Past time for a civics lesson

“Angelides is a child molester!” “You’re going to hell.” “You’re gay because you hated your father.” “Repent!” Those were the epithets hurled at attendees at a Midtown fund-raiser for Phil Angelides on August 23. A half-dozen people aligned with Sacramento’s Slavic Christian community targeted the fund-raiser for Angelides’ gubernatorial bid. The protesters created such a ruckus that police were brought in to restore order. Protesters targeted Angelides, according to a press release issued by Peter Ganchenko because this fund-raiser was co-sponsored by the predominantly gay Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento. “As Christians, we must oppose the Sodomites as they attempt to corrupt politicians with their immoral agenda,” wrote Ganchenko, who described himself as “a member of the Slavic Christian community in Sacramento.” He did not return SN&R’s phone calls seeking comment. But Angelides told SN&R, “It’s sad and unfortunate that some folks in our community feel the need to spread such hateful messages.” Darrell Steinberg, a former assemblyman and a current candidate for Senate, said he believes the Slavic Christian immigrants have a basic misunderstanding about American politics. “What we need to help them understand about this country is the difference between privately held religious beliefs and how we treat each other in the public square,” Steinberg said. “[It’s] a subtle distinction, but it’s really the hallmark of the Bill of Rights.”

—Kel Munger

McClatchy’s manic month

Last week, Sacramento-based McClatchy Co. cleared the final legal hurdle in its acquisition of Knight Ridder, as California Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced there were no antitrust problems with the purchase of the Contra Costa Times and the San Jose Mercury News from McClatchy by MediaNews.

It turns out MediaNews CEO “Lean” Dean Singleton made the purchase with a little help from his friends. On August 21, the Associated Press reported that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was one of several dozen financial institutions that had loaned MediaNews a total of $350 million to complete the purchase. The purchase gives MediaNews a monopoly on Bay Area newspapers large and small.

Lockyer’s announcement capped a month of mostly good news for McClatchy and CEO Gary Pruitt. Nevertheless, Wall Street investors remain wary of newspapers, which have been experiencing an overall decline in readership for decades and are facing increasingly stiff competition for advertising revenue from the Internet. Since the acquisition of Knight Ridder, McClatchy’s stock price has hovered near $40 per share, 46 percent less than the high of $74.50 recorded last year.

McClatchy’s stock jumped slightly, to a high of $43.65, in early August after a deal concerning the online jobs site CareerBuilder.com was reached with fellow media giants Gannet and Tribune. The boost also was attributed to an “outperform rating” issued by Wachovia Securities, which found McClatchy is performing above trends in ad revenue and circulation.

—R.V. Scheide

Plan B no victory for youngest women

It’s being called a victory for women, but the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s decision to make Plan B available without a prescription only to women 18 and over doesn’t address the issue for women under age 18. Plan B is an emergency contraception that can prevent a pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The longer it takes to access Plan B, the less likely it will work to prevent ovulation. Called “short-sighted and ill-conceived” by California’s Pharmacy Access Partnership, the plan makes it possible to get the emergency contraception from a trained pharmacist. Women 18 and under, however, will continue to need a doctor’s or clinic’s prescription in most states. In California, some pharmacists who have been trained and received approval may write prescriptions for clients of any age. Barr Pharmaceuticals said it will “continue our efforts with the FDA to reduce the age restriction on the [over-the-counter] use of Plan B.”

—Chrisanne Beckner