One of Oakland's enduring mysteries remains why the city ever treated Jerry Brown as if he was one of them. When the former governor-cum-KPFA personality announced he was running for mayor, everyone paying attention immediately concluded that he was just using the city to claw his way back into power and celebrity, and that he would give Oakland all the attention a stepping-stone deserves. Now that he's done just that and ensconced himself in the state attorney general's office, Brown apparently still isn't satisfied. On Saturday, he demurely hinted that he would be running for governor again when the bemuscled current chief executive departs for a retirement of cruising Brentwood for lattes in his H-2. And when we say "demure," we mean he announced that safeguarding the rights of Californians amounted to filing a bunch of boring lawsuits, and that former governors George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson were a couple of "idiots." That Jerry Brown: he's all about the love.
AP&T cries uncle
Once upon a time, the city of Alameda enjoyed a quiet life of cheap electricity rates and budget surpluses. Then the city's leaders heard about this thing called broadband, and everything went to hell. Last week, after a bizarre, ten-year experiment in running a publicly-owned cable and Internet service provider, the city decided that enough was enough, and is presently shopping for private companies to buy its telecommunications arm. One could quibble that the city's leaders could have done this before running up an $85 million debt that will cripple Alameda's finances for years to come. But that would rude.
Wayans Brothers out, Catellus in
After years of making bedroom eyes at poor, frumpy West Oakland, the comic filmmaking Wayans Brothers decided to court more comely ladies. Last week, the Wayans Brothers announced that they were abandoning all interest in developing a retail and business park in the old Oakland Army base, citing the inconvenient fact that the land rubs up against a hideous, toxic seaport that belches diesel fumes into the air. Meanwhile, Mayor Ron Dellums noticed that other developers were mildly interested in the site, and crowed that this was a "tremendous vote of confidence for Oakland's economy." Just down the road, an actual, honest to goodness vote of confidence happened at Jack London Square, when the massive development firm Catellus announced that it was moving its offices to Oakland. It ain't Hollywood, but it'll do for a start.
Inmates closer to running asylum
After years of psychotic, violent attacks on doctors, nurses, and support staff, Alameda County has decided that what the John George Psychiatric hospital needs is less security. And so, as the Oakland Tribune reported last week, the county Board of Trustees voted to transfer all sheriff's deputies out of the hospital, and farm the job out to a private security company. The move will save the county $380,000 a year, which should just about foot the bill for the lawsuits that will spring up the next time a schizophrenic patient beats a hospital worker to death.
Kaiser squirms as trial continues
Speaking of doctors and death, Kaiser Permanente transplant surgeon Hootan Roozrokh is about to go on trial in San Luis Obisbo County, on charges that he used morphine to speed along the death of a patient whose organs he was waiting to harvest. The case has transplant surgeons around the country worried about whether law enforcement will start taking a closer look at the nebulous moments when a patient is hovering between life and death, and whether they too will face criminal charges for what used to be routine medical procedures. In addition, it has also continued to shine an unpleasant light on Kaiser, whose organ transplant services were riddled with scandal when Roozrokh performed the operation two years ago.
At least somebody's smiling
But life's not all sorrow and disappointment, especially if you're incoming UC President Mark Yudof. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the UC Regents have agreed to pay Yudof $828,000 in salary and pension benefits next year, as well as letting him live in a sprawling mansion that costs $300,000 a year to maintain. That kind of green could buy a lot of black market organs.
Chauncey Bailey Project finds another murder
The Chauncey Bailey Project, a collaborative effort to continue the stories that Bailey was pursing when he was murdered, won one of the country's most prestigious investigative journalism awards last week. Meanwhile, the project dug up a forty-year-old homicide that the Yusuf Bey family may be connected to. The project's investigation prompted homicide detectives in Santa Barbara to reopen the case, and people close to the dead Black Muslim patriarch are reportedly going to be questioned about the murder. Stock in bow tie manufacturers immediately took a nosedive.
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