Sunday, July 20, 2014

'Modified duty' for medics after fatal NYC arrest

My guess is that these emergency medical workers cooperated a bit too much with the police officers who were involved in the incident. I imagine they were under a great deal of pressure to do so.

'Modified duty' for medics after fatal NYC arrest
Associated Press
July 20, 2014

EricGarner, 43, died Thursday, during an arrest in Staten Island, when a plain-clothes police officer placed him in what appeared be a chokehold while several others brought him to the ground and struggled to place him in handcuffs.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City says four emergency workers involved in the medical response to a man who died in police custody have been barred from responding to 911 calls.

The fire department said Sunday two EMTs and two paramedics were placed on "modified duty" pending an investigation into Eric Garner's death.

The 43-year-old died Thursday on Staten Island after a police officer placed him in an apparent chokehold while arresting him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes.

The fire department says the emergency workers are employed by the hospital where Garner was pronounced dead. The hospital did not respond to requests for comment.

Two officers involved in the arrest have been assigned to desk duty pending the outcome of an investigation. One of them was stripped of his gun and badge.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Financialization of universities: Judge Rules the Che Cafe at UCSD Gets a Stay

Sometimes we don't see what's happening in medicine because it's all wrapped up in critical issues of life and death. We can't believe that medical systems would be putting financial gain above patient well-being.

So perhaps it might be good to look at how universities are financializing other parts of their operations.

July 10, 2014

The Che Café Collective, a world renowned cultural icon and UCSD landmark that operates as an all-ages music venue, performance space and cafe, will not be so easily uprooted by University officials after over three decades of continuous operation and huge support from students and the public. 

In a hearing today on a temporary restraining order, a judge ruled to keep the Che in possession of the space and preserve the status quo until a more full hearing on the merits can be held. This preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for August 1, 2014. If the Che prevails in the injunction hearing, it will maintain possession of the space until a final resolution is reached in the breach of contract lawsuit filed by Che’s legal counsel, Andrea Carter, against the University Regents and by extension, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) on July 7, 2014. 

The lawsuit takes issue with University breaches of the Space Agreement lease signed in 2006 and whether the University is able to give a Notice of Termination pursuant to the terms of the Agreement.  It also contests the University’s actions in denying dispute resolution and avoiding the grant of an extension to the Che.  It further alleges the University has  acted in bad faith by seeking or instigating lease violations or other reasons to displace the Café.  

The Che Café is one of four largely student-operated cooperative nonprofits on campus. It was founded in 1980, when students pushed for the Facility to become a student-run space, rather than a faculty club, since student fees pay for building maintenance. The name CHE is an acronym for “Cheap Healthy Eats;” initially an all vegetarian restaurant.  The organization began hosting music performances which made it famous in the mid-1980s and gave many now well-known musicians their start.  Like the other student cooperatives (co-ops), the Che has had continual extensions of their lease or new leases drafted and signed for the past 34 years.
The University officially gave its Notice of Termination for the lease due to the failure of the Graduate Student Association (GSA), one of two representative student government bodies charged with certifying that the all the campus cooperatives are financially sound and in the best interests of students, to certify the Che. These determinations are to be used for extending the lease and as measures for determining student support for the venue’s continued functioning. However only the GSA Board passed a resolution not to endorse the Che’s continued operation. The Associated Students (AS), the representative undergraduate student governance body did not pronounce on the matter.  The GSA decision was arrived at after considerable involvement and influence from University administrators and legal counsel, who helped draft the resolution.
The University also continues to avoid full disclosure of its rationale for seeking the closure and displacement of the Café, which so many view as a legendary jewel and valuable asset to the University. It has offered many pretextual reasons and concerns that defy common sense or are matters that cannot be quickly addressed and remedied without terminating the Café’s possession and lease.
In public statements, UCSD administrators have alleged that the decision to terminate and close the Facility involves matters of  health and safety, citing a 2012 Fire Marshal recommendation that upgrades be made to the building.  These include an overhead fire sprinkler and fire alarm system. If these upgrades were actually vital, they would have been deemed mandatory rather than recommended, and the Fire Marshal would have ordered the venue closed. Instead, the Fire Marshal signed off on the cafe for the year in a follow up inspection of April 17, 2014. Further, the building has been in use by the Che Café and other university affiliates before it for nearly fifty years without any safety incident or any expression of safety concerns by UCSD administrators.  As well, the Che Café has insurance and a full indemnification agreement with the University.

The Che Café points to a long history of UCSD administrators falsifying estimates for building maintenance costs and purposely misleading student government and student centers’ boards which oversee the annual operating budgets. UCSD currently estimates that over $700,000 of repairs are needed. However, independent estimates amount to less than ten percent of that amount.
UCSD waited to give termination notice until the end of the Spring term, as students were leaving campus for the summer. Despite UCSD's underhanded tactics, students continue to campaign on behalf of the Che Café. To date, it has amassed huge support from its attendees and musicians.  This is evidenced by the outpouring of public comment and letters of support addressed to the University, not to mention the over 11,500 signatures on an online petition. The online comments posted by petition signers show a broad base of students, alumni, campus staff and faculty and the surrounding community in strong support of the Che. The Che Cafe is one of the few affordable entertainment and live music venues not to serve alcohol.  It  promotes a safe, respectful space that all people can enjoy and often offers local and independent or student-programming.  All this is extremely rare in San Diego and increasingly everywhere in the U.S.  
Arguably, the real reason for the lease termination is economic.  And this is why non-students and the broader community should care and join this push to preserve the venue, even if you have never attended or heard of it before. The University administration has shifted to decisions rooted in valuing revenue-generation and profit-seeking above all else. The Che Facility does not bring in windfall profits for the University.  It stands in contrast to a Starbuck’s licensed cafe, or a parking lot where each space brings in hundreds of dollars,  or even to a new science building that can house researchers securing grant dollars from which the University can take a sizeable cut. The social spaces the University seems to prefer are privately operated, profit-driven and not dedicated to providing practical educational opportunities, self development and creative expression and growth that more traditional spaces like the Che Cafe affords.
This financialization-based shift and near unilateral focus in deciding and stewarding our common and public resources is happening not just at UCSD or in many campuses across the U.S. but within many institutions, municipalities, and entities charged with safeguarding or managing our collective resources and rights. Who will watch the watchers? When these transgressions and power plays occur, the University and Regents are making it increasingly difficult to exercise free speech and protest on campus if you are not a student or staff through its policies, most recently, PPM 510.1 Affiliate Free Speech Policy. Do not wait until all our rights and spaces are stripped from us. Stand up and defend this space with us. A loss here is not just a loss of the Café and its attendees, but a diminishment of all of us who enjoy access to independent creative expression, entertainment, healthy food and authentic culture and community.      
A fundraising campaign has been launched and the Che Café is requesting donations to cover legal expenses, improvements and maintenance to the building which the university has failed to provide, and mitigation of lost income from disruption of the concert schedule. Supporters of the Che can contribute to these expenses in any of these ways:
·          Online at
·          Attend the Che Café during a scheduled concert
·          By mail at:
CHE Café
9500 Gilman Drive M/C 0323
La Jolla, CA 92093-0323

For further information contact:
Rene Vera 
Andrea Carter or  619-887-4529
Chris Burnett, UCSD graduate, Host of 'Indymedia On Air' on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles

Supporters are also encouraged to express their concerns about UCSD's course of action to the administrators responsible. Letters of support can be sent to these individuals, at these email addresses:
 ·          Chancellor Pradeep Khosla
·          Vice Chancellor Gary Matthews:  
·          Vice Chancellor Alan Houston:
·          Associate Vice Chancellor Gary Ratcliff:
·          UCEN Director Sharon Van Bruggen:
·          Associated Students President:
·          Graduate Student Association President: and

Please also "cc" your support letter/email to the CHE Cafe at
Petition and comments

UPTE open letter to Chancellor
Save the Che Cafe! Letter of solidarity from Zack de la Rocha

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Charge against doctor dropped in drunk driving death of jogger

Carlson's DWI Charge in Menzies Death Dropped

Jul 01, 2014

 RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - The DWI charge against a Mechanicsville doctor accused of hitting and killing a jogger in Hanover County in January has been nolle prosequi, or dropped.

Dr. Michael J. Carlson, 47, is charged in the death of Meg Menzies, a mother of three and avid runner. Menzies was married to Sergeant Scott Menzies of the Ashland Police Department. 
An additional charge of involuntary manslaughter was sent to the grand jury.
Around 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 13, a 2014 Toyota Sequoia was traveling west on East Patrick Henry Road when it ran off the right side of the curved roadway and struck Menzies, who had been jogging east on the westbound shoulder of the road. The crash occurred near the intersection of East Patrick Henry Road/Route 54 and Hickory Hill Road.

Menzies was transported to VCU Medical Center, where she succumbed to her injuries.
Menzies was an active member of the Richmond Road Runners club.
Stay with 8News on air and online for updates on this developing story.

Compare the above outcome with the very different result in a similar case:

Drunk Driver Who Killed Young Man Gets Nearly 12 Years in Prison

A motorist who drove drunk the wrong way on two freeways before getting into a head-on collision that killed the other driver has been sentenced to 11 years and eight months in state prison.
Nicholas Gervais, 29, pleaded guilty in May in San Diego Superior Court to vehicular manslaughter and DUI in the death of John M. Hajosy.
He had faced up to nearly 14 years in prison.
Gervais also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and DUI with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher in the Feb. 23 death of Hajosy, also 28.
Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde told a judge at Gervais’ arraignment that the defendant was spotted driving south in northbound lanes of state Route 125 about 2:10 a.m. on Feb. 23.
An El Cajon police officer tried to get Gervais’ attention by flashing his lights at the wrong-way driver and tried to videotape what was happening, Yturralde said.
Eventually, Gervais got on state Route 94, driving his BMW west in the eastbound lanes up to about 80 mph, before crashing into Hajosy’s car, the prosecutor said.
Hajosy died at the scene of head injuries and a lacerated spleen.
Hajosy’s mother said her son had been out on an “amazing date.”
Gervais was taken to a hospital and breathalyzer test showed his blood-alcohol content at .23 percent and .21 percent about three hours after the crash, according to Yturralde, who said a marijuana pipe were found in Gervais’ car.
– City News Service