SF News

Presidio Brush Fire Next To National Cemetery Contained

Fire crews have contained a one-alarm brush fire near the San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio this morning, according to a San Francisco Fire Department dispatcher.

The blaze charred a grassy area near the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and McDowell Avenue, the dispatcher said.

The fire was reported around 2 a.m. and burned roughly two acres, according to the dispatcher.

Crews on the scene a short time after 6 a.m. were checking for smoldering areas left by the blaze.

No structures in the area were threatened and no injuries reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

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Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Chevron USA Inc. Agreed to Pay $2 Million in Restitution Related to Last Year's Refinery Explosion

Chevron USA Inc. pleaded no contest to six misdemeanor criminal charges in Contra Costa County Superior Court Monday and agreed to pay nearly $2 million in restitution and fines related to last year's massive fire at its Richmond refinery

The explosion and blaze on Aug. 6, 2012, were caused by a leak from a corroded crude oil distillation pipe and created a huge plume of polluted black smoke. 

More than 15,000 people were treated at local hospitals for respiratory problems and other illnesses. 

The criminal charges were filed jointly Monday by District Attorney Mark Peterson and state Attorney General Kamala Harris

A Chevron lawyer entered the energy company's no contest plea during the company's subsequent arraignment before Superior Court Judge William Kolin in Martinez. 

In a no contest plea, a defendant neither admits nor denies a charge, but agrees to accept liability for the sentence that would go with a conviction. 

The six misdemeanor charges included two air pollution counts: discharging illegal amounts of carbon from the refinery's crude oil unit into the air and emitting a visibly dark cloud of contaminants on Aug. 6, 2012.   

The other four counts were for state Labor Code violations affecting workers at the refinery. 

They include failing to repair and continuing to use equipment operating outside safety limits; failing to require employees to use protective respiratory equipment; and failing to prevent non-emergency personnel from entering the emergency area last Aug. 6. 

The fourth count was failing to implement an effective injury and illness prevention program for employees on Aug. 25, 2012. 

Chevron agreed in the settlement to pay $1.28 million in fines and penalties, $575,000 for investigation and response costs by three government agencies, and $145,000 to Richmond BUILD, a worker training organization. 

The company also agreed to inspect all carbon steel pipes that may be at risk of corrosion from sulfur compounds in crude oil heated to high temperatures. 

District Attorney Mark Peterson said, "This criminal case achieves our goals of holding Chevron accountable for their conduct, protecting the public and ensuring a safer work environment at the refinery." 

Chevron said in a statement, "We are committed to continuous improvement in process safety and reliability at the refinery." 

Company spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie said workers have spent more than 1.9 million hours repairing and improving the crude oil unit and have inspected more than 16,000 pipe components during the past year. 

Chevron USA is an energy and refinery subsidiary of San Ramon-based Chevron Corp. 

The three agencies that will be reimbursed for costs are the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, $299,000; the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, $185,000; and the state Attorney General's Office, $90,000. 

Naked Acrobatic BART Harrasser Ordered to Stand Trial

A man accused of stripping naked and harassing people while doing acrobatic moves at a San Francisco BART station in May was ordered Monday to stand trial on seven felony and misdemeanor charges. 

Yeiner Garizabalo, 24, was held to answer on two felony counts of false imprisonment, four misdemeanor counts of battery on public transportation and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery for the May 10 incident at the 16th Street Mission BART station

A BART employee testified during the preliminary hearing in San Francisco Superior Court Monday afternoon that Garizabalo ran naked through the station, kicked him and grabbed his genitals while also grabbing several passengers and performing a backflip and other acrobatic moves. 

The incident was captured in a video posted on YouTube that went viral via social media in the weeks afterward. 

Maintenance worker Duane Bullard said he saw Garizabalo slide down an escalator into the station, then flip while pulling his underwear down around his ankles. 

"His body was built like Bruce Lee and he was doing stuff I've only seen in karate movies," Bullard said. 

Bullard testified that he tried to confront Garizabalo, a Colombia native who began making monkey-like sounds and had charged at a young woman who was exiting the fare gates. 

Garizabalo kicked the woman, who suffered only minor injuries and was able to run away to safety, Bullard said. 

When Bullard tried to confront him, Garizabalo began growling like a gorilla and kicked him in the groin, then grabbed Bullard's penis, the BART employee said. 

Garizabalo was also playing with his own genitals and his "eyes were wide open and glossy" during the incident, which continued as he confronted other passengers who were trying to leave the station, including an older man who he grabbed around the neck, Bullard said. 

San Francisco and BART police eventually arrived and took Garizabalo into custody on a psychiatric hold. 

His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Paul Myslin, said of the case, "It's painfully obvious this is a mental breakdown." 

Myslin and fellow defense attorney Andres Orphanopoulos argued that Garizabalo had suffered an isolated manic episode and was now on medication to address the issue. 

They asked for his bail to be reduced from $100,000 and for the felony counts to be reduced to misdemeanors, but Judge Andrew Y.S. Cheng kept the bail at that amount while ordering Garizabalo held on the two felony charges along with the five misdemeanors. 

Cheng noted though that "there may be an alternative solution down the road" to resolve the case, such as a referral to behavioral health court. 

Garizabalo had been performing with the Berkeley-based circus troupe ClownSnotBombs before the incident and members of the troupe came to Monday's hearing to support him. 

The troupe members declined to speak to reporters Monday, but one of the members said before Garizabalo's arraignment in June that his behavior had become erratic in the days before the incident and that he did not know what he did at the station until he was told about it later and saw the video. 

Garizabalo will return to court on Aug. 19 to be formally arraigned on the seven charges. 

Salinas Police Arrest 21-Year-Old Man in Gang -Related Shooting Early Monday 

Salinas police have arrested a 21-year-old man in a gang-related shooting early Monday morning that killed two people and wounded five others outside a taqueria, a police commander said.   

Giovanni Pacheco was taken into custody early Monday afternoon on suspicion of two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder after the suspect fired into a crowd at the Taco's Choice eatery at 608 Williams Road, police Cmdr. Dave Shaw said. 

Police responded to a call about a shooting at 1:38 a.m. Monday following a fight involving some agricultural field workers in the restaurant that spilled into the parking lot, Shaw said. 

In the parking lot, the suspect used a handgun to fire "quite a few shots" at the crowd, hitting seven people, including a 22-year-old man shot multiple times who died at the scene, Shaw said. 

Another victim, a 28-year-old man, later died at a hospital, police said. 

Among those wounded were three 25-year-old men -- one with life-threatening injuries -- as well as a 53-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, Shaw said. 

Police believe the shooting was gang-related and are in the process of identifying the people present during it, Shaw said. 

Police located Pacheco based on interviews with witnesses, Shaw said. 

Some of the wounded are recovering and have yet to be questioned, Shaw said. 

"We're trying to find out exactly why the fight started as well," Shaw said. 

The identities of the homicide victims are not being released until family members are notified, Shaw said. 

Monday's shootings came as Salinas has been experiencing a wave of violence that has claimed the lives of seven people since July 24. 

The killings have taxed the city's Police Department, which has been suffering staff cutbacks, Shaw said. 

"We are drastically understaffed," Shaw said. "We are pretty much spent right now." 

Meanwhile, police are still seeking a suspect in the shooting death of 23-year-old man in Salinas on Sunday morning, Shaw said.  

Police responded to a report of shots fired at 10:21 a.m. Sunday at 1126 Parkside Drive and then the family of Rubin Francisco, 23, called to say that he had been shot, police said. 

Francisco died at the scene after police officers attempted to administer CPR, police said. 

His family members told police that Francisco had only been in Salinas for 15 days and was not affiliated with a street gang. 

Witnesses in the neighborhood told police that the shooter drove away in a dark-colored compact car, police said. 

Salinas police urge anyone with information about Monday's shootings or Francisco's death to call the Police Department at (831) 758-7321 or the tip line at (831) 775-4222. 

Stockton Man Charged for Murder During July 4th Shooting in East Oakland

A Stockton man has been charged with murder and three other men have been charged with lesser offenses for the shooting death of Mortesse Wayne in East Oakland the night of July 4, authorities said Monday. 

Wayne, 23, of Oakland, was found shot in the 5700 block of Elizabeth Street, near Seminary Avenue, at about 9:48 p.m. on July 4 and was pronounced dead at a local hospital two days later. 

Oma Lyons, 37, was arrested on a murder warrant by Stockton police and a U.S. Marshals Service task force at his home at 9426 Snow Creek Circle in Stockton at about 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday, according to a probable cause statement filed in Alameda County Superior Court by Oakland police Officer Bradley Baker. 

Multiple witnesses identified Lyons as the man who discharged a firearm and struck Wayne in his head, Baker said. 

Lyons admitted in an interview with Oakland police that he was at the scene of the murder but then decided he wanted to speak to an attorney so the interview was terminated, Baker said. 

In addition to murder Lyons is charged with discharging a firearm and causing Wayne's death, an allegation which could add 25 years to his prison term if he's convicted of murder. 

Lyons has three prior felony convictions, one for possession for sale of cocaine base and two for possession of marijuana for sale, according to the district attorney's office. 

Prosecutors also charged Purvis Ellis, 27, of discharging a firearm with gross negligence and possession of a firearm by a felon. 

Baker said Ellis was arrested on a warrant at 1759 Seminary Ave. in Oakland on July 27. 

Baker said Ellis "was identified by name and photo as a person who was discharging a firearm in the air just prior to Wayne being shot and killed by Oma Lyons." 

He said Ellis was prohibited from carrying a firearm because he was convicted and sent to prison for possession of drugs for sale. 

Jason Santana, 33, who was arrested last Tuesday, and Brian Lyons are both charged with being an accessory after the fact to Wayne's murder. 

Authorities were unavailable for comment on whether Brian Lyons is related to Oma Lyons. 

Baker said Santana "was identified by name and photo as a person that collected expended shell casings from the crime scene after Wayne was shot." 

But after Santana was arrested he gave a statement denying he was at the scene when Wayne was shot, according to Baker. 

Prosecutors charged Santana with having four prior felony convictions, which could add to his prison sentence if he's found guilty. His alleged prior offenses are possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, sale and transportation of a controlled substance and possession for sale of cocaine base. 

Brian Lyons also is accused of four prior convictions: two for possession of marijuana for sale and one each for possession of a firearm by a felon and sale and transportation of a controlled substance. 

Oakland police said their investigation into the shooting is ongoing and anyone with information about it should call their homicide section at (510) 238-3821, Crime Stoppers of Oakland at (510) 777-8672 or a tip line at (510) 777-2805. 

Ernest Dronenburg Set to Dimiss Lawsuit Filed Against Same-Sex Marriage in California

As promised, San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg asked the California Supreme Court Monday to dismiss a lawsuit in which he asked the panel to stop same-sex marriages in the state. 

Dronenburg announced Friday that he planned to withdraw his July 19 petition because he believes it is similar to another lawsuit filed by the sponsors of Proposition 8, the state's now-blocked voter initiative banning gay marriage. 

"At this point my case could be considered duplicative and slow the process," Dronenburg said on Friday. 

His attorneys filed a one-sentence request for dismissal with the San Francisco-based court Monday.  

Gay and lesbian weddings resumed in California on June 28, after a federal appeals court lifted a stay of a U.S. trial judge's 2010 injunction prohibiting enforcement of the 2008 initiative. 

Two days earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court left that injunction in place when it ruled that the sponsors of Proposition 8 had no standing, or legal authority, to appeal the trial court ruling. 

Dronenburg and the Proposition 8 sponsors both argued in their state high court lawsuits that the injunction should protect only the two gay and lesbian couples who filed a federal civil rights challenge to the initiative. Both couples married on June 28. 

The state Supreme Court denied an immediate stay in both lawsuits, but is still considering the request by the Proposition 8 supporters and their committee, Protect Marriage, for a full review of their petition. 

In his original filing on July 19, Dronenburg said his arguments were similar to those of the initiative backers. But he said that as a public official whose duty to issue marriage licenses was directly affected, he additionally presented "unique interests and injuries that are particularized to him." 

Dronenburg was later criticized by several members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for taking action and retaining an outside lawyer, Charles LiMandri of the Rancho Santa Fe-based Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, without the board's direction. 

The board held closed hearings on the clerk's action last week. 

In Friday's statement, Dronenburg said that because the issue of the Proposition 8 sponsors' standing has not been raised in briefs submitted to the state Supreme Court in the past few days, he now feels confident his claims will be addressed in the other case. 

Last month, 24 other county clerks, among the state's 58, signed on to briefs opposing Dronenburg's lawsuit and saying they believe the injunction applies statewide. 

Tradgic Shooting of 19-Year-Old San Jose State University Student

A 19-year-old woman shot and killed Saturday while a passenger in a car in downtown San Jose was a student at San Jose State University slated to return to classes later this month, a spokeswoman said Monday. 

Kimberly Joyce Chico had been enrolled at the college since June 2012 and was to begin her second school year there on Aug. 20, university media relations director Pat Lopes Harris said. 

"It's very rare that we have a student caught in the wrong place at the wrong time like this," Harris said. "Very tragic." 

"Our prayers and our thoughts go out to her and her family," Harris said. 

Chico, who was at first identified by San Jose police as Kimberly Joyce Estrada, was shot at about 1:20 a.m. Saturday in the area of South Second and East San Salvador streets, police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said. 

She was in the passenger seat of a car when someone standing outside fired a gun at her, Dwyer said. 

"At this point we don't have a motive, we don't have any suspects identified," Dwyer said. 

"Whether somebody was shooting directly into the car, or whether it was just driving through as shots were being fired outside the car and she just happened to be there, we don't know," Dwyer said. 

"In a case like this, where the homicide detectives literally have nothing to go on, it's always somebody from the community that gives us a kick start and points us in a certain direction with the investigation." 

The shooting happened in the area of East San Salvador that has a high concentration of nightclubs and potential witnesses, Dwyer said. 

"Somebody saw something, somebody knows something about this case," Dwyer said. 

The driver of the car carrying Chico was not hit and called 911, Dwyer said. 

Chico was transported to Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, Dwyer said. 

The homicide marks the city's 30th of the year compared to 25 at this time in 2012, Dwyer said. 

FBI Investigate Series of Robberies in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties

A group who robbed a series of banks in San Francisco and San Mateo counties in the past few months allegedly struck again last week in San Francisco's Richmond District, FBI officials said Monday. 

A group of at least three men robbed a First Republic Bank at 6001 Geary Blvd. on Thursday afternoon, according to the FBI. 

The same suspects are also believed to be connected to the robberies of a Bank of America at 1007 Taraval St. in San Francisco on June 6, as well as two bank robberies in San Francisco and Millbrae on June 3 and another on April 19 at a Wells Fargo at 725 Irving St., FBI spokesman Peter Lee said. 

In each case, witnesses described three suspects entering the bank armed with at least one handgun and taking money from teller drawers. 

During the most recent robbery on Thursday, one of the suspects also struck a bank employee in the head, San Francisco police said. 

The suspects are described as three black men between 20 and 35 years old, two of whom are about 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall while the other is between 5 feet 8 and 5 feet 10 inches tall, FBI officials said. 

The suspects have slim to medium builds and were seen wearing thick jackets, gloves and clothing to mask their heads and faces, according to the FBI. 

The FBI has released surveillance photos of the suspects that were taken during the various bank heists. 

Anyone with information about the suspects, who should be considered armed and dangerous, should call their nearest FBI office or 911. Calls in the San Francisco area can be made 24 hours a day to (415) 553-7400 and tips can also be submitted online to tips.fbi.gov. 

Sen. Barbara Boxer Visits Oakland to Promote New Health Care Law

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, came to Oakland Monday to promote the nation's new health care law, saying it will help millions of Americans get the health care they need. 

Speaking at La Clinica de La Raza community health center in Oakland's largely Hispanic Fruitvale district, Boxer said the Affordable Care Act is providing funding for construction and renovation projects at community health centers across the country. 

Health centers in California such as La Clinica de La Raza are receiving $509 million of that funding, she said. 

Boxer said community health providers also will get funding to inform residents about their new health care choices and their eligibility for financial assistance or guaranteed coverage through Medicaid. 

In addition, Boxer said it's important to educate residents about new coverage that will be available through California's new state-run health care exchange, which is called Covered California and will start enrolling people on Oct. 1. 

Jane Garcia, the chief executive of La Clinica de La Raza, which is based in Oakland and operates 31 clinics in Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties serving 85,000 patients annually, said the clinics plan to enroll thousands of new patients. 

"We're ready for ObamaCare and we're excited to be part of a wild movement," Garcia said. 

Referring to the Oct. 1 start for enrolling people in Covered California, Herb Schultz, the regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said, "We're 57 days away from making history." 

Schultz said that's because the local implementation of the Affordable Care Act will start at that time and millions of people will be able to get affordable health insurance for the first time. 

Among those will be about 56,000 Alameda County residents who will be eligible for Medi-Cal subsidies, he said. 

Boxer said Covered California and similar state-run health care exchanges that will begin in all 50 states will provide marketplaces where people can compare a wide range of health plans that would allow them to get coverage for as little as $162 a month and find out if they can get subsidies to make coverage even more affordable. 

Boxer said the new law, which is already in place but has many provisions that won't take effect until next year, is "a big deal" because many people across the country, including 7 million Californians, currently don't have health insurance. 

She said one of the law's most important elements is banning insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. 

As an example of the law's significance, Boxer then introduced Castro Valley resident Sage McCollister, who said the law is already helping her family because she was able to get insurance for her daughter Leah, who was born seven years ago with neutropenia, an autoimmune disorder that makes her vulnerable to serious infections. 

McCollister said she applied to eight different insurance companies to try to get insurance for her daughter but none of them offered plans that were affordable. 

She said that after the law went into effect she was able to get insurance for Leah for $8 a month and that helped her afford to have Leah get an expensive procedure to treat a spinal cord problem that could have resulted in paralysis. 

McCollister said that without the Affordable Care Act, "My family would be bankrupt and Leah wouldn't have gotten the health care they need." 

Victim of Fatal Berkeley Shooting Thursday has been Identified

A man who was fatally shot in Berkeley on Thursday night has been identified as 24-year-old Dustin Bynum, police said Monday. 

The shooting happened at about 9:15 p.m. in the 1800 block of San Pablo Avenue, near the Albatross Pub. 

Officers responded to multiple reports of shots fired and found Bynum, a Berkeley resident, suffering from gunshot wounds, police said. He was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

The murder was Berkeley's third of 2013 and came 13 days after Jermaine Davis was found shot in the 1800 block of Derby Street at about 6:50 p.m. on July 17. Davis died at a hospital a short time later. 

Bynum was shot about a block and a half from the spot in the 1000 block of Delaware Street where 34-year-old Zontee Jones was fatally shot shortly after 11 a.m. on Feb. 4. 

Two suspects have been arrested and charged with murder in connection with Jones' death, but no one has been arrested for the deaths of Bynum or Davis. 

Gun Battle in Santa Cruz Leaves One Watsonville Man Dead

A rolling gun battle that left a Watsonville man dead began after two coworkers who belonged to rival gangs spotted each other while driving on Mission Street in Santa Cruz Friday, police said. 

Police arrested Marcus Bates, 22, and Michael Bates, 18, both of Aptos, on suspicion of homicide and Marisa Arroyo, 18, on suspicion of being an accessory to the crime and destroying evidence. 

According to police, Marcus Bates and the victim, 31-year-old Alejandro Garcia Sanchez, worked together at a Santa Cruz business and had previously fought there. 

They spotted each other while driving on Mission Street shortly before 11 p.m. Friday. Three cars exchanged gunfire and Sanchez was hit and crashed his car in a Burger King parking lot, police said. 

Police said they have recovered the vehicles driven by the suspects and all had been hit by gunfire. 

Investigators are asking anyone who witnessed the shooting, may have video footage, or found fragments of the cars or bullets to contact Santa Cruz police at (831) 420-5820.

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Man Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries in Cow Hollow Stabbing

A man was seriously injured in a stabbing in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood early Sunday morning, police said today.

The stabbing was reported at 1:06 a.m.

Sunday in the 3000 block of Buchanan Street, near Union Street.

The 20-year-old victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment of stab wounds that are considered life-threatening, according to police.

No other information about the stabbing was immediately available this morning.

 

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I-80 Lanes to Stay Closed Until Noon

Lanes will remain closed until noon today on westbound Interstate Highway 80 just west of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco because of a big-rig fire earlier this morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The big-rig caught fire at about 5:45 a.m. on westbound Highway 80 near the Fifth Street exit, CHP officials said.

The blaze was extinguished more than an hour later, at 6:53 a.m., according to San Francisco fire officials.

No one was injured.

The two right lanes of westbound Highway 80 will remain closed until about noon while crews clean up the roadway and tow away the charred truck, CHP Officer Kevin Bartlett said.

 

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Crews Contain Big-Rig Fire, WB Hwy 80 Lanes Remain Closed

Firefighters in San Francisco have contained a blaze that sparked in a big-rig's engine this morning, but traffic remains snarled on westbound Interstate Highway 80.

The two right lanes of westbound Highway 80, near Fifth Street, are closed, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The big-rig reportedly caught fire at about 5:45 a.m., the CHP said.

A Sig-alert was issued at 5:59 a.m.

Fire crews contained the blaze of the big-rig at about 6:45 a.m., a fire employee said.

The driver of the big-rig was not injured, she said. It is expected that the lanes will be closed for at least two hours, according to the CHP.

 

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Monday Morning News Roundup

Hercules Man Arrested in Connection to Fatal Stabbing

A Hercules man was arrested Sunday in connection with the fatal stabbing of an El Sobrante hardware store employee, according to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office. 

Deputies were called to Oliver's Ace Hardware on the 4000 block of San Pablo Road around 9 a.m. on a report of a robbery in progress, sheriff's office spokesman Jimmy Lee said. 

They found the victim, a 49-year-old man whose identity has not yet been released, in the parking lot with stabbing wounds to his upper body, Lee said. 

He was taken to John Muir Medical Center, when he was pronounced dead shortly after 11 a.m. 

Deputies searched the area and arrested Hercules resident Daymond Agnew, 34, inside a nearby home. He was booked into Contra Costa County jail on suspicion of murder, and is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, Lee said. 

The motive in the attack remains under investigation. 

Winning California Lottery Ticket Sold at Milipitas Gas Station

A lottery ticket worth more than $1.1 million was sold at a Milpitas gas station, lottery officials announced. 

The winning California Lottery ticket was sold at Landess Arco Service, located at 1575 Landess Avenue, officials said. 

The Powerball ticket matched five out of six numbers in Saturday's drawing. The winning numbers were 24, 36, 21, 45 and 42. 

The winner has 180 days from the day of the drawing to claim a prize. 

Emergency Landing at SFO due to Engine Failure

A United Airlines flight bound for Sydney, Australia was forced to make an emergency landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday night, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said. 

Pilots aboard United Flight 863 declared an emergency a short time after taking off from SFO at 10:45 p.m., FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said. 

One of four engines powering the Boeing 747-400 apparently failed, Kenitzer said. 

The plane turned around and landed safely at SFO without further incident, he said. 

A spokesperson for United Airlines did not immediately return a call seeking comment. 

Reports of Ammonia Smell in Burlingame Business

A San Mateo County hazardous materials team responded to a business in Burlingame Sunday morning, a fire department dispatcher said. 

A smell of ammonia was reported at a business on Burlway Road near U.S. Highway 101 just before noon, the dispatcher said. 

No injuries were reported, and the scene was cleared by 1:30 p.m., the dispatcher said. 

The incident remains under investigation, she said. 

San Jose Women Shot has been Identified

A woman who was shot dead early Saturday morning while riding in a car in downtown San Jose has been identified as 19-year-old Kimberly Joyce Estrada, according to police. 

Estrada was shot around 1:20 a.m. in the area of South Second and East San Salvador streets, Sgt. Jason Dwyer said. 

She was transported to Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead, Dwyer said. 

An investigation revealed that Estrada and a 21-year-old man were driving in the area of South Third and East San Salvador streets when she was shot by someone outside the car, the sergeant said. 

The driver, who was not hit, stopped the car and called 911, Dwyer said. 

Dwyer said on Saturday that no suspects have yet been identified or arrested. It is unclear why the shooting took place and whether it was gang-related, he said. 

No one else was injured in the shooting. 

Police are continuing to investigate the incident. 

The homicide marks the city's 30th of the year. 

Two-Alarm Fire in Oakland Damages two homes

Two homes were damaged Sunday morning in a two-alarm in Oakland, a fire department dispatcher said. 

Firefighters responded to reports of fire in a home in the 1900 block of West Street just before 7 a.m., according to the Oakland Fire Department

Flames spread to a neighboring structure before the blaze was brought under control by 9:30 a.m., the dispatcher said. 

No one was injured, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

SF Police Heightened After State Department Terror Alert

San Francisco police say they are on heightened alert this weekend following a State Department terror alert that has also shut down 19 U.S. embassies and consulates. 

There is no direct threat to San Francisco, but police have been monitoring various areas around the city and will deploy more resources if needed, police Officer Gordon Shyy said. 

"I want to remind citizens if they 'see something, say something,'" Shyy said. "We want to be proactive given the State Department's warnings in order to protect our citizens and infrastructure in San Francisco." 

Travelers and U.S. citizens living abroad were first warned Friday that terrorist attacks are being planned this month against U.S. and Western targets, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. 

"Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," U.S. State Department officials said in an advisory. 

U.S. citizens were especially warned to remain aware of the potential for attacks on public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. 

Travelers should stay aware of their surroundings and adopt appropriate safety precautions. 

In particular, travelers should register their travel plans with the consular section of the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, either online or at the nearest embassy or consulate. 

The program provides travelers with security updates and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact them in an emergency. 

Salinas Man Shot in Front of Apartment

A Salinas man was shot multiple times Sunday afternoon as he was drinking with friends in front of his apartment, according to police. 

The victim, a 25-year-old man, was in front of 44 Natividad Road with friends when two subjects approached him on foot and fired handguns at him, according to Commander Sheldon Bryan. 

Witnesses told police suspects ran to a white four-door Honda Accord and drove toward an apartment complex on La Posada Drive. 

The victim was airlifted to a hospital in critical but stable condition. 

The suspects were described as Hispanic males wearing light-colored shirts and dark pants, and one had a tattoo on his neck, Bryan said. 

Police are treating the shooting as a gang-related incident. 

16-Year-Old Boy Walked Away From Juvenile Detention Facility

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office is searching for a 16-year-old boy who walked away from a juvenile detention facility Sunday evening. 

The boy left the Log Cabin Youth Camp, a minimum security facility in La Honda, around 6:30 p.m. 

He is described as a black male wearing a burgundy shirt and tan pants. 

If you see the boy, do not approach him, but call 911, according to the sheriff's office. 

Ongoing Investigation of the Market Street Stabbing Saturday Night

Police are investigating a stabbing that occurred on Market Street in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood Saturday night. 

At about 9:45 p.m., police received a report that a male victim had been stabbed in the 1000 block of Market Street, near the Golden Gate Theatre.  

Officers located the victim, who was suffering from an injury to his upper body. He was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, police said. 

According to police, the suspect was described as a black male in his 40 or 50s. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt at the time of the stabbing and fled east on Market Street. 

The incident remains under investigation, police said. 

Back to Back Shootings in Bayview-Hunters Point Neighborhood

A man in his 20s is in critical condition Sunday morning following San Francisco's second shooting in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood on Saturday, police said. 

San Francisco police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said the shooting is the second to occur in this neighborhood in less than 12 hours. 

Police have not been able to confirm whether the two shootings are related, although they occurred only a couple blocks away. 

At about 11:25 p.m. on Saturday, officers responded to the unit block of Harbor Road, near Ingalls Street, on a report of a shooting.  

According to police, the victim, a man in his 20s, was located with gunshot wounds to his torso and transported to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

Police said they are looking for two suspects, both described as black male adults wearing all dark clothing. 

In an earlier shooting on Saturday afternoon, a suspect was seen fleeing from the scene after three people were injured in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, police said. 

Two women and a man sustained gunshot wounds in the 1100 block of Palou Avenue at about 1:30 p.m., according to Shyy. 

The two crime scenes are about five blocks away, police said. 

Witnesses reported seeing the victims drive themselves to the hospital, and a short time later they arrived at San Francisco General Hospital, Shyy said. 

Shyy said he did not know the extent of their injuries or the victims' ages. 

While early reports suggested as many as three male suspects were seen fleeing the area, Shyy said the investigation indicates that only one male was seen running on foot down Harbor Road. The suspect then got into a white vehicle and drove away. 

The suspect was described as a black male wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and light blue jeans. Police said the driver of the suspect vehicle was described as a black male wearing a white undershirt. 

Both suspects and the vehicle remain at large, police said. 

Collision on Highway 29 Leaves One Dead

One person was fatally injured in a solo vehicle collision on state Highway 29 near American Canyon in Napa County Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

Based on an initial report, the vehicle was traveling at about 90 mph on state Highway 29, just south of Jameson Canyon Road at about 4:50 a.m. when the collision occurred, according to the CHP. 

The vehicle, a black 1995 Toyota Camry, traveled off the roadway and was fully engulfed in flames, according to the CHP. 

The person inside the vehicle was declared deceased at the scene of the collision and the their identification has not been released, according to the CHP. 

The fatal collision remains under investigation. 

Bay Area Weather Forecast August 5th

Cloudy skies, patchy fog and drizzle are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are likely to be in the 50s to mid 60s, with winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon. 

Cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog and drizzle after midnight. Lows are likely to be in the lower 50s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph. 

Mostly cloudy skies, patchy fog and drizzle are likely Tuesday morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to mid 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

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Bay Bridge Lanes Closed Due to Big-Rig Fire

Two lanes of westbound Interstate Highway 80 on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge near the Treasure Island on-ramp are closed as crews work to put out a fire on a big-rig this morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Fire was reportedly coming from the engine of the big-rig at about 5:45 a.m., the CHP said.

Crews from San Francisco fire have responded to the area to put out the fire, according to the CHP.

A Sig-alert was issued at 5:59 a.m. as the two right lanes of westbound Highway 80 have been closed, the CHP said.

It is expected that the lanes will reopen around 8 a.m., according to the CHP.

 

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SF Crews Put Out Fire in Inner Mission

Firefighters were able to put out a structure fire in San Francisco's Inner Mission District this morning. 

Crews responded to a report of a fire in the 3000 block of 24th Street at about 12:50 a.m., a dispatcher said.

The fire was out and deemed under control at about 1:10 a.m., he said.

No injuries were reported.

The cause is not yet known.

 

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Bay Area Communities Head Outdoors in 'National Night Out'

A neighborhood block party that will be held throughout the Bay Area Tuesday aims to promote safety, community networking, and police relations at the 30th annual "National Night Out."

Many Bay Area residents will participate in the evening outdoors along with thousands of communities nationwide.

The event will connect neighbors and community members, including law enforcement and other agencies, starting around 5:30 p.m.

The idea behind the block parties is that communities that know and are familiar with each other are safer and better equipped to fight crime.

This message hopes to rings loud and clear in Oakland where a massive block party is planned for residents to meet neighbors, city officials, law enforcement and enjoy food and music.

One of more than 100 events throughout the city will be held at the parking lot outside of Safe Storage at 2783 E. 12th St. where Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, city councilman Noel Gallo, BART police Chief Ben Fairow, Oakland police Captain S. Tull and Oakland firefighters are among the local leaders expected to attend.

Safe Storage manager Chantha Hack said the storage business serves as a community center and has hosted the "National Night Out" event for the past seven years.

She said residents and businesses within a 3-mile radius in the Fruitvale neighborhood were contacted to participate in the event.

A new senior housing center near the BART station will bring in some residents, and nearby Oakland public schools are also involved in the night.

As part of the community building, a 75-year-old Elvis impersonator will perform, along with a group of children dancing and entertaining the crowd.

"The whole point of it is to get the neighbors to communicate," she said.

In a neighborhood where there are some 15 different languages spoken, she said, the event offers a way for neighbors to connect, share contact information and get to know their local resources.

An open mic at the end of the night will give attendees an opportunity to share thoughts about the neighborhood, worries about crime and ideas to improve the area, Hack said.

At the block party there will be a jump house, balloons, face painting, a piñata and other family fun.

More than 155 parties were hosted throughout the city last year.

Each San Francisco police station will hold an event for "National Night Out."

Each of the 11 districts will hold community events, including three gatherings in the Bayview District at Mendell Plaza, at Third Street and Oakdale Avenue and at Youngblood Coleman playground.

The police chief will stop by various events, a police spokesman said.

In Redwood City the night out to fight crime will be held at Courthouse Square in downtown Redwood City starting at 6 p.m.

The night's festivities include free fingerprinting for children, music, disaster preparedness information and other safety booths, a bike raffle and public safety vehicles on display.

San Mateo police had more than 50 block parties last year, and expects to host a similar number of events this year, police said.

Belmont police will be checking in at nine neighborhoods and locations where residents will get outdoors and gather together.

The theme for this year's event is "See Something, Say Something."

Other city agencies will be on hand to speak with residents, including the Public Works and Public Safety departments, organizers said.

Novato police and firefighters are teaming up in the North Bay to visit communities who are getting to know their neighbors.

Events are planned elsewhere in the area, including at the Yountville Community Center, and in Rohnert Park and Napa.

Newark police are going all out in the name of public safety with a root beer social at the Silliman Center, located at 6800 Mowry Ave., and a jazz band performing at the Newark Public Library, located at 5300 Civic Terrace Ave.

There will be more than 20 events in various neighborhoods that "have come together," according to Donna Shern, Newark police community engagement manager.

Each neighborhood is expected to plan something different -- some with potlucks, others with outdoor cookouts.

Patrol officers along with other public safety officials will be out in the dozens of neighborhoods, she said.

Shern said the night is about community building. "We're encouraging people in the neighborhoods to get to know each other and take a stand against crime," she said.

This year is poised to be the busiest year yet and the police chief will be making his rounds in the city, she said.

Nearby Union City police will host four events at local parks.

San Ramon police said neighborhood watch groups in the city have planned special events for the evening including potlucks, block parties, ice cream socials and other get-togethers.

Police will be visiting the various neighborhoods throughout the night.

In Pleasant Hill, there will be a barbecue, giveaways, a police K-9 demonstrations, a bounce house and tours of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances.

Taking place outside of City Hall at 100 Gregory Lane, the event will connect local public safety officials with residents.

More information about "National Night Out" is available at http://www.natw.org.

 

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Lee Applauds Brown's Forestallment of Bart Strike

After California Gov. Jerry Brown stepped in to forestall a BART strike, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee raved over the governor's "decisive action."

Lee "applauded" the governor's decision to appoint a three-person board of inquiry to look into the ongoing contract talks "so that the people of the Bay Area will not endure a debilitating BART strike."

Had Brown not stepped in late Sunday night, a strike would have begun at midnight today.

The board will investigate the threatened strike.

The inquiry was called because Brown said a strike would "significantly disrupt public transportation services" and "endanger the public's health, safety and welfare."

The board is required to report back on the contract talks within seven days, with strikes and lockouts prohibited during the investigation.

Lee said the board "can help move this dispute toward resolution" and he urged both BART union and management leaders to reach an agreement that benefits both sides "as quickly as possible."

Leaders of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers, notified BART on Thursday night that their members would go on strike today if a deal wasn't reached by midnight Sunday.

Negotiators were trying to strike a deal between BART and its two biggest unions on wages, pension and health care contributions.

But Lee said that a strike wouldn't hurt just BART and its employees, it would affect residents throughout the Bay Area.

"A strike would not only have a negative impact on our entire regional economy, but it would undoubtedly hurt working families … people who did not have a voice over the last several months during non-conclusive negotiations."

BART officials said they officially asked the governor Sunday to call for a cooling off period to allow them to continue to negotiate.

"This would allow us to continue negotiating while assuring the public that it will have transit service tomorrow and for another 60 days as we continue to bargain," BART Board President Tom Radulovich said in a letter to the governor.

Union officials expressed disappointment in the outcome and said BART has been bargaining in bad faith, with no real attempt to reach a compromise and no interest in addressing many concerns raised by the union.

They said the inquiry could help illuminate the problem, but will necessarily take energy away from contract talks.

"We've been here for the last 24 hours and we only got a very regressive proposal from BART in the past 45 minutes," said Josie Mooney, a negotiator for Service Employees International Union Local 1021.

Antonette Bryant, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, said talks could have been resolved by the end of June if BART had been willing to negotiate.

"If the district would come to the table and bargain with us in good faith, none of this would be necessary, the governor would not have to get involved, the public worries would not be necessary," Bryant said.

BART officials have said they are focused on long term infrastructure repairs and improvement and reining in the costs of benefits.

"Our labor agreements must reflect those financial realities," Radulovich's letter to the governor said.

Lee, however, said the most important aspect to consider is the public.

"The riding public is and must remain our number one priority as all parties work to resolve this dispute."

 

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Friday Morning News Roundup

San Jose Ex-Teacher Guilty of Molesting Young Girls, Faces 75 Years to Life

A former San Jose teacher faces a sentence of 75 years to life in prison after his conviction Thursday of molesting five young girls at an elementary school, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

A jury in Superior Court in San Jose found Craig Chandler, 36, guilty on all five felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 and five additional multiple victim allegations, Deputy District Attorney Alison Filo said.

The felony convictions and multiple victim accusations, which are enhancements to sentencing, amounted to 15 years per count and Chandler could be sentenced to 75 years to life at a hearing set for Sept. 27, Filo said.

The mother of one of the five girls was in the courtroom when the verdict was read and "is incredibly relieved to be on the other side of this case," Filo said.

"The facts in this case are unimaginable," Filo said. "The tragedy that was inflicted by Mr. Chandler is unspeakable and the district attorney's office is certainly proud to have represented the victims to the best of our ability and hope this brings some closure to them so that they can move on with their lives."

The female victims were between the ages of 7 and 9 when Chandler molested them during recesses in his classroom at O.B. Whaley Elementary School in East San Jose sometime during the 2010 to 2011 and 2011 to 2012 school years, Filo said.

San Jose police arrested Chandler at his home Jan. 10, 2012.

The district attorney's office alleged that Chandler abused the girls by putting his penis in their mouths after blindfolding them alone in class during recess in what he said was a touch and feel game.

Each of the girls, who were all Chandler's students, testified in court for the prosecution and were "incredible," Filo said. "They were amazing."

The number of victims and the discovery of sperm on two children's chairs in Chandler's classroom that matched his DNA were among the things that persuaded the jury to convict him, Filo said.

Another key factor was the descriptions the children gave while on the witness stand about what happened to them in Chandler's classroom, Filo said.

"When you look at their testimony on the whole, there is just no other explanation for this conduct," Filo said.

"The children were made victims by duplicity, they were made victims by Mr. Chandler's hiding what he was doing," Filo said. "My greatest hope is that these children forget about being in Mr. Chandler's class and never realize the kind of victim that he made them."

Chandler's lawyer, Brian Madden, failed to persuade the jury during the trial that his client had been the victim of "a rush to judgment" by parents and police and that investigators asked the girls leading questions to which they gave biased and inconsistent answers.

Members of the Chandler's family, who attended his two-week trial, wept as the verdict was read.

Chandler, who was hunched over the defendant's table, at one point shook his head slowly.

Bart and Unions Battle to Win Public Support

BART officials and union leaders held dueling news conferences Thursday to try to win the public's support with only three days remaining before another potential strike Monday morning.

The day started with Antonette Bryant, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers, and other union leaders alleging at a morning news conference that BART management's lead negotiator, Thomas Hock, has a history of engaging in hardball tactics and forcing strikes.

Bryant accused Hock and BART of engaging in "surface bargaining," which she said is a technique designed not to make progress.

Bryant said, "We come to the table every day to bargain but we can't bargain with ourselves," alleging that BART management isn't participating in a meaningful way.

BART management spokespersons then held a midday news conference to say that although the transit agency's employees deserve a raise, their new contract must address the escalating cost of their benefit packages.

BART spokesman Jim Allison said the agency's medical costs have grown 251 percent in 12 years and its pension costs have grown 126 percent in 10 years so it must begin to "normalize" employees' benefits too so they're closer to those earned by other public employees.

BART must keep its costs under control because it will need to make $6 billion in improvements to keep its trains system safe and reliable, Allison said.

Management met at the bargaining table at noon with negotiators for ATU Local 1555 members and Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, but talks ended at about 4 p.m. because union members left to participate in a rally and march at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland that was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

At the morning news conference, Bryant said the unions' felt justified in planning to leave the talks at 4 p.m. because management has left the bargaining table early at other sessions when the unions wanted to keep talking.

Bryant said the purpose of the rally and march is to "unite riders and workers" and said union leaders would be available to resume negotiations Thursday night.

However, BART spokesman Rick Rice said at 5 p.m. that he hadn't heard of any plans to resume the talks.

But he said negotiating sessions are scheduled for each of the next three days.

Bryant said union leaders have reached tentative agreements on some minor issues in the contract talks but said the two sides still have a lot of work to do before they can reach agreements on the big issues in the talks, which are wages, pension contributions, health care contributions and worker safety.

San Leandro Man Charged with Manslaughter for Fatal Crash

A suspected drunken driver has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for a crash that killed a 57-year-old woman in San Leandro early Sunday morning, prosecutors said.

Akeem King also has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and or drugs causing great bodily injury in connection with the crash, which occurred in the 14500 block of Washington Boulevard at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, killing Lomina Faumuina, 57, and critically injuring Ronald Gene Hill, the man who was driving the car she was in.

King was also injured in the accident and was hospitalized.

San Leandro police said King was traveling at about 100 mph when it crashed head-on into the vehicle carrying Hill and Faumuina.

Bay Point Man Gets 21 Years for 2010 Fatal Shootings

A man was sentenced to 21 years in prison Thursday for the fatal shooting of a friend in Bay Point in 2010.

Bay Point resident Prudencio Rubio, 33, received the sentence in a Martinez courtroom in connection with the killing of 35-year-old Hector Sanchez, a friend with whom he used and sold methamphetamine, according to attorneys.

Rubio was initially charged with murder for the fatal shooting but accepted a plea deal last month in exchange for the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter with an enhancement for the use of a gun.

Deputy District Attorney Molly Manoukian said that at the time of the shooting, Rubio and Sanchez were in an ongoing dispute over a woman and that Sanchez had threatened the defendant in the days leading up to the shooting.

Rubio appeared to be in a drug-fueled, paranoid state of mind when Sanchez paid him a visit at his Bay Point home the afternoon of Aug. 11, 2010, Manoukian said.

At some point during the encounter, the defendant shot Sanchez multiple times, killing him.

Rubio also shot himself in the leg in the process, then fled in his yellow Ford Escape and led police on a chase on state Highway 4, according to police.

When officers caught up with him a short time later, the defendant refused to get out of his car and repeatedly put a gun to his head.

Police said a hostage negotiation team was able to coax Rubio out of the SUV after about an hour and arrest him.

Rubio will be on lifelong parole upon his release from prison.

23 Year-Old Antioch Rapper Killed in Shooting

A 23-year-old man with ties to Richmond and Antioch was killed in a shooting in Antioch on Wednesday night, according to the Contra Costa County coroner's office.

Lavonta Crummie, a Richmond resident with an address in Antioch, was shot and killed around 7:30 p.m. on Delta Fair Boulevard near Buchanan Road, according to police and a coroner's deputy.

Crummie was pronounced dead at the scene.

An unidentified Vallejo man was also struck by the gunfire and taken to a hospital where he remains in critical condition, according to police.

No arrests have been made.

According to Crummie's Facebook page and other online records, the 23-year-old was a North Richmond rapper who went by the name of "Macho".

Police said witnesses described the suspect vehicle in the shooting as a gold four-door car that is possibly a Honda or Chevrolet.

Korean War Vet from SF Buried in San Bruno; Was Identified 60 Years After Death

After more than six decades of uncertainty, a family Thursday finally was able to bury the remains of a Korean War veteran from San Francisco who was identified recently via DNA technology.

Army Sgt. First Class Joseph Steinberg, 31, was among more than 100 U.S. soldiers who were taken as prisoners during a battle in 1951 and later died of malnutrition at a prison camp, his family said.

However, Steinberg's body remained missing until recently when scientists at a U.S. military DNA identification laboratory were able to identify them among boxes of remains that North Korea gave to the U.S. in the early 1990s.

Steinberg's niece and nephew were among more than 100 people who came out to the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno to see the missing soldier laid to rest.

"Never in a million years could I imagine this happening," said Marlene Baisa, Steinberg's niece who grew up with him in San Francisco's Mission District.

"Uncle Joe was a shining light in a very large family," Baisa said, recalling dancing and spending time with him before he joined the Army and served in both World War II and the Korean War.

"I have missed Uncle Joe my whole life," she said.

Baisa said Steinberg's brother Charles frequently wrote letters to the federal government asking for more information about what happened to his remains but passed away before receiving an answer.

Joseph was buried next to his brother Charles. Ron Smith, Steinberg's nephew, was only 4 years old when he died, but later joined the Marine Corps and said he wanted to attend the memorial service to honor his uncle and his military service.

Smith said Steinberg was apparently forced to march 100 miles to the prison camp where he eventually died.

He said it remains unclear why Steinberg died of starvation while other U.S. prisoners eventually were released and walked free.

"I would like to think others walked out because he considered the guy to his left and the guy to his right more important," he said.

The program for the memorial service showed a San Francisco Examiner photo from 1953 of Baisa holding a photo of her missing uncle.

Baisa said that although it has taken 62 years to bring her uncle to his final resting place back in the Bay Area, his memory lived on through his family.

"He's always been right here," she said, pointing to her heart.

Redwood City Man Who Killed Poodle Sentenced to 3 Years Felony Probation

A man who killed a poodle received his sentencing Thursday, which included three years of felony probation, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office

Marcos Montano-Topete, 33, attacked his 16-year-old next-door neighbor's 26-pound poodle Globsis with a brick March 26, 2012, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said.

The dog whimpered in a pool of its own blood in front of Topete's home, and ultimately had to be euthanized by the Peninsula Humane Society.

Topete was found guilty Feb. 8 for felony counts of malicious killing of an animal and animal cruelty.

The unincorporated Redwood City resident was sentenced to three years felony probation; one year in county jail, 352 days of which have been credited; 12 counseling sessions pertaining to animal care; and restitution of $800 to be paid to the victim.

He is not allowed to live in a home or work where animals are present, Guidotti said.

Topete had been out of custody on $10,000 bail bond during the trial.

Alameda County Judge Faces Probation After Elder Abuse Plea

A former Alameda County Superior Court judge who was accused of stealing the life savings of his elderly neighbor in the Berkeley Hills over a period of more than a decade faces only five years' probation under a plea agreement reached Thursday.

Paul Seeman, 58, was charged with 12 counts each of perjury and offering a false or forged instrument, three counts each of elder theft and grand theft, and two counts of unauthorized disclosure of information.

Of the 32 total counts, all were felonies except for the two counts of unauthorized disclosure of information, which were misdemeanors.

Seeman had potentially faced a lengthy sentence if he'd been convicted of all the charges against him, but the Alameda County District Attorney's Office agreed to dismiss most of the charges and to accept his no contest plea to two felonies: one count each of elder abuse and perjury.

Seeman's hearing at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland was handled by retired Placer County Superior Court Judge J. Richard Couzens, as all Alameda County judges had recused themselves from his case.

Couzens will sentence Seeman at a hearing Oct. 22.

The charges against Seeman stem from allegations that he stole from his neighbor, Anne Nutting, after her husband Lee died in 1999 at age 90.

Nutting died at the age of 97 in April 2010.

Berkeley police had investigated Seeman for more than two years before he was arrested in his chambers at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland on June 15, 2012.

He spent one night in custody at the Glenn Dyer Jail, which is next to the courthouse, but then was released on $552,000 bail.

Seeman was put on leave shortly after he was arrested but continued to receive his judicial salary until he agreed in March to resign from his job as judge.

A declaration filed in court by Berkeley police states that Seeman befriended Nutting in December 1998 after her husband fell at the couple's home on Santa Barbara Road and police found the home to be uninhabitable because of hoarding.

Police said Seeman obtained power of attorney for the couple the next month after he found $1 million in stock certificates and uncashed dividend checks in their home.

According to police, Seeman arranged the sale of two Santa Cruz properties the couple owned after Lee Nutting died in late 1999 and by August 2004 he had assumed control of nearly all of Anne Nutting's monetary affairs, putting his name on her financial accounts, which contained more than $2.2 million.

District Attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said that as a result of Seeman's convictions, he is barred by law from judicial office and disbarred from practicing law in California and he will be required not to "harm, molest or annoy" Ali Mehrizi, who married Anne Nutting after Lee Nutting did and is her surviving husband.

Drenick said Seeman has already paid the amount of $299,436 in restitution for loan and interest costs and will pay an additional restitution of $5,649 before he's sentenced.

District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said in a statement that she believes, "Justice is served through the resolution of this case" because Seeman "will never serve in a position of trust or authority again as a result of these convictions."

O'Malley said Seeman "was removed from his judicial seat as a result of this case" and will be on probation for five years "with extensive terms and conditions."

O'Malley said, "Paul Seeman is not a free man; he is under the authority of the Probation Department for the next several years" and can be sent to county jail or local prison if he violates any term or condition of his probation.

She said, "Seeman has paid for his breach of trust as a judicial officer and, he has paid for his financial abuse of the elderly victim who has since passed away."

Seeman's lawyer, Laurel Headley, didn't return a phone call seeking comment on his case.

Oakland Movie Theater Allowing Patrons to Pay What They Want This Month

To thank moviegoers for their support, patrons of a movie theater in Oakland will be able to pay whatever amount they want this month as part of a program that will also benefit local nonprofits, the theater's general manager said.

The New Parkway Theater, located at 474 24th St., is kicking off Karma Cinema Month through the end of August, general manager J Moses Ceaser said.

The New Parkway opened late last year and sells beer, wine, pizza and other meals that can be taken into the theater during a movie.

Although under different management, the theater is similar in spirit to the Parkway Speakeasy Theater, which was at a different location and closed in 2009 because of financial difficulties.

To thank all of the community members who fought for a new theater, The New Parkway will allow patrons to pay whatever they want, whether it's nothing or an amount well above the normal price of a movie ticket, Ceaser said.

"We'll get everything across the range," he said. "But if someone gives nothing, they're still going to get the same phenomenal treatment as someone who donates $100."

Theater staff will also be giving out various freebies to moviegoers this month as thanks for their support, Ceaser said.

"There are hundreds if not thousands of people who helped get the theater open," he said. "The theater is only open right now because of their generosity."

To increase its commitment to the community, the theater is donating 30 percent of its ticket sales in August to four local nonprofits -- Alameda County Community Food Bank, College Track, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Hopalong Animal Rescue.

Ceaser said the idea for Karma Cinema Month came from his experience volunteering at Karma Kitchen, a restaurant in Berkeley that allowed customers to pay in advance for a future customer's meal.

"As you come through the door, you're told by the greeter that your meal is paid for, and at the end you would have the opportunity to leave a donation for future diners," he said. "It was totally based on trust and generosity."

Woody Allen Film 'Blue Jasmine' Filmed in SF Opens in Bay Area Theaters Friday

The latest Woody Allen film starring Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin that uses San Francisco as the drama's setting is opening in Bay Area theaters today.

"Blue Jasmine," written and directed by Allen, is about a wealthy New York City woman who finds herself broke.

She heads to San Francisco to live with her sister while discovering a new lifestyle.

Many parts of the film were shot in San Francisco for four-weeks last August, San Francisco Film Commission executive director Susannah Greason Robbins said.

She said the film does a good job of "showcasing the off-the-beaten track parts of San Francisco" and not just the iconic locations.

Last summer there were sightings of Allen, along with actors Blanchett, Peter Sarsgaard and others, in the Mission District and downtown and Union Square areas.

There was also filming in the Marina District, near Ocean Beach in the Sunset District and in parts of Marin County.

Robbins said the movie crew was mostly locally hired.

The film opened in Los Angeles and New York last week and before the opening there was a special screening last Thursday with some of the cast and crew in San Francisco, Robbins said.

The film will be screened at select theaters in San Francisco, Oakland, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Albany and Pleasant Hill.

Redwood City Man Arrested for Carjacking, Fleeing from Law Enforcement

A man was arrested following a carjacking early Thursday morning in Redwood City, police said.

Bryan Rios Serrato, 19, of Redwood City, allegedly brandished a knife at a 29-year-old man in his car while in the garage of his apartment complex in the 1000 block of Beech Street around 2:50 a.m., according to police.

The victim gave Serrato the keys to his car when the suspect demanded his wallet, according to police.

The victim pushed the suspect and ran, and Serrato got into the car and fled, police said.

Officers responded to a countywide be-on-the-lookout for the car, and about two hours later, a San Mateo County sheriff's deputy spotted it near Woodside Road and El Camino Real, police said.

Serrato fled at a high rate of speed when the deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop, and a short pursuit ensued, ending when Serrato crashed the car in the 400 block of Roosevelt Avenue, police said.

He then ran away from the car and the deputy pursued and caught up to him in the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue, according to police.

Serrato was arrested after a brief struggle.

The victim was not injured in the carjacking.

Serrato was booked into San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of carjacking, robbery, felony evading with a vehicle and assault on a law enforcement officer.

Novato Pickup Truck Passenger Injured by Crash

A Point Reyes man suffered major injuries when he was hit by the pickup he was riding in after it was struck by a box truck on southbound U.S. Highway 101 in Novato on Wednesday afternoon, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

A motorist passing by the 1977 Ford pickup indicated there was an unsecured item in the back of the truck, CHP Officer Andrew Barclay said.

The driver, Jared Sperry, 38, of Point Reyes, pulled over on the right shoulder just south of the Redwood Landfill.

His passenger, Aaron Mudrich, 30, got out of the 1997 Ford pickup to secure the item around 2:20 p.m., Barclay said.

Javier Rodriguez, 30, of Alameda, was driving a 26-foot Freightliner box truck south in the No. 2 slow lane and moved into the No. 1 fast lane when he saw the pickup on the side of the road, Barclay said.

As Rodriguez was changing lanes, he heard a loud bang from under the box truck, which then turned hard to the right and hit the left front of the Ford pickup, Barclay said.

The crash caused the Ford pickup to rotate and strike Mudrich, Barclay said.

The pickup then rolled onto the driver's side injuring Sperry.

The box truck continued across the shoulder of the highway and into a field on the west side of the road, Barclay said. Sperry and Mudrich were taken to Marin General Hospital, and Rodriguez was not injured, Barclay said.

Witnesses also stated there was a bang from the box truck before the crash, Barclay said.

The incident is under investigation, but the loud bang might have been from the blowout of the right front tire that would have caused the box truck to turn hard to the right, Barclay said.

Two tires on the box truck were flat when the CHP arrived, but it's unknown when they became flat, Barclay said.

The back of the Ford pickup was empty except for a rope that might have been hanging out of the back of the truck, Barclay said.

Intoxication is not believed to be a factor.

The incident is a reminder to motorists on highways not to get out of vehicles unless there is an emergency, Barclay said.

Market Street Bicycle Barometer Tallying Riders Again After Turned Off In June

The bicycle barometer in San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood had been turned off in June but was up and counting again Thursday, a transportation agency spokesman said.

The electronic counter on the south side of Market Street between Ninth and 10th streets had been off for a city repaving project since June 8, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose said.

Crews worked Wednesday evening to reactivate the counter, which was back to tallying the number of bicyclists that pedal by in time for the morning commute, Paul Rose said.

The 7.5-foot-tall and 1.5-foot-wide device was installed in May.

The SF Bicycle Coalition gave a $20,000 donation toward the $70,000 installation project.

The device aims to encourage bicycling as an alternate commute option. Transit employees are working with the city's Department of Technology and the Department of Public Works to maintain and monitor the barometer.

There were 2,254 riders tallied on the counter as of Thursday afternoon.

Bay Area Weather Forecast 8/2

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning, becoming sunny later in the day. Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon. Mostly clear skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight. Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Saturday morning.Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to mid 60s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph.

 

 

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Hit and Run Along Embarcadero, Pedestrian Hospitalized

A pedestrian was hospitalized after being struck by a pickup truck in a hit-and-run along The Embarcadero in San Francisco early this morning, a police spokesman said.

The 51-year-old man was struck shortly after 5 a.m. at The Embarcadero and Howard Street, police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said. The driver of the truck, a white pickup, then drove away toward Interstate Highway 80 and had not been found as of this morning, Shyy said.

The pedestrian was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for injuries but was in good condition and was expected to be released later today, Shyy said.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

 

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38-Geary Muni Bus Catches Fire in Outer Richmond

A San Francisco Municipal Railway bus caught fire in the city's Outer Richmond neighborhood this morning, a Muni spokesman said.

The fire was reported at 6:46 a.m. in the engine of a 38-Geary bus parked at Point Lobos Avenue and 48th Avenue near Lands End, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

The fire damaged the left rear side of the bus and was extinguished a couple of minutes later, Rose said. Rose said the bus driver and one passenger were on board at the time but were not injured.

The bus has since been towed back to a Muni maintenance yard and investigators will look at the vehicle's surveillance video to try to figure out what caused the fire, he said.

 

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     We Built a Stronger SF Economy on Smart Government Investments

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Weather Forecast for the SF Bay Area

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this
morning, becoming sunny later in the day. Highs are likely to be in the 50s
to upper 60s, with winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Mostly clear skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog
after midnight. Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s, with westerly winds up
to 20 mph.

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Saturday morning. Highs are
expected to be in the upper 50s to mid 60s, with southwest winds up to 20
mph.
 
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.
Check out some of our most popular blogs:
     We Built a Stronger SF Economy on Smart Government Investments
     The BART That Could Have Been
     Run For Your Life! (For Fun)
     Love Muni, Hate Muni or Somewhere in Between? Let the SFMTA Know!
 

Wednesday Morning News Roundup

BART Riders Prepare for Another Strike 

BART management met with union leaders again Tuesday to try to reach an agreement before the contract for the transit agency's employees expires Sunday night but a union official said the talks weren't productive. 
Josie Mooney, one of the lead negotiators for Service International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, said, "I would not characterize this as a good day." 
Mooney said Tuesday was the first time in 11 days that BART met in the same room with SEIU Local 1021 representatives and leaders of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers, in talks that are being facilitated by two state mediators. 
She said the session, which started at 4:15 p.m., only lasted 40 minutes and during that time BART negotiators rejected "with very little comment" four proposals that union representatives made on July 19. 
Earlier Tuesday, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said even though the transit agency's negotiators haven't been in the same room with union negotiators in recent days, management and union representatives have been meeting regularly with the mediators. 
"The parties sit in separate rooms and the mediator shuttles contract offers back and forth," Trost said. "We've been doing what the mediator has asked." 
However, Mooney alleged that BART violated a gag order imposed by the mediators that the two sides not discuss contract details when it held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the details of its latest offer to employees. 
"BART violated the rules of engagement," Mooney said. 
Trost said BART released the details because it believes that the public should know the details of its offer because "taxpayer money is involved and taxpayers have a right to know and we have to be accountable to them." 
Trost said management has moved a great deal since its initial offer to employees in the talks, which began on April 1. She said management initially wanted to "take back" $140 million from employees in wages, retirement costs and health care costs but its most recent proposal would give them an additional $33 million over the next four years. 
Specifically, Trost said BART has doubled its salary proposal to 8 percent over four years, lowered its pension contribution to 5 percent over four years, which she said is lower than what other public employees pay, and lowered its medical premium contribution to less than what average public and private sector employees pay. 
In contrast, Trost said union leaders' are asking for a 21.5 percent pay increase over three years and want to continue paying just $92 a month for healthcare and only want to make a 3 percent pension contribution at the end of three years. 
Mooney said she didn't want to violate the mediators' gag order by discussing the details of the contract proposals but she said BART's proposal would still result in cutbacks in the total economic package for many employees. 
Contract talks will resume at 10 a.m. today, Mooney said. 
BART employees went on strike the morning of July 1 but late on July 4 they agreed to extend their previous contract for 30 days, until Aug. 4, and return to work the afternoon of July 5. 
The four-and-a-half day strike clogged local highways and caused commuting headaches for Bay Area residents. 
Regional transit officials, who fear that the commuting nightmare could be repeated next Monday if BART doesn't reach an agreement with its employees by Sunday night, held a conference call Tuesday to develop contingency plans to try to deal with another strike. 

3-Alarm Fire in Salinas Destroy's Structures After Propane Tank Blew Up Inside Garage 

A home and a four-unit apartment building were destroyed and three other structures were damaged in a 3-alarm fire in Salinas Tuesday after propane tanks blew up inside of a garage, a fire chief said. 
The Salinas Fire Department and other fire agencies knocked down the blaze at about 4:45 p.m. in a residential area in the 1100 block of Mohar Street, Salinas Fire Chief Edmond Rodriguez said. 
Salinas firefighters were dispatched at about 3:20 p.m. to the fire that apparently started in the garage of the home that was eventually destroyed, Rodriguez said. 
Firefighters were told about multiple explosions heard inside the garage that were later determined to be from propane tanks, Rodriguez said. 
The house fire spread to a nearby two-story, four-unit apartment building to the east that then burned down completely, Rodriguez said. 
The exterior to another four-unit apartment building and parts of two other structures sustained minor to moderate damage, Rodriguez said. 
No one was injured in the fire, Rodriguez said. 
About 100 firefighters participated in dousing the fire, including nearly the entire Salinas Fire Department, Rodriguez said. 
Other fire agencies that sent personnel to fight the blaze included Cal Fire, the cities of Seaside and Monterey, the Monterey County Regional Fire District and the North County Fire Protection District of Monterey County, Rodriguez said. 

Proposed Radical Mortgage Changes for the City of Richmond

Richmond is launching a radical program demanding banks to sell mortgages to the city in an effort to help underwater homeowners refinance and prevent foreclosure, city leaders and supporters announced Tuesday. 
The city has sent out letters to banks and lenders offering to buy more than 600 Richmond residents' mortgages in order to restructure the loans and make monthly payments more affordable for homeowners at risk of foreclosure, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said. 
The offers were sent out to 32 lenders holding 624 loans that are underwater, including 180 that are behind on payments, said Graham Williams of Mortgage Resolution Partners, or MRP, the San Francisco-based investment firm partnering with the city on the plan. 
"After years of waiting on the banks to offer up a more comprehensive fix or the federal government to fix it, we're stepping into the void and making it happen ourselves," the mayor said at a morning news conference. 
MRP has lined up the investment money to buy the homes at a discount, based on the property's estimated value after foreclosure. Then, the city will help the homeowner get a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration that would allow lower monthly mortgage payments, according to McLaughlin. 
The program won't cost the city any money, since MRP has agreed to provide money both to buy the homes and to litigate any legal challenges against the plan, according to McLaughlin and MRP Executive Chairman Steven Gluckstern. 
If lenders don't take the city up on its offer, Richmond will consider using its powers of eminent domain to force a purchase and seize the mortgages, McLaughlin said. 
Eminent domain is a governmental power typically used to buy private land for public purposes such as parks or roads, said former North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. 
Under eminent domain, property must be sold at fair market value. 
Miller said Tuesday that he has long pushed the idea of local governments using eminent domain "as a way to deal with the housing crisis." 
But banks and lobbyists have vocally opposed the plan, contending that it would have a negative effect on the city and make it tougher for local residents to get mortgages in the future, McLaughlin said. 
Both San Bernardino County and the city of Salinas also considered working with MRP to launch a similar program but opted against the plan after banks threatened lawsuits, according to MRP. 
McLaughlin said Richmond has received the same threats from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and other lobbyists. 
"There's no way we're going to back down on this -- it's our community that's at stake here, it's our community that is suffering, and I stand with our community in making sure the damage gets reversed," she said. 
The unprecedented program has gained the support of community and faith-based groups in Richmond as well as the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and Home Defenders League, a national movement of underwater homeowners and their allies. 
ACCE campaign director Amy Schur said Tuesday that while Richmond is the first city to launch the plan, others throughout the country, including Newark, N.J. and Seattle, are expected to follow suit. 
"This is a national movement...Richmond is the first, but this idea really has some momentum," Schur said. 

California Public Utilities Commission Regulate Smartphone-Enabled Rideshare Services 

The California Public Utilities Commission has weighed in on how to regulate smartphone-enabled rideshare services with a proposed decision released Tuesday afternoon. 
The proposal aims to ensure public safety for drivers and users of transportation network companies, which the CPUC defines as a company or organization that provides transportation services using an online-enabled platform to connect passengers with drivers who are using their own vehicles. 
As part of the recommendations, companies, such as Lyft, Uber and Sidecar, would have to be licensed by the CPUC, run background checks on drivers, have a driver-training program, and have a more stringent insurance policy. 
The CPUC would require a $1 million per-incident coverage policy for rideshare vehicles and drivers during a trip with passengers. 
There would also be a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy. 
The CPUC, which regulates passenger carriers, had an administrative law judge compile the report on rideshare companies. 
In December, the commission tasked the judge with gathering information to "evaluate the safety of ridesharing businesses that utilize the Internet, social media, and location services to arrange transportation of passengers over public highways for compensation," according to CPUC documents. 
Various local agencies, companies and organizations submitted comments to the CPUC before the proposal was released, including various rideshare companies, taxi companies, taxi advocacy groups, the San Francisco International Airport Commission and the California Highway Patrol
The CHP wrote in a letter to the judge in March that the rideshare companies cannot be left unregulated because it "increases the potential for operation of unsafe vehicles, unqualified drivers and uninsured transportation providers." 
In another document, airport officials had contended that the term "rideshare" for these companies was misleading and asked for the CPUC to not allow the drivers to take passengers to and from the airport, citing passenger safety and security concerns. 
As defined by the CPUC, a rideshare involves a driver transporting passengers to a destination, usually work-related, without profiting from the ride. 
The airport said drivers and companies profit from the "ridesharing" system. 
In June, Sidecar company officials submitted a letter that outlined what they called "the potential benefits of ridesharing." 
In the letter, officials wrote, "New dynamic ridesharing platforms are now innovating in ways that have the unique potential to overcome traditional barriers and unlock the true potential of rideshare -- if regulatory models keep in step." 
The letter continued, "These platforms are not designed or intended to displace public transportation, corporate vanpooling, taxis or limousines services, but rather to complement multi-modal transportation networks." 
In the letter, the company asked the commission to implement a "new framework" that encourages "innovative transportation technologies, business forms and sharing models." 
The proposed decision is open to public comment for the next 30 days before the commission has its first opportunity to vote on the recommendations on Sept. 5. 

New Member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors; Cindy Chavez

Former San Jose Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez appears to have won a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, according to preliminary results of Tuesday's special election. 
Chavez defeated Teresa Alvarado in a runoff election after the two received the most votes but fell short of a majority in June's special election to replace disgraced former Supervisor George Shirakawa
In Tuesday's election Chavez received 11,814 votes, or 55.55 percent, and Alvarado received 9,455 votes, or 44.45 percent, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. 
Chavez, 49, said during her campaign that the community needed "safe, vibrant schools so our children can thrive, good paying jobs and affordable health care so families can succeed, and more police and sheriff deputies on the streets to stop the escalation of violence." 
She won the support of teachers and other public sector labor organizations. 
District 2 includes the County Government Center where the Board of Supervisors meet, all of downtown San Jose and much of East San Jose, according to the county's website. 
The Board of Supervisors approved the election to replace Shirakawa after he resigned March 1 in light of a 12-count criminal complaint filed that day by the district attorney's office. 
The office charged that Shirakawa obtained more than $130,000 in public and campaign funds for personal use and to gamble at casinos. 
He later pleaded guilty to four felony counts of perjury, one felony count of misuse of public funds and seven misdemeanors for filing inaccurate campaign and government finance reports. 
Shirakawa still has not been sentenced for the criminal convictions.  

Closing Arguments Began in Stacey Lonnberg Trial   

Closing arguments began Tuesday in the San Jose trial of a Gilroy woman charged with killing her husband and daughter in a drunken-driving accident on state Highway 85 near Los Gatos in 2012. 
Stacey Lonnberg, 52, is charged with two counts of vehicular murder and one count of child endangerment in the deaths of Frederic Lonnberg, 57, and Tiffiny Gillette, 26, while she drove north on the highway on Jan. 14, 2012. 
Lonnberg got behind the wheel of a 2002 Toyota Tacoma with her husband, daughter and 1-year-old grandson after consuming seven to eight drinks of vodka and the pain medication oxycodone, according to the Deputy District Attorney Matt Braker. 
While driving on the highway close to Winchester Boulevard on a car trip to Belmont, Lonnberg was driving more than 85 miles per hour, made an unsafe lane change and hit a pickup truck, Braker said. 
The force of the impact sent the Toyota out of control and it flipped over multiple times before coming to rest in the center of the roadway, Braker said. 
Gillette, in the rear left passenger seat without wearing a safety belt, was ejected onto the roadway. Frederic Lonnberg, who wore his seat belt in the front passenger seat, died later at a hospital from being partially ejected during the rollovers. 
Both Stacey Lonnberg and her grandson survived without serious injuries.      
Braker told jurors Tuesday morning that the defendant committed murder with implied malice aforethought because she knew she would be driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs and disregarded the threat she posed to the lives of her family members and others. 
Lonnberg had a prior arrest on suspicion of drunken driving, took a 12-hour class in the effects of driving drunk, and had received warnings from medical professionals about the dangers, Braker said.   
"This case is about a defendant being aware of a risk and going ahead and doing it anyway," Braker said. "It's way down the road as far as egregious conduct. Two people died." 
Braker recalled for jurors the testimony from an expert witness for the prosecution who estimated that prior to the accident, Lonnberg's blood alcohol level was about .20, more than twice the legal limit, Braker said. 
"She's at .20, seven to eight drinks in the course of an hour is what it's going to take," Braker said, "That's a lot of booze in your system." 
Braker also asked the jury to find Lonnberg guilty of endangering the life of her grandson, who was strapped into a car seat assigned for older children that was "not legal or sufficient," while driving impaired. 
After taking the witness stand on Monday, Lonnberg, under questioning by defense lawyer Javier Rios, admitted to being drunk at the time of the deadly crash and to have driven drunk "thousands of times" before without getting into an accident. 
In his closing statement Tuesday, Rios said that there was no doubt that Lonnberg was drunk during the accident, but that the prosecution did not provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt proving she actually intended to kill her husband and daughter. 
For her to want kill them that day "her heart would have to be so cold, depraved, malignant," but Lonnberg loved her husband and daughter, Rios said.  
"Any murder charge is for the worst of the worst," Rios said. 
"That's not what we have here." 
Rios described Lonnberg as an alcoholic who grew up with alcoholic parents and said while Lonnberg was a girl, her mother routinely drove her to and from bars while drunk and never got into an accident, which influenced Lonnberg's conduct as an adult. 
Lonnberg admitted during her own testimony to driving while intoxicated that day but that she felt fine and fit to drive prior to the accident, Rios said. 
"Why was Stacey 100 percent sure? She had done it thousands of times," Rios said. "It's safe for me to drive DUI. That's what she was thinking." 
"She's not thinking this is dangerous to human life," Rio said. 
"It does not enter into her brain."  

Recycle Workers in San Leandro Walked Off Job Tuesday

Recycling workers at a Waste Management facility in San Leandro walked off the job Tuesday to protest what they say are low wages and dangerous working conditions. 
The employees, who are members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 6's recycling unit, also are meeting with Oakland City Council members Tuesday to discuss a long-term contract that the city is negotiating with Waste Management and another company, California Waste Solutions, union spokesman Craig Merrilees said. 
California Waste Solutions employees also are participating in the one-day walkout, Merrilees said. He estimated that about 200 employees are participating in the job action. 
The contract isn't on the agenda for the council's meeting tonight but workers will discuss it during the open forum part of the meeting, according to Merrilees. 
Waste Management spokesman David Tucker said that contract won't begin until July 2015. 
Tucker said the walkout isn't affecting the company's customers in Alameda County because their waste and recycling materials are being picked up by Teamsters union members who aren't participating in the job action. 
Merrilees said the people who are participating in the walkout work at Waste Management's transfer station on Davis Street in San Leandro, where they sort recycling material. 
Evangelina Macias, a 66-year-old San Leandro woman who worked for Waste Management for 13 years, was killed at the facility on June 19, 2012, after she was struck by a piece of heavy equipment. 
Although Macias was a landfill worker, Merrilees said her death is an example of the dangers that recycling workers face at the facility. 
Tucker said Waste Management has had a "stellar" safety record at the San Leandro facility except for Macias' death and it has implemented additional safety measures since then. 
Merrilees said most recycling workers for Waste Management and California Waste Solutions in Alameda County only make $12.67 per hour and are upset that their pay is much less than recycling workers in San Francisco and San Jose who are paid $20 an hour for similar work. 
Tucker said Waste Management "has been seeking a fair, reasonable and sustainable agreement that includes employee participation in covering a small portion of their health and welfare premiums." 
He said Local 6's last contract with Waste Management was negotiated in 2006 and expired in February 2011 and workers have continued to work under the terms of that agreement. 
Tucker said recycling workers are seeking a 65 percent increase in compensation over five years but management is offering a 3 percent increase for each year of five years, for a total increase of $2 an hour. 
The company also is offering a company-paid pension plan for employees, Tucker said. 
He said clerical and landfill workers who belong to ILWU Local 6 accepted similar offers in April, but Merrilees said those workers are paid much more than recycling employees. 
Merrilees said the recycling workers feel "antagonized and insulted" by Waste Management and California Waste Solutions because of their low pay as well as their unsafe working conditions. 
California Waste Solutions officials couldn't be reached for comment. 

San Leandro Real Estate Agent Arrested for Six Felonies

A San Leandro real estate agent was arrested and charged Tuesday with six felonies for allegedly defrauding a Lafayette couple out of $270,000 and filing false tax returns, Contra Costa County prosecutors said. 
Judy T. Gong, 53, was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, perjury, forgery, tax fraud crimes and an enhancement for excessive loss and could face up to eight years in prison for the alleged offenses, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office. 
The arrest comes more than two years after the victims, a Lafayette couple in their 50s, called the district attorney's office to complain about Gong, who was controlling the couple's line of home equity credit, according to Deputy District Attorney Ken McCormick. 
The couple had inherited a home and contacted Gong about getting a home equity line of credit for the property. 
An investigation revealed that Gong embezzled the couple's money, pocketing their mortgage payments, McCormick said. 
In addition, the real estate agent convinced the couple to get a second mortgage and embezzled those payments, too, he said. 
On that loan, she used a forged document to transfer money from the loan to her own bank account, the prosecutor said. 
Gong pocketed a total of $270,000 from the two mortgages, according to the district attorney's office. 
"This case is all about greed," McCormick said. 
During the investigation into the alleged embezzlement, the district attorney's office sent Gong's bank records to the state franchise tax board. 
The state investigation revealed that Gong had committed major tax crimes -- underreporting her income by $500,000 in 2008 and failing to report $418,000 in 2009, prosecutors said. 
After her arrest in San Leandro Tuesday morning, Gong was taken to county jail in Martinez, where she is being held on $400,000. 
Anyone else who believes they have been victimized by Gong is asked to call the district attorney's real estate fraud unit at (925) 957-2200. 

Scott Wiener Wants to Issue Parking Tickets for Cars Double-Parked in SF

Vehicles double parked on San Francisco streets are the target of a hearing that a city supervisor called for at Tuesday's board meeting. 
Supervisor Scott Wiener called for the hearing in response to what he said is "a long-time festering problem in the city." 
Wiener said cars, taxis and other vehicles that double park on city streets clog up traffic and also cause safety problems for bicyclists who have to veer around the stopped cars. 
He said he wants San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency parking control officers to provide more consistent enforcement of double parkers. 
SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said the agency has issued approximately 22,000 double parking citations in the past year, a number that Wiener questioned. 
"I've lived in San Francisco for 16 years and I've never seen a double parking ticket issued," he said. 
Wiener said more consistent enforcement of double parking, which comes with a $110 ticket, will get drivers to think twice before stopping their vehicles illegally. 
"If people believe they may get a double parking ticket, we'll see a lot less double parking," he said. 
The hearing, which will take place at a future date at the board's land use and economic development committee, will include reports from SFMTA officials on traffic impacts, enforcement policies and citation statistics. 
"We welcome the spotlight on the issue and look forward to working with the supervisor," Rose said. 

Bay Area Weather Forecast 7/31

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are likely to be in the 50s to mid 60s, with southwest winds up to 30 mph in the afternoon. 
Partly cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight. Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph. 
Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Thursday morning. Highs are expected to be in the 50s to mid 60s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph.

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Man Arrested For Brutal Pride Weekend Attack

An Oakland man has been arrested for allegedly kicking a woman in the head while robbing her during Pride weekend in San Francisco last month, police said today.

Christopher Porter-Bailey, 23, was arrested last Friday for the attack, which happened near Market and Dolores streets at about 1:50 a.m. on June 30 after the Pink Saturday celebration.

The victim, a 28-year-old woman, was robbed of her purse by a group of suspects and was knocked to the pavement.

While she was down, one suspect kicked her in the head, causing her to lose consciousness, according to police.

Days later, police released surveillance video of the attack, which sent the woman to the hospital. She has since been treated and released.

Police were eventually able to identify the suspect in the attack as Porter-Bailey, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

He was arrested and booked into custody on suspicion of robbery, aggravated assault and battery likely to produce serious injury, Esparza said.

Investigators are also trying to determine whether Porter-Bailey and other suspects in the group committed other robberies and assaults around the same time period along Market Street between Civic Center and the Castro District.

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Police Department's Mission Station investigation team at (415) 558-5400.

 

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Police Activity at Embarcadero BART Station Wraps Up, Trains Getting Back on Schedule

BART service through San Francisco was briefly disrupted this morning as police searched for a suspect at the Embarcadero station, a BART spokeswoman said.

Trains were stopped at the station around 8:30 a.m. as officers investigated reports of a person with a weapon, spokeswoman Luna Salaver said.

No weapon was found and the scene was cleared shortly before 8:40 a.m., she said.

The incident initially caused delays of up to 20 minutes but as of 9 a.m. the delays were down to five to 10 minutes, a BART employee said.

 

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Man and Woman Stabbed in Golden Gate Park

A man and a woman were stabbed in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park near the Haight Ashbury neighborhood early this morning, according to police.

The stabbings, located at Alvord Lake near the intersection of Stanyan and Haight streets was reported at about 2:30 a.m., police said.

Officers responded to the scene and located a man and a woman suffering from stab wounds.

The woman, possibly in her 40s, was stabbed in the chest.

She was transported to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.

The man is believed to be in his 20s or 30s and was stabbed in the abdomen.

He was also transported to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Police are searching for two suspects who were last seen heading northbound on Stanyan Street in a maroon vehicle.

One suspect is described as a heavy-set black male with dreadlocks.

The second suspect is described as a black male wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, police said.

Police are continuing to investigate the stabbing and process the crime scene near the Haight Street entrance to Golden Gate Park.

 

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Two Stabbed in Golden Gate Park Near Haight Ashbury

Two people were stabbed in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park near the Haight Ashbury neighborhood early this morning, according to police.

The stabbings, located at Alvord Lake near the intersection of Stanyan and Haight streets was reported at about 2:30 a.m.

According to police, the stabbings were not fatal. The extent of the injuries has not been reported.

 

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Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Airline Employee, Wife Arrested After Allegedly Stealing Diverted Passengers' Luggage

An airline employee appeared in a Redwood City court Friday after he was accused of stealing luggage from travelers whose flight was diverted after the deadly Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport earlier this month.

Sean Crudup, 44, a United Airlines customer service representative at the airport, pleaded not guilty to grand theft and second-degree burglary charges Friday, according to the San Mateo County district attorney's office.

His wife, Raychas Thomas, 32, is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 26. Crudup and Thomas were arrested after victims who were supposed to fly into SFO on July 8 were diverted because of the plane crash on July 6, according to prosecutors.

The runway where the crash occurred was closed for nearly a week after the incident, which left three dead and injured 180 passengers and crewmembers. During the shutdown there were hundreds of canceled flights and lengthy delays in and out of the airport.

The victims' luggage had not been diverted and arrived at SFO. When the victims went to pick up their bags they found they were missing, according to prosecutors. Surveillance footage allegedly showed Crudup taking the bags and giving them to his wife and another woman.

Allegedly Thomas took clothing from the bags to a Nordstrom store in Pleasanton and got $5,000 for the items. Thomas and Crudup were both arrested July 25 at SFO when Thomas was catching a flight to Hawaii.

In a search of Crudup's and Thomas' Richmond home, more stolen items from the victims' bags were allegedly found, prosecutors said. Crudup is set to be return to court on Thursday. He is out of custody on $75,000 bail, while Thomas posted $50,000 bail.

SFO Issuing Citizen's Arrests to Rideshare Drivers Dropping Off, Picking Up Passengers

In the past month, San Francisco International Airport officials have been citing and arresting drivers from mobile-app enabled rideshare companies that pick up and drop off passengers, an airport spokesman said.

Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said there have been seven citizen arrests issued to "various offenders" since July 10. The airport had issued cease and desist letters to several rideshare companies, including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber, in April.

Since then, Yakel said airport officials, in conjunction with airport police, had been "admonishing" drivers that came to the airport. Yakel said the companies are not permitted to offer their services at SFO and they are now being arrested for unlawful trespassing.

The state Public Utilities Commission, which regulates and licenses passenger carriers, has been looking into how to regulate these new types of companies. An evaluation of ridesharing services will come to the commission sometime this week after being mulled since the beginning of the year, CPUC spokesman Chris Chow said.

Taxi drivers are holding a noon rally at San Francisco City Hall today to "keep taxis regulated and safe" and are calling for the end of ridesharing services. The taxi group, comprised of members from the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association and the United Taxicab Workers of San Francisco, are demanding that city officials and regulatory agencies consider rideshare companies as illegal taxi services.

The protesters claim that the drivers are exempt from regulation, vehicle inspections, and insurance and driver requirements. They are calling the growing practice a "clear public safety hazard."

Dean Clark, a former taxi driver for nearly a decade, said authorities should not be targeting the rideshare drivers, but the companies. He said the drivers are simply offering rides to people for a donation, and that unlike what the taxi industry claims, many of the drivers are working students, semi-retired people and single parents.

Clark said the pick-up area is taxi domain because there is a pick-up fee, and rideshare drivers know and respect that. He said rideshare drivers should be allowed to drop off customers at the airport without being "harassed" by airport officials.

Representatives from Lyft and Sidecar were not available Monday afternoon and an Uber representative declined comment.

Woman Whose House Was Badly Damaged in 2010 East Palo Plane Crash Settles

A day care center operator whose home was badly damaged in the crash of a small private plane in East Palo Alto in 2010 has settled a lawsuit she filed against the deceased pilot's estate and his employer.

Lisa Jones and six other family members and employees filed the lawsuit against the estate of Douglas Bourn and Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors Inc. in Santa Clara County Superior Court in 2010.

The settlement was recorded in the court's docket on July 3. It averted a trial that had been scheduled for July 8. Jones' lawyer, Charles Eshoo, and Tesla's lawyer, Timothy Ryan, could not be reached for comment.

Donald Honigman, a lawyer for Bourn's estate, said, "The docket speaks for itself," but said he could not comment on any details of that settlement or three other lawsuits that have been settled.

Jones' family house on Beech Street was partly destroyed when it was hit by a wing of a Cessna 310 piloted by Bourn as that plane crashed on the morning of Feb. 17, 2010.

Jones had operated a day care center, Eppie's Day Care, in an adjacent building. Bourn, 56, of Santa Clara, a senior electrical engineer with Tesla Motors, and passengers Brian Finn, 42, of East Palo Alto, and Andrew Ingram, 31, of Palo Alto, who also worked for the electric car maker, were all killed in the crash.

The Cessna had taken off from Palo Alto Municipal Airport in heavy fog when it struck PG&E power lines and an electric tower at an altitude of about 50 feet at 7:54 a.m. and crashed.

A National Transportation Safety Board report concluded in 2011 that the likely cause was the pilot's error in failing to follow instructions for a standard instrument departure and failing to attain sufficient altitude to clear the power lines. The report said there was near-zero visibility at the airport at the time and Bourn was told by a flight controller that if he took off, it was at his own risk.

The three men were on their way to a business meeting in Hawthorne, Calif. The three previously settled lawsuits were filed in San Mateo County Superior Court against Bourn's estate and Air Unique Inc., a company that Bourn operated and that owned the Cessna.

The suits were filed by Ingram's parents, by Finn's ex-wife and child, and by East Palo Alto residents Ervin and Pinkie Hudleton, whose carport and car were damaged in the crash. Still pending in San Mateo County Superior Court is a lawsuit filed against Bourn's estate and Air Unique by another neighbor, Jose Cortez-Herrera, and his wife, daughter and two granddaughters, who say the bulk of the plane came to rest in front of their home.

They say the house was damaged and they suffered emotional distress. In addition, the lawsuit alleges, the two grandparents and two granddaughters, then 3 and 6 years old, were injured as they sought to escape from the crash by going over a six-foot slat fence from their backyard into a neighbor's yard, while the girls' mother was trapped in her room.

That lawsuit is scheduled for a settlement conference on Nov. 13 and a jury trial on Dec. 2, according to the court's docket.

Man Arrested, Four Sought in Tenderloin Stabbing

A 20-year-old man was arrested and four others are being sought for a stabbing that seriously injured a man in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood early Monday morning, a police spokesman said.

Gonnoi Posada was arrested after the stabbing, which was reported at 2:36 a.m. in the 600 block of Eddy Street, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said. Police said it appears the 49-year-old victim got into an altercation with Posada and the four other suspects and was stabbed in the chest by one of them.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are considered life-threatening, police said. The suspects fled in various directions but Posada was taken into custody by responding officers and booked into jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Esparza said.

The other four suspects remained at large as of Monday afternoon and were described only as Hispanic males, one of whom was wearing a black hat, Esparza said.

Anyone with information about the stabbing is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning.

Highs are likely to be in the 50s to mid 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. Mostly cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight.

Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Wednesday morning. Highs are expected to be in the 50s to mid 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

 

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Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137