Part of the Bay Area News Group

Health care call

By Aaron Kinney
Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 at 2:45 pm in Democratic Party, Health care, Hillsborough, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County

Rep. Jackie Speier is holding a town hall meeting by telephone tonight on health care reform. The call will begin at 6:50 p.m. and run for about an hour. To listen in or comment, call 877-229-8493. The PIN number is 13867.

We’ll be listening in as well for Speier’s take on the health care debate and to see if she gets any wacky death panel questions or other such nonsense.

For more on Speier’s position on reform, here’s a recent statement.

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More Peas

By Aaron Kinney
Monday, August 3rd, 2009 at 4:33 pm in Education, Redwood City, Schools

Here’s another photo from the appearance Saturday of apl.de.ap, Fergie and Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas at the dedication of the Peapod Adobe Youth Voices Academy, a art and music school in Redwood City. Where was Will.i.am? He couldn’t make it because he was sick. That’s the reason that was given anyway.

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Speier applauds decision to honor Harvey Milk

By Aaron Kinney
Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 1:20 pm in Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County

A couple bits of news out of the office of Rep. Jackie Speier today. First, she released a statement in response to President Barack Obama’s decision to bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on late San Francisco Supervisor and gay rights trailblazer Harvey Milk, who is among 16 recipients of the medal this year:

“I salute President Obama for bestowing our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, a civil rights pioneer who dedicated — and sacrificed — his life so that others might live in a world free of discrimination.

“My hope now is that, along with honoring the man, we also honor his work by making the United States of America a land of true equality and freedom. Harvey Milk will receive his real and rightful honor when our nation sheds the last vestiges of our intolerant past and recognize that all individuals are endowed with the same freedom to marry whom they wish, to seek employment judged on their qualifications and not their orientation, and to live equally with their neighbors in the pursuit of happiness and community.”

On a less serious note, Speier’s office passed along some items in The Hill, which recently profiled Speier’s communications director, Mike Larsen, who until recently was working as a comedy writer in Los Angeles, and included Speier and one of her assistants, Gina Gribow, on its list of the 50 “Most Beautiful” people on Capitol Hill.

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Good roads

By Aaron Kinney
Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 4:58 pm in Foster City, San Mateo County

Foster City is touting the fact that it received recognition for having really good roads. Best in the Bay Area, in fact. Yay.

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High-speed rail meeting on Saturday

By Aaron Kinney
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 at 11:28 am in Anna Eshoo, High-speed rail, Joe Simitian, Menlo Park, San Mateo County, Transportation

Rep. Anna Eshoo and state Sen. Joe Simitian will hold a town hall meeting Saturday to discuss the California High-Speed Rail project.

The meeting will take place in Menlo Park Council Chambers, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, call 650-688-6384 or 408-277-9460.

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County students excell at Berklee College of Music

By Aaron Kinney
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 at 11:24 am in Burlingame, Education, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Millbrae, Moss Beach, Portola Valley, San Mateo County, Schools

Who knew there were so many local kids attending, and thriving at, the Berklee College of Music in Boston?

We got an email today saying that eight students from San Mateo County made the dean’s list for the 2009 spring semester, meaning they had GPAs of 3.4 or higher:

– Lauren Blocker, Portola Valley
– Thomas Hass, Moss Beach
– Kelsey Luongo, Hillsborough
– Nate Marsh, Millbrae
– Torin Martinez, Half Moon Bay
– Chayah Miranda, Millbrae
– Heather Rose, Half Moon Bay
– Christopher Sullivan, Burlingame

Congrats to all these students.

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More photos from controlled burn

By Aaron Kinney
Thursday, July 9th, 2009 at 2:35 pm in Environment, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, San Mateo County

Here are three photos that didn’t make it into today’s paper of a controlled burn Wednesday in the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve.

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District conducted the burn in conjunction with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The district issued a statement today saying weather conditions were favorable and the burn was completed in about four hours:

“The burned area will serve as a fire break during the hotter, drier late summer and fall months, will help control invasive weeds like Harding grass, and increase the abundance and diversity of native California grasses and wildflowers next spring.

“Controlled burns are one of several tools MROSD uses to manage grasslands in the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve for the health of the environment and to reduce fire hazard. Four controlled burns have been successfully implemented at Russian Ridge since 1998, and have proven effective in controlling brush, reducing invasive plants, and improving the native grasslands, which are adapted to periodic fire. As a result, Russian Ridge has become a popular Bay Area destination to see spring wildflowers. Other techniques used in combination with controlled burns at Russian Ridge include grazing, seeding, mowing, bio-control insects and selective herbicide application.”

The burn also provided “a valuable opportunity for local fire agencies to practice wildland firefighting and interagency coordination,” according to the statement. “Firefighters from CAL FIRE, the La Honda Fire Brigade, the King’s Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Palo Alto Fire Department and the Ben Lomond Fire Camp as well as rangers from the City of Palo Alto and MROSD participated.”

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Accused killer of Draeger’s employee to stand trial

By Aaron Kinney
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 9:42 am in Crime, San Mateo

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Edwin Ramos, an alleged gang member charged with shooting to death Anthony Bologna, who was a night manager at Draeger’s in San Mateo, and two of his sons, will stand trial.

A San Francisco judge found there is a enough evidence to try Ramos following a preliminary hearing. Bologna’s surviving son testified in the hearing and identified Ramos as the man who opened fire on the family’s car.

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Major Mavericks drama

By Aaron Kinney
Sunday, June 28th, 2009 at 10:19 pm in Half Moon Bay, Mavericks, San Mateo County

Jeff Clark, the man who discovered Mavericks, issued a statement Thursday in response to the announcement earlier in the week that he had stepped down as contest director of the Mavericks Surf Contest. Here’s the statement in full:

“Over the past several years, it has been obvious that my vision and priorities are not in line with those of Mavericks Surf Ventures. I have had in the past, and continue to have, strong differences of opinion with the present CEO and Board about the direction, image and priorities of the company and the contest.

“The press release issued by Mavericks Surf Ventures this week stating that I ‘stepped down’ and I am ‘passing the torch to the next generation’ is wrong. The reality is that I was ousted as contest director by the current CEO.

“I must also note that, while the company’s news release states that this year’s contest will be held to celebrate ‘the 35th anniversary of Jeff Clark’s first session at the now world-famous break,’ the 35th anniversary is actually next season, in 2010-11. I will not allow the company to use my accomplishment as a marketing tactic.

“Effective today, I have resigned from the board of directors of Mavericks Surf Ventures.

“My vision for the Mavericks Surf Contest has been unwavering: It is about the family of big wave surfers, the spirit of the ocean, and this amazing wave. I never wanted that to be compromised for the sake of money or marketing opportunities. I think that focus is obvious to anyone who knows me or who has seen my priorities over the years.

“Mavericks has been an integral part of my personal and professional life for more than 30 years, and I hope that it continues to be a part of both in the future.

“I wake up looking at Mavericks, and I have watched and surfed those waves most of my life. I started the contest 10 years ago, and I can say one thing for sure: Mavericks is Mavericks. The waves will come – or not – when they will.

“The one thing I would truly regret would be to see a committee deciding, based on sponsorship money and media opportunities, when the best day to run the contest would be, and have it turn into just another 10 foot swell with a lot of hype and not a lot of substance. Any true Mavericks surfer wants and deserves a real test of ability.

“I wish everyone well, knowing that Mavericks will always take care of itself.

“I wish I could say more at this time, but I have had limited time to absorb these changes and will have more to say about this situation as things become clearer.”

Wow. The Mercury News had a brief story Friday on Clark’s statement that included an interview with Mavericks Surf Ventures CEO Keir Beadling, who took a couple veiled shots at Clark, saying it would be “sad” for anyone (Clark?) to think Mavericks is about just one person.

He also said, “There’s been a long-term sense of tyranny that we’re now out from under.”

Basically, it looks like Beadling thought Clark was too picky and capricious when it came to selecting a contest date, while Clark doesn’t want marketers to hold contests when the waves aren’t right just to make a buck.

The Times will have more on this feud, which simmered for a long time and has now broken fully into the open, early this week, I’m sure.

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Eshoo on health care reform

By Aaron Kinney
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 at 2:53 pm in Anna Eshoo, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Health care, Republican Party, San Mateo County

So here, finally, is an account of our recent conversation with Rep. Anna Eshoo on the issue of health care reform.

We wrote on June 10 that Eshoo had been pilloried as a flunky for the health insurance industry by a writer at The Daily Kos, the prominent liberal blog.

Eshoo had been quoted as saying there aren’t enough votes in Congress for a singer-payer option, which is progressives’ great hope for establishing univeral health coverage.

(It should be noted that since we spoke with Eshoo, prospects for the inclusion of a robust public option in a health care reform bill, which seemed dire, appear to have improved.)

Eshoo — who as a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health will have a hand in shaping the House bill — was adamant when we spoke that the bill will contain a public option and that everyone will be included, meaning coverage will be universal. Critics, however, say that, unless the option is single-payer, meaning the government would set up a single fund to cover the expenses of those involved in a government plan, it is unlikely to actually achieve full coverage.

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