near the woman -- who told the Chron "I'm not after Marshawn because of jealousy or money" -- until 2012.

What Happens in California ... Hurts California

by Chris Thompson
Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 3:27 PM

A new survey has concluded that the number of "problem gamblers" in California is a whopping one million, according to a report by the Copley News Service. The study, which was conducted on behalf of the state, is the largest of its kind in the history of the gambling industry, surveying more than seven thousand people. According to a study by University of Nevada Las Vegas professor Bill Thompson, each problem gambler will lose an average of $112,400 over his or her lifetime. Such unsettling numbers could help cripple efforts to build new Indian casinos in California, including the Casino San Pablo.

Alice Waters, Inc.

by Chris Thompson
Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Wall Street Journal officials are tired of being pigeonholed as the paper of record for fat cats who obsess over their golf handicap between slapping their secretaries on the ass. They want to expand their readership to include women and guys who wear sweaters, so they need to rebrand their product. Enter Alice Waters, Berkeley's preeminent foodie and Chez Panisse proprietor. According to Adweek Magazine, Waters has agreed to pitch the paper in a new $15 million promotions campaign aimed at softening the Journal's image. No word yet on whether Waters will stress the paper's virtues as a garnish.

Monday, January 29, 2007

NFL Hopeful Marshawn Lynch In Hot Water

by Lauren Gard
Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Former Cal football star Marshawn Lynch may want to call Kobe Bryant or, say, a Duke lacrosse player and ask for a few tips. An ex-girlfriend who alleges the NFL hopeful choked, slapped and sexually assaulted her on December 13 was granted a restraining order Friday in Alameda County Superior Court. The woman filed a civil complaint on December 19; the DA's office is reviewing the case and has yet to file criminal charges. Lynch's lawyer says his client is innocent of any wrongdoing.

"He has ducked, juked, and spun away from the spotlight as often as he could," the Chronicle reported earlier this month when Lynch went public with his decision to leave Cal and join the NFL draft, where the twenty-year-old (whom the paper described as a "self-professed 'mama's boy'") is expected to be snapped up in round one. An earlier, August 2005 article , mentioned what may prove to be a useful skill: "He can also, when need be, use deft moves to evade tacklers." Looks like this may be one of those times.

Still, from a quick survey of major online football forums, it seems that at this point Lynch can expect supporters aplenty to rally by his side. Message boards are rife with speculation that the woman in question is trying to milk Lynch for some of the millions he's likely to soon rake in. (Right. Because recent high-profile cases like this one and this one have proven that it's such a fast, easy way to win a buck.) Other football fans simply seem to think this kind of debacle par for the course. As one poster put it, "NOW he's NFL-ready."

Back to 92510, the East Bay Express news blog.

AP: State Justice Department Hiding Millions in Government Contracts

by Chris Thompson
Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 3:27 PM

The Associated Press has uncovered evidence that millions of dollars in contracts with the California Justice Department were improperly kept hidden from the public. These contracts include a $489,000 deal with a Washington lobbyist who worked for Congressman Vic Fazio, a longtime friend of former attorney general and old Hayward pol Bill Lockyer. In addition, the law firm Cotkin, Collins, and Ginsberg, which has donated money to Lockyer's political committees, received a $2 million contract, the details of which were illegally concealed from the public. The story reports that Lockyer's Justice Department has declared more than 1,700 contracts confidential since 2003, and the money involved exceeds $100 million. When challenged by the Associated Press, department officials reviewed 131 of these contracts, and were forced to admit that only twelve met the legal requirements to be hidden from public view. The report does not say if the remaining contracts will be reviewed; that's apparently up to new Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Pollan's Latest Blasts "Nutritionism"

by John Birdsall
Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 3:27 PM

As a kid, did you ever wonder why we couldn't all survive on bubblegum ice cream, strawberry waffles, and vitamin pills? Michael Pollan's latest essay in The New York Times Magazine dissects our society's pervasive "nutritionism," the view that food is little more than a delivery system for nutrients. In "Unhappy Meals," the UC Berkeley journalism prof and author of The Omnivore's Dilemma lays out no less than a survival guide for the species. Pollan dissects what he calls the "cognitive dissonance of the supermarket shopper," egged on to stock our carts with health and diet foods no less processed than Twinkies double-packs. We suffer under the tyranny of experts, writes Pollan: "Scientists operating with the best of intentions ... have taught us to look at food in a way that has diminished our pleasure in eating it while doing little or nothing to improve our health." In other words, rice cakes and soy milk are just the other faces of Coke and Flaming Hot Cheetos.

Pollan's challenge echoes the work being done by some prominent Bay Area activists, folks battling the reductionist view of nutrition in schools and hospitals. As Leslie Mikkelsen, managing director of Oakland's Prevention Institute, recently told the Express: "A company can take what's basically cornstarch and a lot of sugar and stick some vitamins in it and go, 'Oh, a great way for kids to start the day.'" It may look good as a list of recommended daily allowances on the back of a cereal box, but we shouldn't kid ourselves that it's food. Here's Pollan again: "What would happen ... if we were to start thinking about food as less of a thing and more of a relationship?" We'd cherish it, that's what: Shopping at farmers' markets, cultivating our gardens, coming to the table in a way that has little need for food as the mechanics of its nutritional parts but more like an expression of culture. Tradition, pleasure, conversation around the table -- Pollan believes they nourish us the way a handful of multivitamins never could.

Back to 92510, the East Bay Express news blog.

Chevron's Public Relations Gets More Expensive

by Chris Thompson
Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Reuters reports that the San Ramon-based oil company Chevron is donating $10 million to the United States Institute of Peace, which despite its granola moniker is funded by the US Congress and dedicated to expanding diplomacy and nation-building. The Institute for Peace is most notable for coordinating the research and drafting of the recent Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group report. From now on, future iterations of such reports will be presented in the Chevron Theater.

The East Bay Today: January 29, 2007

Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Today's Top Event: Oliver Chin hosts a Lunar New Year celebration at the San Pablo Library

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: Actor Tony Amendola and Obie-winning director Les Waters discuss The Pillowman at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: Gioia Pizzeria in Berkeley.

On the Town: Going out tonight? Sip a minty mojito while DJs Ready and Riddm spin reggae classics at Kitty's in Emeryville.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out the Hubble Telescope Photo Gallery.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

Board? (Or Merely Bored?) Skateboard Entrepreneur Jamie Harris Catches Air

by Lauren Gard
Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Devin Satterfield, an Oakland cultural affairs commissioner and development coordinator for nonprofit Oakland Artists, Inc, took to his rooftop recently to interview Hustle Skateboard founder Jamie Harris. Here, Harris, 29, gives the scoop on his burgeoning company (whose Web site kicks ass -take your pick of five background beats to browse to), the latest skatepark development plans for Oakland (West Oakland's Bordertown project may still be ensnared in red tape, but check out what's allegedly happening downtown) and why he thinks the city ought to invest in arts programs for kids � and boxing rings.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Faxploitation: Happy Couples, Please Report to the Wedding Room (But RSVP First)

by Kara Platoni
Fri, Jan 26, 2007 at 3:27 PM

Hey lovebirds! Thinking of tying the knot on Valentine's Day at the Alameda County Clerk's office? Turns out, you're not the only one. In fact, the Clerk's office, which will provide a "specially furnished" Wedding Room for the big day, is so afraid of being practically awash in blissed-out couples on February 14 that they're sending out a plea for marriage-minded couples to book ahead, for other folks to volunteer as deputy marriage commissioners, and say they're considering opening up Wedding Room #2 "in a nearby office space," if necessitated by the laws of supply and demand. Wow! We had no idea that getting married on Valentine's Day was such competitive sport. The full press release after the jump.

    January 23, 2007 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ALAMEDA COUNTY ASKS COUPLES TO RESERVE TIME FOR VALENTINE'S DAY WEDDINGS

    OAKLAND - Alameda County is gearing up again for the annual rush of couples who choose to exchange wedding vows on Valentines Day, February 14, in the Wedding Room inside the County Clerk-Recorder's Office.

    With Alameda County offices closed for the observance of Lincoln's Birthday on Monday, February 12, Alameda County officials believe Valentine's Day could be especially busy for the volunteer deputy marriage commissioners who staff the County's popular Wedding Room, on the second floor of the Clerk-Recorder's Office, 1106 Madison Street, Oakland.

    With this in mind, Alameda County is asking people to call ahead to reserve a time to use the Wedding Room on Valentine's Day. Couples wishing to wed in the specially-furnished room on February 14 should call (510) 272-6362 to make an appointment.

    Times will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

    If all time slots are filled, the County will open a second Wedding Room in a nearby office space to accommodate more couples. The fee for a marriage license is $84, which includes one certified copy. The fee for the wedding ceremony is $50, with cash or checks accepted.

    Alameda County is also looking for people interested in joining its team of volunteer deputy marriage commissioners. These volunteer commissioners are called on throughout the year to perform wedding ceremonies. Call (510) 272-6362 for more information.

Back to 92510, the East Bay Express news blog.

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