The Rundown

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Posted March 18, 2010 in News

TUESDAY, MARCH 9

It’s environmentalists: 1, Walmart: 0. The big eco news of the day is the announcement that the child of Sam Walton’s loins has agreed to make two of its local stores a tad more favorable for our long-suffering Mother Nature. The stores in Perris and Yucca Valley (or as we call it around here, Yucka Valley) will soon feature solar panels, LED lighting and more efficient cooling and heating systems—hell, why don’t they call this place Trader Joe’s and be done with it(!) But don’t think that Walmart’s doing this out the kindness of its titanium-plated, Freon-pulsing corporate heart. Perish the thought. No, the reason the world’s largest corporation is playing nice-nice with the tree huggers is that they got sued. Plain and simple. Seems the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity—an entity with a track record and the, ahem, acorns to take on developers and corporations—filed lawsuits in 2007 and 2008 claiming the retail giant could not meet new greenhouse-gas reduction standards. When push came to shove, Walmart slashes its prices——no, wait a minute, it backed down and agreed to settle to the more granola-friendly terms. Now that we’ve got reassurance that two of Walmart’s stores are leaner and greener, the company can go back to doing what it does best: enforcing anti-union policies, predatory pricing and low wages.

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10

It’s revealed how Grand Terrace Councilman Jim Miller learns a thing or two about conflict-of-interest—namely that it can cost you your job. At issue was a silly little thing called having your wife benefit from your political office, which in this case happens to be about $18,000 Miller voted to approve in payments related to a community newspaper that just so happens to be owned and run by his wife. And Miller goes down fighting—actually, he goes down pleading not guilty to the felony conflict-of-interest charge before eventually announcing his resignation in the wake of the political crapstorm this creates. But is he remorseful over this whole sorry episode? Not even. In fact, Miller’s mea culpa is more a passing of the proverbial buck. Check out what he said: “I now know that I should have been told to refrain from voting on those items. No one ever suggested that I should abstain from voting on those items or had a conflict of interest.” Should have been told? No one ever suggested? A classic case of being caught with your hands in the cookie jar—and blaming the baker. And don’t look for this story on the front page of the Grand Terrace City News.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 11

Everyone knows that the workplace can be a stressful environment, especially when you screw up. But that’s not the case in Menifee where things are . . . well, a bit on the casual and laissez faire side. So casual and worry-free that city Finance Director Gary Thompson isn’t sweating the small stuff to use an old adage. And the “small stuff” in this case totals roughly $74,000 that was accidentally overpaid to the city’s law firm over a six-month period, an accounting cluster that’s currently the target of an audit. Thompson is suspended for this financial muck-up but is he worried? Not by a long shot. “I’m going fishing. I’ve got things to do. I’m not worried,” he tells The Press-Enterprise’s Julissa McKinnon. But according to an auditor, “it appears the city does not have a proper segregation of duties within its finance department”—which is legalese for it’s pretty much a free-for-all when it comes to Menifee’s city coffers. Business as usual. Oh yeah.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 12

While I decide to spend a chunk of my evening time cuddled up to the post-28 Days Later nü-zombie horror of The Crazies, my mind does drift towards wondering how Kobe and the boys are faring against the Phoenix Suns. And my wondering is satisfied pretty quickly after I hear that L.A.’s performance is pretty bad-ass, one of those times when all five starters are in the double-digits. Plus, Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry gets ejected from the game after making a big stink when he claims Gasol should have been called for a flagrant foul. Sorry, Alvin. Not tonight. Not for this 102-96 victory. For once, the Lakers aren’t pissing off Phil—it’s the other team’s coach. A clear sign that the Lakers are doing something right

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 13

Not to be outdone by tonier neighbor Temecula or get pushed aside by Redlands’ own cycling traditions, the fifth annual Tour de Murrieta kicks off today with more than 800 spoke-happy types, including the infamous Floyd Landis. “We might be a small town, but we do big things,” spectator Steve Mueting says. Landis can relate. He does big things too. There was his 2006 Tour de France win. Yup, pretty big. Then there was that whole doping scandal. Big too. This cycling event is also a reminder that simply adding “Tour de” in front of any ol‘ IE city name doesn’t always raise the value of your stock. Tour de Perris? Tour de Wildomar? You’re friggin’ joking, right?

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 14

Hoping to catch Green Zone. Or as I’ve been calling it: Matt Damon: Weapon of Ass Destruction.

 

MONDAY, MARCH 15

Tired. Very tired.


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