Friday, January 27, 2012

Board Suspends Construction Contracts with Seville, BCA

Exactly one week after San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced indictments against four members of the Sweetwater Union High School District and a construction executive, the Southwestern College governing board suspended all construction contracts with Pasadena-based Seville Construction Services and San Jose-based architecture firm Bunton Clifford Associates (BCA). Among the five indicted was Henry Amigable, who until December 2010 was Seville’s SWC project manager overseeing Proposition R construction. Total value of the contracts is $59 million.

Board president Norma Hernandez announced that the board decided to “…take all steps necessary to immediately suspend existing construction contracts with Seville Construction Services and BCA Architects.”
Dr. Melinda Nish, SWC’s new superintendent/president, issued a statement the next day on behalf of Hernandez.

“The board’s action was based on the district’s ongoing internal review and the San Diego County District Attorney’s investigation,” read the statement. “The board’s action was deemed to be the most appropriate and responsible decision to take at this time.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Column in Jackson Free Press - "The Gold Standard"

I left Jackson in 2008 and knew I'd miss it. I'd miss the people, the music, the arts scene, the Crossroads Film Festival, the parades, Hal & Mal's—all of that. But fortune sent me west to settle near San Diego, in what the natives call the South Bay, a multicultural swath between the big city and Tijuana, Mexico. For all of its dynamism, its culture and its multifaceted personality, this whole area—in fact, much of San Diego—leaves me thinking about some of the best things in Jackson that I miss most.

I have woken up in the middle of the night craving a burger. Not just any burger, but a huge Stamps turkey burger. I haven't eaten beef in over a decade, but I love a good turkey burger. For my money, that's the best there is, particularly if you include the sweet potato fries. I'm told that Stamps is now Cool Al's. I don't know if it's the same, but I do know that it would be the first or second place I'd eat if I came back.

Here, just north of Mexico, tamales are as common as tacos and served by the dozen. They're traditional: pork or chicken wrapped in masa and served in cornhusks—boring. I want tamales served up Mississippi-style, smaller and spicier and crafted from cornmeal and Delta blues. I want it served up with pico de gallo, sour cream and sweet-corn sauce. I want tamales from Walker's Drive-In. I don't care what else I get there; it's all wonderful. But I want tamales with it.