Bay Area Briefs

Thursday November 22, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco schools chief Arlene Ackerman said she plans job cuts in response to findings that voter-approved school repair and modernization funds were misspent and mismanaged. 

An investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle found that for years the San Francisco Unified School District used millions of dollars in voter-approved bond and tax funds meant for facility repairs and upgrades to pay nonteacher salaries and benefits. 

Ackerman on Tuesday declined to say how many jobs would be trimmed, but said any staff reductions would entail negotiations with unions representing district workers. 

There are 720 full-time employees in the district’s facilities department. The department is in charge of transportation, student nutrition, custodial services, buildings and grounds, design and construction and real estate. 



SAN FRANCISCO — A man who helped draft California’s Proposition 215, which allows certain patients to possess marijuana, was arrested by police last week in Cedar City, Utah, for smoking a joint in his motel room. 

Dennis Pero is facing a felony charge of possessing marijuana for distribution. 

Peron said he and fellow Bay Area marijuana activist John Entwistle had been heading for Zion National Park with a friend last Wednesday and decided to sample the marijuana they brought along. 

A maid picked up the scent in the hall, and the motel owner called police. Officers searched the room and found nearly a pound of marijuana and concluded the three were dealers. 

Peron said it was only a few ounces, to be used for medical purposes as allowed by Proposition. 215. 

He and Entwistle both have doctors’ recommendations to take marijuana as part of their therapy for alcoholism, he said. 

Police impounded the cars and all their cash. The cars were returned, but prosecutor Scott Burns said the money would be held as evidence until the end of the case. 


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sega has an estimated 230,000 unsold Dreamcast video game consoles in the U.S. — and it wants to clear them off the shelves. 

The company announced Wednesday in San Francisco that the 128-bit machine will be selling for $49.95 in time for the holiday season. That’s down $30 from its current price tag. 

On Tuesday, Sega of America’s parent company in Japan reported a 169 million dollar loss for the first half of the fiscal year. 

Earlier this year, Sega announced it would no longer produce the Dreamcast system, which never caught on in its battle with Sony’s PlayStation 2. Instead, Sega is creating games for other console makers, such as Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. 

There are about 200 games available for the Dreamcast system, which features the ability to play against other gamers online.