Friday May 03, 2002

Mineta names CHP top cop to SFO post 

SAN FRANCISCO — Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has named a former commander of the California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles as the first federal security director of San Francisco International Airport. 

Edward Gomez, 59, will now act as the No. 1 aviation security official in the Bay Area, giving him sole power to shut down San Francisco airport in case of a security breach. He also will be responsible for making sure security checkpoints are effective in stopping future terrorist acts. 

Gomez, who commanded CHP’s largest unit for 13 years, was the first Latino commander of the Southern Division. 

“It’s one of the highest callings I’ve ever had in law enforcement,” Gomez told the San Jose Mercury News. “I have great hopes to make San Francisco Airport one of the safest in the country.” Gomez is the second California law enforcement officer to be named airport security director by Mineta. Former Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams was named in March as security director of Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. 

Suspect found in mother’s beating  

SAN JOSE — The son of a woman found badly beaten inside a trash dumpster is scheduled to be arraigned Friday for attempted murder. 

San Jose police arrested An Vinh Nguwen, 31, after his 69-year-old mother was found, barely alive, in a dumpster behind an apartment complex, according to San Jose Police Sgt. Steve Dixon. 

Nguwen’s mother was taken to San Jose Medical Center, where she was in critical condition Thursday. 

Police arrested Nguwen inside his mother’s apartment after he gave them conflicting statements about what happened, Dixon said. Although he did not live with his mother, neighbors say he spent a lot of time at her apartment. 

Nguwen was being held Thursday in Santa Clara County Jail. 


Student sues in name of first amendment  

SAN RAFAEL — A high school journalism student is suing the Novato Unified School District for blocking an opinion editorial article deemed too controversial. 

Novato High School senior Andrew Smith alleges the district violated his constitutional right to free speech when they refused to print an article titled “Reverse Racism.” 

The opinion piece was a follow-up to an original article that ran in the Novato High School newspaper, The Buzz, in November, slamming illegal immigrants. 

In the original article, Smith argued that Immigration and Naturalization Service agents should approach anyone who looks “suspicious” and implement an English language test. “If they answer ’Que?’ detain them and see if they are legal.” 

The article prompted many students and community members to call school officials to complain.  

Smith’s father said his son has been harassed and called a racist since the article’s publication.