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Archive for June, 2007

Hill weighs in on Air Resources Board fallout

After Robert Sawyer, the chairman of the California Air Resources Board, was fired by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Thursday, the Insider asked San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill, who was appointed to the board earlier this year, to weigh in on the fallout.

The board’s 11 members serve at the pleasure of the governor, and are charged with setting and enforcing air pollution rules and regulations for the state. Sawyer, a professor emeritus of energy at the University of California, Berkeley, had been at the helm full-time for 18 months.

“He’s probably the most credible man that I’ve ever met,” Hill said. “I find him to be extremely intelligent, courageous, with the highest integrity and with a tremendous knowledge of air quality.”

Initial reports were unclear as to whether Sawyer had resigned or been fired, but he cleared the air (no pun intended) on that one in the Los Angeles Times today:

“I was fired, I did not resign… The entire issue is the independence of the board, and that’s why I got fired,” Sawyer told the Times. “I have board members going all the way back to [Gov. Pete] Wilson’s time, and they tell me they have never seen such a level of interference as is occurring at this time.”

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Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2007
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It’s Ratatouille (rat*a*too*ee) Day in San Carlos!

With a nod to Vice Mayor Brad Lewis, today is officially Ratatouille (pronounced rat*a*too*ee) Day in San Carlos.

Lewis is the producer of the Disney-Pixar film Ratatouille, released in theaters nationwide today. San Carlos, according to a proclamation, is “simmering with enthusiasm” over its local connection to the cinematic masterpiece. Lewis, the proclamation made by Mayor Tom Davids further exclaims, “has been basting this movie to perfection as the producer of Ratatouille for the past five years, folding in layers of talent and handfuls of creativity.” Tasty!

Ratatouille

The animated movie features a country rat named Remy (above) who dreams of becoming a chef in Paris despite the fact that he is, well, vermin. Finding himself beneath the famed Gusteau’s restaurant, Remy befriends the garbage boy, Luinguini, and the two set out to show the French culinary world how to really make a souffle.

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Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2007
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“This smells as bad as 80,000 dead salmon”

U.S. Rep Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, thinks Vice President Dick Cheney is up to something mighty fishy.

Eshoo is one of three dozen members of Congress from California and Oregon who signed a letter Wednesday calling for a Congressional investigation into Cheney’s role in the 2002 diversion of water from the Klamath River Basin. The diversion preceded the largest commercial salmon fishing disaster in U.S. history and devastated commercial and recreational fishing in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

U.S. Rep Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, also signed the letter.

The members made the request for hearings to U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.V., the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, after the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Cheney pressured mid-level bureaucrats in the U.S. Department of the Interior to divert water from the Klamath River Basin to benefit Republican political prospects among Oregon farmers.

Salmon fisherman

“This smells as bad as 80,000 dead salmon,” Eshoo said in a statement. “Those who depend on salmon for their livelihood, including many of my constituents, deserve to know exactly what the Vice President did to implement a water policy that circumvented the Endangered Species Act and devastated commercial, sport and tribal fishing in California and Oregon.”

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Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2007
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Busy in Burlingame

dave-pine.JPGDave Pine, president of the Burlingame School District’s Board of Trustees, has officially thrown his hat in the ring for a seat on the board of the troubled San Mateo Union High School District.

“With a new superintendent soon to be hired and possibly two new members joining the school board, the next few years presents a unique opportunity to strengthen the district for the benefit of our students and the entire community,” Pine said Wednesday in a statement announcing his candidacy.

Pine said that, if elected, his first priorities will be improving the district’s fiscal health and making sure its construction projects are managed properly.

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Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2007
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Light bulbs, pets, Royce, lobbying and $1,000

Time to tie up loose ends on several juicy Insider tidbits we hope you’ve been following.

  • Light bulbs
  • We wrote a couple of posts about San Carlos contending for the top spot in a viral marketing promotion sponsored by Yahoo! to find “America’s Greenest City.”

    Not that there was any independent, scientifically-based judging here, but residents earned points towards “greenest city” status by taking a pledge to “live a greener lifestyle,” signing up for Yahoo! Answers, and downloading Yahoo! oneSearch – a Web interface for mobile phones – to look-up eco-friendly terms.

    The grand prize was $250,000 for environmental projects or a fleet of yellow hybrid taxis emblazoned with the Yahoo! logo. At one point San Carlos was in second place, behind a 0.2-square-mile town with a population of 100 in South Carolina.

    But when all was said and done, San Carlos placed third. Their consolation prize from Yahoo! was 5,000 compact florescent light bulbs, 500 of which were delivered on Monday. Residents of all ages, as we reported and you can see below, clamored for bulbs at the initial giveaway.

    Yahoo light bulbs San Carlos

    Hastings, Neb. took the top spot. And they took the cash.

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    Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007
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    Bio-Immersion

    Burlingame School District Superintendent Sonny Da Marto had the teacher who swooped in and rescued the district’s nascent Spanish-language immersion program write up a bio for parents and others interested in learning more about her.

    So who is this masked woman?

    “My name is Elaine Tarango,” she began.

    Tarango was born in San Francisco and grew up in a bilingual household. She currently lives in San Bruno. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and received a masters in Educational Technology with BCLAD credentials from the University of San Francisco.

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    Posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007
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    Lantos urges language jobs for military’s ousted gays

    The military may feel that homosexuals aren’t worthy of its ranks, but U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, doesn’t think that should stop any other government agency – and the U.S. Department of State in particular – from taking advantage of the human capital.

    In a letter sent to Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte today, Lantos called for the State Department to address its need for diplomats with foreign language skills by tapping the pool of soldiers dismissed from the military because of their sexual orientation under its “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

    Lantos, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, authored the letter with U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

    Lantos and Ackerman called the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy “one of the most regressive, counter-productive policies we could ever imagine.

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    Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2007
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    Delgado: Will she be hitting the road again?

    Nineteen-year-old Edith Delgado, acquitted June 14 of felony vehicular manslaughter charges in the deaths of the prince and princess of Tonga and their driver, spent a scant four days out of jail before defense attorney Randy Moore drove her to his San Jose office and staged a tearful press conference (shown here).

    Edith Delgado

    Though there were plenty of heartfelt revelations provided by Delgado to warm the cockles (such as, “If I had the chance to switch places with those people, then I would,”) something that the young woman said – accused by prosecutors of racing another vehicle moments prior to the crash, while weaving in and out of traffic between 85 and 100 mph – got us to wondering.

    “I’m still scared,” she said. “I don’t even want to think about driving for some time.”

    The Insider knows that, legally, any pimply 13-year-old or, for that matter, anyone with a license revoked as a result of DUI charges is free to think about driving as much as they want to. But can they drive – like, legally? We think not.

    So, what about Delgado? Now that she’s out of jail, might we be seeing her whizzing past us on Highway 101 anytime soon?

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    Posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2007
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    City: We’d like to sue Jew

    It was another bad week for Burlingame/San Francisco resident and battered first-year San Francisco Supervisor Ed Jew.

    Last week, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris filed nine felony charges against him, alleging that he made false claims regarding his residency when filling out voter and campaign forms and applying for a driver’s license. He turned himself in to authorities June 12 and posted bail.

    (Question: If you’re fighting allegations that you don’t live at your home in San Francisco, why would you turn yourself in to police in Burlingame, where you’ve admitted to living at least part-time?)

    On Monday, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera released the results of his investigation into Jew’s residency claims and wrote state Attorney General Jerry Brown to ask for permission to sue the supervisor “in quo warranto” and remove him from office.

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    Posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2007
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    With Davids out, names fly in open San Carlos race

    It may be nearly a month before any paperwork can be filed to declare candidacy, but rumors are already flying in San Carlos over who might be mulling a run for City Council to fill what the Insider has now confirmed is an open seat.

    Mayor Tom Davids, who has been on the Council for 12 years, told the Insider today that this year will be his last. Davids’ four-year term is up in November.

    “I plan to retire,” said Davids, who will turn 70 this year. “I’ve told a few people, but you can shout it to the rooftops.”

    Tom Davids

    Davids (pictured here) has no grandiose retirement plans to speak of. He’ll be around, he said.

    “I just think it’s time to move on and let somebody else have a shot at it,” Davids said. “That empty seat is very attractive. The occupied seat is more difficult. Hopefully this will inspire some interest and get some new people into the game.”

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    Posted on Thursday, June 21st, 2007
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