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The Farsider Our Chaplain Historical Society


The Farsider

February 27, 2014


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


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



Mayor Reed's photo drew our attention to this story about Detroit's financial problems in last Sunday's Mercury News…

All Eyes on Detroit Cuts

—San Jose, others watch closely as bankrupt city aims to slash pensions—

By Dale Kasler — Staff Writer
Sacramento Bee — Feb. 23, 2014

In a case with significant implications for public pensions in California, the bankrupt city of Detroit is proposing slashing retirement benefits by up to 34 percent.

The city would cut pensions 10 percent for retired police officers and firefighters, and 34 percent for other municipal retirees as it tries to resolve the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history.

Detroit’s plan is being closely watched in California, where two cities are trying to exit bankruptcy and cities such as San Jose are facing financial stress over rising pension costs.

The city of San Bernardino has hinted that it might try to reduce its $24 million-a-year bill to CalPERS, although it hasn’t yet filed a reorganization plan. Last fall, the city of Stockton proposed a bankruptcy plan that leaves pensions untouched but restructures much of its bond debt.

Adding to the tension over pension costs in California: San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is backing a ballot initiative that would give state and local governments broad powers to reduce pension costs.

In December, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas shot down a key part of a 2012 voter-approved measure that cuts workers’ pensions in San Jose. But the judge said the city could reduce workers’ paychecks to achieve the same savings.

On Thursday, Moody’s Investors Service warned Stockton and San Bernardino that they must tackle pension costs or else risk returning to insolvency. Moody’s also noted that Vallejo, which resolved its bankruptcy without cutting pensions, is facing renewed financial problems and “now faces the risk of a second bankruptcy.”

Last week, the governing board of CalPERS set in motion a new round of rate increases to deal with the increasing life expectancy of hundreds of thousands of retirees in California. The increases for municipalities and school districts are expected to be substantial, although they won’t start until 2016 and will be phased in over five years.

In December, the bankruptcy judge in Detroit ruled that the city could use bankruptcy to scale back pensions for current workers and retirees, the first time that’s ever happened.

Many bankruptcy experts say the Detroit ruling could open the door for rollbacks of pension benefits in California. But officials with CalPERS say California pensions have additional legal protections not available to workers in Detroit. Notably, California public pensions are protected by state law and the state constitution, according to lawyers for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Still, “we’re troubled by the Detroit bankruptcy decision, and we disagree with it,” CalPERS lawyer Gina Ratto said in December.



For Immediate Release

February 20, 2014

San Jose Firefighters and Police Officers
Call for Measure B Fix Before New Taxes

Our unions believe the most responsible course of action to restore public safety services is to fix the fatally flawed Measure B with legal pension cost savings prior to asking the residents of San Jose to raise their sales tax.  

For over two years our members have proposed and supported legally reducing the costs of pensions to generate savings to restore the hundreds of police officers that have left San Jose and to provide adequate staffing to improve fire and medical emergency response times.

Although we are appreciative of recent calls to raise revenue we can only support asking the residents to sacrifice by raising their sales tax if the destructive disability provision and the uncompetitive 2nd tier pension for new hires are fixed and pension cost savings are realized.

It is important to note that the current 2nd tier pension for police officers is less lucrative than the CalPERS pension enjoyed by Mayor Chuck Reed, Sam Liccardo, Pierluigi Oliverio and 5 other city council members.

We need pension cost savings the residents can count on before asking them to raise the sales tax.


Feb. 21, 2014

Please click the links below for the latest news:

The Daily Fetch (Article)

Reed says in State of the City speech that public safety is his top priority.



~ ~ ~



State of the City Speech and Reed proposes putting firefighters
on motorcycles to improve response times.
(Article and Video)


Campaign Season Has Started

Feb. 23rd

In case you haven't noticed, campaign season is in full swing. The direction San Jose will be headed for years to come will be decided now.  Public debate has begun over continuing the destructive policies of this Mayor and City Council or taking a new approach.

We will be walking and phone banking for our endorsed candidates from now until June. Please make time to spend a couple of hours talking to voters about fixing San Jose. We will be updating you with weekend walking and weekday phone banking dates and times as they are scheduled. Below are a few walking dates to get everyone warmed up.
Walk with our very own Officer Raul Peralez to replace termed out Sam Liccardo in downtown District 3.  


For Raul's walks we will meet at the POA Hall for a brief training before hitting the neighborhoods.
Saturday, March 1st

Shifts at: 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 29th

Shifts at: 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

~ ~ ~

Walk for Paul Fong to replace termed out Pete Constant in west San Jose District 1

We will meet at Paul's Campaign office, 1475 Saratoga Ave Suite 168 (across from the Westgate Chevy's) for a brief training before walking.

Saturday, March 15
Shifts at: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 16th — Shift at: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Please send me an email to confirm you can attend one of the dates so we can give the campaigns an estimate of how many people will be attending but feel free to show up even if you have not RSVP'd. Members are welcome to bring your friends and families on the walks.

Call me with any questions

James Gonzales <
510-551-8218 (Cell)

Feb. 24th

On Friday we received the final ruling from Judge Patricia Lucas regarding Measure B. Consistent with her previous tentative ruling, City workers won on the major issues. Click here to log in to for ruling on the Members Only homepage: <https://www.sjpoa.com/Login.asp> and for the analysis, click here: <http://tinyurl.com/mx749nb>

In recent months, we have witnessed the resignation of nearly half of our recent police academy graduates. Most have resigned to work for other cities out of frustration with the Tier 2 pension plan that offers substandard disability benefits. Unfortunately, Judge Lucas' final ruling has resulted in this same disability definition now being applied to ALL POLICE OFFICERS in San Jose (Tier 1 and Tier 2). We know that working without adequate disability benefits as a police officer is filled with risks for both you and your family. We are currently reviewing private policy insurance plans in an attempt to provide a small amount of coverage. Please realize that no insurance plan can replace what you and your family have just lost.

The earliest the City can implement anything is July 1, 2014 due to a stay order which is still in effect. As we learn more about the City's implementation plans, we will notify you. The next step is for both sides to consider the appellate process. Again, we will keep you apprised of developments.

On another note...

A few of you noticed that there has been a change to our paychecks. There is a category listed under "After-Tax Deductions" titled 'Benefits Administration Fee'. This fee is listed with a dollar amount of 21 cents. Last year, this deduction used to be listed under the "Employer Paid Benefits" and had a dollar amount of $0.00.

So what gives? Why is the City apparently taking 21 cents out of each biweekly paycheck this year when it wasn't last year? The answer, via Rhonda Schmidt the Senior Analyst with HR, is they're not. There has always been an employee paid "Benefits Administration Fee" in the past but was never noticed because it was wrapped up and included in the premiums of voluntary benefits offered through the City (including long-term disability insurance, vision, etc.).

The 21-cent charge represents a flat rate, per employee, to have those benefits offered and administrated.

Jim Unland
John Robb

POA President Jim Unland penned this piece for the Mercury News. It appeared in the paper on Feb. 25th...

San Jose police: Candidates' Ideas for Restoring Public Safety Miss the Mark

By: Jim Unland

 One San Jose City Council member wants to change the City Charter to set aside 40 percent of the budget for police. Another took 14,000 words to spell out his flawed plan to save the Police Department.

San Jose doesn't need a budget shuffle, and it doesn't take 14,000 words to save the police force. It only takes three: Fix Measure B.

San Jose council members running for mayor are trying to re-brand themselves as public safety advocates. Sam Liccardo has his crime plan manifesto, Pierluigi Oliverio has his 40 percent budget gimmick and Madison Nguyen wants to restore the burglary unit because she is now hearing from the affluent areas of San Jose.

These proposals are all mayoral political stunts.

Claiming to be leaders who can restore neighborhood safety while ignoring their own culpability must cause these politicians heartburn, since they all voted for policies that have made us less safe.

Why is it that just a few months before an election we are hearing their ideas for rebuilding our public safety infrastructure? What have they been doing the past several years?

Liccardo touts his idea to magically hire more police. We can't. The few officers who do get hired aren't staying. No amount of money thrown at recruiting and retaining officers can fix the root cause of why the exodus continues. The reason is Measure B.

Council members Rose Herrera, Liccardo, Nguyen and Oliverio asked voters to support Measure B, promising it would restore city services. How's that worked out?

Emergency response times are at historic highs, crime rates continue to rise and our newest officers are leaving for other agencies before they even complete training. From the last police academy, only 25 of the 50 hired remain. With a doubling of the number of officers eligible to retire at the end of this year, the problems will get worse.

Measure B provides new officers the worst pension plan in the state. It comes with no guarantee that it will still be there when an officer retires, and it provides so little protection for an officer injured in the line of duty that officers have had to buy their own disability insurance.

The council members running for mayor know this. They know that our recruitment and retention struggles are caused by Measure B. To add insult to injury, Liccardo, Oliverio, Mayor Chuck Reed and five other council members enjoy a CalPERS pension that is more lucrative than what they voted to give new police officers.

The problem Herrera, Nguyen, Liccardo and Oliverio face is that their desire to be the next mayor prevents them from admitting they got it wrong. In their minds, it would be political suicide to ask the voters to fix Measure B. Admitting mistakes is not how one wins elections.

Another idea being bandied about and apparently now tacitly supported by the Chamber of Commerce is to raise San Jose's sales tax to "fix" public safety. This idea is irresponsible and unfair to residents because it fails to address the root problem.

Unless Measure B is fixed to include legal pension cost savings, a competitive second tier pension plan and disability protection for those injured in the line of duty, taxes should not be raised.

We are losing officers faster than we can replace them. A 40 percent budget set aside or a 14,000 word crime plan won't change this fact or make San Jose neighborhoods safer. To accomplish that, Measure B must be fixed.

Jim Unland is president of the San Jose Police Officers Association. He wrote this for this newspaper.

Ed. — Today's (Feb. 27th) paper included two letters to the editor in response to Jim's article…

Revenue Measure Still Needed in San Jose

Letters to the Editor — Mercury News — Feb. 27, 2014

Although I agree with Jim Unland, San Jose Police Officers Association president, that Measure B needs to be fixed, I do not agree that a revenue measure will not improve public safety.

A revenue measure will provide much needed funds for community services that have a direct impact on public safety. These services include infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks and streetlights to decrease traffic accidents and crime. Additional revenue will provide funding for community centers, libraries and parks to give youth and adults an outlet other than crime and the streets, as well as economic development to provide jobs. These are just a few of the community services that can be improved with a revenue measure. Yes, Measure B needs to be changed, but a revenue measure is needed.

LaVerne S. Washington
AFSCME President, City of San Jose Confidential Employees Organization

~ ~ ~

Association President Correct on Measure B

Letters to the Editor — Mercury News — Feb. 27, 2014

In his oped (Opinion, Feb.25), Sgt. Jim Unland, the president of the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, wrote that his response to the mayoral candidates’ hyperbolic fixes for the public safety crisis can be stated in three words: “fix Measure B.” My response to Unland’s insightful article can be stated in just two words: Amen, brother!

Rita Barsotti Nostrand
San Jose

Feb. 25th

Judge Patricia Lucas' ruling on Measure B is now on the home page of our website, you no longer need to log in to view the PDF. Please click here to visit our website: <http://www.sjpoa.com/Default.asp>



If "safety issues" are now a priority, is Reed coming to the party a little late? For those of you interested, this is how the paper covered Mayor Reed's State of the City Address…

Safety Issues Are Priority

— Reed gives his final State of the City address —

By Mike Rosenberg <mrosenberg@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Feb. 21, 2014

SAN JOSE — In his eighth and final State of the City address, Mayor Chuck Reed on Thursday vowed to spend his final year in office trying to make San Jose safer by bolstering the depleted police force, speeding up 911 response times and reducing homelessness.

Those are among the top concerns of the city’s nearly 1 million residents in this key election year in which four of Reed’s City Council allies are among those running to succeed him. Reed struck a mostly upbeat tone during his annual address, delivered in his signature dry, pragmatic style. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to do as much as we want or need to do,” Reed said toward the end of his speech. But he concluded: “We’ve got 10 months and eight days to go. Let’s make every day count. Please join me to make San Jose a great city that we can all be proud of.” The half-hour evening speech at the revamped San Jose McEnery Convention Center offered the 65-year-old mayor an opportunity to reflect on seven years in office — which he called “challenging and difficult” — and lay out his vision for his final year before he is termed out:

• The mayor vowed to restore the ranks of a police department depleted by budget cuts and waves of retirements and resignations. Pay and benefit cuts he championed to ease the bite of soaring employee retirement costs have helped prompt cops to leave in recent years. While he promised to continue efforts to keep and recruit officers, police union critics continue to blame him for the officer exodus.

• Reed advocated changes in the way the fire department responds to 911 medical calls, as response times have consistently missed county targets in the past year, leading supervisors last month to issue big penalties. But the firefighters union opposes his proposals, such as using smaller vehicles with fewer firefighters or even motorcycles for medical calls.

• He will push to spend more money and partner with the county, among other groups, to provide housing and other services to the city’s nearly 5,000 homeless people.

• He will vote on March 4 to put the renewal of the city’s library parcel tax on the June ballot but stopped short of supporting a possible half-cent sales tax increase that could reach the November ballot.

• He hoped the city’s ongoing court case against Major League Baseball will be settled by the end of the year: “I look forward to watching the next mayor throw the first pitch for the San Jose A’s,” he said.

County supervisor and mayoral candidate Dave Cortese said Reed deserves much of the blame for the public safety problems he’s trying to address. “It’s going to be an uphill battle for him to make any real progress in the last few months,” Cortese said. In his first state of the city speech, in 2007, he promised before he left office to wipe out what was then the sixth straight year of funding shortfalls.

The budget is now essentially balanced, helped in part by surging revenues and the various cuts Reed and his colleagues have made to help offset increased retirement costs for city employees.

Still, he implored the city’s future mayor and council members to “stand on our shoulders” and continue the fiscal restraint, conceding that the city’s full financial problems can’t be solved before he leaves office on Dec. 31. Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705.

• • • • •

Retiree Larry Brightwell pointed out this article in yesterday's Washington Post, the headline of which doesn't endear most citizens to San Jose City workers and retirees…

In San Jose, Generous Pensions for City Workers Come at Expense of Nearly All Else 

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed looks out over the city in 2012

Click on the link below to read the story...




Last Week's Poll Results

For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:



This missive from Les Nunes provides some helpful information that can save you a trip to Police Personnel on Senter Rd. when it's time to renew your I.D. card…

Feb. 20th


It was good talking last night. I can't make it to as many PBA meetings as I'd like to, so it's always a treat for me.

I really enjoyed the Farsider today; great mix of humor, news, and meaningful content. The dog on the trampoline had my wife and me in stitches.

While going through the qualification/ID card renewal process yesterday, I learned something. Forgive me if it's old news, but it was new to me. The renewal form that begins the process can be obtained from Victoria Ramirez at Police Personnel in advance. She can either fax a signed copy to you or she can email it as long as you have a printer. Then, all you need to do is fill out your portion of it and show up at the Range with it. This saves you the drive out to Senter Rd. and allows you to start and finish in one trip to the PD. If this isn't common knowledge, maybe you could pass it on to the rest of the troops. I know it doesn't fix the real problem, but at least it helps a bit. I called her yesterday morning and I had my copy printed out within about 5-10 minutes.

Take care.


Thanks for the kind words about the Farsider, Les. I wasn't aware of that shortcut you pointed out. It's info that every retiree who wants to carry a current CCW-endorsed I.D. card will be grateful for. (The phone number at Police Personnel is 408-277-5215.)  

• • • • •

Feb. 20th


Just a note of thanks regarding Sal Pizarro's column about our Christmas shopping spree. I have been doing this work since 2008. The foundation's mission is to provide charitable relief for children in need and those children who are in traumatic crisis due to a loss of a parent from domestic violence. This past December we hosted 50 needy children and had 80 police officers from 12 different agencies volunteer their time. Each child received a  $125 Target  gift card from our foundation. We try to raise the  needed funds all year long.

Our website is
<www.shopwithacopsv.org> and we are a designated 501 ( C) 3 charitable org.  All donations are tax deductible under IRS rules.


Darrell Cortez
Executive Director

For those unaware of the program, we recommend a visit to the website to see what "Shop with a Cop" does for kids at risk and the community at large.

• • • • •

Feb. 20th


I left Maine in 1955 for the very reasons outlined in the story of the Maine State Troopers surviving on road kill to feed their families. (Last week's Farsider:

I clicked on the source article from the Bangor Daily News and was struck by the asinine comments following that story, but not at all surprised. That's the Maine attitude. It comes from living in a bubble since the 1600s. Before I left with Joyce, who was five months pregnant with our first child, I was attending Gorham State College with a major in Junior High School education. One of my goals like everyone else was to be employed upon graduation, so I kept a close eye on job offers posted on the bulletin board. Every job in every district was hiring at $1,500 a year. The wage went up to a glorious $3,000 annual salary if the candidate would coach the school athletic teams. All of them. Needless to say, I was not impressed.  At the same time I had been working at a large commercial bakery for over five years. One day I was very ill and called in sick. When I arrived at work the following day I was confronted by a hostile supervisor who told me I was fired. No reason.  No appeal. No remedy. On the following day I was called back to work. The reason? We made a mistake!

They sure did. I decided my wife and I were going to leave family and Maine and head west. I could not tolerate spending my working life for $1,500 a year or for an employer who on a whim could fire me for no reason. Upon closer look, I realized that employees with 20+ years for the same company were terminated. One case involved a clerical worker who was fired because her eyesight was failing due to a cataract. She was dumped on the street; no pension, no health plan, nothing, and now too old to be employed.

I'm sorry to say it, but that's Maine. That was Maine when I left, and I suspect not much has changed in 50+ years since then. Maine was a typical New England society organized on the British model of " class." There were two broad classes:  Those that had money and those that didn't. I didn't. Old family names predominated in the social structure. Mine was shanty Irish; I was the son of a cop.  Policemen in Maine had little social status and were paid starvation wages. During WW II my father was paid $49.00 a week before taxes while a shipyard worker building Liberty Ships in the South Portland yards were making over $200 a week.  There was no workers compensation for policemen injured on the job. My father was severely injured twice and unable to work for a year each time while he recovered. My mother was the breadwinner during those hard times. She worked in a school cafeteria and we survived on the leavings of the day.

That's Maine. That's the attitude those poor State Troopers in the article are dealing with. Many of them who have families are trapped. Unfortunately, their children will be also.

Nor is Maine generous with higher education. I was fortunate to be one of 35 students to graduate from a Jesuit High School. That education was the key for me.  I knew there was a better life to be had and I went for it, just in time. Our families who were typical Mainer's tried to stop us from leaving with dire warnings of what would happen to us in the big world outside of the Maine cocoon. I realized we had to leave before our baby was born. If we didn't, we would never be able to break out of the mental prison that Maine fosters. We survived and did well.

When I saw the Trooper story in the Farsider it struck a nerve. I wrote a comment to the Bangor Daily News expressing my feelings toward the Maine State Legislature.  I won't repeat it here, but "Cheap B-------" seemed to fit the description.

(Norton) <ponorton2008@gmail.com>

Are you saying that you used the term "Cheap Bastards" in your comment to the Maine newspaper, but that you were reluctant to use it here? You and I need to sit down and have a talk, Phil.


• • • • •


Feb. 21st

Hi Bill,

After a while I think everybody gets tired of listening to the politicians, pundits, and what-have-you's debating the issue of the minimum wage. Seems like every four or five years, it's here we go again. Some people call it a living wage, others say it is barely a sustainable wage. Whatever.  Maybe I am missing something, but as far as I can tell there seems to be a pretty simple answer to it all. Don't get me wrong. I could very well be misunderstanding the entire situation. The economy can be a complicated subject. Then again perhaps it is not all that complicated.

It might be a good idea to find a start point, then go from there. The start point would be an agreed upon number (minimum wage) for the different areas of the country. In some areas that number would be $7.25 an hour; in others it could be $9.25 or even more. It would vary from Kansas to New York or San Francisco etc. But it shouldn't take an economic genius to work up numbers that come pretty close for all the different areas. Getting everyone to agree on that number might be quite a different matter. Still, I think it's very possible to find agreement.

Once everyone agrees to what the living wage should be (the start point), most of the work is done. After that, all minimum wage increases would automatically be based on the annual Cost of Living Index for each area of the country. Period. The key word there is automatically, the same as a lot of employee groups. Can you imagine being fair to everybody, even those at the start of the wage scale?

Once the start point is reached and agreed upon, all further debates would effectively cease. There would be no more roller coaster spikes in the numbers (say from $7.25 an hour to $10.10). Or worries about the unemployment rate going higher, or the rhetoric coming from all corners, or political parties snarking back and forth. It would stabilize that entire sector of the market.

If the cost of living went up say 2.5%, then the minimum wage would go up 2.5% each year. Everybody could count on it, business owners could plan their strategies on it and respond accordingly. Does it not make sense to take the political rhetoric out of the discussion and let the numbers speak for themselves?

Seems reasonable to me. Am I being to naive? Could there be an elephant in the room that is being ignored? Agree on a start point and go from there.

Hope all is well. Take care,

Hi Dave:

Did you happen to notice the results of last week's poll above?

The only problem I see with your suggestion is at the start of the third paragraph of your message. To wit: "Once everyone agrees to what the living wage should be,,," Therein lies the rub. In this day and age you can't even get everyone to agree that the earth revolves around the Sun…


• • • • •


Feb. 25th

Hi Bill,

Here is that photo with Bobby Burroughs and Bill Leavy I was talking about. I have seen photos of the sign on the old City Hall above the garage entrance. it was removed when the City Hall was torn down and the sign bounced around from cop to cop. I have shown the photo to a few people, including Chief Esquivel, and everyone has expressed an interest in locating this sign and restoring it to mount again outside the PD. If Bill doesn’t know where it is, can you include the photo in the Farsider with the hope that someone has stored it in their attic, garage, man cave, etc.?

Thank you for your help.

(John Carr Jr.)
SJPD Historical Society

Hi Junior: I vaguely recall taking the photo when Bill worked as the Mayor and City Council's security officer and Bobby was his supervisor. (Our three desks were within spitball distance of each other.) I checked with Bill and he said he didn't know what happened to the sign 15 minutes after he helped Bobby load it into the truck, so your best bet is that a Farsider reader will know of its location and hopefully respond to your request.

• • • • •


Feb. 26th


In my role as the Chi Pi Sigma Alumnae Association Historian I get a lot of photos sent my way. The two I have attached are allegedly from the DOW demonstrations in 1967, I believe at San Jose State. Anyhow, I am looking for names of any of the officers who can be identified. I personally am intrigued by the gas gun officer. It looks like they loaded up the smallest officer with the heaviest equipment.



• • • • •

Carm Grande — former multi-term POA president — spoke out against Councilman Sam Liccardo's bid for mayor in last Saturday's Letters section of the paper…

Liccardo Would Further Erode San Jose Police

Letters to the Mercury News — Feb. 21, 2014

Mayoral candidate, Sam Liccardo, released his political platform and it lacks reason.

His efforts to dismantle the San Jose Police Department will continue, if elected mayor. The reason officers are leaving is the result of San Jose having the lowest rate of total compensation among all Bay Area cities. Liccardo’s suggestion to penalize those hiring agencies lacks wisdom and forethought, opening the way for further criticism of our elected leaders. I believe a productive approach would be to enhance the compensation package of the SJPD, which would attract officers from other agencies.

It costs $170,000 to train each new recruit. Wouldn’t it be wiser to allocate some of that expense to compensation which could forgo the expense and loss of trained recruits? The 200 new recruits he proposes would end up costing the city more than $3 million to train, and then they would leave, resulting in another $3 million training expenditure.

Carm J. Grande
SJPD Retired San Jose

Carm's email address is
<marcdanger@sbcglobal.net> should any of you want to comment on his letter. Meanwhile, this San Jose resident provided a rebuttal to Carm's letter in yesterday's paper…

Let’s Pay Our Bills Before Promising More

Letters to the Mercury News — Feb. 26, 2014

A police retiree recently argued (Letters, Feb. 22) against Councilman Sam Liccardo’s plan to hire more than 200 police officers and to force cities that hire away our officers to repay San Jose taxpayers for the cost of their training. Instead, he urges larger paychecks to improve officer retention. The council already voted to restore police officer pay 11 percent over the next two years. The average officer makes more than $110,000 in pay — among the highest among large U.S. cities — and an average first-year retiree receives a six-figure pension.

The question isn’t what our hardworking officers deserve, but rather what we can afford.

Taxpayers must foot the bill for $3.7 billion in unfunded liabilities for benefits that politicians promised to unions. Let’s pay our existing bills before promising more.

Jack Sardegna
San Jose

• • • • •


Feb. 26th


I'm sure you are aware of the data on the proposition B vote. If not look at this:

Total registered voters in San Jose: 386,804
Total votes cast on proposition B: 144,424
Total Yes votes for proposition B: 95,716
Total No votes for proposition B: 42,964
Percent of Yes votes: 69.02%
Percent of No votes: 29.7%
Percent of Yes votes compared to total voters registered: 27.7%

What it says is that 27.7% of registered voters passed proposition B. This is the data that counts rather that alleging that 70% of voters adopted proposition B. That is not true. Now 100% of voters have to live with what 27.7% of voters did.

For what it's worth, this is democracy and spin in action. I was always turned off by the 70% figure.

Phil (Norton)

I sent the following reply to Phil…

I don't doubt your figures, Phil. And I do see your point. But a good argument can be made that of those who voted, 70 percent chose to vote Yes for Measure B. Registered voters who don't vote are totally worthless and shouldn't even be called voters, registered or otherwise.

Phil responded with this…

Good argument or not, still 100% of the voters and citizens are detrimentally affected by the 27.7% who did vote. I would like to let it be known that 70% of the registered voters did not vote for what they now have to live with. Only 27.7% of the voters set the policy for the entire electorate. Of course the ones who did not vote have no one to blame but themselves. 




Our inbox lit up like a Geiger counter at Fukushima early Tuesday evening with numerous e-mails from readers that contained links to news stories about the retirement of San Diego PD Police Chief Bill Lansdowne. For the handful of you who are unaware, Bill started his career with the SJPD back in the mid-'60s and rose to the rank of Deputy Chief before retiring to take over the Chief's job in the city of Richmond (CA). He returned to San Jose in 1998 and became SJPD's Chief following the departure of Lou Cobarruviaz and a short stint by Acting Chief Walt Adkins. A few years later Bill accepted the job as San Diego's police chief where has served for 10 years. I'm not quite sure of the math, but I think Bill's total time as a full-time cop comes to about 46 years.

The article below is one of the more comprehensive that arrived in our inbox. It's from the ABC affiliate in San Diego and was received from Craig Shuey. To read the story and view an embedded accompanying video, go to the website by clicking on the link below. The article itself begins under the link...


San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne Resigns from the Force

SAN DIEGO - San Diego's beleaguered police chief - who has been in the hot seat amid scandals involving some of his officers - is stepping down from the force.

Team 10 Investigators were the first to break the news that Chief William Lansdowne was resigning. Sources told us that Lansdowne turned in his resignation around 1 p.m. Tuesday. 10News Reporter Allison Ash called the chief for comment but he said he had nothing to say and hung up.

The police department later issued the following statement:

    "San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne is announcing his retirement from the San Diego Police Department, effective Monday March 3, 2014.  The Chief has served the citizens of San Diego for over 10 years and has successfully led the Department through countless critical events."
    "Although Mayor Elect Kevin Faulconer did not ask for the Police Chief to resign, Chief Lansdowne felt it was time to do so.  The Chief absolutely supports the new Mayor and believes in his vision and direction for the City."

    "This was a difficult decision for Chief Lansdowne to make as he considers San Diego his home and truly values the citizens of this city and the employees who work here."

Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer said during a brief news conference that Lansdowne's decision was his and his alone.

"It was not a decision that he came to lightly or easily," Faulconer said. "The chief loves this department. The chief has been a fantastic leader of this department and has served this city very, very well - day in and day out, through natural disasters. It's been my pleasure to work side-by-side with Chief Lansdowne since I've been on the council for eight years now."

Other Officials React to Lansdowne's Resignation

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria issued a statement acknowledging Lansdowne's leadership and length of service with the San Diego Police Department:

    "William Lansdowne has served San Diego exceptionally well throughout his 10 years as our Chief of Police. His leadership led to our lowest crime rate since the 1960s, his hallmark calm demeanor helped get the San Diego Police Department and our City through challenging financial cutbacks, and he remains a respected national expert on public safety.

    "I’m grateful for his tremendous contributions to San Diego and wish him well in retirement,” said Interim Mayor Todd Gloria.  “It is my hope that a national search that includes significant community input will be performed to select the next police chief.

    "The City Council and I stand ready to help the Mayor-Elect ensure the San Diego Police Department has stable leadership and continues to be America's Finest."

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis released the following statement:

    "During a law enforcement career that spanned nearly five decades, Chief Lansdowne brought strong leadership to police departments in three California cities, serving with distinction and increasing public safety in those communities. He has been a trusted law enforcement partner in San Diego, someone who was never afraid to embrace transparency, recognize problems when they occur and take steps to correct them."

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore also released this statement:

    "San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in law enforcement. He has led the department through one of the most difficult fiscal times in the city's history and enjoyed many years of reduced crime through his leadership and foresight.

    In my 44 years in law enforcement, I have never been associated with anyone who worked harder or gave more of himself than Bill Lansdowne.

    I believe Chief Lansdowne has positioned the San Diego Police Department – one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the country – in a good place, by requesting an outside audit. This will ensure the public's confidence in the fine men and women who work so hard to keep San Diego safe.

    Bill is not only a trusted colleague, but a good friend and partner. I wish him and his wife, Sharon every happiness they deserve."

The Back Story

Seven women have accused San Diego police officer Christopher Hays of sexually harassing or assaulting them while he was on duty. Hays has been charged with five criminal counts, including felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery. He resigned from the police department last week.

Two years ago, the city was faced with another sex scandal involving former officer Anthony Arevalos, who is now serving prison time. In 2012, he was sentenced to almost nine years in prison for demanding sexual favors from women he pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving in the Gaslamp Quarter.

A woman also claims that back in 2002 a police supervisor sexually harassed her in front of a trainee. She said the incident happened during a traffic stop in the Gaslamp District and that she had been scared to tell her story for more than a decade.

Critics have called for the chief to step down but up until now, all indications were that he would not. He told 10News just last week that there will always be critics and that he planned to keep moving forward with efforts to regain the public's trust.

"I've survived over a long period of time because I believe that I have the heart to work through problems, the experience to get by them and a clear track record of success," he said on Feb. 17. "Sure, things are going to go wrong in this police department. I get that. But that's why you have Internal Affairs and that's why we're asking for an outside audit."

Search Begins for Replacement

Mayor Elect Kevin Faulconer told 10News an interim police chief could be announced in the next few days.

Sources tell 10News that Faulconer is close friends with Assistant Chief Shelley Zimmerman. In addition to Zimmerman, there are three assistant chiefs: Cesar Solis, Mark Jones and Walt Vasquez. Assistant Chief Boyd Long retired last year and is running security at Valley View Casino, but he is another possibility.

10News asked Gloria if Zimmerman would make the best choice, given all of the sexual misconduct accusations made by women against the department.

"Shelley Zimmerman is an incredible police officer," he said. "She's a great leader of the department. Ultimately, the decision of who should fill that role is that of the mayor-elect. At the end of the day, Shelley is more than a woman, she's a wonderful police officer and she should be judged on her experience as a police officer and not her gender."

Former city attorney Mike Aguirre says the new leader needs to bring stability and reform. Officer Hays, the son-in-law of Assistant Chief Jones, quit after being charged with sexual misconduct. Officer Donald Moncrief is also under investigation for allegedly exposing himself and Officer Karen Almos is facing DUI charges after being found passed out in her car this past weekend at Balboa Park.

"A lot of these things are getting a lot of publicity, but in the long run, those are not going to be the major issues that people are going to have to manage in order to have a good and safe department," Aguirre told 10News.

Aguirre also said gender should not play a role in hiring a replacement.

"I don't think that should even be a factor," he added. "Those are all serious issues but that shouldn't be a factor. She may very well be the best, but not for that reason."

~ ~ ~

Ed. — One of the many emails I received advising of Bill's retirement came from his wife, Sharon, who is also a retired San Jose cop. Her message was short and sweet:

"You’ve probably already seen it on the news, but Bill is finally retiring and I’m thrilled." Love, Sharon

On behalf of everyone up here in NorCal who consider you and Bill personal friends, Sharon, we are thrilled for you, too. We wish you luck in taming the workaholic cop and dissuading him from taking on another law enforcement agency. Unless, of course, he would consider making a run for Sheriff of Santa Clara Co. After all, we would love to have the two of you back in our neighborhood.



Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino
711 Lucky Ln, Coarsegold, CA 93614
(866) 794-6946
(The same place as it was last year)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Below is the information for making your reservations:

1) Check in is at 3:00 p.m.
2) Group Name “Cops Rendezvous”
3) Phone Number 1-866-794-6946
4) Block Number B-C-R 0326
5) Rate is $97.01 tax included (you will also receive a $10.00 slot e-cash certificate and a $10.00 dinning certificate at check in)
6) If you are having any problems, call Audri her phone number is 559-692-5220
7) Dinner will be held at the California Market Buffet in the casino at 5:00PM (bring your $10.00 dinning certificate that you will get at check in)
8) Check out is 11:00 a.m. March 27th

Please RSVP to Tom Mazzone at 408-592-2240
<rtm1319@sbcglobal.net>, Ron Rosso at 408-930-0754 <ronrosso@sbcglobal.net> or Jack Baxter at 707-513-7023 <DrJoaquin1525@gmail.com>

We are looking forward to seeing all of you. Let’s get together and have a good time!

Our Host, Gary Keith, in all of his wisdom and lack of computer and phone skills, has deputized the individuals above to do all of the work. (Nothing has changed over the years.)



Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is making the rounds again. Today he did an interview with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show. Lauer said, "Thanks for getting up early to be with us." Then Ford said, "I never went to bed."

Disney World is raising the price of a one-day ticket to Epcot to $94. It's now so expensive that families are saving money by just taking actual trips around the world.

A spelling bee in Missouri was forced to shut down on Saturday because it ran out of words for the final two contestants to spell. The organizers said, “You know, someone ought to just publish a big book with all the words in it.”

The FDA has approved a new camera that can be swallowed so that doctors can look at the inside of their patients' bodies. So to answer your question: Yes, selfies CAN get worse.

The NFL is warning Arizona that if they approve a bill that discriminates against gays they may not get to host the next Super Bowl. And it may also hurt their chances of hosting the Tony Awards.

Today in California a couple walking their dog found $10 million worth of rare coins buried in the ground. It's the biggest stash of coins found since Oprah had her couch cushions cleaned.

The group that came up with "Got milk?" has officially retired the slogan. They said the ad campaign was a success. Pretty much everyone has heard of milk.

Mark Zuckerberg says he doesn't think he overpaid when he bought the instant messaging service called What'sApp for $19 billion. He said, "Hey, if you know another way for people to communicate without talking, I'm all ears."

The Olympics are finished. Everybody has gone home, so once again there are no gay people in Sochi.

Someone who worked at CNN's Piers Morgan show said he was nasty to the people who did his makeup. Let me tell you something. When you're my age and you're on high-definition television, the last people you want to be nasty to are the makeup people.

Taco Bell is now serving breakfast. We have no affordable health     care yet, but Taco Bell is serving breakfast.

Hey, you know who they locked up? Public enemy No. 1, El Chapo Guzman. He was the leading distributor of cocaine and cocaine-related items in the world. So another setback for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Alec Baldwin says he's quitting public life because he's sick of the attention he's getting, and he wants to reclaim his privacy from the media. What better way to do that than in a 5,000-word article in a magazine with your name and picture on the cover?

These days, Alec Baldwin is probably best known for his role on "30 Rock." He's an arrogant out-of-touch egomaniac who can't see the world beyond his pile of money. I can't remember what he did on that show.

Russell Crowe has officially asked Pope Francis to see his new movie "Noah." The Pope responded with a question of his own: "Promise you don't sing in this one?"

I don't think the Pope is going to see that movie. He is the Argentinean Pope. He is the most interesting Pope in the world. "I don't always watch movies, but when I do . . ."

Today President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner had a private meeting in the Oval Office. They met for about an hour. It turns out the last five years have been a big misunderstanding. They actually agree on everything. I'm glad they cleared that up.

Obama and Boehner talked about manufacturing, immigration, healthcare, Afghanistan, and the drought in California, among other things. A Boehner aide said they met because they believe it's important to work together on issues where they find common ground. Unfortunately, there were no issues on which they found common ground.

Women spend an average of 335 hours a year getting ready, according to some very passive-aggressive researchers who are outside waiting in the car.

Robin Thicke and Paula Patton are separating after 10 years of marriage. I can’t say I’m surprised. It only took me one summer to get tired of Robin Thicke.

A substitute teacher in Oklahoma was arrested after she tried to teach while drunk. She had everybody fooled, but then she gave herself away by carrying her heels.



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

New Articles

• Does asparagus have miraculous cancer-fighting properties?

• Are Facebook and CNN contributing money towards the medical care of an infant car accident victim every time a message is shared?

• Brouhaha involving King Digital Entertainment, maker of Candy Crush Saga, over trademarks and similarities to the CandySwipe game.

• Alert about a 10-year-old girl named Hailey Owens reported as having been abducted on her way home from school in Springfield, Missouri.

• Nestle has recalled some HOT POCKETS brand products due to possible contaminated beef issues.

• A hidden image of a topless woman appears in the home video version of Disney's The Rescuers.

• Video clip shows police seemingly ignoring a getaway car full of bank robbers.

• What are we celebrating on the holiday known as 'Presidents Day'?

• A woman discovers on a call-in radio show that her boyfriend is married.

• Jack Benny arranged to have a single red rose sent to his wife every day after he was gone.

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

Worth a Second Look

• Does Bubble Yum chewing gum contain spider eggs?

Still Haunting the Inbox

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

Fraud Afoot

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



Large or Full Screen setting recommended
for YouTube videos...


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We are still trying to reduce the number of animal clips that have been sitting
around the barn and the corral, so we are once again leading off with the...

Critters' Corner

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Ready to see something special and moving? Watch this short video of a rescued chimpanzee interacting with Jane Goodall as it is being released back into the wild. (4 Mins.)


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The footage in this clip is as suspenseful as the making of it is remarkable. It's about a little guy and a much larger predator. But worry not, it has a happy ending. At least for the time being. (4 Mins.)


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What could be more fun than playing in a puddle if you happen to be an energized Elk calf, especially if there is some accompanying music? You can see at the 23-second mark that he stops to see if he can spot the orchestra. (48 Secs.)


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It's pretty obvious to us that the Mother Goat on the left has taken her three kids (kids = young goats, get it?) out to play on the playground equipment. (1 Min.)


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I like little bunny rabbits as well as the next guy, but to have this many chasing me could freak me out. Isn't there something in the Bible that forecasts an event like this? (36 Secs.)


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My friend's new dog is a real cutie, but when it comes to playing catch he absolutely sucks. Watch this slo-mo footage and you'll see what I mean. (1 Min.)


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Talk about strange bedfellows. Have a look at this clip where a newborn lamb meets Pancake the Cat and Sugar Tree the Dobie. (2 Mins.)


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Have you ever had a good look at a Three-Toed Sloth? When observed by humans they are usually way up in a tree. Here's one that would have become road kill had it not been for a concerned Costa Rica motorcyclist. (1 Min.)


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As a former cat owner, there is little doubt in my mind that everyone who has ever owned a feline can relate to this clip. They truly can be "cute jerks." (2 Mins.)


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This is a bitter-sweet tale about Mick the puppy who was afflicted with a condition known as Swimmer Puppy Syndrome. The clip has a happy ending, so don't be afraid to watch it. (4 Mins.)


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People definitely have different ideas on what they think makes perfect pets. if this critter was yours, would you call it an "adorable Pangolin?" (1 Min.)


Just so you know, a Pangolin is also called a Scaly Anteater."

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Like I said, each to their own when it comes to choosing a house pet, or in this case, two. Don't freak out; the clip only lasts for 30 seconds.


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Another option you have for a unique pet is a Porcupine. Just hope you can find a friendly one like this that thinks he is a puppy. Oh, and don't forget to buy a pair of heavy leather gloves, heavy pants and thick shoes or boots. In other words, it's best not to play with it if you are wearing shorts, a pair of flip-flops and no gloves. (2 Mins.)


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Or you can choose as a pet a little Screech Owl that doesn't require any help taking a bath. You will, however, have to blow-dry it with your hair dryer. (6 Mins.)


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Screech Owls aren't the only winged critters who care about their personal hygiene. Check out this fella. (2 Mins.)


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Sharon Lansdowne's email from earlier this week says this is the best welcome home anyone could ever expect. It's about a soldier-dog reunion, and while it may be moving, it doesn't say much in our view about the relationship between the wife, who is shooting the video, and her husband. Here they have been separated for six months and she continuously shoots video of the dog slobbering all over her husband's face. Question: When the dog had finally settled down, did the wife insist that her husband wash the doggy slobber off his mug before they made kissy-face together. Or did she share in the love between Man and Dog? Curious minds want to know. (3 Mins.)


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This is a classic clip from the BBC's "Frozen Planet" series narrated by Sir David Attenborough It deals with the criminal element in the Penguin community and may change your opinion about the tuxedoed birds of the Southern Hemisphere. (2 Mins.)


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Don't get rattled, Charlie. All these two elephant seal pups want to do is cuddle with you, nothing else. (2 Mins.)




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What kind of pet owner would make the family dog the laughing stock of the neighborhood by making it wear booties? We found one couple who fits that description. (3 Mins.)


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Have you ever seen or heard two cats actually talk to one another and wonder what they are saying? It probably goes something like this: "Can you believe that dumb human actually thinks we can talk to each other?" (1 Min.)


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Here's another interesting clip from the BBC that shows how a Chameleon manages to stay cool in a hot desert. I remember having one of these little critters when I was about five. Folks bought it for me at a county fair. Brought it home and within an hour the damn cat ate it.  (2 Mins.)


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Want to see something else from Mother Nature that is fascinating to watch? Check out this video received from Jim Silvers and look at the impact Wolves have had on the wildlife, forests and even the rivers in Yellowstone Park. But don't criticize the British narrator's definition of what he refers to as a deer before you take note of the definitions under the link below. (4 Mins.)



So-long critters. We are now returning to our regular programming...

Is this incident that took place between a motorist and a cop in Plano, Texas all that unusual? I think not. I would wager that at least 75 percent of you (if not 99 percent) have been involved in something similar. It just wasn't spoken about. (2 Mins.)


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The late Carl Sagan stated in his celebrated 13-part 1980 series "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage" that there were more stars in the universe than there were grains of sands on all of the beaches on planet Earth.This is an excerpt from the series where Carl made that mind boggling statement some 34 years ago. (2 Mins.)


But could Carl Sagan have been wrong? Could it be that that statement was nothing more than hyperbole in an attempt to stir the viewers' imagination? It is, after all, a phrase that has been repeated countless times over the last three decades. This looks like it could be the answer. (4 Mins.)


Carl's passing at the age of 62 left a big hole in the scientific community as well as the public's. This compilation of news reports on the day he died provides some insight on how the astrophysicist impacted all of us. (5 Mins.)


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From Harry Mullins comes this clip of a 200 mph Corvette flying by a Texas State Trooper who couldn't have cared less. For you Corvette freaks and/or those of you who have a "need for speed," this video should send a Chris Matthews-like tingle up your leg. Here are the details: On December 11, 2013, a 700 HP Hennessey C7 became the first 2014 Corvette Stingray to break the 200 mph barrier by reaching a maximum speed of 200.6 mph. This was achieved on a closed section of the Grand Parkway which connects I-10 to Hwy. 290 on the west side of Houston, Texas. Officials from TxDOT, Texas DPS and TransCore were on hand to witness the testing of the EZ tag toll system. (5 Mins.)



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We have all scene gobs of footage of the infamous tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. Since then, more video has been made available, like this one that was recently posted on YouTube. It is one continuous shot that begins with the public address system warning of the tsunami. A person who is adjacent to a river starts his camcorder and continues to let it run, capturing a sequence that shows the water rushing up the river, flooding the area, then begins to recede. Even though the footage has been stabilized, he did a remarkable job of holding the camera relatively steady considering the stress he had to be under. Had it been me, my pants would have already been soaked long before the water got to me. (26 Mins.)


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David Attenborough, as many of you know, is famous for his nature documentaries such as Planet Earth, Frozen Planet and a host of other fascinating nature productions created by the BBC. If you don't recognize him by his name, you probably will by his voice. (He narrated the clip about Penguins in the Critters' Corner above.) Once in a while David likes to have a little fun, and that's what he did by providing this commentary on the sport of Curling. (2 Mins.)


(I had to grab this short clip from Wimp.com as the folks who control
YouTube in the UK wouldn't allow it to be shown in the U.S.)



Personally, I prefer a slightly different form of Curling, like this example
that was popular at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. (41 Secs.)


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How close is close in terms of a close call? Watch this 53-second video and you will see. When the clip starts, keep your eye on the guy in the upper left corner of the screen. (53 Secs.)


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Remember that ending scene out of Indiana Jones where the Ark of the Covenant is boxed up and wheeled through an endless government warehouse?

Check out this website...


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Russ Jones says this story about one of the "Battered Bastards of Bastogne" comes full circle near the end and that viewers should stay with it. Jonesy is right; it's a fascinating tale. (For the record, members of the 101st Airborne who were under siege in Bastogne that was part of what came to be known as the "Battle of the Bulge" were also referred to as the "Battling Bastards of Bastogne.) (11 Mins.)


The Siege of Bastogne

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This remarkable video of near perfect timing and coordination we received from Lumpy is apparently being recycled as we ran it a few years ago. Check it out and see if you think it was worth another look. (6 Mins.)


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Bob Kosovilka argues that there is such a thing as a Guardian Angel, and he points to this compilation video to make his point. (5 Mins.)


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Think you might find it relaxing to get away from it all and be a lighthouse keeper for a while? Maybe. Maybe not. (3 Mins.)


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Don Hale and I both surmise that the operator of this car destroyer goes home to his wife and kids at the end of the day relieved of any stress. (3 Mins.)


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We heard that this has been turned into a refrigerator magnet and that it is selling like hotcakes in Colorado and Washington State.


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If these were available when I was a young teen I would probably be in a wheelchair today. Or dead. They call this Trike Drifting. (2 Mins.)


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Why should you spend 10 seconds of your valuable time to watch this guy clean his Ferrari? Because of the surprise ending, that's why. (10 Secs.)


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Warning: Avoid this clip if you are a rabid fan of American football. It's nearly two minutes of John Cleese ranting about Soccer vs. Football. (2 Mins.)


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Coolest guy in the world? I think not. I don't see him doing anything in this video that Leroy and I didn't master when we were growing up on Oahu in the mid-1950s. (3 Mins.)


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On the other hand, this guy is something else. Looking back at our careers, one of the things we should all be grateful for is that we never got involved in a foot chase with someone like Damien Walters. (3 Mins.)


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Go hide your face in shame, Ringo. Even in your prime you couldn't hold a candle to this 10-year-old female drummer. (3 Mins.)


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What's that? You say any 10-year-old girl can handle a drum set like her? OK, let's go down six years and check out this 4-year-old. And keep an eye on his facial expression. (4 Mins.)


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What are the odds that twin sisters separated at birth would reunite after being raised 5,000 miles apart and speaking different languages? Not very good, you say? Watch this. (2 Mins.)


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Before we get to the next item, here's a very brief introduction to the sport of Speed Riding. (2 Mins.)


That brings us to this clip we received from Stan Miller. He lives in Cannabis City (Seattle) and says the only thing that is stopping him from joining these speed riders is his wife Leslie, who refuses to let him go unless he significantly increases his life insurance. (10 Mins.)


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If you know anything about playing the guitar, you will likely be impressed with this Iranian who is touted to be the fastest guitarist in the world. Have a look and listen and see if you agree with that title. (4 Mins.)


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If you are flying on a Boeing 767 in the not too distant future and concerned about how well the airliner is built, don't be. Watch this video of a 767 encountering severe turbulence just above the runway during the landing. It doesn't look all that bad until you watch the slo-mo replays. (1 Min.)


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When it comes to customer service, no one can beat Japan. This clip that runs less than a minute will back up that statement, at least as far as public transportation is concerned. (54 Secs.)


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When in Turkey do as the Turks do. When it's time to send a large ship to the salvage yard and turn it into scrap, they don't fool around. The simply drive it up into the yard. (3 Mins.)


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This clip is for you gearheads, especially those of you who are at least a little familiar with professional drag racing. A video camera mounted on the rear of a top alcohol dragster and pointed backward shows you what a 267 mph run looks like. For the uninitiated, the driver first does a burn-out to heat up his tires, then reverses to the starting line and waits for the "Christmas Tree" lights to turn green and start the race. (You might want to chop your volume a little as this clip gets loud.) (2 Mins.)


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This clip about China and its feeding frenzy for European and American cars may surprise you (more are sold in China than in the U.S.). But that's not the point of this video. It's about a Chinese farmer who has invented a wind-powered electric car for the equivalent of 1,000 British pounds, or about $1,667 in U.S. dollars. (3 Mins.)


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Here's an acrobatic maneuver by a young Chinese acrobat you are unlikely to see anywhere else. In fact, you may even ask yourself if what you are seeing is real. (44 Secs.)


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Is there any question that UPS and FedEx wish they had thought of this before DHL? It was the perfect prank that netted the German shipping company some excellent advertising on the cheap. (1 Min.)


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Here's a guy with a humongous set of you-know-whats. Listen to him as he calmly talks to someone on his cell phone while he captures an approaching tornado on video that is heading directly at him. (2 Mins.)


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Using a police motorcycle demonstration team seemed to us to be a strange way to begin a training film showing how an automotive differential works. But that's apparently how it was done back in 1937. While you may want to cut this film at the 2:30 mark, we suspect many of you former motor cops might like to see how your forerunners handled their bikes. (9 Mins.)


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Speaking of bikes, we would like to know how this guy manages to balance this bicycle that is touted as among the tallest in the world? Seems to us that the center of gravity would be so far from the ground that it would easily fall over. Could it be video magic? We report you decide. All the footage is from a helmet cam; we only get to see the entire bike in a couple of still shots at the end. (4 Mins.)


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The cops who are leaving the SJPD and going to other California agencies are making a huge mistake. On top of the huge salaries cops get paid in Dubai, look what they get to drive. Then again, every time we fill our cars with gas here in the U.S. we are helping pay for these super cars. (1 Min.)


If those wheels are not impressive enough, check out the latest addition to the fleet as well as some of the others. The first one — the Bugatti Veyron — is the fastest production car in the world. (4 Mins.)


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Pop quiz: What do Tootsie Rolls and the Korean War have in common? Listen as two retired Marine Corps officers tell you how valuable the candy was to the Marines who had to deal with sub-zero temperatures while they were surrounded by thousands of North Korean soldiers at the Chosin Reservoir. (3 Mins.)


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If you thought what is arguably the most famous photograph in the world — Earthrise — was simply a matter of pointing a camera out a window, you would be wrong. This video from NASA tells the story of how Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders aboard Apollo 8 worked together on Dec. 24, 1968 to capture the amazing image. It wasn't until 7 months later — on July 20, 1969 — that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history by being the first humans to walk on the moon. (7 Mins.)


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If this next to the last item doesn't tug at your heart, nothing will. It's a short 31-second foreign public service announcement that is almost enough to bring a person to tears.


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It is not our intent to leave you on a downer, but this tribute to our fallen military personnel was so moving and profound that it was a shoe-in for this week's closer. Please consider taking a few minutes to watch "Mansions of the Lord." (9 Mins.)


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Pic of the Week


Scrolling Box

This is the message box, using the scroller component.



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