Ipads for state work­ers de­spite tough times

San Francisco Chronicle - - BAY AREA - San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle colum­nists Phillip Matier and An­drew Ross ap­pear Sun­days, Mon­days and Wed­nes­days. Matier can be seen on the KPIX-TV morn­ing and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS ra­dio Mon­day through Fri­day at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a

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.”


Michael Ma­cor / The Chron­i­cle

The U.S. Open golf tour­na­ment’s Mer­chan­dise Pavil­ion is ex­pected to pro­vide a sales-tax wind­fall to San Ma­teo County.

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