Brickbats

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? In the California senate, Mike Thompson continues a battle to force private property owners to allow public access to parts of the Sacramento River bank. Homeowners who will be affected say Thompson has been pursuing a personal vendetta against them for four years. It began when Thompson and another senator were walking along the river and were confronted by a homeowner who warned them to stop trespassing on private property. Thompson has just a short time left to pursue his goal–he's running for Congress next year.

? Jerrick Michael Snell had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for cocaine possession and was awaiting transfer in a Dothan, Alabama, jail cell. The judge who sentenced Snell, Lawson Little, walked past his cell. Snell suggested that Little perform oral sex on him. The judge apparently didn't want to fulfill this request, as he had Snell gagged with duct tape and dragged back to his courtroom. There, Judge Little changed Snell's sentence to life in prison.

? Norman Mayo is suing Safeway and the Dairy Farmers of Washington. Mayo, a Washington state resident, claims that a lifetime of drinking milk contributed to his clogged arteries and the minor stroke he suffered three years ago. Among other things, Mayo wants a warning label on milk. "It's my opinion that the dairy industry's to blame," he said. "They push their dairy products without warning you of the hazards."

? Dr. Henry Jordan is a member of the state Board of Education in South Carolina, but he apparently has something to learn about brotherly love. In a discussion about the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools, Jordan said, "Screw the Buddhist, and kill the Muslims. And put that in the minutes." Jordan later said that he thought the meeting was over, but tapes of the meeting clearly show the board going on to discuss other items on the agenda.

? In neighboring Georgia, Attorney General Mike Bowers is the leading contender for the Republican gubernatorial nomination next year. Bowers gained fame defending the state's anti-sodomy law before the Supreme Court. He also made headlines a few years later when he withdrew a job offer from a woman after learning she was a lesbian. Now the married Bowers has admitted a decade-long affair with a female staff member, who was also married. Adultery is also illegal in the Peach State. So Bowers apparently feels that those who break the law are unfit to work in the attorney general's office, but they aren't unfit to be attorney general or governor.

? Robert Kusznikow has a well that provides perfectly safe water, so he sees no reason to pay for a connection to the city water system. But Stafford Township, New Jersey, has a reason for Kusznikow to buy their water: It's the law. After a three-year battle, Kusznikow was arrested and sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for his refusal to hook up to city water.

? In Manhattan, employees of the El Quijote restaurant told Jaswinder Pal Singh that they enforced a no-hat rule, and that he would need to remove his turban to be served. Singh, a Sikh, began cursing the manager, and he was asked to leave. Claiming that the turban is a "symbol of pride" in his native India, and that removing it would be "humiliating," Singh has sued the restaurant.

? Also in New York, Robert Cassar is head of the union that represents the city's parking-ticket writers. And he apparently is providing a lot of business for his rank-and-file. Cassar's car was towed after he failed to pay $5,000 in parking tickets. That's on top of another $5,000 in fines that Cassar has paid over the past few years. Cassar is a former traffic agent, and he claims officials in the city Transportation Department are out to get him.

? The City Council of Berkeley, California, is now wondering where to buy gas for municipal vehicles. Berkeley has long boycotted Arco, Unocal, Mobil, and Texaco because they do business in Burma. It just added Shell and Chevron to the list because they do business in Nigeria. Exxon isn't formally boycotted, but there's that Exxon Valdez matter in its past. Said city council member Polly Armstrong, "In the end, we're going to have to look for mineral rights under the city of Berkeley."

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