10 worst ideas of the week: Jan. 10, 2010 

Supervisor promises to curse regularly, reality star sends tasteless tweets, Giants look to overspend some more, napping fliers get pickpocketed and a bad burger sparks a rampage.

1. False imprisonment

Man locked up sick grandma so he could shoot fireworks

The details: An Albuquerque, N.M., man allegedly locked up his sickly 86-year-old grandmother on New Year’s Eve so he could go outside and light fireworks. According to police, the 21-year-old locked his grandmother in her room despite the fact that the woman is on oxygen and must take medication regularly for heart disease — both machine and medicine were in the kitchen. The grandma had to call police from a life alert system inside her bedroom in order to get out.

2. Job security

Repairman keeps city job despite felony gun convictions

The details: William Lovan, 28, is the nephew of former Oakland City Administrator Deborah Edgerly. Lovan was sentenced last week to five years’ probation and one year of home imprisonment for carrying a concealed, unregistered firearm in his car. In 2000, he had a conviction for felony possession of assault weapons. But none of that seems sufficient to cost Lovan his meter-repair job. An Oakland city attorney spokesman said that because Lovan’s arrest didn’t occur during work hours, the city likely can’t fire him.

3. Disrespectful

Reality show star takes death of girlfriend to Twitter

The details: The death of 30-year-old socialite Casey Johnson, an heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune and the daughter of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson was tragic considering her young age and reported life difficulties. The ongoing tweets by her reported fiancee, reality show “celebrity” Tila Tequila, seemed to be self-promoting and did little to dignify Johnson’s life — or death.

4. Money pit

Giants won’t rule out run at high-priced Damon

The details: If the New York Yankees can’t afford him, can the Giants? General manager Brian Sabean said the Giants are considering whether to offer free-agent outfielder Johnny Damon a contract. This comes after the Yankees refused to do the same when Damon demanded a contract worth $13 million annually. Guess Sabean doesn’t think overpaid stars Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito are wasting enough fans’ money.

5. Poor planning

Melee that killed Oakland cops a procedural breach

The details: A report by outside experts examining the manhunt for wanted parolee Lovelle Mixon on March 21 that left four Oakland police officers dead concluded that poor communication, lack of command control and bad planning inhibited the search. The report noted more than 20 errors made on the day of the manhunt, including that the officers on the scene failed to establish central command after two of the officers were killed and police rushed into an impromptu SWAT operation during their search for Mixon.

6. Keep one eye open

Pickpocket strikes on flight while passengers sleep

The details: An investigation is currently underway to determine whether a pickpocket robbed thousands of euros from sleeping passengers while on an Air France flight from Tokyo to Paris. French newspaper Le Figaro reported that approximately 4,000 euros, or $5,744, was missing from five business class passengers.

7. Armed and ready

State overturns law prohibiting felons from possessing body armor

The details: A recent state court decision to overturn a 12-year ban on violent felons wearing body armor is prompting police from throughout the state to speak out. In 1998 the state and federal law was enacted to prohibit felons from donning certain types of body armor. However, on Dec. 17 that ban was overturned because the statute does not cover all of the varying types of body armor. The decision enraged police officers throughout the state and prompted elected officials to ask the California Supreme Court to review the case.

8. Grinch hits charity

Bounced check causes Salvation Army to fall behind

The details: An armored-vehicle company sent the Charleston, S.C., Salvation Army a $25,000 check with a note that it wanted to share its financial largesse with charities this holiday season. But the check bounced, the vehicle company said it was scammed, and the Salvation Army was left holding the red bucket — assuming the check would clear, they had already spent the money on food and toys for 100 families. Now the charity is left out in the cold while trying to make up the shortfall, and is less able than usual to provide for the needy this frigid January.

9. Checking backgrounds

TSA nominee violated privacy rules, failed to disclose

The details: Erroll Southers, the Obama administration’s nominee for head of the Transportation Security Administration, has admitted to improperly using his position at the FBI 22 years ago to have a background check run on his then-estranged wife’s boyfriend. More problematically, after telling senators under oath in November that the incident was an isolated lapse, Southers later admitted that he had misled them. Not only did he perform the check personally, he did so twice, and on another occasion downloaded confidential law enforcement records. The White House appears to be standing by Southers’ nomination.

10. Have a salad instead

Woman goes on rampage over bad burger

The details: A woman in Kansas City, Mo., caused thousands of dollars worth of damage in a McDonalds after employees refused to give her a refund for a burger. The woman, who reportedly didn’t like her hamburger, was offered a new one instead. Video footage shows her throwing a bucket of water over the counter, throwing objects and pushing off a glass display case and three cash registers before she swore and fled the scene.

Sinking ship

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese were told to stop using water from a tributary of the 3,400-mile Yellow River. An upstream pipeline leaked 100 tons of diesel fuel along the most important water source for approximately 140 million people in China. No report of the spill was released until three days after the leak happened and oil was detected far downstream. Now the big worry is that the diesel will reach the Yellow River’s main branch.

Dim bulb of the week

Who: Chris Daly
What: The controversial San Francisco supervisor kicked off his first board committee meeting of the year on Thursday by declaring his New Year’s resolution for 2010: To say “f***” at every Board of Supervisors meeting. Daly also proclaimed this resolution on his Facebook page.
Why: Even if one bought the excuse that a curse word could in some cases be situationally appropriate, to say the offensive word, just because, is just juvenile.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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