Monthly Archives: February 2010

Pentagon Continues Fight to Get Tanker Deal Off the Ground

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven years and two jail convictions later, the Pentagon on Wednesday unveiled its latest attempt to get a $35 billion contract for refueling planes off the ground.
But within moments, the proposal was at risk of a crash and burn after a major contractor considered withholding its bid because it believed the terms unfairly favored its competitor.
And with thousands of jobs possibly at stake for Alabama, the state’s two senators weighed in as well, saying the latest proposal appeared to do little to satisfy Northrop Grumman Corp.’s concerns that the terms were skewed against its larger, more expensive plane.
“It is an illusion of a fair competition in which the warfighter and the taxpayer lose,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
The Pentagon’s quest to buy its own fleet of tanker planes is a tale of political wrangling, corporate food-fights and unethical backdoor dealings that seems never-ending.
Since 2003, the Pentagon has tried twice, and failed twice, to award a contract to replace its Eisenhower-era fleet of tankers that refuel military planes in-flight. Most recently, a deal awarded to Northrop Grumman was overturned on appeal.
In 2004, a Boeing victory was nixed after an ethics scandal resulted in prison terms for a former company executive and a former Air Force official. The two were accused of discussing a job for the Air Force official while she was still overseeing billions of dollars of Boeing’s business for the service.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon tried again and publicly released its final bid request for the job. The bid involves building 179 tankers, but the job could be expanded. A final contract is to be awarded in September.
Northrop said in a statement it would review the complex proposal before commenting. A Northrop pullout would leave Boeing Co. as the lone bidder on one of the most protracted and expensive contracts in Pentagon history.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said: “At this point I can only say that I’m disappointed.”
The Pentagon’s senior leaders on Wednesday defended the proposal.
“We believe that both offers are in a position to win this competition,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said.
Added Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn: “We think we’ve put forward a balanced and fair competition.”
Politics has factored in heavily into the debate because the outcome will mean thousands of jobs. Shelby and Sessions support a win by Northrop because it would translate into as many as 5,000 jobs in their home state, including 1,500 in Mobile, where the tanker would be assembled.
While Shelby and Sessions said they were pessimistic that Northrop would bid for the contract, Boeing supporters cheered.
“I’m pleased with what I heard,” said Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington state, where Boeing plans to build its tankers. “As far as the specifics of the proposal, we’re very much in the game.”
Lynn declined to say what the Pentagon would do if it’s faced with only one contract bid for the program.
“When we get to that point we’ll address that question,” he told reporters. “I don’t want to go beyond the statement that we have. … We are hoping that we don’t have to.”
Last fall, Northrop said it would drop out without significant changes to the criteria. It has teamed with the European maker of Airbus to compete with Boeing. That partner, Paris-based European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., has seen the deal as essential to breaking into the lucrative U.S. defense contracting market.

Bremerton Port Commission Votes Against Ethics Code for Themselves

By Rachel Pritchett
Port of Bremerton commissioners on Tuesday voted down a proposed code of ethics that would have governed their own behavior.
Commissioners Larry Stokes and Roger Zabinski voted no on the proposed code crafted by Commissioner Bill Mahan.
Stokes said, “I was elected on who I am,” and that the code should be voluntary.
Zabinski said he had concerns, but “I will keep the philosophy in mind.”
The trouble was with wording that appeared to limit commissioners’ contact with port staff. It also appeared to give a longer leash to port CEO Cary Bozeman.
Mahan agreed those things may have spelled doom for the document. He added that limiting contact between commissioners and staff wasn’t his intent.
“(It) wasn’t my intent when I wrote it, nor do I think it was in there,” Mahan said.
But the subject prompted Bozeman to expound on how busy the port staff was Tuesday, and for Mahan to say he is very judicious when it comes to staff requests.
Mahan first proposed a code of ethics three years ago in answer to public discontent after the port commission passed a tax increase to pay for the Bremerton Marina. It never came to a vote.
He said recently that as the only remaining commissioner on the board who voted for the tax, he still is the focus of strong public discontent, particularly in readers’ comments on newspaper Web sites.
Stokes agreed Mahan had been hit hard.
“In all honesty, you’ve been crucified,” Stokes told Mahan.
Now he says he’ll probably let the issue go.
“I think there’s no sense beating a dead horse,” he said.
Besides language about staff interference, the proposed code also addressed more traditional things found in ethics codes, such as avoiding conflicts of interest and waiting two years after leaving office to work for an entity that had port business.

Port Commissioners Ponder Future of Land in Downtown Bremerton

By Rachel Pritchett
Sharp disagreement arose Tuesday among Port of Bremerton commissioners over what to do next with new port land on the Bremerton waterfront.
Last year, the port purchased two acres between Washington Avenue and the Bremerton Marina for $3.5 million. Largely undeveloped, it offered much-needed parking for marina users and others.
The arguing started after port Chief Executive Officer Cary Bozeman suggested the port begin looking for public sources of funding to build 100 underground parking spaces at $20,000 a spot. Bozeman said the port could get grants or other funding sources that wouldn’t involve borrowing or creating new debt to finance the project.
Doing that groundwork would enable the port to be ready when a private investor came along and wanted to put intense development on top of that parking, Bozeman said.
“We need to be ready in case,” Bozeman said.
Commissioner Larry Stokes questioned how profitable such a public-private partnership would be.
Stokes instead suggested that the way to make money off the property might be to simply turn around and sell it for $5 million.
While Bozeman agreed “that opportunity may very well exist,” Commissioner Bill Mahan said the hold-and-sell approach wasn’t the way to go.
“This property is too valuable for us to give it away,” said Mahan, who earlier in the meeting made a presentation about how the port’s assets like its airport, industrial park and marinas had grown in value over the years.
He made the same case for the Washington Avenue property.
“I believe the property presents a tremendous opportunity for the port to increase its revenue stream, and (reduce) its reliance on property tax, which is our goal,” he said.
People in the audience seemed to shy away from the idea of a public-private partnership.
Louis Soriano of Bremerton suggested port commissioners ask themselves if they want to compete with private enterprise.
David Rhine of Bremerton said, “Mr. Stokes was dead on.”
And Robert Daugherty of Olalla said, “I think they need to be concerned about what they already operate, and make that profitable.”
The disagreement among commissioners ended in a friendly round of laughter with no decision made.

Possible End Seen in Fight Over New Air Tankers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supporters of Northrop Grumman Corp.’s bid for a bitterly contested contract to build Air Force refueling tankers expressed pessimism Wednesday that the company would stay in the $35 billion competition.
A Northrop pullout would leave Boeing Co. as the lone bidder on one of the most protracted and expensive contracts in Pentagon history.
As the Pentagon prepared to release its final bid request for the job, lawmakers said the latest proposal appeared to do little to satisfy Northrop’s concerns that the terms are skewed against its larger, more expensive plane.
Northrop had no immediate comment ahead of the Defense Department’s announcement later Wednesday.
The company said last fall it would drop out without significant changes to the criteria. It has teamed with the European maker of Airbus to compete with Boeing. That partner, Paris-based European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., has seen the deal as essential o breaking into lucrative U.S. defense contracting.
“At this point I can only say that I’m disappointed,” said GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, where Northrop would build a major assembly plant in Mobile if it wins the contract. “It appears that the fundamental document has not been changed.”
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., who joined Sessions in a briefing by Pentagon leaders, agreed. “I don’t think it looks promising,” he said.
Boeing supporters emerged from the briefing optimistic.
“I’m pleased with what I heard,” said Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat from Washington, where Boeing plans to build its tankers. “As far as the specifics of the proposal, we’re very much in the game.”
The Pentagon needs to replace its Eisenhower-era fleet of tankers that refuel military planes in-flight. It has tried twice, and failed twice, to award a contract. A deal awarded to Northrop in 2008 was overturned on appeal. In 2004, a Boeing victory was nixed after an ethics scandal that resulted in prison terms for a former company executive and a former Air Force official.
Lawmakers have become intensely involved in the competition because it could mean thousands of jobs for their states. They said the Pentagon outlined a timeframe Wednesday for bids to be submitted within 75 days and a final contract to be awarded in September.
The initial bid involves building 179 tankers, but the job could be expanded.

Coors Commercial Filmed on Oly Peninsula

PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — When surfing through TV channels in May, you might spot four guys clinking bottles of Coors Banquet beer on a lake that looks oddly familiar.
Trust your memory.
A cast and crew have been on the North Olympic Peninsula making a commercial for Coors Banquet beer for just more than a week, and on Monday they were filming at sites such as the Junction Roadhouse, Lake Crescent Lodge and the newly opened Peninsula Plywood mill.
Coors Banquet beer, which is brewed in Golden, Colo., often looks for locations that emulate its hometown, said Bill Lindsey, creative director for Draftfcb, the company that is making the commercial for Coors.
For a 30-second spot, 10,000 to 30,000 feet of film might be shot — for roughly 7 to 25 minutes of material, he said.
In addition to finding locales that have the same rugged terrain as Colorado, the group also looked for casting that would be realistic, Lindsey said, who added that the commercial was set to air nationally in May.
“We found most of the cast in Seattle or Portland, and some locals will make their way in as extras,” he said.
“We wanted a very realistic type of person. We don’t want the type of casting that would end up in a Pepsi spot next month.”
The locals have already been cast.
“It is very different for a national brand to do the casting this way,” said Sean McGrath, senior vice president of Draftfcb.
Filming at Lake Crescent featured four guys enjoying a few cold ones on a dock. Good weather and smooth waters helped the day along.
For the filming at Junction Roadhouse, most of the bar’s decor was left intact, said Jason Puccinelli, production designer from Seattle.
“We really liked the look of it in here,” he said.
They did add a few extra Coors signs, and Puccinelli said he perused Port Angeles for older ones.
Port Angeles Antique Mall “was really helpful,” he said.
They had a few of their own, and they called others who also “brought us a few.”
Mouse Trap Antiques & Gifts also helped out with a few signs, he said.
Josh Renshaw, president of the PenPly mill, said the filming there was a happy accident.
“They just were driving by and saw it and said that this place looked cool,” he said.
“So they came and did some filming (on Monday morning), and even a few of the millworkers got to be in the shots, if it survives editing.
“It’s great — 30 cast and crew staying at our hotels, eating at our restaurants is always a good thing.”
A local barn will be set up to look like a wood shop, and other local spots will also be filmed throughout the rest of the week.
“We even got a local guy to let us use his pickup,” Lindsey said.
Diane Schostak, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, said the Coors spot was a large one, but filming isn’t new to the Peninsula.
“We get a lot of the ‘outside Puget Sound’ filming because people can come film and get a lot of different looks in one day — they can get the flat prairie, the Victorian look, the whole spectrum,” she said.
Schostak, who was out of the country at a meeting and speaking by cell phone, said she didn’t have statistics at hand.
Within Olympic National Park alone about a dozen films or commercials are made each year, said Loretta Commet, the park filming coordinator.
About 10 per year are made within the park boundaries and an additional couple every year are made at places such as Lake Crescent Lodge that aren’t required to have a park permit because they are run by vendors.

Nordstrom Enjoys Doubled Fourth-Quarter Profit

The Associated Press
Nordstrom Inc. said Monday that its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled from a year ago as the upscale retailer, cushioned by lean inventory, didn’t have as many clearance racks to get rid of.
Here’s a breakdown of the quarter’s report:
EARNINGS: Nordstrom earned $172 million, or 77 cents per share, for the period that ended Jan. 30. A year earlier, Nordstrom earned $68 million, or 31 cents per share.
GROSS PROFITS: Gross profits as a percentage of net sales rose 5.3 percentage points compared with the year-ago period.
TOTAL SALES: Total revenues reached $2.64 billion, up from $2.39 billion in the year-ago quarter.
SALES AT STORES OPEN AT LEAST A YEAR: Overall, sales at stores opened at least a year rose 6.9 percent. Sales at stores opened at least a year at its regular-price stores rose 3.9 percent, while the company’s Nordstrom Rack had an increase of 4.6 percent. Sales at stores opened at least a year are considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health.
BRIGHT SPOTS: Women’s clothing, women’s shoes and jewelry. The Midwest, South and Northwest regions were the top performing geographical areas for the company’s regular price stores.

Tuesday Dow up 103 Points

Now at 10,279 this morning. Meanwhile, consumer confidence takes a dive. Read on.

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans’ outlook on the economy went into relapse in February. Rising job worries sent a key barometer of confidence to its lowest point in 10 months, raising concerns about the economic recovery.
The Conference Board said Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index fell almost 11 points to 46 in February, down from a revised 56.5 in January. Analysts were expecting only a slight decrease to 55. It was the lowest level since the index recorded a 40.8 reading in April 2009.
The increasing pessimism, which erased three months of improvement, is a big blow to hopes that consumer spending will power an economic recovery. Economists watch the confidence numbers closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
The February reading is a long way from what’s considered healthy: A reading above 90 means the economy is on solid footing. Above 100 signals strong growth.
While economists said that heavy snowstorms in many areas of the country that shut down businesses dampened confidence, many believe that the report confirms that consumers aren’t feeling the nascent economic recovery.
“More than six months after the recovery started, consumer confidence is still close to a record low,” said Paul Ashworth, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics Ltd. “Without a sustained acceleration in consumption growth, this recovery will eventually fade.”
The news sent stocks lower, overshadowing retailers’ reports that showed stronger holiday profits. The Dow Jones industrial average falling 62.8 points to 10,320.62 by late morning.
One gauge, measuring consumers’ assessment of current conditions, dropped to 19.4 from 25.2, the lowest level since 1983. The other barometer, which measures their outlook over the next six months and had been rising since October 2009, fell to 63.8 from 77.3.
The Consumer Confidence Index hit a historic low of 25.3 in February 2009 but then enjoyed a three-month climb to 54.8 in May, fueled by signs the economy might be stabilizing. Since then, it has been mired in a narrow range, dropping as low as 47, as rising unemployment took a toll, before climbing again for a three-month stretch.
February’s reading is well below the 61.4 figure in September 2008, when the financial crisis intensified with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The index has had an average reading of 95.6 since the Conference Board starting tracking the figures in 1967.
“The combination of earnings and job anxieties is likely to continue to curb spending,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.
The downbeat report on confidence came amid encouraging news about the housing market. According to a key housing index, also released Tuesday, home prices rose for the seventh straight month in December, a sign of price stability as the U.S. housing market continues its bumpy recovery.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.3 percent from November to December, to a seasonally adjusted reading of 145.87. The index was off 3.1 percent from December last year, nearly matching analysts’ estimates that it would fall by 3.2 percent.
But a solid job market is critical to consumers’ boosting their spending and the overall of health of the economy.
The overall economy expanded at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, but only about one-fourth of that growth came from consumers. That marked the second quarterly increase in a row after four quarters of decreases.
Many economists expect new jobs to be created in coming months. Unemployment fell to 9.7 percent in January from 10 percent in December, and employers shed 20,000 jobs. But they still worry that joblessness will climb back up by next summer as unemployed people who abandoned job searches start trying again.
The results, based on a sample of 5,000 U.S. households with cutoff date was Feb. 17, showed consumers’ assessment of current job opportunities and job prospects over the next six months eroded.
Those saying that jobs are “hard to get” rose to 47.7 percent from 46.5 percent, while those saying jobs are “plentiful” decreased to 3.6 percent from 4.4 percent.
As for the outlook for the job market, the share of consumers expecting fewer jobs increased to 24.6 percent from 18.9 percent. Those anticipating more jobs will become available in the months ahead fell.
Traditionally, jobs don’t improve until after a recovery in consumer spending and confidence. But Gary Thayer, chief economist at Wells Fargo Advisors, believes that this time around, big improvements in jobs, confidence and spending will be “marching together.”
“I think shoppers are going to wait until things get better,” he said.

Toyota Woes Continue to Accelerate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president of Toyota’s U.S. operations insisted Tuesday that electronic problems did not contribute to sudden acceleration of its cars, drawing sharp criticism from lawmakers who said such a possibility should not be ruled out and from a tearful woman driver who could not stop her runaway Lexus.
“Shame on you, Toyota,” Rhonda Smith, of Sevierville, Tenn., said at a congressional hearing. Then she added a second “shame on you” directed at federal highway safety regulators.
Toyota’s James Lentz repeated Toyota’s position that stuck gas pedals in some of the company’s most popular models were caused by one of two problems — misplaced floor mats and sticking accelerator pedals.
Meanwhile, Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who will testify before a separate panel on Wednesday, said he took “full responsibility” for the uncertainty felt by Toyota owners and offered his condolences to a San Diego, Calif., family who were killed in late August, reigniting interest in the problems.
“I will do everything in my power to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again,” Toyoda said in prepared testimony for Wednesday’s hearing to the House Government Oversight Committee. “My name is on every car. You have my personal commitment that Toyota will work vigorously and unceasingly to restore the trust of our customers,” Toyoda said.
Lawmakers heard a brief, but riveting, description of the problem from Smith, the Tennessee woman whose Toyota-made Lexus suddenly zoomed to 100 miles per hour as she tried to get it to stop — shifting to neutral, trying to throw the car into reverse and hitting the emergency brake. Finally, her car slowed enough that she was able to pull it off the road onto the median and turn off the engine.
She told described her nightmare ride in October 2006, calling it “a near death experience.” Fighting back tears, Smith told the panel “I prayed to God to help me.”
“After six miles, God intervened” and slowed the car, she said. She said that nothing she had tried had worked. She said it took a long time for Toyota to respond to her complaints.
Three congressional panels are investigating Toyota’s problems. The hearings are important because Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide — more than 6 million in the United States — since last fall because of sudden acceleration problems in multiple models and braking issues in the Prius hybrid. It is also investigating steering concerns in Corollas. People with Toyotas have complained of their vehicles speeding out of control in their efforts to slow down, sometimes resulting in deadly crashes. The government has received complaints of 34 deaths linked to sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles since 2000.
“We are confident that no problems exist with the electric throttle control system in our vehicles,” Lentz said in prepared testimony to the House Energy and Commerce’s investigative subcommittee. Lentz cited “fail-safe mechanisms” in the cars were designed to shut off or reduce engine power “in the event of a system failure.”
But Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the full Energy and Commerce Committee, scoffed at Toyota’s insistence that electronics were not a possible cause and said the company should have investigated more thoroughly. Waxman also took the government to task for not doing enough. “Toyota failed its customers and the government neglected its responsibilities,” he said.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the panel in his prepared testimony that all possible causes, including possible electronics problems were being investigated by his agency. “We will continue to investigate all possible causes of unintended acceleration,” LaHood said. He said that the millions of recalls by Toyota were important steps but “we don’t maintain that they answer every question.”
Toyota hired a consulting firm to analyze whether electronic problems could cause unintended acceleration. The firm, Exponent Inc., found no link between the two. But committee investigators said the Exponent test was flawed because it studied only a small number of Toyota vehicles
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the subcommittee, said Toyota “misled the American public by saying that they and other independent sources had thoroughly analyzed the electronics systems and eliminated electronics as a possible cause of sudden unintended acceleration when, in fact, the only such review was a flawed study conducted by a company retained by Toyota’s lawyers.”
But Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton cautioned his colleagues against conducting a “witch hunt” and said “We don’t want to just assume automatically that Toyota has done something wrong and has tried to cover it up.”
In his written testimony, he apologized for the company’s slow handling of problems. “We have not lived up to the high standards our customers and the public have come to expect from Toyota,” Lentz said.
“Put simply, it has taken us too long to come to grips with a rare but serious set of safety issues, despite all of our good faith efforts,” said Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.
Among an army of Toyota dealers lobbying members of Congress Tuesday, there seemed to be a widespread rancor toward a federal government they view as picking on the automaker, at least in part because of the government’s investment of billions of dollars in General Motors and Chrysler.
“That’s hard for me as a citizen to understand why my tax dollars are going in that direction,” Paul Atkinson, a Houston-area Toyota dealer, said at a news conference that also served as a pep rally for the visiting dealers. “To compete with the government as an individual entrepreneur is pretty tough.”

Should Laws Cover Risque Coffee Stands?

By Brynn Grimley
It’s been two years since a handful of Kitsap coffee stands joined the “sexpresso” movement by employing baristas who wore pasties and not much else.
The espresso stands created an uproar, and the city of Bremerton and Mason County took steps to restrict such businesses. Then community ire quieted — at least until a new stand calling itself Fantasy Espresso opened on Highway 303 in East Bremerton.
The name caught drivers’ attention, as did the fact that baristas wear pasties and thongs on some days.
“I can’t go to Hollywood Video or Fred Meyer without having to go a back way when I have my kids in the car,” said Chris Settelmeyer, who lives in Central Kitsap. “I have to detour my route so they don’t see anything.”
Settelmeyer and his fiance, Abby Primeaux, say they’re frustrated with county “loopholes” that allow stands like Espresso Gone Wild in Gorst and Fantasy Espresso to open on busy roads without screening to divert young eyes that may be passing by.
They cited recent problems in Snohomish County as incentive for the county to take the initiative. A handful of baristas there recently faced prostitution charges, prompting Snohomish County

commissioners to strengthen a lewd-conduct ordinance. The revised ordinance requires baristas to at least wear bikinis.
Settelmeyer and Primeaux aren’t the only ones who want to see Kitsap County commissioners follow suit.
“There’s a problem with our priorities,” said Ken Wells, owner of Rocket Coffee, a stand off Kitsap Way in Bremerton. Wells has operated espresso stands in the county and in Bremerton for nine years. His baristas are fully dressed.
Calling the county “extremely loose when it comes to this type of thing,” Wells wants this form of business prohibited. At a minimum, screening should be required to protect children and those who don’t want to see so much skin, he said.
Kitsap County commissioners were confronted with the issue two years ago, when Espresso Gone Wild started a promotion called “Pastie Tuesdays and Fridays.” The commissioners stayed out of it on the grounds that no laws were violated and there wasn’t much they could do. They haven’t discussed it much since.
“We have a lot of priorities right now and this isn’t one of them,” Commissioner Josh Brown said. “Counties don’t have the regulatory authority that cities do. We can’t exactly restrict the businesses that are coming into our county like cities can.”
Commissioner Charlotte Garrido agreed with Brown, but said the county could look into requiring the businesses to be screened from the road if safety becomes an issue because cars are slowing down to ogle.
Fantasy Espresso acquired all necessary permits before opening and details of clothing are not required for permit approval, said Jeff Rowe-Hornbaker, deputy director of the Department of Community Development. It wasn’t until after the stand opened and complaints came in that the county learned of its niche, he said.
The county is in the process of sending a letter to ask the owners to try to block the stand from the road. But since “there’s no teeth” in code to enforce the screening, “it’s purely a request,” Rowe-Hornbaker said.
Stand owners Kasey Osborne and Kenneth “KC” Bayne have tinted the window facing the highway after Osborne fielded complaints. Even with the tint, when the window is open, there’s nothing to shield passers-by from baristas’ occasionally risque outfits.
“We aren’t trying to be a nuisance to anyone,” Osborne said. “No matter where you open, someone’s always going to have a problem with it. It’s a type of theme and not everyone is going to agree with that.”
It is one of the few businesses thriving in the current down economy, he said. He, Bayne and their employees don’t condone the actions of the Snohomish County baristas and want their business to be recognized for the good they plan to do — including hosting monthly charitable fundraisers.
“Any time there’s a bad seed or someone going the wrong route, that’s the publicity people see,” Osborne said.
The only way the county could conceivably regulate clothing is through the state’s indecent exposure law, which makes a criminal of anyone who “intentionally makes any open and obscene exposure of his or her person or the person of another knowing that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable affront or alarm.”
While reports of perceived indecent exposure from “sexpresso” stands have made it onto the desks of county prosecutors, no charges of indecent exposure have been filed, according to chief deputy prosecutor Claire Bradley. Case law shows a private body part has to be exposed — meaning a thong and pasties, no matter how skimpy, is conceivably coverage.
“Unless there’s a change in the health code provisions or they are exposed intentionally,” there’s not much the county can do legally, Bradley said.
Garrido hasn’t ruled out tackling the community’s concerns, saying she “certainly thinks the board should talk about whether, or how, the board should look at this.”