10 worst ideas of the week: Sunday, June 20, 2010 

Police response time lags, patient dies after receiving smoker’s lungs, a radio host tells hungry kids to look in the dumpster, and a senator secures stimulus funding for high-grossing casino.

1. Self-actualized

White House dinner crasher on Bravo reality show
The details: Michaele Salahi, famous for crashing President Barack Obama’s first state dinner, will get her own reality TV series on the Bravo network. The “Real Housewives” series will be based in Washington, D.C., starting Aug. 5, the network said. Filming on the series had just ended when Salahi and her husband crashed the White House party. The network said the gate crashing was not encouraged or suggested by Bravo, though it had filmed them getting ready for the event.

2. Pushing paper

Desk duty drags down police response time
The details: Civilian employees working for the SFPD are less expensive than sworn officers and require less training. There are currently 77 positions staffed by civilians, though there could be as many as 305. Police officers average about an hour to respond to nonemergency crimes such as stolen vehicles, fraud and grand theft, according to a new report that suggests civilians could reduce the wait time for crime victims. Such civilian positions are less expensive because salaries are lower than sworn officers, and employees require less training.

3. Champagne taste

Pelosi pays more than $18K in rent for new office
The details: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved her district office into the new federal building in San Francisco, quadrupling her rent to $18,736 a month, almost double the next-highest rental paid by a member of the House. Pelosi’s office said the high price is due to her need for more office space and additional security now that she is Speaker of the House. According to Roll Call, the last speaker, Republican Rep. Dennis Hastert in 2006, paid $4,300 a month in Dixon, Ill. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., may be paying the lowest rent in Congress: $400 a month to Buncombe County for an office in Asheville. Shuler has two other district offices, but House disbursement records indicate no payment for either of them.

4. Breathless

Patient dies after lung transplant from 30-year smoker
The details: A 28-year-old cystic fibrosis sufferer in England died after receiving a double lung transplant taken from a 30-year smoker. She and her family were not informed about the donor’s nicotine habit. The U.K. “transplant czar” insisted that smoking was not an “issue” as long as the lungs still worked properly. “You can’t buy a pair of nice new organs from a shelf,” said an official at the transplant hospital.

5. Busting the bank

Ex-boss of major mortgage lender indicted for fraud
The details: The former chairman of what used to be one of the largest privately held mortgage lending companies in America has been indicted in a $1.9 billion fraud scheme that led to the failure of Colonial Bank. Lee Bentley Farkas and his co-conspirators are charged for allegedly misappropriating the money to cover operating losses at Taylor, Bean and Whitaker in Ocala, Fla. The mortgage lender shut down operations last August and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

6. Red card

Women booted from World Cup for marketing brewery
The details: The world’s most famous soccer tournament, just like any other big sporting event, is prime real estate to market your product. But FIFA, soccer’s governing body, took exception when more than 30 women showed up at the Netherlands-Denmark World Cup game in orange mini-dresses — with a Dutch brewery’s name emblazoned on them. World Cup officials, protecting sponsor Budweiser, ousted the ladies in what they called ambush marketing.

7. No bull

Matador runs away from charging animal
The details: While most people realize bullfighting is not for them before they enter the ring, Christian Hernandez found out after he was staring the bull in the eyes. What did he do? He set off a major controversy in Mexico when he bolted across the ring and jumped over the wall. “There are some things you must be aware of about yourself,” the 22-year-old Mexican matador said. “I didn’t have the ability, I didn’t have the b----, this is not my thing.”

8. Street scene

Police will receive less training to deal with mentally ill
The details: San Francisco police officers will receive less training to deal with the mentally disabled now that the department will take over a program that trains officers to deal with crises. The move will save the Police Department money, but has created concern that officers won’t be trained to deal with potentially deadly situations, since The City has the most mental-health detentions in the state.

9. Dumpster diving

Radio host offers unusual solution to childhood hunger
The details: Shock jock Rush Limbaugh responded to an AOL.com article this week that said 16 million children will go hungry this summer due to the end of subsidized school lunches by suggesting the kids look to their local dumpster instead. “There’s always the neighborhood dumpster,” he said on his show this week. “Now, you might find competition with homeless people there, but there are videos that have been produced to show you how to healthfully dine and how to dumpster dive and survive until school kicks back up in August.”

10. Bounty hunter

Man goes on mission to track down bin Laden
The details: A man was detained in Pakistan armed with a 40?inch sword, a pistol, night-vision equipment and a small amount of hashish with the intent of hunting down and killing Osama bin Laden. Gary Brooks Faulkner said he was obeying an order from God to avenge the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Officials located him in a forest near the Afghan-­Pakistan border.


Dim Bulb of the week: Chris Dodd

Who: A Democratic U.S. senator from Connecticut

Why: When a casino receives stimulus money, eyebrows are raised. When it is the Mohegan Sun, one of the nation’s highest-grossing casinos that is run by the politically connected Mohegan Indian tribe, heads spin. Dodd helped the tribe secure $54 million from the federal government under a Department of Agriculture loan program for rural ­development.


Sinking ship

The “small people” of the Gulf Coast have a humongous message for oil giant BP: They’re tired of the company’s big-time executives making insensitive comments. On Wednesday, BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told reporters in Washington: “I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care, but that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people.” Coastal residents already were angry over the oil spill disaster and at BP CEO Tony Hayward’s earlier comments that he “wants his life back.”

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

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

Speaking of Opinion

More by Staff Report

Latest in General Opinion

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation