Thursday, July 31, 2008

The East Bay Today: July 31, 2008

Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 5:51 PM

Today's Top Event: AileyCamp performs "...ism" at Zellerbach Hall.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's event: Annie Barrows reads at Mrs. Dalloway's.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critics recommend: Oak Plaza Bar & Grill in Oakland.

On the Town: Going out tonight? Drop by the family-friendly Zza's Trattoria on Grand Ave. in Oakland for "Thursday Night Live" — you never know what you may find!

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out how to end your Verizon contract without an early termination fee.

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

OPD Lieutenant Commits Suicide

by Anneli Rufus
Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 4:04 PM

Sad news comes from the Oakland Police Department in an email just received from Officer Roland Holmgren announcing that OPD Lt. Derrick Norfleet committed suicide yesterday:

"On July 30, 2008, the Oakland Police Department along with many friends and family members suffered an extreme loss with the passing of 45-year-old Derrick Norfleet. Norfleet was a Lieutenant assigned to the Patrol Division and had been with the Department for over 22 years, when on Wednesday morning he committed suicide at his Vallejo home. Lieutenant Norfleet's ever-present smile will be missed by many, especially his family left behind. Family members have arrived from as far as Texas to attend funeral services that will take place next Thursday, August 7, 2008 at a location yet to be determined.

"Lieutenant Norfleet had honorably risen to the rank of Lieutenant within the Department. His positive approach to problem solving was admired by all as he respectfully worked in assignments such as Patrol and the Criminal Investigations Division. A valued member of the Department and President of the Oakland Black Police Officerís Association (OBOA), Lieutenant Norfleet was steadfast in his efforts to bring peace to the citizens of Oakland and rid the City of crime and violence."

Desley Brooks Sues Chip Johnson

by Chris Thompson
Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 10:38 AM

Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks has sued San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson as well as the paper itself, claiming that Johnson defamed her in print. Johnson reported that Brooks was accused of receiving kickbacks after hiring a city employee (we think this is the story in question), and Brooks claims that Johnson knew the accusation was false, but published the story anyway. We'd say more, but we don't wanna get sued.

Yusuf Bey IV to Get Three Years for Liquor Store Vandalism

by Chris Thompson
Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Yesterday, the Trib reports, the last leader of Your Black Muslim Bakery pled no contest to eight felony counts in the 2005 vandalism of several West Oakland liquor stores. Yusuf Bey IV is expected to be sentenced to three years in prison; his trial on charges that he kidnapped and tortured a woman for money is still outstanding.

Is Local Energy Efficiency Scientist to Blame For Accident?

by Chris Thompson
Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 8:56 AM

That's the question after a recent accident left one of Sam Cohen's tenants paralyzed from the waist down. Cohen, a former scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and founder of the company Energy Solutions, owns a rental Victorian on 11th Avenue. On July 21, reports the Tribune, tenant Andrew Pumphrey was standing on a landing, holding his two-year-old niece, when the landing fell apart, and the two plunged 25 feet to the concrete below. Pumphrey is expected to regain the use of his arms, but anything below the waist is a crapshoot; the niece was unharmed but horribly traumatized. According to the Trib, Cohen told tenants that the staircase was "more rickety than he would like," and promised to fix it, but never did. Energy Solutions improves the energy efficiency of buildings and office complexes; its clients include Pacific Gas and Electric, the city of Oakland, and Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

Oakland Cop Union Head's Son Unfit for the Force?

by Chris Thompson
Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 8:40 AM

Great, great story by KGO-TV on Tuesday, in which reporters discovered that the son of Bob Valladon, the longtime head of the Oakland police officer's union, is being accepted into the force despite what appears to be a terrible work and criminal history. KGO acquired an email from deputy city attorney Vicki Laden, who wrote, "Unless OPD is taking all warm-blooded candidates, I can't figure out why they'd take Valladon." The son, Scott Valladon, has a "spotty job history combined with poor school record ... past misdemeanors ... inconclusive lie detector test ... psych history." Finally, she adds that the internal investigator who vetted Valladon's references may actually be friends with all of them. Now, ubiquitous cop attorney Michael Rains is demanding an investigation into who turned over Valladon's medical records to the station, the Trib reports. That's some crackerjack reporting right there.

Bill Lockyer: Schwarzenegger's Too Bored to Balance the Budget

by Chris Thompson
Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 8:24 AM

Hayward's golden boy and state Treasurer Bill Lockyer took a few well-placed shots at the governor yesterday, calling him disengaged from the budget process and more interested in holding press conferences than securing California's financial future. "When I was doing it with Pete Wilson, he would have us in his office 10-12 hours a day, every day, or almost every day," he told the Sacramento Bee, adding that as Treasurer, he was tired of watching Schwarzenegger try to borrow his way out of his problems. As the Bee delicately notes, state politicians who make headlines by publicly attacking the governor are usually testing the waters for a run for higher office. Sure enough, Lockyer demurred when asked if he'll run for governor. "I'm watching," he said.

Babs Lee Tries to End Federal Pot Busts

by Chris Thompson
Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Barbara Lee and a handful of other members of Congress announced yesterday that they were introducing legislation to end federal prosecutions of people who possess marijuana. If the bill passes, people could now own up to one hundred grams of dope. Intriguingly, the Chron story makes no mention of whether the pot must be for medical purposes. This is the first such effort to end the federal ban on marijuana possession since 1978.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Auto Burglaries Surge on Berkeley/Oakland Border

by Anneli Rufus
Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 5:20 PM

Fliers are now being posted around the East Lorin district on the Berkeley/Oakland border warning of a surge in auto burglaries.

More …

Berkeley Herpes Prof is a Millionaire

by Chris Thompson
Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 9:22 AM

This is one of those moments when we ask ourselves: Why did we go into journalism when the real money's in herpes virology? According to the EB Biz Times, Cal assistant professor Britt Glaunsinger snagged a $1 million Keck Foundation grant to study how the herpes virus sneaks around without the human immune system noticing.

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