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Fond memories of a pugilist

Pat Valentino and Ezzard Charles before their 1949 title bout

Pat Valentino and Ezzard Charles before their 1949 title bout

There’s nothing political about this, but it sounded like a good time.

Molloy’s Tavern in Colma held a memorial get-together last Sunday for San Francisco boxer Pat Valentino — a distant relative of silent film legend Rudolph Valentino — who died last month at the reported age of 88.

Tavern co-owner Blanid Molloy said the reason for the memorial is the bar’s celebration of boxing history and the fact that Valentino used to train in Colma. Valentino’s son Ken was on hand, in addition to a contingent of Teamsters (Valentino was a member) and fighters.

Valentino had a colorful history and a pretty good career as a heavyweight fighter. In a 2004 interview with the Oakland Tribune, Valentino recalled both a 1949 fight he lost to heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles at the Cow Palace and his regrets about his manager.

“I wish I had someone to advise me,” said Valentino, sounding more than a little like Marlon Brando in “Along the Waterfront.”

“I had to pick a manager who was a used-car salesman. He didn’t care about me,” Valentino continued. “When I got in the ring with Charles, my manager said to take it easy. I said, ‘Take it easy?’ He must have had money on Charles.”

Posted on Thursday, August 21st, 2008
Under: Aaron Kinney, Colma | No Comments »

America’s next Colma mayor

If you want to be the next member of the Colma City Council, there’s still more than an hour to rush over to City Hall and fill out an application!

The town is looking for someone to fill out the remainder of Larry Formalejo’s term, which expires in November. Formalejo resigned March 13 after an investigation found that he committed several ethical breaches while in office.

The forms must be filled out and returned by 5 p.m. The council will interview potential replacements at a meeting Thursday.

Here’s a brief quiz to see if you have the right stuff to serve.

Your son is arrested for driving on a suspended license and allegedly violating his probation for a drunk-driving conviction. Should you:

a) Bail him out of jail and give him a stern lecture.

b) Continue reading to your other children from their favorite bedtime story: the Colma General Plan.

c) Call the police sergeant who supervised the arrest and ask if he can make some of the charges “go away.”

d) Contact a magician to see if he can literally make the record of the incident disappear.

If you chose “a” or “b,” you may be a strong candidate. If you chose “c” — as Formalejo did, according to Linda Tripoli, an attorney hired by the town to investigate the former mayor’s alleged improprieties — then you should probably take yourself out of the running.

If you picked “d,” please call former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who would like to know if you have any referrals.

Here’s another one. True or false: Lucky Chances Casino, the local card room, is an appropriate place to use your town-issued credit card.

Give up? Well, Formalejo chose “true,” according to Assistant City Manager Laura Allen, who recounted the incident to Tripoli. (The city went with “false.”)

The point here is that it wouldn’t be hard to do a better job on the council than Formalejo, from a civics standpoint, if Tripoli’s report is to be believed.

It’s hard to decide what aspect of the Formalejo affair was strangest. How about the fact that even before he quit, Formalejo’s colleagues on the council didn’t see fit to censure or punish him? Or that he still doesn’t think he did anything wrong? (He said he resigned for health reasons.)

But the richest part of all this may be that Formalejo’s philosophy regarding his town credit card was so out of kilter that his former colleague on the council, Phil Lum, allegedly had to rein him in.

Lum, you may recall, is currently serving an 18-month prison term for failing to report gifts he received from the owner of Lucky Chances. But when Formalejo allegedly tried to bail his son out of jail after that 2006 arrest using the town credit card, Lum had to step in and be the voice of reason, according to Tripoli’s report.

Tripoli could not determine whether that allegation is true, because Formalejo refused to speak to her. Lum was unavailable, she said, as he is sitting in a federal prison roughly 30 miles southwest of Bakersfield.

Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2008
Under: Aaron Kinney, City Council, Colma, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Another look at Super Tueday


So where did it all go wrong for Barack Obama on Tuesday? He appeared to be gaining in polls of California voters leading up to the election, the Bay Area seemed to be a receptive environment for his campaign and he even looked to have run a better grassroots campaign in San Mateo County.

Meanwhile, the campaign of Hillary Clinton appeared to skirt the county, focusing on San Francisco and then skipping down to Palo Alto and Silicon Valley. For example, a listing of local events on Clinton’s Web site on the weekend before Super Tuesday contained multiple entries for Santa Clara County and not a single one for San Mateo County.

Several things appeared to have been at play. For one, we learned all over again that polls are fallible. In particular, a Zogby poll that showed Obama surging into the lead statewide turned out to be flat-out wrong.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 8th, 2008
Under: 2008 Presidental Race, Aaron Kinney, Barack Obama, Colma, Democratic Party, East Palo Alto, Elections Office, Hillary Clinton, San Bruno, San Mateo County | 1 Comment »