By Roger Phillips
Record Staff Writer
August 28, 2012 12:00 AM
STOCKTON - The mayor's race turned nasty Monday as incumbent Ann Johnston accused opponent Anthony Silva of spreading a "blatant, outright lie" about her salary in a campaign email sent out by her challenger over the weekend.
"Your Mayor Ann Johnston has just recently voted to give herself a $20,000 raise in the worst economic times for this city," begins the email, sent to Silva's friends on LinkedIn. "She now makes $102,000 and is rewarded for leading us to bankruptcy!"
On paper, the mayor's position pays $102,232. The city charter says the mayor's salary "cannot be less than the amount paid to the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for San Joaquin County."
Johnston, however, has refused raises twice since taking office nearly four years ago and has continued to receive the $82,088 salary established by the city's charter-mandated Salary Setting Commission in 2007. Johnston also takes the same furlough days as other city employees, reducing her salary to about $78,000.
"I did not accept (the pay increase)," Johnston said Monday. "It's all documented. It's a matter of public record. For him to suggest I did that is an outright lie. I find it offensive that this is being made an issue when it is not the truth whatsoever."
Prince Harry is in hot water after TMZ posted naked photos of the single British royal, 27, partying in a Las Vegas hotel room last weekend.
"This is a mess," a source close to Harry tells Us Weekly. "This was not the type of fun he was supposed to be having. He's in trouble."
PHOTOS: Prince Harry's sexiest moments
But the third-in-line to the British throne isn't the only culpable party in the debacle.
"Protection officers are also in trouble because they could have controlled this," the source explains of the pics, in which Harry and others (including an apparently nude young woman) were playing "strip pool."
But a second source close to the party-hearty redhead shrugs off the birthday suit brouhaha.
"He's a lad!" the second insider says. "This is just him messing about on holiday. No one was hurt, he's on proper vacation from his work, so he's not breaking any rules. He's using his own money."
And however shocking the snapshots appear, "The photos look sleazier than they are," the source continues. "They were playing strip billiards."
It's not the first time Harry has been photographed in a less-than-dignified light. Back in 2005, he attended a costume party wearing a Nazi swastika armband, later apologizing for the "poor choice of costume."
One royal watcher who's not applauding the naked snapshots? His more mild-mannered big brother.
"William was told about the photos this morning," a third royal insider tells Us of Kate Middleton's hubby, 30. "He's not impressed."
This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Prince Harry "in Trouble" After Shocking Naked Photos Surface.
For Larry Sly, executive director of the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, the good news is that the number of people the food bank serves has leveled off over the past couple of years. The bad news: The food bank still feeds 132,000 people every month.
The food bank today serves 46 percent more people in Contra Costa and Solano counties than it did in 2006, before the recession began. Those in need include people with financial emergencies, others who need sporadic help and still more who come in month after month; many never imagined they'd someday stand in line at a food pantry, Sly said.
"The recession I know is technically over … but we're not seeing it here at all," he said. "We see nothing to indicate that things are getting better for the people we serve."
Nearly 58 percent of low-income residents in Contra Costa County could not afford enough to eat in 2009, according to a recent report by California Food Policy Advocates and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The county's rate of "food insecurity," as it's called, was higher than anywhere else in the state and jumped from 16 percent two years earlier.
The analysis [PDF], based on data from the California Health Interview Survey, found that more than 40 percent of low-income California adults in 2009 – 3.8 million in all – could not afford enough food at least once in the previous year.
We will pick up all of your garage/yard/moving sale left over to donate to families in need. We are looking for clothing in all sizes, shoes, books, toys, house hold items, tv's, stereo equipment, couches, baby stuff, table sets, appliances, movies, records, and even tools will work.. Any thing will help these families get some necessities.
Please call or text me for date and time and address of when I can come by. If you would like junk removed in exchange for a donation, we would be happy to help. Thank you very much, from all our hearts.
(209)629-2128Ask for Greg
or reply by e-mail.
(se Habla Espanol)
We will take almost anything that is usable.
** Items need to be decent or good condition**
(REMEMBER THESE ITEMS WILL GO TO FAMILY HOMES IN NEED PLEASE UNDERSTAND)
By Scott Smith
Record Staff Writer
August 18, 2012 12:00 AM
STOCKTON - City Hall, under a provision of the federal bankruptcy code that gives debtors a bit of breathing room, has suspended 54 pending lawsuits, mostly those known as trip-and-fall cases.
But Ralph Lee White, a wealthy bail bondsman, former councilman and recent mayoral candidate, said the city has wrongly entangled him with one of those frozen decisions.
White earlier this year sued Stockton and Mayor Ann Johnston, arguing that an ambiguously worded line of the city charter means Johnston has already termed out of office. She was ineligible to seek another term, he said.
Making this argument, White lost his first round in San Joaquin County Superior Court, and he also lost his mayoral bid at the polls in June's primary election.
But White hasn't given up his fight to bring clarification to the city's charter.
He said his case shouldn't be subject to a suspension because he isn't seeking millions in recompense, like other litigants. The city is using its ailing finances as an excuse to skirt his challenge, he said.
"If the charter is our constitution, we have to follow our constitution," White said. "You can't put a stay on our constitution."
White and the Stockton Black Leadership Council originally brought the suit, citing problems they saw in Section 606 of the charter, which dictates term limits. It says:
"No person elected as either Mayor or Councilmember shall be eligible to serve, or serve, as either Mayor or Councilmember for more than two (2) terms ... ."
Johnston, who declined to comment, has served two terms on the City Council and now seeks a second term as mayor.
Superior Court Judge Lesley Holland heard the case in May and ruled in Johnston's favor, while criticizing the charter's language as being less than clear.
After White's courtroom defeat, his attorney, Michael Babitzke, who declined to comment, filed a new writ of mandate under the names of another failed mayoral candidate, Gregory Pitsch, and four other residents.
And then the city on June 28 filed bankruptcy. Officials shortly thereafter invoked the court stays.
City Attorney John Luebberke defended the move against White, saying this provision of the bankruptcy code is to be construed broadly.
The city is not arbitrarily selecting to temporarily stop White's suit or any of the others, he said.
"We're not using it. It's the law," Luebberke said. "We can't pick and choose."
Rather, the city filed notices to let the relevant judges, litigants and their attorneys know of the provision halting the cases. The city has to pay to defend the case, creating a financial burden, Luebberke said, refuting White's claim that his suit doesn't have financial ramifications.
Most of those suspended in Stockton's bankruptcy are tort cases, like trip-and-fall lawsuits filed against the city. Others include employee-related litigation and those arising from scuffles people have had with police officers, Luebberke said.
Among the suits also on hold is one filed by former Deputy City Attorney Lori Whittaker, who in 2009 accused then-Stockton City Attorney Ren Nocky of sexual harassment.
Another stay applies to the city's legal battle with the Stockton Police Officers' Association over millions in pay cuts the city imposed on its officers. But the association's Sacramento attorney, David E. Mastagni, said police had no problem with the suspension.
"We're working with the city to get a contract," he said. "We agreed to have ... the whole case stayed."
But White, who suspects foul play is at work in his case, may have a good argument, said Riverside attorney Franklin Adams, a partner of Best Best & Krieger LLP.
The bankruptcy code allows for stays on certain cases to prevent a rush by creditors to the courthouse with everybody wanting to collect. Adams said that based on his limited knowledge of the case, White wants a ruling on the city charter and nothing more.
"I don't think that's what the stay was intended to prevent," Adams said.
If White wanted his advice, Adams said he would suggest approaching U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein, who is overseeing Stockton's Chapter 9, and ask for a "comfort order."
Under such an order, White could ask the judge to send his case back to the San Joaquin County Superior Court, and then return it to the federal bankruptcy court with a resolution, Adams said.
"Some bankruptcy judges are willing to do that," he said.
White argues that if the incumbent mayor beats challenger Anthony Silva on Nov. 6, and if a court later were to rule that Johnston is ineligible to serve, the city will have the expense of holding a special election.
"I ain't asking for no money," he said. "There's no money there to be asked for."
Contact reporter Scott Smith at (209) 546-8296 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his blog at