Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for May, 2007

Coroner bill dies by Assembly committee

The bill that would have required coroners to notify next of kin when they retain the body parts of a deceased loved one appears to have met its own untimely ending, at least for now.

Cause of death? Committee.

Assembly Bill 1054, authored by Assemblyman Gene Mullin, D-South San Francisco, was held by the State Assembly Committee on Appropriations today due to “significant reimbursable mandated annual General Fund costs to county coroners, likely in excess of $5 million, for specified notification requirements, and for the return of body parts, which would require refrigerated storage space and additional staff.”

“The opposition wanted us to limit the bill to just notification and I thought families deserved more,” Mullin said in a statement. “It is unconscionable that costs to the state should override the ability of families to make decisions about the final disposition of their loved ones.”

The bill was opposed by the California State Coroners’ Association, the California State Sheriffs’ Association, and the California District Attorneys Association.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Denise Brown coming to town

Denise BrownDenise Brown, the sister of murder victim Nicole Brown Simpson and advocate for domestic violence prevention, will be making a Peninsula stop this weekend.

Brown will be in town to headline a fundraiser for the Keller Center for Family Violence Intervention at the San Mateo Medical Center (the county hospital). The Keller Center provides forensic medical evaluations, crisis intervention, forensic interviews and coordination of social and community services for victims of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and elder and dependent adult abuse, according to its brochure.

The fundraiser, sponsored by the San Mateo Medical Center Foundation, will be held at a Hillsborough home at 3 p.m. Sunday. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Tickets are $150 each and are available by calling (650) 573-2655.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

County top cops not alone in their Vegas troubles

Perhaps San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks and Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos can take comfort in knowing they’re not the only ones in hot water after their now infamous Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay excursion in April.

Frank McCoyMunks and Bolanos may have been swept up in a raid at a brothel off the Vegas strip, but that Sin City weekend, it appears, may also have gotten the better of Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy (pictured here at his Jan. 2006 swearing-in, in this photo by Hayne Palmour IV of the North County Times).

The San Diego Union Tribune reported on May 23 that an anonymous letter given to the city alleged inappropriate behavior by the chief and possibly other officers during their department’s trip to the same race. Because it was a personnel matter, no specifics were offered up, but Interim City Manager Peter Weiss told the Tribune that an outside investigator was hired to look into whether the allegations have any merit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Towards a greener, less gassy San Mateo

The city of San Mateo is following through on talks to reduce its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The City Council has approved setting up an advisory task force that will evaluate the city’s emissions and develop a plan to lower them. Rafael Reyes, a volunteer leader for the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club, lauded the council for “showing real leadership.”

Reyes said the task force will include a member of the council, a planning commissioner, a parks commissioner, a public works commissioner and representatives from San Mateo Climate Action, Sustainable San Mateo County, the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce, the San Mateo County Association of Realtors and a large local employer.

The city will also hire a consultant to guide the process over the coming fiscal year.

Posted on Friday, May 25th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Redwood City Council sets Castle’s ship away

John “Jack” Castle finds himself a bit adrift right now. But he could soon be making political waves heading into the Redwood City council elections this November.

Castle’s 20-year tenure as a Port of Redwood City commissioner will end this summer after the council Monday night chose not to reappoint him to another five-year term. His seat expires July 31.

“I’m very disappointed,” Castle said outside Council Chambers right after the decision. “I’m disheartened with the direction the council has taken.”

That direction is to have former Mayor Dick Claire replace Castle on the commission.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Clearing out the notebook


We wrote a story a couple of weeks ago about four sixth-grade girls who organized a silent auction fundraiser to benefit Coyote Point Museum. (Three are pictured above, from left to right: Alexa Stefanko, Abigail Crispin and Elaina Huang.)

Here’s a brief follow-up: Stefanko, who spearheaded the effort, emailed us last week to say the May 12 event raised $4,000. Still determined to reach the goal she set of $10,000, the Crocker Middle School student said she will be writing letters to Peninsula corporations to ask for matching donations.

Stefanko ended her email in characteristically enthusiastic fashion: “Protecting the environment rocks!”

New restaurant on the Avenue

A month or so ago, one of the posters over at the Burlingame Voice predicted that Towles Cafe, which closed its doors last year, would be replaced with a Burger Joint restaurant.

Well, they were right. We got a call a couple of weeks ago from Meg Patt, who, along with Maureen O’Rourke, ran Towles and owns the Burlingame Avenue building. She told us Burger Joint, which has two locations in San Francisco and one at SFO, is preparing to move in.

As for Patt, she’s taken a job with Asqew Grill in San Jose as catering manager, where she’ll be concentrating on corporate sales. O’Rourke has landed at Romano’s Macaroni Grill in San Mateo. She’s bar manager there and is thinking about introducing live music programs, Patt said.

Tom the Tree

In a few hours, the Burlingame City Council will take up a proposal by Mayor Terry Nagel to consider making part of Easton Drive one-way in order to ease safety concerns posed by the eucalyptus in front of the Easton Branch Library. From what we’ve heard, she’s going to have a hard time persuading her fellow council members. We’ll see what happens shortly.

Posted on Monday, May 21st, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Yee urges Genetech CEO to support food workers

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, is following in the footsteps of the South San Francisco City Council in calling on biotech giant Genentech to take a stand in raising the standards for its food service workers.

Leland YeeIn a May 8 letter to Genentech Chairman and CEO Arthur Levinson, Yee urged Genentech, which contracts with Redwood-City based Guckenheimer Enterprises for the workers, to adhere to a “Socially Responsible Contractor’s Code of Conduct.”

“The workers for contractors such as Guckenheimer do not receive sufficient compensation in order to live sustainably in San Mateo County,” Yee wrote. “Without adequate wages and benefits, a heavy burden is placed upon our public resources that must compensate for this shortfall. Having a large workforce struggling for the basic necessities of life is damaging not only to families but to our community as well.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Stogner’s List (of questions for Munks) surfaces

Forget Schindler’s List – these days we’re all about Stogner’s List.

As in San Carlos resident Michael Stogner, who sent San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks a list of some 32 “questions from voters” about that little April 21 mishap where he and Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos were swept up in a raid at a suspected brothel off the Las Vegas strip.

Stogner gave Munks 30 days to respond to the questions, and requests that he and Bolanos retire or resign. If they do not, Stogner states in his May 14 letter, he will file a Notice of Intent to Recall the sheriff with the Elections Office. Munks was elected to his post in November.

“I can not support you two as my top law enforcement officials as of April 21,” Stogner wrote.

Munks said in a statement on April 24 that he thought was visiting a legitimate business for a massage after the annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay and didn’t break any laws.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Red card for SAYSO: Soccer suit tossed out of court

Dreams of their day in court for the San Andreas Youth Soccer Organization (SAYSO) were shattered Thursday, thanks to a U.S. District Court judge who tossed their lawsuit against San Carlos out.

“Plaintiffs spin a yarn alleging a vast conspiracy involving soccer-moms, the City Planning Board, the City Attorney, the City Council, and two non-profit soccer leagues, all of whom purportedly acted in concert to deprive (SAYSO) of the use of playing fields in the City of San Carlos and to keep SAYSO from advertising its soccer tryouts in San Carlos,” Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong wrote in her 17-page decision, which sided with San Carlos to vacate the case.

A peninsula-wide youth soccer academy and competitive club based in Belmont, SAYSO sued Carlos one year ago today for access to field space for its 70 San Carlos residents, which comprise about 20 percent of the group. San Carlos has denied SAYSO field use permits, citing that its over-taxed fields need to be reserved first for organizations with at least 90 percent of their members residing in San Carlos.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Horse racing board gets slapped

A budget subcommittee of the state Senate slashed the California Horse Racing Board’s budget for the coming year to zero Wednesday over frustrations with how the organization is being managed.

Adam Keigwin, spokesman for state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, said the move was designed to send the message that those who run the organization need to “clean up their act.”

Last month, Yee introduced a resolution calling for the resignation of Board President Richard Shapiro. Yee filed the motion after the board denied an application by Bay Meadows race track for a two-year exemption to a rule mandating state tracks to install a synthetic racing surface by the end of the year.

Yee also is calling for the Legislature to reject the reconfirmation of Board Member John Amerman. Yee maintains that Shapiro and Amerman have presided over an organization with questionable administrative practices and plummeting morale. The board has also been fined $20,000 for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request, according to Yee.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, May 9th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »