Thursday, February 24, 2005

BREAKING NEWS! Oakland's Uptown Housing Project - Developer Forest City Asks for $11 Million more in subsidy!!!!

While eating with a friend who's a local developer (and that's all I'll tell) I learned this Wednesday evening that a centerpiece of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown's so-called effort to revitalize what was once Oakland's theater district is in trouble.

The 400-unit "Uptown Housing Project" approved by the Oakland City Coucil last year and to be built on part of a 19-acre tract of land that was the focal point of a new baseball stadium for the Oakland Athletics, needs $11 million more in public money over and above the $61 million subsidy that was approved by the City Council.

This is a project I was against and have been against. The best use for the 19 acres is for a new baseball stadium, downtown, for the Oakland A's. Everyone knows and understands this, and land use consultants hired to produce a study analyzing the best land choice for a new stadium for the Athletics, pointed to this great open land opportunity right in the middle of the north portion of Oakland's downtown.

But on June 12th, 2002, at about 12:35 PM, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown said "There's not going to be a downtown stadium as long as I'm (blank) Mayor of this down."

Well, Jerry, your time's running out. What I predicted -- that the developer, Forest City's subsidy request would just continue and go up and up -- has proven to be true. As a person who focused on the Uptown District while serving as Economic Advisor to Mayor Elihu Harris, every developer I have worked with and who's proposed a project there has tried to "lowball" their cost estimates to win the right build from the Oakland City Council. I never believed Forest City would be a different case.

I'd like to see the collective faces of the Oakland Economic Development people now. The ones who said that the subsidy would hold and that this was money well spent given the economic impact. Yep, the person had the nerve to make that statement given that the subsidy was at $41 million in 2002, then $61 million in 2003, and now $72 million in 2005. Wow. Someone's really trying to sell a project that's not worth touching.

I wrote it then in an e-mail battle with an undermanned Oakland Economic Development staffer, and I state it now: the project's not the highest and best use for that prime downtown real estate.

It's smack in the middle of Oakland and the Bay Area and served by three freeways and two major BART stations just one block away and four blocks respectively. One block in the case of 19th Street BART Station! Plus, it's just a 15 minute walk to Lake Merritt.

Plus, Jerry Brown's letting the dream of a real live "Times Square" center downtown drain under the weighty combination of his ego and frank lack of knoweldge of good urban planning.

Right now the total subsidy stands not at $61 million, but at $72 million. I'll tell you what. It's not going to stop there. It will get to over $100 million before the Oakland City Council is forced to drop the project.

Spending that much on housing is just not smart.

I worked for several years on a great plan to re-create Oakland's Uptown Area. I am also the one who originally brought Forest City to Oakland and not to do a dinky housing project, but to remake the entire area in a fashion not unlike Times Square and in line with that area's history as an entertainment district. Sports is a form of entertainment. The Plan caled for a large scale shopping center where this housing is slated to be built. But either retail or the baseball stadium with retail is better than yet another housing project.

I told Jerry this in 1998 and in 1999, but he can't seem to listen to get it: a downtown plan is a complex mix of land uses and strategies -- just adding 10,000 people to the downtown's not going to solve it's problems. Even if they live there, they can just hop BART to go to Union Square in San Francisco or SBC Park.

You see where I'm going with this.

The City Council should drop the housing project and bring the Oakland A's downtown where they belong.

Vikings WR Randy Moss Traded to the Raiders

This is one of the best trades in the NFL's 21st Century. Randy Moss has 90 Touchdowns and is a constant threat to catch the ball for a big play on every down.

The Vikings made a massive mistake in letting him go...or did they? Perhaps, given that he's a seven-year veteran and has been injured, the Vikings may feel that he's seen his best years.

I personally doubt it.

I've always believed that Randy Moss was never placed in an offense that fully showcased his abilities. The Raiders have the chance to draw up a new set of plays to isolate him against defensive backs and (yes) linebackers.

But if the Raiders can't stop anyone, then the trade's value from an organizational success perspective is lessened.

More on this later.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Jerry Brown's Disservice to Oakland - Part 1

I had to write this, or at least get it started, while it's on my mind. Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown has failed his city. Jerry has used the City to bring attention only to himself, and has no real notable victories to crow about.

I write this because the San Francisco Bay Area media gives him a free pass. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle had an extensive interview on him in the middle of last year. But it only focused on the issue of crime and how the rate of crime had decreased. I don't credit Jerry for that. I say he's the happy receipient of changing demographics: an overall older population that's less likely to go out and cause trouble than was the case of the 80s. Plus, Oakland, like every part of the Bay Area, is more expensive to live in, squeezing out the less fortunate who are more likely to commit violent public crimes. It's also more diverse, and the rate of black on black crime, the main problem in Oakland, has decreased as poor African Americans have moved out and more moneyed blacks and Asians and whites and Latinos have come in over the past 10 years.

The Chronicle didn't ask Jerry about the failure to redevelop Oakland's downtown. Or the overall lack of revenue generators to fill government coffers and close the city's massive budget deficit. Or the terrible morale of workers in the City of Oakland. None of that hit the article, making it one of the worst I've ever seen in my years in the Bay Area.

So, Jerry gets away with murder. Literally the murder of the city's image as he uses the crime issue to bolster his campaign for California Attorney General. See the connection? Oakland comes off looking like this bad city he tried to save, but it's too hard to do so, and so he takes off from the City to be a state official locking up the bad people. Right. Meanwhile, he leaves a lot of undone and unfinished work. Foremost is Oakland's image.

When Jerry was campaigning in 1998, someone said he would do this: come into the office and really not do much. Some Oaklanders are so blinded by his celebrity they can't think straight.

In my next post, I'll explain why Jerry came into power and the vast set of mistakes he's made while here.

I'll bet this: if he's elected AG, he'll leave Oakland. A carpetbagger who does not care about Oakland. That's typical of our city. We give the most respect to those who care the least.


Paris Hilton's Personal Info Stolen - Why?

According to this CNN article Paris' Hilton's personal information, including cell phone numbers, was stolen and then posted on the web.

My question is why? Why would I want to have the phone numbers of entertainers that don't want to talk to me? This is -- in my view -- entirely different than the Associated Press reporter who managed to send out his phone numbers of every notable sports person in the World.

If you're a sports writer, that's of value. Plus, many of the numbers (which I saw) were office phone digits, so one could call and set an interview on a topic.

This is different. I feel sorry for Paris, in that she's been filmed, sued, and now violated, and really for what reason? Still we live in what seems to be an ever increasingly nutty world, so it's good to be careful. In other words, don't put your numbers of friends on a public server.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Today, CNN's Carol Lin said that Bloggers are less than credible. But actually Blogging is replacing investigative journalism, which has been removed from the mainstream media by the explaination of "budget cutting." This started with CBS News President Van Gorton Sauter in 1981 and continues today.

So, with information technology at our fingertips, more and more people can ask questions, research, interview, write, and report. That's what journalists do, and that's what bloggers do.

Journalist also provide opinion and speculation, as do Bloggers. Here's my speculation about the story of Jeff Gannon or Jeff Gukkert, and how he gained access to the White House Press Corp. Remember, it's speculation, but I think it should be explored as no one seems to have an explaination. It may be possible he traded sexual favors for access. Hey, check it out, if only to refute it. Remember, he's alledgedly a -- or was a -- Gay escort. So, if a woman can get close to the President or one of his aides by being his straight mistress, why not a man as a Gay escort?

The questions are: "Who grants access to the White House Press Corp?", "How did they come to learn about Mr. Gannon", and "Have they hired Mr. Gannon for sexual services?"

Well, those are the questions. It's time to go to work.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

"Lord of The Rings" Peter Jackson Remakes King Kong - Where Are The Black Folks?

Hey, I was checking out the videos reporting the progress of the production of Lord of The Rings Director Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong and came away quite impressed with everything from the way they're recreating the New York of the 1930s, to the development of an environment totally devoid of African English, African American, or just plain black folks.

Before you -- if you're White (or black, but such is rare) and are about to scream "race card" please don't -- get into a defensive stance to protect Jackson, consider this question:

Weren't there blacks in New York in the 1930s? It's just a question.

Look at the site:

Click around and tell me if you can count more than five blacks? I counted zero. I do hope that all of "us" (blacks) are not going to be relegated to playing natives on Skull Island. GEEZ!

Look, what's the answer? For blacks to go out and make movies with just blacks? No.

I think this, and I'll write it: people who think in "racist" or "race-exclusion" terms are automatically less than intelligent. Why? Because to think this way means that the person can't see in detail, and thinks in boundaries. It also means that person is not insightful because insight requires that they think beyond their own mental boundaries.

A person who sees diversity wants to recreate the New York of the 1930s as it was, representing the mix of people that continues today. Blacks held a number of jobs in the New York of the 1930s.

Hey, will someone pass this on to Peter and tell him to faithfully represent America. Tell him that America and the New York of the 1930s was more than just white.

We've got to stop this crap, otherwise we'll raise a generation of people with weird and skewed views of history.

What? We're doing that already? Well, all the better reason to sound the alarm!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Just How Bad Was Jacksonville As Super Bowl Host City? Well...

My good friend Beth Schnitzer and her brothers, my friends Steve and Rayzin, were thoughtful enough to write down the events of their trip to Jacksonville for me, and trying to see it as a competiting Super Bowl Bid head (me) would have looked at it.

Below is what Steve sent to me today, formatted cursorily to preserve his chatty writing style. But some notes, before you start: "Jayville," is of course, Jacksonville. And they stayed on one of the cruise ships that were brought in to double as hotels, so there are references to their stay on it.

Ok, here you go!

zen thanks for everything.

We had a great time with beth even though:
1. we couldn't buy a thing on the ship except meals because they were goverened by customs or some maritime agcy
2. nobody did the homework to figure out that...
3. the ships were too tall to get under the bridges, so they put us in outer port space. (fox got under the bridge and set up right downtown and that was great)
4. so we need a shuttle to get from the ship to a holding tent where you
5. had to get another shuttle (additional $45) to town or a free shuttle to the parking lot (which cost an extr $55 with mailing)
6. ok for that, but secutity all along the way ship, shuttle, and central tent with airline xray screeners.
7. ok th port of jayville looks like shit so they spent 3-4hunge
gr to move around the empty cargo containers to build a fort or fence and put some colored spots on them to look like a movie opening.

Plus, to get to the port you had to go past the worst homes in town which they covered them and the crummy repair shops with some sort of semi transparent sheet that stretched like a 'cristo wrap the town' sculpture.

What else?
1. No friggin taxis so any schmuck with a car or van would pick you up for a $20+
2. the subway worked, but nobody knew where it went, and there were alot of pukers on that at all times (stunk)
3. The venues were so stretched out that it was almost impossible to get from one to the other without having a car or limo. (the beach was nice though)
4. everyone was super nice and helpful but they didn't coordinate with one another ex:
5. on checking the people at one table didn't know that the shuttle wristbands were being sold 20 ft. away.
6. also it took 2 days for people to figure out that they sold newspapers 40 ft. away.
7. THE GAME besides the fact that they funneled all people with or without tickets down the same packed st, we got there intact.
8. However they ran out of food at the half no more hotdogs! and the stadium had really bad seats (way too tiny for football fans, but probably ok for ballet goers).
9. After the game getting out of the stadium was a pain. egress was way over taxed.(the collaseum in rome was better).
10. And once you got out NOBODY knew where to go, and there were not enough cops and security (that is where you
needed them, and not around the rich and docile ocean liner guests) finding a shuttle to get home amongst pissed off eagle fans, drunken pats pukers, and thousands of lost patrons was a sight for sore eyes. (why i didn't where
my running/hiking shoes was a bad error).

Everything else was cool EXCEPT FOR THE LAST 3 HOURS.
1. at 5AM (yeah AM) this hated ding, diing, diiing (in
escalating octaves) to wake us up and tell us that we had to get out by 8-8:45AM so that they could get to ft. lauderdale for another cruise to the Bahamas. (ok so i put a pillow over my head and tried to get back to sleep)

But the cursed ding, diing, diiing at 6AM, them 7AM. ray and i got up and thought about breakfast, but they screwed us on that the last day (should have been included) and we had to pay incidentals (by the way, they put on an added $10/day/person gratuity, but enough people bitched, so they took it off. the nerve!) now let me say, i have been to quite a few superbowls and this was probably as bad as the Atl. mess with the ridiculous ice storm, and the transportation mess there.

But, jayville did have an incredible staff of smiling helpers to go around, great crabcakes and gulf shrimp (but N.O.
is still the best for food), a pretty good game (even though i lost on the point spread , taking the pats, with that last bogus eagle's td), the beers were colder and more plentiful here than any other, and the souvenirs went half price, quickly, the day after the game (that helped with the army of cooks i had to buy for).

So all in all i ranked it a c maybe a c-. no more…don't know how that will stack up to motor city (Detroit), but there is plenty of room to take over the bottom slot.

later steven schnitzer

Monday, February 14, 2005

African American Man, Reggie Fowler, To Buy Vikings

HEY! I'm watching NFL Network as I work on the computer, and the Minnesota Vikings are being sold..To a BLACK MAN! Yeah! His name's Reggie Fowler and he's from Arizona! Real great.

Let's see what info the Internet has...Check this ESPN link

I also found this from the AZReporter:

Business interests: Owner of Chandler-based Spiral Inc., which has supplied non-food items to grocery stores. He owns manufacturing, aviation and real estate companies, plus a cattle ranch.
Personal: Age 46, native of Tucson.
Football experience: Played football at the University of Wyoming, then briefly with the Cincinnati Bengals and a season with the now-defunct Arizona Wranglers of the United States Football League.

And more from the AZ reporter...

NFL quest puts humble Arizonan in limelight

Craig Harris
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 12, 2005 12:00 AM

Without fanfare, Chandler's Reggie Fowler has become a millionaire by selling life's simplest products.

Pencils, plastic bags and foam trays that hold meat in supermarkets all have been part of Fowler's business portfolio, which now includes a cattle ranch, bank, ice-skating rink and flight-simulator company.

His next acquisition, however, would be the most prominent.

The 46-year-old, who owns Chandler-based Spiral Inc., is in the final stages of buying the Minnesota Vikings. If the deal, which could be announced as early as Monday, goes through, Fowler would become the first African-American to own a National Football League franchise. The price has not been disclosed, but the Vikings' value has been estimated at more than $600 million.

"This is not an ego trip for him," said Jack Clifford, a Valley broadcaster in the 1970s and a business partner of Fowler. "This is a business deal, and it's time for someone like Reggie to be an important financial player in major-league sports. Maybe it will break open the opportunity for others."

In 1989, with a $1,000 investment, Fowler started Spiral, which has supplied a range of non-food items, such as bags, cups, containers, labels and janitorial supplies, to grocery stores.

Spiral, which Fowler named after the direction of a football thrown on a straight line, also is the name of his other enterprises, including an aviation firm and development and foam-manufacturing companies.

Revenues for his firms have grown from $12.3 million in 1992 to $31 million in 2003, according to published reports. Fowler declined to disclose current revenues. His net worth is estimated in excess of $400 million.

"We have had a lot of vision. We are relentless and hard workers," Fowler said. "But we don't like to talk about what we do. . . . I really like my privacy."

Fowler, described by friends and business partners as intense, honest and hardworking, also has tried to stay below the radar in his pursuit of the Vikings.

His quest became public last summer, but since then he has declined to make many public statements except to say he is working to buy the team.

The Arizona Republic and Minneapolis media outlets have reported in recent days that a deal with Vikings owner Red McCombs is imminent. McCombs did not return calls Friday.

On the way up
Fowler got his start in business by working for his father, but it was a humble start.

He washed dishes.

Growing up in Tucson, Fowler worked at his dad's restaurant, Al's Pit Bar-b-que, the same place the Sahuaro High School football squad would have its team dinners when Reggie was a star tailback.

Fowler's mother, Eloise, said that although Reggie's two brothers and two sisters were interested in cooking, he was more concerned about the overall business.

"He wanted to know the profits. He was interested in economics," she said.

At home, Eloise said Reggie was the only one of her children who always seemed to have money tucked away.

"He would loan his sisters and brothers money," she said, "and then he would have them do his chores for him."

After graduating from high school in 1977, Fowler went to the University of Wyoming on a football scholarship, where he played linebacker and earned a reputation as a gritty, tough player. During a game against Oklahoma, the tip of his right index finger was cut off and had to be sewn back on.

He earned a bachelor's degree in social work in December 1981, according to university records, and then played briefly with the Cincinnati Bengals and one season with the now-defunct Arizona Wranglers of the U.S. Football League.

When his playing days ended, Fowler enrolled in graduate school at Arizona State University, but he was recruited to work as a sales representative for Mobil Chemical, a division of Mobil Oil in the mid-1980s.

"The hours he worked were endless," said Rick Bifulco, a former Mobil executive who hired Fowler. "He was smart and aggressive, and he won all the promotions."

Bifulco said Fowler was one of the first sales representatives who had mastered the use of an Apple computer.

After about two years of working for Mobil's packaging division, which included selling paper bags, plastics and foam products to grocery stores, Fowler left the company and worked as a distributor, Bifulco said.

"Plastic is what I did. People used to say I was a plastics engineer," Fowler said. "We were good at it."

In the mid-1990s, Fowler sold the plastics-supply company to Unisource, a division of Alco Standard Co. of Pennsylvania, for an undisclosed amount.

"It was a very valuable acquisition for us. His was by far one of the most-profitable companies that we had bought," said Rick Check, a former Unisource executive who now owns his own packaging company. "He knows how to sell profitably and keep his costs down."

Check said one of the things that impressed him about Fowler was that he never flaunted his success.

"When we would drive around to the stores he serviced, it was never in a nice car. That's not his image," Check said.

Even today, Fowler said he drives a 5-year-old short-bed Toyota pickup. However, he does have his toys.

Fowler, a licensed pilot, said he owns a King Air 200, a twin turboprop corporate plane that can accommodate about a dozen people.

About three years ago, Fowler acquired Spiral Aviation Training Co. in Centennial, Colo., near Denver.

The company, which Fowler said is one of the top three simulator manufacturers in the world, sells flight-simulator and flight-training devices in the commercial, business and military markets. Its clients include Continental Connection, Northrop Grumman and the Navy.

Fowler's other interests in Colorado include a foam-tray manufacturer in Denver, which makes trays for meat products in supermarkets, and the Bamford Feed Yard, an Angus cattle ranch in Haxtun, in the state's northeastern corner, where Fowler has 25,000 head of cattle.

If that weren't enough, Fowler said he owns more than $300 million in real estate in Arizona and Colorado, and he said he is developing homes in Phoenix and Nogales under Spiral Construction Management.

Fowler also is the largest investor in Phoenix-based Bank of the Southwest, a two-branch community bank that has $84.3 million in assets, according to the state Banking Department. In Chandler, Fowler also owns Makutu's Island, a popular play spot, and the building for Polar Ice, a skating rink. In the past, he also has owned a bakery and a Water & Ice store.

"Reggie has always been an entrepreneur," said John Mistler, Fowler's high school teammate and executive vice president of the bank. "He's a self-made man who has found ways to be successful. . . . And he has parlayed that into the wealth he has today."

Mistler, a former NFL receiver with the New York Giants and a color commentator for the Arizona Cardinals, said Fowler has worked just as hard to stay out of the spotlight.

"Some people are just private," Mistler said. "Reggie is not a person looking for a lot of accolades. . . . He enjoys being in the background, and he likes it that way. He has been very successful in doing that."

A helping hand
Fowler has stepped up in his own way, however. In the late 1990s, he quietly put up $10 million to help the Horizon Community Learning Center build a K-12 charter school in the Ahwatukee Foothills.

The school, which was initially unable to get a bank loan, later sold bonds to buy back the facilities.

Fowler, who has no ties to the school, said he helped because he could.

"When you make money, you feel you should give back. We had an opportunity," Fowler said. "Others have helped me along the line."

Although Fowler has had immense success, his Spiral Inc. has had a few blemishes.

The company has been sued 19 times in the past six years on allegations that it did not pay its bills. Half of the cases were settled or ended in judgments.

The cases, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court and two Justice Courts, sought a combined $578,000 for non-payment of bills, contracts or employee wages.

Two sports-marketing experts have said the lawsuits likely would not create a problem for Fowler, who would need approval from other NFL owners to buy the Vikings.

They said NFL owners, who own other businesses, also likely have been sued and understand that it is part of doing business.

Fowler said that the average lawsuit involved less than $1,200 and that in most cases he was not involved. In some cases, he said, Spiral was sued because it owned the property where there was a legal dispute and the dispute centered on a subcontractor.

Those close to Fowler say that nearly everything he has touched has been successful.

"He's the type you want to go to battle with," said Lafayette "Fat" Lever, a former NBA player who has done business with Fowler.

"You know as hard as you work, he is going to work 50 times harder. The competitive spirit comes out in him. He will not be outdone or outworked. . . . If he wants to get it done, he will find a way to get it done."

Happy Valentines Day!

Don't forget to give...Even if you don't get anything.

StepDad in the Hospital - Again

My Mom took my StepDad into Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital today to be treated for pneumonia. Wow, this has been a hard period of time. A prayer is welcome!

Fox's Sports Bay Area Baseball Luncheon

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending my fourth Fox SportsNet Bay Area Baseball Luncheon, held at Treature Island. For those of you not aware of the event, it's considered the "kickoff" baseball season event for the media of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The featured speaker was Bob DuPuy, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball and someone I wanted to meet to talk about SBS's Oakland Baseball Simworld and ask him about how MLB deals with excessive debt amoung teams.

Media Roast of People and Politicians

The luncheon is a media roast. Ray Kiper was the event MC, and seemed to leave few luminaries out of his humor gunsight. Some of the people he talked about -- like Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown -- were there. Others, like San Francisco Chronicle Columnist and friend Glenn Dickey, were not.

Ray said this about Dickey: "Is Glenn Dickey here? No? Well, that's right because he doesn't have his column anymore!" That was a low blow. I don't know what Glenn did to deserve that. I personally think Ray should have spent more time roasting Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown.

Yes, Jerry was there, and about a table away from mine. He was sitting with Mike Crowley, President of the Oakland A's, SF Giants GM Brian Sabien, SF Giants Owner Peter McGowan, SF Giants President Larry Bear, Du Puy, and Randy Muller of Fox Corporate.

While Jerry was there, Simone Brice, who I know, and who's worked in the City of Oakland, walked in. I offered him a seat and lunch at our table, since there were about four open seats. He sat down and we caught up on things.

Simone and I hold differing views on what our roles in Oakland should be. I am passionate about Oakland; Simone sees Oakland as a means to a personal end. In other words more money and pension for a better life. Personally, that's why I'm running SBS. I just feel that I can do more of a personal nature here in a private business.
With Oakland, I was on a mission to make the City better.

Simone and I also talked about Jerry and just how hard it is to work for him. See, Jerry tends to be really inconsiderate of his staff people. I mean if you think California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley had problems with his staff, take a look at Jerry Brown. What protects Jerry is his celebrity status, and the media's almost rose-colored view of him. A view so unrealitic it borders on silly. But I digress. Let's get back to the luncheon.

DuPuy Says Major League Baseball Supports Oakland

After the round of Kiper Jokes, Fox Sports GM Jeff Krolik introduced DuPuy. In his speech, DuPuy stated more than once, that Major League Baseball was committed to keeping the A's in Oakland with a new baseball stadium.

There's a school of thought which goes like this: Major League Baseball will try to work with the Oakland Officials, knowing they don't have their act together, then work to relocate the team to San Jose. I personally don't think Major League Baseball would work to damage the Giants' fan base in the South Bay, but I'm only reporting a school of thought.

One part of that idea is that Oakland officials do need to get their act together. Well, more specifically, the Coliseum Authority and the Mayor's Office -- er, The Mayor.

Anyway, I saw a lot of people at the lunch. I saw Jerry and he saw me while he was at the podium. I think I may have caused him to skip a few lines.

I also saw my good friends Monte Poole and Marty Mandel, who's a local TV and Broadcasting agent, as well as Jay De La Cruz, who makes the whole lunch happen for Fox. Then there are long times friends from the A's like David Rinetti and Dave Alioto. And of course I met a ton of people and collected business cards I have to follow up on.

In all, a great way to start the baseball season!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

What's With All The Teachers Sleeping With Students??

Hey, will someone tell me why we have this rash of teachers bedding their students? I mean elementary school teachers, as I seriously doubt anyone really cares what professors and college students do. Well, OK. Maybe someone. But show me the last time someone was thrown in the slammer for that.

What's the deal here? Is it in the water, or has it been going on and only now noticed? Also, the women are not ugly ducklings, so forget that "They can't get a man" idea. Plus, some were married. Geez...

I mean check out this latest report I found on Google and is at CBS:

(CBS) A teacher in Tennessee has been accused of having sex with one of her students, who is 13.

The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler says Pamela Turner, 27, taught physical education, and was married to a high school basketball coach. But she's been charged with statutory rape.

Prosecutor Dale Potter says, "Some people don't look at it as serious, but if you reverse the roles and make it a male on a female, then everyone gets really upset, and it's considered really serious."

Potter adds Turner won't be given special treatment because she's a woman: "We intend to prosecute it as aggressively as we do our other sex cases."

Turner is free on a $50,000 bond. The school system has placed her on leave.

Of course, notes Syler, this is hardly the first time a teacher has been accused of having a physical relationship with a student.

Perhaps the most infamous case involved Mary Kay Letourneau, a Seattle teacher whose relationship with a sixth-grader, ultimately produced two children. Letourneau spent seven years behind bars.

Last December, Debra LaFave, a middle-school reading teacher in Florida, was charged having sex with a 14-year-old.

Her lawyer, John Fitzgibbons, asserts, "Debbie has some profound emotional issues that are not her fault." He plans an insanity defense when her trial comes up later this year.

"Three young, attractive teachers, all accused of sexual misconduct," Syler sums it up.

Say folks, is this going on a lot at school? Do tell here!!! And here's another question: Why is it always a female teacher? I've yet to see a case involving a male teacher.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Dynasty? Patriots? ...Yeah. I Guess So

Ok, now that the Super Bowl is over, the question of the day is "Are the New England Patriots a dynasty.?"

Well, if you hate that the team wins all the time and consistently root for their loss and demise, then yes. The New England Patriots are a dynasty.

I give Head Coach Bill Belichek credit for keeping his players consistently hungry. It's not like they're the most talented team in the league; they have great players, but they are weak in areas like the defensive secondary. What makes them great are the coaches: they teach, train, and prepare, and they do it better than the other 31 teams in the NFL.

I'm Back in Oakland - Mom's Getting Better

I returned to Oakland on Friday but felt real guilty that I didn't stay longer with my folks. I called my Stepfather's brother and wife to really encourge them to fly down to Georgia. I think they have some issues around the perception of Georgia as racist (I think it's not much different than the Bay Area, but the kind of racism here is more subtle but none the less visible...When one's eyes are open)

Anyway, to my surprise, they did fly there on Sunday. That made me very happy.

The other matter I have to clear is to determine what happened to my real Dad in Rolling Meadows, Ill. I can't call him as his number's disconnected.

New York Jets New Stadium - City Is Making Mistakes

I am as excited as anyone to see New York City build a new stadium for the Jets and the 2012 Olympics effort, but I think they're dropping the political ball.

They're forcing a design on the people of New York, when they should have a public party and design competition. The time clock is clicking so to salvage this PR problem, they should just have a public party where people get to actually come up with changes to the stadium design.

Yes, they're going to have hecklers, but I think they will be "controlled" by those who are just happy to be a part of the process. They should also record the names of each of the people who attend, and put them on the stadium walls when it's built.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Super Bowl: Oakland - Zennie Gets Jerry Brown

After over four years, I finally got my chance to publically explain what really happened to our Super Bowl Bid.

If you're wondering what I mean read this column penned by the Oakland Tribune's Monte Poole.

In Atlanta, not Jacksonville

Last week, I learned that my Mom has Breast Cancer, and was due to go into the hospital on Monday of this week. So last week, I decided to cancel my Super Bowl trip and come here to Fayetteville, GA, to be with my Mom and Stepfather, who has been battling Prostate Cancer.

My Mom's upset that I didn't attend what was to be my 4th Super Bowl, but I'll tell ya I feel a lot better being here than worrying.

Besides, the 2005 Super Bowl should be in Oakland, not Jacksonville.