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Archive for October, 2008

Dirty deeds alleged in Pacifica

A potentially embarrassing lawsuit filed against the city of Pacifica by former finance director Maureen Lennon reared its head at a recent Times editorial meeting with three City Council candidates.

Challenger Tod Schlesinger cited the suit in alleging that Pacifica’s city government does not operate with sufficient transparency and even engages in wrongdoing behind closed doors.

Schlesinger specifically cited a letter, dated Sept. 30, in which Lennon’s attorney mentioned “rumored attempts” by members of the City Council and City Attorney Cecelia Quick to “hide or destroy documents.”

Councilman Cal Hinton responded to Schlesinger’s accusations by saying the challenger does not have all the facts.

“I know of no inappropriate actions by the city,” Hinton said.

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Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Under: 2008 Local Races, Aaron Kinney, City Council, Corruption, Lawsuits, Pacifica, Political Campaigns | No Comments »

Judith Christensen has her guard up

In September, a campaign committee called “Safe Streets and Quality Neighborhoods in Daly City” was formed to oppose Judith Christensen, who is running for re-election, and supports incumbent Sal Torres and neophyte David Canepa.

So far, the committee, which consists of Daly City firefighters and police officers, has kept mum.

Christensen anticipates that it will release a “hit piece” on her close to the Nov. 4 election to dissuade voters.

“That’s the traditional tactic of that kind of committee,” she said. “They couch their language very carefully so they can’t be sued, but you can say a lot. They can accuse you but they can pose it as a question.”

Christensen doesn’t know what she’ll be accused of, but she is warning voters that something will come. She said the suspense is a little scary.

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Posted on Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
Under: 2008 Local Races, Aaron Kinney, Christine Morente, City Council, Daly City, Political Campaigns | 1 Comment »

Keira Knightley and Lula Lu

The owner of a local lingerie store for petite women has spoken up in response to a report in a British tabloid that actress Keira Knightley refused to allow producers to digitally enhance her cleavage for a poster promoting “The Duchess,” her new film.

Ellen Shing, owner of Lula Lu in downtown San Mateo, issued a statement through a publicist in support of Knightley’s stand.

“Keira Knightley’s far from alone in her feelings,” said Shing. “It’s often assumed that women with small breasts are constantly fantasizing about implants, padded bras and more cleavage, but here at Lula Lu we’ve found the exact opposite to be true.”

“Most of our customers are happy with their bust size … they just want flattering bras that fit their natural shape,” Shing’s statement continued.

Alas, it appears the story that appeared in the Daily Mail was’t true, as Knightley has now declared that the dispute never took place.

Posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2008
Under: Aaron Kinney, San Mateo | 1 Comment »

Eshoo on Ayers

One of the big questions in advance of tonight’s third and final presidential debate is whether John McCain will bring up William Ayers, the former member of the radical Weather Underground with whom Barack Obama has had intermittent contact during his political career.

McCain and running mate Sarah Palin have made a major issue of Ayers recently on the campaign trail, but McCain didn’t bring up the subject during the second debate, despite the urging of many Republicans.

Afterward, Obama and running mate Joe Biden subtly and then not-so-subtly taunted McCain for lacking the gumption to bring up the association to Obama’s face. McCain practically boiled with rage when Charles Gibson of ABC News repeated what Obama had said.

Now that McCain’s been provoked, will he talk about Ayers? Perhaps moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS, whose June interview with Wes Clark has made him a member of Talking Points Memo’s “Tire Swing” club, will bring it up on his own.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
Under: 2008 Presidental Race, Aaron Kinney, Anna Eshoo, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Joe Biden, John McCain, Political Campaigns, Republican Party | No Comments »

San Mateo County lawmakers stung by veto pen

Following Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent “Conan the Barbarian” routine, when he vetoed more than one-third of the bills that landed on his desk, we thought it would be worthwhile to see how our local legislators made out amid the carnage.

Here are the tallies for San Mateo County’s five state legislators, provided by their offices:

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco
Status — Severely wounded

Ma, whose 12th District includes parts of the North County, including Colma and Daly City, had nine bills signed into law. Nine were vetoed.

Among her successes was a measure dubbed Bright Schools that’s designed in part to make it easier for schools to install solar panels. Among the vetoes? A bill that would have prohibited “the commercial display of human remains” — in shows like “Body Works,” which features skinless corpses in athletic poses — “without the documented informed consent from the deceased or next-of-kin.”

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Posted on Monday, October 13th, 2008
Under: Aaron Kinney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Democratic Party, Fiona Ma, Gene Mullin, Ira Ruskin, Joe Simitian, Leland Yee, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Palintology

Didn’t have time to post this Insider item here on Friday. Since it previewed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s appearance Sunday at a GOP fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency SFO in Burlingame, we’ll run it in a shorter, modified form with some additional comments thrown in.

First, a couple things we noticed from MediaNews (and San Jose Mercury News) reporter Mary Ann Ostrom’s account of the event.

According to Ostrom, Siebel Systems founder Tom Siebel introduced Palin to the crowd by saying, in part, “Sarah Palin carries the flag of outrage … for each of us who cries out, ‘We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.’”

Whuh? What are Tom and these people he’s referring to mad about? The last eight years of leadership under President George W. Bush? The Congress that’s been led by a Republican majority for six out of the past eight years? (And effectively filibustered by a Republican minority the past two years, on those occasions when Congressional Democrats weren’t kowtowing to the president’s demands.)

Tom and Sarah’s being mad about the status quo in Washington makes about as much sense as John McCain’s declaring that Obama is “angry,” when McCain lately has looked like he’s about to pop at the seams.

Palin reportedly got a good laugh during the fundraiser with a line about Tina Fey, who’s been parodying her recently on “Saturday Night Live,” saying she’s giving Tina Fey good “job security.”

Except not really, because Tina Fey has been playing her on “SNL,” a show for which she no longer works. In a broad sense, you could argue that Fey’s crushing portrayals of Palin have elevated her already brilliant career to new heights. But it’s not like she was scuffling. She’s won a slew of Emmys and Golden Globes for her new show, “30 Rock,” though TV ratings remain low. It’s a minor point, but we can’t resist the urge not to give Palin credit for anything.

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Posted on Monday, October 6th, 2008
Under: 2008 Presidental Race, Aaron Kinney, Barack Obama, Burlingame, Joe Biden, John McCain, Political Campaigns, Sarah Palin | No Comments »

A coup for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office

[This post, which has been slightly altered, was originally published Sept. 20.]

We’ve given San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks a rough time over the past year and a half, what with the Las Vegas brothel debacle and all, but the county’s law enforcement team took a big step toward redemption last month with the capture of Josue Raul “Ojitos” Orozco in Texas.

Orozco escaped from the county’s brand-spanking-new Youth Services Center on Feb. 14 and was thought at various points to have absconded to the Central Valley, Mexico or planet Saturn.

To be honest, we thought this dude was gone. Whether “Ojitos” was sipping mojitos in Central America or holed up in a shack in Modesto, the Insider didn’t have much confidence we’d ever hear from him again.

But a tip led sheriff’s investigators to contact law enforcement officials in San Antonio, who brought the 18-year-old reputed gang member and homicide suspect into custody.

Turns out this isn't where Orozco was hiding.

(Turns out this isn't where Orozco was hiding.)

Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Lunny declined to elaborate on the nature of the tip because of concerns about retaliation.

“We’re talking about someone that shot and killed someone else and it didn’t apparently bother him at all,” Lunny said. “I don’t want that to happen to someone else.”

Posted on Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
Under: Aaron Kinney, San Mateo County, Sheriff's Office | 1 Comment »