Thursday, December 3, 2009
FIRST-CLASS FIRING… Around this time of year, Squid starts getting the good stuff in the mail: holiday cards, cookie packages from Mom. No such luck for on-leave Seaside Police Chief Steve Cercone, who got a cold letter from City Hall informing him that his contract won’t be renewed after it expires this spring, according to an SSPD volunteer. (Cercone couldn’t be reached by press time.) The news doesn’t surprise Squid, considering the explosive tension between Cercone and City Manager Ray Corpuz. For months now, the boss has seemed ready to pull the trigger on his top cop’s job, and he has the power to do it. But Cercone’s team has been in full battle mode, too, as vocal members of the public and the Police Officers Association pressure the City Council to get rid of Corpuz. Cercone’s firing isn’t the end of this brawl. Squid suspects some fiery pushback – probably involving a lawsuit – from Cercone. And Seaside residents, not to mention local media, still want answers about WTF happened. Police internal affairs are notoriously secret, but this issue has been leaking like a bullet-riddled water tank since Cercone was put on leave in August, and Squid expects more juicy details to gush out in the coming weeks.
SMILE, YOU'RE IN CLASS… Squid will have to keep a beady eye out for Big Brother next time this cephalopod visits Hartnell College. This week Hartnell President Phoebe Helm made a mea culpa for cameras the college installed in at least two classrooms, apparently without any notification or signage. “Video cameras should not have been placed in classrooms and, as many of you already know, they have since been removed,” Helm writes in an e-mail. Note the passive voice. Who authorized the camera installations? A college official points to Gary Hughes, associate vice president of Administrative Information Systems and Library Services. (Hughes couldn’t be reached by Squid’s deadline.) A tipster tells Squid the college had a series of technology thefts, including expensive projectors, over the summer. While faculty were away on Oct. 16, the tipster says, two cameras were installed in two classrooms in the Visual Arts Facility. Protesting faculty members cited education code rules barring surveillance without consent. Helm argues the law was on Hartnell’s side since the footage was silent, but ultimately thinks it was a bad idea. Duh.
FARR FIGHT… Rare to see Sam Farr and Carly Fiorina agree, but Sam informs by e-mail that although he’s for withdrawal from Afghanistan, “we’re beginning to see the light at the end of a long tunnel.’’ Carly liked Obama’s speech, too. Glad these kids are getting along.