This is what it's come to: the lead story in the San Francisco Business Times? "Wells Cuts 53 Jobs in Arizona." And in the Hayward Daily Review? "Depressed? Got Bad Habits? Hypnotism Can Help, Woman says." If we don't get some scuttlebutt soon, we'll take that Oakland city administrator job and fuck it up, just to make things interesting.
This is how quiet the East Bay's been this holiday season: one of the biggest stories this morning comes via the Fremont Argus: "Fremont Votes to Join Vector Control District." Honestly, can't Ron Dellums do something stupid, just to shake things up? It's not that hard; all he has to do is open his mouth.
The U.S. Census now says that San Pablo, one of our favorite cities in the East Bay, has a Latino majority; this is the first city in Contra Costa County in which people of Latin American descent constitute a majority of the population. According to the Contra Costa Times, Latinos now make up some 53.8 percent of the population. We've always had a soft spot in our hearts for the tough little suburb; read our overwritten love song for the burg here, if you're interested. So we're delighted to see it keeping its muy caliente character going strong. — Chris Thompson
The Chauncey Bailey Project has published its own version of a year in review story about the state of law enforcement in Oakland, and the picture ain't pretty. The story quotes two anonymous officers, who claim that the rank and file are disgusted with the ineptitude and lack of accountability of the department's leadership, and that the bungling of the Chauncey Bailey murder investigation is indicative of larger problems. Specifically, the anonymous cops say that homicide Sergeant Derwin Longmire's failure to report key evidence of a conspiracy to kill Bailey is unacceptable, but no one at the top of the cop shop seems to care. The decision to delay raiding the Your Black Muslim Bakery headquarters for two days almost certainly cost Bailey his life, but the Department's leaders seem almost nonchalant about this critical failure in judgment and priorities. Add that to the dismal homicide clearance rate, and you have a sad picture of a Police Department that can barely function in one of the most dangerous cities in America. Go there now, and read it for yourself.
The abstruse union conflict over who gets to unload Bay Bridge material at the Port of Oakland is over, thanks to the help of federal mediators. When a company contracted to supply Caltrans with steel for the new bridge tried to unload the supplies at the Port of Oakland, members of the local longshore union shut down the operation, claiming that two rival unions had been hired to do the work, and that they have an exclusive right to unload goods at the port. After three days of picketing and negotiations, all parties have agreed to let the ship unmoor from the port, anchor beneath the bridge in the middle of the bay, and unload the steel there.
Sheesh. First they find a dead body floating in the waters off the San Francisco airport. Now Berkeley firefighters have found a body on fire at the Berkeley marina. Yesterday morning, a commuter was on his way to work on I-80, when he noticed something burning just off the highway and called the authorities. Berkeley firefighters found a plastic container ablaze and promptly doused it with water. But as the plastic melted away, they realized a human being was trapped inside, dead and on fire. Fortunately, forensic evidence indicates that the poor guy was killed before the fire was started.
The tough times get tougher at the Port of Oakland, where leaders say they will face a $12 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year. According to the Trib, the recession has resulted in less international trade and airline travel, and that means the port sees less business. The port will try to reduce expenses without laying off employees, but that's a long shot.
State Controller John Chiang has been visiting relatives in Fort Worth, Texas, but now he's in hospital after experiencing unnerving chest pains. According to the Chron, Chiang will merely go through a few tests and be discharged afterwards. We don't blame Chiang for feeling under the weather; the man has to figure out how to pay state workers at a time when California is rapidly running out of cash money. And we were pretty impressed when Chiang defied the governor's summer plans to temporarily cut state employee salaries down to minimum wage, as a cynical ploy to force a budget deal through the state legislature. So get better, Johnnie boy, and stick it to the guv when he needs it.
Sometime in the last few weeks, the San Francisco Chronicle apparently decided that Oaland Mayor Ron Dellums was really screwing up. How do we know? Because yesterday, it dedicated a key piece of the coveted Sunday edition to a long story on how Ron Dellums faces a growing army of critics that are no longer willing to tolerate his secrecy, laziness, absence, and indecision. If you've read this blog, other blogs, or any of the local papers, you know the routine by now. But the fact that the Chronicle decided to rehash Dellums' failures for the Sunday paper indicates that the editors have decided that the city can no longer afford this kind of neglect.
You know, sometimes you just wanna get away from all the madness, all the shooting and senseless violence, and play a nice concert in peaceful Denver, Colorado. And what happens? Fools get shot up all around you! That's what happened to E-40 over the weekend, as the rap star and Blackhawk resident played at a Denver nightclub. The shootings, which occurred as the club was closing around 2 a.m., left five people injured, with one victim in critical condition. Here's the difference between shootings in Oakland and shootings in Denver, according to the Denver Post: "Gutters along Broadway next to the nightclub had filled with frozen water still red with blood."