Ipads for state workers despite tough times
Gov. Jerry Brown made a big deal of taking cell phones and cars away from most state workers last year, but over at the state Department of Insurance 31 senior staffers are getting iPads — for about $1,000 per device.
The iPad 2s were handed out as part of a pilot program to “increase efficiency” and enhance the department’s “paperless/green initiatives,” according to department spokesman Byron Tucker.
Tucker said the iPads were not paid for with money from the state’s primary spending account because the Insurance Department is funded through fees and assessments on the insurance industry.
Still, the governor’s office was not pleased by the spending decision or the price tag.
“I have one on my desk that I purchased with my own money at Target for $600,’’ said gubernatorial spokesman Gil Duran. “They are useful toys, but spending state money on them in these economic
times is a bad message to send.”
The iPads cost more than typical versions because they were “business models” that included security upgrades and other additions, Tucker said.
And those aren’t the only Apple products being used in the department, which also purchased 16 iPhones for a total of $4,161.
Tucker said the agency wasn’t included in the governor’s 2011 executive order to reduce state workers’ phones, but still cut the agency’s phone use.
Meanwhile, the state Department of General Services tells us that as of April 1, they had taken back 33,795 stateissued cell phones — mostly flip phones and BlackBerrys — surpassing their goal by 222. Spare the rod: The district attorney called it a serious case of child abuse that could have sent the father to jail for up to six years.
But it took fewer than three hours for a San Francisco jury to acquit Allan Rivera of 12 misdemeanor charges filed after he allegedly spanked his 11-year-old son with a belt for misbehaving in church.
During the trial, the boy testified that his father only spanks him when he misbehaves, and the post-church spanking was the only time he had been bruised by his father.
The prosecutor argued that Rivera had inflicted much more than just some slaps on the rump, and had photos of the bruises to prove it.
The tipping point may have come when the child’s school principal testified that the boy’s behavior had markedly improved since his father had become his primary guardian. Divot: San Francisco is hosting the U.S. Open golf tournament this week, but it’s neighboring San Mateo County that really scored.
The Olympic Club’s two golf courses straddle the county line. While the golf action will take place at the Lake Course in San Francisco, the massive, 36,000-square-foot U.S. Open Merchandise Pavilion where fans can buy T-shirts, golf towels, water bottles and other souvenirs is in San Mateo County.
That means all the sales taxes from the bigger-than-a-Safeway-size tent will go to San Mateo County.
According to Platinum Advisors’ Dan Dillon, who worked with the U.S. Golf Association on tournament permits, sponsors expect to sell $15 million worth of merchandise from the tent.
By our calculations, that’s about $1.2 million in sales tax.
By the way, San Mateo County also beat out San Francisco when it came to hauling the tournament’s garbage.
Allied Waste, which handles Daly City’s garbage, outbid San Francisco’s Recology to win the U.S. Open contract.
Recology reacted by threatening to bar Allied Waste from making any pickups on the San Francisco side.
That might explain why all the garbage Dumpsters will be in San Mateo County as well. Occupational hazard: Oakland City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan was at a community meeting Monday evening when she gazed out the window and watched about 30 Occupy Oakland protesters marching by.
“I had a pretty good idea where they were going,” Kernighan said. “My house.”
And indeed, soon the council member’s neighbors were being treated to chants, speeches and other comments about Kernighan’s call to bar protesters from bringing shields and other hardware to demonstrations.
They also burned a small flag.
A few of the neighbors came out and talked with them, as three squad cars circled the area.
The result: No trouble, no arrests and no change to Kernighan’s plan to bring the proposed ban back to the council in July. Bridge bash: The Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th fireworks celebration was quite a blast. Presidio Trust officials, who hosted the event, pegged the cost of the pyrotechnics at $500,000 — all paid for by private donations. Hot Harley: Throughout his years overseeing the bankruptcy and recovery of Vallejo, Mayor Osby Davis would clear his mind by taking long rides on his 2001 Harley Davidson Road King. No more. “I drove it to City Hall the other day, parked it, and when I came back out it was gone,” Davis said.
A witness reported seeing a white Taurus pull up after Davis went inside. A man got out, fiddled with the bike and then, after putting on the mayor’s helmet, he drove away.
“We have two cameras to keep an eye on things,” Davis said, “but they were both pointed in the other direction.”
MATIER & ROSS
The U.S. Open golf tournament’s Merchandise Pavilion is expected to provide a sales-tax windfall to San Mateo County.