Hey! Kool-Aid! 

Canada geese proving a messy problem for condo sellers at Richmond development; Hoop dreams squandered: J.R. Rider rides again; plus more Dyleski trial scuttlebutt.

The Bay Area condo market is already getting soft, so it doesn't help sellers move units when their complexes are teeming with poop-making machines, i.e., Canada geese. Last weekend, Feeder visited Richmond's 468-unit Marina Bay condo community, hunting for a housing bargain. Instead, I got goose shit on the bottom of my shoe and — I shit you not — a damn goose hissing and sticking its tongue out at me.

The most important fact you need to know about Canada geese is this: The average adult goose excretes twelve hundred pounds of feces a year. Cities around the country are struggling to find ways to control the birds, which are protected under federal law. The population is at its highest in late June and early July during molting season. At Oakland's Lake Merritt, for instance, their numbers soar from the four hundred birds that stick around during the winter to as many as two thousand. Oakland city officials are contemplating how to manage the population — and the poop. Seattle, another afflicted city, is trying out the Goose Goo Gone Machine, described by its inventor as a carpet sweeper for grass.

The sales agent at Marina Bay, which has a manmade cement pond that attracts the waterfowl, says they have been using a less-expensive goose-control method: grape Kool-Aid, which they spray on the grass the birds nibble on all day. Apparently, they don't like the taste. In spite of the fact that I had just stepped in goose dung, the sales agent said the problem was worse a month earlier before they started spreading the Kool-Aid.

Marina Bay's success may have more to do with the birds being elsewhere around this time, but, well, the Kool-Aid thing is a relatively gentle solution. Sometimes the airport's hired guns, after getting permits from the feds, shoot and kill nearby geese, which pose a safety hazard to the planes.

Basket Case

Alameda County Judge Barbara Miller issued a $10,000 bench warrant for former NBA player Isaiah "J.R." Rider after he missed his court date last week on a felony charge of cocaine possession.

Rider posted bail last month after Oakland police allegedly found a plastic bag containing cocaine on the talented but troubled baller. Police had originally responded to a call regarding a domestic dispute. When the cops arrived, the police report states, "Rider was in an agitated state. He was sweating and speaking very fast."

Rider's coke bust and his subsequent absence from court are the 35-year-old Oakland native's latest brushes with the law. There was his famous 1996 run-in when he was playing for the Trail Blazers, when Oregon police allegedly spotted him in his car smoking weed from a soda-can pipe. The same year, Oakland police arrested him in the wee hours for shooting dice on a street corner. This past January, Marin County sheriff's deputies booked him for allegedly kidnapping an ex-girlfriend — a charge his lawyer, Garrick Lew, says has been pleaded down to a misdemeanor battery charge.

Basketball fans may recall Rider's habit during his ten-year NBA career of either showing up late or missing practices and games — a habit he's kept in his dealings with the courts. When Feeder called Lew about his client missing his most recent court date, even the attorney waxed sarcastic: "What a surprise!"

Gossip in the Court

Rough week for teenage dirge-head Scott Dyleski, who's on trial in Contra Costa County for allegedly murdering Pamela Vitale, the wife of TV legal pundit Dan Horowitz. First, Dyleski's best friend ratted him out and testified that Scotty was worried police would find his DNA on Vitale's corpse after the murder, which prosecutor Hal Jewett said turned out to be true. Then Dyleski's girlfriend — represented by feminist media whore Gloria Allred — revealed details of their twisted pillow talk, such as torturing children.

Public defender Ellen Leonida, Dyleski's lawyer, is waging a tame defense thus far. Judging from her mild cross-examination of Horowitz last week, Leonida has chosen not to follow up on the accusation of his most famous ex-client, Susan Polk, that Horowitz had something to do with his wife's murder.

Polk, Feeder readers will recall, is the delusional Orinda housewife recently convicted of murdering her therapist husband in the pool house of their $2 million estate in 2002. Horowitz was representing her last October when Vitale was found murdered in their Lafayette trailer, which promoted Judge Laurel Brady to call a mistrial in Polk's case. On the eve of her second trial, Polk fired Horowitz and decided to represent herself.

In an interview with Geraldo Rivera that aired January 30, Polk explained that she became suspicious of Horowitz because he became romantically involved with a prospective juror from her first trial soon after Vitale died. "Personally," she told Geraldo, "I feel there should be some period of mourning." (Hmmmm, really, Susie? Such as when the cops told you that your husband had been killed and you said, "We were getting a divorce anyway"?) Polk even offered herself up as a witness for the defense in Dyleski's trial.

You can't blame Leonida for not taking her cues from Polk, a woman who believes she's psychic, sees conspiracies all around her, and is a convicted murderer to boot. But three credible court-watchers who personally know all the parties say Polk isn't completely off-base — at least concerning the part about Horowitz hooking up with a pretty prospective juror named Valerie whom he met while representing Polk. Unlike Polk, these sources expressed sympathy for the grieving lawyer easing his pain by taking up with another woman after his wife's death. All of them described Horowitz and Valerie as inseparable — except, of course, for the past couple of weeks. After all, it'd be pretty gauche to take your girlfriend to your wife's murder trial.

As the Dyleski trial started, Court TV's message boards buzzed with debate as to whether the prospective juror was Horowitz' girlfriend or simply his office assistant. Feeder called Horowitz for clarification, but the lawyer said he wasn't answering any media questions. "If you asked me if I wanted a million dollars I would say, 'No comment,'" he said.


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