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12.17.08

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Silicon Valley News Notes

Partying Like Pros

Apparently the New England Patriots worked up an appetite Sunday while demolishing the Raiders 49-26, so the following day, they drove down to San Jose to pay a visit to Morton's Steakhouse. Lucky for the old guys on the team, it was "rookie night," which means the newbies had to pick up the tab. And what a tab. A tipster informs Fly that the bill came to $30,000. That's a lot of surf 'n' turf, right? Wrong. "It was the Cristal," the tipster reports. "And the Louie." (For those of you who are not millionaire athletes, that's Cristal champagne, which retails at around $350/bottle, and Remy Martin Louis XIV cognac, which retails at around $3,000/bottle.) Don't fret, ladies, you didn't miss anything: Tom Brady was not there. And don't fret, Randy Moss haters, you didn't miss anything either; the former Raider superstar/problem-child skipped the party, too.


Rogue in the Ranks

About 10 men were arrested at club closing time at South First and San Salvador streets in the SoFA district early Sunday morning when several fights spilled into the street and a metal crowd control barrier toppled over. Police standing by quickly grabbed and handcuffed the suspected combatants to maintain order and assure a smooth, safe exit for patrons. Two officers, including entertainment zone head Sgt. Brian Kneis, videotaped patrons as they shuffled to their cars, a couple of whom paused to vomit on local businesses. After most of the clubgoers left the area, a Metro journalist snapped two iPhone photos of one handcuffed arrestee in the middle of South First Street surrounded by six officers and being held face-down on the pavement by one of them. An officer on the scene decided that was a little too much of the First Amendment for him and ordered the iPhotographer out of shooting distance. The iPhotographer held up SJPD press credentials and snapped one more photo. The officer cited the photojournalist for California Vehicle Code Section 21956 (b), which is intended to keep pedestrians from wandering out into unsafe traffic. (Traffic was not a problem since the street was closed at the time, since the suspect was lying next to the road striping in the center of First Street.) Club management later confirmed that two one-on-one fights occurred outside a club, one of which was brought under control by club security, the other by SJPD. The clubs-vs.-police controversy continues to be driven by bad apples on both sides of the issue. The 99 percent of club patrons who come to have a good time are being penalized for the activities of the few who can't control their drinking or their fists. And the good police work that the San Jose Police Department does in maintaining public safety, evident in the speed with which incidents on Sunday morning were prevented from spiraling out of control, is being tarnished by the occasional butthead who thinks citing a journalist or downtown patron on a technical violation is a proper exercise of his constitutional powers. SJPD wonders why it has an image problem? One law enforcement supporter looked at the tied-up arrestees and commented that it's getting harder to convict criminals in Santa Clara County. "That's the jury pool," he said with a motion to the eight or so guys sitting inside the paddy wagon. When police throw the net beyond troublemakers to make life unpleasant for well-behaved citizens, they lose community support. Attitudes toward policing in L.A. were a key reason for the failure to obtain a conviction in the O.J. Simpson trial. The same phenomenon can happen here if police brass doesn't control the rogues in its ranks.


She's Baaaackkk!

Just as Cindy Chavez was fading into political memory, the former councilwoman resurfaced as a consultant to the labor folks in San Jose. In a recent Merc article, Chavez said she would be working as a consultant with the South Bay Labor Council's Working Partnership group to help steer labor issues at City Hall. This is in the absence of SBLC executive director Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, who has decamped to Washington, D.C., to help the Obama transition team on labor issues. All of this planted the seeds that perhaps Chavez is positioning herself for something bigger—perhaps another run at higher office? Perhaps Assemblyman Joe Coto's seat? Or even another bid for mayor? (Ouch!) Some folks on the 18th floor dismissed this as not likely (perhaps exhibiting some wishful thinking). "She's happy now," one staffer was heard to remark. Chavez's husband, Mike Potter, who works for Assemblyman Coto, declined to comment on the possibility, saying he doesn't talk about campaigns while he's in the office.


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