The Farsider

October 2, 2014

 

Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher <bilmat@comcast.net>
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster <leroypyle@sjpba.net>

 

The Farsider is an independent publication that is not affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or its membership.

 

 

 

THE LAST FAMILY PHOTO


The photo and comment below were posted on Facebook last Sunday by Lauren McNamara Barrus, one of Joe's two daughters, and the children are two of Joe's four grandchildren. The other daughter — Karen McNamara Rust — will provide the eulogy at today's Memorial Tribute at the California Theatre that will get underway at 10:00 a.m. and be followed immediately by a reception at the POA Hall.

Last Family Photo, July, 2014, Carmel, CA


Missing all three of them! Will see my children Tuesday, and am seeing my sweet father in every bird, every rose, and in every beautiful thing there is. Every day he lives and loves on in my heart. ~ LB — with Joseph McNamara.

• • • • •


Produced by POA Graphic Artist Nicole Decker, this is the program that will be provided to everyone attending today's memorial at the California Theatre.

Front



Center


Back




 

LUIS HERNANDEZ MEMORIAL SERVICE REMINDER



2:00 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5th
San Jose POA Hall
1151 N. Fourth St.
San Jose

 

PENSION NEWS


The gloves have come off for many local, state and national races, not the least of which is to determine who will sit atop the mayor's throne in San Jose for the next four years. To the extent that the Mercury News can be fair and balanced, this is how the paper tried to show the difference between Cortese and Liccardo. We are positioning this article under this Pension News column because the next mayor will have a direct impact on City retirees, both now and in the future…

Police, Finances at Forefront of Mayor’s Race

—Cortese urges more cops while Liccardo stresses fiscal prudence—

By Mike Rosenberg 
<mrosenberg@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Sept. 29, 2014


SAN JOSE — Two glossy ads now arriving in San Jose mailboxes tell the story of the mayor’s race: In one, a man in dark clothes and a black wool cap peers out threateningly with a crowbar, ready to break into a house, a reminder of the thugs that the police union say have been turned loose under City Hall’s watch. In another, cutup credit cards and a warning about runaway spending argue that the race is more about making sure your tax money is protected.

Yes, the mayoral runoff to replace termed-out Mayor Chuck Reed is starting to heat up as the race reaches its final five weeks.

Dave Cortese, a Santa Clara County supervisor, is aiming to depict San Jose as a crime-ravaged city that needs to spend more money on its officers to restore the short-staffed police force. But the candidate who placed first in the June primary doesn’t have a clear plan on how to pay for it.

His opponent, Councilman Sam Liccardo, is running on a campaign of maintaining the fiscal responsibility and pension reform efforts of Reed, and he warns that his rival will return San Jose to the days when soaring costs of exorbitant employee benefits gobbled funds for staffing and services citywide. But those policies have left the police department understaffed and struggling to lure recruits.

San Jose’s 413,000 registered voters already have started receiving mailers from both candidates and the independent union or business groups that support them. In all, well more than $1 million is expected to be spent on the race leading into the Nov. 4 election, and it could be the highest-spending mayoral race in the city’s history.

With mail ballots being sent out Oct. 6, the race is only now kicking into full gear. The schedule of candidate forums, the first objective polls and an expected onslaught of media coverage through the next five weeks follow a subdued summer in which both candidates recouped financially and strategically from a tough primary.

In that race, Cortese captured one-third of the vote by using the same spend-more-on-crime message, and he was funded significantly by powerful unions. Liccardo received large backing from big business groups and got about one-fourth of the votes, beating out three other ideologically similar council members in the race who also ran campaigns focusing more on fiscal responsibility.

The candidates — both Democrats in the nonpartisan contest — hold largely similar views on key issues such as traffic, parks and the environment, so the November race will largely hinge on how voters view their differences in fiscal and public safety plans.

“I think they both have pretty strong cards to show,” said Chris Roth, president of Willow Glen Neighborhood Association. “Sam is stressing his record on fiscal pragmatism so the city can actually stay afloat, whereas Cortese has a really strong point on his own about cops — people can call and wait forever.”

Liccardo, who has gained the support of Reed and two of the council members ousted in the primary, is doubling-down on his fiscally conservative message from the primary. He hopes voters who in June 2012 overwhelmingly passed a key pension reform ballot item called Measure B still want fewer of their tax dollars going toward city employee compensation.

“I think they get the basic fact that if you run out of money, you can’t hire cops,” Liccardo said, citing the huge unfunded retirement plans the city started dealing with last decade, which helped lead to service cuts such as police layoffs. “If you believe that resolving issues means going backward and offering pension and retirement benefits that got us into a $3 billion hole, then sure. But we don’t have the money to do it.” Cortese, meanwhile, wants to settle the lawsuit the labor groups filed to eliminate many of the pension reform measures voters approved. Cortese argues that the measure won’t hold up in court — it already was largely struck down in a lower court and is being appealed — and the city is wasting money defending it while angry employees continue to flee.

By settling the pension battle, Cortese figures to halt the years-long war between City Hall and the current police union and other employee groups. That, in turn, would lead to fewer police officers quitting for cities that offer better compensation and will result in an increase in cadet recruits who have been shying away from San Jose as it struggles to rebuild its police force.

“I’m asking voters to trust me to pull San Jose together again,” Cortese said. The current battle between City Hall and the police force “has been costly in a number of ways. What we’re hearing back from people is, ‘You’re right. We don’t feel safe in our neighborhoods.’ ” 


 

• • • • •
 


This recommendation by the paper doesn't come as a surprise, and it could have a significant impact on who will be San Jose's next mayor. But one never knows.

Liccardo’s Still Best for S.J. Mayor

Mercury News Editorial — Sept. 28, 2014


Has ever a mayoral race in San Jose gotten this dirty this early as the one between Dave Cortese and Sam Liccardo?

Mail-in ballots are the reason. They arrive next week, and people can vote immediately. But candidates and their supporters reveal themselves more fully as campaigns unfold.

It pays to take a close look.

In the mayor’s race, we recommended Sam Liccardo in the primary and still believe he’s the best choice for many reasons. But today we’re going to talk only about public safety because it’s supremely important and because of the fear-mongering campaign by Cortese and his supporters, who would have us believe San Jose’s level of safety now is somewhere between Detroit and Mosul.

As the mail arrives each day, take it with a grain of salt. No, a shaker. No, the whole Morton’s carton with the little girl on it.

Based on the San Jose Police Department’s own numbers, crime is not spiraling out of control.

The number of violent crimes, both actual and per capita, was down in 2013 compared to 2012 — and even compared to 2008, Cortese’s last year on the city council. Burglaries are up since then, but even they dropped a bit in 2013.

Don’t take our word for it. Ten years of statistics are on the police department website: <www.sjpd.org/CrimeStats/crimestats.html>

Also check out the FBI statistics available back to the 1980s at <www.ucrdatatool. gov/Search/Crime/Crime.cfm>. It shows higher crime numbers in the 1990s than today.

The figures are cold comfort to residents, who feel less safe now — and that matters. But they’re a starting point for thinking rationally about the leader San Jose needs.

Cortese said at a forum last week that pensions were fully funded when he left the city council to join the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. But city records show that in 2005, there was a pension liability of $371 million, and by 2007 the retiree health care shortfall was as much as $1.67 billion.

Today pension and health care liabilities together total $2.97 billion. Along the way, taxpayers’ annual contributions to pensions and retiree health care have gone up $200 million compared to 10 years ago.

In the 2014-15 budget, the cost will increase $38.5 million over this year’s.

Sam Liccardo was part of a council majority that faced the city’s financial challenges head on. It would have been easy to, say, float pension obligation bonds, as labor persuaded the county supervisors to do a few years ago.

It’s a form of gambling on the stock market, and the county lost money on it.

In San Jose, Mayor Chuck Reed and a council majority instead set about cutting costs and working to reduce unfunded obligations. That was the impetus for pension reform and Measure B. But despite nearly eight years of austerity, budget projections still show small deficits in three of the next four years just to maintain current service levels. So we ask, as voters should: If Dave Cortese hopes to restore the police department to its high of around 1,400 positions from roughly 900 officers today, as he says, where will the money come from? Liccardo, too, wants to rebuild the department.

Everybody does. Response times, prevention programs and investigative units need to be restored to service levels residents expect. But the fundamental problem remains a lack of resources — unless the next mayor wants to push the city further into debt and into greater risk when the next economic downturn hits.

Liccardo would rather settle litigation over Measure B, as Cortese would, than continue the court fight — but only if real pension savings are an ironclad part of the deal.

The difference is, Liccardo is honest and realistic about what San Jose can do. Police scoff at his ideas to make the department more efficient, but most are already in use in other departments.

Public safety unions, retirees and labor in general are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect Cortese. They expect a payback. Look carefully at who’s behind campaign mailers, and think about who’s being straight with voters. It’s Liccardo.


 

POA UPDATES



Sept. 30th

Come by the POA next Tuesday for your flu shot!







Oct. 1st

Knock Don't Talk

 
Sample ballots have been mailed out. Absentee ballots get mailed out next week and voting will start. This weekend we will be delivering door hangers to voters in Raul Peralez's district for him and Dave Cortese. We will not be talking to voters, just delivering literature and walking away.

Door Hanger Drops 
Saturday October 4th and Sunday, October 5th
10am-12pm shift 1
12pm-2pm shift 2 
1151 North Fourth Street, San Jose.
Lunch will be provided.


We will also be doing phone banking on Sunday October 12th at 4pm @ South Bay Labor Council. (Don't worry the 49ers play on Monday) We will have a room reserved and you will be calling voters and reading a short script. Please RSVP to <nicole@sjpoa.com> or call the POA office 408-298-1133 so we can reserve space at the call center. If you speak Spanish or Vietnamese we will have phone lists in those languages available. In language calls are very powerful so if you are bilingual please come help out and make some calls.  

2102 Almaden Road #114 San Jose CA, 95125


Lastly we are hand writing small messages on mailers like (Dear xxx thank you for supporting Dave Cortese) that will be mailed out to voters. You can take a stack home with you fill them out and return them to the POA. Stacks of cards and instructions will be available at the POA office for pick up starting Thursday October 2rd. 

For any campaign related questions please call or email James Gonzales at 510-551-8218 (cell) or at <gonzales@sjpoa.com>

If you don't select one of the many ways to volunteer make a donation to one of your candidates. Your future depends on it.

<www.raulperalez.com>

<www.davecortese.com>

 

You can use the POA's address for reporting purposes:
1151 N. 4th St.
San Jose, CA 9511



 

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE CITY AND SJPD


We carefully review the Mercury News every day searching for anything that deals with the political ins and outs of the SJPD, City pensions and anything else we feel might be of interest to retirees, especially those who live outside the area and don't subscribe to the paper. Either we missed the following in the regular edition of the Mercury News, or it appeared only in the online edition, which we do not review. In light of the fact that the paper chose to ignore the press conference of the four former SJPD chiefs a few weeks ago, we can understand why the Mercury News may have tried to downplay this piece that showed a byline date of May 31st.

Rob Davis, Bill Lansdowne and Lou Cobarruviaz: Cortese Can Restore Pride in Police Ranks

By Rob Davis, Bill Lansdowne and Lou Cobarruviaz
Special to the Mercury News — May 31, 2014


We support Dave Cortese for mayor of San Jose, and we'd like to tell you why.

As former chiefs of the San Jose Police Department, we understand all too well the dire straits in which our department currently finds itself.

We didn't just lose 400 officers over the last six years. We lost literally centuries of police experience that will be difficult to replace -- patrol officers who knew the community, detectives with thousands of closed cases under their belts and future leaders groomed to take leadership roles.

We are losing them because City Hall essentially made them the scapegoats for poor budget decisions and a bad economy. As a result, they were willing to transfer to other police agencies to regain respect for their work and to secure better wages, benefits and working conditions.

As San Jose voters select their next mayor, it's important to go beyond campaign rhetoric and carefully examine the candidates' records and actions. That's because the next mayor cannot restore our community's safety without convincing hundreds of new police officers to join an agency where they will be paid less than their Bay Area peers, inspiring our existing officers to stay during the rebuilding process and closing the trust gap that currently exists between our police officers and City Hall.

This effort will take more than a new "plan" mentioned in any campaign mailers. Candidates who believe they can solve this crisis all on their own don't understand the process or the challenges ahead.
Advertisement

During our tenures as chief, we've seen many proposals from politicians fail because the leaders refused to engage in meaningful and respectful dialogue with all stakeholders. San Jose cannot afford this type of failure when it comes to protecting its residents; it will take a mayor with a proven record of collaborative leadership along with support from police officers at every rank level, for we are in a crisis.

It is a leadership crisis, and it's why we believe Dave Cortese is the best candidate for mayor.

We know the dynamic tension and challenges of working with a police union when running the Police Department. However, for many years we always enjoyed a mutual respect and willingness to do what's best for the public, even if we disagreed on how to do it.

Simply blaming our rank-and-file officers for budget woes is a poor way to avoid the hard work necessary to solve very real fiscal challenges, and rebuilding trust will be hard work. We know it will take collaborative leadership to heal our Police Department, reduce increasing crime levels and restore San Jose's public safety.

Make no mistake about it, we also recognize that San Jose and other cities across the country are struggling with tough fiscal challenges, and the new mayor and public safety unions will need to address them. Yet while we recognize that all of the candidates in the mayor's race are honorable people who have San Jose's best interests at heart, not all of them possess the type of collaborative leadership style that can lead to real solutions.

Unfortunately, all of Cortese's opponents supported the failed policies that have decimated and demoralized our police force.

We strongly believe that Dave Cortese can bring everyone in the community together to heal the wounds caused by the well-intended but poorly planned and executed attempt to reduce the costs of city services at the expense of public safety. We know a collaborative leader can leverage earned trust to push the unions outside of their comfort zones and achieve much-needed fiscal savings.

A trusted leader can begin the healing process our city and department desperately need so we can once again be America's safest big city.

Dave Cortese is that proven leader, with a track record of bringing opposing sides together to solve problems. Dave can help provide our police officers a reason to stay and give new police recruits a reason to come work in San Jose. We support him, as should San Jose's voters.

Rob Davis was San Jose's police chief from 2004-2010, Bill Lansdowne from 1998-2003 and Lou Cobarruviaz from 1991-1998. Chris Moore, chief from 2011-2012, concurs in the opinion. They wrote this for this newspaper.


 

MAIL CALL

Sept. 25th

Hi Bill,

Attached it a flyer about this year's concert at Sacred Heart Church. All the retired guys and gals in my age group, and younger, would have danced (or sat on the side afraid to ask someone) to the music of The Letterman. After more than 50 years, they are still on the road about 50 weeks a year singing the songs we all fell in love with so many years ago. All the information to get tickets is on the flyer. Call or email soon. The concert is already half sold out.

Bruce
 (Hodgin) <brucehodgin@yahoo.com>


Ed. — More info about the Lettermen concert, including embedded videos, can be found by clicking HERE.

 

• • • • •

 

Sept. 25

Hello again Bill,

John Diehl was hired on the same day as myself and many others in September 1965. Attached is an academy class photo from November 65. I'm on the end at the far right of the top row, next to Bruce Fair. John is in the middle row, fourth from the far right. If I am recalling correctly he went almost directly into undercover work.

Bruce (Hodgin) 
<brucehodgin@yahoo.com>

 

John Diehl, 1965


This is not a quiz, and no response is expected or asked for, but it should exercise some of the dormant brain cells in you "old timers." Put on your cheaters or get out your magnifying glass and see if you can I.D. the following individuals in the 1965 academy class photo above. The following names were provided to us in no particular order by Pete Guerin, who is second from the right on the bottom row. But Pete is the first to admit that he was unable to identify all of the SJPD cops.

Gary (Thompson) LaRault
Bruce Hodgin
Jack Morris
Charlie Belveal
John Trussler
Jerry Albericci
Mike Destro
John Kracht
John Diehl
Ken Herrmann
Lou Cobarruviaz
Chuck Blackmore
Rich Arca
Dave Bartholomew
Paul Farlo
Jim Silvers
Bruce Fair
Pete Guerin

 

• • • • •

 

Sept. 25th

Bill,

I met John in December 1969 when we were both assigned to the swingshift downtown area. I was a rookie and he had been on a couple years, and he was a very different sort of a guy. He had a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and did not start out to become a police officer. He had a very dry sense of humor that had been sharpened by his observations as a police officer. He saw the humor in almost everything around him. It wasn't limited to the citizens alone, it also included his fellow officers and especially the administration. At roll call he would sometimes make very insightful comments that would bring a laugh to everyone in the room.  I'm sure he had been counseled on his comments more than once when no one was around. I know he did not have a prejudice bone in his body, but his acid wit was not avoided as a result of the political correctness of the '70s. John was one of the most honest intellectual men I knew. Back then we did not have the rule of ten. He was promoted to sergeant the first time around and proved to be a very popular and capable patrol supervisor, although he wasn't what one would call a cop's cop and would never be invited to any of the special units. Some might say he spent too much time at Bruni's at the end of watch.

John's outspoken ways caught up with him and he lost his job over a very minor infraction, but it didn't slow down his enjoyment of life. He was the captain of a boat that ran fruit between the islands in the Caribbean for a while. He then worked as a private investigator back here in San Jose for a couple of years. I lost track of him after that and had not seem him in awhile. I know he had the misfortune to outlive two wives who suffered long disabling illnesses. His son told me he spent many years taking care of his mother who lived to be 100.

I don't know if any of this is of interest to anyone. I always thought John was one of the most interesting men I had ever met. He had his flaws, but he was also one of the most honest men I knew. I also found him to be intellectually challenging. He often caused me to reevaluate those around me and the environment I was in when I was a police officer in the 1970s.

Daniel Jensen <danieljensenlaw@yahoo.com>

 

• • • • •

 

Sept. 28th

Bill,

John's death was not surprising. The final decade of his life, which began on such a high note, turned so tragic and painful that by its conclusion living had become unbearable. Ten years ago John was more content than I ever expected him capable, several years married to a bright and lovely woman, living a life that had him wanting for nothing. Meeting Shirley O'Flynn had been the lucky break he never expected or saw coming, but one he came to truly cherish. Theirs looked to be a pairing for the long run, but fate saw things differently. With Shirley's diagnosis of ALS, John was abruptly thrust into the role of caregiver and helpless observer. Years of watching the woman he adored suffer and waste away left him drained of his energy and spirit. With Shirley's passing in 2013, John's anguish devoured him.

The final sixteen months of his life was spent in a residential community originally selected to better suit Shirley's needs, but her rapid decline and death just weeks before the planned move put John in a quandary. As much as he didn't want or need to live in a senior center, the setting and location of the cottage they'd reserved was ideal, in part because it moved him twenty miles closer to his mother. He took the place and, other than sharing one meal a day with the old folks in the cafeteria, had all the privacy he could want. 

John settled in and tried to get himself up for another run at life. He did not lack for creature comforts or courage, but he struggled mightily to find either purpose or pleasure. He tried to fill his time satisfying his intellectual interests, but even the most habitual solitary pursuit is easily sabotaged by loneliness. He had trouble "getting into" the books and other interests that once gave him pleasure, his challenges made worse by a sudden and debilitating hearing loss. He visited his 100-year-old mother daily, but that final year at her bedside only aggravated his grief and disillusionment as she, a pragmatic, retired college professor, wanted nothing more than a benevolent ending to her marginal and miserable existence. That ending finally came three months ago, regrettably on Shirley's birthday.

The sole bright spot during this last year was his son's move here from Washington state, which gave John a chance to enjoy a relationship that had for decades been muted by distance. But it wasn't enough. Neither were friends (I could feel the distance growing; our August lunch felt like an uncomfortable first date). The reality was that nothing could bring him back into the fold. The stubbornness and certitude that saw him through so many chapters of his interesting life was now closing the book on him: he was angry and in pain, convinced he was not going to get better, and, cognizant of the longevity in his line, unwilling to suffer interminably. 

I knew John Diehl for the best part of four decades, meeting him ten years into his police career, a decade during which he proved himself in a variety of assignments, earned a promotion, and, as I learned from our many conversations, made friends and shared adventures that he valued right to the end. I say this because, whatever disagreement or distance that might have found its way into those many relationships, in his recalling of those days of glory I never heard from him anything worse than regret for old connections lost. 

I felt compelled to write this out of respect for my friend, a fiercely independent man who, ironically, had his finest hour not as a headstrong adventurer but as a loving and caring human being. Shirley Diehl's lucky break was having John at her side during her tragic ordeal, attending to her every need, loving her to the very end. 

The ALS that crippled and killed his wife is what crippled and killed John Diehl. He suffered through his last few months on this earth waiting to see his mother set free, and only then did he prepare for his own departure. True to form, John attended to his own exit with extreme care, addressing every detail so as to lessen the burden on his loved ones. Fittingly, his last request was that on the death certificate his vocation be listed as "caregiver."

(Name withheld by request)

Ed. — Included with the above was this photo of John and Shirley that was taken just prior to her diagnosis in 2004.

 

• • • • •

 

Sept. 29th


Ed. — This item from Tom Brewer is directed to you Facebook users…

Bill, Can you cut and paste this information in the next "Farsider?" I think it is critical for your readers who participate on Facebook to check their FB activities.

Mr. Cortese,

Please be aware that I believe someone from the Liccardo campaign is posting fraudulent information on Facebook!

There are more and more persons discovering posts that show "I like Liccardo's Posts" which cannot be further from the truth!


This post was discovered by Richard Calderon and was never posted on my timeline! Rich discovered several other Cortese supporters who have had a similar post on FB advising they like "Sam," and they have never seen the original post that would have allowed them to comment. They are also infuriated that this occurred without their knowledge or consent.

I am extremely upset with this post as it is "fraudulently posted" and definitely shows an issue with integrity, honesty and ethics within the "Liccardo Camp."

I have publicly stated that I have endorsed, donated and assisted on your campaign. I am a member of Team Cortese.

If I was still the Chief of Investigators at the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office my Investigator assigned to the "Government Integrity Unit" would be investigating this issue!

Thomas E. Brewer
Chief of Investigator's (Retired)
Office of the District Attorney
County of Santa Clara

• • • • •

 

Sept. 29th

Bill,

Back in the early part of September I made a request as to what the strength of our PD is now? And what is the total number of street officers that are patrolling the streets? How many shifts do we have, and with any overlapping, what is the maximum numbers of officers at any one time? Then what is the population of SJ for comparison in relation to how many men are trying to support how many people at any given time? I requested this info from the POA office but never received a response. Perhaps you can find out for me.

It is so sad for the troops now. I was one of the lucky ones that were there when we were the number one department of large cities having the lowest crime with the fewest officers per capita. It's a shame that all of today's officers and even the staff will never know what we have had. 

Thanks Bill, I'll be 87 in December and still proud.

Leo Plinski #1215 (Ret.)

At 87, not many of us are surprised you are retired, Leo. It's likely that you didn't receive a response from the POA because of the amount of time it would take for someone to research your questions. While the answers you seek are somewhere in cyberspace, preparing the Farsider each week is so time consuming that I can't spare the time, either. Perhaps one of the readers would like to accept the challenge of answering your questions and will email them to you. Good luck. 

 

• • • • •


The rest of this week's Mail Call column refers to letters sent to the Mercury News.

Based on this first one, it sounds like SJPD's independent police auditor got her feelings hurt by Herhold's column that appeared in last week's Farsider. <www.sjpba.net/Farsider/092514.htm>

IPA Disagrees with Columnist’s Viewpoint

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Sept. 29, 2014


Scott Herhold’s opinion (Page 1B, Sept. 25) about the qualifications for my position is uninformed and offensive.

Between judge Teresa Guerrero-Daley, San Jose’s first Independent Police Auditor, and me, we have 17 years of experience in this job. And both of us are lawyers.

Internal Affairs (IA) investigates police complaints and determines whether officers have engaged in misconduct.

Our office audits those investigations and analyzes IA’s conclusions. Our legal analyses assess if IA’s conclusions are proper. Legal training is critical to this assessment.

The IPA staff who perform these audits are lawyers. And because the audit process is confidential, no one outside of our office is permitted to scrutinize our work.

The IPA office is a model that works because we have legal training. The job description drafted by judge Guerrero-Daley and me, and approved by the city council, reflects years of experience of two IPAs who successfully led the office.

I promise not to tell Herhold how to do his job; it would be nice if he would promise to do the same for me.

Judge LaDoris H. Cordell (Ret.)
Independent Police Auditor City of San Jose

~ ~ ~


Our former Asst. Chief also had something to say about Herhold's column on the independent police auditor. It also appeared in last Monday's paper…

Reed’s actions raise transparency issues

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Sept. 29th


Scott Herhold’s column (Page 1B, Sept. 25) regarding changes to the job qualifications of the independent police auditor raises larger questions about transparency. San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant questioned why there had been no discussion on the proposal and why the mayor fast-tracked it onto the consent calendar in less than a week?

Increasingly, when councilmembers raise concerns about the lack of council discussion or stakeholder/public input on an agenda item, the mayor’s response is, “Well, let’s talk about it now.”

Input was not solicited from the chief of police nor other key stakeholders, including the police officers’ association and, most importantly, the community. This is not “open government.”

Perhaps the end result would have been the same, but the mayor created this policy in a vacuum and then tried to slip it through on the consent calendar. Is this a harbinger of how he intends to conduct his last three months in office?

Dan Katz
SJPD Retiree, Danville

~ ~ ~


We're not through yet. On the same page as the two letters above was this one about city pensions from a former SJFD fire chief.

Raising Retirement Age for Firefighters Unwise

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Sept. 29, 2014


So, the city of San Jose just changed the retirement age for new firefighters, requiring them to work until age 60 before retirement. What a shortsighted “solution.”

This change will end up costing the city and ultimately the taxpayers in the long run.

Firefighter injuries and deaths will increase dramatically during their last 10 years of required work.

Even if you support pension reform, this change will not result in the projected savings.

In the end, the cost of injuries and disability from these changes will cost more than the projected savings.

This policy is a shortsighted attempt by politicians to “fix the problem” knowing they will be gone when the truth plays out. Actuarial data supports retiring at 55 as appropriate from both a physical and financial standpoint.

Hopefully, clearer minds will prevail and this policy will be amended before it’s too late.

Jeff Clet
Former San Jose Fire Chief

~ ~ ~

Fair and balanced? The Letters page in the Mercury News the following day (Sept. 30) included six letters, two of which were these. Fair and balanced?

No More ‘Golden Eggs,’ Just a Well-Run City

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Sept. 30, 2014


I disagree completely with Jim Unland’s analysis of Measure B (Opinion, Sept. 23). San Jose was (is) headed down the road taken by Vallejo, Stockton, San Bernardino, Detroit and many other cities and municipalities all over the country. Dave Cortese’s approach would return San Jose to being a “bankruptcy waiting to happen.” I haven’t heard Sam Liccardo advocate anything other than trying to find a balance between providing fair and equitable compensation for our public safety personnel and what we, as a community, can afford to pay for their services. Jim Unland and the POA are primarily interested in protecting the golden goose that has, for a number of years, been laying golden eggs. It is time for the POA to join the vast majority of residents and find a realistic and sustainable solution to the budgeting demands for the city as a whole. It is time to halt the temper tantrums and move forward. I trust a voice of reason and moderation. I support Liccardo for mayor.

Jack Knoll
San Jose

~ ~ ~

 

Thoughtful Liccardo Top Choice for San Jose

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Sept. 30, 2014


The articles and editorials I’ve been reading about the integrity of Sam Liccardo do not surprise me. He had a second row seat in my seventh-grade science class at Sacred Heart Grammar School, so I think I can vouch for his honesty, his diligence to his work, and his concern for people. His work was his own, always complete and correct, and on time. He was always thoughtful, respectful, and considerate of the teachers and his classmates.

These are traits critical for the person who leads the city as mayor. I have every confidence that, if elected, Sam Liccardo will carry on as always and be very effective as mayor of San Jose.

Agnes Krug
Saratoga

~ ~ ~

Finally. Yesterday's paper included one letter to the editor that didn't tout Sam Liccardo as San Jose's would-be savior, maybe because enough people like me emailed the Editorial Page Editor Barbara Marshman and yelled "Foul." Although the letter wasn't what could be described as pro-Cortese, it's about as close as the Mercury News was willing to publish…

Liccardo’s Policies Affect the Crime Rate

Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Oct. 1, 2014


The editorial supporting San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo for mayor of San Jose (Editorial, Sept. 29) includes a distortion of the crime problem by not reporting the statistics on how many of the hundreds of burglaries and other property crimes are investigated and solved.

Ditto for vehicle thefts. How many recovered? How many officers cut from that unit?

Seeing more graffiti? The San Jose Police Department ended the unit that investigated the incidents and the taggers.

One cannot use a small reduction in violent crime to argue that the policy that Liccardo supported and will continue to have no consequence on the crime problems facing the city.

Ken Colson
San Jose 

 

REGISTER NOW FOR THE CHAPLAINCY GOLF TOURNAMENT




We have only had 56 people register for the SJPOA Charitable Foundation's 7th Annual Chaplaincy Golf Tournament. At a minimum, we need 100 people registered in order to reserve the golf course, otherwise we will have to cancel the tournament. Please register by Tuesday, October 7th so that we can continue to support the Chaplaincy through this fun event!

You can register online now by clicking HERE.

We are also in need of raffle prizes if anyone has any connections.


 

POLICE MILITARIZATION IS BACK IN THE NEWS


This detailed article made the front page of the Local Section in last Sunday's paper. We "borrowed" the photos of the vehicles from Google Images...

Post-Ferguson, a Rethinking

—Prudent use of soldiers’ gear in civilian settings presents challenges—

By Karina Ioffee and Robert Salonga — Staff writers
Mercury News — Sept. 28, 2014


The images from Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager were startling to many: peaceful protesters, including families, community leaders and pastors, confronted by police wearing camouflage, sitting atop hulking armored vehicles, their assault weapons trained on the crowd.

The backlash touched off a national fire storm about whether today’s police departments have sunk too deeply into the paramilitary functions they’ve increasingly taken on since the advent of the modern SWAT team in the 1960s.

But the discussion was a familiar one in the Bay Area well before Ferguson, especially after the Occupy Oakland protests in 2011, and more recently at smaller protests like one last year in Richmond.

The Ferguson case prompted a new round of introspection, with some Bay Area agencies taking to heart the renewed criticism over the use of military equipment they have acquired from federal grant and surplus programs, items valued at an estimated $460 million.

Military vehicles used by police come in all shapes and sizes (from Google Images)


With community sensitivities in mind, the San Jose Police Department last month sent back a 15-ton mine-resistant, ambush-protected troop transport vehicle, or MRAP, it received from the Department of Defense earlier this year, making it the only Bay Area police force in recent memory to approve such a significant giveback.

“Every agency has to determine what’s best for them, for their community,” said Dave Hober, SJPD deputy chief of field operations. “Our discussions were already occurring when Ferguson happened. This was a decision for San Jose, and at this time we thought it was the best thing to do.”

View our database of what former military equipment Bay Area police agencies have received from the U.S. Department of Defense at <www.mercurynews.com/data>.

South San Francisco police Lt. Mike Remedios, whose department will keep its surplus MRAP, said that heavy equipment in police hands doesn’t have to be a problem, provided officials are transparent about its use. “With Ferguson and everything else, we’re under the microscope,” Remedios said. “We want to build some equity in public trust and say, ‘This is the reason we have this.’ ” But critics say no amount of training and explanation can nullify the daunting image that a 12-foot-tall armored vehicle sends to citizens. “When police have all this battle gear, you have to really ask, ‘Who are they protecting?’ ” said Chauncey Robinson, a spokeswoman with the Bay Area All Lives Matter Coalition, which formed after the Ferguson protests and urges police departments to return their military surplus. “It only makes people feel more intimidated, like their communities are some foreign land that is being occupied.”

During a rally last year in Richmond, police approached protesters while dressed in tactical gear and carrying batons and pepper ball launchers while protesters sat in a “docile” manner on the street, recalled Capt. Mark Gagan, a SWAT commander, who said that “officers came dressed for a fight, brought an edge.” The response drew searing criticism and some rethinking. In August 2013, the same force of cops had their batons holstered, did not wear helmets, and kept their launchers stashed in the patrol cars. When they arrested 210 people for civil disobedience, there was little to no ruckus. “If you want to show there are consequences for breaking the law, you can do that without intimidating them,” Gagan said. “Equipment, tactics, body language, those things really determine how things unfold when you make arrests and take enforcement. I’m not as proud of my police department in the first instance as much as the second.”

The MRAP seems to be the most common (from Google Images)


It’s a similar story in Oakland. A heavy-handed response by police during the Occupy Wall Street protests there in 2011 prompted more than 1,000 complaints of misconduct and led to more than $6 million in legal settlements for injuries. Today, the entire force has been trained to better understand the First Amendment and small teams of officers can infiltrate a crowd and remove troublemakers without drawing weapons, officials said.

Like many, Oakland’s police department received millions in grants from the Department of Homeland Security, funds it has used to purchase several big-ticket items such as armored personnel carrier, known as a BearCat, a negotiations team command vehicle, and all-terrain vehicles outfitted with speakers, used to communicate with protesters during Occupy.

But the department has grown more sensitive about the negative impression and continually seeks to reassure citizens that they are needed, said Oakland police Sgt. Holly Joshi.

“We’re very aware of how important public perception is and we want to make sure that our practices are progressive and legitimate and that we are taking communities concerns seriously,” Joshi said.

American Civil Liberties Union officials have steadily criticized what they call the “growing militarization” of local police, noting that even small suburbs are in an eternal state of readiness for armed showdowns that seem unlikely to come. The organization issued a national report earlier this year on the use of military weapons in SWAT operations where agents reportedly broke down doors, threw residents on the floor and pointed rifles at them while they search for mostly low-level drug offenders.

“There are an estimated 50,000 raids a year in the United States. That’s 124 every single day,” said Will Matthews, a spokesman for the ACLU of Northern California, citing the report’s claim that only 7 percent were “true hostage or barricade situations.”

U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, acknowledged a need for a review about whether the programs are necessary, saying San Jose officials are striking the right balance between protecting officers and working to earn trust by deciding to return the MRAP before concern was raised.

“We need to have a well-equipped set of first responders, but that doesn’t mean we should or want to turn the local police into a military force,” she said. “That’s not what anyone wants. If we’re talking radios, that’s one thing. If we’re talking tanks, that’s something entirely different.”

Lofgren continued, “I don’t want to minimize the danger first responders can face, especially when people are posing are threat, but you can turn a controllable situation into an uncontrollable situation depending on how you set up the cues.”

Several police veterans interviewed for this story said their sensibilities were forever changed after the North Hollywood shootings of 1997, where two robbery suspects with automatic weapons kept outgunned Los Angeles police officers at bay for nearly an hour, injuring 11 officers and seven civilians before dying in the gun battle.

It’s one reason Pete Constant, a San Jose city councilman and former police officer, takes issue with SJPD’s decision to return the MRAP.

“We have to realize these are situations our officers may have to respond to, and should be able to match or one-up the use of force by criminals,” Constant said. “You can do that without having a paramilitary state in your city. As long as officers are not in fatigues or combat gear on patrol, you can strike that balance.” 


 

IS THIS PROOF THAT MONEY AND LIBERAL POLITICS CAN'T BUY YOUTH?

 

One of the criteria we use to determine if something makes it into the Farsider is based on how many readers submit a particular item. Five is the magic number; when we receive the same item from five different subscribers, we give it strong consideration. With seven submissions, this item from the Tea Party News Network made the cut. To read it on the Web, click HERE, otherwise continue below...

Leftist Barbra Streisand Compares Obama to a ‘God’ and a ‘King’

By Alex David — Sept. 26, 2014
Tea Party News Network
 

Well, ultra-rich, and ultra liberal “Babs” is at it again, heaping praise upon Obama and his “achievements."

Making the rounds promoting her new album, she sat down this week for an interview with the Associated Press and as usual, politics entered the conversation. She voiced nothing new, proclaiming as usual, her loyalties to the Democratic Party, her wish for Hillary to run, how women are still regarded as “second-class citizens” and this praise for Obama: “I think we have advanced with Obama, and I think people are giving him a hard time, which is not fair because this Affordable Care Act is working and it’s going to help a lot of people. But it’s like Greek tragedy, you know, they always try to bring down the gods, bring down the kings, bring down the leaders.

Oh my, there is just so much in that quote. Let’s break it down, shall we?

“We?" Who is she referring to? Certainly not the average working and middle class American. For us, wages are down and net worth has plummeted. Home ownership is down. Food prices, gasoline, energy and rents, all up. High paying job prospects is dismal. The Labor Participation Force is at a record low with almost 93 million potential workers not participating in August 2014. For monitories, things are worse.

There is one group for which her claim rings true: 1%’ers like herself. If by “we” she means folks like her, the uber-wealthy, she’s right on. For the rich, things are swell. Really swell. According to Bloomberg Business, the richest of the rich became $524 billion richer in 2013 alone. The Dow Jones is breaking record after record. You can bet that Bab’s investment portfolio has grown nicely under her favorite President’s stewardship. I have no problem with any of this other than the hypocrisy of ultra wealthy liberals like Streisand. I do not mean to eschew the rich. I only wish wealthy liberals would embrace and celebrate their wealth instead of making excuses for it.

As for the Affordable Care Act, what would she know about it? Do you think she even knows what a health insurance bill looks like? She is so far removed from the perils of ObamaCare she has zero credibility to champion it.

My favorite part of her aforementioned quote is a classic Freudian slip. Yes, Bab’s, we all know that you rich progressive liberals think of Obama as a King; A god. And we proletarians are mere subjects not invited, as you are, to His Court.

For those struggling and in need of charity, you’d be better off hoping that more of the richer rich are conservatives, not liberals like Streisand. Why? Because study after study shows they give considerably more to charity than folks like Funny Girl.

 

THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
     
Sept. 24 through Sept. 30


President Obama is facing criticism over an incident yesterday where he was holding a cup of coffee in his hand, and then used that same hand to salute a Marine. Though with all that's going on in the world, I'm surprised he didn't salute with a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

President Obama said that over 40 countries have offered to help the U.S. fight ISIS. Of course they said it the same way your friends do when they promise to help you move. "Yeah just call me, you know, if I'm around. It'll be fun."

The federal government is starting to plan for climate change by making extended forecasts that can help people plan for extreme weather — because what can go wrong when you combine the efficiency of government with the accuracy of weathermen?

Honey Boo Boo's Uncle Poodle announced that he just got engaged to his boyfriend, Alan. The family was shocked. They said, “What kind of name is Alan? Shouldn’t his name be Pork Rind or maybe Chicken Wing?”

Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that he is resigning after five years with the administration. Obama said, "Wait, you can do that?"

Political reporters are complaining that the White House has been asking them to edit some of their stories to make the president look better. The White House said that's not true, and those reporters should please change what they said.

Bill Clinton said that riding wild horses in Mongolia and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro are on his bucket list. When asked what was on her bucket list, Hillary said, "Come on. Don’t make me say it. You know what it is."

Snoop Dogg is investing in a new app that helps people trade stocks more easily. It’s the first stock app that encourages people to both buy and sell high.

Derek Jeter got the game-winning hit in his final game at Yankee Stadium. Guys on the other team could've thrown Jeter out, but they were busy trying to get that ball for themselves.

Jeter had the game-winning single. That must’ve been a once in a lifetime moment for him. You know, only getting to first base. Doesn’t really happen that much for Derek Jeter.

The Department of Defense unveiled a new policy that will let undocumented immigrants serve in the military. Is it me, or does that just sound like a sneaky way to get rid of immigrants?

Today Russia announced that it will join America’s fight with the terror group ISIS. Then Putin said, "But I did not say which side."

This weekend the world said goodbye to one of the greatest players of all time. That's right, George Clooney finally got married.

Congratulations to Chelsea Clinton, who gave birth to a baby girl named Charlotte on Friday. Or as Hillary described the baby, “Third in line to the throne.”

Chelsea Clinton gave birth to a baby girl. And get this, she's already said her first word: "Iowa.”

Yesterday, Kenyan runner Dennis Kimetto ran the world's fastest marathon by finishing the Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 2 minutes, and 57 seconds. He also set another record by being the first guy from Kenya to be named Dennis.

Last night rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo made his debut for the New England Patriots after Tom Brady made a ton of mistakes during the game. Even Garoppolo's family said, "Oh, we came to see Tom Brady."

The NFL recently hosted a football workshop in China. Unfortunately, most kids just ran when they heard the word “workshop.”

UPS is bringing 3-D printers to stores across the country so that customers can make their own products. It's all part of the new UPS business plan — going out of it.

Harley-Davidson is recalling more than 100,000 motorcycles because of a problem with the clutch that could cause crashes. As opposed to that other thing that causes crashes: dads in a mid-life crisis who have no business riding a Harley.


President Obama is being criticized for saluting a soldier while holding a pumpkin spice latte. Today he sincerely apologized while eating a maple glazed doughnut.

The Secret Service is considering several new measures to keep people from trying to get into the White House. The first thing they're going to do to keep people out is put up a sign that says "Blockbuster Video."

The federal prison population has dropped by almost 5,000 people. It's expected to go back up once the NFL season ends.

In an interview, Kim Cattrall said there could be another "Sex in the City" movie. An hour later, ISIS surrendered — there's only so much they can take.

Today is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year and the year 5775. Jewish scholars keep track of the number by counting the candles on Larry King's birthday cake.

The NFL has filmed a PSA warning women about breast cancer. That's a good thing. Then they filmed a PSA warning women about the NFL.

George Clooney got married in Italy. His bachelor party was held over the course of the last 30 years.

You may be able to tell from my voice that I have a little bit of a cold tonight. But it's nothing that can't be cured by applause.

Microsoft has announced it's going to open its first flagship store in Manhattan. The Microsoft Store is expected to be just like the Apple Store, but without all of those pesky lines in front.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has not appeared in public for weeks. There are rumors he's sick due to too much cheese, fried chicken, and beer. Sounds like someone is applying for American citizenship.


Today is the Jewish new year — 5775. It's hard to believe we've been doing this show since 5754.

There's a picture of President Obama getting off his helicopter and he's got a cup of coffee in his hand, and he salutes the Marine guards with the cup of coffee. It's all part of the new Jerry Seinfeld series, "Presidents in Helicopters Getting Coffee."

President Obama addressed the U.N. today. Coincidentally, on the same day Chris Christie addressed the International House of Pancakes.

It's quite a responsibility for the president to address the U.N. Yesterday he spoke on climate change. Today he spoke on terrorism. And tomorrow he talks about how to buy real estate with no money down.

They've had security problems at the White House. Last weekend a couple of guys hopped the fence and ran in. One guy got all the way in and made himself a sandwich.

White House security problems won't happen anymore. They've decided that at night — it doesn't make any difference what's going on — they're locking that front door.

Security is so tight now that they've asked members of Congress to circle the White House — because that way nothing will get past.

Derek Jeter's final home game is tonight here in New York City. Derek Jeter has five rings. That's about the same as a Kardashian. But you admire a guy who knows when it's time to retire, you know?

It's already autumn. Can you feel the difference in the seasonal change? Let me give you one sure example that it's autumn today. President Obama got off of a helicopter, and saluted a Marine with a cup of hot cider.

Yesterday was Derek Jeter's last home game, how about that. Jeter is 40 years old now. He's unemployed, and I'm thinking: Well, good luck getting a supermodel girlfriend now.

Chris and Bruce Jenner are getting a divorce. If for any reason Bruce is ever arrested for any crime of any sort, being married to a Kardashian counts as time served.

Bruce Jenner is putting on a brave face. His plastic surgeon said it would be ready Thursday.

Over the weekend, George Clooney got married. Matt Damon and Julia Roberts were there. What was it, a wedding or a heist?

Evil dictator Kim Jong Un has not been seen in three weeks. I hate it when a recluse disappears, don't you?

Kim Jong Un didn't even show up at Clooney's wedding.

Congratulations to Chelsea Clinton. Over the weekend, she gave birth to a baby girl. The baby girl will not confirm or deny whether she's running in 2056.

Your applause makes up for me not being invited to Clooney's wedding.

The bachelor party is still going on after George Clooney's wedding. He's been having a bachelor party for the last 20 years.

Last night the New England Patriots got routed 41-14, and a Kansas City Chiefs player was fined because he was in the end zone praying. That's different than the New York Jets. They pray to get INTO the end zone.

A mailman in New York City was arrested because they found 40,000 pieces of mail in his basement. The mailman said he didn't deliver the mail because he was too lazy. He just didn't have that special drive that it takes to be a mailman.


London, England, was named the world's most expensive city. A loaf of bread in London costs $8. A tube of toothpaste costs . . . I forgot, they don't use toothpaste.

London is expensive. I've lived there. How expensive is London? London is so expensive, Prince Charles is renting out his ears to make extra cash.

London is so expensive that Prince Harry can't afford to wear pants.

When Oprah shops in London, she has to use coupons.

It's Johnny Appleseed day. It's a real day to celebrate the famous guy who went around America sowing his seeds wherever he went. He was the 19th century Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Today is a day to celebrate trees. But wait. Don't trees already have Arbor Day? You're getting greedy, trees.

CBS announced they're working on the new show "Supergirl." Supergirl made her first appearance in Action Comics in 1958. So she's 56 years old. In other words, she is just coming up to the age where she will be right for the CBS demographic.

I'm not familiar with Supergirl. I grew up in Scotland. We didn't have a Superman or Supergirl. Just a potato. Gazing at the potato in wonder. And the potato would sit there majestically.

This looks like a job for Super Potato! Taller than grass. Able to leap . . . not much. And tastes great too.

George Clooney is off the market. Clooney and his bride got married in Italy on Saturday, and two days later they are still married! The wedding was so beautiful, it already won six Oscars.

Matt Damon was at the wedding, but Ben Affleck was not. That's because the Italian church has a very strict "One Batman" rule.

My advice to Clooney is to remember that marriage is complicated. It starts out pretty good, but then there are long rough patches, times when you want to leave. Oh, no, wait. I was thinking of "Oceans 13."

It will be strange seeing George Clooney with a wedding ring. Seeing Clooney with a wedding ring is like seeing Mel Gibson with a yarmulke. Or like seeing Matthew McConaughey with a shirt on. Or like seeing Honey Boo Boo with shoes. Or like seeing the Lakers with a victory. Or like seeing Bruce Jenner with a wrinkle.

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps is in trouble. He was arrested for his second DUI. Because he is an athlete who is repeatedly in trouble with the law, today he was made an honorary member of the NFL.

Prince released his first new album in four years today. I haven't heard it yet. I only listen to music that Apple forcibly puts on my phone.

The Patriots got crushed last night 41-14. Some people are saying it's all over for quarterback Tom Brady. Because without football, what does he have left other than his money, Super Bowl rings, and supermodel wife?

The Patriots were tackling worse than the White House security team. Tom Brady had more bad throws than the pillow section at Bed, Bath & Beyond. And there were more fumbles than during a Joe Biden speech.


The White House posted a video that got people upset. The president saluted two Marines with a cup of coffee in his hand. It's not the first time Obama's done something like this. Remember that time he said The Pledge of Allegiance while holding a Hot Pocket? Or when he visited an aircraft carrier with a $5 foot-long? The man never learns.

By the way, the worst part of the whole coffee thing? They got the president's name wrong on the cup. They had "Sunblock Yomama."

Today an Indian spacecraft reached the orbit of Mars. Not only did India succeed on their first attempt, they did it on a very modest budget — $74 million for the mission. Which happens to be, truly, $26 million less than it cost to make the movie "Gravity."

Congratulations to India. They were able to keep the mission’s costs down by outsourcing all of the work to themselves. And who knows, if it keeps going, in a few years, maybe we'll have the first call center on Mars.

Remember Mike "The Situation" from "Jersey Shore"? He was indicted yesterday on tax fraud. He and his brother didn't pay on $8.9 million of income. Maybe he thought he had to pay taxes only on the money he deserved?

The new iPhones are out and some are complaining that their phones are bending. They say if you squeeze the ends hard enough, the phone will bend. And if you hit it with a hammer, the phone will break. Here's an idea. Don't bend the phone.

If you do bend the phone, wrap it around your wrist and tell people it's the Apple Watch. You'll be the first one to have it.

It's National Coffee Day today. Legend has it that coffee was discovered in the sixth century by an Ethiopian goat herder. He built a stand out of branches from an olive tree and started charging the goats $6 a cup for them. And the rest is history.

One of the most expensive coffees in the world is made by feeding beans to a creature-like cat. It eats the beans and they travel through its system, and when they come out the beans have a rich, mellow flavor. The guy that figured that out must have really loved coffee.

At one point or another, most everyone that drinks coffee has had his name spelled wrong on a coffee cup. I have a friend named Joe, and even his name has been spelled wrong. Not only is his name Joe, but they call coffee Joe, so it's the one name they should know how to spell.

McAfee, the Internet security firm, released its annual list of the most dangerous celebrities to search for online. The world's most dangerous person to search for online is me. If you search my name, there's a 1 in 5 chance you'll land on a malicious website. It's an honor just to be nominated, but to win this thing!

Who would have guessed that a boy who used to carry a briefcase to junior high and play the clarinet would wind up being the most dangerous person of 2014?

“SpongeBob SquarePants” is the subject of government criticism in Kazakhstan. According to their education ministry, SpongeBob is "a self-absorbed bully who regularly inflicts violence on others and seems to enjoy it." Well, of course SpongeBob is self-absorbed. He's a sponge.

You know what, Kazakhstan? If you don't like “SpongeBob SquarePants,” change it to your other channel. That's why you have two.


Over the weekend, Bruce Jenner and his wife of 23 years, Kris Jenner, filed for spinoffs.

According to reports, the Jenners will split $60 million in their divorce settlement. That number raised a few eyebrows. Not theirs, of course, but a few.

Several lingerie companies have started setting up bra-fitting events in offices, called "bra parties." Meanwhile, in offices in China and India, people are working.

Wal-Mart is launching a new mobile checking account app. It's designed for that small percentage of Wal-Mart customers who are mobile.

Attorney General Eric Holder said today that he will resign after five years in office. When he heard about this, President Obama said, “Oh, he’s my ride. I gotta go.”

Tonight is Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium. He’s finally coming to the end of an amazing career that spanned over 20 actresses.

What a weekend it was. Derek Jeter and George Clooney both quit playing.

George Clooney finally got married this weekend in Venice, breaking the hearts of delusional aunts everywhere.

Chelsea Clinton gave birth to a daughter named Charlotte this weekend. Hillary Clinton was really excited until she remembered that you have to be 18 to vote.

A 102-year-old Long Island woman celebrated her birthday this weekend by going to White Castle. Services will be held tomorrow morning.

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps was arrested early this morning for drunk driving. Police say Phelps aggravated the situation when they tried to give him a breathalyzer and he held his breath for six minutes.

It was reported today that the recent security breaches at the White House could cost the director of the Secret Service her job. Luckily, after she’s escorted out of the building, it should be pretty easy for her to get back in.


 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF SEPT. 27, 2014

The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox

 



Is this happy-faced spider real, or was it photoshopped?


New Articles

• List purportedly documents 'racist quotes' from radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

• Has President Obama ordered the military to enlist "illegal immigrants"?

• X-rays purportedly document a man in China whose body became riddled with tapeworms due to his eating sashimi.

• Has the FBI confirmed that there were no murders in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012?

• Has Facebook cracked down on couponing groups?

• Will people taking pictures in nature be subject to fines thanks to the U.S. Forest Service?

• Have two Ebola victims risen from the dead?

• Was a giant shark similar to Megalodon captured this week?

• Does Florida woman Jasmine Tridevil have three breasts?

• Was Jasmine Tridevil found dead in her home?

• Image circulates of officer in Ferguson wearing "I am Darren Wilson" wristband.

• A man was stabbed with a syringe by an unknown assailant and told "welcome to the HIV club."

• The new iPhone 6 may bend if carried in a pocket.

• Did a Texas 'cannibal pedophile' death row inmate request a child as his last meal?

• Images show President Obama disembarking from Marine One with a cell phone or coffee cup in his hand.

• "Angry feminist" bakes inappropriate cookies for young students, gets angry when the treats are rebuffed.

• Two policemen delivered a pizza after the delivery driver was involved in an accident.

• Letter to the editors urges atheists to get out of America.

• Did Starbucks quietly add a beer latte to their menu?

• Has a Christian mom rewritten the Harry Potter novels to exclude witchcraft?

• Anchor Charlo Green quits during live news broadcast.

• An online magic trick reads the minds of those who try it and determines which symbol they chose.

• Are new iPhone 6s contaminated with the deadly Ebola virus?

• Did Obamacare death panels kill an elderly woman named Dorothy Zbornak?

• Is Facebook planning to institute a monthly charge for users?

• Are 'love bugs' the result of a genetic experiment gone wrong at the University of Florida?

• Is Texas about to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational use?

• Does Chase Bank no longer allow cash deposits to be made by non-account holders?

• Photograph purportedly shows a 'happy face spider.' Is there really such an arachnid?

• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!


Worth a Second Look

• Was a mayoral election in Ecuador won by a foot powder?


Still Haunting the Inbox

• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.


Fraud Afoot

• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.

 

THE LIGHTER SIDE & OTHER ODDS AND ENDS

 



Large or Full Screen recommended for YouTube videos.


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The little girl in the pic below is Hollie Steel, who performed on Britain's Got Talent a few years ago. After she began to dance, Simon Cowell was about to hit the buzzer ending her performance, then she broke into song and the rest is history. Have a LOOK and listen. (3 Mins.)




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If you ever had a marionette as a kid and remember how difficult it was to control, you will want to watch THIS clip of Ricky and Stix sent in by Alice Murphy. (3 Mins.)

 

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This technology is something straight out of Star Wars. It's basically a camera mounted on a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) that uses the equivalent of 368 imaging chips similar to what's in a smart phone. To appreciate what the camera is capable of seeing you need to watch this shortNOVA video, especially if you are fond of sunbathing nude in your backyard. (5 Mins.)



View from 3 miles up


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We can only see one thing wrong with THIS video footage of a wind storm in a Norwegian city: None of the girls are wearing skirts! (1 Min.)




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What a great idea KLM Airlines came up with to return lost items to their owners. The little guy in the photo BELOW is one of the first additions to the airline's lost and found team. (2 Mins.)




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Closing in on 6 million views, THIS Dancing Traffic Light received from Alice Murphy has significantly added to pedestrian safety, and you will be amazed at how it works. It appears that almost everyone on the street loves it, with the exception of the guy on the right who looks like he must be related to good ol' lovable Charlie Blackmore. (2 Mins.)



 

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Beyond the cost of dog food, the only other drawback we see to owning a St. Bernard is WHAT do you do when it doesn't want to let you up? (1 Min.)

 

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This is an interesting news CLIP from "Down Under" about a burka-clad Muslim woman who was sentenced to six months in the pokey after she played the race card against a police officer and (presumably) developed a red face under her veil. (5 Mins.)



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Can any of you guys perform multiple 90-degree push-ups like THIS 5-year-old Romanian gymnast? Giuliano Stroe started weight and flexibility training when he was two and has since broken several world records. How many can he do? Count along with his father. (2 Mins.)




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Want to know how to make Beatles pancakes? It's easy if you know how. Watch THIS guy turn pancake batter into Paul, John, George and Ringo. You can even hum along to one of the Beatles' hits while you are at it. (2 Mins.)



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I remember watching live this 800m run in the '72 Olympics called by the late Jim McCay. Do you? Next to the American hockey team beating the Russians in the so-called "Miracle on Ice" in the 1980 Olympics, this win by American runner Dave Wottle (bringing up the rear in the white cap) was ranked as one of the most exciting finishes in American Olympic history. Click here toRELIVE the moment. (5 Mins.)


And by clicking HERE you can relive the final minute of the Miracle on Ice. (2 Mins.)

 

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This is Johnny Mac from the University of Connecticut. He's known as the "Trick Shot Quarterback." Watch THIS clip and you will see why. (5 Mins.)

 

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While we still have football on the mind, we thought we'd INCLUDE what is being touted as the best fake punt ever. (1 Min.)

 

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Keep your eye on this crazy Celtics fan in the brown shirt. He may be fun to WATCH, but I don't think I would want to take a road trip with him.  (2 Mins.)



 

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Ever have a huge stingray ask to be fed by this fish lover? From his reaction, it doesn't look likeTHIS is the first time their paths have crossed. (1 Min.)

 

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Could this be the next Pele? Have a LOOK at the amazing things this kid can do with a soccer ball. (3 Mins.)

 

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Sometimes it's fun to look back at our youth, which is why we include this item every three or four years. For some of us, the three videos bring back fun and pleasant memories; for others, they generate a melancholy mood because they are reminders of good times that will never come again. It has probably been a few years since you watched these, if you even saw them at all. So how will they impact you today?



Click HERE to watch the Best of Times Pt. 1

THIS link will take you to the Best of Times Pt. 2

And clicking HERE brings up the Best of Times Pt. 3

 

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Cheers!


Pic of the Week

Unlike many women, this gal doesn't seem to be upset
at seeing someone else wearing the same outfit…