The Education Department has no way of knowing if its new programs, which have been in place for about two years, are working. The department only recently commissioned a survey of the programs. And Henderson acknowledges that the state doesn't even know the extent of the drug abuse problem in the schools. The department is in the process of a "needs assessment," she said, that will quantify the drug problem in California schools.
Once a base line on drug use is established sometime in the next year, Henderson said, the Education Department will survey schools annually on drug abuse education programs and drug abuse rates. Then, she said, those results will be released to the press. "Just like the school crime report," she added.
Let's hope not.
What a surprise. Supervisors Leland Yee and Mabel Teng have convinced the Chronicle (and a goodly portion of the rest of the press pack panting in its wake) to give credence to the "long history of ethnic conflict in the Inner Sunset," as Chron reporter Dan Levy dutifully quoted an agenda-pushing Asian-American "activist" in a Page One story on graffitied swastikas in the neighborhood. Reached later, Levy's source for the quote, Victor Hwang of the Asian Law Caucus, backed down. "Long history" was a "bad choice of words," he conceded. And what he meant by "ethnic conflict" was a spate of racist-sounding handbills that sprang up in protest of a Sunset Burger King outlet owned by an Asian-American.
A close look at the Inner Sunset suggests the racial strife story is based more on figment than fact. The Burger King in question indeed drew protests. According to a local newspaper, the Sunset Beacon, and the head of the Inner Sunset Merchants Association, however, those protesters were complaining because the fast-food outlet represented another encroachment by out-of-town chains into the burgeoning neighborhood. The last such anti-encroachment protest came when Uncle Gaylord's ice cream parlor lost its lease to a yuppie restaurant. Inner Sunset neighbors rallied around Gaylord's longtime owner -- who was Asian-American.
In the Chron's tortured efforts to make up for slack and tardy coverage of the UCSF-Stanford medical centers merger (see "Pinstriped Medicine," Jan. 29), the paper is falling over its own shoelaces. On Wednesday, March 19, Chron higher ed reporter Pam Burdman wrote a story pegged to the "scoop" that Warren Hellman, an investment banker who helped ram the merger through the Board of Regents, has Stanford as one of the clients in his multibillion-dollar investment pool.
Burdman played the "revelation" as suggestive of a possible conflict of interest; Hellman, after all, had financial ties to Stanford while he was negotiating on behalf of UC. Highly dubious. Yet, even the Chron's editorial writers found that premise hard to take seriously in a commentary a day later.
Odder still was this little fact: Hellman's Stanford ties were not news. They had been reported two months earlier in a routine business story -- in the Chronicle. (An occurrence that didn't elude state Sen. John Burton, who waved a copy of the same Chron business article under the nose of a UC lawyer during a raucous Judiciary Committee hearing on the merger -- a good four days before Burdman wrote her story.)