CSU Trustees Approve 12% Tuition Hike
California State University trustees approved a 12 percent tuition hike Tuesday that would take effect this fall. The increase is expected to help close the budget gap created by $650 million in state funding cuts. CSU officials said the tuition increase will generate $150 million for the CSU system, and the remaining $400 million shortfall will be saved through cutbacks and through an additional 10 percent tuition hike approved in November. The board is also planning to reduce enrollment by roughly 10,000 students statewide. Campus budgets will be reduced by a combined $281 million, according to CSU officials. The increases will bring annual tuition for CSU campuses to $5,472. Students and faculty have criticized the board because of the hikes, which became necessary when tax increases proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown were blocked by the Legislature. Brown himself issued a letter Tuesday criticizing the board for planning to raise the salary for incoming San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman by $100,000 while asking students to pay dramatically increased tuition. The CSU system faces additional cuts of $100 million mid-year if state revenue projections are not met, and are bracing to potentially make additional cuts or fee increases. Prior to the vote, CSU officials said that state funding to the CSU system is roughly the same as it was during the 1998-99 school year; however, at that time the system served 72,000 fewer students. Adjusted for inflation, CSU received more than $10,000 per student from the state in 1998-99, but now receives less than $6,500 per student. One-third of the revenue from the tuition increase will be allocated for financial aid, but many are still concerned that lower income students will still be faced with untenable costs that may keep them out of college. California State University, Los Angeles psychology professor Kimberly King addressed the board before their vote, raising concerns that the proposed increases would hurt all students but lower income students in particular. "The students that are paying will be paying more and getting less," she said.
El Dorado DA Shows Jaycee Dugard was Phillip Garrido's 5th Kidnapping Victim
The El Dorado County District Attorney's office released information Tuesday showing that kidnapping survivor Jaycee Dugard was Phillip Garrido's fifth identified victim. According to a map of Garrido's crimes, four of his previous victims had also been attacked in South Lake Tahoe. The first known assault was a rape and kidnapping in Antioch on April 14, 1972. That attack was followed by another rape and kidnapping on June 7, 1976, in South Lake Tahoe. The next assault was on November 22, 1976, when Garrido attempted to rape and kidnap one woman and then raped and kidnapped a second woman, also in South Lake Tahoe. That attack led to his conviction in federal court for kidnapping and in state court for rape. He was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison and five years to life in state prison. He only served 11 years of that sentence, however, and was paroled in 1988. On June 10, 1991, Garrido and his wife, Nancy Garrido, used a stun gun and forcibly kidnapped Dugard, then 11, as she walked to the school bus stop near her South Lake Tahoe home. The couple took her to their home on Walnut Avenue just outside Antioch, where they held her captive for the next 18 years. During that time, Garrido repeatedly raped Dugard and she gave birth to two daughters fathered by him. She wasn't found until Aug. 4, 2009, despite numerous searches by state and federal parole agents. Phillip and Nancy Garrido have since pleaded guilty to rape and kidnapping charges. They were sentenced in June to life in prison. A memoir written by Dugard telling of her abduction, captivity and survival was released in bookstores Tuesday. The book, titled "A Stolen Life," is published by Simon and Schuster. A statement released Tuesday by El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said that law enforcement investigators knew that Garrido had committed the previous assaults at the time that they were searching for Dugard, but somehow Garrido never became a suspect. Pierson, along with Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, law enforcement leaders and victims' rights organizations plan to discuss some of the unanswered questions in the case at a public meeting in Sacramento on Aug. 3.
BART Police Chief, Police Review Committee Questioned about Charles Hill Shooting
BART's police chief and members of its Police Review Committee were subjected to tough questions Tuesday about a recent confrontation at San Francisco's Civic Center station in which BART police shot and killed a knife-wielding man. A leader of the activist group No Justice, No BART who identified himself as Krystof angrily asked committee members, "What training do you have in running your police department?" The Police Review Committee was formed after passenger Oscar Grant was fatally shot by former officer Johannes Mehserle on Jan. 1 to try to make the transit agency's police department more accountable to the public. But Krystof, who was one of only four speakers at Tuesday's meeting, said the fatal shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill at the Civic Center station on July 3 marks the second time BART police have killed someone since Grant was killed. Fred Collins, a 48-year-old Oakland man, was fatally shot by BART and Oakland police officers near the Fruitvale station in Oakland on July 17, 2010, after allegedly charging at them with knives in each hand. BART Director Lynette Sweet, who chairs the Police Review Committee, said she and other committee members are also upset that Hill was killed, saying, "None of us are happy." Krystof responded, "The solution is simple: disband the BART Police Department." Director Tom Radulovich, another committee member, said he considered asking for the department to be dissolved after Grant was killed, but he ultimately came to the conclusion that it would be better to reform the department instead of contracting out police work to an outside agency that would not be accountable to BART and the public.
Crowd in Front of SF City Hall Shows Support for Deshon Marman & His Sagging Pants
About 100 people gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall Tuesday in support of a man who was removed from a U.S. Airways flight and arrested last month after he allegedly refused to pull up his sagging pants. Deshon Marman, 20, was arrested on suspicion of battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and trespassing on June 15 after boarding a flight from San Francisco to Albuquerque, N.M., where he is a student and football player at the University of New Mexico. San Francisco police said Marman was instructed by airline crew members several times to pull up his pants to cover his underwear both before and after he boarded the plane. He allegedly refused to do so, and eventually the plane's captain told the other passengers to deplane, ordered Marman to leave the aircraft and then placed him under citizen's arrest when he refused to exit, police said. Marman was escorted off the plane by police and then allegedly resisted officers when they tried to arrest him. One officer suffered a cut to his hand and a sprained knee in the struggle, according to police. At Tuesday afternoon's rally in support of Marman, his family, friends and other backers questioned the police version of the events, and called on U.S. Airways to apologize to him. His aunt, Sheila Burton, said Marman could not initially pull up his pants because he was carrying his baggage, and acted respectful throughout the incident. "They're the ones that took it to another level," Burton said. She said the incident was especially unfortunate because Marman had flown back to San Francisco for the funeral of his friend, former high school football star David Henderson, who was fatally shot in the Bayview. Marman's mother, Donna Doyle, said she was "very appalled that U.S. Airways sees fit to stop my son, but not the cross-dresser," a white man who was apparently allowed to travel while wearing women's underwear, according to various media reports in the days after the incident.
Jury Convicts James Raphael Mitchell of Murder of Ex-Girlfriend, Kidnapping Baby daughter
A Marin County jury Tuesday afternoon convicted James Raphael Mitchell of first-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend Danielle Keller and kidnapping the couple's one-year-old daughter at her Novato home two years ago. The jury reached the verdict after deliberating two days in Marin County Superior Court. Deputy District Attorney Charles Cacciatore said the jury did not convict Mitchell of the special circumstance of murder during a kidnapping. Mitchell, 29, faces 34 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 16, Cacciatore said. Cacciatore said the verdict reflects "the seriousness with which we treat domestic violence cases here in Marin County." "We want to make sure the victims take steps to get out of violent relationships and know they will have the assistance of the Marin County courts when they make that decision," Cacciatore said. Mitchell, an heir to the Mitchell family pornography and strip club business, was charged with killing Keller by repeatedly hitting her head with a softball bat at her Diablo Court home in Novato and kidnapping their daughter on the toddler's first birthday on July 12, 2009. He also was convicted of stalking, child endangerment and domestic violence, Cacciatore said. Mitchell testified he fought off two men who actually killed Keller and tried to take their daughter from the residence as he arrived to celebrate the girl's birthday. He was arrested about five hours later in Citrus Heights after he ran out of gas. His daughter was not injured. The prosecution claimed the slaying was the culmination of a series of domestic violence incidents committed by Mitchell against Keller. The verdicts also came four years to the day after Mitchell's father Jim died.
Michael Heartsman-Anthony Charged with Murder for Shooting Death of Ditiyan Franklin Jr.
A suspect has been charged with murder for the shooting death of a well-liked 17-year-old senior at the Castlewood Leadership Preparatory High School in East Oakland, Oakland police said Tuesday. Michael Heartsman-Anthony, a 22-year-old Oakland man, was arrested last Wednesday for the shooting of Ditiyan Franklin Jr. in the 2400 block of Ritchie Street at about 2:30 p.m. on May 25, but Oakland police waited until late Tuesday to announce his arrest. Franklin was weeks away from graduation when the shooting occurred. Alameda County Chief Assistant District Attorney Kevin Dunleavy said Heartsman-Anthony was arraigned Friday and returned to court Monday to be assigned an attorney. Heartsman-Anthony is scheduled to return to court soon to enter a plea. The Castlemont campus, which hosts three small schools, including the Leadership Preparatory High School, is located at 8601 MacArthur Blvd., which is about five blocks away from the shooting scene. Oakland police spokeswoman Sgt. Holly Joshi said Heartsman-Anthony has denied being involved in the shooting. Dunleavy said Heartsman was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and with attempted murder because another person was standing in the line of fire when Franklin was shot. That person was not injured. Joshi said Heartsman-Anthony shot at Franklin as Franklin rode a bicycle in the 2400 block of Ritchie Street. She said Franklin dismounted the bicycle and tried to run away, but Heartsman-Anthony chased him and fatally shot him. Joshi said homicide investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a dispute between Heartsman-Anthony and Franklin, who knew each other.
29th Birthday of UC Graduate Shane Bauer Detained in Iran Marked at Fundraiser
The 29th birthday of a University of California at Berkeley graduate who has been detained in Iran for nearly two years will be marked at a fundraising event at a photo gallery in San Francisco tonight. Shane Bauer, his fiancee, 32-year-old Sarah Shourd, and 28-year-old Josh Fattal were arrested on July 31, 2009, while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region near the Iran border. Shourd and Fattal are also UC Berkeley graduates. Shourd, who was released last September, said in an interview Tuesday that they were detained after they accidentally crossed an unmarked border into Iran. "It's impossible to just walk into Iran," she said. But Iran has accused all three hikers of espionage and entering the country illegally and plans to prosecute them. Shourd announced in May that she would not return to Iran for a trial because she is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. She said the trial of Bauer and Fattal has been postponed several times but is now scheduled to begin on July 31. Shourd said Bauer is a photojournalist who has had his work published in many prominent publications and some of his photographs will be shown at the event at the Rayko Photo Center at 428 Third St. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Shourd will be one of the speakers as will Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Kim Komenich, former Reuters photographer Lou Demattais and Shon Meckfessel, who was with the other hikers but escaped captivity because he stayed in their hotel with a cold on the day that they were detained. The money raised at the event will help pay Bauer and Fattal's legal fees as well as the media campaign aimed at getting them released from prison.
Fatal Rush Hour Collision on Highway 17 that Killed a Woman Intentionally Caused
A collision on state Highway 17 in Santa Cruz in which a woman was killed during rush hour on Monday was intentionally caused by a wrong-way driver, according to the California Highway Patrol. The collision occurred at about 3:10 p.m. on the transition from southbound Highway 17 to northbound state Highway 1, near the Ocean Street exit, according to the CHP. The victim, whose name will not be released until her family is notified, was a 49-year-old woman from Santa Cruz. She was driving north on Highway 1 when the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Eric Weers, of Soquel, drove his silver Acura SUV head-on toward her and collided with the woman's maroon Chrysler sedan. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Weers' SUV caught on fire, but he managed to escape unharmed, CHP Officer Hatcher said. A preliminary investigation indicated the collision was intentional, but that the vehicle Weers collided with was chosen at random, Hatcher said. "There was an element of premeditation," Hatcher said. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to have factored into the crash, he said. Weers was arrested on suspicion of murder, assault with a deadly weapon, driving the wrong way on a divided highway, and vehicular manslaughter.
Public Support Growing for Revitalizing Market Street into Thriving Public Place
The overcrowded room at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association Tuesday afternoon represents just a fraction of the 250,000 people who use Market Street every day, but signifies the public's growing interest in the street's improvement. The findings released at a 12:30 p.m. forum will be the basis for the Better Market Street Project, an initiative between city agencies and community groups to revitalize the stretch from The Embarcadero to Octavia Boulevard. Surveyors recorded pedestrian traffic and stationary activity, as well as evaluated crosswalks, intersections, and public spaces. Research showed that nearly half of Market Street users are pedestrians, accounting for 49 percent of its traffic on weekdays, said Kris Opbroek, the project manager from the Department of Public Works. Of people who use public transit along Market Street, 32 percent navigate on foot after arriving at their destination, she said. Opbroek said she expected a high percentage of pedestrians, but the heavy concentration of walkers between Fourth and Fifth streets was surprising. The area encompasses the street's retail hub, including the Westfield San Francisco Centre. Market Street motorists and bikers represent the remaining 14 percent and 5 percent, respectively, of weekday traffic. About 75 percent of the people on Market Street are involved in stationary activities, such as waiting for a bus, said David Alumbaugh, a senior urban designer for the San Francisco Planning Department. However, the staying activity for the street is slim. "How little people come to Market Street as a place, versus just passing through, is surprising," Alumbaugh said. He said he hopes the improvements will focus on making Market Street a destination rather than a layover. "People should meet on Market Street, as you might meet someone in Union Square," Alumbaugh said.
Judge Approves EIR for Hunters Point Redevelopment Project
A massive redevelopment project at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Candlestick Point in San Francisco has cleared a major hurdle, gaining a judge's approval of most of an environmental study. The 702-acre project by the city's redevelopment agency and Miami-based Lennar Corp. will include 10,500 housing units as well as offices, stores and parks on the southeast shore of San Francisco. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith on Monday upheld most of an environmental impact report on the plan, rejecting several challenges in a lawsuit by two citizens' groups. But at the same time, Goldsmith barred development of some sections of the shipyard -- estimated by one lawyer to amount to at least 235 acres -- until a multi-year cleanup of contamination is complete. Lennar and the city had envisioned a so-called early transfer of several parcels of land from the Navy to the developers, under which the developers rather than the Navy would complete the cleanup of hazardous waste caused by ship building and repair. But Goldsmith said that because the EIR did not discuss a possible cleanup by the developers instead of the Navy, the document could not be used as a basis for allowing an early transfer of the contaminated land. Instead, the judge said, Goldsmith said the development of those parcels may not proceed until "the remediation process is complete and approved by regulating agencies as safe for human health and development." Meanwhile, however, the remaining portions of the project "may move forward," the judge ruled. Kofi Bonner, president of Lennar's urban development division, called the ruling "a great victory for the city and the residents of Bayview Hunters Point." "We are gratified that Judge Goldsmith has concluded that the Environmental Impact Report is not only adequate but provides a way forward to protect human health, "Bonner said. "As the Navy completes cleanup of individual parcels, we will be ready to begin development," he said. The report was required by the California Environmental Quality Act. Its adequacy was challenged by People Organized to Win Employment Rights, known as POWER, and Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice.