Archive for July, 2006

Brown Counts Cash, Poochigian Counts Corpses

July 31, 2006

The attorney general’s race has turned into a numbers game, though each candidate is playing with different figures.

For Democrat Jerry Brown, it’s all about campaign cash. The Oakland mayor raised almost $1 million over the last six weeks and is now sitting on a campaign war chest of $5.2 million, according to records filed with the Secretary of State’s office today. Brown’s camp immediately issued a statement saying opponent Chuck Poochigian’s campaign “is in crisis” because the Republican only has $3.6 million in the bank.

Poochigian, the state senator from Fresno, would rather focus on numbers coming out of Oakland these days, namely the city’s rising murder rate. A missive from the Poochigian campaign Monday morning noted that Oakland notched its 81st over the weekend and, not surprisingly, blamed the high number on the city’s “eternally ambitious and disengaged mayor.”

Expect to see the war of numbers move from press releases to the air waves in the coming months. Whether it’s paltry or plentiful, a combined $8.8 million in campaign money will buy a lot of TV ads.

Cheryl Miller

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Schwarzenegger Teases Rogan as Eventual Judge

July 31, 2006

The governor’s office issued a curious press release this morning that says Arnold Schwarzenegger intends to appoint former congressman James Rogan to the Orange County Superior Court.

A spokeswoman for the governor said Schwarzenegger “intends” to name Rogan because he can’t take office until Oct. 1 when current Superior Court Judge Susanne Shaw retires. So why not just wait until then to make the announcement — like the media office usually does with judicial appointments?

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Carr Beats Sinunu in Money Race

July 31, 2006

The latest Santa Clara County campaign fundraising numbers came out Monday.

In the race for district attorney, Dolores Carr, with $43,401, raised nearly double what her opponent, Karyn Sinunu said she brought in the May 21-to-June 30 filing period.

According to the county elections office, Carr, who came in first in the June primary, raised $43,401. Her expenses totaled $73,957, according to her statement. Carr has an ending cash balance of $34,504, the documents show.

Sinunu’s campaign filings weren’t available online by press time, but when contacted Monday, Sinunu said she raised $22,000.

Julie O’Shea

 

Backdating Defendant Gets Press Agent

July 27, 2006

Greg Reyes has it hard these days. As the first executive accused by the SEC and Justice Department of backdating stock options, the former Brocade CEO faces expensive civil charges, potential jail time, and an uphill battle to resume a once-promising career.

So far, his defenses — which have ranged from blaming Larry Sonsini to pointing out that he never backdated his own options — haven’t done much good. But it’s become clear since he was charged last week that Reyes has one thing working for him: Mike Sitrick.

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Cop-Union Chief Focuses Rage on Judges

July 27, 2006

Just yesterday, the head of the San Francisco Police Officers Association was fuming about the city’s criminal justice system as a whole — including prosecutors as well as judges — for not doing enough in the past to put away someone booked for yesterday’s car-crash fatality of a San Francisco cop.

But by today, thanks to a timely conversation with the district attorney’s right-hand man, SFPOA president Gary Delagnes was focusing his anger solely on the judges — and threatening to make it harder for them to keep their seats on the bench.

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Will Cop Killing Be More Trouble for S.F. DA?

July 26, 2006

The killing of another San Francisco police officer early Wednesday morning was a tragedy sure to send the city’s entire police force into collective mourning. It also begs a question: Will another cop killing push District Attorney Kamala Harris into the midst of the same kind of controversy that erupted after Officer Isaac Espinoza was shot to death just a few months after Harris’ 2004 inauguration?

At that time, Harris was quick to confirm she would not seek death for defendant David Hill, a decision in step with the death penalty position she’d voiced on the campaign trail. After that, she spent weeks running the gauntlet, so to speak, as the local police union and Sen. Dianne Feinstein slammed her judgment and Attorney General Bill Lockyer toyed with the idea of stepping into the case.

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High Court Review Could Pay Off on Witness Issue

July 26, 2006

Carl Olson and Mark Seidenberg went in debt to the tune of more than $250,000 when they retained two expert witnesses — one on elections and the other on economics — to challenge their auto club’s elections procedures.

But thanks to the California Supreme Court, which agreed to review their case on Wednesday, both might yet get some of that hard-spent money back.

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Milberg’s Partner Flight Continues

July 24, 2006

With a much-discussed merger deal with Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein on shaky footing, Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman is seeing a slow, steady parade of partner departures. The most recent is William Fredericks, a New York-based partner who’s joining rival Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann.

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Vault.com’s Top 50 Firms — Six Years Later

July 21, 2006

While cleaning out our bookshelves we ran across Vault.com’s Guide to the Top 50 Law Firms — from 2000. So we thought it would be interesting to see how Vault’s picks are holding up six years later.

The answer is surprisingly well — though, in hindsight, with a few amusing gaffes.

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Did Ryan’s Office Forget to Invite Gonzales?

July 21, 2006

There sure was a big crowd at the San Francisco SEC press conference room Thursday. Every reporter interested in stock options backdating, Barry Bonds, or both was there, along with their camera crews. And then there were the people at the front of the room: San Francisco U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan, his lead FBI investigator, SEC enforcement chief Linda Thomsen and SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, who flew in from D.C. to announce the criminal and civil charges against former executives of Brocade Communications. They’re accused of fudging the dates on employee option grants, though not awarding such grants to themselves. Cox’s presence was well-noted by many observers.

“In a case involving no self-dealing, he travels across the country?” groused Richard Marmaro, the attorney for former Brocade CEO Gregory Reyes. “What’s he going to do when there is self-dealing, travel to Mars?”

Yet as notable as Cox’s presence may have been, there was a significant absence at the event: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Of course, no one could reasonably expect Gonzales to fly across the country just to announce charges in a single case — even if it is the tip of the biggest corporate malfeasance iceberg to pop up in the last two years. Gonzales has been in the Bay Area for the last two days, addressing various groups on various issues. All Gonzales would’ve had to do was hop on public transportation — free public transportation, thanks to BART’s “Spare the Air Day” anti-smog promotion.

Justin Scheck