Mendocino County Today: January 22, 2012

by Bruce Anderson, January 21, 2012

LEONARD CIRINO is suffering from cancer. The well-known poet lived for years in Albion before moving to Springfield, Oregon a few years ago to care for his elderly mother. Leonard’s medical condition can be monitored here.

AS THOUSANDS of passionate fans descend upon San Francisco for the 49ers’ National Football Conference championship showdown with the Giants on Sunday, officials are touting a widely ignored text-messaging service as a solution to bad fan behavior. The service, Badfan, was introduced to Candlestick Park about three years ago. It is an anonymous text-messaging tip line that goes straight to stadium security personnel, but it is seldom used by fans, even though reported problems and security crackdowns at the stadium have increased from 2008 to 2010. Calls for police and medical services and the number of fans ejected from their seats combined more than doubled over a three-year period, according to the most recent available data from the San Francisco Police Department. In 2008, the police and security officers ejected 187 fans from the stands. In 2010, they ejected 274. During last Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, police and security officers ejected 54 fans from the parking lot and stadium. Security officials say that many fans treat Badfan as a joke, or use it incorrectly. About half of the text messages sent to the system are pranks or fakes, according to team officials. A significant number of texts are useless to security officers because they do not include location information. During a preseason game with the Raiders last summer marked by violence in the stands, stadium security officials received only about 20 text messages that were not fakes or pranks, but 90 requests for medical service, including one for a man who was beaten unconscious in a restroom, and another for a fan who was shot several times in the stomach in the parking lot after the game. In 2010, the 49ers began revoking the season tickets of fans if they or their guests were unruly. After the chaotic Raiders game, Candlestick Park tightened its parking lot hours and imposed stricter tailgating and alcohol-consumption rules. Greg Suhr, San Francisco’s police chief, said more than 25 percent more officers than usual would be on hand on Sunday. At the request of the NFL and the 49ers, more officers than usual will be undercover, some wearing Giants garb and sitting in the stands. Officers or 49ers team staff members will hand out Badfan cards to fans as they enter the stadium. The test will be whether fans choose to use the text-messaging system. After last week’s game, a letter to The San Francisco Chronicle from an upset Saints fan spread rapidly online. The fan, Don Moses, a Mill Valley resident who attended the game, said he was shocked by the “hostility, vulgarity and intimidation” he faced. He described a group of large men who continually cursed and threatened his family. “One of my daughters asked me, ‘Why don’t you do something, Daddy?’” Moses wrote. “Do what? Fight 10 guys, call/text security when all those guys behind me would know who would have fingered them?” Chief Suhr nevertheless urged fans to use Badfan. “The officers’ actions are crisp and immediate,” he said. (Courtesy, the Bay Citizen)

FACTOID from CNN’s South Carolina exit polls in Saturday’s Republican primary: 65% of the 2,381 (Republican) voters polled described themselves as “born again or evangelical Christian.”

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