From the monthly archives: May 2010

By Bob Hurst

The way the Toronto Blue Jays are pounding the ball, they might just make things a little sticky for contenders in the American League East, and at least for the league’s wild-card contenders.

Toronto is still in the hunt in its division thanks to its run scoring and slugging capabilities. The Blue Jays went into Tuesday’s game leading the major leagues in runs with 247; home runs with 76; total bases with 754 and in slugging percentage at .467.

In the past two weeks, the Jays won games by scores of 16-10 over Texas, 11-2 over Minnesota and 12-4 over Arizona. In the game against the Diamondbacks, Toronto notched a season-high 17 hits.

Edwin Encarnacion, who was out for a month with a shoulder injury, joined the power bandwagon over the weekend at Arizona. He hit five home runs in the series, including three on Friday and a two-run shot on Sunday.

“I got hot in this series and I’ll just keep working,” said Encarnacion, who went 7-for-19 with six homers and 11 RBIs since his return from the disabled list on May 17.

Jose Bautista had a two-run homer on Sunday, and led the majors in that department with 15 after Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.

“They seem to catch the momentum,” said Diamondbacks starter Billy Buckner on Sunday. “They hit together. It was contagious for them.”

The Blue Jays hit 10 home runs in the three games against Arizona before starting off this week with a 6-0 homerless win over the Angels on Monday.

Bautista was tied for fourth in the majors with 39 RBIs. Vernon Wells (11 HR, 33 RBI) and Alex Gonzalez (10 HR, 30 RBI) have also been major offensive contributors for the Blue Jays.

If Toronto is to make a run for the postseason, it will have to do something about its pitching. The Jays rank 18th in baseball with a 4.26 ERA. But for now, they’ll keep circling the bases, and aggravating opposing pitchers.

Phils lead attendance ladder: Just past the first quarter of the season, the Philadelphia Phillies are leading the major leagues in home attendance with an average of 45,114 fans per game. The defending National League champions are followed by the World Series champion New York Yankees, who are second with a 44,956 average.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are third (43,712); St. Louis fourth (39,461) and the Los Angeles Angels fifth (39,303).

Minnesota, which opened a new open-air stadium this season, ranks sixth with an average of 38,715 fans per game. The Chicago Cubs (38,572), Boston (37,519), San Francisco (36,220) and Milwaukee (35,471) round out the top 10.

In Florida, where regular-season baseball has always had trouble drawing fans, Tampa Bay comes in at 21st with an average of 22,755, which is poor considering the Rays have the best record in the majors. The Marlins are 27th at 17,468.

Toronto, another team with a winning record, is 29th in attendance at 16,267 while Cleveland is last with a 15,494 average.

StatsWatch: Who’s knocking it out of the ballpark? Here are baseball’s home run leaders (through Tuesday) —

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, 15

Paul Konerko, White Sox, 14

Ty Wigginton, Orioles, 13

Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks, 12

Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers, 12

Dan Uggla, Marlins, 12

Jose Guillen, Royals, 11

Vernon Wells, Blue Jays, 11

Justin Morneau, Twins, 11

Andre Ethier, Dodgers, 11

Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks, 11

Fun Fact: When David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis homered in Monday’s game for the Red Sox, it tied the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada for the most times a pair of AL teammates have hit a home run in the same game with 19.

Diamond Notes: Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano will likely return to the rotation next week after spending a month in the bullpen. Zambrano, who threw 75 pitches in a simulated game on Monday, was moved to relief in an effort to plug up the leak in the set-up man’s role. But Zambrano never embraced the move, and results were mixed…After a slow start, Boston slugger David Ortiz is back in the groove, and helping the Red Sox win. Ortiz had a two-run double in Boston’s 2-0 win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. It was the fifth win in six games for the Red Sox. Ortiz hit five homers and knocked in 14 runs during a 10-game stretch. He is batting .258 after hitting just .185 with four homers and 11 RBIs on May 10.

Copyright © 2010  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Otay Mesa cargo facility seized more than half a ton of marijuana Monday, after breaking apart cement fixtures to access the packages hidden inside.

Just before 5 p.m. on May 24, a driver with a truck carrying a shipment of cement tabletops, benches, and other furniture and cement decorative blocks, pillars, and tiles applied for entry into the U.S. at the Otay Mesa cargo facility.

After officers X-rayed the truck and cargo, they sent the conveyance to the dock for a more intensive examination.

A CBP officer roving the dock with her narcotic detection dog received an alert from the canine, reacting to the cement items in the truck.

Officers unloaded the shipment and drilled into one of the cement articles, discovering marijuana hidden inside.

After breaking apart various cement items from the shipment, officers found 140 packages of marijuana, weighing 1,335 pounds, with an estimated value of $667,500.

CBP officers turned over custody of the driver, a 36-year-old male Mexican citizen, to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The driver is currently being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

 

By Mario Conde

Calexico voters will decide on June 8th if they pass Measure H that would raise revenue for vital City services such as Police and Fire.

If Measure H passes, the special tax will raise revenue for various City services through the City’s General Fund, including fire protection and paramedics; police protection and crime prevention; street repair and maintenance; recreation programs; libraries; and parks by authorizing a sales tax of one-half of a cent within the City of Calexico. The sales tax is proposed as a general tax which means that it would be used to supplement the City’s General Fund from which various vital City services are funded. A citizen’s advisory board will be created to oversee and report to the City Council about the expenditures of the tax fund.

Calexico Fire Chief Pete Mercado said that this tax measure will allow the Fire Department to purchase equipment that can’t purchase right now with the General Fund obligations because it’s mostly used for salary and benefits and there is very little money left for purchasing equipment.

“We really need to use that money for fire engines, rescue equipments, fire hoes, protective equipment, those type of things that run out of over a few years, the life expectancy of these equipments doesn’t last all that much. We need Measure H to help us subsidy some of needed equipment and everyone shares the burden, not only the residents but people that come here in visit and purchase stuff here so, when they are in an accident, we help them get out of their cars with the jaws of life and all other stuff and that is what we are trying to do.” Chief Mercado said.

Calexico Police Chief Jim Neujahr said that after the earthquake sales tax and property taxes have shrunk drastically so in order to maintain the public safety services for the City and that is why, he said, they need Measure H.

“We won’t have officers, we won’t have cars, we won’t have the ability to provide the security we have so it’s important right now because as we are working on the budget the city is in real trouble as far as having enough money to provide for all the government services and the most expensive of those is police and fire. An so in order to maintain the services that we need for our community the only way we can do it is by passing Measure H.” Neujahr said.

Calexico Mayor David Ouzan encouraged the people of Calexico to support Measure H to continue with the services with the additional tax and to retain jobs on police and fire. He said that the additional revenue will also help other areas such as recreation and library but it will emphasize in public safety for the residents of Calexico.

 

I am delighted to announce that David Pearson will become the dean of our Imperial Valley Campus.  Dr. Pearson is a professor of sociology and the former Vice President for Partnership Affairs at the University of Texas-Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, where he also served as President of the Academic Senate.  He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his doctoral degree from Yale University.

The University was extremely well served by the Dean’s Search Committee, chaired by Professor Mike Sabath and including Professors Donna Castaneda, Laurie Champion, Dan Finnegan, Carlos Herrera, William Payne, Rogelios Reyes and Catherine Todero, staff member Danielle Ingoglia, community member Norma Saikhon, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Ethan Singer, and students Glen Allegranza and Brianna Rangel.  I am grateful to each of them for their efforts as well as to the numerous constituent groups that met with each finalist.

Dr. Pearson will begin his appointment on July 31, 2010, and I hope you will join me in welcoming him to his new role as Dean of San Diego State University-Imperial Valley Campus.

 

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. has filed a lawsuit to shut down the Monterey County AIDS Project and recover more than $2.8 million intended for the benefit of people affected by HIV/AIDS that was illegally diverted to other uses.

Brown said that former officers and directors of the Seaside charity, called MCAP, took some of the money for personal use and for-profit ventures, in violation of state law and a May 2000 court order specifying that at least $1.8 million be used “solely for the purpose of providing housing for people with the HIV disease.” The complaint alleges that another $1 million in other grants and donations was misspent as well.

“The duty of these officers and directors was to protect the charity’s assets so the funds could be used for the support of very sick people,” Brown said. “Instead, they violated their trust and spent the money any way they wanted.”

The Attorney General’s lawsuit, fil! ed Friday in Monterey County Superior Court, seeks to dissolve MCAP, obtain a complete accounting of its finances, and recover any remaining assets dissipated through “the mismanagement and neglect of former officers and members of its board of directors.” Brown also seeks return of assets that were illegally diverted. Sixteen former officers and directors are named.

The complaint describes a scheme in which the MCAP officials, over nearly a decade, drained the organization’s coffers of money earmarked for HIV/AIDS patients.

The organization’s record-keeping was so sloppy and incomplete that it’s hard to determine exactly where all the money went. MCAP continued to provide housing and services for AIDS patients, but at a lesser level than its overall expenditures would suggest.

Some of the charity’s money was spent on unauthorized expenditures, such as meals at expensive restaurants, personal expenses on credit cards, purchasing ite! ms for personal use at auctions, personal moving and storage e! xpenses, a personal mortgage payment, and steam-cleaning a carpet in a private residence.

MCAP was created in 1985 to provide support, resources and services, including housing assistance and hospice care, for HIV/AIDS patients in Seaside, north of Monterey.

Eleven years ago, MCAP received $1.8 million in cash and property from the estate of Douglas E. Madsen, a Monterey County resident, with the restriction that the bequest be used for the sole purpose of housing active AIDS patients.

But, according to Brown’s complaint, more than $2.8 million of charitable assets, including the Madsen money, was “misappropriated, misapplied or wasted.” In 1999, MCAP listed assets of $2.1 million. By 2004, that had dwindled to $1.4 million, and by 2007, only $205,000 was left.

As Attorney General, Brown is the official charged with ensuring that charitable organizations in California spend their money for the purposes specified by th! eir founding documents, internal policies and state law.

MCAP’s filings with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts can be found at http://ag.ca.gov/charities/index.php

The complaint is attached.

 
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