SF News

San Francisco Bay Area Friday Morning News Roundup

 

Armed Robbery Suspect On the Run

SWAT officers could not locate a suspect thought to be barricaded inside a home that was the scene of a home invasion robbery in Fremont Thursday evening, Fremont police said.

The robbery was reported shortly before 6 p.m. in the 4800 block of Porter Street. A caller reported to police that a man armed with a long gun, possibly an assault rifle, had rang the home's doorbell, pepper sprayed a woman who answered the door, and forced himself inside.

He then got into a fight with a man inside and shots were fired but the four residents -- including two children -- were able to get out of the house but feared the suspect was still inside, police said. The family was treated for minor injuries from the pepper spraying and the fight.

The Fremont police SWAT team and Newark police surrounded the home and closed streets in the area for several hours but after entering and searching the home tonight could not locate the suspect, police said.

Police described the suspect as a skinny 30-year-old Hispanic man with a long bushy ponytail, a goatee and tattoos above both eyebrows.

He was wearing a black zip-up gray jacket, a gray T-shirt and blue pants, police said. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information about the robbery has been asked to call Fremont police at (510) 790-6800.

Woman Fatally Shot While Driving

A woman who was fatally shot while driving in East Oakland Wednesday afternoon about a half-mile from her home had been working to make that neighborhood safer, City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf said Thursday.

Judy Salamon, a 66-year-old pet sitter known for her love of dogs, was an advocate for hiring a private security firm to patrol the Maxwell Park neighborhood, where she lived and was slain, Schaaf said.

Oakland police said Salamon was shot and killed at about 1:24 p.m. Wednesday in the 2400 block of Fern Street, between Brookdale and Fairfax avenues.

She crashed her car into a parked car after the shooting, police said. Authorities haven't discussed a motive for the shooting or released any information about a suspect.

The shooting scene is adjacent to the Home of Peace Cemetery. Flowers, candles and photos of Salamon have been placed on both sides of Fern Street in the area where she was killed.

There's also a flyer about a community meeting this weekend to discuss a proposal to hire a private security firm to patrol the area.

The flyer says that in the wake of Salamon's death "there is renewed interest in hiring a security patrol, which is something Judy favored and which some residents believe might have saved her life."

Schaaf, who represents the area where Salamon lived and was killed, said she didn't know Salamon personally but has read about her activities on a neighborhood website.

Salamon's love of dogs was well-known and there will be a memorial dog walk in her honor at 6 p.m. tonight on Fern Street near where she was killed, followed at 8 p.m. by a vigil near her home in the 2700 block of Best Avenue, Schaaf said.

She said a group of Maxwell Park residents have been working for several months to try to get enough people in the area to sign up to pay for a private security firm that the cost would be affordable.

Schaaf said, "It's a personal choice for each neighborhood to decide whether to hire a private security service but it's not a substitute for having an adequately-staffed neighborhood."

She said she "applauds" neighborhoods where residents have agreed to pay for private security but added, "I'm just sorry it's necessary."

Salamon lived in a light green one-story house on Best Avenue with a lemon tree in front and a "Beware of Dog" sign in the front window.

The Oakland Police Department has posted a notice on the front door indicating that it has impounded a tan Chihuahua found in the home and placed it in protective custody.

Schaaf said people who want to honor Salamon and her fight to make her neighborhood safer should come to the Melrose High Hopes Crime Prevention Council's block party at Foothill Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, not far from Salamon's home, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Three Men Found Shot

Three men were found shot near an intersection just outside of Salinas Thursday afternoon, according to the Monterey County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's deputies, Salinas police and California Highway Patrol officers responded to the corner of Calle El Adobe and Boronda Road at 3:11 p.m.

Investigators found three victims suffering gunshot wounds. One victim, 42-year-old Jose Alfredo Espinoza, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other victims, 24-year-old Jerry Garcia and 35-year-old Jorge Lopez Rodriguez, suffered serious gunshot wounds and were taken to a hospital.

Anyone with information about the shooting has been asked to call the Monterey County Sheriff's Office at (831) 755-3772.

Family of 8-Year-Old Gunshot Victim Seeks Help to Fund Funeral

The family of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, who was fatally shot when she was at a friend's home at a sleepover last week, is seeking help in paying for her funeral expenses, according to Oakland City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf.

Alaysha was one of four people hit by gunfire when someone fired shots into an apartment at 3440 Wilson St. in the city's Dimond district at about 11:15 p.m. on July 17.

The other three victims survived but Alaysha, who would have been a third-grader at Fruitvale Elementary School in the fall, was killed.

Oakland police haven't disclosed a motive for the shooting or released any information about a suspect in the case.

Schaaf, who represents the area where the shooting occurred, said Alaysha's family needs $4,200 to cover her funeral expenses and has raised about $1,200 so far.

People who want to help may send a check to Roselawn Cemetery at 26295 Mission Blvd., Hayward, CA, 94544. They should use reference number R3982.

Two Suspects Arrested for Shooting

Two suspects in the 2011 murder of a man and wounding of his girlfriend outside a Target store in Watsonville have been arrested, one thanks to state police in Mexico, Watsonville police said Thursday.

Miguel Angel Rodriguez, 24, is in a jail in Imperial County near San Diego awaiting extradition to Santa Cruz County in the shooting death of Gustavo Diaz on July 23, 2011, police spokesman Sgt. Eric Taylor said.

Diaz's 26-year-old girlfriend was wounded in the gunfire shot from inside a car in the parking lot of the Target at 1415 Main St., Taylor said.

Watsonville police were notified Tuesday -- two years to the day of Diaz's murder -- by a U.S. Marshal in San Diego that police officers in the Mexican state of Baja California knew where Rodriguez was hiding, Taylor said.

Agent Jamie Rodriguez of Baja California's Policia Estatal Preventiva contacted the U.S. Marshal to confirm whether Miguel Angel Rodriguez was wanted for murder in the United States, Taylor said.

The marshal phoned Watsonville police, who confirmed they had an outstanding arrest warrant for Rodriguez in Diaz's murder, Taylor said.

Mexican police captured Rodriguez where he was staying in Mexicali in Baja California only hours after the confirmation and transferred him to U.S. Marshals at the Calexico border crossing in Imperial County, Taylor said.

Rodriguez, originally from Watsonville, has been charged in the murder of Diaz, the attempted murder of Diaz's girlfriend and gang enhancements, Taylor said.

Watsonville police, based on evidence and witness interviews, were able to learn the identity of the second suspect in Diaz's murder, 21-year-old Watsonville resident Cesar Rosales, the second person in the car where the shots were fired, Taylor said.

Police detectives tracked Rosales to where he worked in Watsonville and arrested him on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and gang enhancements only hours after Rodriguez's arrest on Tuesday, Taylor said.

Policia Estatal Preventiva officers told Watsonville police that they have made a priority out of pursuing and arresting fugitives from the United States who flee to Baja California, Taylor said.

"We will be working with them in the future to bring closure to more (Watsonville police) cases," Taylor wrote in a prepared statement.

Diaz's murder occurred at about 6:15 p.m. that July day as he and his girlfriend were walking out of the Target to their car.

A green Honda Accord drove by them, circled the lot, stopped near them and a passenger inside opened fire at the couple, police said.

The driver of the Accord sped away, police said. Diaz died at the scene while the woman was treated for a wound in her arm and later released from a hospital.

Police recovered the abandoned Accord about an hour later at an apartment complex near Ohlone Parkway.

Investigators said that Diaz and Rodriguez both had been affiliated with street gangs, police said.

Elderly Woman Accidentally Crashes Car Into Salon Storefront

An elderly woman drove her car into a salon storefront Thursday morning in Campbell but neither she nor the customers inside were injured, a police captain said.

Officers responded to a report of a car driving into the front of the Top Cuts Plus salon at 2365 Winchester Blvd. at about 9:20 a.m., Capt. Charley Adams said.

When officers arrived, they found a car had been driven into the front of the business, Adams said. Adams said a 92-year-old woman mistakenly hit the gas to her car when she thought she was hitting the brake, throwing her car into the salon's glass doors.

Roughly five people were inside the salon, but were uninjured, he said.

The elderly woman driver was also uninjured, and eventually drove her car home, Adams said. Adams said the woman was not impaired.

She was not cited, but will be responsible to pay for the repair costs, he said. The salon remained open, and customers used a back door to enter.

Shooting Suspect Turns Himself In

A suspect in a May fatal shooting previously believed to be attempting to flee to the Central Valley or Mexico turned himself in to San Jose police Wednesday, police said Thursday.

Louie Garza, 55, of San Jose walked in to the San Jose Police Department and surrendered at about noon Wednesday and was booked into jail.

Garza is suspected in the May 8 fatal shooting of Ralph Gomez, 46, in Gomez's home in the 2900 block of Westboro Drive.

Later that month police arrested Garza's wife, 50-year-old Carmen Acevedo, suspected of driving the getaway car, but Garza remained at large for over two months and police thought he might have attempted to flee the area or even the country. Acevedo was later released from jail.

City College of San Francisco Students Enroll for Fall Classes

City College of San Francisco officials along with state Assemblyman Phil Ting were reminding students Thursday to register for classes this fall.

Ting, D-San Francisco, held a news conference at the State Building in San Francisco Thursday afternoon urging prospective students to enroll in classes as the school deals with accreditation issues.

He said that the school is still open and running this fall and into next year, even after the school found out it would lose its accreditation after a decision from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges earlier this month.

The college's accreditation is set to end next year on July 31, 2014. That decision came after the school was put on "show cause" status last year.

The commission listed 14 recommendations for the school to improve its governing, organization, finances, student support, services, campus facilities and other issues.

The school filed a report in March 2013 that attempted to show how it had addressed the problems pinpointed by the commission.

However, the commission found that only two of the 14 recommendations had been implemented.

Robert Agrella has since been appointed as a special trustee with full control to manage the board and make decisions on behalf of the school.

Ting said students should know that credits until July 31, 2014, and potentially beyond will still be deemed accredited and transferable to four-year universities. The same courses and instructors are still offered, he said.

"It's business as usual this year," he said. CCSF Board of Trustees president John Rizzo said enrollment is down by 13.9 percent, which translates to $20 million in possible funding cuts.

There are about 80,000 students at the college's various campuses, which include the Ocean Avenue main campus, Chinatown, downtown and Mission District locations.

CCSF Academic Senate President Karen Saginor emphasized that teaching quality is the school's top priority and reassured students about the quality of their credits.

"No matter what happens...credits are good forever," she said. She said misinformation that degrees from the school will become worthless is false and that all units will count.

Alissa Messer, president of the teachers' union AFT 2121, said the quality of education has never been in question during the accreditation process.

She advised Bay Area residents interested in supporting and helping the school to take a course.

Class schedules have been distributed to community centers, local businesses, libraries and other high-profile areas to encourage enrollment, Messer said.

There is also a marketing campaign to promote enrollment, which includes radio and online ads and signage.

Fall instruction begins on Aug. 14. Enrollment for new students begins Aug. 5, while the sign-up period for returning students has already opened. Students can enroll online at ccsf.edu.

Lincoln Sedan Crashes Into Restaurant

A crash into a Novato restaurant Thursday afternoon nearly interrupted a planned pizza party for a group of children, a fire captain said.

The crash was reported at about 4 p.m. at Ghiringhelli Pizzeria Grill & Bar at 1535 S. Novato Blvd., acting Battalion Chief Jeff Davis said.

The restaurant was about a half-hour away from hosting a private party for a group of about 60 people when a Lincoln sedan crashed through its front window, Davis said. The car's three occupants were injured.

Two were treated at the scene and one was transported to a hospital with minor injuries. The restaurant's structure wasn't significantly damaged, with the large front window and its frame taking most of the impact.

There was some minor interior damage, Davis said. While the pizza party was canceled, the restaurant remains open for business tonight, Davis said.

Bay Area Weather Report

Mostly 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 southwest winds up to 15 mph. Mostly cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight.

Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s, with southwest winds up to 15 mph. Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Saturday morning.

Highs are expected to be in the 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!

 

Judicial Council Launches First Phase of New Formula

The governing body of California courts approved a $1.6 billion allocation of baseline funding for the state's trial courts on Thursday, using the first phase of a new formula for dividing up scarce funds.

The allocation of operating funds for the 58 county-based superior courts is for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which began July 1, and was adopted by the state Judicial Council at a meeting in San Francisco.

The $1.6 billion is about two-thirds of this year's total funding of $2.5 billion for the trial courts, which have sustained deep financial cuts during several years of state budget crises.

The remainder of the trials courts' total budget comes from separate state allocations to pay for items such as interpreters, jury costs and court-appointed lawyers for children.

The baseline funding includes $60 million restored to trial court budget by the Legislature in May.

But the restored amount, which court system chief fiscal officer Zlatko Theodorovic described as "a drop in the bucket" at one point in the meeting, still leaves the superior courts $201 million short of the amount received last year, on top of previous cuts of $214 million.

The new allocation formula, developed by an advisory committee of judges and court executives, takes account of varying court workloads that may have changed in recent years because of population growth or other factors.

The previous formula, used for the past 15 years, was based primarily on the share each superior court had in 1998, the year the state government took over court funding from the individual counties.

That approach didn't keep up with increased court workloads in counties where the population grew faster.

The new method is being phased in slowly. For this year, the council applied it to 10 percent of the baseline funding.

Another 10 percent will be added each year for the next four years until the new formula is used to allocate half of the funding, while the previous formula will be applied to the other half.

Any new funding provided by the Legislature will also be divided up according to the new formula. The $60 million granted in May is considered new funding, and so that amount was also allocated according to the new formula.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who chairs the council, described the new formula "as a more equitable distribution model" for the trial courts.

"How our limited funding is allocated affects every court and every court user, as up and down our state we continue to see courthouse closures, reduced hours, and staff layoffs and furloughs," Cantil-Sakauye said in a statement.

Although all county superior courts will receive less money than last year, some will incur greater and others smaller reductions as a result of the new formula.

Within the Bay Area, the Contra Costa, Monterey, Solano and Sonoma county superior courts will receive slightly more funding than they would have under the old formula.

The gains range from $43,000 for Contra Costa County Superior Court, out of total baseline funding of $35 million, to $103,000 for the Solano County Superior Court, out of a total baseline funding of $17 million.

County superior courts that will have greater reductions than they would have had under the previous formula include Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara will each lose between $500,000 and $700,000 under the first phase of the new formula.

The total current allocations for those three superior courts are $73 million, $54 million and $74 million, respectively. The Judicial Council is made up of 15 judges, four lawyers and two legislators.

 

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!

 

All Lanes of Southbound Highway 101 Reopen After Overturned Vehicle Blocked Roadway

All lanes of southbound U.S. Highway 101 in San Francisco have reopened after an overturned vehicle blocked the roadway early this morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The solo vehicle collision, located north of Cesar Chavez Streetwas reported at 1:17 a.m.

The roadway was cleared of the collision shortly after 2 a.m., according to the CHP. The cause of the collision remains under investigation.
    

 

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!

 

Oakland Man Arrested In Connection With Wednesday Bayview Shooting

An Oakland man was arrested in connection with a shooting in San Francisco's Bayview District on Wednesday afternoon, police said today.

The shooting, reported at 4:11 p.m. in the area of Revere Avenue and Jennings Street, sent a 46-year-old woman and a 36-year-old man to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.

Javon Coggins, 38, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said.

Coggins was found in the Mission District in a pickup truck with a 34-year-old man and a 47-year-old man after the shooting, Shyy said. All three were detained and taken to the Bayview police station, and the other two were later released, Shyy said.

 

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!

 

Thursday Morning News Roundup

65-Year-Old Man Arrested On Suspicion of Strangling Wife

Santa Rosa police have identified a 65-year-old man arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of strangling his wife.

Dean Howard Eliason Jr. called police at 12:18 p.m. and said he had just killed his wife, Sgt. Dave Linscomb said.

Police responded and found Eliason standing in front of his mobile home in the Rincon Valley Mobile Estates, Linscomb said.

Officers detained Eliason and found his wife, identified as 64-year-old Virginia Mary Caetano, with a ligature around her neck lying on the living room floor, Linscomb said.

The couple were residents of the mobile home park off state Highway 12 east of Mission Boulevard, Linscomb said.

Eliason was booked in the Sonoma County jail on suspicion of murder, Linscomb said.

Two Sonoma County deputy district attorneys and an investigator arrived at the tan, double-wide mobile home at 67 Cardinal Way late Wednesday afternoon.

Some neighbors said they didn't know the couple well, but believed they had lived in the mobile home park for five or six years.

Family of Victims in SF Jewelry Store Homicide Call For Justice

Dozens of family members of a 51-year-old San Francisco jewelry store employee brutally slain in a double homicide earlier this month called for justice before the suspected murderer was expected to appear in court.

Standing on the steps of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. around 12:30 p.m., as many as 25 relatives of Lina Lim, of Daly City, decried her killing, with some family members breaking down and openly wailing and weeping.

Lim and Khin Min, 35, of San Francisco, employees at Victoga Inc., a jewelry store inside the San Francisco GiftCenter & JewelryMart at 888 Brannan St. in the city's South of Market neighborhood, were killed in the July 12 attack while the store's owner, Vic Hung, was seriously injured.

He was treated for critical injuries at San Francisco Hospital.

He was released on Friday, a hospital spokesman said Wednesday.

Barry White Jr., 23, shot and stabbed the three victims at about 2 p.m. that day, according to police. Lim's cousin Ken Cui said he wants White to face the family.

He called the killing "tragic, very brutal and devastating." "We are here to find justice," he said.

Another cousin, Annie Sin, said the family has been reeling in the days since Lim's killing. "We want to know why," she said.

The family said Lim had never indicated that she was afraid at her workplace, where she had been employed for more than two decades.

Her brother Ning Zhao, speaking through a Cantonese interpreter, said he thinks about his sister constantly and that he wants justice. An uncle said Lim "was a good person. She was never angry at anybody."

He said she leaves behind her husband and an 18-year-old daughter.

Lim's youngest sister, Joanie Zhao, wearing dark sunglasses, could not contain herself and was outwardly emotional and said while crying, "I want my sister back. I want her to come home. Nothing can replace her."

According to Assistant District Attorney Scot Clark the incident started because of a dispute over the price of a piece of jewelry.

The attack that ensued was caught on three different surveillance cameras, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege that White waited for the other customers to leave before approaching the counter with a revolver and shooting Hung three times. He then shot at Lim once, according to prosecutors.

White then went toward the exit where Min was standing and allegedly shot her before cutting her with a folding knife, then went back to the other two victims and attacked them with the knife, nearly decapitating Hung, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege that he then reloaded his revolver and left the store and encountered police while covered in blood.

Police had been sent to the area on reports of shots fired.

Police claim he then shot at the officers and ran into the nearby Dos Amigos Mexican restaurant but surrendered after he ran out of ammunition.

Police said they did not shoot at White, and no officers were injured. White was arrested and taken to the hospital for minor injuries to his hands.

He was charged with 16 felony counts, including two counts of murder, seven for attempted murder, six for assault on a police officer with a firearm and one count of possessing an assault rifle, according to the district attorney's office.

Prosecutors said police found a .38 caliber revolver along with a folding knife on White after he was taken into custody. In a search of his car near the JewelryMart, authorities allegedly found an illegal AK-47 assault rifle.

He remains in jail on no bail.

Arrested Sailor Given Court Date

A sailboat skipper who was arrested by the Coast Guard outside the Golden Gate on Sunday was given an Aug. 7 date in federal court in San Francisco Wednesday for arraignment on three criminal charges.

David McCormick is accused of sending out a false distress call on Sunday morning, failing to "heave to" or stop his boat Sunday evening in response to Coast Guard orders, and assaulting a Coast Guard officer who boarded his vessel.

The three charges were lodged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by federal prosecutors on Monday. U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Brandon Trinidad alleged in an affidavit filed with the complaint that McCormick told officers that "any attempt to board my vessel is an act of war."

At a court session Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero scheduled the Aug. 7 hearing for arraignment as well as a status conference on McCormick's immigration situation.

McCormick holds passports from both New Zealand and Ireland, Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Mark Leahey said on Monday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Eaton said although Spero granted McCormick release in the criminal case on $100,000 bond, McCormick was retained in custody Wednesday because of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.

Trinidad said in the affidavit that a man with an Australian accent, who he believes to be McCormick, sent out a mayday call at 9 a.m.

Sunday, saying another man had fallen overboard and asking the Coast Guard to send a boat to help.

"Oh he's over mate and he needs some help. He's over, um, in the fog somewhere in the Bay," the caller said, according to the affidavit.

The Coast Guard launched a helicopter to search, Trinidad said.

At about noon, the man informed the Coast Guard that his "best mate" had been found, Trinidad said. Half an hour later, McCormick activated an emergency radio beacon indicating his position, Trinidad said.

At the time, McCormick's 45-foot sailboat was moored in Richardson Bay off Sausalito, according to Leahey.

When Coast Guard officers asked to come aboard for a safety inspection, McCormick refused and told the officers, "This is a peace ship and any attempt to board my vessel is an act of war," and said he had weapons on board to defend himself, according to the affidavit.

McCormick cut his anchor line, raised his sails and was pursued by several Coast Guard vessels, Trinidad wrote.

Leahey said on Monday that the chase began at about 4 p.m. on Sunday. At 7 p.m., crew members from a Coast Guard cutter pulled along McCormick's boat about 2.5 miles southwest of the Golden Gate Bridge.

After several officers boarded the sailboat and the lead officer attempted to handcuff him, McCormick allegedly hit that officer in the face three times, Trinidad said.

McCormick bought his boat in Alameda and berthed it in Berkeley, according to the Coast Guard.

San Pablo Mother Charged With Manslaughter 

A mother has been charged with manslaughter for a deadly rollover crash in Richmond earlier this year that endangered several children and left her 5-year-old daughter dead.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office Wednesday charged San Pablo resident Arkita Myers, 30, with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, involuntary manslaughter and four felony counts of child endangerment, Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

Officers arrested Myers at her home Wednesday around 3:40 p.m. and took her to county jail, where she is being held on $2.2 million bail, Abetkov said.

Police said Myers was at the wheel of her SUV on Richmond Parkway at Hilltop Drive around 8:10 a.m. on May 20 when she lost control of the car.

The SUV rolled over, ejecting Myers' daughter, 5-year-old Xaniah Jackson and injuring a 7-year-old, two teenagers and another adult in the car, none of whom were wearing seatbelts, police said.

Police said Myers was the only person in the car who was wearing a seatbelt and was uninjured.

Officers found Xaniah in the roadway suffering from traumatic head injuries. She died at a hospital a short time later.

Investigators determined that Myers was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, but believe that she was speeding, Abetkov said.

The investigation also confirmed that none of the children in the car were buckled up or in a car seat, the sergeant said.

"None of the children were restrained properly, they were not in car seats, they were not in seatbelts and if they were...that five-year-old wouldn't have been ejected," Abetkov said. "We understand the loss of a child is something no one wants to go through, but this is a parent who has the responsibility to ensure the safety and health of their own child," she said.

A court date has not yet been set for her arraignment, according to the district attorney's office.

Lawsuit Against America's Cup Could Delay Races

A New York state judge Wednesday scheduled an Aug. 23 hearing on an African-American sailing group's bid for a preliminary injunction that, if granted, would delay the September opening of the America's Cup races in San Francisco. 

The African Diaspora Maritime Corp. claims in a lawsuit filed in New York in 2011 that the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the host of this year's race, unfairly denied it a chance to compete to be the American defender in the race.

The Aug. 23 hearing was scheduled Wednesday by Judge Barbara Kapnick in New York City, said Andrew Kratenstein, a lawyer for the Raleigh, N.C.-based maritime group.

If granted, the preliminary injunction would be in effect until a trial is held on the group's lawsuit, which seeks a ruling requiring the San Francisco-based yacht club to reopen the application process for cup defenders.

Kratenstein said it would be up to the judge to schedule the date of such a trial, but it could not be held before the Sept. 7 opening of the races.

Although the race has been three years in the making, Kratenstein said an injunction delaying it would be justified because the chance to participate is "a unique opportunity that comes only once every several years" and money couldn't compensate for the loss of that opportunity.

The purpose of the group is to train young African-Americans as competitive race sailors and to act as a role model, according to a declaration filed by its president, Charles Kithcart.

Kithcart said Wednesday, "Our group is the American story. We want to spark people's imagination." He said, "Of course we're pleased" with the upcoming court date, but added, "We're disappointed we have to go to these extremes to participate in this sport in a free country."

The American defender selected by the yacht club is Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA, which won the previous international competition in 2010.

The challenger is being determined in the current Louis Vuitton Cup races in San Francisco Bay.

GGYC Vice Commodore Tom Ehman said Wednesday he was "absolutely certain" the America's Cup races will launch as scheduled on Sept. 7. "I think ADM has very little chance to succeed with a preliminary injunction and even less chance to proceed in a trial," Ehman said.

The setting of the injunction hearing comes after a New York state appeals court ruled on June 25 that the lawsuit could proceed on one of its three original claims.

That claim is that by turning down ADM's application, the yacht club acted in bad faith and broke a contract it created when it developed a protocol for selecting a cup defender.

Petaluma Police Officer Pleads No Contest To Charges

A Petaluma police officer pleaded no contest to an alcohol related reckless driving charge that occurred in 2012, police said.

Petaluma police Officer Ryan McGreevy, 35, crashed a motor scooter at a Petaluma Police Department sponsored golf tournament at the Rooster Run Golf Club in Petaluma on Oct. 5, 2012.

The crash happened on the fairway.

He was taken to Petaluma Valley Medical Center then to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries, his attorney Michael Li said.

McGreevy was not given field sobriety tests at the golf club, but a blood draw at the Petaluma hospital indicated his blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent, Li said.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said McGreevy's actual blood-alcohol level might have been 0.09 percent because hospitals usually take a blood serum reading, which is usually higher than the whole blood reading commonly used to determine one's sobriety.

One is considered intoxicated at 0.08 percent. "It was probably 0.09 percent. At most it was 0.11 percent," Staebell said.

The California Highway Patrol conducted an investigation, filed a 70-page report with the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office and recommended McGreevy be charged with DUI.

The prosecution charged him with misdemeanor DUI and misdemeanor DUI with a blood alcohol level greater than 0.08 percent.

McGreevy's trial on those two charges was scheduled to start Sept. 6. He pleaded no contest Tuesday to a "wet reckless" charge -- a lesser DUI offense that entails reckless driving involving alcohol, Staebell and Li said. Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Patrick Broderick sentenced McGreevy to two years probation and an $850 fine.

McGreevy also was ordered to attend DUI education classes.

Staebell said McGreevy did not receive special treatment because he is a police officer.

"We treat every single individual the same. The issue for us is what is the evidence?" Staebell said.

He said the accuracy of the alcohol-blood level readings and the reluctance of hospital employees to testify about a patient's medical records led the prosecution to offer McGreevy a plea deal.

Petaluma police Lt. Tim Lyons said that at the conclusion of a separate administrative investigation of McGreevy's conduct and the events that led to his prosecution, the department plans to take action in accordance with collective bargaining agreements, Petaluma personnel rules and state law as outlined in the Peace Officer Bill of Rights.

The outcome of the administrative process is confidential under state law, Lyons said.

Petaluma Police Chief Patrick Williams said the department is taking the incident seriously and understands members of the community who have expressed disappointment in the officer's behavior.

The Petaluma Police Department is the lead agency in Sonoma County's "Avoid the 13" DUI enforcements that wrap around holidays. 

High School Wrestling Coach In Napa Arrested For Child Pornography

Napa police have arrested a high school wrestling coach on suspicion of sending and possessing child pornography.

Richard "Scott" Rachfal, 43, was arrested Tuesday morning at his residence in the 4100 block of Fairfax Drive in Napa, Lt. Debbie Peecook said.

Napa police had determined that someone at that residence was involved in peer-to-peer file sharing of child pornography, specifically on July 4 and 5, Peecook said.

Police seized computers containing digital files of pornography from the residence and determined Rachfal was the suspect who downloaded and distributed the pornography, Peecook said.

Rachfal, a commercial photographer whose business is "Scott Shot Me Photography," cooperated with the investigation and admitted downloading child pornography for five or six years, but he said he did not take any of the child pornography photos, Peecook said.

On his business website, Rachfal says he has been a professional photographer for 14 years.

Rachfal was a part-time wrestling coach at Justin Siena High School in Napa between 2008 and February of this year, the school's athletics director Michael Fisher said.

Rachfal was planning to coach wrestling in the fall at St. Helena High School, Fisher said.

East Palo Alto Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Wednesday Shooting

A man was arrested on suspicion of shooting another man in the leg in East Palo Alto Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

Officer Lydia Cardoza was flagged down at the shooting scene in the 600 block of Bell Street at 3:10 p.m. and found the 20-year-old victim, police said.

He was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

The investigation revealed that a potential suspect was hiding in a home in the 1500 block of Ursula Way and a team of law enforcement agencies - including assistance from the sheriff's office and police from Menlo Park and Palo Alto - arrested a suspect.

The suspect was identified by police as 32-year-old Ernesto Cuellar of East Palo Alto.

Police have not determined the motive for the shooting.

Anyone who witnessed the incident ahs been asked to call Detective Tommy Phengsene at (650) 798-5947. 

Joe Tuman Announces His Candidacy For 2014 Oakland Mayoral Race

College professor and political commentator Joe Tuman, who finished fourth in the 2010 Oakland mayoral race, announced Wednesday that he will run against Mayor Jean Quan in the 2014 election

Speaking at a news conference outside Oakland City Hall after he filed papers to formally enter the race, Tuman said his campaign will focus on public safety, which he said is "the real issue" that the city faces.

Tuman, who received only 12 percent of the vote in the 10-candidate race in 2010, said Oakland residents should ask themselves if they feel safer than they do in 2011, when Quan took office.

Answering that question himself, Tuman said he believes most of the city's residents "feel worse, not better."

He said, "What we need in this city is to recalibrate a new normal so that hearing gunshots and sirens at 3 a.m. is unusual and we don't have the worst robbery rate in the Bay Area if not California."

Tuman, who is department chair and professor of communication studies at San Francisco State University and has been a political analyst for KPIX television and KCBS radio, said he has "great respect" for Quan for her hard work and integrity but he doesn't think she's done a good job in fighting crime.

Tuman said if he's elected mayor he would work to hire up to 350 more police officers over three or four years by increasing the number of police training academies the city holds every year.

He said he would pay for hiring more police officers by asking voters to approve a parcel tax and by possibly selling city assets, including the Oakland Coliseum complex.

Public safety is the biggest issue in Oakland because "it's the most basic obligation of government," Tuman said.

He said running against Quan "is not personal" but he's opposing her because he wants to "arrest a city in free fall" and he believes her public safety results "are not adequate."

Tuman said he doesn't want any of Oakland's three professional sports teams to leave the city but he also doesn't want to spend public money to keep them.

Handicapping Oakland's chances of keeping the teams, Tuman said the Warriors "may be leaving us, unfortunately" because they've announced plans to move to San Francisco but he thinks there's a good chance that the A's and Raiders will stay.

He said, "The Raiders are the most likely to stay because their image is connected to being in Oakland, which is a tough blue-collar town."

Turning to Oakland's economy, Tuman said he agrees with Quan that it's improving but he thinks that's mainly because the state's economy is improving, not because of anything the city is doing to boost its economy.

"I think it's telling that unemployment in Oakland is higher than other cities and the economic recovery rate is better in other cities such as Emeryville and Berkeley," Tuman said.

Quan has already set up a "Re-Elect Oakland Mayor Jean Quan 2014" website but has not formally announced her candidacy for re-election.

Sean Maher, a spokesman for Quan, said she is "focused on being the Mayor" for the time being, which has been "a lot of work lately."

Bay Area Weather Report

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

Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 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 southwest winds up to 20 mph.

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

 

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!

 

Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 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 southwest winds up to 20 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Friday 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!

 

Pair Robs Haight Home While 3 Residents Sleep

A San Francisco man woke up to find two men rummaging through his Haight-Ashbury home early this morning while he and his roommates slept, police said.

Police responded to the home, located in the 1600 block of Page Street, after the hot-prowl burglary was reported there at 4:30 a.m.

The 26-year-old man woke up and noticed a flashlight beam in his house, police said.

He then saw two men going through a suitcase.

That is when both suspects, believed to be in their 20s, fled.

A laptop was reported missing by one of the man's two 23-year-old male housemates, as was a cellphone and wallet, police said.

No injuries were reported.

 

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!

 

SF Parks, Plazas Getting Wi-Fi with Google Funding

Dozens of San Francisco parks, plazas and open spaces will soon be offering visitors free Wi-Fi, thanks to a partnership with tech giant Google, a city supervisor announced this morning.

The free Internet access will be available in some spots starting in December, and will be offered at a total of 31 sites by the spring of 2014. 

Some of the new Wi-Fi spots include the Marina Green, Justin Herman Plaza, Alamo Square, Balboa Park, Civic Center Plaza, Crocker Amazon Playground, Duboce Park, Dolores Park and Washington Square Park.

According to Farrell's office, the supervisor has been working to bring free Internet to San Francisco for the past two years. 

He teamed up with the city's Citizens Initiative For Technology and Innovation and Google, which is providing a $600,000 grant to fund the project. 

Sf.citi will work with the city's Department of Technology to install and maintain the equipment. City officials say San Francisco Recreation and Parks will benefit from the connectivity, with park visitors more likely to sign up for programming if they can access the agency's online applications while visiting parks. 

A complete list of the planned WiFi spots is available at http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=15191.

 

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!

 

Crews Control Residential Fire in Outer Sunset

Firefighters have controlled a one-alarm residential fire near Lawton Alternative School in San Francisco's Outer Sunset neighborhood, a fire department employee said.

The blaze was reported at 10:01 a.m. in the 1500 block of 30th
Avenue
, between Lawton and Kirkham streets.

It was controlled at 10:32 a.m. No injuries were reported, the employee said.

A San Francisco Unified School District spokesman said school is out for the summer at Lawton and that it does not appear the campus was affected by the fire.

 

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

Four Hospitalized in Collision Near Alamo Square Park

A collision between two cars near San Francisco's Alamo Square Park Tuesday afternoon sent four people to the hospital and one driver may be facing charges, police said.

The collision was reported at 3:40 p.m. at Hayes and Steiner streets, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

Four injured victims were found at the scene, all with moderate to severe injuries, but none considered life-threatening, Esparza said.

They were all taken to a hospital. Police said that an investigation indicates that one of the four victims had already been involved in a hit-and-run with a parked car at Hayes and Divisadero streets just before the crash. 

She then continued driving on Hayes Street, where she ran a stop sign and collided with the other vehicle carrying the other three victims, Esparza said.

That driver may be facing charges of reckless driving, speeding and misdemeanor hit-and-run.

All four victims remain hospitalized tonight, Esparza said.

Millbrae High School AP Exams Invalidated After Testing Agency Finds 'Seating Irregularities'

A group of over 200 Mills High School students will have to retake a series of Advanced Placement exams after the College Board invalidated results from tests taken in May due to "seating irregularities."

A spokesman for the Educational Testing Service, which administers AP and other exams for the College Board, said Tuesday that several aspects of seating protocol were violated when the tests were given at Millbrae's Mills High School two months ago.

"There is a very specific set of protocols that have to be followed to maintain the integrity of test scores," ETS spokesman Jason Baran said.

Regulations require that students be seated at least five feet apart and face the same direction while taking exams, and that they never sit at circular tables, Baran said.

Acting on a tip from a student, ETS staff investigated the alleged breach of seating protocol at Mills High and found that the school had violated the testing guidelines.

"We found evidence of a lot of violations," Baran said. Among them, investigators found that some students had faced each other and sat at round tables during exams, he said.

As a result, the scores of over 600 AP exams covering 11 subjects were invalidated, he said.

San Mateo Union High School District Deputy Superintendent Liz McManus said the students are being unjustly punished for a situation over which they had little control.

"It's heartbreaking," McManus said. "The students have been honest, they studied, they prepared themselves."

McManus admitted that because of the configuration of some classrooms where the tests were administered, a handful of students did sit at circular tables. However, the school had four adults per classroom supervising the test-takers and ensured that no one cheated, while most rooms did adhere to the seating ETS requirements, she said.

"ETS knows that these students did not cheat," McManus said. "We have students going off to four-year colleges who are expecting to get credit for these courses."

ETS and school district administrators are coordinating a re-take of the exams in August, but some students say that will be too late to get their credits accepted.

"I risk the possibility of having my admission to my college cancelled without further notice if I do not submit my AP scores by a certain (already extended) upcoming date," Jennifer Kao wrote on www.whyweneedourscoresback.com, a website set up for the student body to deal with the controversy.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition at www.change.org asking Superintendent Scott Laurence to take action.

State High Court Rejects Second Bid for Stay of Gay Marriages

For the second time in eight days, the California Supreme Court refused Tuesday to halt same-sex marriages in the state.

In a one-line order issued in San Francisco, the court turned down a request by San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg for an immediate stay of an order by state

Registrar Tony Agurto requiring the state's 58 county clerks to license gay marriages.

Agurto, acting on the instructions of Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris, issued the order on June 28. Hundreds of same-sex weddings have been performed statewide since then.

The state high court on July 15 denied a similar request by the sponsors of Proposition 8, the state's 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

Both the sponsors and Dronenburg claim in petitions filed with the court that Proposition 8 should still be in effect in most of the state, despite a June 26 U.S. Supreme Court decision that dismissed an appeal by the sponsors.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling left in place a 2010 decision in which U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco said Proposition 8 was unconstitutional and issued an injunction barring its enforcement.

The initiative sponsors and Dronenburg claim the injunction applies only to two couples who challenged Proposition 8 in a lawsuit, while Brown, Harris and other officials say it extends statewide.

Twenty-four other county clerks, including eight from the Bay Area, told the court in papers filed Monday that they agree with Harris that the injunction and Agurto's order apply to local clerks.

The Bay Area clerks supporting that position were from Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties.

The Proposition 8 sponsors' and Dronenburg's requests for a full review of their claims are still pending before the state high court, which has set a briefing schedule that ends Aug. 8.

If the court's seven justices do grant review, the process of receiving further briefs, hearing arguments and preparing a decision would take at least several months.

In the meantime, there is no obstacle to continued same-sex marriages.

The sponsors of Proposition 8 lost a separate bid to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for a stay on June 30.

Man Shot by Fairfield Police Friday Identified

The Solano County Sheriff's Office has identified the man who was shot by Fairfield police officers Friday night as 47-year-old Leigh Weeden of Suisun City.

Weeden has an extensive criminal history involving weapons and robberies in multiple states, sheriff's Deputy Daryl Snedeker said.

He served a 10-year-prison term for armed bank robbery and was on federal probation at the time of the shooting.

The two officers shot Weeden after a vehicle pursuit that ended in a field near Bella Vista Drive and Walters Road in unincorporated Solano County outside Suisun City.

The officers are assigned to the Special Operations Team comprised of detectives who address specific crime issues in Fairfield, Snedeker said.

They were working to reduce street crime in the East Tabor Avenue area when they tried to stop Weeden's black Hummer for a traffic violation around 9 p.m., Snedeker said.

Weeden drove away from the officers who pursued him into Suisun City and to the field where the Hummer became stuck in an embankment, Snedeker said.

As the officers approached the Hummer, Weeden stepped out of the car but quickly ducked back inside and grabbed a gun, the sheriff's office said.

Weeden fired several shots at the officers who fired back, striking Weeden several times.

Weeden was pronounced dead at a local hospital, the sheriff's office said.

It was the third officer involved fatal shooting in Solano County since June 28.

Vacaville police fatally shot 24-year-old Kendall Walker, of Fairfield three times around 7:30 p.m.

Thursday on Ulatis Drive in Vacaville after he walked toward officers in "an aggressive and threatening manner" with a knife and another object believed to be a hammer or crowbar, according to Vacaville police.

On June 28, Vacaville police shot Lonnie Taylor, 21, of Sacramento, after he allegedly tried to run officers over on Interstate Highway 80 in Vacaville. Police said Taylor was suspected of stealing televisions from a Walmart.

Hercules Man Reflects on Sudden 'Hero' Status After Saving Victim from Burning Building

The past few days have been a whirlwind for Joseph Trapani.

He's not used to the kind of attention he has received since saving an elderly man from a burning home over the weekend.

"It's a little overwhelming but it's heartwarming to see strangers think so highly of me," Trapani said.

The 29-year-old Hercules resident was riding in a car with his brother and two friends on their way to play golf at the Franklin Canyon Golf Course about 1:30 p.m. Saturday when he saw a home on fire in the 2200 block of Lupine Road.

Adrenaline compelled Trapani to jump out of the car, kick the front door open and look to see if anyone was inside.

He checked a series of rooms in the single-story home, and behind the last door Trapani found an elderly man whom fire officials identified as Khang Do.

"We were really surprised to see each other," he said.

Trapani picked up him up and escaped as the fire continued to burn.

When he brought Do to safety, he realized the elderly man didn't speak any English.

Trapani said Do simply gave him a handshake and a nod.

Neither was injured in the blaze, fire officials said.

Trapani then went back inside the house a second time to check for other occupants, even though his brother and friends were screaming at him.

"I didn't want to leave anyone behind," he said. When he didn't find anyone, he sat on a curb as firefighters arrived to put out the fire.

He and his group later continued on to the golf course.

"It was a heck of a day," he said.

The Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and Pinole Fire Department responded to the fire.

Do and another resident are receiving temporary housing assistance from the American Red Cross, Pinole Fire Department Battalion Chief Brian Lowry said.

Damage to the home is estimated at about $200,000, Rodeo-Hercules Fire Chief Charles Hanley said.

Fire investigators believe the fire started in the garage in the engine compartment of a 1999 Honda sedan car and spread to the attic and living area, Lowry said.

Over the past few days, the gravity of the situation has sunk in for Trapani, who now recognizes how dangerous it was to walk into the burning home.

"I don't know if it was very dumb or very brave," he said.

Trapani said his experience as an emergency medical technician in Alameda County several years ago helped him get through Saturday's rescue.

"It helps to think rationally when there's an emergency. It helps you keep calm and do what you need to do," he said.

When reflecting on the rescue, Trapani said the experience has helped him believe in himself and value his self-worth.

"I try to tell everyone that we're all in this world together and we need to be mindful one another," he said.

Alameda Robbery Suspect Slain by Off-Duty Deputy Identified

An armed robbery suspect who was fatally shot by an off-duty Alameda County sheriff's deputy at an Alameda convenience store on Thursday night has been identified as 42-year-old Laroy Brown of Oakland, police said Tuesday.

According to Alameda police, Brown and a second suspect, both wearing masks and carrying guns, entered the Bonfare Market at 1505 High St. at about 10:30 p.m.

Thursday but were confronted by the deputy, who happened to be at the store reading a magazine.

Police said the deputy feared for his safety and the safety of the store's employees so he shot both suspects.

Brown was killed but the second suspect escaped, police said.

Alameda police Lt. Ted Horlbeck declined to say Tuesday if the second suspect has been arrested.

But he said a person of interest in the incident is being held in custody on an unrelated charge.

San Jose Prosecutors Still Sorting Through Evidence in Sierra Lamar Murder-Kidnap Case

The Sierra LaMar murder and kidnap case was delayed in a San Jose courtroom Tuesday to next month as prosecutors sift through evidence still coming in from law enforcement agencies, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Santa Clara County Judge Sharon Chatman set a new hearing for Aug. 22 to review the status of evidence sent by the district attorney's office to lawyers for murder defendant Antolin Garcia Torres.

Garcia Torres, 21, was charged back on May 31, 2012, with murder and kidnapping with special circumstances after the 15-year-old Sierra vanished outside her home near Morgan Hill on March 16, 2012.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Walsh told Chatman that evidence and information gathered by investigators is being delivered to Garcia Torres' defense attorneys, Traci Owens and Alfonso Lopez.

"We continue to turn over discovery," Walsh said. "We have not yet completed the process."

Garcia Torres, dressed in a light brown suit and occasionally peering at the courtroom audience, listened as his attorneys, who seemed to anticipate the postponement, agreed on the hearing date.

Outside of court, Walsh said the prosecution is still receiving information about the case from the district attorney's crime laboratory, the FBI and the sheriff's office.

Garcia Torres has yet to enter a plea in the murder-kidnap case more than a year after being charged.

Prosecutors have combined the charges with other allegations, filed in November, that Garcia Torres assaulted three women on March 19 and March 26, 2012, in Safeway parking lots in Morgan Hill, Walsh said.

"It's a complicated case and there is just a voluminous amount of discovery that is generated in a case of this nature," Walsh said.

The sheriff's office is also following up on leads and searches for clues about the missing teen, he said.

"The case is top priority with our office," Walsh said.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Garcia Torres on May 21 of last year after detectives reported finding DNA believed to be Sierra's inside his red Volkswagen Jetta.

Volunteers have organized searches on Saturday for Sierra in the Morgan Hill area, some repelling down the sides of mountains and at least one donning diving gear to look in local reservoirs and creeks, lead volunteer Doug Tollis said.

Tollis was among 10 supporters of Sierra who attended Tuesday's hearing, some expressing frustration with the months of delays in the case related to pretrial discovery issues.

So far, volunteers have participated in about 360 searches for Sierra, with some people traveling from Malibu and Hollywood in Southern California to join them, Tollis said.

Marin Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team Helps Rescue Fallen Hiker in Yosemite National Park

The Marin County Search and Rescue Team was conducting its annual training in the right place at the right time Saturday afternoon when a 19-year-old man fell from a rock into Emerald Pool in Yosemite National Park.

The rock climber from Camarillo in Ventura County fell 15 to 20 feet and struck the right side of his head on a rock in the Merced River above Emerald Pool, but managed to cling to the rock and avoid being swept into the pool near Vernal Fall, said Marin County sheriff's Lt.

Doug Pittman, commander of the search and rescue team.

Four or five of the search and rescue team's mountain rescue-certified members were hiking up the Mist Trail that leads to Emerald Pool when tourists informed them of the climber's plight, Pittman said.

The team members were untrained in swift water rescue so they reported the incident to National Park Service rangers then found the man clinging to the rock as he went in and out of consciousness, Pittman said.

Two team members set up anchors on each side of river for use by the park rangers while other team members conversed with the man to keep him alert, Pittman said.

At one point the man lost his grip on the rock but fortunately was carried by the water that pushed him up onto another rock, Pittman said.

National Park Service ranger and spokeswoman Kari Cobb said the man was in an area of the river known as the Silver Apron that contains crevices.

Park rangers arrived about 40 minutes later and had to sink new anchors because the man traveled further downstream, Cobb said.

They then rigged ropes and pulleys to the anchors and physically grabbed the man and lifted him out of the pool to safety, Cobb said.

The injured climber was taken in a gurney down the John Muir Trail.

He suffered hypothermia in addition to the injury to his eye socket and head injury, Pittman said.

The man was taken to a local hospital, Cobb said.

Oakland Judge Rules That Loud Music Doesn't Justify Killing Someone

An Oakland judge ruled Tuesday that playing music too loud isn't sufficient reason for someone to be killed.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon made that finding after defense attorney David Kelvin argued that 22-year-old Blair Robertson provoked his client, 21-year-old Van Surrell, by playing music too loud in an incident in the 700 block of East 11th Street in Oakland on Feb. 16.

At the end of a preliminary hearing for Surrell, Reardon expressed surprise at Kelvin's argument, asking, "That's legal provocation?"

Robertson was stabbed to death in the incident.

Oakland police officer Eric Milina said in a probable cause statement that Surrell and Robertson got into a fight but Robertson was walking away from it when Surrell grabbed a knife, pushed a witness out of the way and fatally stabbed him.

Kelvin argued that Van Surrell acted in self-defense, but Reardon disagreed.

"You can't say I started a fight and now I'm provoked so I killed him in self-defense," Reardon said.

Reardon ruled that prosecutors produced sufficient evidence to have Surrell face a trial on a murder charge and an enhancement clause that he used a knife to kill Robertson.

Surrell, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 6 to have a trial date set.

Santa Cruz Police Seek Help in Identifying Yogurt Shop Burglar

Santa Cruz police are seeking the public's help in solving a yogurt shop burglary that occurred early Friday morning.

The break-in happened at Top A Lot Yogurt at 738 Water St. sometime in the early morning hours, police said.

The suspect entered the business by smashing two large rocks against the front door.

He then took a bank bag containing cash and fled, Deputy Chief Steve Clark said.

Surveillance footage from the store shows that the suspect appears to be a white male with short, dark hair.

He was wearing a light-colored hoodie with a front zipper and logo on the back, and dark pants.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department Investigations Section at (831) 420-5820 or call the tip line at (831) 420-5995.

San Francisco Bay Area 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 upper 60s, with 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 winds up to 30 mph.

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Thursday morning.

Highs are expected to be in the 50s to upper 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!

 

Fire Burning In Outer Sunset Neighborhood

San Francisco firefighters are at the scene of a fire in the city's Outer Sunset neighborhood this morning.

The fire is burning in the area of 30th Avenue between Lawton and Kirkham, a fire department employee said.

 

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!

 

15-Minute BART Delay Due to Disabled Vehicle On Tracks

BART trains are experiencing a 15-minute delay on the Pittsburg/Bay Point - SFO/Millbrae line this morning, according to BART officials.

At about 5:45 a.m., Bart officials announced that commuters should expect a 15-minute delay in both directions due to a disabled vehicle on the tracks.

 

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!

 

President Obama to Honor SF Giants for World Series, Community Efforts

President Obama will recognize the San Francisco Giants for their 2012 World Series Championship and their community efforts in a White House ceremony on Monday.

The team beat the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series, their second championship since the franchise moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958.

One of the team's notable efforts is their "Junior Giants" program, where children ages five through 18 from underprivileged backgrounds have the opportunity to play in a non-competitive baseball league, Senior Vice President of Communications Staci Slaughter said. The team has also done work against anti-bullying, Slaughter said.

When the team visited the White House in 2011 Obama acknowledged the "It Gets Better" campaign, which provides a message of hope for LGBT youth who are harassed by their peers.

The team will then play a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies beginning on Tuesday.

 

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!

 

San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday Morning News Roundup

 

Palo Alto Man Dies in Plane Crash

A Palo Alto man died and his wife was injured in a plane accident in Lake Tahoe Monday morning, authorities said.

A single-engine Mooney M20 crashed in a wooded area less than a mile east the Lake Tahoe Airport in South Lake Tahoe after taking off at 11:15 a.m., Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

Two people were on board. A man died in the crash, while the man's wife suffered moderate injuries and was taken to a hospital in Reno, El Dorado County sheriff's Lt. Pete Van Arnum told reporters at the scene.

Van Arnum identified the couple as Steven and Karen Lefton. Karen Lefton had been trapped in the plane when an off-duty nurse came upon the crash while walking her dog in the area, he said.

The nurse provided aid to the injured woman and alerted authorities. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.

BART Chief Negotiator Accused of Unfair Bargaining

Less than two weeks before BART workers could resume their strike, union leaders alleged Monday that management's chief negotiator has a long history of engaging in hardball tactics and accused him of engaging in unfair bargaining.

Roxanne Sanchez, the president of Service International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, said Thomas Hock and his company, Professional Transit Management, have been named in 47 complaints with the National Labor Relations Board since 2001 and he's been involved in negotiations that have resulted in seven transit strikes since 2005.

Speaking at a news conference outside the Caltrans building in Oakland, where contract talks have been taking place, Sanchez alleged that Hock has engaged in "surface bargaining," which she said is a technique designed not to make progress and to create a public backlash against BART workers.

Sanchez also alleged that Hock is unavailable for 10 of the 14 days remaining before the contract for BART employees expires on Aug. 4 and called for BART General Manager Grace Crunican or another top executive to come to the bargaining table to try to reach an agreement.

However, Crunican said she still supports Hock because "he's a great negotiator who has settled a lot of contracts."

She said Hock has negotiated more than 400 labor contracts since 1972 and in that time only two unfair labor practice charges alleging bad faith bargaining have been filed against him.

Crunican said one of those complaints was withdrawn by the union that filed it and in the second case there was no finding of bad faith bargaining.

Crunican also alleged that SEIU negotiators haven't been at the bargaining table "40 percent of the time" since contract talks began on April 1.

The general manager said she's not at the bargaining table every day but she's fully informed about the talks and is available at all times.

Members of SEIU Local 1021 and members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers, went on strike on 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.

BART management said state mediators who brokered the 30-day contract extension were informed that Hock wouldn't be available from July 24 to July 28 and agreed there would still be ample time to negotiate a contract.

The key issues in the contract talks are wages, employee contributions for health care and retirement costs, and safety.

Among those who joined Sanchez in criticizing Hock were Josie Mooney, one of SEIU Local 1021's lead negotiators, and ATU Local 1555 spokesman Leo Ruiz.

Sanchez said "there's still a huge divide between the parties and very serious differences at this late date."

But Crunican was more hopeful that a settlement can still be reached, saying, "There are still two weeks to go and that's a good amount of time." She said, "We're here to get a settlement."

County Clerks Dispute Over Same-Sex Marriages

Twenty-four county clerks weighed in with the California Supreme Court Monday to say they believe they should continue licensing same-sex marriages, which resumed in the state three weeks ago.

One other -- San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg -- told the court he doesn't believe he should do so.

The clerks' filings with the court in San Francisco came in response to the first of two lawsuits submitted to the panel in the past 10 days by opponents of same-sex marriage.

Both lawsuits ask the court to grant a hearing on their claim that Proposition 8, a 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, is still valid in most of the state.

One lawsuit was filed by the sponsors of Proposition 8 on July 12 and the second was filed by Dronenburg on July 19.

Both contend that a federal trial court injunction prohibiting enforcement of Proposition 8 applies only to two couples who challenged the measure in court.

Gay and lesbian marriages resumed in the state on June 28, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the Proposition 8 sponsors and thereby left the injunction in place.

Monday was the deadline for filing opposition to the sponsors' lawsuit. The state high court turned down their bid for an immediate stay of the weddings last week, but is still considering their request for a hearing and a long-term order blocking the marriages.

The 24 clerks favoring licensing, who signed on to one or more of four separate briefs, argue that the 2010 injunction by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco applies statewide.

They also say that state Registrar Tony Agurto had statewide authority over county clerks when, at the behest of Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris, he instructed clerks to resume issuing gay marriage licenses on June 28.

"Counties have no independent authority over marriage" and "county clerks are subordinate to the state with respect to the administration of marriage laws," wrote Monterey County Counsel Charles McKee on behalf of 20 clerks.

McKee warned that allowing counties to have different rules for marriage could lead to "practical and legal absurdities" and a possible "onslaught of further civil rights lawsuits against counties."

Bay Area counties whose clerks signed on to one or more of the briefs include Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma.

In a brief joined by Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera agreed with McKee's reasoning and also argued Walker had the authority to issue a statewide ruling because constitutional rights were at stake.

"No one can enforce an unconstitutional law, not the state, not a county clerk, and not a small group of misguided advocates who don't seem to understand when they've lost," Herrera said in a statement.

The city attorney said the brief makes "the simple argument that the federal district court has already decided that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution and cannot be enforced constitutionally in any square inch of the state against any same-sex couple."

The sponsors of Proposition 8, and their committee, Protect Marriage, have until Aug. 1 to submit a final brief on their request for a hearing. Dronenburg's separate lawsuit seeking a stay and a hearing is still pending.

Britannia Arms Bar Hosting "Baby Shower"

Following Monday's birth of a baby boy to Kate Middleton and Prince William, the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge, a British bar in San Jose is preparing to celebrate this weekend.

Britannia Arms, located at 5027 Almaden Expressway, will be hosting a "baby shower" to mark the birth of the newest member of the British royal family, bar manager Michael North said.

The official time and date of the event, which have not yet been set, will be posted on the bar's Facebook page and disseminated through Twitter.

North said there is local interest in the birth, although not as much as there was in the royal wedding. "It's not quite as exciting as when they got married," North said.

"(The birth) is not the kind of thing people will sit and wait for."

North said there will be cake and champagne at the celebration this weekend. His wife will be making the cake, he said.

Juveniles Arrested for Rape and Burglary Incident

Morgan Hill police arrested three juveniles in the rape and burglary of a 40-year-old woman on Saturday, a police captain said.

The incident happened after the woman had been drinking at a local establishment and called a taxi to take her home, Capt. Shane Palsgrove said.

The taxi driver enlisted assistance from a mother and teenage son to help him take the woman inside her house, Palsgrove said.

Later that evening the 16-year-old son returned to the woman's residence and raped her, Palsgrove said.

The boy then left the woman's home and returned with his 15-year-old girlfriend and her friend who all burglarized the victim, according to Palsgrove.

Officers later recovered the stolen property at the male juvenile's home, police said.

The three juveniles were arrested on suspicion of residential burglary, conspiracy and violation of juvenile probation, according to Palsgrove.

The male juvenile was also charged with rape of an intoxicated person, Palsgrove said.

Sprint Car Driver Expected to Recover From Crash

A champion sprint car driver is expected to recover from a crash at Antioch Speedway Saturday night, according to event organizers.

Peter Murphy of Clovis was completing the 14th lap during the King of the West event when he was struck by two cars, according to a statement by Gary Thomas, communications director for the event.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District responded to the event at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds at 1201 W. 10th St. around 9:15 p.m., Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman Robert Marshall said.

The vehicle flipped over several times before it came to rest on its roof, Marshall said.

Murphy was stuck underneath his car for 40 minutes as extensive extrication was needed to take him out, Marshall said.

He was airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Thomas said.

"The doctors have determined he had a traumatic brain injury, a compressed vertebrae, as well as severe stretching and swelling to the tendons in his neck," a spokeswoman for Murphy said in a statement posted on the event's Facebook page Monday afternoon.

Murphy is a native of Sydney, Australia and was running in second position when the crash occurred, Thomas said.

Event organizers ended the race following the crash "as emotions were running high with everyone," Thomas said.

San Francisco Ordinance Offers Incentives for Healthier Foods

A San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee Monday approved legislation that will provide incentives to corner stores that sell healthier foods in the city.

The ordinance, authored by Supervisor Eric Mar, follows smaller-scale efforts recently that have targeted the city's Bayview and Tenderloin neighborhoods, where many markets offered processed food, tobacco and alcohol options and lacked fresh produce and other healthy meals.

"We're turning it citywide," Mar said.

He said at Monday's meeting of the board's land use and economic development committee that the lack of healthy food "has really become a civil rights issue for many of our lower-income neighborhoods."

The legislation will provide free assistance from finance and merchandizing consultants, priority consideration for grants and offers other perks from the city for businesses that agree to devote at least 35 percent of their selling area to produce, whole grains, lean protein and dairy and devotes less than 20 percent of the space to alcohol and tobacco products.

The program will be overseen by the city's Office of Economic Workforce Development in collaboration with the San Francisco Department of Public Health and local community groups.

Mar said the program is a "one-stop shop" to help businesses transform into ones that sell healthier food while staying competitive with other markets.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, a co-sponsor of the legislation, represents the Bayview District, which she said has been "notoriously known for being a food desert."

However, efforts in recent years by the city and groups like Southeast Food Access are "redefining what a liquor store is looking like in the Bayview," with healthier options more prominent in businesses that have agreed to overhaul their store layout.

Similar changes are also starting in the Tenderloin, where there are currently more than 70 corner stores but not a single full-service grocery store, according to Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents that neighborhood and is also co-sponsoring the legislation.

"All of us deserve to live in healthy neighborhoods," Kim said.

The board committee unanimously recommended approval the ordinance, which will now go to the full board for consideration.

Car Crash Victim Identified

A man who was killed while attempting to help crash victims on Interstate Highway 280 early Sunday morning has been identified by the San Mateo County coroner's office as 32-year-old Redwood City resident Kirk Peterson.

The crash was reported north of Woodside Road at about 2:40 a.m.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the 25-year-old driver of a black Honda, Vallejo resident Charles Miranda, allowed his car to clip the rear of a Toyota SUV, causing the Toyota to go out of control and strike the center divider, California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel said.

Peterson saw the crash and pulled over to the road's right shoulder in his Jeep, then attempted to run across southbound lanes to assist the victims.

He was struck and killed by an oncoming Infiniti SUV, Montiel said. Two people in the SUV suffered minor injuries.

Miranda has been charged with driving under the influence causing bodily injury and will be in court Monday afternoon, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Anyone who might have witnessed the incident should call the CHP at (650) 369-6261.

Man Arrested for Robbing Bank

A man was arrested after robbing a Burlingame bank late Monday morning, a police sergeant said.

The man went into a bank branch in the 1100 block of Broadway just before noon, said he had a gun and demanded money from a teller, Burlingame police Sgt. Don Shepley said.

A Wells Fargo branch is located in the block. The suspect took cash and left the bank on foot.

A description of the robber was broadcast to law enforcement agencies in the region, and he was later detained by Daly City police in that city and then taken into custody by Burlingame police, Shepley said.

No injuries were reported during the robbery and a gun was never seen, Shepley said.

Bay Area Weather

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning, with a slight chance of thunderstorms.

Highs are likely to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s, with winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

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

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Wednesday morning. Highs are expected to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with westerly winds up to 15 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!

 

Weather Forecast for the San Francisco Bay Area

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning, with a slight chance of thunderstorms.

Highs are likely to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s, with winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog
after midnight.

Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph. Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Wednesday morning. Highs are expected to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with westerly winds up to 15 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!

 

Monday Morning News Roundup

Man Killed Saturday Night in SF Tenderloin

A San Francisco man who was killed Saturday night in a shooting in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood has been identified as 24-year-old Melsar Godoy, according to the medical examiner's office. Godoy was among two groups of males involved in a shooting in the 800 block of O'Farrell Street at about 9:40 p.m., Sgt. Dennis Toomer said. Godoy was pronounced dead at the scene, Toomer said. A second victim was transported to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. During the incident, a responding officer fired at one of the armed suspects, but did not hit him, according to police. The suspect fled on foot, and the officer pursued him and took him into custody, according to Toomer. His name has not been released. Two guns were recovered from the scene, Toomer said. It has not been determined if the shooting was gang related.

 

Coast Guard Takes Sailboat Captain into Custody

The U.S. Coast Guard took into custody the captain of a suspicious sailboat that fled from the Sausalito area Saturday evening, a spokesman said. An 87-foot Coast Guard patrol boat was able to intercept the boat two miles west of Ocean Beach around 7 p.m., Officer Mark Leahey said. The boat's captain initially attempted to demand that the boarding party put away its guns, but the unit was able to board and take him into custody, Leahey said. The sailboat initially caught the Coast Guard's attention around 4 p.m. when it was spotted by a unit patrolling in Richardson Bay near Sausalito, Leahey said. The sailboat had no flag flying and no markings of any kind indicating its name or origins, which is highly unusual, Leahey said. The Coast Guard unit attempted to contact and board the boat, but the captain refused permission to board, and may have threatened members of the boarding crew, Leahey said. The coast guard unit called for backup from a larger Coast Guard patrol boat as well as the Sausalito police and the Marin County Sheriff's Office. While it was waiting, however, the boat got underway around 5 p.m. Leahey said the boat was allowed to sail away based on safety considerations at the time. The Coast Guard tailed the boat past the Golden Gate Bridge while it waited for the larger patrol boat to arrive. The sailboat is being taken back to Sausalito and the captain is being taken back to local authorities in Marin County. It is not yet clear what charges he might face, if any, or what his motive was for fleeing the Coast Guard, Leahey said.

 

Elderly Santa Cruz Driver Hits Bicyclist 

A 95-year-old driver struck a bicyclist in Santa Cruz on Saturday afternoon. The elderly woman was apparently making a right turn into a driveway in the 400 block of Walnut Street when she collided with a bicyclist at around 1 p.m., according to Santa Cruz police. A preliminary investigation revealed the driver accelerated instead of applying the breaks and struck the bicyclist, a tree and a parked car before coming to rest against a garage, police said. The bicyclist, a 25-year-old woman, suffered serious injuries to her pelvis and legs, police said. She was airlifted to Valley Medical Center and reported to be in stable condition. There was no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved. The driver has been referred to the Department of Motor Vehicles for reexamination, police said.

 

San Jose Police Identify Motorcyclist Crash Victim

A motorcyclist who was killed in a crash involving a suspected drunk driver in San Jose on Friday night has been identified as 60-year-old Noel Reynoso, according to the medical examiner's office. Police said dispatchers received reports of a collision involving a motorcycle and several cars in the 1400 block of White Road around 9:45 p.m. Reynoso, a Santa Clara resident, was found on the ground by emergency responders and pronounced dead at the scene. A preliminary investigation revealed that a Lexus was heading north on White Road when it crossed into the roadway's southbound lane and struck Reynoso, according to police. The driver of the Lexus, a 23-year-old man, was taken to a hospital and treated for what were not believed to be life-threatening injuries. No additional injuries were reported. The man, whose name has not been released, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, drunk driving and hit and run and taken to Santa Clara County Jail. Police said the crash was San Jose's 22nd fatal collision this year.

 

Tropical Weather System Could Reach Bay Area

A tropical weather system bringing rain to parts of the Southwest this weekend could push north to the Bay Area on Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. The "monsoonal" air mass today brought heavy rain to portions of Arizona, and scattered dry lightning was reported in the hills around San Diego, forecaster Diana Henderson said. Some scattered light showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms could reach parts of the Bay Area on Monday and last into Tuesday, Henderson said. High clouds associated with the system today were reported around the southern portion of Monterey County, she said. A tropical storm system coming from the south is not unusual for the Bay Area at this time of year, Henderson said.

 

Man Killed on Highway 280

A man who was killed on Interstate Highway 280 in Woodside Sunday morning had likely stopped to help victims of a crash, the California Highway Patrol said. Officers first responded to reports of a crash involving multiple vehicles on southbound Highway 280 north of Woodside Road at about 2:40 a.m., CHP Officer Art Montiel said. A preliminary investigation revealed that the 25-year-old driver of a black Honda allowed his car to clip the rear of a Toyota SUV, causing the Toyota to lose control and strike the center divide, Montiel said. Two people in the SUV suffered minor injuries. Immediately after the crash, a witness in a Jeep pulled over on the right shoulder and got out of his vehicle, apparently to assist the crash victims, Montiel said. As the man crossed the highway, he was struck by an oncoming Infiniti SUV and killed, according to the CHP. Highway 280 was closed for around three hours, and the driver of the Honda, who was later identified as Charles Miranda, of Vallejo, was arrested by the CHP for suspected drunk driving.

 

Four Men Shoot Man and His Daughter in Salinas

Four men fired shots at a man and his 7-year-old daughter in Salinas Sunday afternoon in what police are calling a random and unprovoked attack. The victim, a 35-year-old male, was driving in his pickup truck with his 7-year-old daughter shortly after 1 p.m. when he made a u-turn at Gaviota Drive and Cachuma Court, according to police. Four suspects were driving in a gray BMW on Gaviota as he made the turn, and the right front passenger opened fire with a large caliber semi-automatic pistol, police said. Four rounds struck the pickup but the man and his daughter escaped unharmed. The victim is not a gang member, and did not speak with the suspects. Police said in a statement that the shooting appeared to be "random and unprovoked."

 

New Zealand America's Cup Victory

A New Zealand team suffered a breakdown during the America's Cup Sunday but still sailed to victory over its Italian competitor, race officials said. Emirates Team New Zealand had a clip fail on a sail during the third of seven legs in today's race against Luna Rossa Challenge, race officials said. The crew took around three minutes to detach the sail and throw it overboard for retrieval by the team's chase boat, before sailing on with only the 131-foot tall wing foot sail. The New Zealand team still won by 2 minutes and 19 seconds, scoring their sixth point of the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup Challenger series. The two teams are scheduled to race again on Tuesday. A third challenger, Artemis Racing, was knocked out of the race by a fatal accident on May 9 that killed British sailor Andrew "Bart" Simpson and damaged its vessel. Race officials had said last weekend that the Swedish team could be back in the race by this weekend, but the team did not appear for a scheduled race on Saturday. Artemis is next scheduled to race against Luna Rossa Challenge on Thursday.

 

Fire in Rohnert Park

Chemicals thrown into a garbage can appear to have spontaneously combusted Sunday afternoon, causing a fire that threatened two Rohnert Park homes, officials said. The fire, which started in a side yard between 843 and 859 Bernice Avenue, was reported around 3:45 p.m., officials said. Calls to 911 reported minor explosions coming from the area. Firefighters found the fire had spread to 843 Bernice Ave. and was threatening the other home. Residents of 843 had self-evacuated, but there was no answer at 859. Officers forced entry and found two dogs inside, who were removed without injury. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control within 11 minutes, officials said. Damage was estimated at around $15,000 to $25,000. The fire is thought to have been caused by chemicals that were thrown into an outdoor garbage can. Public safety officials are reminding residents to use caution when disposing of any chemicals, stains, paints and resins, because they can spontaneously combust with little warning.

 

MUNI Bus Collides with Car 

A Muni bus collided with a car Sunday evening at Mission and South Van Ness streets, according to a Muni spokesman. An inbound 49 Van Ness/Mission bus collided with an automobile around 8:50 p.m., Muni spokesman Paul Rose said. No information was available on injuries. Buses were rerouted around the accident, Rose said.

 

El Cerrito Shooting Victims Flee Scene

Police in El Cerrito continue to investigate a Saturday afternoon shooting in which the victims fled the scene, refusing medical help. Officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 11700 block of San Pablo Avenue at about 2 p.m., police said. An investigation determined that a male in a car shot at another car with people inside, according to police. The shooter then fled the scene, last seen on Interstate Highway 80, police said. The victims stopped to contact paramedics at a nearby ambulance that was in the area, but before receiving treatment for their injuries, they fled the area, according to police.

 

Oakland Zoo's Male Warthog Has Approval to Breed

The Oakland Zoo's resident male warthog is about to get some female companionship. Three-year-old Simon has won approval from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to breed, and two new females have been brought in to meet with him and hopefully mate, according to zoo officials. The two females, both two years old, were brought in from the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida and from Zoo Atlanta. Zookeepers have been working to slowly introduce them to each other, as warthogs can be a challenge to introduce in captivity. Things have gone well, and Simon is now being introduced into the mix, zoo officials said. Warthogs like to dig for roots and tubers, graze on grass and wallow in the mud, officials said. They can live into their mid to late teens in captivity.

 

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning, with a slight chance of showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph. Mostly cloudy skies with a slight chance of showers and isolated thunderstorms 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. Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Tuesday morning, with a slight chance of showers and isolated thunderstorms. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

 

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!

 

Thursday Morning News Roundup

City Officials Celebrate Opening of Brannan Street Wharf on Waterfront

A new open space area opened along San Francisco's waterfront Wednesday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the music of Otis Redding.

The Brannan Street Wharf, a 57,000-square-foot park south of the Bay Bridge between Piers 30-32 and 38, features a 400-foot-long lawn area, a waterside walkway and a small dock for kayaks and other small vessels. Mayor Ed Lee said the new park "is impressive not only for its beauty in opening up more space, but because it does so in a seismically safe way and a sustainable way."

The $26.1 million project included the demolition of dilapidated Pier 36 at the site, the rebuilding of the seawall to address potential future sea level rises and other seismic safety features below the surface of the park, Port of San Francisco executive director Monique Moyer said.

Moyer said Brannan Street Wharf will be "a jewel among the port's park open space collection" and "a place where we can walk along and experience the Bay peacefully and playfully."

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes the park site, called it "a beautiful new addition to our waterfront." Otis Redding III, the son of the famous soul singer who died tragically in a plane crash in 1967, attended Wednesday's ceremony and performed a version of his father's song "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" to commemorate the opening of the park.

Lyrics from the song, which was inspired by the elder Redding's trip to the Bay Area earlier in 1967, have been engraved for viewing by visitors to the wharf, Moyer said.

The Brannan Street Wharf project was funded mainly by port funds, along with $3 million from a parks bond measure approved by San Francisco voters in 2008 and federal funding for demolition work of Pier 36 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sailing vessels from teams in the America's Cup sailing regatta were in the water near the new wharf Wednesday morning, and Mayor Lee said he hopes the park will get even more use in the coming years if plans for a new arena for the Golden State Warriors is approved nearby at Piers 30-32.

"The next ribbon we cut is going to be blue and gold," he said, a reference to the team's colors. The Warriors, who currently play at Oracle Arena in Oakland, hope to move to a privately funded arena across the Bay in San Francisco by 2017, but plans for the project still need approval by several government agencies.

 

Financial Advisor Indicted on Fraud Charges Related to Alleged $1.8 Million Forgery of Widow's Checks

A former Wells Fargo financial advisor has been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on fraud charges related to the alleged forging of more than $1.8 million in checks written on accounts of an elderly widow who was his client.

Adorean Boleancu, 47, of Napa, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Corley in San Francisco Wednesday to 27 counts of bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

Corley granted him release on an $800,000 bond and ordered him to appear before U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg, the trial judge assigned to the case, on July 23.

The indictment was filed under seal on July 9 and unsealed after Boleancu's arraignment Wednesday. According to the indictment, Boleancu worked as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley & Co. from 2004 to 2008, and then as a financial advisor and vice president for Wells Fargo Advisors, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co., from 2008 to 2011.

The now-83-year-old widow, identified in the indictment by the initials D.T., was his client at both institutions between 2007 and 2011, the indictment said. The indictment alleges that Boleancu wrote checks on the widow's brokerage account and on her two home equity credit lines "for his personal benefit" between 2007 and 2010.

The checks were made payable to Boleancu's family members, his girlfriend, another female acquaintance, cash and financial institutions where he held credit card accounts, the indictment alleged. In a separate proceeding, Boleancu agreed to a settlement in March with a private regulatory agency, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

The settlement barred him from working in the securities industry and required him to pay the widow $650,000 in restitution for money allegedly taken from her through checks drawn on her home equity lines while he was working at Wells Fargo between 2008 and 2010.

The widow was "an inexperienced and unsophisticated investor" who relied on Boleancu's professional advice and experience, the settlement said. The settlement document said that he accepted, but did not admit or deny, the agency's findings.

Boleancu's defense attorney, Ethan Balogh, said Wednesday that the widow's "allegations are false and will be proven so. "Mr. Boleancu looks forward to confronting these spurious claims at trial," Balogh said.

The criminal charges each carry possible maximum penalties ranging from two to 30 years in prison, if Boleancu is convicted.

 

Massage Parlor Operators Unable to Obtain Bathhouse Permits From Police

Three San Francisco massage parlor operators seeking permits to operate as bathhouses were all unable to receive them at a Police Department hearing Wednesday.

Massage parlor permits are regulated by the city's Department of Public Health, but if the businesses have baths, saunas or similar amenities, they are required to acquire a Police Department bathhouse permit, police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.

In recent months, health officials have been inspecting several businesses and noticed they were in need of bathhouse permits and referred them to the Police Department's permits division, Dangerfield said. The permits division holds weekly Wednesday hearings at the Hall of Justice.

This week, hearing officer Sgt. William Coggan considered permits for the Moonlight Spa at 519 Bush St., the Imperial Day Spa at 1875 Geary Blvd., and the Palm Tree Massage at 12 Valencia St. Jerry Chow, operator of Palm Tree Massage, was the lone massage parlor operator to appear at Wednesday's hearing and was told that his permit would likely be denied because of a prior criminal conviction he failed to disclose on the permit application.

Chow declined to say what the conviction was, but said "it has nothing to do with me being a business owner." The operators of Moonlight Spa and Imperial Day Spa withdrew their applications and did not appear at Wednesday's hearing.

Police Officer Brian Peagler with the department's special victims unit told authorities at the hearing that Moonlight Spa was under a multi-agency criminal investigation and that a search warrant had been executed there in the past month.

Moonlight Spa is among numerous massage parlors in the city that has received reviews on www.myredbook.com which lists reviews for escorts, massages and strip clubs. Reviews purportedly from customers at Moonlight Spa include ones that imply sexual activity took place there.

The site includes similar reviews of Palm Tree Massage, including one that describes a masseuse who gave an "OK massage with great extras." However, Chow said his business is "just a massage establishment, that's it." He was told that he could continue operating his business if baths there are removed.

A final decision on his bathhouse permit was continued to Aug. 7, Dangerfield said. The lieutenant said at least two more massage parlors are seeking bathhouse permits at next week's meeting.

 

Weather Forecast for the San Francisco Bay Area

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

Partly cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight.

Lows are likely to be in the lower to mid 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Friday morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s, with westerly 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!

 

Power Mostly Restored After Morning Outage Near Embarcadero

PG&E has restored power to all but three customers following a morning outage that left 64 customers without electricity, a utility spokesman said.

The outage was reported at about 6:45 a.m. in the area of Spear and Harrison streets. Traffic lights were out at that intersection and police were directing cars through the area.

Power lines appeared to be tangled up in each other at a couple of points along the west side of Spear Street.

PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said crews are still trying to determine what went wrong, and are looking into whether a truck hit a power pole or a bird flew into the wires.

PG&E is replacing the damaged wires and other equipment atop the power poles in that spot, he said.

Molica said power was restored to all but three customers at about 9:15 a.m.

 

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!

 

Morning Power Outage Affecting Area Near Embarcadero

A power outage is affecting 64 PG&E customers near The Embarcadero in San Francisco this morning, a PG&E spokesman said.

The outage was reported at about 6:45 a.m. in the area of Spear and Harrison streets. Traffic lights were out at that intersection and police were directing cars through the area.

Power lines appeared to be tangled up in each other at a couple of points along the west side of Spear Street.

PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said crews are working to make repairs and are investigating what caused the outage.

 

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!

 

Resident Belatedly Reported Sunday Shooting Out of Fear

A resident in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood waited to report a shooting that had occurred on Sunday out of fear, police said.

On Monday night, a resident reported a shooting that occurred Sunday in the unit block of Northridge Road.

Police responded to the resident's home and observed several apparent bullet holes in the outer wall of the residence and a rear kitchen window that had apparently been shot out.

No injuries were reported in connection with the shooting, police said.

The incident remains under investigation.

 

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!

 

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