By Madlin Mekelburg | Bloomberg
The $15 million house in Montecito – owned by the founder of 1-800-Flowers in the California slice of heaven that’s home to Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt — seemed perfect for Katy Perry.
But the eight-bedroom, 11-bathroom estate that sprawls over nearly nine verdant acres in the sun-kissed Santa Ynez foothills have landed Perry and her partner, Orlando Bloom, in a real estate dispute.
The case goes to trial starting Wednesday at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles. At stake is who will get the estate, Perry or the seller, Carl Westcott, the former private equity manager and serial entrepreneur who founded 1-800-Flowers. Westcott says he did not want to sell his home and was not of sound mind when he inked the deal. Perry would not walk away from the purchase and is expected to take the stand as soon as Friday.
The dispute is a window into a real-estate deal gone wrong in Montecito, a chic enclave of roughly 10 square miles on the edge of Santa Barbara. The case is also the latest legal squabble the singer has been pulled into as she looks to expand her real estate holdings in Southern California.
Initially, both Perry and Westcott seemed aligned. The businessman, who purchased the place in May 2020 for $11.25 million, was looking to sell the property two months later at a quick profit. In July, he signed contract with Perry’s business manager, Bernie Gudvi, to sell the place to the pop star for $15 million.
No sooner was the deal done when Westcott – now 83 and, according to his son, in declining health — changed his mind. He claimed he’d been taking painkillers after major surgery and was in no condition to enter a contract. All he wanted, he said, was to live out the remainder of his life on the estate.
“He wanted to die in the house,” Westcott’s son, Chart Westcott, said in an interview.
Perry’s camp wouldn’t budge. And so Westcott sued Gudvi, the business manager, seeking to void the sale agreement. Perry, for her part, wants to proceed with the sale. She is seeking $1.4 million from Westcott to cover lost income she could have earned from renting out the property, had the sale proceeded as planned. Judge Curtis Kin of the Superior Court of Los Angeles will decide who gets the estate.
Perry and Gudvi didn’t return requests for comment.
This isn’t the first time Perry has run into real-estate trouble. In 2015, she bought a former Catholic convent in Los Angeles for $15 million, over the objections of nuns who once lived there. The nuns attempted to sell the property to a different buyer. A judge ruled in Perry’s favor and the nun’s buyer was forced to pay Perry millions in damages and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. During a court hearing in the bankruptcy proceedings, one of the nun’s involved in the case collapsed and died.
In the current dispute, Perry’s camp says Carl Westcott knew perfectly well what he was doing – and stood to make millions on the sale. In court filings, lawyers for Gudvi claim Westcott expressed interest in selling the estate and arranged a tour for another potential buyer early as July 8, 2020 – two days before he had spine surgery.
“He was competent when he hired an experienced real estate broker, vetted the brokerage commission rate, arranged showings of the Property, entertained multiple offers, sought alternative houses, and ultimately negotiated a highly lucrative sale,” Gudvi’s lawyers said in a May 2022 court filing seeking to dismiss the case.
Gudvi offered to purchase the property for $13.5 million on July 14, on behalf of Perry – four days after Westcott’s scheduled surgery. Gudvi’s lawyers say Westcott arranged for Perry to tour the property and then he submitted a counteroffer for $15 million. Perry accepted.
It wasn’t until two days after a Residential Sales Agreement was signed that Westcott told his real-estate broker that he’d changed his mind. Nothing has changed Perry’s, however.
Chart Westcott said his father’s health is failing. In mid-2021, he was admitted to a full-time medical facility and was struggling with his mental health and exhibiting signs of early dementia, according to medical records submitted in court filings. He was also experiencing tremors associated with Huntington’s, a rare, inherited neurological disease that impairs a person’s functional abilities.
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Attempts at mediation have been unsuccessful. Chart Westcott said he offered to pay Gudvi and Perry to walk away when his father was first admitted into full-time care. He said they declined.
Westcott said he’s appalled by how the Perry camp has handled the affair. At this point, he said he’d be hard-pressed to accept any price that Perry might be willing to pay.
“Now, does everything in the world have a price? Yeah,” Westcott said. “But is ours ridiculously high because of how upset we are at how we’ve been treated? Yes.”
–With assistance from Natalie Wong.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
The cause of the power outage, impacting more than 4,500 customers in West Seattle, is under investigation.
We’re on to Week 6 in our all-in-fun Bay Area News Group high school football picks competition.
Are we having fun?
Not to pat myself on the back (wink-wink), but my advantage over fellow prognosticators Mike Lefkow and Joseph Dycus widened again after I correctly picked 13 of the 16 games on last week’s list.
Lefkow now trails by six games in the season standings. Dycus is 11 games back.
But, hey, there are always more games at this stage in a season, and they have given themselves a chance to climb back into contention in Week 6.
If all goes his way, Dycus could make up six games this weekend. Lefkow could slice four games off his deficit.
Among Dycus’ big swings, he took Mountain View over Wilcox, Gunn over South San Francisco and Oakland over Atascadero.
He and Lefkow picked Milpitas over Sequoia and Clayton Valley over Jesuit-Carmichael.
The toughest calls this week were Pittsburg at Los Gatos and Valley Christian at Archbishop Riordan.
Lefkow and I took Pittsburg. Dycus and I picked Valley Christain.
As always, we had a lively discussion in our pre-picks roundtable. Among the topics: Is it too early to hype De La Salle at San Ramon Valley on Oct. 13? Our thoughts on DLS’s victories over Folsom, St. Mary’s-Stockton and St. Francis and what they mean moving forward.
Plus, we analyze this week’s big games in the West Catholic Athletic League and Granada at California.
If you want just the predictions, keep scrolling.
Also, if you haven’t already, please subscribe here for digital access all season long. Your contributions keep us going.
Enjoy the video.WEEK 6 PICKS
Antioch (4-1) at Heritage (2-3), 7 p.m.
Miramonte (4-0) at College Park (2-2), 7 p.m.
Granada (4-1) at California (3-2), 7 p.m.
Mountain View (3-1) at Wilcox (2-2), 7 p.m.
Dycus: Mountain View
Aragon (3-1) at San Mateo (2-2), 7 p.m.
Milpitas (3-1) at Sequoia (1-3), 7 p.m.
Woodside (3-1) at Santa Clara (1-3), 7 p.m.
Gunn (2-2) at South San Francisco (3-1), 7 p.m.
Bellarmine (1-3) at St. Ignatius (2-2), 7 p.m.
Sabedra: St. Ignatius
Dycus: St. Ignatius
Lefkow: St. Ignatius
Branham (3-1) at Leigh (2-2), 7:15 p.m.
Jesuit-Carmichael (4-1) at Clayton Valley (2-2), 7 p.m.
Dycus: Clayton Valley
Lefkow: Clayton Valley
McClymonds (2-1) at De La Salle (3-2), 7 p.m.
Sabedra: De La Salle
Dycus: De La Salle
Lefkow: De La Salle
Pittsburg (4-0) at Los Gatos (3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Dycus: Los Gatos
Oakland (4-0) at Atascadero (5-0), 6 p.m.
St. Francis (2-2) at Serra (4-0), 1:30 p.m.
Valley Christian (4-0) at Riordan (3-1), 2 p.m.
Sabedra: Valley Christian
Dycus: Valley Christian
Lefkow: RiordanWEEK 5 RESULTS
Acalanes 56, College Park 0
Sabedra: Acalanes (W)
Dycus: Acalanes (W)
Lefkow: Acalanes (W)
Campolindo 38, Monte Vista 14
Sabedra: Monte Vista (L)
Dycus: Monte Vista (L)
Lefkow: Monte Vista (L)
San Ramon Valley 66, Liberty 12
Sabedra: San Ramon Valley (W)
Dycus: San Ramon Valley (W)
Lefkow: San Ramon Valley (W)
Logan 27, Heritage 21
Sabedra: Heritage (L)
Dycus: Logan (W)
Lefkow: Heritage (L)
California 48, Milpitas 6
Sabedra: California (W)
Dycus: Milpitas (L)
Lefkow: California (W)Related Articles
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St. Francis 42, Mitty 20
Sabedra: St. Francis (W)
Dycus: St. Francis (W)
Lefkow: St. Francis (W)
Antioch 40, Tennyson 16
Sabedra: Antioch (W)
Dycus: Antioch (W)
Lefkow: Antioch (W)
Live Oak 42, Branham 21
Sabedra: Live Oak (W)
Dycus: Live Oak (W)
Lefkow: Live Oak (W)
Lincoln 13, Silver Creek 10
Sabedra: Silver Creek (L)
Dycus: Silver Creek (L)
Lefkow: Silver Creek (L)
Menlo-Atherton 21, Palo Alto 0
Sabedra: Menlo-Atherton (W)
Dycus: Palo Alto (L)
Lefkow: Menlo-Atherton (W)
De La Salle 14, Folsom 7
Sabedra: De La Salle (W)
Dycus: Folsom (L)
Lefkow: De La Salle (W)
Mt. Diablo 29, Castlemont 19
Sabedra: Mt. Diablo (W)
Dycus: Mt. Diablo (W)
Lefkow: Castlemont (L)
Edison-Huntington Beach 21, Wilcox 7
Sabedra: Edison (W)
Dycus: Edison (W)
Lefkow: Edison (W)
Cardinal Newman 34, St. Mary’s-Berkeley 0
Sabedra: Cardinal Newman (W)
Dycus: Cardinal Newman (W)
Lefkow: Cardinal Newman (W)
Valley Christian 23, Bellarmine 7
Sabedra: Valley Christian (W)
Dycus: Bellarmine (L)
Lefkow: Valley Christian (W)
Riordan 41, St. Ignatius 34
Sabedra: Riordan (W)
Dycus: Riordan (W)
Lefkow: St. Ignatius (L)WEEK 5 STANDINGS
Dycus: 10-6SEASON STANDINGS
Theft by false pretenses: A Saratoga resident reported that someone telephoned them acting as an FBI agent, claimed the victim was being investigated, and instructed them to provide digital currency to clear the matter. The victim complied for a loss of about $6,000.
Possession of a stolen vehicle: At 5:21 p.m., deputies responded to a suspicious person call at the Saratoga French Cultural Preschool on Saratoga Avenue. That person left by vehicle before deputies arrived but was located a short time later. An investigation revealed the suspect was driving a vehicle previously stolen from Campbell. The suspect, who also had an outstanding warrant, was arrested.
Assault with a deadly weapon: At 6:22 p.m., unknown suspects approached the victim at the 76 gas station on Big Basin Way, questioned the victim about being in a gang, and then punched them in the face and stabbed them twice in the leg before fleeing the scene by vehicle.Sept. 7
Check fraud: A Saratoga business reported that someone obtained checks deposited into an outgoing mail receptacle at the US Post Office branch on Allendale Avenue, and then altered and deposited the checks into unknown bank accounts for a loss of approximately $523,000.Sept. 9
Theft by credit card: At 1 p.m. someone used a Saratoga resident’s credit card information to make fraudulent purchases totaling approximately $12,360.Sept. 10
Vehicle burglary: Between 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 8 and 10 a.m. on Sept. 10, someone broke through a window of a vehicle parked in the 18000 block of Sara Park Circle and stole a backpack containing credit cards for an unknown total loss.
Vehicle tampering, petty theft: At 3:51 p.m., deputies responded to an automated license plate reader notification for a vehicle with a stolen license plate at Saratoga Avenue and Kosich Drive. The vehicle was located and stopped, and an investigation revealed that someone tampered with the vehicle, stole its rear license plate and replaced it with a plate stolen from a vehicle in San Jose. The victim did not realize the vehicle’s license plate was stolen, nor where or when it was stolen.
Commercial burglary: Between 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 and 10:16 a.m. on Sept. 11, someone entered Bella Saratoga on Big Basin Way using unknown means, as there were no signs of forced entry. Nothing was reported stolen.
Trespassing, residing on land: At 8:46 a.m., deputies responded to a disturbance in the 19000 block of Merribrook Court. An investigation revealed the suspect violated court order and was trespassing on the property. The suspect was cited and released.Sept. 12
Vehicle burglary: At 3:35 a.m., someone broke through a window of a vehicle parked in the 13000 block of Yerba Santa Court. Nothing was reported stolen.
Petty theft, theft by credit card: Between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., someone entered an unlocked vehicle parked in the 22000 block of Garrod Road and stole a purse and its contents for a loss valued at $610. The suspect then used credit cards inside the purse to make fraudulent purchases totaling approximately $3,649.
Attempted robbery: At 1:11 p.m., unknown suspects drove up to the victim, who was walking in the 19000 block of Needham Lane, and asked the victim for directions. While the victim gave directions, a suspect inside the vehicle attempted to steal jewelry from them but was unsuccessful.Sept. 14
Possession of a stolen vehicle, reckless evading: At 5:19 a.m., deputies responded to an automated license plate reader notification for a stolen vehicle at Saratoga Avenue and Highway 85. An investigation revealed the vehicle was previously stolen from San Jose and still outstanding. The vehicle was located a short time later and a vehicle stop was attempted, but the suspect driver did not yield and recklessly evaded, and the pursuit was ultimately terminated.Sept. 16
DUI: At 12:21 a.m., deputies observed a motorist driving erratically at Saratoga Avenue and Bucknall Road, committing multiple traffic violations, and subsequently stopped the vehicle. An investigation revealed the suspect was driving under the influence of alcohol.
As Parkside restaurant gets ready to open at Montebello and Main in downtown Los Gatos, there are a few things missing—namely, the “a” in its name on the side of the building. Apparently, the company that fabricated the letters had powder-coated the wrong side of the “a” and it needed to be redone.
Restaurant owner Darren Matte says the HVAC system needed to be modified, which will necessitate another inspection before they can officially open. Perhaps we are looking at Oct. 13 at this point.
The good news is that the weather has been ideal for drying concrete and building planter boxes, which are looking really handsome with their brick facing. Soon the plants will be installed, giving it more of a garden feel. Walking through the parklet area gives you an idea of just how capacious an outdoor dining area this will be, and with any luck, there will be some level of warmth in October befitting the enjoyment of a cocktail or a glass of wine al fresco.
Just down the street, serial restaurant entrepreneur Yvonne Khanakis is readying her version of what was Montebello Market and will be the new home of Grocer + Goddess. Already it has a totally different vibe, with large couches for seating, shelves with various imported sauces and dry goods from her original Grocer + Goddess location.
A mix of housewares, serving dishes, gift items, table runners, condiments and sauces, woven shopping bags, fancy liquors and exotic swag lamps of various materials and sizes give the place an international bazaar feel. Khanakis says three former employees of Montebello Market will be returning, so there will be some familiar faces.
The breakfast menu, served Monday-Friday, 9-11 a.m., features Green Eggs and Ham—a house-made English muffin with prosciutto, basil pesto and wild arugula—or the country breakfast, with an abundance of bacon, soft scrambled eggs and warm buttermilk biscuit. There’s also a breakfast burrito with chicken, avocado, beans and eggs, plus quinoa and veggies topped with sunny siders and chimichurri. Go lighter with house-made granola and Greek yogurt plus local honey, or a bread basket with croissant, bagel or English muffin.
Lunch offers house-made soups and salads, like the kale with queso fresco and tortilla strips or baby field greens with goat cheese. Specialty salads include the macro-grain salad bowl, starring house-made sauerkraut, organic heirloom brown rice, raw kale, carrots, red beans, herb-baked tofu, braised mushrooms and sprouts, tossed with carrot ginger dressing. That should set you up for anything.
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Entrée options like salmon, lasagna Bolognese, fish and chips, pasta al forno, adult mac ‘n cheese and spatchcock chicken, will be available from 11 a.m. until close.
There is a separate catering menu for offsite events as well, and don’t forget Khanakis is offering the former Grocer + Goddess space by her OY! Gluten-free bakery Manresa’s original bakery storefront), as a rental space for events.
She’s hoping to open Sept 30. Hours will be 9 a.m.-6 p.m. to start, with later hours possible.
Construction crews are halfway finished on a project to dig a 1,740-foot outlet tunnel — roughly as long as five football fields — through bedrock near Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill.
The new tunnel, 24 feet high, will allow water to be released from the reservoir faster in the event of an earthquake, massive winter storms or other emergency. It is part of a $1.4 billion project ordered by the federal government to tear down the 240-foot earthen dam, originally built in 1950, and rebuild it to modern seismic standards to reduce the risk of it failing in an earthquake.
As of Tuesday, workers had finished digging 830 feet of the new tunnel. When the work began last November, they used excavators and rock-cutting machines called road headers to carve away at a hillside on the left side of the dam. This month they have used TNT to blast through some of the hardest bedrock.
“We have made a lot of progress this year,” said Ryan McCarter, a civil engineer with the Santa Clara Valley Water District, who is overseeing the project. “We’re pleased. We’ve had some setbacks, but we’ve had weeks of really good production. It’s still on schedule.”
VIDEO: TNT explosions carve out new tunnel for Santa Clara County’s largest reservoir
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After the tunnel is finished in late 2024, and a 13-foot high pipe installed inside, crews will tear down the existing Anderson Dam, the largest in Santa Clara County. They will then build a new dam and concrete spillway, capable of surviving a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. That project won’t be finished until 2032.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District recently released a 1,000-page draft environmental impact report spelling out details of the project. The district plans to hold a public meeting to solicit comments on the document at 6:30 pm on Oct. 4 at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Highway, in Morgan Hill. The meeting also can be watched via Zoom at this link: https://valleywater.zoom.us/j/87331718480
A San Jose man was killed in a motorcycle crash in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the California Highway Patrol said.
The solo crash was reported at 7:20 p.m. Sunday on Buchanan Road northeast of the community of Tuolumne.
Adam Jones, 37, reportedly failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a guardrail. He died at the scene from his injuries, the CHP said.
Jones was wearing a helmet and wasn’t suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the CHP said.Related Articles
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A "potent" weather system moving in over the Puget Sound area Wednesday morning will bring with it gusty winds and heavy rain.
A Japanese court has ordered the central government, the Kumamoto prefecture and a chemical company to recognize more than 120 plaintiffs as patients of the decades-old Minamata mercury poisoning and pay compensation they have been denied because they developed symptoms after moving away from the region.
The Kent School District will contact 135 people who were exposed to tuberculosis so they can be evaluated.
A Vallejo man accused of shooting another driver in the head while on a freeway in 2020 will spend less than two years in prison following a court ruling Tuesday.Davon Howes
Judge Robert Bowers sentenced 30-year-old Davon Howes to eight years and four months in prison after Howes entered “no contest” pleas for charges related to the attack.
Prior to his sentencing, however, Howes had already spent three and a half years in jail since his arrest on March 26, 2020. California law stipulates that double that amount of time be subtracted from his sentence. So, attorneys said in court, Howes will receive seven years’ credit and will only be in prison for a year and four months.
The shooting victim told authorities in 2020 that he had prior conflicts with Howes when Howes spotted him leaving a fast food restaurant on Admiral Callaghan Lane. Howes’ vehicle reportedly followed the victim onto the freeway – where, police said, it reportedly pulled up alongside the other car and Howes pointed a gun out of his passenger window.
The victim managed to drive himself off the freeway and call police, who located him around 2:18 a.m. He was hospitalized with nonlife-threatening injuries, and authorities located and arrested Howes as he was driving away from his home later that morning.
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Howes had originally pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, shooting at an occupied vehicle, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and illegal possession of ammunition. However, court records show that he took a plea deal on Aug. 28, two days before his scheduled Aug. 30 jury trial.
Howes pleaded “no contest” to all charges except for attempted murder, which prosecutors dropped.
San Jose’s top offenders in the fight against blight? A marijuana church and multi-million dollar homes
A shuttered marijuana church. Multi-million dollar mansions. A disheveled house with cats crawling around the driveway and a well-manicured home with prominent signs that warn trespassers they will be shot.
These San Jose properties are among the worst code violators in the city when it comes to monetary fines; each owes more than $100,000 for penalties that span from selling weed without a license to building projects with no permits — charges that in some cases have languished for years, including one dating back to the start of President George W. Bush’s second term.
Altogether, the nine properties are on the hook for $1.05 million, though it’s unclear whether the city will ever retrieve fines from some of the owners.
The Mercury News requested the list as San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan pushes to focus resources citywide on cleaning up graffiti, weeds and garbage and tackle a growing backlog of code violation cases that now number in the thousands through more proactive enforcement.
The spotlight recently has focused on downtown as Mahan and Councilmember Omar Torres have publicly admonished the owners behind a run-down church on East St. James Street which was covered in a torn-up tarp that has since been taken down. (Clean-up efforts have sparked their own controversy.) The code enforcement department will also be devoting at least one officer to specifically cover the downtown core.
The mayor is also proposing legislation that would increase the fines for designated city, state, or federal landmarks from $100,000 to $500,000 in a bid to pressure Z&L Properties, the owners of the downtown church, to get their act together.
A review of the nine properties reveals that none of the top violators are in the downtown neighborhoods, and instead are spread out across the city. The Mercury News is identifying only the address of the former marijuana church, at 2142 The Alameda, since the business located there has closed.
The property that owes the most is on Auzerais Avenue in the Buena Vista neighborhood — it has a whopping $132,056 bill to pay the city. According to code enforcement data, the property was first flagged in 2010 for unpermitted construction work that includes a second-floor deck. Past inspections of the property noted holes in the living room ceiling, cockroach and rat infestations, and a leaky bathroom floor. Records show that the property was transferred in 2021 to a limited liability company that is controlled by the property owner.
On Thursday, a visit to the address revealed a driveway filled with junk and roughly a half-dozen kittens and cats roaming the property. A resident of the house who identified himself as Daniel Velasquez said he was unaware of the fines against the property. “I think the owner built some sort of living room in there,” he said while pointing to the home’s broken-down garage door.
Deputy Director of Code Enforcement Rachel Roberts explained that fines against properties max out at $100,000, but can creep up beyond that cap if penalties like late fees are included. She said the city then places a lien on the property in certain cases and lawsuits can be pursued if an owner is disturbing surrounding residents. The Auzerais Avenue property has had a lien on it since 2017. Attempts to reach the property owner were unsuccessful.
“Most of the time, we do get compliance,” said Roberts. “This is just a small percentage of cases that end up going down this path. This process applies to everybody, from a resident to a big corporate developer.”
To the west sits the former Coachella Valley Church, an eclectic classical revival building with white columns and a fountain that was once a marijuana dispensary. The business closed after the city filed a lawsuit in 2017 against its owners for not acquiring the proper business permits.
Code enforcement started pursuing a case against the owners back in 2013, department data shows, because of the permitting issue. Records show ownership was transferred in 2018 to a Nevada-based limited liability company that’s had its business license permanently revoked. The property has now racked up $130,818 in fines.
The building was once emblazoned with a large cross on its roof that has been taken down, and a sign advertising its church has been covered. The owners of the building did not answer the door.
Other top violators include single-family homes that appear well-maintained on the outside.The exterior of a property on Piedmont Road in San Jose, California. The city has issued $104,682 in code violations on the property. (Gabriel Greschler/Bay Area News Group)
One home on Piedmont Road whose owner owes $104,682 has been in a dispute with the city since 2005. The owner has emblazoned their home with signs on the exterior that read “No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again” and the words “You are here” with an arrow pointed to a rifle scope crosshairs. Violations on record for the property include unpermitted construction. Attempts to reach the property owner were unsuccessful.
Two multi-million dollar houses on the city’s southwest side have each been dinged for the maintenance and appearance of their exterior property. A frustrated resident on Hollow Lake Way who wanted to remain anonymous said the city has cited him for issues surrounding his outdoor shed, the amount of cement in his front yard and the materials he used for his backyard retaining wall.
When asked about the nine properties that exceed the $100,000 threshold, Mayor Mahan said there are “too few” that have made it on the list and that code enforcement hasn’t been proactive enough when it comes to penalizing negligent property owners.
Code enforcement’s strategy, he said, should be shifted so there’s a distinction between suburban and commercial areas.
“I think it’s appropriate in our residential neighborhoods for more of the code enforcement response to be complaint-based,” he said. “But when you look at the areas of the city that involve employment lands, commercial uses, industrial uses, it’s higher stakes in a lot of ways…From a tax base perspective, these commercial districts and employment lands — basically downtown and our urban villages — for the most part disproportionately contribute tax revenue that provides services to all of our residents. So there’s a logic to focus.”
SAN JOSE – Henry Thrun earned high marks from coach David Quinn for the way he played in the San Jose Sharks’ first preseason game over the weekend. Then, after the Sharks’ second exhibition game, it was fellow defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin’s turn to receive some praise.
Playing in a teal uniform at SAP Center for the first time, the Russian-born Mukhamadullin was second among all Sharks skaters with 20:30 in ice time in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Mukhamadullin, 22, showed off his skating prowess, looked poised and decisive against an aggressive Ducks forecheck, assisted on a power play goal, and also defended hard in front of his own net.
“He certainly has impressed me,” Quinn said of the 6-foot-4 Mukhamadullin, who was a major part of last season’s trade that saw Timo Meier go to New Jersey. “Really encouraged about what I’ve seen in training camp and certainly very excited about what his future holds.”
Realistically, though, that future likely doesn’t include being on the Sharks’ 23-man roster for the start of the regular season. The Sharks already have 10 defensemen who require waivers and will have to expose at least two of them. Mukhamadullin, who is waivers exempt, could probably use some more time in the AHL to get better used to the North American style of play.
Certainly, Quinn wasn’t handing out an NHL job to Mukhamadullin just yet.
“We want to give him every opportunity to continue to get better,” Quinn said, “and see what he’s capable of doing.”
Here’s what the training camp competition looks like, upfront and on defense, two weeks before NHL teams must get down to a league-mandated 23-man roster.San Jose Sharks’ William Eklund (72) controls the puck against Anaheim Ducks’ Andrew Agozzino (28) in the third period for their preseason game at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept 26, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) Forwards (27)
LOCKS: Alexander Barabanov, Logan Couture, Anthony Duclair, Michael Granlund, Tomas Hertl, Mike Hoffman, Luke Kunin, Kevin Labanc, Oskar Lindblom, Nico Sturm, Filip Zadina, Fabian Zetterlund.
IN THE MIX: Thomas Bordeleau, Ryan Carpenter, William Eklund, Jacob Peterson, Givani Smith.
LONGSHOTS: Ethan Cardwell, Brandon Coe, Danil Gushchin, Kasper Halttunen, Quentin Musty, Adam Raska, Tristen Robins, Mitchell Russell, Scott Sabourin, Nathan Todd, Ozzy Wiesblatt.
ANALYSIS: Couture is still not skating and might have to start the season on injured reserve. If that happens, a precious roster spot will open up, presumably for another center. In that case, Bordeleau and Carpenter figure to be first in line for that opening and right now, it appears Bordeleau has the edge as he’s spent time in camp so far on a line with Duclair and Barabanov. Carpenter may not be as flashy as Bordeleau, but he’s a seasoned veteran who has plenty of NHL experience as a fourth-line center.
The 12 players who are listed as locks are all on one-way contracts and not waivers exempt. It would be a surprise to see any of them moved, at least not before the start of the season. Asked specifically Tuesday about Lindblom perhaps needing to have a strong camp to stay in the NHL, Quinn said, “I think there’s a lot of guys in that scenario. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are fighting for 13 or 14 spots up front and everybody can do the math. So I would put six or seven guys in that category.”
If there are only 13 forward spots available, is there a decision to be made between keeping Peterson and Smith? Neither is waivers exempt. Peterson can play in the top six if need be and had eight points in 11 games for the Sharks last season after he was acquired from Dallas. Smith, who had six fights last season, offers an element that is not necessarily in abundance up front.
Unless Eklund, who is waivers-exempt, has a phenomenal camp, he’ll likely start the season in the AHL. There are just too many bodies for too few spots. But, that can change quickly, and just because Eklund starts with the Barracuda, doesn’t mean he’ll be there for long.Defensemen (16)
LOCKS: Matt Benning, Kyle Burroughs, Mario Ferraro, Nikolai Knyzhov, Jam Rutta, Radim Simek, Marc-Edouard Vlasic
IN THE MIX: Jacob MacDonald, Leon Gawanke, Shakir Mukhamadullin, Nikita Okhotiuk, Henry Thrun
LONGSHOTS: Nick Cicek, Artem Guryev, Gannon Laroque, Valtteri Pulli
ANALYSIS: Like the forward group, it would be a major surprise if anyone in the ‘locks’ category wasn’t on the team for the Oct. 12 season-opener against the Vegas Golden Knights. But that doesn’t mean the defense corps will stay the same for long.
Thrun is knocking on the door for a full-time NHL job and has had a three-point night in the Sharks’ first preseason game. But because he remains waivers-exempt, and the Sharks have 10 defensemen who are not, chances are he’ll start the season in the AHL. The same goes for Mukhamadullin, who has shown off an impressive skill set early in camp but needs more time to get used to the North American style of play and schedule.
The Sharks likely do not want to lose Okhotiuk, 22, to a waiver claim after he also came over in the Meier deal, so it stands to reason that MacDonald and Gawanke will be the ones on waivers. They’re the ones, it seems, least likely to be claimed by another team.Related Articles
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LOCKS: Mackenzie Blackwood, Kaapo Kahkonen
LONGSHOTS: Magnus Chrona, Eetu Makiniemi, Georgi Romanov
ANALYSIS: There isn’t much of a competition here. Barring an injury, Blackwood and Kahkonen will start the season as the Sharks’ goalie tandem and if he’s healthy, Makiniemi will be the No. 1 goalie for the Barracuda. Nevertheless, the Sharks had the league’s worst team save percentage last season at .881, and that number will need to rise significantly if they hope to remain somewhat competitive this season.
Q: I tried to establish my mobile ID online, but the DMV scanner failed to recognize my barcode. When I tried to put the information in manually, it didn’t recognize my records. Is this normal or are they still working on the website?
A: The DMV reports that it continues to improve the mobile driver’s license (mDL) app as part of the ongoing pilot program. Their website contains instructions about how to enroll and you can also watch the mDL video guide. When you are ready to enroll, log in to your MyDMV account or create an account, if you do not already have one.
You do not need to scan the barcode on the back of your license, but you will need to provide a photo of the front and back of the license. To take those photos, place your physical driver’s license on a dark, flat surface with good lighting. If the card is damaged, you will need to request a replacement before enrolling.
If you still need help to set up your mDL, you can contact the DMV at 1-800-777-0133 or ask for help online.
For additional information on the mDL, see: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/ca-dmv-wallet/mdl-faqs/
Q: I’ve been enjoying your recent sharing of your favorite columns. When you are back to taking new questions, I have a mystery for you.
I bicycle frequently up Almaden Expressway from Harry Road to Coleman Avenue. That stretch had a great repaving somewhere near the beginning of the pandemic. Here’s the mystery. Since that repaving, I have noticed on every one of my rides that several cars or trucks will have their tires drift into the bike lane. I don’t remember seeing this before the repaving. I wonder what is causing that. Are the lanes narrower since the repaving, making drivers less likely or able to stay in their lanes? Ironically, this behavior is actually helpful for us cyclists, as long as there isn’t a bicycle where they drift in. Their tires pick up debris near the left edge of the bike lane and throw it toward the curb. We bicyclists end up with a safer ride on the left side of the lane.Related Articles
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What is your take about what is happening? Can you reach out to your fans to get their answer?
Stan Taylor, San Jose
A: I do not know if the lanes are narrower, but that’s an interesting observation. I wonder if the smoother pavement means that drivers are paying less attention as they drive and veer slightly over the lane lanes more frequently for that reason.
What do others think, whether you’re a driver, bicyclist, or both?
Twenty-five years after suffering a career-altering injury in his first game for the San Jose Clash, Albertin Montoya is now seen as one of the budding stars in the soccer coaching world.
And on Wednesday morning, Montoya got his dream job: head coach of Bay FC, the new expansion team in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) that will begin play in the 2024 season at PayPal Park.
“It makes perfect sense for me,” Montoya told the Bay Area News Group this week. “I love this game, it’s all I’ve done all my life since I was 6 years old. It started here in the Bay Area… It’s one of the best places in the world for football. On the women’s side we have some of the best players ever to come out of Northern California. I have the opportunity to develop players and teach the game the way I love to play it.”
Montoya promised local fans that they’ll get an exciting, fast-paced and attacking-minded brand of football out of his squad.
“This is the only way I know how to play, whether it’s right or wrong,” he said. “So why not?”
Bay FC general manager Lucy Rushton, the former D.C. United GM who once became the second woman ever to lead an MLS front office, said she put together a long and exhausting search while looking for the team’s first head coach, but all the fingers kept pointing toward Montoya.
“I’ve been going to a lot of NWSL games and I cannot walk anywhere with Albertin without getting stopped,” she said. “It’s the most frustrating thing ever. Wherever I go – I go to KC, I go to Washington, Orlando, wherever, they’ll ask me, ‘Albertin lives in the Bay Area; do you know him?’
“This guy is going to sell the stadium out.”
Montoya’s journey was a tumultuous one. He arrived in Miami after his family escaped from Cuba in 1980, when he was just 5 years old. His family eventually settled in Mountain View, where his great grandfather had escaped to years earlier.
Under his family’s guidance, Albertin became a quick study on the pitch and eventually went on to star for the United States team that advanced to the quarterfinals in the U-17 World Cup in Italy.
He played for four years at Santa Clara before he was drafted by the Clash, now known as the Earthquakes, with the fourth overall pick in the 1997 MLS Draft.
Getting seriously hurt in his first game forced him to change career paths, though.
“My injury lasted three years,” he said. “I thought I’d go back and play. In the meantime, I started helping a local club, Mountain View Los Altos soccer club. I grew up playing there. My dad was coaching there. My dad asked me to help a U-10 team. I was thinking I would go back to MLS, but my injury was complicated. Three years later I needed another surgery.”
After retiring from his playing career he began coaching regularly at MVLA, now considered one of the top youth clubs in California. He took over a team of 8- and 9-year-old girls that he’d coach for the next 10 years.
One girl on that team was Margueritte Aozasa, who would later star at Santa Clara and coach at Stanford. Last year, she took over the UCLA women’s soccer program and led them to a national championship, becoming the first-ever woman of color and first-ever rookie coach to capture the title.
Aozasa remembers falling in love with the game because of Montoya.
“We had the best time ever,” said Aozasa, who is leading a Bruins team currently ranked No. 5 in the nation. “He would play against us all the time. We’d play 11-on-1. And sadly, he’d always win. And he’d just joke with us but also hold us accountable. We didn’t want to do anything wrong by him. I think it’s because we were truly enjoying ourselves. And he would be funny and joking and then OK, now it’s time to be serious. He coached us through that really well. We could go from crying with laughter to business with the snap of his fingers.”
Montoya coached her at MLVA through high school. His wife, Erin, also coached her.
At Aozasa’s high school graduation, the Montoyas were sitting in the front row with tears in their eyes.
“We grew up together,” Aozasa said. “We watched him grow up alongside us.”
Montoya has also been the co-head coach of the California Storm as part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League from 1999 to ‘06. He was the head coach of FC Gold Pride as part of Women’s Professional Soccer in 2009 and ‘10. And he was the head coach of the United States Women’s National Team U-17 club that won a CONCACAF title in 2012.
Most recently, the 48-year-old was the interim head coach for the NWSL’s Washington Spirit last year.
He said he still loves coaching the little ones, often going straight from a training session with professionals to coaching a team of 9-year-olds.
“You touch kids’ lives, that’s what’s so special,” he said. “You can have such a huge impact on their lives and it changes them if it’s done the right way. It can be done at every level. Even the pros still want to learn.”
Montoya hopes to find players with a high soccer IQ for Bay FC’s inaugural season.
Aozasa said she can’t wait to get to a game at PayPal Park.
“He brings so much life and energy and enjoyment to the game,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about.
“Even though I‘m more the mentee than the mentor, I’m so proud of him and excited for him. He’s such a talent. And truly has a gift for coaching. I believe he deserved this, and he deserves to be recognized as one of the best coaches in the country, if not in the world.”
A Seattle police union leader was recorded in January joking after the death of a young woman killed by another officer. Weeks later, the department canceled a contract with a company that analyzed body camera video.
Poll: 87% of Californians say U.S. is in a mental health crisis. But how do they feel about themselves?
Nearly 9 out 10 Californians say America is in the midst of a mental health crisis, according to a sprawling new statewide survey of Golden State residents who also express lingering concerns over inflation, homelessness and housing.
The overwhelming consensus on the poor state of America’s mental health, which fully 87% of Californians labeled a crisis, crossed all political and demographic groups in the poll released Tuesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California
Yet, perhaps counterintuitively, 81% of those surveyed said they would rate their own mental health as excellent (18%), very good (31%) or good (32%). Only 4% described their own mental health as poor. But nearly 4 out 10 said the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on their mental health.
“I think that people are reading and hearing a lot about what is going on in terms of drug abuse, mental health, homelessness,” said Mark Baldassare, statewide survey director at the PPIC.
In a rare show of unity, the poll found that huge majorities of Democrats (91%), Independents (90%) and Republicans (85%) all believe the U.S. is experiencing a mental health crisis. It’s the same among racial and ethnic groups, with voters who identified as Black (93%), White (88%), Latino (86%) and Asian American (83%) agreeing.
The survey comes just as the state next month begins rolling out one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s key initiatives known as CARE Court, which allows a court to require treatment for people suffering from severe mental illness. And next spring, voters will be asked to approve a nearly $6.4 billion bond measure that would add thousands of beds for psychiatric and residential treatment facilities.
The PPIC results mirrored the opinions of voters across the country in a CNN/Kaiser Family Foundation poll in October 2022, in which 90% considered the U.S. in a mental health crisis. With such a broad question, though, Paul Maslin, a Democratic pollster in California, isn’t fazed by the consensus.
“News flash – America is screwed up, is that a surprise?” he said. “If you just sort of spring something on people, and say, ‘Is America in a mental health crisis?’, there are so many things going on. Does it mean the general insanity in our news all the time? Does it mean homelessness? These are insane times, so if you say, ‘Is America suffering from a mental health crisis? Yeah, we are’.”
Although concerns over mental health and homelessness are high, nickel-and-dime financial matters still topped the survey’s list of issues of concern, with more than 28% of those surveyed naming jobs, the economy, and inflation as the number one issue facing the state. Homelessness came in second, at 14%, while housing costs and availability came in third, at 13%.
Californians’ concerns over the economy seem just as bad, if not worse, than they did a few months ago when the national inflation rate was considerably higher, at 5% compared to 3.7% last month. Three-quarters of respondents in Tuesday’s poll said that they felt less comfortable making a major purchase like a car or home now than they did six months ago.
“People have experienced now the uncertainty around inflation, and that’s going to take a while for them to let go,” said Baldassare, who added that concerns over the economy could spell trouble for incumbents if they carry over into 2024, although it’s unclear which party voters will blame since control of Congress is split.
The PPIC survey was conducted in English and Spanish by the polling firm Ipsos, and included responses from 1,671 adult California residents from Aug. 25–Sept. 5.
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Sixteen percent of voters said they still didn’t know who they would support. The top two vote-getters in the March primary will face-off in the 2024 general election.
Democratic strategist Darry Sragow, who advised Feinstein on her first statewide campaign for governor in 1990, said that it’s still far too early to say who will come out on top.
“You can say Adam Schiff is the frontrunner,” he said, “but that’s not to say he has this locked up – not remotely.”