Thursday, March 30, 2006
From: abacha family <email@example.com>
Subject: DIRECTOR /CEO
DEAR CONCERNED ONE, ON BEHALF OF MY FAMILY,THE ABACHA FAMILY I ABBA ABACHA,THE SON OF THE LATE GENERAL IBRAHIM SANNI ABACHA,FORMER HEAD OF STATE OF NIGERIA,WHO DIED ON SEAT,IS APPEALING TO YOU TO COME TO OUR AID.SINCE THIS PRESENT DEMOCRATIC DISPENSATION CAME INTO BEING MY FAMILY HAS NOT KNOWN PEACE. OUR PROBLEM WITH THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT STARTED AFTER MY FATHER'S DEMISE,AS MOST OF OUR ASSETS BOTH HOME AND ABROAD HAVE BEEN SEIZED,LIKEWISE OUR TRAVELLING DOCUMENTS.OUR ACCOUNTS HAS BEEN FROZEN,AND THIS IS CAUSING MY FAMILY GREAT HARDSHIP.
RIGHT NOW,OUR ONLY HOPE OF SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON ONE UNKNOWN ACCOUNT WHICH HAS NOT BEEN DISCOVERED BY THE PANEL,AND IS SOMEWHERE IN THE WESTERN WORLD. SO, MY FAMILY IS SEARCHING FOR SOMEONE,A VOLUNTEER,WHO WOULD HELP BY CONCEALING,OR BEING IN THE POSSESSION OF WHAT IS LEFT IN THE ACCOUNT. SO WHEREBY YOU INDICATE YOUR INTEREST TO HELP,ENDEAVOUR TO CONTACT ME BY EMAIL OR MY PRIVATE LINE 234-8063018975
MORE DETAILS REGARDING THAT. I AWAIT YOUR URGENT RESPONSE.
Kindly view the website:
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
By Kelley Dupuis
In the three years and four months since he became mayor of Chula Vista, Steve Padilla has been called a lot of things.
The articulate mayor. The young mayor. The first mayor-with-a-hispanic-surname. And as recently as last summer, the gay mayor, although Padilla was quick to get it on the record that in his view, being gay and being mayor have nothing to do with each other: he strongly disavowed having any "gay" political agenda.
But just since last fall, Padilla has had to live with a new, unwelcome moniker: the embattled mayor.
While disagreements are a regular part of life on any city council, just within the past few months the spirit of consensus and cooperation long associated with the Chula Vista City Council has gone out the door. Council members have criticized the mayor over his hiring of a private bodyguard, and a member of a community grassroots group has filed a complaint with the city's ethics commission over the appointment in December of a new city councilmember, with Padilla in the spotlight.
Until recently, most open criticism of Padilla has come from groups such as Crossroads II, the growth-watchdog group with whom the mayor has often been at loggerheads. But now, not only is criticism of Padilla coming from a wider range of voices, it's coming from some high-profile figures in local politics, including Councilman Steve Castaneda and Chula Vista Elementary School District Trustee Cheryl Cox, who both have announced their intention to seek Padilla's job in the June election.
Local businessman Ricardo Macias is also running against Padilla.
Castaneda said two issues prompted him to run for mayor: Padilla's apparent flip-flop on putting an eminent domain initiative on the June ballot, and the mess that resulted from the city's hiring a personal bodyguard for Padilla to protect the mayor from threats that were said to be very real but never made any too specific.
The city hired David Kanter as a personal bodyguard for Padilla last fall, at $10,000 a month. After vocal criticism of the expenditure in January from Councilman John McCann, Padilla fired Kanter. When Kanter threatened a lawsuit, the city agreed to go ahead and pay him the $10,000 a month until his contract runs out in June. Then a new wrinkle suddenly turned up this month, when the city suspended Kanter's contract pending investigation of possible irregularities regarding his insurance and his issuance of a firearm to an employee.
Castaneda still doesn't know why the bodyguard was needed in the first place. He says his fellow council members don't know, either.
"We were told from the outset that there were significant and real threats against the mayor's safety," Castaneda said. "To this day, neither myself nor anyone else on the council who voted on that issue has seen what those threats were."
Padilla was critical of a community push to put an initiative on the June ballot regarding the city's right to take residential properties by eminent domain. After resisting the effort, Padilla relented and came out in support of the placing the initiative on the ballot.
Castaneda noted what he perceives as a tendency on Padilla's part to perform such flip-flops, and is among those who feel that Padilla is at least to some extent out of touch with what the public wants. In addition to the eminent domain issue, he points to developer Jim Pieri's proposed "Espanada" high-rise development on H Street, (a project that died after a firestorm of controversy) the city's recently-updated general plan, and the question of what to do with the city's Bayfront property as issues where Padilla and the public have not seen eye-to-eye.
"Steve has locked himself into his office," Castaneda said. "It's happened on Espanada and on eminent domain that he has essentially set a position and a perspective, and when he finds that the public does not agree with him, we are in a position where we spend the public's money to fight the public.
"At the end of the day, on both of those major issues, he has seen that the people of Chula Vista don't agree with his vision, and he has had to relent," Castaneda said. "In my opinion that's not how you represent people. The flip-flops come at a point in time when there's a hammer to his head."
And then there's the issue of interim city councilwoman Patricia Chavez, hired in December to replace Patty Davis, who left the council for reasons of health. The council unanimously appointed the relatively-inexperienced Chavez over more experienced candidates, and there has been speculation that Chavez was Padilla's hand-picked choice for the job. Community activist Peter Watry is pursuing a complaint with the city's ethics commission over Padilla's involvement in the appointment of Chavez.
While pulling up short at accusing Padilla of violating the Brown Act open-meeting law, Castaneda thinks there are, nevertheless, some questions about Chavez' appointment that need to be answered.
"I'm not convinced he was completely up-front with each of the council members regarding his intentions and his involvement with [Chavez] prior to the appointment," Castaneda said, adding that he believes Padilla provided Chavez with access to city hall that others interested in taking Davis' vacated seat didn't have.
"Clearly, she was his pick. I have no idea why," he said.
Cox, a prominent figure in local education and also the wife of County Supervisor Greg Cox, said it wasn't any one particular issue that prompted her to enter the race.
"A combination of events and actions led me to believe that the focus was not on the well-being of the city as much as it was on personal well-being," she said.
And she wasn't talking specifically about the hiring of Kanter as Padilla's bodyguard, either. Cox thinks Padilla just enjoys too many expensive perks.
"When you look at $1,500 a month being paid to the mayor since July, and $2,000 a month in an expense account, on top of $10,000 a month for a bodyguard who has the use of a city car and was given expenses, the events didn't seem to match up to the thinking that you're elected to the office to represent the people," Cox said.
$2,000 a month, Cox claims, is more than any official in California gets for expenses. "From San Diego to Los Angeles, expenses average $650 to $700 a month," she said.
Moreover, she said, the $1,500 a month Padilla received was for attending redevelopment commission hearings that were never held.
"It came to what those expenses mean," she said. "If they're for the personal benefit of one official rather than for the city as a whole, that was what made me more quizzical than any one issue."
Repeated attempts were made to contact Padilla for this article. South Bay Review made a personal visit to the mayor's office, left a series of telephone messages with his assistant Natalie Flores, and even made an attempt to reach him by cell phone. No responses were received, and permission to leave a message on the mayor's official voicemail at city hall was also refused.
Cox has worked with the city's Urban Development Corporation, formed in 2004 to take a look at redevelopment opportunities, especially on the west side. She supports the idea of using redevelopment to stimulate economic growth by bringing in more revenue. She doesn't necessarily oppose the city's use of eminent domain, but feels it should not be a first recourse.
"The first recourse is working with people who have a vested interested in that specific area to come together with a plan that makes sense for them," she said.
Cox said she received many phone calls from people saying they thought she should run, but none of them, she said, came from any "vested interests" such as developers or real-estate people.
Castaneda has the backing of city council candidate Rudy Ramirez, his opponent in the 2004 primary. Cox does not yet have any endorsements, but says she intends to seek some.
She is a long-time member of the Chamber of Commerce, which has already endorsed Padilla.
"I'm not sure what will come of that, but I certainly support business interests," she said. "I hope to get endorsements from individual business people."
Cox points to a lot of construction the city has done recently-for itself. Chula Vista opened a massive new police station less than two years ago and is currently in the process of building an entirely new civic center. She doesn't object to the city spending money this way, but stressed that it should not lose sight of its other priorities as well.
"The new police station and civic center are up and running and were paid for through impact fees and redevelopment money," she said. "I don't begrudge them a new civic center, but we have infrastructure problems we need to deal with as well. And if we didn't have $50,000 committed for the next five months to a bodyguard that isn't going to do anything, we could spend that money on pothole fixing."
Councilman McCann said much the same thing when he slammed the bodyguard expenditure in January.
Castaneda, for his part, thinks that anyone who might replace Padilla in the June election is going to have to restore a cohesiveness to city government that in recent months has become prominently absent.
"The glue's coming undone," he said. There are members of the council that are starting to see first-hand that some of the decisions we have made based on information that we understood to be accurate, were not, and we're starting to see that we need to be a little more circumspect about what we do and what decisions we make. And those decisions don't always coincide with what the mayor wants to accomplish."
Friday, March 03, 2006
Through critique and conversation these issues are debated at the Elephant & Castle campus. The event is free to current students, alumni, publishers, writers, artists, and designers who wish to inquire into these challenging issues.
Innovation in Publishing 2006
The Right to Publish
Thursday 16 March 2006
3.15 Opening: Sue Pandit, Dean, School of Printing and Publishing
Panel 1: National Security
Publishing dilemmas and government control
Can books threaten national security?
Google: Don't be e-vil
More information — panel 1
4.15 Intermission — tea and coffee
4.30 Panel 2: New Writers
A discussion of current initiatives for new authors
New authors in the current market
Access for black and ethnic minority authors
More information — panel 2
5.40 Evening Registration and refreshments
6.20 Panel 3: Religious incitement
Exploring the implications for publishers and society in today's climate
Publishers in the hands of lawyers
Can we let religion censor what we publish?
More information — panel 3
7.20 Closing: Michael Barnard, Visiting Professor — University of the Arts London
7.30 Drinks, buffet and reception
"The issues that the conference are debating are most appropriate as publishers and writers come to terms with freely expressing their output in a hugely complex and politicised world." — Professor Richard Charkin, University of the Arts London, CEO Macmillan and President of The Publishers Association
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Last week, we took some friends out to a new restaurant and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange.
When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. Then I looked around saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?"
He explained, "The restaurant’s owners hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately three spoons per table per hour. If our personnel is better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift."
As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace it with his spare.
"I’ll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now."
I was impressed. I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter’s fly. Looking round, I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So before he walked off, I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?"
"Oh, certainly!" Then he lowered his voice. "Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out that we can save time In the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of you-know-what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39 per cent."
I asked "After you get it out, how do you put it back?"
Wait for it . . . . . . .
"Well," he whispered, "I don’t know about the others. But I use the spoon."
The play, `Pete and Dud Come Again,’ which sold-out in Edinburgh and enjoyed excellent reviews across the board, will open a 12-week run in London’s West End at The Venue, off Leicester Square (5 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BP).
Britain's greatest comedy partnership is revisited from Dudley's point of view, revealing why their humour endured when their relationship could not, and how Moore leapt from underrated second fiddle to Hollywood superstar overnight.
Featuring favourite characters from their brilliant early work with ‘Beyond the Fringe’ partners Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller, through to the hilarious pint-drinking pundits Pete and Dud, to the outrageously funny Derek and Clive. This new play celebrates a unique partnership that changed the face of British comedy forever.
The show has been extended for London as a two-act version. Previews start this Thursday, March 2 & 6 (at 7:30 p.m. no show on Sunday, March 5), and press night is Tuesday, March 7. Performance times: Mondays and Saturdays at 7.30 p.m., Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.30 p.m. Running time is approximately two hours including one interval.
Tickets are available now. Booking from March 2 to June 3, 2006 at £20, £27.50 and £35 — concessions and standbys available. Groups 8+ £20 on all performances except Friday and Saturday evenings. Box Office: +44 (0) 870 899 3335 and at www.seetickets.com — £1 per ticket booking fee plus £1.60 transaction charge.
Contains strong language — unsuitable for under 16s. Full details available at www.petedud.com.