Oct. 23, 2014
Bill Mattos, Editor and
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster
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.
SHE-SAID-HE-SAID IS A RED HOT BUTTON ISSUE
This item from last Sunday's paper doesn't bode well if
it's true. But is it? The substance and tone of the
guest article authored by a former Academy recruit seems
to fit the Mercury News' ongoing negativity towards the
POA and the pension issue. Below the opinion piece you
will find a response that retired Capt. Tom Brewer
posted on his Facebook page hours after appeared in the
paper. And below Tom's message is a follow-up article
from Tuesday's Mercury News which, in turn, is followed
by a personal message regarding the issue authored by
POA President Jim Unland...
Urges Recruits to Quit
—San Jose needs more police, but applicants damage the
Elyse Rivas — Guest Writer
Mercury News — Oct. 19, 2014
I am a Latina who was born and raised on the East Side
of San Jose. I am a graduate of Bard, a prestigious
liberal arts college. I am also an attorney.
Over the years, my family and I have watched our
neighborhood transform from a relatively safe place to a
neighborhood plagued by drug dealers, violent crime and
an alarming number of homicides. Crime around the area
of Tully and King roads has grown like a cancer; and
like cancer, the problem seems to be spreading
throughout the city.
I wanted to be part of the solution. I applied for and
was offered a job with the San Jose Police Department in
As a recruit, I was required to attend the six-month San
Jose Police Academy program. During my time in the
academy, I was ranked academically No. 2 in my class by
But a few
weeks before graduation, I was forced to resign. I had
never before handled a firearm, and I was told by one of
the academy’s sergeants that he would recommend my
termination due to my poor firearm safety training
I believe that with additional training, I could have
passed the safety training component. But this is not
about sour grapes. Rather, it is a cautionary tale about
what I believe is a serious problem within the San Jose
The San Jose Police Officers Association (POA)
constantly complains that the department is understaffed
and overworked. The department’s leadership says it is
unable to fill the vacancies in its incoming academy
classes. My class consisted of only 29 recruits; when I
left, the number had dropped to 21.
The feeling I got while I was there was that the
rank-and-file officers are not invested in building a
bigger and better police force for San Jose. I believe
this because on the first day of the academy, our
orientation included the opportunity to meet Jim Unland,
the Police Officers Association’s president.
In no uncertain terms, he blamed Measure B for the
departure of hundreds of officers — and he told us that
it would be better for the department and for us if we
would just quit, right then and there. He said that our
employment with the department did not help the POA’s
cause in proving Measure B was killing the department’s
recruitment capabilities. He urged us to find jobs
elsewhere. He told us all of this as if he were doing us
As we listened to Unland, most of my fellow recruits and
I knew that our very presence in that room belied the
POA’s assertion. Measure B obviously had not deterred
us. To the contrary, we were excited about the
opportunity to join the department.
From a pool of more than 1,000 applicants, my class
yielded 29 hires. This means that it is harder to get
into the San Jose Police Academy (a 2.9 percent
admission rate) than it is to be admitted to Harvard (a
5.9 percent admission rate).
Has the department deliberately kept the number of
recruits artificially low at the behest of the POA? If
so, then Unland and his POA members have done a major
disservice to the people who live and work in San Jose.
Maybe I didn’t fit the San Jose police mold because I am
a woman, or because I am outspoken, or because I am a
lawyer. I was tossed from the academy because of my poor
firearm safety training performance, without being
provided the opportunity to undertake additional
department training. I would have thought that a police
department so desperately in need of good recruits would
have gone the extra mile to provide training. It didn’t
— and I have moved on.
I will be fine. But I worry about my community. I can’t
help thinking that there is something seriously amiss in
the San Jose Police Academy.
Elyse Rivas lives in San Jose and is substitute
teaching until she resolves her career goals. She wrote
this for this newspaper.
• • • • •
Retired Capt. Tom Brewer responded to the article above
on his Facebook page...
I always wonder about articles like this one by a guest
writer that appear in the Mercury News and purport to
state facts, especially around election time. This one
doesn't pass the smell test and is obviously biased
against the POA. I would have hoped that the Mercury
News would have performed some follow-up to the writer's
story with the police department like the KNTV
Investigative Team does.
I personally know the Chief, Asst. Chief, Dep. Chief and
Capt. who are in charge of hiring, firing and releasing
recruits in the academy. All are honest men and above
reproach. Three of the four are minority command
officers with the utmost integrity and would 'never'
allow what the writer states to happen.
Why hasn't the Mercury News contacted some of her
academy classmates to validate her story? Why hasn't the
paper contacted POA President Jim Unland and asked him
to comment? Is it because the Mercury News is attempting
to push the voters to its anointed mayoral candidate
(Sam Liccardo) while simultaneously trying to smear the
POA and Jim Unland as the reason for the loss of
recruits in the academy?
The writer obviously had some difficulties dealing with
firearms, and I would assume with other areas of the
hands-on training, but we will never know the facts
because of such a disservice by this newspaper and its
lack of clarity and journalistic integrity!
Neither Chief Larry Esquival, Asst. Chief Eddie Garcia,
Dep. Chief David Knopf, Capt. Dave Honda or the Academy
training officers would ever allow what was alleged to
• • • • •
The charge by POA President Jim Unland suggesting that
recruits "quit for the good of the SJPD and for
themselves" has turned into a red hot she-said-he-said
pissing match. Two days after Tom Brewer's Facebook
retort (above), the paper apparently decided it would be
wise to send a reporter to gather information about the
charge against Jim and the POA. Unfortunately, even if
it could be proven that the author (Elyse Rivas) lied,
the damage has been done, and we would support a lawsuit
by the POA against the Mercury News for not vetting
Rivas and her accusation prior to publication of her
article. Such a lawsuit wouldn't go anywhere, of course,
but we feel better for having said it.
Leader Denies Charges
—Police officers’ group president accused of urging
cadets to quit—
Mercury News — Oct. 21, 2014
SAN JOSE — The head of the police union on Monday denied
an accusation that he told academy cadets to drop out
because it would best serve them and the department —
allegations the mayor called “troubling” and vowed to
In a letter published Sunday in this newspaper, attorney
Elyse Rivas said Police Officers’ Association President
Jim Unland told a roomful of recruits at orientation
that “it would be better for the department and for us
if we would just quit, right then and there.”
On Monday, Rivas said that she could not say Unland used
the word “quit,” but maintained that the thrust of his
message was that the department would benefit by a
dismal academy showing to demonstrate the failure of
Measure B pension reforms.
“He said San Jose is not a good place to work, that it
used to be great, but the city cut our pension,” Rivas
said. “He said, ‘You guys being here doesn’t help our
cause. The more recruits we get, the worse it is for our
cause because we’re trying to show we can’t get people
in here.’ ” Rivas also said she was forced to resign
from the six-month academy program because of poor gun
handling techniques, which she believes she could have
passed had she been given additional training.
Unland said his routine orientation speech — which he
does on his own time as part of union duties — does go
into pension reform and its effect on officers and the
need to opt into supplemental disability insurance, but
he never told recruits to quit.
“If you are accusing me of educating incoming recruits
about benefits, I’m guilty as charged,” he said. “But I
was accused of telling them to quit right then and
there, and that’s a lie.”
The allegation comes in the midst of a heated mayoral
campaign that has union-backed county Supervisor Dave
Cortese running against City Councilman Sam Liccardo,
whose platform includes maintaining the current pension
Mayor Chuck Reed said that if Unland encouraged recruits
to leave during the orientation, it would be a
“violation of ethical code.”
“What was said and who said it has to be figured out,”
he said. “We’ve certainly had other complaints about the
police union interfering with recruitment, but this is
the most specific public case. That’s what makes this
However, the police union provided a statement backing
Unland from two officers who were at the meeting as well
as the union’s office manager.
“I have sat in on every single cadet orientation that
Jim Unland has ever spoken at,” wrote office manager
Joanne Segovia. “What Ms. Rivas alleges is untrue; at no
time have I ever heard Jim Unland tell the recruits or
any recruit to quit.”
But those critical of the union said they didn’t think
it was a stretch that Unland would make such a comment.
Since Measure B’s passage by an overwhelming majority of
voters in 2012, the city has seen an exodus of officers
and the union cites pension reform as the cause. Even
before the measure was on the ballot, editorials in the
union’s Vanguard publication urged members to leave an
agency they described as in decline. In fact, last year
the union hosted a job fair where other agencies courted
San Jose officers.
“I haven’t heard him say the word ‘quit,’ but he
definitely discourages people from staying,” said Robert
Gallardo, a retired Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy
who has served on various law enforcement boards in
close contact with Unland. “I have heard him say that
San Jose officers should leave after a year or two to go
to other departments.”
Rivas’ statement about her experience on the gun range
and the department’s lack of interest in improving her
performance was also disputed.
“That is an outright lie,” wrote firearms instructor Pat
Comerford of the San Jose Police Department in an email
to this newspaper. “I personally spent several
additional hours (at least seven) with her outside of
regular range time working on her firearms skills. I had
gotten her to where she was shooting well enough, but
her safety with the firearms still was not there.”
Rivas said she was blindsided by her dismissal and while
she received training in marksmanship, her failings in
gun safety were noted but remediation was not offered.
Reed called that grievance irrelevant to the issue, and
said the city will continue to look into what was said
at the orientation.
• • • •
This was Jim Unland's response...
Truth About the Elyse Rivas Lie
News should be ashamed of itself. This weekend I found
myself on the receiving end of an attack piece in the
form of a Mercury News op-ed authored by former police
cadet Elyse Rivas. I was not given the courtesy of a
phone call or opportunity to respond to Ms. Rivas's
lies. In her opinion piece, Rivas clearly and
unequivocally stated that I told the recruits in her
class on their first day of work that they should quit.
These are her words from the op-ed, "He told us that it
would be better for the Department and for us if we
would just quit, right then and there."
To be clear, I never said that or anything like that. In
fact, upon follow-up questioning by Mercury News
reporter Eric Kurhi, Rivas herself now says that she
could not say I used the word "quit." In the op-ed, she
says I did; upon further questioning, she's not sure?
This stinks. Here is a statement from two officers who
escorted that academy class that day and heard my
discussion with the recruits.
~ ~ ~
This email is in response to the article by ex-Police
Recruit Elyse Rivas where she alleges that she was told
to quit there on the spot and that her employment did
not help the POA's cause in proving that Measure B was
killing the department's recruitment capabilities.
Ms. Rivas attended the Orientation on Friday, May 15th,
at the San Jose Police Department. Officer Kevin Mank
and I escorted the Academy class during the orientation
while at the Police Administration Building. The academy
was divided into two groups. Officer Mank and I were at
the presentations regarding the POA benefits and at no
time heard Sgt. Unland tell the recruits to quit then
and there, and that they were not helping the POA's
cause in defeating Measure B.
In the article Rivas says this is not about "sour
grapes" when in our opinion that is exactly what her
article is about. If Rivas would have successfully
completed the academy, to the minimum standards per the
State of California, I wonder if she would have written
or been encouraged to write the article. We will never
Officer Greg Salas
Officer Kevin Mank
~ ~ ~
Also, here is the statement from Joanne Segovia, the POA
office manager, who has been present for all of the
orientation classes I have given over the last few
years. All three (Salas, Mank and Segovia) state
clearly and unequivocally that I did not tell the
recruits to quit. It's a lie.
~ ~ ~
I have sat in on every single cadet orientation that Jim
Unland has ever spoken at. What Ms. Rivas alleges is
untrue, at no time have I ever heard Jim Unland tell the
recruits or any recruit to quit. It simply did not
San Jose Police Officers' Association
~ ~ ~
To further challenge Rivas' credibility, please read the
statement below from a range instructor who worked with
Rivas. As you will see, she was given extra help. This
is another area where Rivas' op-ed claims don't match
reality. In her op-ed she states, "I was tossed from the
Academy because of my poor firearm safety training
performance without being provided the opportunity to
undertake additional Department training." She is not
telling the truth, she was given extensive one-on-one
~ ~ ~
To Whom it may concern:
I served as a San Jose Police Officer for 14 years and
am currently the Lead Firearms Instructor for the San
Jose Police Academy.
A letter was recently published in the San Jose Mercury
News from a former police academy recruit who resigned
from Class 21. The recruit was Elyse Rivas.
She made statements alleging that she "…was tossed from
the academy because of my poor firearm safety training
performance without being provided the opportunity to
undertake additional department training," and that, "I
would have thought a department...would have gone the
extra mile to provide training. It didn't..."
I dismissed Recruit Rivas from the range portion of
training. The dismissal was based on a culmination of
safety violations throughout the course of the 16 weeks
(to that point) that we had been doing range training. I
had seen her point her loaded pistol at her own arm,
other police academy recruits, and right in the face of
one of my fellow instructors.
She alleges that the department did not provide her with
additional training. That is an outright lie. I
personally spent several 'additional' hours (at least 7)
with her outside of regular range time working on her
firearms skills. I had gotten her to where she was
shooting well enough, but her safety with the firearms
still was not there. There are only 4 basic firearms
safety rules she needed to remember, but couldn't.
I have trained approximately 400 police recruits,
hundreds more active police officers, and countless
civilian clients in the safe and effective use of a
firearm. It is a serious business. Teaching firearms is
the bread and butter of my livelihood. The accusations
against the range program at the academy are a direct
attack on my profession and my program. They are
completely baseless and borderline slanderous.
I take these attacks personally and only want the truth
to be known, regardless of how much it hurts. Former
recruit Rivas was a danger to herself and everyone else
on the range, and I could not stand idly by waiting for
someone to get hurt or killed. The citizens of the City
of San Jose should be thankful that I helped prevent
such a dangerous liability from becoming a San Jose
Officer Pat Comerford
~ ~ ~
So why did the editorial board of the Mercury News allow
this now debunked accusation to be run in their paper?
It's simple. They back Liccardo and know that he is
losing this race. What you have witnessed this weekend
is a newspaper and its Editorial Board Editor lose any
semblance of credibility. Shame on them for stooping so
low as to print the ranting of a self-professed liar.
Jim Unland, President, SJPOA
More on this topic as well as the mayor's race appears
in the Trials and Tribulations column below...
Cortese is Right...New Leadership is Needed
night, San Jose Mayoral candidate and current County
Supervisor Dave Cortese called for new leadership at the
POA and City Hall. He did so during this NBC interview,
and I am told he also said something similar at a
Mayoral debate on Monday.
you may have been surprised by the Supervisor's remarks.
You may also be surprised to learn that I completely
agree with Supervisor Cortese in his call for new
leadership at the POA and City Hall.
The level of toxicity, animosity and dysfunction between
the City and the POA has hit a new high. Recently, a
former recruit made an allegation against me in my role
as POA president. Notably, when pressed about it, she
has already recanted. We know that this election will
bring a new Mayor to our City, but to be clear, Sam
Liccardo would NOT constitute a change in leadership at
City Hall. He would be a continuation of the attacks on
the members of the San Jose Police Department and other
City employees. It would mean more years of litigation,
fighting, and the continued dysfunction that Reed,
Liccardo and their Council allies have created.
Dave Cortese is the only candidate for Mayor who
constitutes real change at City Hall. He is the only
candidate for Mayor who has a chance to save our
Department. I support his election unequivocally. I
have donated personal money, both in the primary race
and the general election, in support of his candidacy. I
have walked precincts to ask voters to support him, most
recently on Monday night. I will continue to do so
through the remainder of this campaign. I ask you to do
As for me, I knew the deal when I took this job. I was
clear to all that I supported legal pension reform and
made every effort to achieve that. Unfortunately, there
were few at City Hall to work with. Reed and Liccardo's
"my way or the highway" approach left us with just one
course of action: fight. I won't recount what that
entailed here; you all lived through it. Dave's call for
new leadership at City Hall and the POA is absolutely
If we are to turn the page on this terrible chapter in
our Department's history, those most closely entrenched
in the fight must move on. New leadership at City Hall
in the form of Dave Cortese and new leadership at the
POA with Paul Kelly and James Gonzales is the right
formula to repairing the chasm that separates City Hall
and the POA.
the SJPOA strongly fought back against an orchestrated
smear campaign perpetrated by Mayor Reed in his last
ditch effort to get Sam Liccardo elected. SJPOA produced
several sworn declarations directly refuting the lies
contained in a Mercury News opinion letter that was
published on Sunday. Below are the highlights of today's
HERE to watch SJPOA attorney Gregg Adam at Tuesday's
City Council Rules committee meeting demanding the Chuck
Reed and Sam Liccardo be investigated for possible
involvement in the Rivas op-ed that she has since
HERE to watch parts of the SJPOA press conference
where sworn declarations were presented to the media
refuting what Rivas claimed.
HERE to read the letter sent to City Manager Ed
Shikada demanding Mayor Reed and Sam Liccardo be
investigated for their involvement in with the Rivas
Click on the links below to read the declarations:
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE CITY AND SJPD
Following are a few letters pertinent to the SJPD and
the race for mayor that made the paper this week. Keep
in mind that the letter writers do not provide the
headline; they are created by the Letters' Page
Bullying-With-a-Badge Mentality Hurting City
Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Oct. 21, 2014
Elyse Rivas’ oped (Opinion, Oct. 19) regarding the San
Jose Police Academy and its treatment of new recruits
struck a chord with me, especially since the very day it
was published, I drove by Great America, where the
electronic billboard featured information aimed at
recruitment by our police department. Deceit in
advertising came to my mind based on the insight she
shared from her personal experience. It seems to me that
the academy would assist and support someone such as
Rivas, who is clearly intelligent, homegrown, and
representative of the community she had hoped to serve.
What a loss. For the police union president to
discourage recruits on their first day of orientation in
such a heavy-handed way is illustrative of SJPD’s
“recruitment” efforts serving as part of the
bullying-with-a-badge mentality hurting our city. Yes,
Rivas will be fine, but will San Jose?
~ ~ ~
Backs Cortese for San Jose Mayor
Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Oct. 21, 2014
opening the Mercury News, we were surprised to see that
Sam Liccardo was supported by someone sharing our name,
Mike Fox (“San Jose mayor’s race: Can tight-fisted Sam
Liccardo really save the police force?” Page A1, Oct.
As we are each deeply involved in numerous philanthropic
and public causes, we did not want Mercury News readers
to think that either of us is backing Sam Liccardo for
mayor. In fact, the opposite is true.
We are pleased to endorse Dave Cortese for mayor of San
Jose because he has proved his worth and value to this
community many times over. His ties to all sectors of
the community have led to exceptional skills at bringing
people together for the greater good.
He has shown time and again that he has common sense
values to fight for what is right, whether working to
ensure homeless veterans have a place to sleep at night,
or keeping San Jose a safe place so that families and
businesses can thrive.
Mike Fox Sr., Chairman M.E. Fox and Co.
Mike Fox, President and CEO Goodwill Industries of
This is the excerpt from last week's article referenced
in the letter above.
As he was knocking on doors before the party,
Liccardo found receptive voices from voters such as Mike
Fox: "It's been an unfortunate situation where we lost
so many officers. But the retirement costs are out of
control," said Fox, who said he'd be voting for Liccardo.
But he also encountered the reality facing many San Jose
residents: They don't feel as safe as they used to.
HERE to view last week's Farsider. To pull up the
article in question, scroll down to the headline that
reads "Is Cortese the Answer to San Jose's Public Safety
Woes? — then scroll down to the article headlined "Liccardo
Vows to Continue Pension Fight."
~ ~ ~
Will Exert Fiscal Responsibility
Letter to the Editor
Mercury News — Oct. 21, 2014
truly must be Dave Cortese’s and the San Jose Police
Officers Association’s favorite holiday. For months,
they have been filling my mailbox with fliers portraying
San Jose as scary as Amityville. Shame on them.
I’m among the 70 percent of San Jose voters who approved
Measure B to gain control over escalating retirement
expenses; that was the right decision. I do not trust a
mayoral candidate who, having consistently voted for
increased pension benefits as a council member, now vows
to cut a deal as mayor to bring costs under control.
I’ve lost faith in a police union that, out of
self-interest, discourages police recruits from joining
the force to perpetuate a staffing shortage and
perception of crisis. I do trust Sam Liccardo to restore
diminished public services and hire more police officers
by exerting fiscal responsibility. That’s the path to
true security. He has my vote.
Former member Mercury News Editorial Board San Jose
~ ~ ~
Today's (Thurs.) paper included four letters to the
editor, three of which support Liccardo and one for
Didn’t Broker Compromise; He Misled
to the Editor
News — Oct. 23, 2014
Cortese and his campaign allies are falsely trying to
credit Cortese for reportedly working with the
Tri-County Apartment Association and San Jose landlords
over a decade ago (2002) to mediate a compromise on a
controversial proposal that would have restricted
landlords’ ability to remove gang members and drug
dealers from rent controlled housing.
That’s simply not true. I was the government affairs
director for Tri-County during this period. Cortese
misled us and then tried to rush his radical proposal
through the San Jose City Council. Thank God the
majority of the City Council members took the side of
the neighborhoods and rejected his approach that would
have made it virtually impossible to evict drug dealers
and gang members from rental housing.
The recent mailers and campaign literature by Cortese
and his allies are nothing more than a desperate attempt
to revise history.
Robert Hines — CEO, 2003-2005 government affairs
director, 2001-2003 Tri-County Apartment Association
~ ~ ~
Will Continue Chuck Reed Nonsense
to the Editor
News — Oct. 23, 2014
I will not be voting for Sam Liccardo despite the
preponderance of lawn signs I see in my somewhat
affluent neighborhood. Willow Glen has been my home for
almost 50 years. Mayor Chuck Reed’s destructive
ideologies and actions have wreaked havoc on public
employees and the vital services they provide.
He has waged an us vs. them campaign by blaming public
employees for everything and anything financial and
probably will throw in Ebola before he exits City Hall.
San Jose is the heart of Silicon Valley. It is not
Detroit or Stockton, and it will not go bankrupt despite
political sound bites to the contrary.
Liccardo will continue this divisive nonsense,
especially on public safety. I am voting for Dave
~ ~ ~
Union Leader Must Be Investigated
to the Editor
come as no surprise to anyone in San Jose that the San
Jose police union has absolute contempt for the city
leadership (Mayor Chuck Reed) and for the 70 percent of
residents who voted for Measure B. They have tried
everything they could to fight Measure B even though an
overwhelming majority voted to control pension costs.
Where I come from that is a clear mandate. Those of us
who voted for Measure B in 2012 still strongly support
the ability of the city to manage pension costs against
all the other services that residents require. Fighting
Measure B in court is one thing, but telling new
recruits to leave the SJPD crosses the line and puts the
lives of San Jose residents at risk.
Whoknowsmanyrecruits would have stayed here to protect
and serve residents? The city attorney needs to see what
ethics violations were perpetrated by Jim Unland and put
a stop it.
~ ~ ~
Offers Honest, Practical Solutions
I appreciate a person who will look me in the eye and
tell the truth, even when that truth is an unpleasant
reality. Too many politicians practice the art of
telling constituents and special interest groups what
they want to hear or what the politician thinks will
make the listener feel good. The first sentence
describes Sam Liccardo, the second Dave Cortese.
to the Editor
News — Oct. 23, 2014
Liccardo offers honest, practical and common sense
solutions to problems facing the city. He has not
pandered to special interest groups or made promises he
can’t keep just to gain votes. He is interested in doing
the job — not just getting it. Vote for the candidate
who will always tell us the truth, the candidate with
vision, the one we can trust to do the right thing for
the right reasons. Vote for Liccardo.
Assistant sheriff, retired Santa Clara County San Jose
• • • • •
This edition of The Daily Fetch (click
HERE) not only raked Mercury News columnist Scott
Herhold over the coals, it also took a well-aimed shot
at Reed and Liccardo. Even Chief Esquivel got hammered
when a graphic artist on the Daily Fetch staff came up
the following illustration to belittle the Chief for
what it calls "juking" the crime stats.
To quote from the Fetch:
"Chuck Reed and Sam Liccardo say that with a 30% drop in
gang crime the San Jose Po-Po will have eliminated any
and all gang crime in San Jose. Crime problem solved.
But of course, Reed and Liccardo are relying on stats
produced by Chief Larry Esquivel who had to take an
erasure out and fix the last set of “Gang Crime is Down”
stats when he was caught juking the stats."
But is this new news? Hardly. The following NBC Bay Area
investigative report about this issue is dated Nov.
2013, almost a year ago when Esquivel was the Acting
CORTESE LEADING IN THE POLLS, MUCH TO THE CHAGRIN OF THE
Mayor Up for Grabs
has a lead over Liccardo, but a huge number of voters
Mercury News — Oct. 19, 2014
SAN JOSE —
County supervisor Dave Cortese is leading Councilman Sam
Liccardo in the race to become the next mayor of San
Jose, a new poll shows. Still, the post remains up for
grabs, because a huge number of people haven’t made up
The poll of likely voters, conducted last week by San
Jose State University’s Survey and Policy Research
Institute and commissioned by this newspaper, found
34percent of respondents favored Cortese and 26 percent
supported Liccardo. Those figures mirror the same
percentage of actual votes the candidates received in
the June primary, when they outlasted a handful of
As for everyone else? A whopping 40 percent of those
surveyed reported that they’re still undecided or had
some other reason for not picking a favorite.
“There are so many undecideds I would be very hesitant
to pick a winner at this point,” said Melinda Jackson,
the San Jose State associate professor of political
science who conducted the poll. “It could go either
By contrast, a San Jose State poll a month before the
last open mayoral race, in 2006, found less than 18
percent of respondents hadn’t yet settled on their
choice, though the dead heat suggested by that survey
was followed by a blowout victory for Chuck Reed on
In this year’s race, each candidate has areas of
strength, according to the new poll. While both
contenders are Democrats in the nonpartisan race,
Democrats, who make up 45 percent of voters in San Jose,
supported Cortese by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. He had
similar advantages among respondents who were Latino or
Asian (demographics that combined make up two-thirds of
the city’s population), and about 10-percentage-point
leads among young voters and women. But Liccardo held a
slight edge in the poll among no-party-preference voters
(who make up 30 percent of voters), Republicans (21
percent) and whites.
Many of the undecided voters are likely new to the race
— nearly twice as many people are expected to cast
ballots in the November election compared to June. The
others on the fence may have voted for one of the
candidates who fell short in the primary and haven’t
settled on their new choice, Jackson said.
Several respondents who spoke to this newspaper
afterward said they simply haven’t been paying attention
to the race. There was no shortage of registered voters
who said they didn’t know who the candidates were, what
they stood for or even how many people were running.
“I just don’t know much about the candidates,” said Dale
Holness, 52, who has no party preference. “When it gets
to the last week of the election, that’s when I really
Jackson said the number of undecided voters is likely a
product of the fact that there haven’t been any
scandals, serious attacks, bombardment of TV ads or
regional media coverage of the race. What’s more, both
candidates have similar backgrounds and agree on several
“It’s been a pretty tame race overall,” Jackson said.
“People are just kind of checked out.”
The results are more troubling to Liccardo, who planned
on closing the gap from June by consolidating support
from voters who cast primary ballots for a trio of
unsuccessful mayoral candidates who are ideologically
aligned with him. Winning over supporters of those three
ousted candidates — Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and
council members Pierluigi Oliverio and Rose Herrera — is
crucial, as they made up a combined 37 percent of
ballots cast in June.
Nguyen and Herrera — along with termed-out Mayor Reed —
have since endorsed their ally on the council, Liccardo,
and while Oliverio has not made an endorsement, his
hometown Willow Glen district leaned toward Liccardo in
the primary. But the poll numbers suggest that support
hasn’t yet paid dividends for Liccardo.
Further complicating matters for anyone looking to
forecast a winner, the pollsters also asked whether
spending more on the police and fire departments (Cortese’s
top priority) or maintaining voter-approved pension
reform (a main goal of Liccardo’s) were the most
important issues for likely voters. The results: 26
percent said police were most important, and 26percent
picked pensions. In an apparent advantage for Cortese,
however, 52percent said public safety was “important but
not the most important issue,” compared with 40 percent
for pension reform.
Respondents gave wide-ranging reasons for supporting
their candidates but also felt strongly about the two
issues the candidates care most about.
Cortese clearly has found support by focusing on crime.
“His main mission is to get public safety reinstalled
back in San Jose,” said Jonathan Walker, 51, a Democrat
and poll respondent who has gone to mayoral forums and
supports Cortese. He says Cortese’s plan to settle the
police union’s lawsuit opposing pension reform “would
help ameliorate the tension between the Police
Department and the city right now.”
While Cortese wants to spend more money to hire more
officers, Liccardo wants to rebuild the police force by
using savings he hopes to win by fighting for the
voter-approved reforms designed to weaken generous
pensions given to cops and other city workers.
“I know no one that gets that kind of retirement,” said
Dale McMahon, a retired 67-year-old Republican who
backed Liccardo in the survey. “The rest of us should be
Cortese said his edge in the final two weeks will be the
hundreds of volunteers encouraging the large number of
“I’m not overconfident, but I’m very optimistic,”
Cortese said. “Positive results like that from a poll
are always encouraging.”
Liccardo says he has confidence he will win over the
undecided voters and swing the race to his side. His
strategy will be to counter what he considers misleading
attack ads from Cortese’s supporters that claim crime
has gotten out of control during Liccardo’s time as a
council member and will only worsen if he’s elected
“We believe a campaign focused on solutions rather than
scare tactics will persuade deep-thinking voters to
support a mayor who can offer real leadership in this
city,” Liccardo said.
The English-only telephone poll surveyed 571
randomly-selected likely San Jose voters over the last
week, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1
• • • • •
Is the paper's candidate of choice (Liccardo) trailing
Cortese in the polls rattling some cages at the Mercury
News, and if so, is it conceivable that columnist Scott
Herhold was directed to subtly push the 40 percent who
are undecided to vote for the paper's candidate?
"If you lean toward trimming pensions and preserving
the environment, pick Liccardo. If you’re pro-union and
look more kindly on traditional homebuilders, choose
Cortese." —Scott Herhold
Sounds plausible to us. Check out Herhold's column from
this past Tuesday…
for Mayor Can’t Be Ignored
Scott Herhold — Columnist
Mercury News — Oct. 21, 2014
San Jose is
famously a town of late RSVPs. There are several
explanations for this: In a city with a weak social
hierarchy, there’s rarely a punishment for responding
too late. And online invitations let you hedge your bets
by seeing who else is coming to the party.
The biggest reason for our late decision-making,
however, is that we are a deadline- driven society. This
is a common feature in tech. But it afflicts almost all
of us. When my editor asks what I’m doing next week, I
respond with a mystified expression. Next week? Too far
ahead. I mention all this because we have a major
deadline — an unforgiving RSVP, if you will — coming in
the public realm. Two weeks from Tuesday, we’ll have a
mayoral election in San Jose between two men who
represent very different parts of the city’s political
A poll done recently by the Mercury News showed that 40
percent of the electorate is undecided — or has some
other reason for not responding — in the race between
Supervisor Dave Cortese and Councilman Sam Liccardo
Among those who do have a preference, the poll showed
Cortese leading 34 to 26 percent. I’m less concerned
about what the poll says than about what it doesn’t say:
In a race that has been going on for at least a year,
with battle lines firmly drawn between pro-pension
reform (Liccardo) and pro-union (Cortese) factions, two
in five voters are withholding judgment.
OK, I get it: People lead busy lives. San Jose voters
are not dumb, but they are preoccupied. And a mayoral
election between two guys with Italian names — both
lawyers, both Bellarmine grads, both veteran public
servants — may not quite seem top of mind.
Quick: Who is the guy closer to the position of the San
Jose Police Officers’ Association (Cortese)? Who is the
guy who takes a firmer line on not busting the
environmentally-oriented general plan (Liccardo)? Who
wants the A’s here (both)? I understand if you’re more
interested in your next propane barbecue set.
And yet my background in San Jose tells me the choice
matters, in ways that we cannot always foresee. Cindy
Chavez would have led the city in a very different
direction than Chuck Reed. Susan Hammer led it in a
different direction than Frank Fiscalini would have.
I think it’s likely that whoever is elected will try to
come to some agreement with the cops and firefighters —
and that there will be a sales tax proposal put to the
voters under either man. No city can endure this level
of fractiousness with its most important unions
But differences on development matter: Liccardo supports
an “impact fee” on developers, which would provide money
for affordable housing. Cortese, endorsed by the
Building Industry Association, does not.
So here’s my challenge to you, dear undecided voter.
Toss out the mailers. Dedicate 15 minutes to perusing
the websites of the candidates at (cortesecampaign.com
or samliccardo.com). Or to make it quick: If you lean
toward trimming pensions and preserving the environment,
pick Liccardo. If you’re pro-union and look more kindly
on traditional homebuilders, choose Cortese.
Whatever you do, you should know that an unforgiving
RSVP is approaching. Voting is one invitation too
important to ignore.
• • • •
Herhold wasn't through. Now he's pontificating about the
charge that Unland told recruits to quit for the good of
the SJPD. This appeared in today's (Thurs.) paper...
with an Asterisk
By Scott Herhold — Columnist
News — Oct. 23, 2014
What is one
to think of the Affair Unland? The accusation that the
head of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association told
cadets to quit last May has rippled through the placid
surface of the city’s politics.
Unland, who blames pension reform for the Police
Department’s difficulties in recruiting, has denied the
charge. On Wednesday, he demanded an investigation into
whether it was coordinated with city officials,
including Mayor Chuck Reed and mayoral candidate Sam
So where does that leave us? Oddly, this really isn’t a
he-said, she-said story. Elyse Rivas, a thoughtful
attorney who was washed out of the academy, wrote in an
op-ed last weekend that Unland had told cadets that “it
would be better for the department and for us if we
would just quit, right then and there.” By early this
week, Rivas had backed away from the word “quit,”
maintaining that Unland had conveyed the message that
the department would benefit from a dismal academy
showing. “The message he delivered was, ‘You guys
wouldn’t be here if I had it my way,’” she told me.
Unland, meanwhile, said he had informed cadets about
their benefits, which are lower than those of veterans.
“But I was accused of telling them to quit right then
and there, and that’s a lie,” the savvy union chief
So let’s assume that Unland did not use the word “quit,”
or that it is impossible to prove that he meant then and
there. My guess is that Mayor Chuck Reed’s call for an
investigation of the incident will go nowhere.
In a larger sense, however, there is no question that
the POA leadership has been delivering the message that
young officers would do better elsewhere. A cadet from
last year’s academy told me that Unland had left the
clear impression that the recruits should find other
options. In a story Tuesday, a retired sheriff’s deputy,
Robert Gallardo, was quoted as saying about Unland, “I
have heard him say that San Jose officers should leave
after a year or two to go to other departments.”
What does all this mean? First, it bespeaks weak
leadership in the Police Department. The union leader
has the right to address the recruits on POA matters,
but it’s clear that the department under Chief Larry
Esquivel has allowed Unland wide latitude to influence
the career choices of recruits. And the direction the
POA leader is pointing hurts San Jose’s investment in
(When I asked Esquivel about this, he said that while
the department had been dealing with the POA’s messaging
to recruits for a while, “let’s keep in mind’’ that the
officers were leaving for better compensation and
pension packages elsewhere.) Don’t get me wrong: I
believe in the union leader’s right to freedom of
speech. All the same, Unland doesn’t get to have it both
ways. He can’t complain about the ever-increasing burden
on San Jose cops and the incidence of serious crime
without acknowledging the POA’s own role in diminishing
We should put an asterisk next to Jim Unland’s name in
news reports. The explanation can run across the lower
screen on television, like a surgeon general’s warning.
“Jim Unland speaks for the interests of his membership
in the San Jose Police Officers’ Association. He does
not speak for the San Jose Police Department. He does
not represent the city of San Jose.”
So no one gets confused.
For all the aviation buffs out there, maybe this YouTube
video would be of interest. Anyone who can sing a song
about vortex generators is way up there in my book.
Stan Faulwetter, 1856 Ret.
I used to fly, Stan, and I know absolutely nothing about
vortex generators. But I stayed with the 3-minute video
anyway to see what the gal in the hot tub was going to
NOT YOUR TYPICAL NFL FOOTBALL
Ed. — My sister-in-law came across the following article
in the Oct. issue of the Smithsonian Magazine about the
Nuclear Football that our Marine Corps nephew carried
for Presidents Bush and Obama for a tour of duty. The
Marine Corps. Lt. Col. and former F/A-18 Top Gun pilot
retired a short time ago and is now working for a major
military aircraft manufacturer in the L.A. area.
Story of the "Football" that Follows the President
—Take a peek at the mysterious black briefcase that has
accompanied every U.S. president since JFK—
Smithsonian Magazine — October 2014
It is the
closest modern-day equivalent of the medieval crown and
scepter—a symbol of supreme authority. Accompanying the
commander in chief wherever he goes, the
innocuous-looking briefcase is touted in movies and spy
novels as the ultimate power accessory, a doomsday
machine that could destroy the entire world.
Officially known as the “president’s emergency satchel,”
the so-called nuclear “Football”—portable and
hand-carried—is built around a sturdy aluminum frame,
encased in black leather. A retired Football, emptied of
its top-secret inner contents, is currently on display
at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
“We were looking for something that would demonstrate
the incredible military power and responsibilities of
the president, and we struck upon this iconic object,”
says curator Harry Rubenstein.
Contrary to popular belief, the Football does not
actually contain a big red button for launching a
nuclear war. Its primary purpose is to confirm the
president’s identity, and it allows him to communicate
with the National Military Command Center in the
Pentagon, which monitors worldwide nuclear threats and
can order an instant response. The Football also
provides the commander in chief with a simplified menu
of nuclear strike options—allowing him to decide, for
example, whether to destroy all of America’s enemies in
one fell swoop or to limit himself to obliterating only
Moscow or Pyongyang or Beijing.
Although its origins remain highly classified, the
Football can be traced back to the 1962 Cuban missile
crisis. Privately, John F. Kennedy believed that nuclear
weapons were, as he put it, “only good for deterring.”
He also felt it was “insane that two men, sitting on
opposite sides of the world, should be able to decide to
bring an end to civilization.” Horrified by the doctrine
known as MAD (mutually assured destruction), JFK ordered
locks to be placed on nuclear weapons and demanded
alternatives to the “all or nothing” nuclear war plan.
A declassified Kennedy memo documents the concerns that
led to the invention of the Football as a system for
verifying the identity of the commander in chief. The
president posed the following chilling, but common
“What would I say to the Joint War Room to launch an
immediate nuclear strike?”
“How would the person who received my instructions
According to former Secretary of Defense Robert S.
McNamara, the Football acquired its name from an early
nuclear war plan code-named "Dropkick." (“Dropkick”
needed a “football” in order to be put into effect.) The
earliest known photograph of a military aide trailing
the president with the telltale black briefcase (a
modified version of a standard Zero-Halliburton model)
was taken on May 10, 1963, at the Kennedy family
compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. Since 1963, the
Football has become a staple of presidential trips, and
was even photographed in Red Square in May 1988,
accompanying President Ronald Reagan on a state visit to
the Soviet Union. (Reagan’s Soviet counterpart, Mikhail
Gorbachev, was accompanied by a military aide who was
clutching a very similar device, known in Russian as the
chemodanchik, or “little briefcase.”)
A recurring complaint of presidents and military aides
alike has been that the Football, which currently weighs
around 45 pounds, contains too much documentation.
President Jimmy Carter, who had qualified as a nuclear
submarine commander, was aware that he would have only a
few minutes to decide how to respond to a nuclear strike
against the United States. Carter ordered that the war
plans be drastically simplified. A former military aide
to President Bill Clinton, Col. Buzz Patterson, would
later describe the resulting pared-down set of choices
as akin to a “Denny’s breakfast menu.” “It’s like
picking one out of Column A and two out of Column B,” he
told the History Channel.
The first unclassified reference to the existence of the
Football is contained in a formerly top-secret
memorandum from 1965 obtained by the National Security
Archive of George Washington University. Tasked with
reducing the weight of the Football, a senior defense
official agreed this was a worthy goal, but added, “I am
sure we can find strong couriers who are capable of
carrying an additional pound or two of paper.”
For the Football to function as designed, the military
aide must be nearby the commander in chief at all times
and the president must be in possession of his
authentication codes. Both elements of the system have
failed on occasion. According to the former chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Hugh Shelton, Clinton
mislaid his laminated code card, nicknamed the
“Biscuit,” for several months in 2000. “This is a big
deal, a gargantuan deal,” the general complained in his
2010 autobiography, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of
an American Warrior.
An even closer brush with disaster came during the
attempted assassination of Reagan in March 1981. During
the chaos that followed the shooting, the military aide
was separated from the president, and did not accompany
him to the George Washington University hospital. In the
moments before Reagan was wheeled into the operating
theater, he was stripped of his clothes and other
possessions. The Biscuit was later found abandoned,
unceremoniously dumped in a hospital plastic bag. It
seems unlikely that a crown or scepter would have been
treated so cavalierly.
~ ~ ~
Feb. 6, 2009, White House: Dave Kalinske (my nephew who
is hidden behind the Aide from the Coast Guard) meets
with President Obama and the four other Military Aides
to the President, one from each branch of the service.
The five rotate on a 24/7/365 basis and stay close to
the President while maintaining custody of the Nuclear
Football seen in the lower right.
When Dave was promoted to Lt. Col. in 2010, the official
ceremony took place in the Oval Office with the
President and Dave's wife pinning the insignias on his
shoulder. The promotion would result in a transfer of
assignment several weeks later.
Dave would rotate out of his Military Aide assignment a
few months after being promoted to Lt. Col. and happily
be given command of the "Black Knights," an F/A 18
squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS)
Miramar in Southern California. With 20+ years of
service, Dave chose to pull the pin (probably a bad term
for someone retiring from the military) a few months ago
after being offered a job at a major military aircraft
manufacturer in Southern California that he felt he
couldn't turn down, especially given the cuts the
military is having to endure.
THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
Oct. 15 thru 21
interview, Senator John McCain declared that the U.S.
isn't winning the war against ISIS. Even ISIS said,
“Well, not with THAT attitude.”
Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle was arrested
for stealing cologne and a two-pack of underwear from a
store in Texas. That's disappointing for two reasons.
First, he was stealing. Second, he couldn't outrun a
mall security guard. He’s an NFL running back. Break a
The marriage rate has hit an all-time low, with 1 in 5
adults over 25 having never been married. In fact, an ad
firm has come up with slogans to get people on board.
One slogan is: "Marriage, satisfaction guaranteed or
your money back — half of it, anyway."
Another marriage ad slogan is: "Marriage — look how
happy your parents turned out." And finally: "Marriage —
because happy people are annoying."
The Pentagon just announced that its fight against ISIS
will be called “Operation Inherent Resolve.” They came
up with that name using "Operation Random Thesaurus."
The Pentagon has picked “Operation Inherent Resolve” as
the name for its fight against ISIS. Unfortunately, two
terrorists got away while they were busy thinking of
that name. Who cares what you call it. Just do
A Dutch motorcycle gang called “No Surrender” has
declared war on ISIS, and plans to ride their
motorcycles through Syria and Iraq. When they heard the
name “No Surrender,” the Pentagon said, “Damn! That
would have been a perfect name!"
A group called Clowns of America International — how
does that name make any sense? — is criticizing the FX
show “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” saying its
portrayal of clowns feeds into the fear of clowns. Yeah,
"Clowns of America International." Even ISIS said, "Now
THAT is a scary group!"
The head of the TSA is stepping down after more than
four years on the job. Well, he actually stepped down a
while ago, but he's been going through security for
three and a half years.
TSA Chief John Pistole announced that he is stepping
down. So whoever takes his place is going to have some
pretty big shoes to take off.
President Obama just appointed someone named Ron Klain
as the new “Ebola czar” to oversee the government’s
response to the crisis. You know that’ll be a tough job,
but not as tough as introducing yourself as the Ebola
czar and extending your hand.
Whole Foods is introducing a new system that will label
its produce “good, better, and best” depending on their
supplier's farming practices. Good means “no
pesticides,” better means “environmentally friendly,”
and “Best” means “still not worth five bucks for an
teams have received a newsletter informing them about
the dangers of Ebola. Meanwhile, Ebola has received a
letter about the dangers of the NFL.
President Obama is trying very hard to put people at
ease about Ebola. Obama said he hugged and kissed some
of the nurses in Atlanta who had treated the patients
with Ebola. Man, Obama will do anything to get out of
that job right now.
Earlier today the head of the TSA announced he's
retiring. His employees toasted him with less than 3
ounces of champagne. Then they gave him a gold watch and
he had to take it off and put it in a bin.
CBS will soon offer a paid subscription service. That
means you can continue to watch CBS for free or you can
pay for it. It's your call.
Over the weekend President Obama told Americans not to
panic about Ebola. Then when asked about the Democrats'
chances in the upcoming midterm elections, Obama said,
"Man, that Ebola sure is scary."
After embracing the gay community last week, the Vatican
is now distancing itself from those comments. The
Vatican explained, "Hey, that was just one crazy
weekend, OK? We've all had them, right?
A new study has found that men who are vegan have a much
lower sperm count compared to those that eat meat. Even
worse, the few sperm vegan men do have refuse to go
anywhere near an egg.
Brad Pitt is saying his role in "Fury" taught him to be
a better father. Nicolas Cage said his role in "Ghost
Rider 3" taught him he shouldn't have done "Ghost Rider
Looks like they're working out the Ebola situation. The
CDC has released new guidelines about what healthcare
workers should wear to protect themselves when treating
Ebola patients. For starters, this Halloween they've
outlawed the slutty hazmat suit.
At a polling station while President Obama was standing
next to a woman, a man shouted out, "Hey, Mr. President,
stay away from my girlfriend." He didn't say this
because Obama was flirting with her, but because his
girlfriend is a Democrat running for re-election.
The NFL has created a sportsmanship award that will be
presented to the winner on the eve of the Super Bowl.
The winner will be whichever NFL player's not in jail on
the eve of the Super Bowl.
Actor Matthew McConaughey says he doesn't want the
Washington Redskins to change their name. When asked for
a comment, a spokesman for all Native-American tribes
said, "I guess that settles it. Just waiting for word
from Matthew McConaughey. Now we can move on."
City is overrun with rats. We have so many rats that
today Mayor Bill de Blasio was on live television asking
every citizen here to make sure to have your rat
A running back for the Dallas Cowboys was arrested for
shoplifting $123 worth of underpants and cologne. He was
planning a big night out, I guess. I'm sure the NFL is
thinking to themselves, "Oh, thank God it was just
Donald Trump goes through $123 in cologne before lunch.
I was very happy to see that our old friend Jay Leno is
coming back to television. He's coming back to CNBC and
he's got a brand-new show. Jay drives a variety of
exotic vehicles, and each week he runs down a different
New York City has a terrible rat problem. As a matter of
fact, today the mayor, Rick de Blasio — no, that’s Bill
de Blasio — said every rat that comes into New York City
must have its temperature taken.
These New York City rats are infected with countless
viruses and bacteria. To put it in perspective, no one
has tested positive for this many things since Alex
Ladies and gentlemen, you've come to the right place. As
a public service tonight, I will be taking the
temperature of all viewers.
In pop culture news, Lady Gaga got married. And yes, she
was wearing white meat.
President Obama doesn't think he stands a chance of
President Obama was out playing golf today. He hit one
tee shot 250 yards. Even golf balls are trying to
distance themselves from him.
Today they arrested a White House intruder who was
jumping over the fence to get OUT of the White House.
Cowboy Joseph Randle issued an apology to his teammates
today after being arrested for shoplifting underwear and
cologne. Randle says the incident was the biggest
mistake of his life. Easy there, Randle. It's not like
you signed with the Raiders.
A group called "Clowns of America" is speaking out
against the way they're depicted on TV. They're
especially angry at the show "American Horror Story."
The problem with clowns is the angrier they get, the
funnier it is.
The president of "Clowns of America" says they should be
treated with dignity and respect. Sounds to me like they
don't want to be treated like clowns.
It's still dry here in L.A. The mayor said residents
should cut water use by 20 percent. Unfortunately, he
said it in English so nobody understood him.
The government of Gibraltar gathered about 30 monkeys
that they call "problem monkeys" because of their
destructive behavior, and shipped them off to live in
Scotland. What does it say about my homeland when a
government sees "problem monkeys" and says, “You know
where we should send them?”
When Justin Bieber's monkey heard about this, it said,
“Why didn't you just abandon them in Germany, like some
I don't know about mixing monkeys with Scottish people.
They can be violent and nasty and unpredictable. So be
Last night the governor of Florida refused to come out
for a debate. He was upset that his opponent had a fan
under the podium to keep cool. Now a governor and a fan
are very different, of course. One oscillates back and
forth, blowing hot air in everybody's face. And the
other one is a fan.
"Travel and Leisure" magazine released a list of the
snobbiest cities. You know what No. 1 is? It's wherever
Gwyneth Paltrow is.
Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't watch broadcast TV. She's not
going to say, "I finished my kale, so let's watch CBS."
"Time" magazine today released a list of the 25 most
influential teenagers. When they heard they made it on
the list, every teenager had the same response: "What's
You know who is on this most influential teenager list?
Kim Kardashian's younger sisters. They've been very
influential. They've influenced a lot of people to
change the channel.
Amazon announced they're opening a store in Manhattan.
In other words, Amazon doesn't understand the point of
Last night in Denver Peyton Manning he threw his 509th
touchdown pass, an NFL record. Peyton's brother Eli
Manning called him to congratulate him, but
unfortunately the call was intercepted.
Rock 'n' roll legend Tom Petty turned 64 years old
today. He's gone from the Heartbreakers to the
Tom Petty has gone from "I Won't Back Down" to "I Can't
Get Up." He's gone from "Runnin' Down a Dream" to "Scooterin'
Up a Ramp." He's gone from "Learnin' to Fly" to "Forgettin'
How to Drive."
It was Game 1 of the World Series tonight. The Kansas
City Royals haven't been in the World Series since 1985.
Things were very different back then. Tensions were high
with Russia, Congress locked up in partisan bickering,
my career was in the dumps. These are all bad examples.
If San Francisco wins the World Series, you can expect a
big parade. If San Francisco loses, you can expect a big
parade. If you go to San Francisco anytime, expect a big
Scientists have done a virtual autopsy on King Tut's
body. They say King Tut had buck teeth and a club foot.
If they want to know what King Tut looked like, why
didn't they just ask Larry King?
announced that this year they will open their stores
starting at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving day for Christmas
shopping. So now there's even less time between sitting
down to pray and be thankful and fighting a grandma for
a flat-screen TV.
If you still have the energy to go shopping after you
eat Thanksgiving dinner, you didn't do Thanksgiving
dinner right in the first place. If only there were some
kind of a device you could use where you could buy
things and have them shipped directly to your home.
Colorado police are worried that children on Halloween
might mistakenly eat edible marijuana. Marijuana is
legal there and includes candies and baked goods. You
can tell if your kid is high if he won't stop asking
"Why?" when you answer his questions, or if he believes
he has an imaginary friend.
Does your kid ride a bike around and around in circles?
Does he take naps in the middle of the day or think
there's something or someone hiding under the bed? Does
he sit in front of the TV all day? If your child
exhibits any of that behavior, call the police
immediately. You probably have a little stoner on your
Forbes has released their list of top-earning deceased
celebrities. And the richest famous dead person this
year is Michael Jackson. He earned $140 million this
year. You have to admire Michael's work ethic. A lot of
big stars stop working when they die.
Apple announced a new generation of iPads and iMacs and
a new operating system. They also announced that there's
no such thing as the Apple Watch. That was all a joke.
Actually they said the Apple Watch is coming out early
next year, which is funny because they already announced
the Apple Watch last month. So now we're getting excited
when Apple reannounces things to us.
They should build apartments outside of Apple stores so
people can live in line, waiting for their products.
They just had a big announcement event recently. I
wonder if they're aware that the phrase “An apple a day”
is just an expression. They don't have to take it
Warner Brothers has announced 10 new movies based on DC
Comics. Finally, Hollywood is giving comic book movies a
shot. Between DC, Marvel, and some smaller comic book
companies, they're projecting around 40 superhero movies
by the end of the decade. We need a superhero to save us
from all these superhero movies.
Today was the much-anticipated launch of Apple Pay, the
mobile payment system that allows you to buy stuff with
your iPhone. So now you don't have to go through the
excruciating experience of going into your wallet,
handing them your card, and putting the card back in
Here's how the new mobile payment system works. If you
so much as even glance at an Apple product, Apple Pay
automatically deducts the full amount from your checking
According to a new survey, almost 40 percent of new moms
create social media accounts for their newborns. A good
way to know you shouldn't have a baby is if you think
it's a good idea to set up a Twitter account for it.
One of the reasons moms are said to be doing this they
don't want to clutter their own Facebook feed with baby
pictures so the baby gets its own page which you have to
like unless you want the mother to hate you.
As of today, Starbucks will allow their employees to
display tattoos and ear gauges. Those are the round
plugs that some people put in their ear lobe to let the
world know their dads never played catch with them.
Bill Murray is with us tonight. Booking Bill Murray is
not unlike capturing a leprechaun.
In Kansas City tonight is Game 1 of the World Series. I
love baseball. You know, baseball was our national
pastime before selfies took over.
Kim Kardashian turned 34 years old. I hope she got the
day off from work. Can you imagine trying to buy Kim
Kardashian a gift. What do you get for the woman who has
everything for no apparent reason?
Kim Kardashian, by the way, shares a birthday with
Benjamin Netanyahu and the scientist Alfred Nobel. Which
just goes to show you: Horoscopes are crap.
apologized to fans for automatically adding the new U2
album to every iTunes account. Though it doesn’t help
that the apology comes pre-loaded on the new Apple
It must have been a scary moment for people when they
saw a U2 album in their iTunes and thought they’d
accidentally grabbed their dad’s phone.
A new poll shows that only a slim majority of Americans
think the country is prepared for an Ebola outbreak. But
I think we deal with outbreaks pretty well. It only took
us a couple of months to completely eradicate Gangnam
The New York Giants have reportedly been debriefed about
Ebola in preparation for their trip to Dallas to play
the Cowboys this weekend. Though if this game is
anything like last week, I wouldn’t worry about the
Giants catching anything.
It was announced today that the head of the TSA will
retire after 31 years. I guess he wants to spend his
time sitting around doing nothing instead of standing
around doing nothing.
A gang member turned rabbi has been arrested in New York
for impersonating a police officer. A gang member, a
rabbi, and a police officer. He’s basically a one-man
version of the Village People.
WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF OCT. 18, 2014
The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox
• A US Airways flight attendant reportedly
refused to hang up an Army Ranger's uniform jacket.
• Did the 'middle
finger salute' derive from gestures of English
archers whose fingers had been severed at the Battle of
• Did CNN report that
Ebola has been found in packages of hair extensions?
• A primer on 'What is an American,' purportedly
penned by an Australian dentist.
• Is Congress 'moving to appoint Barack Obama to a
third term' in 2016?
• Another injury results from someone trying to
rescue a dog from the scalding waters of a hot
• Does an automobile's dashboard
gas pump icon indicate which side the vehicle's fuel
door is on?
• Has the Obama administration ordered $1 billion worth
disposable coffins for use with Ebola victims?
• Did three healthcare workers die after an
open drink was left at a nurses' station?
• Was a supposedly deceased Chicago woman
rescued after funeral goers heard screams coming up
from her grave?
• Is the
outbreak of Enterovirus (EV-D68) due to an influx of
• Is Costco giving out
free $200 gift cards to Facebook users?
• Is the U.S. government planning to implement mandatory
vaccinations for all residents?
ISIS militants been captured by Border Patrol in the
last 36 hours?
• Was a 50-foot crab dubbed 'Crabzilla'
spotted off the coast of the UK?
• Have the Coen brothers announced plans to begin
Big Lebowski sequel in January 2015?
• Did actress
Meryl Streep originate a statement about no longer
having patience for things that displease her?
• North Korean leader
Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance since 3
September 2014, state media reported.
• Was a
swastika ring available for purchase from the Sears
• Did the Army change its
dress code to allow turbans and beards?
• Has the town of Purdon, Texas been
quarantined because a family of five tested positive
• Has the federal government issued a
travel warning due to Ebola cases in Texas?
• A second healthcare worker in Dallas has
tested positive for Ebola.
• Is trisodium phosphate
(TSP) a dangerous ingredient lurking in kids'
• Did the City of Houston
subpoena pastors' sermons?
• The CDC confirmed the second nurse to
test positive for Ebola flew from Cleveland to
Dallas before she fell ill.
• Does the Susan G. Komen
breast cancer organization only give 20% of their
donations to cancer research and pay their CEO $684,000
• Can a species of cephalopod known as the Pacific
Tree Octopus live on both land and water?
• Did residents of Ghana discover
Ebola is fake and only affects those who got Red
• Did a spider live inside a
man's scar for three days?
• Did President Obama say Americans are too "small-minded"
to handle individual rights?
• Contrary to reports, researchers at CIDRAP have not
confirmed that 'Ebola is
• Social media report that Ebola has broken out in an
• 25 years ago today: Legend holds that after the 1989
Loma Prieta earthquake, a car thief was found
crushed to death in the vehicle he'd stolen.
• A Columbus woman allegedly used
Ebola fears to receive faster 911 response.
• Don't forget to visit our
Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news
stories from around the world!
Worth a Second Look
Coca-Cola an effective contraceptive?
Still Haunting the Inbox
• Check out our 25
Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's
circulating in the on-line world.
• 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.
• • • • •
We felt it was only a matter of time before Saturday
Night Live would decide to lampoon the TV ads asking
viewers to make a monthly pledge (usually $19 per month)
to help support a charity or other non-profit cause.
That time is
NOW. As Lumpy said of this Saturday Night Live skit,
some may find it racist and/or otherwise in bad taste.
If so, it wouldn't be the first time that SNL pushed the
envelope. (3 Mins.)
• • • • •
If you haven't already visited Israel, we suggest you
give it some consideration. It is far different from
what is depicted on televised news programs.
HERE is an excellent video preview of what you can
expect if you decide to vacation in the only Middle
Eastern country we can call a friend. Just make sure you
plan your visit before the Iranians develop The Bomb,
otherwise the country might not be there when you
arrive, and all you will have to show for your travels
is a case of radiation poisoning. (6 Mins.)
• • • • •
Speaking of Israel, some people feel the conflict in the
Middle East is too complicated to understand, but it
really isn't. This explanation by Dennis Prager that was
sent in by Bill Leavy takes the complexity out of how
the Middle East conflict of today came to be.
THIS is the straight scoop; it is not intended as
humor. (5 Mins.)
• • • • •
THESE guys are good, and their performance is as
relevant today as it was in 2010 when it was first
posted on YouTube. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands
together for "The Three Terrors." (3 Mins.)
• • • • •
This clip from Les Nunes runs less than a minute and
begs the question: How many idiots have died performing
RECORDED with a GoPro video camera in an attempt to
show off? Raise your hand if you think they should be
featured in a special Darwin Awards' category. (51 Secs.)
• • • • •
The challenge in watching
THIS clip is to see if you can get through all 2
minutes and 50 seconds of it without yawning or falling
• • • • •
How this guy delivers a bucket full of sand to the
SHOWS a lot of ingenuity. Check it out. (59 Secs.)
• • • • •
This 1-minute clip should make you feel good — or not —
RENTAL COSTS in the Bay Area compared to the rest of
• • • • •
Pete Salvi posted on his Facebook page a link to a Wall
Street Journal article that included a brief video
containing footage from 1976 that documents the
discovery of the Ebola Virus. Click
HERE to view it.
• • • • •
THIS clip received from Don Hale not reminiscent of
the famous (some would say infamous) Stanford-Cal game
of 1982 in which the Cardinal Band helped the Bears win
the game? (2:30 Mins.)
HERE if you would like to see a replay of "The Play"
in which the Stanford Band helped Cal win the big game
in '82. (46 Secs.)
• • • • •
Jim Silvers says
THIS compilation clip should restore your faith in
humanity in four minutes. Know what? He's right.
• • • • •
Here are some new
DASH CAM fails courtesy of Bob Moir. (It appears
that the "Fail Army" logo is what the poster calls
himself.) (5 Mins.)
• • •
Was there ever any
DOUBT which band would win this drum battle between
South Korea's Army Band and the Marine Corps.
Expeditionary Force Band? (5 Mins.)
• • • • •
This final item is the story about two WW II aviators
that can only be described as divine intervention, or
one of the most amazing coincidences that came out of
the war. One was a B-17 bomber pilot with the 15th Air
Force, the other flew a P-51 Mustang with the famed
Tuskegee Airmen that escorted the bombers to and from
their targets. The
VIDEO is definitely worth a few minutes of your time
if you are an aviation and/or WW II enthusiast. (7 Mins.)
• • • • •
Pic of the Week
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Carrillo, Jaci Cordes
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Guido, Sr. Jim
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