SF News

BART Workers Deliver 72-Hour Strike Notice

BART workers have delivered a 72-hour strike notice to BART management, according to a union representative. A potential strike could begin as early as Monday morning, as the unions' contracts with BART expire Sunday. Union officials will host a press event to answer questions at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Oakland this morning at 10 a.m.

 

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Huge Crowds Expected at SF Pride Weekend, Parade

Pride weekend celebrations got an early start in San Francisco with a Castro District rally Wednesday evening after the U.S. Supreme Court rulings paved the way for same-sex marriage to resume. The decisions about the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative banning same-sex marriage, came just days before this weekend's annual Pride festivities in the Castro District and throughout the city. 

The theme of the 43rd annual pride celebration is "Embrace, Encourage, Empower" and entails two full days of festivals and a massive parade through downtown San Francisco Sunday. The festival on Saturday and Sunday includes more than 20 stages throughout the Mid-Market area with musical acts, performances and countless dancing opportunities. Musical groups Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Nina Sky, Gypsy Love and dozens of others will rock the main stage during the community celebration. State Attorney General Kamala Harris, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, will also grace the stage on Sunday.

The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, winding down from Market and Beale streets to the Civic Center. As part of the parade, several celebrities and activists will be honored as grand marshals, including TV show "Glee" star Alex Newell, "Project Runway" designer Mondo Guerra and Tabatha Coffey of Bravo's "Tabatha Takes Over" fame.

The night before the parade, the annual Pink Saturday party held in the Castro by the charitable group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, will be an alcohol-free event with plenty of music and entertainment to keep the streets flowing. The free block party shuts down several blocks of Castro Street starting at Market Street, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Police have advised they will be monitoring the event closely, along with other celebrations in the Castro and elsewhere throughout the weekend. Police said they are urging Pride participants to be cautious with strangers and to report suspicious situations.

A tradition heading off Pink Saturday is the "Dykes on Bikes" ride from Dolores Park to the party spot, as part of the Dyke March with members of the lesbian community celebrating on motorcycles and a massive rally through the streets.

Starting off the flurry of Pride events is the Trans March this evening. Celebrating its tenth year, organizer Tracy Garza said, the theme "A Decade of Change" will focus on the transgender community's growth and strength. Last year thousands joined the march, and Garza said organizers are expecting more people this year with the Supreme Court rulings promoting more trans and non-gender-conforming community support.

As part of the march, which starts with an afternoon brunch in Dolores Park and then heads to Turk and Taylor streets around 6 p.m., several trans activists will perform and speak, including Oakland-based writer and filmmaker Kortney Ryan Ziegler and San Francisco Youth Commissioner Mia Tu Mutch. Garza said speakers will also honor Bradley Manning, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking classified information to the online group WikiLeaks, who caused controversy when the SF Pride Committee initially nominated, then rescinded, him as a grand marshal for this year's event. Manning is openly gay and remains in military custody.

Following the march there will be two after-parties, one at the bar El Rio in the Outer Mission and the other at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center on Market Street. The 18th display of the Pink Triangle will go up on Twin Peaks on 7 a.m. Saturday morning before a 10:30 a.m. ceremony with city and Pride officials and other special guests. The noticeably bright pink triangle, which project founder Patrick Carney described as "in your face," is meant to remind the community of those persecuted for their sexuality. "It's about remembering where we've been," Carney said, "and understanding all the sacrifices that came before."

Carney said although the LGBT community is celebrating in California this week, other parts of the world are still killing and discriminating against gay people. Once the 175 bright pink tarps and nearly 5,000 12-inch long steel stakes are in place, a ceremony with San Francisco Symphony Director Michael Tilson Thomas will begin, along with elected officials including state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. State assemblymen Tom Ammiano and Phil Ting, San Francisco supervisors David Chiu, Scott Wiener, David Campos and Malia Cohen are also expected to attend the ceremony. Several celebrity grand marshals will also make an appearance, Carney said.

Volunteers will also be needed to take down the triangle Sunday afternoon after the temporary hillside monument is on display throughout Pride weekend. This year organizers are expecting larger crowds at the various festivities with marriage equality and gay rights making strides in California this week. On Wednesday evening, before official pride celebrations began, a Decision Day rally was held in the Castro District, shutting down several blocks as the LGBT community and supporters celebrated the high court's decisions.

Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District executive director Andrea Aiello said the group has been preparing the Castro for an influx of visitors and revelers. Merchants have been given a "heads up," Aiello said, and extra staff has been called in. Aiello said she expects crowds to "stream into the Castro after the parade" but the effect of the Supreme Court rulings will be felt throughout. "All of San Francisco is buzzing," she said.

She said planned street closures for Pink Saturday and police units prepared for heavy foot traffic during the weekend will help mitigate problems in the area. She said extensive planning and preparation should make for a successful weekend. "People are really excited," Aiello said.

After the excitement dims Sunday night, the community benefit district has a "clean team" ready to sweep up remnants of the celebratory weekend. The clean team, which works with the city's Department of Public Works, Aiello said, was already deployed to clean up after Wednesday night's festivities.

As part of the long list of activities happening on Pride weekend, the GLBT History Museum is offering free admission Sunday. The museum also offered free entry Wednesday after the decisions about Proposition 8 and DOMA were announced. "We encourage the community to come in on certain special holidays," museum spokesman Gerard Koskovich said.

A wall of monitors visible from outside the museum, located at 4127 18th St., will livestream the parade starting at 10 a.m. alongside historical footage -- some never seen before -- from parades of past years. Footage from the 1973 Pride parade, which then took place on Polk Street, will be screened, along with parade archives from throughout the 1980s and 1990s maintained by the GLBT Historical Society.

San Francisco Municipal Railway service will be impacted by the slew of events and street festivities starting today. Muni officials are advising riders to plan ahead and expect rerouted buses and limited service throughout many parts of the system. Motorists are advised to expect delays and crowded streets along Market Street, downtown and Civic Center areas and the Castro District.

Details about service changes and other transit plans are available at http://www.sfmta.com/calendar/san-francisco-pride More information about Pride events is available at www.sfpride.org

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Friday Morning News Roundup

 

BART Strike Could Begin Monday

BART workers have delivered a 72-hour strike notice to BART management, according to a union representative.

A potential strike could begin as early as Monday morning, as the unions' contracts with BART expire Sunday.

Union officials will host a press event to answer questions at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Oakland this morning at 10 a.m.

Gang Members Stand Trial

Two reputed gang members were ordered Thursday to stand trial on murder and premeditated attempted murder charges for a drive-by shooting in East Oakland two years ago that left 3-year-old Carlos Nava dead and two men wounded.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon issued his ruling in the three-day preliminary hearing for suspected shooter Lawrence Denard, 28, and suspected driver Willie Torrence, 24, after Oakland police Lt. Tony Jones said he believes the shooting was gang-related.

The defendants are accused of opening fire outside a grocery store in a strip mall in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:10 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2011.

Testifying as an expert witness on gangs, Jones said he believes Denard and Torrence are members of the 69th Village gang and the two men who were wounded, 39-year-old Robert Hudson and Jerome Williams, are members of the rival 65th Village gang.

The two gangs operate out of housing complexes that are located between near the scene of the shooting, he said.

After Carlos was fatally shot, an incident that outraged many community members, Oakland police said they believed he was not an intended target because he and his family, who were shopping at the time, had no connection to the two men who were struck.

Jones said the manner in which the shooting occurred had all the hallmarks of a drive-by gang-related shooting because it was carried out in broad daylight and shots were fired "indiscriminately into a crowd."

Jones, who said he grew up in the area and has investigated gangs throughout his 19-year career with the Oakland Police Department, said he believes Denard and Torrence were trying to send a message that members of the 65th Village gang "are not safe anywhere" because the shooting occurred in 65th Village turf in the middle of the day.

He said he believes Denard and Torrence were trying to boost their standing in the 69th Village gang by carrying out the shooting because "the respect it will command is real."

The area between 65th and 69th avenues near International Boulevard used to be considered "one neighborhood" at one time but the 65th Village and 69th Village factions have been feuding since at least 1995 and there have been many retaliatory shootings in the 6400 block of International Boulevard since 2000, according to Jones.

Man Found Guilty of Embezzling PTA Funds

A former financial secretary for a San Jose public school Parent Teacher Association has been charged with embezzling $27,000 from a PTA fund, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Keith Michael Dennis, 44, of San Jose, is charged with forging checks for expenses claimed from PTA fundraisers and field trips that never took place, Deputy District Attorney Judy Lee said.

The charges filed against Dennis include grand theft, embezzlement and two counts of forgery, Lee said.

A warrant for Dennis' arrest was issued last week and he surrendered for booking on Wednesday and is now out of custody, Lee said.

Prosecutors alleged that Dennis siphoned money from a PTA fund for the Lynhaven Elementary School at 881 S. Cypress Ave. in San Jose that was intended for student activities and other purposes, Lee said.

Dennis, a parent of students at Lynhaven, had once served as a substitute teacher at the school and was the school PTA's volunteer financial secretary from Oct. 1, 2009 to Oct. 31, 2012, Lee said.

The district attorney's office started an investigation last year after a PTA auditor told San Jose police that thousands of dollars were missing and that Dennis may be responsible, Lee said.

The office's investigator discovered some PTA bank checks, which required two signatures, included the forged signature of the PTA's president, Lee said.

Dennis is alleged to have signed the checks in order to reimburse himself for a printer, a cookie dough fundraiser, school logo clothing and other things that were not due him, Lee said.

He also was supposed to have deposited hundreds of dollars collected from PTA fundraisers but ended up depositing only $16, Lee said.

The amount of money lost by the PTA was estimated at $27,000, however that amount might increase or decrease as the investigation progresses, Lee said.

Dennis will be arraigned on the charges in about two weeks and could be sentenced to four years and four months in the Santa Clara County Mail Jail if he is convicted of the charges, Lee said.

"Tamale Lady" Seeks To Restore Business

San Francisco's "Tamale Lady," who was banned earlier this month from selling her famous food at local restaurants, Thursday launched a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign to set up a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the city's Mission District.

Virginia Ramos, 60, is seeking to raise $155,000 via an Indiegogo account to sell her famous tamales out of her own restaurant.

Ramos was told earlier this month that, because of city health codes, she could no longer sell the food at the popular Valencia Street restaurant Zeitgeist and elsewhere as she had over the past 20 years.

San Francisco Department of Public Health spokeswoman Eileen Shields said issues arose over liability since restaurants would be responsible for any health issues from food cooked outside the restaurant but sold inside.

David Campos, a member of the city's Board of Supervisors whose district includes the Mission, joined the "Tamale Lady" for Thursday's announcement.

Campos said he has worked with Ramos after he received hundreds of calls and emails from constituents concerned about what would happen to her business.

With Campos translating her words from Spanish to English, Ramos said she wanted to keep going because "it's not just about selling tamales, but being with the young people."

She said she hoped she would be able to raise the money because San Francisco "is a very unique city, people have a heart here."

Having turned 60 just last week, Ramos said that a solution that involved her continuing to walk all around the city was not as enticing as having her own brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Campos said he was looking with Ramos for possible locations for the restaurant. "We're very flexible," he said.

"We're not looking for anything fancy," adding that some sort of food truck option was also still being considered.

"Everything's on the table and we're still open to possibilities," he said.

If the $155,000 is raised, $5,000 would go to the Indiegogo website while the rest would combine with money Ramos has already saved up to start the restaurant.

If more than that total was raised, Campos said the excess funds would go to the Jamestown Community Center, which provides after-school and summer programs for Mission District youth.

The supervisor encouraged bar patrons who may have bought food from the Tamale Lady to help her pursue her dream of running her own restaurant.

"This is a time for the entire city to come together," Campos said. "San Francisco would not be San Francisco, at least the city we want it to be, if the 'Tamale Lady' is displaced and she is no longer able to have her business."

People interesting in donating can visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/viva-la-tamale-lady

Gang Murder Sentenced 70 Years for Murder

A reputed gang member was sentenced Thursday to 70 years to life in state prison for the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old Newark High School student and football star Justice Afoa and attempting to murder his girlfriend and her unborn child.

Prosecutor Elgin Lowe alleged that Daniel Howard, a 31-year-old trucker from Fremont, was one of two people who fatally stabbed Afoa near the intersection of Cedar Boulevard and Birch Street in Newark at about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2010.

Afoa was a defensive lineman at Newark Memorial High School and made second team all-league in the Mission Valley Athletic League in the 2009 season.

In addition to being convicted of murdering Afoa, Howard was found guilty of committing the crime to benefit a criminal street gang.

Howard also was convicted of two counts of premeditated attempted murder for trying to kill his girlfriend and her unborn child in a separate incident in Fremont on Nov. 25, 2012.

Rafael Tovar, a 32-year-old batch mixer from Newark, and Tovar's sister Daniela Guzman, 19, of Newark, also are charged with murder in connection with Afoa's death but they are scheduled to be prosecuted in a separate trial at a later date.

According to a probable cause statement filed in court by Newark police Officer Dan Anderson, the event that sparked the chain of events that led to Afoa's death was when Afoa beat up Tovar at Tovar's home at 12:28 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2010.

Tovar was so badly beaten up by Afoa that he eventually had to be taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley for treatment, Anderson said.

Tovar later learned that Afoa had been bragging about beating him up and Tovar felt "great embarrassment" because he was a member of the Norteno gang and was much older than Afoa, according to Anderson.

On Oct. 30, six weeks after the first incident, Tovar plotted to attack Afoa at a party at 36187 Cedar Blvd. in Newark, Anderson said.

Afoa was assaulted with a beer bottle and a friend of his suffered "numerous severe stab wounds" but no arrests were made because the people involved in the incident were uncooperative with police, according to Anderson.

Guzman later admitted that she had set up Afoa to be assaulted at the party in retaliation for the beating of Tovar, her brother, although she refused to disclose who the assailants were, according to Anderson.

Anderson said Tovar eventually admitted that he stabbed Afoa about five times on Dec. 15, 2010, and estimated that Howard also stabbed Afoa about five times.

"Stop and Enjoy the Fillmore"

An exhibit of a dozen life-size bronze sculptures received a warm welcome at a community reception in San Francisco's Fillmore District Thursday afternoon.

The 12 pieces forming the installation "Stop and Enjoy the Fillmore" by octogenarian sculptor Seward Johnson have been placed along Fillmore Street between Eddy Street and Geary Boulevard and in front of various buildings and at Gene Sutton Plaza in the heart of the neighborhood.

Many school children interacted with four of the sculptures at the plaza, including one of a realistic-looking hot dog vendor titled, "Relish, Too?" and "Coming Home," depicting a military dad embracing his daughter.

The most popular statue at the plaza was a pair of mariachi men with life-size guitars with real strings that were being plucked and played by viewers.

The hot dog sculpture is making its premiere in San Francisco, while the other pieces have been part of a tour in 12 other American cities.

The installment will stay in the neighborhood for the next six months, project officials said.

The series is a collaborative effort between the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Sculpture Foundation and the office of Supervisor London Breed.

Amy Cohen, director of Neighborhood Business Development for San Francisco, said the project gives tourists, visitors and others another reason to come to the Fillmore and walk around.

Funding for the project came, in part, from city funding set aside for neighborhood improvement, and organizers were able to get the $60,000 worth of sculptures for about $15,000 on a half-year loan. Melanie Green, one of the project's leaders, said she thinks the art will be a boon to the neighborhood.

"I really care about this community," she said. "This will allow folks to enjoy what we have in this community."

She said she hopes tour buses that go through the neighborhood to show the area's jazz history will now have a reason to stop and let visitors explore.

The Rev. Arnold Townsend from the Without Walls Church said the Fillmore community is excited to have the interactive art spring up on their streets.

"We always never end up with these type of exhibits in our community," the pastor said. "We get forgotten by the city."

He said he believes the installment is already a success because "it's sparked debate and commentary."

"Let them inspire you today," he said.

The afternoon gathering included a children's group singing African songs, arts and crafts and actual hot dogs to eat, making for some confusion next to the simulacrum.

An information center at 1309 Fillmore St. has been set up for visitors to see how the bronze sculptures are made.

Santa Clara County Bomb Squad Removes Explosives

The Santa Clara County sheriff's bomb squad used explosives to blow up three Chinese-made World War II-era hand grenades outside a home near San Jose Thursday afternoon, a sheriff's spokesman said.

At about 2 p.m., the bomb team blew up the grenades inside a makeshift bunker they dug in the front yard of a home in the Cambrian Park neighborhood, sheriff's Deputy Kurtis Stenderup said.

The deputies had decided that the military grenades, made in China before the end of World War II, were too unstable to transport to another location, Stenderup said.

The grenades were found in a box inside a home in the 15000 block of Chelsea Drive in unincorporated San Jose by a caregiver who was cleaning the home after its owner had died recently, Stenderup said.

The caregiver made an emergency call at about 10:30 a.m. and deputies responded, along with the Santa Clara County Fire Department, Stenderup said.

Deputies evacuated residents from surrounding homes and firefighters shut the gas off to the home as a precaution, Stenderup said.

Firefighters and other emergency responders were assigned to a command post nearby, Stenderup said.

People in the neighborhood and the news media stood by and watched the controlled explosion, Stenderup said.

Oakland Police Sergeant Sues School District

An Oakland Unified School District police sergeant has sued the agency in federal court, claiming that officials tried to coerce him to change his version of an incident in which his partner fatally shot a 20-year-old man outside a school dance in 2011.

The lawsuit filed by Jonathan Bellusa in U.S. District Court in Oakland Wednesday also charges that the district retaliated against him for complaining about allegedly racist remarks by former district police Chief Pete Sarna.

Sarna resigned in September 2011 amid an investigation of allegations that he made racist remarks to Bellusa and another sergeant at an off-duty golf outing the previous July. In his resignation letter, he apologized for his "hurtful words."

In the fatal incident on Jan. 22, 2011, Bellusa's partner, Sgt. Barhin Bhatt, shot and killed Raheim Brown, 20, as he sat in a car outside a community center where students from Skyline High School were having their winter ball.

Bellusa's lawsuit claims that "OUSD officials and their attorneys have attempted to coerce Sgt. Bellusa into conforming his account of the shooting of Raheim Brown to that of Sgt. Bhatt."

In particular, the lawsuit says, Bellusa "has questioned whether it was necessary for Sgt. Bhatt to have fired a second volley of approximately five shots at Mr. Brown some seconds after his first two shots."

The lawsuit alleges that unfair retaliation against Bellusa has included placing him on administrative leave in August 2011, accusing him of lying, subjecting him to an unwarranted internal affairs investigation and ordering him to submit to repeated and unwarranted fitness-for-duty examinations.

The lawsuit asks for a compensatory and punitive financial award. District spokesman Troy Flint, who said Bellusa is now on unpaid administrative leave, denied the allegations.

"The lawsuit is frivolous, false and defamatory," Flint said.

Bellusa is "quite cynically taking advantage of people's natural concern about police misconduct and using that in a case where it does not exist," the spokesman said.

The case was assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Corley of San Francisco and is scheduled for a case management conference on Oct. 5.

Man Charged With Assault Acquitted of All Charges

A man accused of throwing a bottle at a police officer following the San Francisco Giants' World Series win last October has been acquitted of all charges, according to the public defender's office.

Jusef Nathan, 34, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and assault on a police officer with force likely to cause great bodily injury for the incident early on Oct. 29 near 16th and Mission streets in San Francisco's Mission District.

Nathan was one of thousands of Giants fans who took to the streets to celebrate following the World Series-clinching win on Oct. 28, according to the public defender's office.

Shortly after midnight, an officer saw a man with a dark jacket with gray stripes on the sleeves throw a bottle toward police.

The bottle shattered on the ground and did not injure anyone, public defender's officials said.

About 20 minutes later, the same officer spotted Nathan, who was wearing a similar-looking jacket, urinating against a building and arrested him on suspicion of throwing the bottle, according to the public defender's office.

During the weeklong trial, a surveillance video shown to jurors apparently contradicted testimony from officers at the scene about the bottle-thrower's location, according to the public defender's office.

Nathan was in custody for the entire eight-month term between his arrest and acquittal.

"The jurors were able to ascertain that there was no reliable evidence against Mr. Nathan," Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in a statement.

"It is tragic that this baseball fan, who wanted only to celebrate his home team's historic win, spent eight months in jail for a crime he did not commit."

Marin County Sheriff's Office Searching for Suspect Mountain Bikers

The Marin County Sheriff's Office is trying to locate two young mountain bikers who spooked two horses on a trail last week, causing injuries to two Oakland women who were thrown from their mounts.

The incident happened around 4 p.m. June 20 on a single-track trail intended for horseback riding and hiking in the Indian Tree Open Space Preserve in northwest Novato.

The boys came around a blind turn on the trail from behind the horses, which reared up, according to Monte Kruger, co-owner of Willow Tree Stables at 3777 Vineyard Road in Novato which leases horses.

One of the women, Lisa Zeppegno, 44, suffered three fractures to two lumbar vertebrae and her sternum when she was thrown from her horse, Kruger said.

The other woman, Nicole Devito, 47, suffered pain and minor injuries.

The Novato Fire Protection District responded to the incident, Capt. Dmitri Menzel said.

Paramedics drove a 4-wheel drive pickup down a fire road then hiked down a ridge for about 20 minutes to reach the injured woman.

They requested the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office's helicopter "Henry One" which secured Zeppegno in a stretcher and flew her to an ambulance at the Willow Tree Stables.

Zeppegno was taken to Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center and has since been released from the hospital.

Zeppegno's horse Coco, an 8-year-old female Belgian quarter horse, ran from the scene and was found the next day.

The horse suffered deep cuts on the nose and under a foreleg, Kruger said.

"She's doing okay. She's out of the woods but will be out of service for a couple of months," Kruger said Thursday afternoon.

Kruger said the two Oakland women are frequent riders.

A sheriff's office deputy assigned to the Marin County Parks Open Space District is trying to locate the two boys who were illegally riding bikes on the trail, Lt. Jamie Scardina said. 

Kruger said the deputy told her Thursday he was canvassing the neighborhood near the Indian Tree Preserve.

Speeding bicycles on the trails are a constant problem in the county, Kruger said.

In the wake of the incident, Marin County Parks has received and is considering public comment about promoting safe use of trails by equestrians, mountain bikers and hikers, parks director Linda Dahl said.

Bicyclists are prohibited from riding on Open Space District trails except on fire protection roads, designated pathways or public roads that don't prohibit bicycles, Dahl said.

Dahl said despite a campaign against trail use and increased enforcement, "a select few risk takers continue to ignore county ordinances and put themselves and fellow trail users in danger."

"We have some good leads and we continue to investigate," Dahl said. "The goal is holding the bicyclists accountable. We work very closely with the sheriff's office and we are receiving assistance from them on this matter."

On July 23, the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission will hold a joint session with the Marin County Board of Supervisors, which serves as the open space district's board of directors.

They will discuss a Road and Trail Management Plan/Environmental Impact Report that presents new policies and a framework to improve safety, enjoyment, fairness and resource protection in Marin County's preserves, Dahl said.

The county has held 10 public hearings over the past three years on the plan, Dahl said.

Director of USCIS Discusses Immigration Reform

As the U.S. Congress this week considers immigration reform legislation, a top official in President Barack Obama's administration spoke to a conference of immigration attorneys in San Francisco Thursday about what his agency has done on behalf of the immigrant community.

Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), gave the keynote speech Thursday morning at the annual American Immigrant Lawyers Association conference, which was held this year at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square hotel.

"We are on the threshold of seeing distant dreams become a reality," Mayorkas said.

The director drew loud applause when he discussed deferred action, an executive action taken by President Obama last year that is being implemented by USCIS.

The president ordered immigration officials to exercise prosecutorial discretion and hold off on deportation proceedings for undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and who do not pose a danger to society.

Mayorkas also drew a standing ovation when he discussed the impact on immigrants from Wednesday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.

Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder in February 2011 announced their views on the unconstitutionality of DOMA, which prohibited the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

Since then, USCIS has kept track of all I-130 forms involving same-sex spouses in the event of the law being struck down, Mayorkas said.

The I-130 forms allow U.S. citizens or lawful residents to petition for a relative to immigrate to the country.

Mayorkas said, "We have much more to do" and asked the immigration attorneys and his federal agency to "work alongside one another and continue to challenge one another."

Mayorkas is a graduate of University of California at Berkeley and has overseen the USCIS since 2009.

Bay Area Weather Report

Mostly cloudy skies and dense patchy fog are likely in the Bay Area this morning, becoming sunny later in the day.

Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to mid 70s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon. Mostly clear skies are expected this evening.

Lows are likely to be in the 50s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph. Mostly cloudy skies with patchy fog are expected Saturday morning.

Highs are expected to be in the 60s to 70s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph.

 

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Two Suspects in Hunters Point Slaying to be Arraigned Today

Two suspects in a fatal shooting at a bus stop in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood on Monday are scheduled to be arraigned today.

Derrick Hunter, 20, and a 14-year-old boy whose name has not yet been released, are scheduled to appear in court at the Hall of Justice this afternoon, district attorney's office spokesman Alex Bastian said.

Hunter and the teen have been charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, dissuading a witness and other felonies stemming from the slaying of 19-year-old Jaquan Rice and the wounding of a 17-year-old girl at West Point and Middle Point roads at about 1 p.m. Monday, Bastian said.

The 14-year-old is being charged as an adult, Bastian said. The 17-year-old girl who was injured in the shooting was Rice's girlfriend, according to his mother, Shakeyta Levy, who wrote a series of distraught posts on Facebook following her son's death.

Rice, who died at a hospital after the shooting, was also the victim of a pit bull attack as an 11-year-old in Concord in March 2005. The attack spurred Contra Costa County supervisors to pass legislation prohibiting felons from owning dangerous animals.

 

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Free HIV Testing Offered Throughout Bay Area Today

Bay Area residents are being urged to get tested for HIV today as part of a national campaign promoting early detection and diagnosis of the virus.

Free testing is available in many parts of the region as part of National HIV Testing Day. At Sobrante Park in East Oakland, a mobile testing unit will offer free oral tests between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Those who get tested will be invited to participate in a free barbecue picnic. The event is hosted by the nonprofit California Prostitutes Education Project, or CAL-PEP, working with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc. CAL-PEP case manager Leslie Carminer said today is about increasing awareness in the community, and that the neighborhood where the event is taking place has a population that is considered "high-risk" for HIV infection.

Carminer said the only pain involved in the no-needles oral test -- which is done by cheek swab -- comes from the anxiety of waiting for results, which are ready in about 20 minutes. Personnel will be on hand to assist anyone who tests positively or wants more information about the disproportionate rate of HIV infection in the black community in Alameda County, Carminer said.

Organizers of a new HIV testing campaign by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department are also taking part in today's national event. The campaign, dubbed "I'm on it," promotes the importance of getting tested, especially for those between the ages of 18 and 44.

Free mobile HIV testing stations will be set up at several San Jose locations today, including at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center at 938 The Alameda and the Crane Center at 976 Lenzen Ave. from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

There will also be testing on a mobile bus at the Consulate General of Mexico to help raise HIV awareness among the Latino community. More free testing will be offered on Friday at the San Pedro Square Farmers' Market in San Jose between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. In Sonoma County, the organization Face to Face is offering free tests at its office at 873 Second St. in Santa Rosa. According to the organization, more than 2,000 Sonoma County residents are living with HIV.

In San Francisco, Walgreens stores in the city's Castro and Mission districts are offering the free tests today between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. On days other than National HIV Testing Day, free tests are available at various health department-sponsored centers and through other organizations.

 

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Bart Management Presents New Proposal to Labor Unions

A BART spokesman said today that management is putting a new comprehensive proposal on the bargaining table in hopes of reaching an agreement with the transit agency's labor unions before their contracts expire Sunday night.

The announcement comes two days after members of the two largest BART unions voted to authorize a strike. Other Bay Area transit agencies are preparing contingency plans for a possible BART strike, which could happen as soon as Monday.

BART spokesman Rick Rice said management's proposal is "closer" to the unions' positions on the key issues regarding pensions, health benefits and salaries, and also tries to address the unions' safety concerns.

But in a bad sign for negotiations -- which were set to resume at 11 a.m. today -- Leo Ruiz, a spokesman for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, accused management of bargaining in bad faith by presenting their proposal to the news media before giving it to the unions.

"We know nothing about this," Ruiz told reporters outside the room at BART headquarters in Oakland where Rice and other BART representatives held a news conference. Ruiz said, "They should bring this proposal to us first." He said the unions made a proposal to management on Wednesday "but they turned it down and didn't say why."

Ruiz accused BART negotiators of "dragging their feet since April 1," when contract talks began. BART management has said the labor unions are seeking a 23 percent salary increase over three years but Ruiz said the unions' opening offer was for a smaller increase of 5 percent a year plus cost-of-living increases.

The other union involved in contract negotiations is Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers. The two unions announced on Wednesday that their members have voted nearly unanimously to authorize a strike.

But the unions have said that they're still trying to reach an agreement so a strike can be avoided. Rice echoed that sentiment today, saying, "We're really trying to keep the trains running.

We believe there's a deal to be had." He said talks are scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and then continue from 7 p.m. until late into the night. Negotiations will then resume at 11 a.m. Friday and will go all weekend if necessary, he said.

Rice said BART has asked Gov. Jerry Brown not to order a 60-day cooling off period that would delay a strike if an agreement isn't reached by Sunday. The last time BART employees staged a strike was in September 1997.

The walkout lasted six days before a settlement was finally reached. Rice said the labor unions have promised in the past to give at least 72 hours' notice before going on strike but there's no guarantee they will give that much notice this time.

 

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Update: Two Injured in Morning Bayview District Shooting

Two people were shot in San Francisco's Bayview District this morning, a police spokesman said.

The shooting was reported at 9:30 a.m. at Third Street and Gilman Avenue, police Officer Gordon Shyy said. Both victims were hit in the upper body and were taken to a hospital to be treated for their injuries, which were not considered life-threatening, Shyy said.

Shyy said it appears someone shot at a group of people, and police initially thought there were three shooting victims. No arrests have been made in the case, he said.

A woman answering the phone at the Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church at that intersection said it appears the shooting occurred on Gilman Avenue between Third and Jennings streets. She said that block of Gilman is shut down. Jaired Chin, manager at B&J 1/4 Pound Burgers at Third and Gilman, said he didn't see anything but heard the shots fired.

"I thought it was fireworks because people have been lighting illegal fireworks lately," he said. Chin said today's shooting happened just days after an armed young man stole an iPad from a customer at the burger restaurant.

The thief "snatched it off the table," ran and jumped into a truck driven by a second person, Chin said. The suspect got away, but dropped his gun, which police later confiscated, he said. He said crime happens in the neighborhood but that things had seemed calm recently. "It was a little too quiet for a while," he said.

 

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Three Shot In Bayview District This Morning

Three people were shot in San Francisco's Bayview District this morning, a police spokesman said.

The shooting was reported at 9:30 a.m. at Third Street and Gilman Avenue, police Officer Gordon Shyy said.

All three victims are being taken to the hospital, Shyy said. He did not know their conditions and did not yet have more details on the incident. No arrests have been made in the case, he said.

 

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Man Critically Injured in Apparent Attack in North Beach

A man was found critically injured after an apparent attack in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood early this morning, police said.

The victim, believed to be in his 50s or 60s, was found around 12:15 a.m. in an alcove in front of a building in the 900 block of Columbus Avenue, between Chestnut and Lombard streets, police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said. The man had suffered head trauma and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

His injuries are considered life-threatening, Shyy said. No arrests have been made in the attack, he said. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Thursday Morning News Round Up

Castro Rally Gathers LGBT Community to Celebrate Same Sex Marriage Ruling

It was hard not find a smile at San Francisco's Castro District as hundreds of gay rights supports gathered Wednesday evening to celebrate Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Rainbows were everywhere from flags to balloons to feather boas as supporters gathered at Castro and Market streets for a rally organized by a coalition of advocacy groups including Marriage Equality USA, March4Equality and Unite Here Local 2. Local performers were also staged at 19th and Castro streets. Cleve Jones, founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, praised Wednesday's "milestone in our long struggle to equality and social justice" however he noted work still needs to be done.

Jones also took the time to acknowledge Nelson Mandela's efforts towards equality in South Africa. He said Mandela is in critical condition and encouraged the crowd to chant "Viva Nelson Mandela." People were waving mini red and blue flags with yellow equal signs as speakers continued to pump up the crowd.

Laura Snodgrass, 32, of Eureka, arrived earlier Wednesday from New York for a wedding and found out about the news through Twitter. She said she and her partner Julie Strubinger, 34, cried with others while waiting for their connecting flight in Newark, N.J. Snodgrass and her partner were married five years ago and were glad to hear that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional. People were dressed in all sorts of costumes from puffy dresses to wedding veils or in some cases wore no clothing at all.

"Overjoyed" was the word David Miner chose to describe his feelings towards Wednesday's rulings. Miner, 53, is an Associate Priest and Project Coordinator at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in San Francisco, who was at the rally with his partner Matthew Chacko.

The couple has been together for 20 years and married five years ago at San Francisco City Hall. People held multiple signs including ones that read "Today We Are More American" and "Marry Who You Love." Naan White, 56, of San Francisco was enjoying the rally with her partner Barnie Simpson and their kids, Rashaad and Rashidah Simpson-White. When asked about his feelings towards Wednesday's Supreme Court rulings Rashaad simply gave two thumbs up.

Brother Junipero of the Society of St. Francis in San Francisco was supporting the LGBT community at the rally. Junipero said he was in a prayer group with his fellow brothers Wednesday morning and they were all glancing their phones to check the latest news on the U.S. Supreme Court rulings. "This is a great landmark opportunity for us to build bridges," he said.

Lori Katz, 59, was wearing a "bride-to-be" headband at the rally. Her girlfriend, Bea Coll 55, proposed to her three weeks ago and the couple is planning their wedding for next summer. Melinda Kendall, 55, had an "overwhelming feeling of safety" when she heard the news on the U.S. Supreme Court rulings Wednesday morning. She is a teacher at West Portal Elementary School and remembers the threat of the Briggs Initiative, a state ballot proposition which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching at public schools.

Tonight's rally allowed the LGBT community to come together and celebrate, Marriage Equality USA national media director Stuart Gaffney said. With the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade coming up this weekend "the timing of these decisions couldn't be better," Gaffney said.

Wildlife Rescuers Attempting to Capture Marmot in Bernal Heights

Wildlife rescuers have set a trap hoping to capture a wayward marmot that was spotted in the backyard of a home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood.

A resident reported the marmot in the yard Wednesday morning. The call was forwarded to members of Wildlife Emergency Services, based in Moss Landing, who were on scene Wednesday afternoon trying to coax the marmot from underneath a shed, said Rebecca Dmytryk, an animal expert with the organization.

Dmytryk said she believes the animal made its way to Bernal Heights by hitching a ride on the undercarriage of a truck or car on the drive from the Sierras or other mountainous location and has likely been in San Francisco for about a week. She cited a phenomenon in which marmots get into automobile engines and chew through the engine hoses to drink antifreeze.

Marmots are not from the Bay Area, and typically live in colder climates at elevations of 5,000 feet or higher, she said. Outside of its normal habitat, the marmot could die.

In addition to capturing the marmot, WES is attempting to learn where the animal came from so that rescuers can return it to its home once it is captured. Rescuers have set up a trap in the yard to capture the marmot and the home's resident has volunteered to keep an eye on it and alert WES if the marmot is caught, Dmytryk said.

Anyone with information about how the marmot came to San Francisco or who recently returned to the city from the mountains is asked to call WES at (866) 945-3911. "Just in case we catch this guy, give us a holler so we can take him back home," Dmytryk said.

Local Faith Leaders Celebrate, Others Denounce Prop 8, Doma Rulings

The Bay Area faith community responded to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding same-sex marriage with dozen of religious leaders gathering in San Francisco Wednesday afternoon. A coalition of about 60 clergy of myriad faiths stood on the steps of Grace Cathedral at the top of Nob Hill to celebrate the high court's decisions on marriage equality.

The Rev. Phil Lawson from the Easter Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond praised the Supreme Court for bringing justice to California and beyond. "Thank God they got it right today," he said.

From Berkeley's Beyt Tikkun synagogue, Rabbi Michael Lerner said the religious community owes the gay community an apology on behalf of the many congregations that in past years have not recognized same-sex love and civil rights. "We are fully and 100 percent with you," he said. "Thank God that the gay community vigorously sought the right to marry."

The Rev. Kamal Hassan from the Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church in Richmond lauded the decisions that will allow same-sex marriages to resume in California, but said he will remain wary. "Celebrate this moment, but be cautious at the same time," he said.

As a black and openly gay pastor, the Rev. Deborah Johnson from Inner Light Ministries in Santa Cruz spoke about fighting injustices for people in and beyond the LGBT community. "Our message to the world is not, 'We won,' but 'We are one,'" she said.

Mitch Mayne said he has been optimistic about when -- not if -- gay marriage would become legal. As an openly gay Mormon he said he has to have a good attitude. "We will prevail," he said. He noted that as a Mormon he believes discriminating against any family is wrong.

Before a closing prayer, the Rev. Amos Brown said he and the San Francisco chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stand in solidarity with the LGBT community. He serves as president of the NAACP San Francisco chapter. "An injustice to one is an injury to all," he said. He urged attendees to not walk away Wednesday "in a state of euphoria" but to be mindful that marriage equality is still sought nationwide and that other struggles plague other minority groups. "We must continue the conversation," Brown said.

The Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone denounced the Supreme Court decisions Wednesday morning in a joint statement with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cordileone issued the statement while in Rome Wednesday, archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek said. The pair called Wednesday a "tragic day for marriage and our nation. "The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage," the statement read. The statement continued, "Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with secure foundation of a mother and a father."

Shark Bites Kayak Off Coast of Pacifica Beach, No One Injured 

Warning notices have been posted at the Pacifica State Beach Wednesday after a man in a kayak fishing off the coast said a shark bit his boat before swimming away.

Pacifica police Chief Jim Tasa said in a report that the attack occurred around 4:55 p.m. Tuesday when the uninjured man in a kayak called police. The victim said a shark bit the kayak then briefly circled the watercraft before swimming away.

The victim in the kayak was able to return to shore unharmed, according to Tasa. The Pacifica Department of Public Works posted signs at the beach Wednesday warning of the incident, but the attack occurred outside the area where surfers and swimmers tend to frequent.

The beach will be monitored nonetheless, Tasa reported.

City Officials Break Ground on Decades-Long Hunters Point Project

San Francisco city officials broke ground Wednesday on a massive, decades-long redevelopment project in the city's Hunters Point neighborhood.

Mayor Ed Lee, former Mayor Willie Brown, Supervisor Malia Cohen and former Supervisor Sophie Maxwell were among the dignitaries on hand to celebrate the start of construction on the first phase of the nearly $8 billion project.

Developed by the company Lennar Urban, the Hunters Point project is expected to create more than 12,000 new residential units, as well as new retail space and more than 350 acres of parkland over the next 20 years, according to the mayor's office.

"The promise is being delivered," Lee said. "It's no longer promises, the dirt is being turned over and buildings are getting started." The project has had "at times a somewhat complicated journey" in getting to the groundbreaking, said Kofi Bonner, who is overseeing the redevelopment for Lennar.

The site has undergone extensive cleanup of hazardous materials from the former naval shipyard while project organizers have also dealt with the uncertainty over whether the San Francisco 49ers were going to stay in their stadium at Candlestick Park. With the team moving down to a new stadium in Santa Clara in 2014, the stadium will be demolished and new retail space will take its place in the second phase of the redevelopment project, Bonner said.

He said the first residential units will be completed on the site in the next three years. Cohen, whose district includes the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods in the southeast end of the city, said those neighborhoods "have had significant challenges" with crime and blight but said the new project will bring better days ahead. "We're moving beyond that old narrative of fear and hatred ... and walking lockstep into a prosperous future," she said.

Brown said, "There is no other piece of soil in any other urban area that's as potentially lucrative." "It's going to be an ideal place to live," he said.

Away from the celebration, dozens of members of the job advocate group Aboriginal Blackman United protested what they said was a lack of job opportunities for neighborhood residents on the project. ABU president James Richards said his group has not been consulted in negotiations over who will be hired for the project.

The city's Building Trades Council signed an agreement with Lennar in 2007 tasking another group, the local nonprofit Young Community Developers, to oversee local hire efforts for the Hunters Point project, council secretary-treasurer Michael Theriault said.

Richards said his group will continue to protest at the site in the coming days until Lennar and the city engage them and other neighborhood groups about jobs on the project. "We'll be back tomorrow and the next day and the next day, until we get justice on these jobs," he said.

Bonner from Lennar said, "We know them well, they know us well ... they want to make sure nobody forgets them and we appreciate that." More information about the Hunters Point project can be found online at www.theshipyardsf.com.

Weather Forecast

Partly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely in the Bay Area this morning, becoming sunny later in the day. Highs are expected to be in the lower 60s to mid 70s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph in the afternoon.

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

Mostly cloudy skies with patchy fog are expected Friday morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s. Southwest winds up to 20 mph and gusts up to 35 mph are expected in the afternoon.

 

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Gay Men's Chorus Holding Harvey Milk-Themed Concert

In what is turning out to be fortuitous timing, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus tonight is premiering a new choral work dedicated to civil rights champion and late San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.

"I Am Harvey Milk," featuring a performance by Tony and Grammy Award nominee Andrew Lippa, will debut at 8 p.m. today at Harvey Milk 2013, the chorus' 35th anniversary concert celebrating the life and legacy of Milk, the city's first openly gay supervisor.

The concert, which will take place at the Nourse Theatre at 201-299 Hayes St., will also feature a variety of other performance pieces celebrating Milk, who was slain along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White at City Hall on Nov. 27, 1978.

The concert happens to fall on the same day the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and dismissed an appeal in California's Proposition 8 case.

"I can't find the words to describe how I feel today," chorus artistic director Tim Seelig said in a statement.

"Tonight, 300 chorus members will raise their voices in song, just as San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus did 35 years ago, when they performed for the first time at the candlelight vigil for Harvey Milk," Seelig said. "No matter what, we will always keep singing."

Bruce Cohen, a producer of "I Am Harvey Milk," added, "This is a historic victory for California, for equality, and, most of all, for loving gay and lesbian couples and their families.

Clearly, Harvey's work continues and he would be extraordinarily proud today." Harvey Milk 2013 will continue on Thursday and Friday at the Nourse Theatre, with tickets ranging in price from $25 to $60.

More information about the concerts can be found online at www.sfgmc.org or by calling City Box Office at (415) 392-4400.

 

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BART Union Employees Vote to Authorize Strike

BART's two biggest labor unions announced today that their members have voted to authorize a strike against the transit agency.

Members of Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, voted on Tuesday but the results weren't announced until today.

The votes give union leaders the power to call a strike, but they don't necessarily mean that one will occur.

The unions' contracts with BART expire on Sunday, so a strike could potentially begin as soon as Monday morning.

Key issues in the talks, which began on April 1, are wages, health care costs, pension contribution costs, work rules and safety.

BART management spokesman Rick Rice called the strike authorization votes "a procedural move" by the unions but he said the two sides are "continuing to negotiate to try to get a deal."

Rice said contract talks will resume today.

He said negotiations were suspended on Tuesday so union members could vote.

John Arantes, the president of the BART chapter of SEIU Local 1021, said in a statement, "We have tried in vain to get BART to have serious conversations about the issues facing workers every day -- there are fewer workers, working for less money, in more dangerous conditions."

Arantes said, "This is an unsafe, unfair situation that can't be allowed to continue. We don't want to strike, but BART management seems determined to cause one."

Antonette Bryant, the president of ATU Local 1555, said, "Our members are under attack and the district refuses to act. All we want is fair compensation and a safe workplace."

Rice said BART has asked Gov. Jerry Brown not to order a 60-day cooling off period that would delay a strike if an agreement isn't reached by Sunday.

He said that if a strike is to occur, the transit agency would rather face one now, when ridership is down due to summer vacations, rather than in September, when ridership returns to peak levels.

The last time BART employees staged a strike was in September 1997.

The walkout lasted six days before a settlement was finally reached.

 

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City Hall Crowd Reacts to Rulings

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote today that the sponsors of Proposition 8 had no standing, or legal authority, to appeal a trial court ruling that struck down the statewide ban on same-sex marriage.

The decision has the effect of reinstating a 2010 ruling in which U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said the ban violated the federal constitutional rights to equal treatment and due process.

Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris had refused to appeal Walker's ruling, and the high court said today that proponents of a voter initiative don't have the right to defend it on appeal if state officials decline to do so.

In another decision today, the court by a 5-4 vote struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had prohibited the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

Hundreds of people gathered inside San Francisco City Hall this morning in anticipation of today's rulings.

The DOMA ruling was announced first, eliciting loud cheers. When the Proposition 8 ruling was released, there was initial confusion about what it meant, but the confusion quickly turned to jubilation when it became clear that same-sex marriages will likely resume in California.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee addressed the crowd, calling today a "historic, historic day for all of us." "It's been a long road ... but gosh, it feels good to have love triumph over ignorance," Lee said.

Lee and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom walked down the steps under the City Hall Rotunda with Phyllis Lyon, one half of the first lesbian couple to wed in San Francisco when same-sex marriage was briefly legal in 2008.

Her spouse, Del Martin, died later that year.

"What a day, a special day," said Newsom, who started it all by unexpectedly allowing same-sex weddings in the city shortly after he became mayor in 2004.

Newsom said it is the leadership of same-sex rights pioneers like Lyon and Martin that led to today's events.

"It's people like Phyllis and Del that stepped up and stepped in half a century ago to these debates ... They didn't wait for someone to tap them on the shoulder, they didn't wait to ask for permission," Newsom said.

He pointed out that the story is not yet finished.

"Like any journey it's not linear -- it's messy, it's complex. There are good days and bad days, but it's a worthy journey that we're on," Newsom said.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has said that in the event that the Supreme Court ruled on the standing issue, he expected same-sex weddings in the California to resume by late July.

That timing includes 25 days in which Proposition 8 sponsors could ask the court for a rehearing, plus several days for a federal appeals court to issue a mandate dismissing the appeal.

But there could be further litigation about the scope of the trial court ruling striking down Proposition 8.

Herrera and lawyers for two couples who challenged Proposition 8 say the injunction issued by Walker requires California officials to license and register same-sex marriages statewide.

The sponsors of Proposition 8 have said in court filings, however, that they think Walker's injunction would apply only to the two individual couples who challenged Proposition 8.

The couples, who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in San Francisco in 2009, are Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier of Berkeley and Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo of Burbank.

 

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Happy Couples Celebrate Court Rulings at City Hall

Elated couples and same-sex marriage supporters celebrated at San Francisco City Hall this morning as they learned that the U.S. Supreme Court had dismissed an appeal in the Proposition 8 case and struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Karen Topakian, 58, and her partner Peg Stevenson, 50, live in San Francisco's Mission District.

The two have been together for 25 years.

They came to City Hall this morning to witness the "historic moment" with others, Topakian said.

Both agreed it feels good to have the option to wed.

"Now we have to decide if we want to get married," Topakian said.

She said she is excited about the benefits she would qualify for if she were married, although she noted, "I don't need the government to recognize my relationship, love and humanity."

There is some disagreement about what the Proposition 8 ruling means.

The high court didn't rule on the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban but rather decided that its sponsors didn't have the legal authority to appeal a lower court ruling striking it down.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Gov. Jerry Brown both said they expect same-sex weddings to resume soon, but the Proposition 8 sponsors have vowed to continue fighting to enforce the ban.

Frank Reyes, 54, and his partner Paul Brady, 47, live together in the city's Castro District and were holding hands at City Hall today.

Brady called this morning's news "surreal" and said he is happy to now have the same marriage rights as heterosexual citizens.

"It's nice to be on this side of things," Brady said.

A few minutes later, an ecstatic Reyes yelled, "I just proposed to him!" Brady said yes, he said.

Bobby Spencer, 47, a resident of San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, said he woke up at 5:30 a.m. today to make it to City Hall in time for the rulings.

He said he has lost sleep this week because he was so anxious to hear what would happen.

This morning, he joked, "My future ex-husband is somewhere in this room."

Two large screens had been set up inside City Hall for the occasion; one was tuned to CNN and the other showed posts from SCOTUSblog, the widely trusted source of breaking Supreme Court news.

Outside City Hall, numerous motorists honked in support of same-sex marriage.

After this morning's gathering, many left City Hall to head to work.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Passengers Brace for a Possible BART Strike

As Bay Area transit riders brace for a possible strike by BART workers, a union representing 1,800 AC Transit workers warned that a BART strike could create a dangerous situation for transit workers and commuters. 

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192 released a letter from union president Yvonne Williams to AC Transit general manager David Armijo expressing concern about news reports that AC Transit could help absorb large numbers of transit riders who would otherwise be stranded by a BART strike

"There are not enough buses in AC Transit's fleet to serve patrons who normally ride BART. In the past, AC Transit has redirected service away from our loyal, daily passengers, stranding them," Williams wrote in the letter. 

However, AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson stressed that there would be no re-direction of AC Transit buses away from their regular routes in the event of a BART strike. 

"Our regular East Bay service will remain intact," Johnson said. "We would offer as much supplemental service as we could or might be needed along our existing Transbay lines." 

Williams said Tuesday that during a previous BART strike in 1997, some AC Transit drivers faced a "riotous" situation, where buses might be surrounded by stranded commuters or placed in situations where riders were pushing and shoving to get a space on public transit, something in short supply in the absence of BART. 

At the time, BART carried about 200,000 passengers per day, Williams said. Now it averages about 400,000. 

Further compounding a potentially chaotic transit situation, the AC Transit union's contract expires on Sunday, the same day contracts between BART and its five unions end. Williams said 97.4 percent of AC Transit employees who participated in a vote last week supported authorizing a possible strike. 

Johnson said he remains hopeful that a new contract will be negotiated in time to avert a strike, and said the agency and the union are currently working with a state mediator. 

Williams cited worker safety and plans to replace sheriff's deputies assigned to AC Transit with private security guards as primary union concerns in the negotiations. She said that AC Transit has recorded a 50 percent increase in on-the-job injuries to operators from 2011 to 2012. 

But she said that the union is continuing to negotiate Tuesday in the hopes of having a contract in place shortly. 

Negotiations between BART and two of its five unions have been more contentious, with both sides publicly alleging bad-faith bargaining, and two of the unions filing a lawsuit. 

State mediators have been called in, and BART's two largest unions are conducting a strike authorization vote among their members Tuesday. 

The two unions are Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, and Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers. 

Antonette Bryant, a spokeswoman for ATU Local 1555, said a joint statement will be released this morning detailing the results of the strike vote. 

"We are fighting to get a contract," Bryant said. 

She said, however, that the union hopes to avoid a strike. BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the agency is also trying to prevent a strike from happening. She said the unions' decision to hold a strike authorization vote Tuesday has delayed negotiations until today. 

But, Trost said, BART is "not at the point of warning our passengers." 

The MTC has posted an alert on its 511.org website that warns of a possible BART strike as soon as Monday. 

The agency is advising commuters to plan ahead and try to work from home or carpool. Heavy traffic and overcrowded public transit systems are likely in the event of a strike, MTC officials said. 

Reward for the Capture of Two Oakland Shooters

The family of a 22-year-old shot by two suspects after a traffic accident earlier this month in Oakland announced Tuesday they are offering a $35,000 reward for information leading to the capture of two suspects. 

At the site where Aya Nakano, a recent University of Oregon graduate, was gunned down by two male suspects after they had rear-ended his car near Market Street and Stanford Avenue the night of June 12, his family and friends stood behind a memorial of flower bouquets and held fliers and framed pictures of their smiling relatives Tuesday afternoon. 

Nakano was driving west on Stanford Avenue near Market Street when he was hit. He then pulled over in the 5800 block of Market Street where two male suspects confronted him and one shot him dead, Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said. 

The suspects' vehicle is described as a newer-model four-door silver sedan, according to Watson. 

Police are reviewing surveillance video that shows Nakano driving back to his Emeryville home from the University of California at Berkeley where he had been playing basketball before the 11 p.m. collision, Watson said. 

"Video has played a key component," she said about the investigation. 

Still more information is needed, Watson said, and the reward is being posted on billboards, benches, and buses throughout Oakland, and 800 fliers have been printed, Watson said. 

Watson said tips have come in about the case, but investigators need more to find the perpetrators. 

Additionally, Watson said investigators are trying to determine if the shooting stemmed from a simple fender-bender or if it was a ruse to get Nakano exposed. 

"This is a tremendous loss to them," Watson said about Nakano's family. 

One of Nakano's mothers, Maria Climaco, pleaded for the public to come forward with information about who took away her son. 

While clutching a framed photograph of her family, including Nakano's pet dog, Climaco said the toughest part of losing Nakano is waiting for him to walk through the front door. 

"I really miss him," she said. 

She emphasized the need to find the suspects. "I'm begging you with all my heart to please come forward," she said. 

Two Vallejo Firemen Honored for Heroic Actions

A man who was trapped on the balcony of his burning apartment in Vallejo last month escaped with his life thanks to a crew of dedicated firefighters. 

Tonight, the Vallejo City Council will honor two of them -- Vallejo Fire Battalion Chief David Urrutia and Firefighter Kevin Hickey -- with Medals of Valor for their roles in that rescue. 

"They're great firefighters," fire department spokesman Mark Libby said. 

"We're a short-staffed department, we don't have a lot of people, so sometimes even the chiefs have to go into action," he said. 

Around 4:30 p.m. on May 20, Urrutia and Hickey were part of a small engine company that responded to the blaze at an apartment complex in the 400 block of Ebbetts Pass Road, fire officials said. 

Once on the scene, the crew learned that a man was trapped on the balcony of his apartment, Libby said. 

"Fire was coming up over the top of his head and burning his head, and for some reason he walked back into his apartment," he said. 

Hickey quickly grabbed a ladder and climbed into the second-floor apartment, found the man and pulled him back onto the balcony. 

Urrutia was waiting at the top of the ladder to help the man down to safety, Libby said. 

The victim was taken to a trauma center to be treated for third-degree burns to his neck and arms, according to fire officials. 

About 20 people were displaced by the fire, which caused smoke and fire damage to multiple apartments. 

Libby said the fire was ultimately deemed accidental. 

The City Council is set to present the commendations to Hickey and Urrutia shortly at tonight's 7 p.m. meeting at Vallejo City Hall, located at 555 Santa Clara St.

2010 San Francisco Stabber found Gulity 

A 23-year-old man was convicted of multiple felony counts on Monday in connection with a brutal stabbing near San Francisco's Union Square in 2010, prosecutors said Tuesday. 

Oscar Arana was found guilty of aggravated mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon for the attack on Nov. 3, 2010, following the parade celebrating the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory, according to the district attorney's office. 

According to court testimony, Arana and the then-21-year-old victim were with a group of friends when, unprovoked, Arana came up from behind and stabbed the victim four times in the back, prosecutors said.

One of the stab wounds ruptured the victim's kidney and spleen and the others left him paralyzed from the chest down, prosecutors said. 

After a trial that lasted more than two weeks, a San Francisco Superior Court jury deliberated for about two days before returning the guilty verdicts, although he was acquitted of attempted murder, according to the district attorney's office. 

The aggravated mayhem charge still carries the possibility of a life sentence in prison, prosecutors said. Arana is set to be sentenced in the case on July 29. 

"This cowardly and abhorrent act changed the victim's life forever," District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. 

3-Year-Old Boy Dies After Drive-By Shooting in East Oakland 

An eyewitness said in court Tuesday that 3-year-old Carlos Nava remained alive for a few moments after he was struck by bullets in a drive-by shooting in East Oakland two years ago but soon succumbed to his injuries. 

Fighting back tears as she testified in the preliminary hearing for suspected shooter Lawrence Denard, 28, and suspected driver Willie Torrence, 24, Cynthia Montiel said Carlos was "looking and wondering what had happened" and she tried to comfort Carlos by telling him "to hold on." 

But Montiel, 22, said Carlos soon "started twitching his head, his eyes closed and his skin changed color to pale or green."  

Montiel said, "I seen him falling asleep and I knew he wouldn't make it because he couldn't twitch hard anymore." 

However, Montiel said she didn't tell Carlos' mother that Carlos had died because she was "really out of control" and she didn't know how she would react. 

Denard and Torrence are both charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder for the shooting outside a grocery store in a strip mall in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:10 p.m. on Aug. 8, which left Carlos dead and two men wounded. 

Oakland police said they believe the shooting was gang-related and the intended targets were the two men, who survived their injuries. 

They said Carlos and his family, who were shopping at the time, had no connection to the two men. 

Montiel said she was also shopping at the strip mall with her sister, her niece and a friend and saw Carlos with his mother and an older brother who appeared to be about five years old. She said Carlos was in a miniature car outside the grocery store when a gunman in a gray car fired shots at two black men who were near her. 

Carlos' mother immediately and repeatedly screamed in Spanish that her son had been shot, Montiel testified. 

She said that when she looked at Carlos "I seen a little hole in the side of his neck." 

Montiel said the two men were also struck by the gunfire and as they lay on the ground they yelled for someone to call an ambulance. 

Robert Hudson, 39, one of the men who was hit, denied on the witness stand Tuesday that he told police in a taped interview on Sept. 14, 2011, that Denard was the man who shot him. 

After the interview was played in court, Hudson admitted that his voice was on the tape but said he never told authorities that he got a good look at Denard as he hung halfway out a car window and fired shots. 

When Denard's lawyer, Annie Beles, asked him if he thought the tape had been doctored, Hudson said, "It has got to be. They rigged it up." 

When Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon, who is presiding over the hearing, asked him if was his voice identifying Denard as the shooter, Hudson said, "I don't know how they put it together" and said he doesn't know Denard and doesn't know who shot him.

Advocates Protest Against Hunters Point Shipyard Project  

Dozens of advocates for construction workers in San Francisco's southeast neighborhoods blocked vehicles from entering the Hunters Point Shipyard project site Tuesday, protesting what they said was a lack of job opportunities for residents living nearby. 

Members of the Bayview-Hunters Point-based group Aboriginal Blackman United gathered at the intersection of Innes Avenue and Donahue Street Tuesday morning and stopped trucks and other vehicles from entering the site, where construction is set to begin this summer. 

The redevelopment of the former naval shipyard is expected to eventually include thousands of new homes and new retail and commercial space being built over the next several years, according to project organizers. 

The city's Building Trades Council signed an agreement in 2007 with Lennar Urban, the company overseeing the Hunters Point redevelopment, to work with the local nonprofit Young Community Developers on local hire efforts for the project, council secretary-treasurer Michael Theriault said. 

ABU president James Richards said his members are protesting because they "haven't been brought to the table" in negotiations over who will be hired for the project. The group held a similar protest at the site last week and will continue to take similar actions until Lennar and the city develop a plan to engage with them and other local job groups who want to work on the project, Richards said. 

"The job is getting ready to get started," he said. "I can't lie down and let this happen." 

He said, "Our motto is if we don't work, no one works." 

The group blocked several large trucks and other vehicles from turning left from Innes Avenue onto Donahue Street toward the worksite. 

A couple of police patrol cars arrived at the intersection around noon to oversee the protest but did not stop the group from blocking traffic. 

Derek Lynch, a member of a collective of artists who works at a studio at the shipyard unassociated with the construction project, was among the drivers who were blocked by the protesters. 

Lynch said he was annoyed at being stopped since he and other artists are in favor of the neighborhood residents getting jobs on the project. 

"We're on their side as much as anyone," he said.

Theriault said the city is not making any changes as a result of the protests. 

"We will stand by all of our agreements," he said, adding that Young Community Developers "will do a fine job of referring Bayview-Hunters Point residents" to jobs on the project. 

Theriault said if ABU members "want a job, tell them to go sign up with YCD." 

Bernal Heights Shooting Victim Identified

A man who was fatally shot near a public housing complex in San
Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood early Tuesday morning has been
identified by the medical examiner's office as 27-year-old Richard Wells

Officers responded shortly after midnight to a report of shots fired in the 900 block of Ellsworth Street near the San Francisco Housing Authority's Alemany Boulevard complex, police said. 

They found Wells suffering from at least one gunshot wound to his chest. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:38 a.m., according to police. 

No arrests have been made in connection with the killing, police said. 

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Police Department's homicide detail at (415) 553-1145, its anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message. 

Suspected Shooters at Hunters Point Bus Stop Arrested 

San Francisco police have arrested two suspects in a shooting at a Hunters Point bus stop that left a man dead and a teen girl in critical
condition. 

The two were shot at about 1 p.m. Monday at West Point and Middle Point roads, police said. 

Jaquan Rice, 19, of San Francisco and a 17-year-old girl were both taken tolSan Francisco General Hospital, where Rice succumbed to his injuries.  

The girl remained at the hospital being treated for injuries that are considered life threatening, according to police. 

Police announced Tuesday that 20-year-old Derrick Hunter of San Francisco and a 14 year-old boy were arrested and booked on suspicion of Rice's murder. 

One Suspect Arrested in Suisun City Robbery 

Fairfield police have arrested one suspect and are seeking two others believed to have robbed a victim of his cellphone on Monday. 

At about 10:20 a.m. Monday, the victim called Fairfield police to report that the suspects had stolen his cellphone in a strong-arm robbery in Suisun City and that he had followed them to Fairfield, police said. 

The suspects were driving a brown 1987 Toyota Corolla and parked it in the 100 block of Villa Circle in Fairfield, according to police. 

Officers responded to that block, and the suspects fled north on foot, climbing over fences into a residential neighborhood, police said. 

Ground units and a CHP helicopter scoured the neighborhood for the suspects, and one was located on a roof in the 1200 block of Meadowlark Drive

He was taken into custody and identified as 19-year-old Jakkari Sampson, of Dixon, police said. He was found to be in possession of the victim's cellphone. 

Sampson was arrested for possession of stolen property and robbery, police said. The other two suspects were not located. 

The suspects' vehicle was reported stolen out of Vallejo on Sunday, and the trio is believed to have taken it during an armed carjacking, Fairfield police said.  

Bay Area Forecast for Wednesday 26

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely in the Bay Area this morning, with highs in the upper 50s to lower 70s. Southwest winds up to 20 mph are expected. 

Continued clouds and patchy fog are expected this evening. Lows are likely to be in the 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. 

Sunny skies with patchy fog in the morning are likely on Thursday. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to mid 70s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Check out some of our most popular blogs:

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     The BART That Could Have Been

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BART Strike Possible as Soon as Monday

Community leaders spoke out this morning near San Francisco's 24th Street BART station in support of BART workers embroiled in contentions labor negotiations that could potentially result in a strike as soon as Monday.

Contracts between BART and its five unions expire on Sunday, and negotiations are at a standstill. State mediators have been called in, and BART's two largest unions are conducting a strike authorization vote among their members today.

The two unions are Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, and Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers. Antonette Bryant, a spokeswoman for ATU Local 1555, said a joint statement will be released Wednesday morning detailing the results of the strike vote. "We are fighting to get a contract," Bryant said. She said, however, that the union hopes to avoid a strike.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the agency is also trying to prevent a strike from happening. She said the unions' decision to hold a strike authorization vote today has delayed negotiations until Wednesday. "We think there is a deal to be had," she said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is working on putting together a contingency plan in case a strike occurs. Trost said BART is "not at the point of warning our passengers." The MTC has posted an alert on its 511.org website that warns of a possible BART strike as soon as Monday.

The agency is advising commuters to plan ahead and try to work from home, carpool, or telecommute. Heavy traffic and overcrowded public transit systems are likely in the event of a strike, MTC officials said.

At the union news conference in San Francisco this morning, SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Leah Berlanga pointed to a lawsuit filed by the two unions in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday morning in which they allege that BART is failing to bargain in good faith over worker safety. "BART has not addressed safety issues and proposals we put on the table," Berlanga said.

Among other measures, the unions are demanding improved lighting on the tracks and in the stations. San Francisco Supervisor David Campos said he stands in solidarity with the workers, and highlighted the importance of safety. He underscored the case of BART electrician Robert Rhodes, who was killed while working on the 24th Street station tracks in 2001. "It's only appropriate that we ensure their safety on a daily basis," he said. Campos called for "reasonable, open, good-faith negotiations." The supervisor said he doesn't want a strike, but that the safety issues need to be resolved before the unions can agree on a contract.

Trost has previously said that union leaders haven't mentioned safety issues in their own internal communications about the labor talks, instead emphasizing matters such as salaries, benefits and work rules.

 

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Prop 8 'Decision Day' Rallies Planned Throughout Bay Area

With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to release its Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act rulings on Wednesday, rallies are planned all over the Bay Area in support of same-sex marriage rights.

On what is dubbed "decision day," a group will gather at Castro and Market streets in San Francisco's Castro District at 6:30 p.m. Marriage Equality USA spokesman Billy Bradford said preparations are under way for a rally and potential celebration, including two stages for music and speeches. Police have been notified about the event.

He said the celebratory mood could be soured, however, depending on the content of the rulings. Bradford said those attending may have to "temper our joy. Our work here isn't done."

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera will be holding a news conference Wednesday morning following the Supreme Court's announcement, which is expected shortly after 7 a.m. Herrera's news conference will take place on the steps of City Hall, where Herrera and Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart will discuss the possible legal repercussions of the decision, as well as plans for how the city could handle a potential flurry of same-sex weddings.

Later in the morning, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is expected to speak. Daly City resident Thom Watson, who has been with his partner Jeff Tabaco for 10 years, said he will be watching closely at home before heading to San Francisco City Hall for what he considers a historic moment. He said he hasn't been sleeping well waiting for the high court's decision and has been analyzing what various potential rulings could mean for marriage equality. "We're in a constant state of fatigue mixed with excitement," he said.

Evan Costner, who organized the annual Berkeley Pride celebration that took place in that city on Monday evening, said a contingent from the Berkeley area is ready to "flock to San Francisco and rally there." He said Berkeley's pride planning committee had hoped that the Supreme Court would issue a ruling on Monday in time for the annual festival, which had the timely theme, "First comes love, then comes marriage..." In other parts of the Bay Area, various groups are ready to spring into action once they hear the ruling, including the local LGBT activist group Hearts on Silicon Valley, which is planning to meet at San Jose City Hall at 6 p.m. Organizers of that event posted on Facebook that there will be speakers and live music at the community gathering at City Hall, which is located at 200 E. Santa Clara St. Oakland community groups have plans for a celebration at 5:30 p.m. at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue, with participants convening at that intersection before moving on to dance parties at nearby bars and clubs. In Concord, a 6:30 p.m. celebration complete with champagne is planned at the Rainbow Community Center, located 2118 Willow Pass Road. Other events are in the works in Mountain View, Redwood City, Santa Cruz, Vallejo, Fairfield, Guerneville and Healdsburg.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday Midday News Roundup

Supreme Court Expected To Announce Prop 8, DOMA Rulings Wednesday

The U.S. Supreme Court's long-awaited decision on Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, is due on Wednesday.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced at the close of a court session today that the panel will issue its remaining decisions Wednesday on cases argued during the current court term.

Those cases include challenges to Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Proposition 8, enacted by state voters in a ballot initiative in 2008, provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

It was challenged in 2009 in a civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco by two couples who want to marry.

The high court will rule on an appeal by the proposition's sponsors of a lower court decision that struck down the measure.

The marriage ban has remained in effect during the appeal process.

The court has several options for ruling on the case, ranging from upholding Proposition 8 to dismissing the appeal.

The justices' questions and comments during a hearing in March suggest they may be inclined to favor either of two procedural options that would result in the invalidation of Proposition 8, thereby allowing same-sex weddings to resume in California as early as late July.

In those two potential scenarios, the high court itself would not rule directly on whether the measure violates the U.S. Constitution, but would in effect dismiss the appeal and reinstate a lower court ruling that struck down Proposition 8.

In one option, the court could rule that its hearing on the appeal was "improvidently granted," meaning that justices decided that they should not have taken up the case.

That step would reinstate a 2012 decision in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated Proposition 8 on grounds that would apply only to California.

In another option, the court could say the sponsors of Proposition 8 had no standing, or legal authority, to appeal the case after Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris declined to do so.

That scenario would reinstate a broad ruling in which now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said in 2010 that Proposition 8 violates the constitutional rights of due process and equal treatment.

The two sides dispute whether Walker's ruling would then apply statewide or only to the two couples who sued.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has said he is confident the lower court ruling would apply statewide.

He has estimated that same-sex weddings could resume in California by late July, following a 25-day period for sponsors to ask the high court to reconsider the case, plus a few additional days for a court mandate to be issued.

Prop 8 'Decision Day' Rallies Planned Throughout Bay Area

With the Supreme Court expected to release its Proposition 8 and DOMA rulings on Wednesday, rallies are planned all over the Bay Area in support of same-sex marriage rights.

On what is dubbed "decision day," a group will gather at Castro and Market streets in San Francisco's Castro District at 6:30 p.m.

Marriage Equality USA spokesman Billy Bradford said preparations are under way for a rally and potential celebration, including two stages for music and speeches. Police have been notified about the event.

He said the celebratory mood could be soured, however, depending on the content of the rulings. Bradford said those attending may have to "temper our joy. Our work here isn't done."

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera will be holding a news conference Wednesday morning following the Supreme Court's announcement, which is expected shortly after 7 a.m.

Herrera's news conference will take place on the steps of City Hall, where Herrera and Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart will discuss the possible legal repercussions of the decision, as well as plans for how the city could handle a potential flurry of same-sex weddings.

Later in the morning, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is expected to speak.

Daly City resident Thom Watson, who has been with his partner Jeff Tabaco for 10 years, said he will be watching closely at home before heading to San Francisco City Hall for what he considers a historic moment.

He said he hasn't been sleeping well waiting for the high court's decision and has been analyzing what various potential rulings could mean for marriage equality.

"We're in a constant state of fatigue mixed with excitement," he said.

Evan Costner, who organized the annual Berkeley Pride celebration that took place in that city on Monday evening, said a contingent from the Berkeley area is ready to "flock to San Francisco and rally there."

He said Berkeley's pride planning committee had hoped that the Supreme Court would issue a ruling on Monday in time for the annual festival, which had the timely theme, "First comes love, then comes marriage..."

In other parts of the Bay Area, various groups are ready to spring into action once they hear the ruling, including the local LGBT activist group Hearts on Silicon Valley, which is planning to meet at San Jose City Hall at 6 p.m.

Organizers of that event posted on Facebook that there will be speakers and live music at the community gathering at City Hall, which is located at 200 E. Santa Clara St.

Oakland community groups have plans for a celebration at 5:30 p.m. at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue, with participants convening at that intersection before moving on to dance parties at nearby bars and clubs.

In Concord, a 6:30 p.m. celebration complete with champagne is planned at the Rainbow Community Center, located 2118 Willow Pass Road.

Other events are in the works in Mountain View, Redwood City, Santa Cruz, Vallejo, Fairfield, Guerneville and Healdsburg.

BART Strike Possible As Soon As Monday

Community leaders spoke out this morning near San Francisco's 24th Street BART station in support of BART workers embroiled in contentious labor negotiations that could potentially result in a strike as soon as Monday.

Contracts between BART and its five unions expire on Sunday, and negotiations are at a standstill.

State mediators have been called in, and BART's two largest unions are conducting a strike authorization vote among their members today.

The two unions are Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, and Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers.

Antonette Bryant, a spokeswoman for ATU Local 1555, said a joint statement will be released Wednesday morning detailing the results of the strike vote.

"We are fighting to get a contract," Bryant said.

She said, however, that the union hopes to avoid a strike.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the agency is also trying to prevent a strike from happening. She said the unions' decision to hold a strike authorization vote today has delayed negotiations until Wednesday.

"We think there is a deal to be had," she said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is working on putting together a contingency plan in case a strike occurs.

Trost said BART is "not at the point of warning our passengers."

The MTC has posted an alert on its 511.org website that warns of a possible BART strike as soon as Monday.

The agency is advising commuters to plan ahead and try to work from home, carpool, or telecommute.

Heavy traffic and overcrowded public transit systems are likely in the event of a strike, MTC officials said.

At the union news conference in San Francisco this morning, SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Leah Berlanga pointed to a lawsuit filed by the two unions in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday morning in which they allege that BART is failing to bargain in good faith over worker safety.

"BART has not addressed safety issues and proposals we put on the table," Berlanga said.

Among other measures, the unions are demanding improved lighting on the tracks and in the stations.

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos said he stands in solidarity with the workers, and highlighted the importance of safety.

He underscored the case of BART electrician Robert Rhodes, who was killed while working on the 24th Street station tracks in 2001.

"It's only appropriate that we ensure their safety on a daily basis," he said.

Campos called for "reasonable, open, good-faith negotiations."

The supervisor said he doesn't want a strike, but that the safety issues need to be resolved before the unions can agree on a contract.

Trost has previously said that union leaders haven't mentioned safety issues in their own internal communications about the labor talks, instead emphasizing matters such as salaries, benefits and work rules.

Man Fatally Shot In Bernal Heights, No Suspects Arrested

A man in his 20s was fatally shot in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood early this morning, according to police.

San Francisco police received calls shortly after midnight reporting gunshots heard in the 900 block of Ellsworth Street, near the San Francisco Housing Authority's Alemany Boulevard property.

Police and firefighters responded and located the victim with at least one gunshot wound to his chest.

The victim was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:38 a.m., police said.

No suspects had been arrested in connection with the homicide as of this morning, police said.

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call 911, the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

Fatal Shooting ID

A man who was fatally shot at a bus stop in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood on Monday afternoon has been identified by the medical examiner's office as 19-year-old Jaquan Rice.

Rice, a San Francisco resident, was one of two people shot at about 1 p.m. Monday at West Point and Middle Point roads, police said.

Rice and a female victim were taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where Rice succumbed to his injuries.

The female victim remained at the hospital being treated for injuries that are considered life-threatening, according to police.

No arrests had been made in connection with the shooting as of this morning, police said.

Children At Home During Home Invasion Robbery, Shooting In Bayview District

Two children were inside a residence during a home invasion robbery and shooting in San Francisco's Bayview District this morning, according to a police sergeant.

Police responded to a report of gunfire at 2:25 a.m. in the first block of Elmira Street, just south of Industrial Street, and found two men and a woman with gunshot wounds, San Francisco police Sgt. Dennis Toomer said.

All three were transported to San Francisco General Hospital.

Two of the wounded parties - one of the men and the woman - reside at the home and are between 20 and 30 years old, Toomer said.

The female resident suffered life-threatening injuries and the male resident is expected to survive, according to Toomer.

The two children in the home at the time of the shooting were not harmed, but were taken to San Francisco General Hospital for observation, Toomer said.

Police believe the third person injured in the shooting may be one of the suspects.

One of the residents may have been able to get a hold of the suspects' handgun and wound him with it.

There are two suspects still outstanding and both are described as black men in their 20s, Toomer said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call 911, the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

Police Ask For Public's Help In Finding Missing 16-Year-Old Girl

San Francisco police are asking for the public's help in finding a 16-year-old girl who went missing on Monday in the city's North of Panhandle neighborhood.

Gabrielle Spagnola was last seen around 3 p.m. Monday in the 2200 block of Hayes Street.

Spagnola is described as white, 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 120 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, according to police.

At the time of her disappearance, she was wearing a blue jacket, blue jeans and black shoes, police said.

A photo of Spagnola can be viewed online at
www.baycitynews.com/images/Spagnola06.25.13.jpg.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call San Francisco police at (415) 553-1071.

City Hall Photo Exhibit Offers Glimpse Into Building New Bay Bridge Span

While work continues on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, dozens of photographs that document nearly a decade of labor to build the new span are on display at City Hall.

The series of 85 photographs captured by former boilermaker, shipfitter and welder Joseph Blum, 72, are hanging on the walls on the ground floor of City Hall, providing a glimpse of the work that has gone into the $6.3 billion project.

Starting with photos snapped in 2004 and throughout the project's progression into 2012, viewers get a sense of what it takes to scale the cables, weld large metal pieces, hang by harness from atop a tower, and work with heavy machinery - all while donning safety equipment, gloves, goggles and hard hats, often hundreds of feet above the water.

The photographer said he hopes the series shows "the skills, stamina, determination, the courage" that the workers have and use every day.

The color photographs catch the Bay and the growing structure on both the foggy and sunny days, and many feature the San Francisco skyline in the background.

Blum said he did not interfere with the work while getting his shots, but rather "I tried to get as close to the work as possible without endangering myself or others."

The photographs give insight into the footwork, balance, handiwork and intelligence required to build a massive structure, Blum said.

"Every day is a challenge," he said. "It's a lot more cerebral work."

He said he wanted to document the labor process, even if that meant getting into a crane above the bridge. He said he's comfortable at a construction site and not afraid of heights.

The San Francisco Arts Commission put together the show that is on display on the ground floor of City Hall.

The exhibition was initially timed to be on display in conjunction with the anticipated Labor Day weekend opening of the bridge.

However, after faulty bolts were discovered earlier this year, that date could be pushed back.

The new section of the bridge includes a self-anchored suspension span, which covers a 2,047 feet of the bridge east of Yerba Buena Island.

An artist reception will be held at the photo exhibit on July 11 at 5:30 p.m.

The exhibit runs until Sept. 27.

 

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Update: Supreme Court Expected to Announce Prop 8, Doma Ruling Wednesday

The U.S. Supreme Court's long-awaited decision on Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, is due on Wednesday. Chief Justice John Roberts announced at the close of a court session today that the panel will issue its remaining decisions Wednesday on cases argued during the current court term.

Those cases include challenges to Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Proposition 8, enacted by state voters in a ballot initiative in 2008, provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. It was challenged in 2009 in a civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco by two couples who want to marry.

The high court will rule on an appeal by the proposition's sponsors of a lower court decision that struck down the measure. The marriage ban has remained in effect during the appeal process.

The court has several options for ruling on the case, ranging from upholding Proposition 8 to dismissing the appeal. The justices' questions and comments during a hearing in March suggest they may be inclined to favor either of two procedural options that would result in the invalidation of Proposition 8, thereby allowing same-sex weddings to resume in California as early as late July.

In those two potential scenarios, the high court itself would not rule directly on whether the measure violates the U.S. Constitution, but would in effect dismiss the appeal and reinstate a lower court ruling that struck down Proposition 8. In one option, the court could rule that its hearing on the appeal was "improvidently granted," meaning that justices decided that they should not have taken up the case.

That step would reinstate a 2012 decision in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated Proposition 8 on grounds that would apply only to California. In another option, the court could say the sponsors of Proposition 8 had no standing, or legal authority, to appeal the case after Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris declined to do so. That scenario would reinstate a broad ruling in which now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said in 2010 that Proposition 8 violates the constitutional rights of due process and equal treatment.

The two sides dispute whether Walker's ruling would then apply statewide or only to the two couples who sued. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has said he is confident the lower court ruling would apply statewide. He has estimated that same-sex weddings could resume in California by late July, following a 25-day period for sponsors to ask the high court to reconsider the case, plus a few additional days for a court mandate to be issued.

 

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Wet Weather Causing More Flight Delays

Low clouds and drizzle this morning have caused flights to be delayed by up to an hour at San Francisco International Airport, a duty manager said. Arriving flights were between 30 minutes and an hour behind schedule as of 10 a.m., airport duty manager Chuck Navigante said.

Most of this morning's early departures left on time, though flights scheduled to depart later in the day are expected be an hour or more late, Navigante said. Travelers are advised to check with individual airlines to get the most updated flight information.

The wet weather was not affecting air traffic at Oakland and Mineta San Jose international airports.

 

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