Believe it Or Not
Thursday, April 30, 1998
If you weren''t in the Bay Area last weekend, you missed out on the Alameda Newspaper Group''s April 26 interview with Dina Ruiz Eastwood, the part-time KSBW anchor whose latest project is a newsmagazine called "Quest for Excellence" that airs on several Bay Area stations. "Quest" is intended to highlight aspects of the state''s educational system, and a recent program even highlighted a Monterey Bay student with cerebral palsy. The problem? The program costs are being underwritten by the California Teachers Association, which also pays stations a fee to run commercial-free news magazines. Some--including Dina''s editor at KSBW--consider having the largest educational union in the state foot the bill for an education program is an enormous conflict of interest. But Dina apparently doesn''t. "How can a show that spotlights all the good things happening in public schools be a bad thing?" she asked Bay Area readers. Hey, good point, Dina, but let''s take a stab at the answer. Perhaps it''s a bad thing because the largest lobbying entity in the state, while it buys some legislators, shouldn''t be able to buy journalists.
I Coulda Been A Contender
Perhaps you saw The Herald''s write-up on the Piper case. I know I did and I thought it odd that defense attorneys got carte blanche to air allegations about plaintiffs--allegations that were never even presented in court. The Herald''s coverage essentially allowed Richard Rosen, the Monterey attorney representing Monterey Peninsula College counselor David Piper, to boast that charges against Piper "would have been a great case to try," and to detail incidents he said challenged the credibility of the young MPC student who alleged Piper had threatened her with a concealed weapon. Would Rosen''s smear tactics have worked? We''ll never know. The DA''s office last week announced a deal with Piper, whereby the MPC counselor entered a "no contest" plea to a misdemeanor charge of brandishing a weapon. Piper could have faced felony charges and up to 13 years in prison. Instead, he''ll probably be placed on probation for three years, serve 90 days in home confinement, agree not to own firearms for 10 years and waive his right to search and seizure. Meanwhile...Is Piper still employed by MPC? Officially, he''s on unpaid leave, although the status of his employment is up in the air while college officials try to figure out if a "no contest" plea legally equals a guilty plea. Could Piper keep his job? Stay tuned...the wheels of justice grind on.
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