`Coffee with the Cops’ Part II: Police Chief Jim Leal

Ever wanted to speak to Newark Police Chief Jim Leal about something going on in your neighborhood, but had no idea how to contact him? Well, here’s your chance to talk to him face to face. Leal and Commander Bob Douglas are the two officers scheduled to participate in this month’s “Coffee with the Cops” event in Newark. The event is slated for 6 to 8 p.m. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 14, at Starbucks on Stevenson Boulevard at Balentine Drive. In case you show up and forget what to ask Chief Leal, just remember that he is a big San Jose Sharks fan, so that’ll break the ice, hopefully long enough for you to remember your question.


Newark city council candidate’s home vandalized

Nadja Adolf called this morning and said that her home was vandalized while she and her husband were out earlier today. Nadja, one of three candidates for city council, said when she arrived home she noticed that someone had chucked eggs onto her porch while she was gone.

“This is so juvenile, it’s unbelievable,” she said.

Nadja called police when she realized what had happened, and they have documented the incident. A police commander said they will increase patrols near her home.

When asked why she thought someone might have thrown the eggs, Nadja pointed to the fact that she was running for council, is an environmentalist, does not like gangs and opposes Measure L, the city’s proposed utility tax.

Nadja is running against incumbents Ana Apodaca and Alan Nagy, all of whom appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.


Newark Mayor David W. Smith for Governor?

Yes, you read that right, Governor.

East Bay resident Wynn Grcich spoke at the Newark City Council meeting Thursday  and opened her 20-minute speech — which focused largely on water issues throughout the region — by urging the state’s longest sitting mayor (Dave Smith)  to run for Governor. She lauded Smith’s leadership — particularly his effort in helping Newark maintain a fairly balanced budget over the years — and offered to run his campaign. She opined that if San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom could run — ever after leading his city into more than $300 million in debt — that Smith should try his hand.

Mayor Smith chuckled and remarked “only if I can take all of these people (the council and city staff) with me.”



SWAT training in Union City, not a real crime scene

For the second time in recent months, I’ve been tripped up by police scanner traffic that led me to believe there was an active SWAT incident going on in the Tri-City area.

In May I heard SWAT action on the Fremont police radio channels, and it turned out to be nothing more than a training exercise at a defunct car dealership. And today I heard similar static on the Union City radio channels. One big difference though: I didn’t race out there today with my notebook and press pass in hand. Instead I was able to confirm by telephone that stuff I was hearing was indeed a training exercise.

I suppose it’s a dead give away when you hear an officer calmly say “shots fired,” instead of screaming it as would be the case if the incident were real.

For you scanner junkies, be aware that this training will also be taking place tomorrow.


SWAT action galore; Fremont, Union City and Newark

Looks like all three Tri-City area SWAT teams were in action this morning. Fremont was involved in a stolen gun case, while Union City and Newark SWAT worked together to arrested a boy, 15, in connection with a shooting on Wednesday. For nearly up-to-the-second updates on crime in the Fremont, Union City and Newark areas, check out my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/benaguirrejr. Yes, we’re embracing technology.


Interim principal being sought for Newark Memorial

Last week, someone alerted me to a job posting for Newark Memorial High School in which district officials appeared to be looking for an Interim Principal instead of a permanent principal, which had previously been advertised. 

I placed a call to district Human Resources director Tim Erwin last week, but he was on vacation until today. In a phone message this afternoon, Erwin confirms the district is indeed looking for an interim principal for the 2009-2010 school year. He said the district interviewed a few candidates for a permanent position but didn’t like any of them enough to give them the job. Instead, the district has opted to seek a temporary principal for the 2009-2010 year, and then do a more thorough job search in the Spring with the hopes of naming permanent principal in July 2010.

If you recall, former Newark Memorial High principal Connie Spinnato did not give her notice of resignation until June, just a few weeks before the end of the school year. Ideally, a job search would have begun far before that, officials have said in the past.


Oops! Man accidentally booked on murder charge

UPDATE 2 (Thursday, 11:20 a.m.): Looks like the issue has been fixed.

UPDATE: It’s probably worth noting that this is Alameda County booking records, not Union City police.

When I got into work today, I decided to check the status of Angel James Mendez, the the man arrested yesterday in that shooting in Union City  that left a mother of two wounded inside her own home. Imagine how I felt when I saw the image above. Records showed the man was booked on a charge of murder (PC 187 F), not attempted murder (PC 187/664 F), as police had said.

In other words, it appeared that the woman had died. Well, that is NOT the case. This looks to be nothing more than a clerical error as the victim is still alive, according to two sources. Looks like Mendez’s case is scheduled to be reviewed by prosecutors on Thursday morning, and Mendez will make a court appearance in the afternoon if he is charged with any crimes.


Reminder: Newark City Council meeting tonight

In case you missed the memo or forgot, there is a Newark City Council meeting tonight (7:30 p.m., Newark City Hall, 37101 Newark Blvd.) to further discuss the proposed Utility Users Tax, which is on the November ballot. Looks like the city is softening it’s stance on the length of the proposed tax. Initially they wanted to implement it for 20 years if it passed, now they are looking at just six years. This proposed change, which the council will have to approve, is being made due in part to opposition from community members, Assistant City Manager Dennis Jones said earlier this week.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, you can follow the happenings via my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/benaguirrejr  I’ll do my best to provide updates throughout the meeting. There will be a story the following day.