The news that Major League Baseball has appointed a task force to examine possible stadium sites in the East Bay for the Oakland A's is already being viewed by some as a positive development in the effort to keep the team from leaving. But after watching this stuff unfold for the past decade, I smell a snake in the grass. To me, it's more likely that Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is laying the groundwork to help his friend A's co-owner Lew Wolff make a case for moving the team to San Jose.
It's official. Former state Senate President Don Perata is running for mayor of Oakland. The Teflon Don broke the news to Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson, who then proceeded to bury it in a story about Ron Dellums not being allowed to speak at the police officers' funeral. Perata, who has hinted strongly that he planned to run for mayor next year, said the cop shootings finally persuaded him to do it. "I wasn't trying to be coy, but this just galvanized it for me because you can't stand there and do nothing," Johnson quoted Perata as saying. "People know what I have done to ban assault weapons and other things I've done, so they ought to know that I'm running for mayor."
There are some pretty well known names on the list of San Francisco Chronicle journalists who are taking the buyout and leaving, according to the blog Ghostword. Some of the more recognizable names include Joel Selvin, Carl Hall, Sabin Russell, and Nancy Gay. The photo department also looks like it's taking a big hit. And this is only the first round...
It looks like a Spanish court is going after notorious UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo. It's part of a war crimes investigation into Yoo and other top Bush administration officials who gave legal cover for torture. Along with Yoo, the court is looking at former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith, former Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, Justice Department lawyer Jay Bybee (who was Yoo's boss, and is now a federal judge); and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes, who now works for Chevron in San Ramon.
In a telling sign of how far Ron Dellums has fallen, the families of at least two of four the cops tragically killed nine days ago refused to let Oakland's mayor address the huge crowd at the officers' funeral services at Oracle Arena. By contrast, the families were more than happy to let Dellums' predecessor, Jerry Brown, speak, according to the Trib. Same with Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. And, of course, Acting Police Chief Howard Jordan addressed the crowd. But not Dellums. He got the thumbs down. It says a lot when families tell the man who ultimately was the police officers' boss that they he should keep quiet. Wow.
A reader e-mailed me this morning to inform me that a lot of people have been protesting Uhuru Furniture on Yelp.com. They've been leaving negative, one-star reviews (in addition to staging protests outside the Grand Avenue store) regarding the organization's involvement in a rally Wednesday for Lovelle Mixon, who killed four Oakland police officers last weekend. But Yelp has been taking the reviews down.
The negative reviews appear for both the Uhuru House and its furniture store. One Yelper wrote: "I feel betrayed by you Uhuru. Though i always knew of your slightly-left-of-radical- political involvement, I always gave you the benefit of the doubt that you *WERE* doing some good in helping this community we love and call home. I never thought my hard earned dollars would support hate mongering, fragmentation and worse of all, justification for murder." But Yelp has been taking down the reviews, perhaps for violating their Terms of Service that prohibits advocating harassment of another person. (Reviewers have gotten savvy though, and are now posting negative reviews without mentioning the support of Mixon.)
Yelp reserves the right to post or take down whatever information it wants, contrary to how it advertises itself as an open forum for people to "find, review, and talk about what's great - and not so great - in your area." But isn't knowing if a local store supports a certain cause (as long as it's not false or defamatory) useful information for a consumer?
Lew Wolff just can't get enough of telling Oakland to go fuck itself, can he? Okay, we get it, Lew, now give it a rest. And while you're at it, good luck with that San Jose deal you covet. We know how much it means to you. In fact, yesterday you had to remind us again: "We are really saying that we'd love to stay in Northern California, and go to San Jose." Well, we got news for you, Mr. Minority Owner of The Team, it's not going to happen. The Giants are never going to give up their rights to the South Bay and you'll never get three-quarters vote from the rest of the league's owners - even if Bud Selig is your close buddy. No way. Greed is too powerful in baseball, and the other owners are not going to want to open the door to allowing teams to come into their backyards. So, Lew, we know it pains you, but you're stuck here for the time being. Get used it.
The main editorial of both the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times today defends the notorious UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo, and it's stunning for its ignorance. The papers claim that the university should leave Yoo alone because to punish him would violate academic freedom. But whoever wrote the editorial clearly has not done their homework. When Yoo penned the infamous torture memos for the Bush Administration, he was doing far more than just expressing his opinion. In his official position with the Bush Justice Department, Yoo's work effectively authorized the torture of prisoners, and he clearly knew it. Some of the prisoners were then tortured to death. On what planet does that constitute academic freedom? It's absurd on its face.
A new poll spells bad news for California's budget woes. According to the Chron, voters are not enthused about a series of ballot measures in the May special election that would raise $6 billion for the state. Voter support for the five measures ranges from 37 percent to 48 percent, according to the poll taken earlier this month by the Public Policy Institute of California. If voters turn down the measures, it will only worsen the state's ongoing budget problems.
The Chron splashed a story across the front page today, revealing that the City of Oakland had failed to follow through on a plan to deploy private security guards in East Oakland. It's a good, solid story, but it didn't deserve the treatment the paper gave it. By blasting it across Page One, as part of the paper's coverage of the police slayings, the editors led readers to believe that the guards might have affected last weekend's tragic incident. But that's a pretty unlikely scenario. In fact, no one in the story even made that claim.