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Top Stories: Oct 1, 2009

Juvie Court Reform; San Jose Gets Hip While Economy Sags; Bikes and Dogs Don't Mix

County Overhauls Juvenile Justice System
"Keep as many children out of the system as possible." That's the goal of County Supervisor George Shirakawa. Using a newly designed "offense matrix," officials will now rate juvenile offenders by the type and number of charges against them. The county expects that in about 80 percent of cases, justice will be served with just a reprimand, making it possible to serve the remaining 20 percent more quickly and effectively.

Kids waiting for self-help programs will be served in a matter of days, not months, as is currently the case, but the biggest beneficiaries could be overtaxed probation officers. Some have as many as 500 cases to deal with at any given time, but under the new system those numbers are expected to drop quickly, easing the burden on them and the taxpayer.
Read More at KCBS.

San Jose Third Hippest Place for Gen Y-ers
When the recession ends (if it's not over already) throngs of Generation Y-ers can be expected to flock to San Jose as one of the hippest places in the country. A team of experts from the Wall Street Journal used a variety of parameters to decide which cities will be the up-and-coming "youth magnets" over the next few years. All the biggies made the list, with Seattle and Washington DC tied for the top spot just ahead of San Jose, but so did some of the nation's smaller cities, such as Portland and Raleigh.

It's not just the job potential in Silicon Valley or the incredible weather that attracts them. For many young people it’s a chance to mix and mingle with others like them and build a strong social network, not just in cyberspace, but in real space too. So get ready to meet your new neighbors. If the experts are right, there should be quite a few of them, coming to a condo near you.
Read More at CBS 5.

San Jose Jobs Down 5 Percent
A report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not bode well for all the Gen Y-ers that the Wall Street Journal expects to flock to San Jose (see above). The city lost 45,700 jobs since August 2008, a decline of 5 percent. The loss was part of a much larger trend that encompassed all but one of the nation's biggest labor markets. Only McAllen-Edinburg, Texas, a market town on the Mexican border, showed a job increase in that period. The greatest number of job losses, 230,000, occurred in Los Angeles, but that constitutes just 4.2 percent of the labor force. Percentagewise, the greatest loss was in Detroit, where employment was down 8.5 percent (translated into 160,900 lost jobs).
Read More at the Business Journal.

ACORN Suspends San Jose Programs
Local ACORN activists were not involved in the right-wing sting that lost the group all of its federal funding. Nevertheless, all of its offices are feeling the pinch, and the group has been forced to discontinue some of its local programs. In San Jose this means that its class for first-time homeowners was cancelled. The local group does plan on continue its foreclosure counseling activities, though its offices have been shut temporarily while workers engage in "training."

Despite the furor fueled by conservative pundits about the group's activities, local lawmakers have defended ACORN from the allegations of widespread wrongdoing. Four Bay Area Democrats in the House of Representatives—Mike Honda of Campbell, Barbara Lee of Oakland, Pete Stark of Fremont, and Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma—were part of the 75 Members of Congress that voted against denying federal funding to ACORN. In Santa Clara County, Supervisor George Shirakawa also defended ACORN, recalling that it was the only group to warn against predatory lending practices in East San Jose.
Read More at The Mercury News.

Scoutmaster Slammed for Child Pornography
A San Jose scoutmaster was sentenced to three years probation and 200 hours of volunteer work for possessing child pornography on a computer at home and at work. David Adler, 49, was also required to register as a sex offender for life. Adler, formerly the chief technologist for KLA-Tencor, was arrested for misdemeanor possession of child pornography in August 2006.
Read More at NBC Bay Area.

Samoan Community Rallies to Help Relatives, Friends
With the death toll now at 149 from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Samoa, local leaders of the Samoan-American community have mobilized to help their beleaguered relatives. Several churches across San Jose, led by the Crossroad Calvary Chapel, as well as the local Samoan Civic Association, are collecting food, clothing, and other items to ship to Samoa and American Samoa, while parishioners wait tensely for news of their relatives. The Samoan Civic Association of San Jose is also involved in organizing relief efforts.

Samoa and the nearby territory of American Samoa have a combined population of under 250,000, while there are 215,000 people of Samoan ancestry in the United States. The largest centers are in California, notably in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
Read More at ABC 7 and KLIV.

Lawmakers Consider Making Riding a Bike While Walking a Dog a Crime
It's a common site on San Jose: people out for their morning bike ride taking their dogs along with them. While dog owners must have "direct physical control" of their dogs in public, the law also allows for leashes up to 20 feet in length. But on Sept. 16 this led to tragedy.

Beverly Head, 62, was walking along the Los Alamitos Creek Trail when she was passed by a man on a mountain bike with two Siberian huskies trailing behind him. She got entangled in the leash and fell backwards on her head, suffering severe brain trauma. She was declared brain dead a few hours later, and taken off of life support the following day. Police ruled that this was an accident, and the cyclist is not under any charges.

Now Councilwoman Nancy Pyle is having her office look into changing the municipal code. Mona Favorite-Hill, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, wonders what the new law might be and how it could be enforced. According to her, the only thing that the city could do would be to launch a new education campaign to warn people of the dangers. One can also hope that both cyclists and pedestrians will be more careful in the future.
Read More at The Mercury News.