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09.16.09

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Silicon Valley News Notes

SJPD's Changing Of the Guard Downtown

Already reeling from the fallout from posted YouTube videos of a dance-floor rumble, downtown San Jose's beleaguered entertainment community was thrown another curve this week with the surprise reassignment of Lt. Larry McGrady to the East Side's Foothill Division. McGrady had promoted communication and improved relations between the San Jose Police Department and Entertainment Zone operators since being appointed to oversee the district in December 2008. EZ's prior head, Sgt. Brian Kneis, had been at the downtown post for three tumultuous years and retired from his position, which paid $147,000 in 2006, after McGrady was brought in to provide supervision.

Lt. Jeff Marozick will take over the Downtown Services Unit on Sept. 23. Lieutenants serve at the pleasure of Chief Rob Davis and can be reassigned at his discretion, while lower-ranking sergeants remain at their posts longer, police sources say. McGrady's appointment upgraded the downtown detail to lieutenant status, which will continue under Marozick. In a June 2009 interview, McGrady said he hoped to create a family-friendly downtown and had made some "subtle changes to the way we do things." Among the changes were reducing overtime and deploying officers in two-person teams to improve safety while halving the number of patrol cars on the street. McGrady spent time getting to know owners of entertainment businesses and worked with them to solve problems. "It's just simple communication," he said. "I think they're pleased with the openness." Leland C. Wilcox, the city's Downtown Coordinator, took the unusual step of announcing Marozick's appointment in an emailed message to club operators. "He has been a patrol officer in the downtown, was named 'Officer of the Year' in 1996 and has extensive experience in managing special events such as the Grand Prix, Amgen Tour of California and the Rock Roll Half Marathon," Wilcox wrote about Marozick. McGrady, an avid cattle roper, will go back to working days in the patrol unit. "He saved the city a lot of money" in lawsuits and overtime, one saddened club owner commented upon hearing the news.


Firefighters Who Fight The City, Not Fires

A four-hour work week and no danger of smoke inhalation? It seems that top three executives of San Jose's International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 230 union have been racking up an average of 39.6 hours a week in city-paid Union Time Off (UTO). According to the grand jury's findings, union president Randy Sekany and other fire officials have continued to receive full pay while slacking off on their fire captain duties, at the same time double-dipping into up to $39,295 a year of IAFF money for their union work. Local 230 officials reportedly used a total of 12,939 paid hours over the span of five years to fulfill their union duties—the union is contractually allowed to use as much time out of its normal on-duty work hours for union business as it pleases. Last year, the city denied two requests for paid UTO for union members to attend conventions and charity events, which prompted the IAFF to file a grievance with the city. In the grievance, union officials said they want three officials to be paid up to 36 hours a week, every week, for union business, which they interpreted as any event the union sees fit. As Fly sends this to press, councilmembers are preparing to discuss the Santa Clara County grand jury's report on this "abuse" of city funds.


SJSU Football Spartans Hurting

Fly feels sorry for the beleaguered SJSU football team. With the CSU budget cuts kicking in hard in the university's sports program, the Spartans traveled 500 miles by bus to L.A. last week for their season opener (the team used to take a 55-minute flight) only to get creamed by USC Trojans 53-3. Burn ... Then last Saturday, they were defeated 24-14 by the Utah Utes on their own turf. Double burn ... Their 71-year-old head football coach, Dick Tomey, is quoted in the SJSU Spartan Daily taking a plucky if not entirely realistic spin on the back-to-back defeats, saying, "I think the great thing about playing teams like the two we just played is they expose you for every weakness you have." Well, with a program punched with poor academic progress report scores and coach furloughs this semester, it's fair to say that SJSU football has a long way to go. Personally, Fly thinks that the fact that the SJSU marching band has replaced the standard football game musical fare of "Louie Louie" and "We Will Rock You" with instrumental renditions of cutie-pie pop-tart Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" may be to blame for the bad luck.

 

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