RICHMOND VOICE: Much has been made in recent months about the media revival in Richmond, a long-overlooked town that's now the focus of a slew of blogs, websites, social media feeds and other "new" media outlets.
Add another voice to the mix. "The Steven Parker Radio Show" airs live from 1 to 3 p.m. each Saturday on KGM1RADIO.COM, and it's focused like a laser on the rough and tumble world of Richmond politics ahead of what promises to be a spirited election run through November.
And Parker is different from the youth media prodigies, graduate students, activists and paid corporate media professionals staffing most of the other new media platforms.
A 46-year-old longshoreman at the Port of Oakland and the son of respected Richmond activist Texanita Bluitt, Parker has taken on a weekend gig as a radio host because he wants to put tough questions to those who want to lead the city. The residents need to hear answers, live and unfiltered, he said.
"I go strong every Saturday," Parker said, his brassy radio voice firing through the receiver of The Eye's desk telephone. "I support no candidates, but I see my job as giving a platform for the people of Richmond to hear from the people who want to get into office."
Parker has had no trouble getting people on his show. In recent weeks, he has hosted mayoral candidates Uche Uwahemu, Mike Parker (no relation) and Charles Ramsey, along with council candidates Jovanka Beckles, Corky Boozé and Dameion King.
Parker follows the news closely and has focused his show on the issues he thinks are key, including the potential closure of Doctors Medical Center, school safety and educational quality, the economy, crime and public housing.
He also plans to host a town hall meeting for all candidates and the public at the Richmond library from 2. to 4 p.m. on July 12.
Parker may work a 9-to-5 job and be a newcomer to media, but he talks as if he is fresh out of broadcasting school.
"My main objective is to ask the tough questions of all of these candidates so that the residents can have the information to elect the right people," Parker said. "I think this is how I can play my part in making Richmond a better place."
COURTROOM HUMOR: When it comes to the sheriff's deputies who serve as bailiffs in the Contra Costa County courthouses and the jurors they serve, familiarity breeds conviviality -- especially when jurors serve on long-running cases. Recently, The Eye eavesdropped as newly minted jurors were given the "here's how things run around here" speech by their bailiff.
"So that means you'll be taking care of our Starbucks in the mornings?" one juror joked.
More recently, a bailiff was explaining to jurors during a break that deputies, who have worn tan uniforms in recent years, will be required to wear all-black ensembles.
"Why?" asked a juror.
"New sheriff in town," the bailiff said, smiling.
No pRESSURE: Few, if any, East Bay elected officials ever have to worry about throwing out the first pitch for the first home game of a new baseball team.
But Pittsburg Vice Mayor Pete Longmire found himself on the mound doing just that last week, before Pittsburg's new professional baseball team, the Mettle, played its first game at City Park.
"To be up on that mound; it was special," Longmire said, adding that his family enjoys baseball.
But it didn't come without anxiety.
Longmire said that when Mayor Sal Evola told him he would have to throw out the first pitch, he asked whether Longmire had seen the errant first pitch that rapper 50 Cent made recently at a New York Mets game.
"I literally started dreaming about flubbing that first pitch and assuring myself that I can make it," Longmire said.
It got worse when his daughter asked whether he had been practicing and was startled when he said no.
Well, as it turns out, according to Longmire and other attendees, he threw a strike.
"It wasn't a fastball, but it made it," he joked. "People were probably wondering why's this guy giving a fist pump for that throw."
As for the game itself, the Mettle lost 8-4. But the spectacle did not disappoint the sellout crowd of "Mettleheads."
Staff writers Robert Rogers, Gary Peterson and Paul Burgarino contributed to this column.