Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cesar Aguirre of Elk Grove Sued by Oakland for Vandalism During General Strike

by John C. Osborn
Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Oakland officials have filed a complaint for damages against Cesar Aguirre, a 24-year-old Elk Grove resident who was arrested on the night of the November 2 General Strike in Oakland after officers say they saw him destroying property near Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Oakland officials have warned occupiers several times that they may try to seek compensation for the few occasions on which there have been instances of property destruction or vandalism. This appears to be the first time the city has followed through on those warnings.

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Magnus Discrimination Trial Update: Judge Considering Sanctions Against Plaintiffs' Lawyer for Racially Insensitive Comments

by John Geluardi
Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 3:36 PM

The judge presiding over a racial discrimination case against Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus has altered courtroom procedure because an attorney, who is representing the seven black police officers accusing Magnus of discrimination, made racially insensitive comments to a member of the defense team.

Judge Barry Goode ordered the courtroom be closed and locked during lunch breaks because plaintiffs’ attorney Stephen Jaffe called a Latino member of the defense team a “chihuahua.” The judge is considering possible sanctions against Jaffe, who is a middle-aged white male.

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Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus' Discrimination Trial Goes to the Dogs: Plaintiffs' Attorney Now Accused of Racism

by John Geluardi
Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Stephen Jaffe, the attorney who is representing seven black Richmond police officers in their civil claims of discrimination against their gay police chief, has been accused of making racial slurs in the courtroom. Stephen Jaffe, a middle aged white man, allegedly called Joaquin Elizondo, a member of Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus’ defense team, “Chihuahua,” which defense attorneys contend is a “well known and insulting slur” that is particularly offensive to Latinos.

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Sunshine Ordinance to be Named After Sanjiv Handa

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 5:13 AM

The term "gadfly" may be a point of contention, but there's no debate that Sanjiv Handa made an indelible imprint on Oakland politics, at least to those who attended the city council meetings at which he was a frequent — no, constant — speaker. Yesterday afternoon the council voted 5-3 to rename Oakland's Sunshine Ordinance, which mandates open government and accessibility to public meetings, after Handa, who died in December. Trib writer Matt Artz reports that even though the League of Women Voters backed the ordinance, Handa invoked it more than anyone else.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

One of the Quan Recalls Suspends Campaign

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Leaders of one of the groups trying to recall Oakland Mayor Jean Quan have suspended their signature gathering campaign, saying they were not going to be able to obtain the required 20,000 signatures by May 14. “The reality is that the law sets a rather high bar in terms of the hours that you have to put in to gather the signatures you need,” said one of the leaders of the group, former city council candidate Charlie Pine, who added that his group has not been able to raise the money needed for paid signature gatherers.

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It’s Time for San Francisco to End Its Hypocrisy Toward Water

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Few things are more hypocritical than San Francisco’s cavalier attitude toward water. It’s 2012, and yet the ostensibly progressive city has no water-recycling program. That’s right, none. By contrast, Orange County, that bastion of liberalism, recycles 92 million gallons of water a day.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Marching for Education — With an Occupy Twist

by Holly McDede
Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Yesterday morning, students blocked entrance to the UC Santa Cruz campus, and a man driving a Ford Mustang ended up striking several people, plus one cyclist. And so, on that note, began March 1st, the National Day of Action in Defense of Education, the first in an admirable-but-apparently disorganized series of events this month protesting cuts to higher ed.

Yesterday, teachers, students, and activists throughout the country engaged in teach-ins, rallies, and walk-outs. On March 5th, protesters will gather at the state capitol in an event called “March in March.” Like the month of March, budget cuts, and puns, the March in March action is perennial — but this year should be different, for a few reasons.

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Cougar Killer Daniel Richards Should Be Fired

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 7:02 AM

Daniel Richards, who reportedly paid $7,000 so he could kill a mountain lion in Idaho and then brag about it, has no business being a California Department of Fish & Game commissioner, let alone its president. Moreover, his callous disregard for California’s prohibition on cougar killing represents just another example of his anti-environmental agenda, which is deeply at odds with the important position he holds.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Will Yelp’s IPO Put More Pressure on Small Businesses?

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Yelp is set to go public tomorrow, and while the San Francisco-based user-review website is hoping to raise about $100 million in its initial public offering, analysts are skeptical of the company’s outlook.

Yelp plans to sell 7.1 million shares at a price between $12 and $14, yet the seven-and-a-half-year-old company has yet to make a profit and, according to its SEC filing, posted a net loss last year of $16.7 million (up from $9.56 million in 2010). All of Yelp’s revenue last year was generated by advertising, both from “brand” ads and ads sold to local businesses — the latter making up the majority. Still, only a small fraction of businesses on Yelp choose to advertise — 24,000 of the approximately 20 million US businesses, or .12 percent.

Which raises the question: With the pressure on Yelp to attract investors and increase its revenue, will its sales tactics get more aggressive? According to Yelp’s SEC filing, the company relies “heavily on advertising spent by small and medium-sized local businesses.” Its growth strategy includes expanding in existing and new markets (including overseas), enhancing its mobile site and other platforms, and growing its sales force “in order to reach more businesses and increase the amount they spend on our advertising products.”

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Nadia Lockyer Deserves a Chance to Get Well

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Watching the train wreck that is Nadia Lockyer’s life has been difficult. The Alameda County supervisor is now in drug-and-alcohol rehab after a bizarre incident in which she says she was assaulted by her ex-boyfriend at a Newark motel. She had been looking frail for months. And it’s come out that she took her eight-year-old son to the late-night rendezvous with her ex. Then the Chron reported last weekend, citing anonymous sources, that Lockyer’s ex has a sex video of her. Nadia Lockyer’s personal life, in short, has spiraled out of control.

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