Victor Oladipo finds himself caught in the middle.
For months, the 30-year-old guard has stressed that he has emerged from the rabbit hole of injury and doubt, again feeling closer to the player who in 2018 was named third-team All-NBA and first-team All-Defensive, as well as a 2019 All-Star.
But the regained confidence also comes in a situation where to declare himself a starter and big-minutes, big-statistics contributor might come off as egoistic and selfish.
So during a private moment at the Miami Heat’s training camp at the Baha Mar resort, after working up an additional lather with drill work following practice on the makeshift courts at the facility’s convention center, Oladipo found himself taking an extended pause after the simplest of questions:
What are your goals for the season?
“I think the biggest one is . . . is, uh . . . that’s a great question,” he said, finding himself slowing down for the first time since his drenching drills.
“The few weeks prior to this,” he told the Sun Sentinel, “I was thinking about, like, ‘What are my goals, my expectations for the year?’ And I think this year I don’t have any. I know that sounds crazy. But for me, I think it’s about just living in the moment.
“I think the last four years, I’ve had expectations, I’ve had goals, I’ve had aspirations to do a certain thing. It’s out of my control. So I think right now I’m just focused on staying in the moment and living in the moment.”
This time the moments come without knee or quadriceps pain, ailments that limited him to 12 regular-season appearances with the Heat since being acquired from the Houston Rockets at the March 2021 NBA trading deadline. As it is, you have to go back to 2017-18 for the last time he played at least half the regular season.
“I really don’t have any goals or expectations for myself,” he said. “For this team, it’s to win a championship, obviously. But for me, it’s to contribute. Right now, I’m just focused on doing that.
“I think that sometimes, if we get too far ahead, or look too far back, that sometimes we can be disappointed, and sometimes you can lose sight of what is in front of you. For me, I’m just trying to stay in the moment.”
After earning $21 million a year for four consecutive seasons, Oladipo was down to the $2.3 million veteran minimum last season. This summer, he re-upped for $18.2 million over two seasons, with a player option for the second season.
The signing came fully aware of his place in the team’s hierarchy under coach Erik Spoelstra, with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry the featured pieces, and with Tyler Herro the young gun poised to outlast Oladipo.
And that’s what makes the notion of season goals so complex. It’s not as if he is back with the Indiana Pacers, during his most successful years, when he was the focus, with others operating in his orbit.
“I think it’s a little bit of understanding what the dynamic of the team is, how you fit in with it, what do we need, what I can do to help?” he said, returning to the question of 2022-23 goals. “And then, at the same time, trusting the coaching staff and Coach Spo to put me in the best possible position to help this team and be successful.
“That’s why you can’t really set your own expectations. You just really got to play every day like it’s your last. And that’s what I’m focused on doing.”
For now, it’s as simple as seeing is believing for Spoelstra.
“It’s been fun to see him out here,” Spoelstra said, before giving his team Sunday off. “I know he’s really grateful to be able to participate [from] the very first day. And he’s put in the work. This offseason was really productive for him.
“You’re seeing that burst that we knew so well from playing against him for all those years. He’s been able to get to that gear quite often.”
STANFORD — Nestled just south of Stanford University’s campus, amid narrow winding roads lined with imposing oaks and historical estates, an exclusive enclave has neighbors pitted against neighbors over a legal battle that poses a new twist on the region’s housing crisis.
The Upper San Juan neighborhood, once home to two men who later became U.S. presidents as well as a secretary of state, has 123 single-family homes that mostly house senior university faculty and some of their widows, who retain their houses through their lifetimes.
The battle here is an all-too-familiar story in the Bay Area. Residents who have lived in their homes for decades are clashing with those raising alarm bells over the area’s exorbitant housing costs and lack of development. The issue in Upper San Juan has put some of the Stanford faculty in a vice, turning it into a radioactive topic of conversation and laying bare starkly different views about how to tackle the region’s housing woes.
A new lawsuit, filed by a Stanford professor and a housing advocacy group, claims Santa Clara County broke state law after amending Upper San Juan’s development standards. The modifications came after years of concerns from residents who wanted to preserve the character of their neighborhood. The changes increased front yard setbacks and put a cap on lot coverage of both single-family and multi-family homes.STANFORD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 28: The Lou Henry Hoover House is photographed in the Upper San Juan neighborhood in Stanford, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
“If cities and counties can simply sidestep state law and prevent construction of housing, that’s just really bad for citizens around this entire state,” said Ken Shotts, a tenured political economy professor who lives in an adjacent neighborhood. He and the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund are suing the county.
County officials, however, insist that they haven’t made it any harder to build in Upper San Juan and are legally in the clear. During a vote in May, County Supervisor Joe Simitian, whose district includes the Stanford area, described the new rules as “modest.”
“It’s easy when we look at this particular neighborhood in isolation to forget that there are 8,000 acres of Stanford land,” Simitian said during the meeting. “There is quite a bit of opportunity and quite a bit of flexibility if there is a desire to create additional housing.” He and the county’s legal counsel both declined an interview request.STANFORD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 28: A car is parked at in front of a home at the Upper San Juan neighborhood in Stanford, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
Upper San Juan and nearby neighborhoods were created just a handful of years after the university was established in 1885, with the goal of having faculty and staff live on campus. But Upper San Juan in particular is unique – its lot sizes are much larger than the surrounding area’s. So are its past residents. Both Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy once lived in Upper San Juan. So did former Secretary of State George Shultz.
The neighborhood’s historical homes, many over a century old, are leased by the residents while Stanford owns the land underneath them.
In the intervening years, Stanford and the county have battled over the prospect of adding more housing. The university sued the county in 2018 over a new law that aimed to promote more affordable developments, though Stanford dropped the case in 2020. The university also withdrew its application from the county’s planning department in 2019 over what would have been a major expansion of both student and faculty housing.
In the Upper San Juan neighborhood specifically, the university has promised to try to alleviate the faculty housing shortage. The Cabrillo-Dolores Faculty Homes, set to be completed next year, replaced two unoccupied single-family homes with seven new ones.STANFORD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 28: A person walks by the Cabrillo-Dolores development currently under construction at the Upper San Juan neighborhood in Stanford, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
The price tag for the new developments have yet to be determined. Sale prices of surrounding homes in recent years range between $2 million to $4 million.
But the Cabrillo-Dolores development has met resistance from some Upper San Juan residents ever since its inception in 2015. They claimed that the new homes weren’t a good fit for the historical neighborhood, so the Board of Supervisors began exploring options to preserve the neighborhood’s character.
Last spring, county supervisors unanimously voted to change the minimum distance homes must be set back from the street to 30 feet from 25 feet, while establishing standards for how much of a lot can be covered by a house to 20% for single-family homes and at 35% for multi-family homes.
The lawsuit against these changes is a particularly thorny one for Upper San Juan residents, several of whom declined to discuss the case, with one stating that it could disturb the harmonious relationships that had been developed over years.
One resident, English professor Blair Hoxby, maintains that the county rules aren’t making it any harder for faculty to live there.
“County standards are not keeping people out of the neighborhood,” wrote Hoxby in an emailed response. “The problem is not a lack of homes.” Hoxby said there are “beautiful, vacant” houses on the market in Upper San Juan that aren’t being purchased.
He added: “We would be delighted to welcome Professor Shotts as a neighbor and would gladly invite his family over for a meal and a walk around the neighborhood.”
Plaintiffs in the case argue that the supervisors’ changes violate Senate Bill 330, which was passed in 2019 and is supposed to help prevent local governments from instituting new laws that do “anything that would lessen the intensity of housing.”
Todd Williams, an East Bay-based housing attorney, said that the county supervisors’ changes probably fall into a legal gray zone. The county didn’t outright change the zoning of Upper San Juan but changed rules on the edges that a judge may determine make housing more difficult.
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For Shotts, the answer is simple.
“I think this is just bad public policy,” he said about the county’s new rules. “What we need in this area is more housing.”
Housing prices are ridiculous, trash and homeless encampments line our streets, reservoirs are drying up – and it’s only getting worse.
Bay Area residents are finding a lot to be cheerless about these days, according to an exclusive poll by the Bay Area News Group and Joint Venture Silicon Valley. But there’s one major bright spot in all the doom and gloom: working from home. By and large, local workers agree this pandemic holdover has changed their lives for the better, and they’re not ready to give it up.
“After two years, hybrid, at least, is here to stay,” said Brian Jones, who works remotely most days from his home in San Francisco. “It’s going to be very difficult to get people to go back five days a week in the office.”Brian Jones of San Francisco, who works in financial services, pets his dog, Tarzan, as he works from home on Sept. 28, 2022, in San Francisco, Calif. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
The poll, which surveyed 1,628 registered voters in the five core Bay Area counties, highlights the extent to which our lives remain drastically altered two and a half years after the first COVID-19 outbreak, even though vaccines are ubiquitous, mask rules are largely a distant memory and President Joe Biden declared the pandemic is over. About half of those polled continue to have the option to work from home, and nearly everyone given the choice is taking advantage of it, at least some of the time.
Many of those are reveling in their ongoing freedom. Instead of sitting in traffic and spending all day in an office, they’re coaching their kid’s soccer team, taking care of aging pet rats, spending quality time with a partner and starting a new degree program.
The pandemic also continues to affect us in other ways, even though COVID has plummeted on a list of the region’s top concerns. Between 45% and 60% of residents in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties say they continue to cut back on dining out, attending parties and going to the movies, compared to pre-COVID times.
At the same time, a more generalized angst is widespread and by some measures, way up.
“I was surprised, frankly. I thought we’d be a little bouncier as the pandemic is in its waning days and months,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a public-private partnership focused on civic issues. “I would have thought people would be in a better mood. But it turns out we’re grumpy. Like, really grumpy.”
Of those surveyed in the online poll earlier this month, 62% said the Bay Area is on the “wrong track” a startling increase of 10 percentage points from last year. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said quality of life in the Bay Area has worsened during the last five years. Their biggest worries were the cost of housing, the cost of living, homelessness and drought.
“My neighborhood isn’t rough, but it isn’t the nicest either. And it’s just a constant struggle with trash,” said 35-year-old Elle, of Oakland. “The street where I live, it basically feels like a junkyard sometimes.”
Elle, who declined to give her last name because of privacy concerns, also broods about climate change, like nearly three-fourths of fellow Bay Area residents. She’s lived in the region for the better part of a decade, and her lack of air conditioning has never before been a problem. But, after several recent sweltering spells, she felt like she couldn’t escape the summer heat.
Crime too is an increasing worry for Bay Area residents, with 49% describing it as an extremely serious problem up 12 percentage points from last year, the largest jump on the list.
And people are feeling pessimistic about the Bay Area’s economy, with just 38% saying economic conditions are good or excellent. By contrast, half of the respondents said their personal finances are in good or excellent shape.
Jones, 47, of San Francisco, frets about the high cost of housing pricing out the region’s young people potentially including, someday, his now 9-year-old daughter. He also laments the many businesses closed as a result of the pandemic, and how the city’s formerly bustling downtown has become a ghost town.
“The vibrancy that was here pre-pandemic is just not fully back,” he said. “And I think there’s questions about whether it will be fully back.”
But working from home during the pandemic gave Jones, who works in finance, the opportunity to coach his daughter’s soccer team something he never could have done while going to the office five days a week. Now, like many in the Bay Area, he wants a flexible schedule that mixes remote work with occasional days in the office.
If they had their druthers, 43% of people polled would work from home sometimes, while 33% would work from home all the time. Of those who have been allowed to work from home, just 5% said their employer is ending remote work, while 41% said they are required to spend some time in the workplace.
But as Jones’ bosses try to persuade workers to return, they’re struggling to perfect the hybrid work environment. Some days, Jones shows up to work in an empty office and finds himself wondering why he bothered commuting in.
“You go in and say, ‘Well, I’m in the office and now I’m on a Zoom meeting,'” he said.
Not everyone wants to work from home, and 24% of those polled said they have no interest in remote work. Josh Jessup, who works in sales, describes himself as the “weirdo” who would rather be in the office. But his employer has no plans to reopen his workplace after closing it for COVID.
“So now I’m kind of trapped at home feeling isolated and not part of a team anymore, and just kind of on an island,” said 49-year-old Jessup, who recently rented his own small office space so he has a reason to leave his house in Contra Costa County’s Discovery Bay.Catherine Ball got to spend more time with pet rats Bippo and Beppo while working from home during the pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Catherine Ball)
People like Jessup aside, the survey results showed overwhelmingly positive reactions to remote work, with many crediting it for helping to fix some of the Bay Area’s most significant woes. Three-quarters of respondents said remote work decreases traffic, and 73% said it enables people to live further away, where housing is more affordable. Fewer than half had negative things to say about it – 44% said it harms restaurants and retail stores near workplaces, and 21% said it reduces the vibrancy and character of the Bay Area.
For 31-year-old Catherine Ball, of Fremont, remote work has been a major boon. Ball, who works as an engineer at a tech company and uses they/them pronouns, loves having no commute. They’ve filled their extra time by taking online classes toward a master’s degree in science and spending more quality time with their partner. Working from home also allowed Ball to take breaks during the day to care for their aging pet rats, Bippo and Beppo, until the rodents passed away.
“It’s been really nice, actually,” Ball said.
But not everyone has the luxury of remote work. Higher-income workers and those with college degrees are more likely to have the option to stay home. While just 16% of people making less than $35,000, and 27% of those making between $35,000 and $49,999 said they can work from home at least some of the time, 85% of people making between $250,000 and $499,999 have that option.Ashley Ortiz kisses her 4-year-old son, Stiles, goodbye as she leaves for her nanny job on Sept. 29, 2022, in Sunnyvale, Calif. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
Ashley Ortiz, of Sunnyvale, works full-time weekdays as a nanny, entertains children at parties on weekends, and does odd jobs in between to make ends meet. Her husband, who lost his restaurant job during the pandemic, now stays home with their 4-year-old son. Seeing the families she works for get to do their jobs remotely – spending time with their kids and doing chores while on Zoom meetings – made her envious of that lifestyle. She recently joined a data analytics boot camp that she hopes will help her land a job in tech with a remote option.
James Mello, of Alameda, has been feeling a similar financial crunch. He works as an office administrator for a bus repair company that recently had major layoffs because it hasn’t been able to rebound from a pandemic hit to its business. Last year, he took a second job delivering packages for Amazon on the weekends.
“I’m very tired all of the time,” said Mello, 30. “But it’s a choice between being tired and paying your bills and having enough to go out with your friends when you have the time off.”James Mello in the workshop of a bus repair company on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Alameda, Calif. After a round of layoffs, Mello is the last employee working daily at the site. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)
The 2022 Bay Area Poll was conducted online September 9-20 by Embold Research, surveying 1,628 registered voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties for the Bay Area News Group and Joint Venture Silicon Valley. The modeled margin of error is 3.1%.
Q: I am getting my REAL ID. I have a confirmation code and only need to go the DMV to show my documents and complete the process. I am a bit worried about the Social Security number part. California is, I believe, known to have one of the most outdated computer systems on the planet. Will my social security number be up for sale on the dark web once it is in the DMV’s database?
A: The DMV says it has strong security measures in place to protect against unauthorized access, use and disclosure of personal information, such as Social Security numbers. The security measures include but are not limited to encryption software, firewall protection, and limiting access to information only to authorized team members whose work requires it.
All DMV employees are trained each year in privacy and information security, and the DMV conducts periodic audits to ensure that proper information management policies and procedures are being followed.
More information can be found at dmv.ca.gov/portal/privacy-and-security/.
Q: Recently, I had a super efficient visit to the Pleasanton DMV when I was there to get my Real ID. I had an early morning appointment and was in and out within a few minutes.
I placed my wallet on the counter as I worked through thumbprints, cash payments and such. And I left my wallet on the counter when I left the DMV.
I realized well into the day that I had misplaced my wallet. When I went back to the DMV, I was recognized by the lady at the counter, who notified her supervisor. I had a huge sigh of relief when the supervisor came out and handed me my wallet.
A customer had turned my wallet in to the DMV staff. The staff accounted for the money in my wallet and gave me a receipt, a standard procedure there for money left behind. In gratitude, I wanted to contribute to a lunch kitty, but the office had no such thing.Related Articles
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The honesty of everyone involved in this incident strengthens my belief that we are surrounded by good people. I tip my hat to the customer who turned in my wallet and to the DMV staff for safekeeping it. If the customer and DMV staff involved are reading this, thank you!
Q: Kudos to the DMV. My son and his new wife went to the DMV in Sacramento so his wife could get her license with her new last name. They were in and out in 10 minutes.
Scott Wheeler, Pleasant Hill
A: You have to like this, fast, helpful service, and safe wallets, if left behind.
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For the second year in a row, Bay Area residents are offering one of the most powerful critiques imaginable of their home:
Most people who live here plan to leave.
A new survey found more than half (53%) of registered voters queried by the Bay Area News Group and Joint Venture Silicon Valley say they’re likely to move out of the region in the next few years. It’s a sentiment felt by the young more than the old, by Republicans more than Democrats, and by the poor more than the wealthy — but it cuts across every group.
“There are things about the Bay Area that are really troubling,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO of Joint Venture, a business and labor consortium. Those who intend to flee cited housing costs, quality of life, taxes and homelessness as the most powerful motivators.
The discontent showed up in the news group’s initial Bay Area poll, in 2019, but at the time just 47% were eyeing the exits. By 2021, it had hit 56%. The Bay Area’s population shrank last year for the second year in a row, with big drops in San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, according to a recent state Department of Finance report.
The desire to flee hasn’t affected everyone equally. Younger voters are more likely to want to get out, with 56% of voters age 18-34 saying they’re likely to leave, compared to just 40% of voters 65 and older.
People of color also are more eager to pack their bags — 59% of Hispanic voters, 57% of Asian American and Pacific Islander voters, and 53% of Black voters said they are likely to leave, compared to 47% of White voters.
Sabrina Dooley, 52, moved to San Francisco three years ago and hasn’t found the city welcoming to African American residents like herself. She struggles to find food, clothing and music that she relates to. And she gets the sense the region doesn’t care about diversity, or about its low-income residents.
As soon as she can, she plans on moving to Detroit, where the median sale price for a single-family home was $83,000 in August, according to Redfin.
“I got three years to retire, and then I’m leaving,” she said. “I’m out of here.”
Lower-income and unemployed residents also are more likely to be thinking about leaving. While 57% of those making less than $35,000 a year said they’re likely to move, 41% of those making between $250,000 and $499,999 said they are likely to get out.
Even among the wealthy, the Bay Area apparently has lost its charm. Of those making more than $500,000, 57% said they plan to leave.
Another split can be seen among the respondents based on political affiliation. Republicans are more likely to be plotting their escape (71%) compared to Democrats (44%) and Independents (59%), as the state continues to take firmly liberal positions on issues such as gun control and abortion.
I knew it was going to be an emotional day the moment I arrived at Levi’s Stadium to cover the Mexican National Team’s soccer match against Colombia. I just didn’t know how hard it was going to be to control my emotions.
Walking through the parking lot before Tuesday night’s game, I felt pride and joy seeing my paisanos tailgating. Dressed in outfits from the motherland, cooking carne asada, embracing the Mexican flag, dancing to our music.
But it was later, in the press box as Mexico’s national anthem played over the stadium’s sound system and the people in the Mexican-heavy crowd of 67,311 sang their hearts out, that it really hit me.
Tears began to stream down my face and I bolted to a corner away from the rest of the media to conceal the state I was in. After composing myself, I returned to my seat and went back to work, hoping no one had seen my moment of vulnerability. Thirteen years ago my father had taken me to see Mexico play for the first time.
Now I’m here, 22 years old and fresh out of college, covering “El Tri” for the newspaper I grew up reading. Such a thing was once unimaginable to me, but my Dad always said anything was possible if you worked for it. It’s a shame he wasn’t here to see how right he was.Jesús Cano in the press box at Levi’s Stadium before Mexico’s friendly soccer match with Colombia on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (Jesús Cano/Bay Area News Group)
On Dec. 6, 2016, as I was getting ready for school, I watched my Dad be handcuffed and thrown into the back of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement van in the driveway of our Pittsburg home. I remember feeling my heart drop. I remember hearing the desperation in my mom’s voice as she said goodbye to him. I remember seeing my 14-year-old sister cry hysterically.
As much as we prayed and begged for this to be a mistake, my dad was deported to Mexico a few hours later. That was the last time I saw my father.
Even as the six-year anniversary of his deportation approaches, the memory of that day plays in my head every single day.
Being a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), I might never see my father again. If I leave the United States for a visit, I’m taking a chance that I might not be allowed back in. We text and talk on the phone, but it is still frustrating and heartbreaking to know that might be the closest contact we’ll have for the rest of our lives.From left to right, Jesús Cano, his cousin Alvaro Hernandez and his dad, Juan Aaron Cano, tailgating in the parking lot of the Oakland Coliseum before Mexico’s friendly against Paraguay on March 26, 2011. (Courtesy of Cano family)
I haven’t seen my dad in six years. Memories help me cope with the loss. HIm teaching me to ride a bike, the countless times we went fishing at the Pittsburg Marina and especially the bond we shared through soccer.
It was in 2009 that my father took me to see the Mexican national team for the first time when “El Tri” played at the Oakland Coliseum in a Gold Cup tournament game. I was eight years old. I fell in love with the atmosphere, amazed to see so many people from my country together, embracing our culture, united by the beautiful game.
That day gave birth to my passion for sports, which eventually led to my pursuit of a career in sports journalism. It’s crazy to think that one event can have such an influence on the rest of your life.
Someone with the adversity I’ve faced isn’t supposed to be here. Yet against all odds and thanks to an amazing support system consisting of my mom, sister and grandmother, I’m still standing and pushing through any challenges that come my way, because that’s what my dad always did.
There’s something I do whenever I cover a professional sports event. After the crowd is gone and my work is done, I find a seat in the stadium and I reflect on the day. That’s what I did after Tuesday night’s game.
Once more, the tears started to fall from my eyes, except this time there was no reason to hide. I embraced the emotions and looked up to the night sky. I smiled knowing that even if my father was 2,000 miles away, we’d still made a memory this night.
Te extraño mucho, papá.
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Considering the state of its offensive line, Gang Green might have a challenge slowing doing the Steelers pass rush.
Pittsburgh loves to send multiple blitzes to try and confuse opposing quarterbacks. With Zach Wilson not seeing any live game action for six weeks, the Jets can be sure that the Steelers will have multiple blitz packages ready Sunday. LB Alex Highsmith leads the league in sacks through three weeks (4.5).
The Jets will also have to worry about five-time Pro Bowler Cameron Heyward, who has sometimes proven to be a menace to offensive linemen.2. HAVE BALANCE ON OFFENSE
The Jets have said the last couple of weeks they’re committed to having a balanced offensive attack. But that remains to be seen as the passing numbers far outweigh the rushing totals.
During the first three weeks, QB Joe Flacco, who started for Wilson (knee), averaged 52 pass attempts a game. That is the most in the league during that span.
Even with Wilson back, the Jets must commit more to running the football. They have two solid backfield options in Breece Hall and Michael Carter, who have shown they can gain yards and keep the Jets out of third and long situations.3. PRESSURE TRUBISKY
The Jets pass rush has been hit or miss this season, largely miss. Gang Green did have two sacks in the loss against the Bengals last weekend. However, the Jets left some opportunities on the table to sack QB Joe Burrow and force the Bengals to punt.
The Steelers have their own offensive issues, as Mitch Trubisky has been inconsistent during his first three games. He has thrown for 569 yards, two TDs, one INT and is completing 60.2% of his passes.
This is the game where the Jets and, in particular, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and defensive end Carl Lawson need to harass Trubisky consistently.
The Giants are in rebuild mode again for a lot of reasons, including a decision at the 2021 NFL Draft that inextricably links them to this Sunday’s opponent at MetLife Stadium, the Chicago Bears.
On April 29, 2021, Giants GM Dave Gettleman and coach Joe Judge held the No. 11 overall pick and were prepared to select one of four players they believed might fall to them: Alabama receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, Alabama corner Patrick Surtain II and South Carolina corner Jaycee Horn.
But only three quarterbacks were selected ahead of the Giants’ pick, not four. Alabama’s Mac Jones and Ohio State’s Justin Fields were still available, which meant one extra position player would go ahead of the Giants than many teams had anticipated.
The Dolphins took Waddle at No. 6, and the Giants’ draft room writhed in frustration. The Lions at No. 7 picked Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, whom the Giants never expected to make it to 11.
The Panthers then took Horn at No. 8. And the Broncos picked Surtain at No. 9. The Giants liked both players, especially Surtain, who has proven to be as advertised. But now the draft’s consensus top two corners were off the board and Dallas — which had been eyeing those corners — was up at No. 10.
Then it happened: As the Giants watched from their East Rutherford, N.J., war room, the Cowboys accepted a rare in-division trade with the Philadelphia Eagles back to No. 12, and Howie Roseman leapfrogged Gettleman and the Giants and stole the speedy Smith at No. 10.
It was a stunning chain of events. And while the Giants weren’t unprepared for it, they compounded the situation by deciding not to draft Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons due to off-field concerns. And he fell to the giddy Cowboys at 12.
Parsons became a first-team All-Pro as a rookie and helped wreck the Giants’ offensive line last Monday night. Smith is 13th in the NFL in receiving yards after going off for eight catches, 169 yards and a TD on the Washington Commanders last Sunday.
If the Giants had stayed at pick No. 11, Gettleman would have drafted USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, who eventually went No. 14 to the Jets. Instead, they made a trade with Judge’s long-term rebuild in mind that forever links them to the Bears:
The Giants moved back from No. 11 to Chicago’s pick at No. 20. Then-Bears GM Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy charged up from No. 20 to select Fields, Sunday’s starting quarterback.
The Giants netted pick No. 20 in that draft, the Bears’ 2022 first-rounder at No. 7, Chicago’s 2021 fifth-rounder at No. 164 overall, and a Bears 2022 fourth-rounder at No. 112 overall.
They used the No. 20 pick to select Florida receiver Kadarius Toney. He had such a rough rookie season that the Giants’ new regime tried to trade him this past spring; he played seven snaps in Week 1; and he is missing his second straight game due to a hamstring Sunday.
The Giants used the 2021 fifth-rounder to trade up in the third round with the Broncos to select UCF corner Aaron Robinson. Robinson is starting on the outside this season when healthy but is not considered a long-term solution at the position.
The biggest plus of the trade was netting an extra first-rounder in 2022. New Giants GM Joe Schoen used the Giants’ own first-rounder at No. 5 pick on Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and then added Alabama tackle Evan Neal with the Bears pick at No. 7.
Neal has had a rocky start, including allowing three sacks to the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence on Monday night. And the Giants drafted San Diego State tight end Daniel Bellinger this year with the extra fourth-rounder. Bellinger caught a touchdown in the Giants’ Week 2 win over the Panthers but, like most rookies, is a work in progress.
The trade didn’t work out for either the Giants or Bears regimes that held power in 2021.
Fields went 2-8 as a starter as a rookie. The Bears went 6-11, and Pace and Nagy got fired.
Gettleman’s and Judge’s Giants imploded under backup quarterbacks Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm with Daniel Jones injured and out, and they never got the chance to use that extra first-round pick themselves.
A 29-3 loss at Soldier Field to the Bears, in fact, was the beginning of the end. Judge would never come back from his postgame rant in Chicago, and John Mara and Steve Tisch prematurely pulled the plug on the promise of a long-term rebuild.
Everyone in the Giants’ building, of course, prefers to erase that Week 17 debacle from their memory.
“It’s a new team, new time, new coaches, new year,” defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence said this week. “We don’t really think about that last year. Just come and play this week.”
The 2021 draft trade ultimately left the Giants and Bears competing against each other again in the market for a coach and GM in the offseason.
Schoen and Brian Daboll interviewed for both the Giants and Bears jobs, and the Giants hired the Buffalo Bills package.
Bears GM Ryan Poles was one of three finalists for the Giants’ GM job before taking the Chicago job, and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was hired as head coach.
“That’s a long time ago,” Daboll said of his Bears candidacy.
The Bears then debuted more rookies (11) in Week 1 than any other team in the league. The Giants and Cowboys were second with nine.
Both teams have quarterbacks in prove-it years who seem to have the deck stacked against them: Fields in Year 2, the Giants’ Jones in Year 4.
And Schoen and Poles probably will be competing in next spring’s draft for their next quarterback, too.
A win for either team on Sunday improves their record to 3-1. A loss drops them to 2-2 and higher up next spring’s draft board.
But as both the Giants and Bears both proved last year, a draft pick only matters if you know what to do with it.
My column is usually about classic vehicles, but this issue’s column isn’t. In fact, it’s not even about a car, truck or SUV but rather an “FUV” (Fun Utility Vehicle).San Ramon’s Scott Holm owns this issue’s all-electric three-wheeled 2020 Arcimoto “FUV” (Fun Utility Vehicle). (David Krumboltz — for Bay Area News Group)
It’s hard not to be excited about this new form of personal transportation. The founder of the company that makes it, Mark Frohnmayer, graduated from UC Berkeley in 1996 with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. Arcimoto was founded in November 2007 and became a public company 10 years later on the NASDAQ with the symbol FUV.
The two passenger, three-wheel FUV is street-legal, U.S. Transportation Department-approved but registered in California and other states as a motorcycle. However, no motorcycle driver’s license is required to operate the vehicle, nor do you need to wear a helmet. According to company information, this vehicle has 77 horsepower, can go from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and has a battery range of 100 city miles (which means driving 55 mph). If driving at 70 mph, the range drops to 32 miles.
The passenger sits behind the driver, and both individuals have two crisscross seat belts for safety. For cooler weather, the seat cushions are heated. To steer the vehicles, motorcycle-type handlebars are used.
There is no transmission to shift — just a switch to go forward or in reverse. It has hydraulic with regenerative-assist brakes with a small brake pedal on the floor. The accelerator is the right-hand side of the handlebar, just like a motorcycle, and by twisting that grip, which can be heated, off you go. The most surprising statistic to me was that the shipping weight of the FUV is only 300 pounds and can carry up to 1,500 pounds.
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Scott Holm is the very proud owner of this issue’s three-wheel 2020 Arcimoto FUV model, which is 100% electric. He loves his FUV, which is his daily driver. He lives in San Ramon and works in Walnut Creek so unless there’s a driving rain storm, which we haven’t seen much of lately, Holm drives it five days a week to work.
Purchased in September 2019, his FUV was one of the very first produced from Arcimoto’s factory in Eugene, Oregon, and as of this writing, he has driven it more than 14,000 miles. It has a digital speedometer with a gauge showing how much battery life is available. It has a trunk suitable for ample groceries, and side doors are available from the factory. Holm reports that this environmentally friendly vehicle gets the equivalent of 172 mpg. He stays off freeways for obvious reasons but on one occasion got the vehicle up to 72 mph, close to the company’s claimed top speed of 75 mph.
According to Arcimoto’s literature, this FUV’s starting price is $17,900, but delivery is extra. There are no dealers, and all sales are made online. Arcimoto is marketed in only five Western states plus Florida and Hawaii. In some states, there are locations where one can rent an FUV for a short period of time. Holm said his FUV is really something between a car and a motorcycle.
I was hoping I would get a ride, and I did. I buckled up with the seat belts provided and sat in the very comfortable back seat. Holm accelerated at a higher speed than I expected as I was thinking this would be a much slower ride like a golf cart, but no. He took me on a fairly long ride and quizzed me about any motorcycle experience I had. I evidently passed that test, as he offered to let me drive his FUV. Turning required more effort than turning on a motorcycle but was not difficult.
It was great fun, and I could visualize one of these vehicles in my garage. However, so far, it’s been kind of a rough road for the company, which has been unable to turn a profit so far. I’m an automotive history buff, and we’ve had more than 2,600 different automakers in this country. I wonder if we’re repeating the major transition of the horse and buggy to the internal combustion engine in the 1900s with the transition of the internal combustion engine cars to all-electric vehicles.
Have an interesting vehicle? Contact David Krumboltz at MOBopoly@yahoo.com. To view more photos of this and other issues’ vehicles or to read more of Dave’s columns, visit mercurynews.com/author/david-krumboltz.
California’s economy exploded as the state emerged from a relatively brief but severe recession caused by business shutdowns that Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered in 2020 to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtually overnight, more than 2 million Californians lost their jobs and the state’s unemployment rate skyrocketed to more than 16%. However, once the restrictions were eased, the jobless rate slowly drifted downward to pre-pandemic levels, under 4%, and California employers found it increasingly difficult to fill their jobs.
The state’s ride on a dizzying economic rollercoaster may not be over.
Inflation is hitting rates not seen in decades, more than 8%, largely because massive amounts of federal spending, meant to counteract the economic effects of pandemic, has overheated the economy, upsetting the supply-demand balance.
The Federal Reserve System is rapidly increasing interest rates in hopes of cooling down the economy but its hope for a “soft landing” is very uncertain and there are growing fears of a recession. In a sense, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as employers curtail hiring in anticipation of a recession and those actions trigger a decline.
As the nation’s largest state, California is particularly exposed to national and global economic currents. When the U.S. economy catches a cold, California’s often contracts pneumonia.
The Legislature’s budget analyst, Gabe Petek, warned of the state’s vulnerability last May while reviewing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised budget.
“Predicting precisely when the next recession will occur is nearly impossible,” Petek told the Legislature. “Historically, however, certain economic indicators have offered warning signs that a recession is on the horizon (and) many of these indicators currently suggest a heightened risk of a recession within two years.”
Citing inflation, a national decline in economic output, dropping home sales and other factors, Petek noted that “in the last five decades, a similar collection of economic conditions has occurred six times. Each of those six times a recession has occurred within two years (and often sooner).”
Newsom’s budget, however, assumed that the state’s economy would continue to expand and generate billions of tax dollars. Newsom boasted of a nearly $100 billion surplus and he and the Legislature energetically figured out ways to spend it.
In the three months since the $308 billion budget was enacted, the signs of slowdown — or perhaps the beginning of recession — have increased. Inflation has continued to rage, the Federal Reserve has continued to raise interest rates, the once-hot housing market has cooled, the stock market has taken a beating and California tax revenues have fallen several billion dollars short of the budget’s rosy assumptions.
This month, Petek released an updated, and somewhat downbeat, review of the state’s economy and the likelihood of a revenue shortfall.
“At the time of our May outlook, we cautioned that economic indicators were suggesting a slowdown could be on the horizon,” Petek reminded lawmakers. “More recent economic data has continued to point in this direction. Consistent with this, our updated estimates suggest collections from the state’s ‘big three’ taxes — personal income, sales, and corporation taxes — are more likely than not to fall below the Budget Act assumption of $210 billion.”
After the budget was enacted, the Legislature sent dozens of bills to Newsom that, if signed, would add as much as $30 billion in new spending. Citing that estimate, the governor has been vetoing spending bills with this warning: “With our state facing lower-than-expected revenues over the first few months of this fiscal year, it is important to remain disciplined when it comes to spending.”
That’s a remarkable change of tone in just a few months.
Dan Walters is a CalMatters columnist.Related Articles
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If Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are going to create space for hate and human rights violations, then why should anyone complain about California Gavin Newsom creating spaces that protect the rest of us?
That’s the question that should be posed to California pundits who have responded with knee-jerk cynicism to Newsom’s many interventions on behalf of Trump’s targets. These pundits describe the governor’s forays into national disputes over abortion, immigration, and LGBTQ rights as political ploys — performed in service of presidential ambitions.
The truth is the exact opposite. Whether he’s trumpeting a maximalist pro-abortion stance on out-of-state billboards or banning state-funded travel to places hostile to LGTBQ people, Newsom is actually throwing away whatever chances he might have had of being president.
Getting elected president, if you’re a Democrat, is about soft-pedaling divisive issues, and building broad, diverse coalitions. That’s how Barack Obama and Joe Biden won the White House. But Newsom’s constant blasts into cultural politics divide the country and make enemies.
While picking fights with Trump and like-minded governors might be good politics, Newsom is also calling out national Democrats, including Biden, for not being combative enough. And his national battles are hurting his presidential chances, particularly in battleground states like Arizona and North Carolina (to which California banned state-funded travel).
So why is Gavin Newsom, of all people, sacrificing his chances?
I think there are three possible explanations— two that are peculiar to our very peculiar governor, and one that stems from California’s growing estrangement from the United States.
The first explanation is that Newsom simply can’t help himself.
The governor has always lacked discipline, ignoring basic rules of political communication.
He uses three big words when one short one will do. He’s often a witness against himself, volunteering arguments against his own policies. He offers too many details, like an overeager waiter at his restaurants, telling you about all the specials, when you just want to order.
Newsom’s self-indulgence has verged into personal recklessness—he had an affair with a top aide’s wife, and dined maskless at the French Laundry during the pandemic.
That’s the ugly side of Newsom’s undiscipline. But there is an admirable side to it, too — which leads me to the second explanation. While wise politicians try to avoid fights, Newsom tends to jump into disputes, and draw fire to himself. Why? I can’t read his mind or put this child of divorce on a psychiatrist’s couch. But, reviewing his speeches, I believe that Newsom often intervenes when he feels someone needs protection.
Just go back and look at his endless budget press conferences, where he explains almost every expenditure in defensive language. He is constantly protecting—the climate, the environment, the homeless, children, this community, that interest group.
This protective instinct is why he’s jumped into national politics. If media are going to give the Trumpists space to spew hate, attack democracy, and spread fear among women and immigrants and gay people, how can he sit on the sidelines?
His recent decision to place billboards — paid for with his own campaign money, in seven states that eliminated abortion rights—is a perfect example of the Newsomian mindset. The boards tell women that California will protect their right to bodily autonomy and to abortion. If such boards turn off Ohio and Florida voters—whom a Democratic presidential contender will need someday — so what?
Let me be clear: these interventions aren’t heroic. Here at home, his national blasts are good politics, feeding his base. And contrary to critics who say Newsom’s national forays distract from his duties to Californians, the governor’s national fights actually help him do his job. How? By keeping him in the spotlight, which has allowed him to make a public case for his wildly ambitious agenda.
But Newsom’s California supremacy is poison in the other 49 states, where Americans can’t accept the truth that we really do know better.
That’s why Newsom is not sacrificing much when he sabotages his future White House prospects. A Californian doesn’t have much chance at the presidency anyway. And Newsom is demographically wrong for a Democratic party that desperately needs to nominate more women and people of color.
But Newsom is perfectly cast to call out while male political bullies.
And who knows? While he’ll never be America’s president, he still could lead a nation someday. If our state and the rest of the country continue to apart, it’s not hard to imagine Newsom as the first president of an independent California Republic.
Joe Mathews writes the Connecting California column for Zócalo Public Square.
DeMar DeRozan is tired of questions about his age. ‘You just make people eat their words,’ the 33-year-old Chicago Bulls forward says.
DeMar DeRozan is tired of being called old.
He’s tired of a lot of things. Questions about his toughness. About his fit with Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls. About whether he still has enough in the tank to make it another season.
As DeRozan enters his 14th NBA season, he is accustomed to shrugging off those doubts. But that doesn’t mean he’s immune to annoyance.
“It’s like, ‘God damn, what did I do to you all?’ ” DeRozan said with a laugh during Bulls media day Monday. “You look at so much stuff like it’s entertainment. You indulge in it, take whatever you want from it. You just make people eat their words and you get the last laugh. Because I know nobody understands and knows the amount of work that I put in. I know for a fact that most of the guys in our league don’t work like I do. Just me knowing that part of it, I already know what you’re putting up is BS.”
DeRozan’s 13th season in the league was his best — averaging a career-high 27.9 points, knocking down buzzer-beating shots on back-to-back nights and earning a starting spot in the All-Star Game — and newfound respect in Chicago.
And yet the doubts returned, constant and ever present, the moment the season ended. DeRozan turned 33 in August, seven years senior to the average age in the league (26.1). Even after a stellar season, DeRozan was surrounded by questions regarding his age. Was that the peak? Can he get any better at this point in his career?
That’s just another concept that perplexes him.
“Who comes up with that theory?” DeRozan said. “I always wondered that. It ain’t like I’m 48. … It’s not like I’m Kevin Willis out here.”
DeRozan can’t let himself think about slowing down. But he also thinks the concept is preposterous at his age, especially as he joins an elite group of veterans still dominating the league in their mid-30s. DeRozan spent time this summer with fellow veterans Chris Paul and LeBron James, who are finding new layers to their game at 37.
Although age always will be a factor, DeRozan believes advances in sports science are making it increasingly possible for players to extend their careers deep into their 30s.
“There are so many ways to take care of yourself — physically, mentally, nutrition, the technology that you have for recovery,” DeRozan said. “There are so many ways that you can be effective for longer periods of time. … I love getting older just to show people you still can get better the older you get.”
Last season was an adjustment period for the Bulls. DeRozan fit right in, exceeding expectations while establishing himself as a locker-room leader.
Now, the Bulls know exactly what they’re getting from DeRozan.
“I just need him to be himself,” coach Billy Donovan said.
Even in DeRozan’s finest season, the Bulls often struggled when they asked him to do too much. Injuries forced stars Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball to the sidelines for large swaths of the season. DeRozan rose to the occasion, delivering 40-point heroics whenever the Bulls needed them. But that wasn’t enough to lift the Bulls in the postseason.
After LaVine underwent surgery in the offseason, DeRozan is confident the duo will flourish.
“It can be very exciting and scary for other people,” DeRozan said. “I can’t tell you how many times I talked to him this summer, just checking on him. I want be with a healthy Zach. A full year of that is something I dream about every single night.”
A believer in consistency, DeRozan’s offseason looked the same as his last 13 summers — a rigorous gym schedule balanced by time with family in Los Angeles.
But DeRozan also welcomed young Bulls forward Patrick Williams into the routine, continuing to embrace a newfound role as a mentor.
“It’s an honor for those guys to even trust me, look toward me for any kind of advice,” DeRozan said. “Even this far in my career, I don’t think I’m bigger or better than the next guy. For guys to trust me with any kind of advice, to work out with me, to spend any time with me, it means a lot to me.”
Training with younger players and staying around his family help DeRozan keep in touch with the spark that ignited his love of basketball as a kid. Each summer, he focused on reconnecting with that joy while obsessing over the minute details of his game.
DeRozan isn’t quite at the point of turning off the lights in the gym to learn to shoot blind — a concept he joked about at media day. But he’s still finding ways to keep the game fresh for himself.
“I haven’t met nobody that has perfected anything in any type of craft,” DeRozan said. “As long as you’re adding something small — no matter how small it is — to something you already have, it’s beneficial. That’s how I look at it. There are still so many ways that this game can be figured out.”
Pope Francis appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, imploring him to "stop this spiral of violence and death" in Ukraine.
(Image credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP)