Oakland City Council Will Attempt Again to Approve Last-Minute Budget
The Oakland City Council will make another attempt to approve a budget at a special meeting this evening, only hours before the new fiscal year begins. The meeting will be a follow-up to a four-hour hearing Tuesday night at which council members discussed three competing budget proposals but ultimately could not agree on a budget. City Council President Larry Reid said last week that he thought the council was so divided that it would be "a miracle" if a budget were approved before the deadline at midnight tonight, but he said Wednesday that he's now more optimistic that the council can beat its deadline after all. "There is very little difference in the three proposals so we'll see what we can work out and see if we can reach an agreement," Reid said. The city faces a $58 million deficit for the new fiscal year that starts on Friday. Mayor Jean Quan wants to balance the budget in part by getting $28.7 million in concessions from city workers, such as having them contribute more money for their retirements. Bargaining representatives for the city's largest unions, including the unions that represent police officers and firefighters, agreed to concessions earlier this week but those concessions must be approved by the members of the respective unions in a process that will not be completed until next week. Reid said he hopes the City Council can approve a budget today that is based on the concessions to which the bargaining representatives have agreed. He said if rank and file union members reject those concessions, the city would then have to revise its budget sometime in July. At the meeting Tuesday night, Quan said, "These are tough times and even under the best scenario there will be layoffs and cuts" to some city services. Quan, who does not vote on City Council matters, said to council members, "I urge you to move as quickly as you can" on a budget. The council's meeting is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the council's chambers at 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Prosecutor Seeks Second-Degree Murder Charge for Man whose Pit Bulls Killed Child
During a preliminary hearing in Martinez Wednesday prosecutor Mary Knox asked a judge to add a charge of second-degree murder against Steven Hayashi, a Concord man whose pack of pit bulls attacked and killed his 2-year-old step-grandson last July. Hayashi, 53, has pleaded not guilty to charges of child abuse, owning a vicious animal and an enhancement alleging that he allowed his step-grandson, Jacob Bisbee, to be in a situation that resulted in his death. The attack happened the morning of July 22, 2010, at Hayashi's home at 1785 Trailcreek Court in Concord, where Jacob, his older brother and their father lived with Hayashi, his wife and their two teenage sons. Hayashi also had five pit bull mix dogs, which he kept in the backyard and the garage. Knox argued that Hayashi knew the dogs were aggressive, particularly toward the children, and had not taken adequate steps to protect the children from the dogs. She argued that he acted with conscious disregard to human life by keeping the dogs in the home and failing to prevent the attack and therefore should be ordered to stand trial on charges of second-degree murder. Hayashi's attorney Pamela Lauser, however, argued that there was no evidence that Hayashi was responsible for the children when the attack happened or that he knew that the dogs were vicious. She objected to Knox's request to have a murder charge added and asked the judge to dismiss the charges. Hayashi allegedly told Rodriguez that he usually locked the door from the house to the garage but that he had not locked it on the morning of the attack, Rodriguez said. At about 8:45 a.m., Jacob went into the garage and was attacked by the three dogs inside. The two dogs in the yard were not part of the attack, police said. Concord police Forensics Specialist Linda Damarco testified that she witnessed animal autopsies, known as necropsies, of the dogs and watched as a piece of Jacob's shirt and some buttons were removed from the stomach of one dog and hair, believed to be from Jacob's head, was removed from the stomach of another dog.
Alameda Conducts Independent Review of Memorial Day Drowning
The city of Alameda has chosen a former state fire marshal to conduct an independent review of the drowning of a suicidal man at Crown Beach on Memorial Day. Chief Ruben Grijalva, who has also served as director of Cal Fire, was asked to take a detailed look at the factors contributing to the death of 52-year-old Raymond Zack and the city's response to the drowning so far, City Manager John Russo said. The city's leadership and policies came under attack after it came to light that police and fire rescuers stood around for about an hour while Zack waded into the frigid water off Crown Beach and lost consciousness. Grijalva is expected to finish his inquiry by late September and will present his findings to the City Council at an open meeting, Russo said. "He's got a very strong reputation in the field," he said. "He's seen as tough, fair and independent." Grijalva started his career in 1976 with the city of Sunnyvale, which has one integrated department of public safety instead of separate police and fire departments, Russo said. He then served as assistant fire chief and then chief of the Palo Alto Fire Department from 1990 to 2004, when he was appointed state fire marshal. Between 2006 and 2009 he oversaw Cal Fire, and now he is the CEO of a public safety consulting firm called FireChiefs.com. "We wanted somebody who had experience in both police and fire," Russo said. The Alameda Fire Department said after the drowning that crews hadn't been trained in water surface rescue and could do nothing but stand by as a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was delayed responding to the incident. The city has since reinstituted the training and changed its policies so that commanders can send in rescuers. Grijalva's review will include a detailed chronology of the drowning and the policies that dictated rescuers' responses, as well as a look at whether the city's actions to date are enough to prevent future tragedies.
Wanted Parolee Shot, Wounded in Stand-Off with Police in Western Addition
A wanted parolee who was shot and wounded by police officers after firing at them in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood Wednesday morning has been identified as 38-year-old Roselyndo Nagayo Sicat, police said. Investigators had been searching for Sicat, who was wanted on a $75,000 warrant for felony vandalism and resisting arrest and was on active parole for a weapons violation. He was believed to be armed with an assault weapon that he had fired earlier this week, according to police. No one was injured in that previous shooting, police Officer Albie Esparza said. Officers received information Wednesday morning that Sicat was in the 1000 block of Gough Street, and two plainclothes officers spotted him at 7:56 a.m. near the corner of Gough and Ellis streets as he was leaving a residential driveway in a gray Honda Accord, police said. The officers identified themselves as police and approached Sicat, who allegedly fired at least one round at the officers, who returned fire, striking him. Sicat crashed shortly afterward into cars parked nearby, police said. The officers, who were not injured, took Sicat into custody and he was transported to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are not considered life-threatening, according to police. A search of the Honda revealed the assault rifle, as well as a handgun on the floorboard on the passenger side of the car, police said. The officers who shot Sicat have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting, per standard procedure, Esparza said.
Man Beaten Unconscious in Figth, Dies After 6-Year Coma
A man who was beaten unconscious in a 2005 fight died last week after more than six years in a coma, a San Jose police sergeant said. San Jose resident Octavio Medina, 48, died on June 21 under hospice care after receiving severe head injuries in a fight on Feb. 28, 2005, in the 300 block of Keyes Street. Medina had remained unconscious since police found him injured at the scene in 2005, police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said. The beating suspect, Silvestre Felix Burgara, 53, who was living in San Jose in 2005, was arrested later that year following a verbal altercation Burgara and Medina had at a San Jose bar. The verbal fight led to an attack outside the bar, where Burgara allegedly attacked Medina, who sustained a head injury, according to Dwyer. The Santa Clara District Attorney's Office declined to file criminal charges in 2005 and Burgara was released. He was then deported to Mexico and his current whereabouts are unknown, Dwyer said. There are no search warrants for Burgara and there are no active police searches, but the case is being reviewed by the district attorney's office, Dwyer said. The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office told police Burgara died from injuries related to the attack six years ago.
Grocery Store Owner Dies of Irregular Heartbeat Triggered by Assault
The owner of a grocery store died of an irregular heartbeat triggered by the assault in his business Tuesday night, according to an autopsy Wednesday. Solano County coroner's Deputy Ray Lamb said Ho Jun Kim, 70, the owner of the Travis Dairy at 140 E. Travis Blvd., died of "cardiac arrhythmia due to emotional distress caused by an assault." "He had a bad heart and had surgery before," Lamb said. Fairfield police Lt. Greg Hurlbut said Kim called police around 7:50 p.m. Tuesday to report he had been robbed and needed an ambulance. Three suspects pepper-sprayed Kim and left the minimart with a cash register and a video camera Kim used to record his daily business activities, Hurlbut said. A witness said three black males in their late teens went into the business but Kim said the suspects were white, Hurlbut said. The suspects were driving a light brown or tan late model Honda, Hurlbut said. Kim was taken to the NorthBay Medical Center in Vacaville, where he died at 8:36 p.m., the coroner's office said. Police are investigating other robberies where pepper spray was used, Hurlbut said.
Menlo Park Police Investigating Thefts of Copper Wiring from Facebook HQ
Police in Menlo Park are investigating three separate thefts of copper wiring this month from the future headquarters of Facebook. On June 17, construction crews reported that more than 1,000 pounds of copper wiring was taken from one of nine vacant buildings on the 57-acre campus, located at 312 Constitution Drive, police spokeswoman Nicole Acker said. It is believed that the wiring was extracted sometime between June 7 and June 13, Acker said. Three days later, a second load of more than 1,000 pounds of copper wire was reported stolen from a storage unit at the site that was being used by a construction contractor, Acker said. Investigators believe the wiring was removed sometime between June 17 and June 20. A third theft of several hundred feet of wiring occurred at another vacant office building on the site on June 22, Acker said. The total value of all the stolen copper is estimated at about $8,500. There are no suspects, according to police.
SJ Man Arrested After Police Find 800 Counterfeit DVDs
A 23-year-old San Jose man was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of counterfeit trademark when he was allegedly pulled over with more than 800 counterfeit DVDs of major studio releases, a Santa Clara County sheriff's sergeant said. Carlos Medina was stopped at about 11:20 p.m. Sunday at White Road and Westboro Drive in San Jose because of an expired registration tag on his license plate, Sgt. Rick Sung said. He allegedly provided deputies with a false name, so they ran his fingerprints and discovered he was wanted on an outstanding $15,000 bench warrant for failing to appear in court for a prior counterfeiting arrest, Sung said. He also did not have a valid driver's license. Sung said the deputies allegedly found 814 counterfeit DVDs, including 114 with Disney trademarks and others belonging to Dreamworks and MGM. Among the DVDs were "The Hangover Part II" and "Cars 2," both of which are still playing in theaters. Medina was arrested on suspicion of counterfeit trademark, failure to disclose origin of recordings, providing a false name to a peace officer, and driving with a suspended license, Sung said. He was free Wednesday on $37,000 bail, Sung said. He will face enhancements when he appears in court in August for allegedly committing crimes while out on bail.
3 Richmond Men Arrested for Robbery of US Bank in Benicia
Three Richmond men were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of robbing the US Bank in Benicia, police Lt. Mike Daley said. Rork Parker, 24, Terrell Franklin, 24, and Travis Overton, 29, were booked into Solano County Jail Tuesday night for armed robbery and conspiracy, Daley said. Police received a call at 1:40 p.m. that the bank at 848 Southampton Road had just been robbed by two armed men wearing masks, Daley said. A witness provided police with the license plate of a vehicle the suspects left in, and police determined the vehicle had been stolen in El Sobrante, Daley said. The suspects abandoned that car in Benicia and left in another vehicle, Daley said. The second vehicle was spotted in San Pablo in and around an apartment complex on Alan Court, Daley said. One suspect was arrested almost immediately and the other two were arrested after a search by canine teams from the Vallejo and San Pablo police departments, Daley said. Police then searched a nearby apartment on Alan Court and both vehicles used by the suspects, Daley said. Police and the FBI are examining evidence from the searches to determine the suspects' involvement in the Benicia bank robbery and whether the suspects were involved in bank robberies in other jurisdictions, Daley said. "As with many violent crimes in out community, it appears as though armed criminals from other cities have targeted a Benicia business to victimize," Daley said. "Once again, we had an alert citizen take notice of the getaway vehicle and provide valuable information," Daley said. The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office also participated in the investigation that led to the suspects' arrests, Daley said. Anyone with information about the Benicia robbery is asked to call detective Gregg Rouse at (707) 746-4251, and anyone with information about other bank robberies in the area is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (707) 644-7867.
Orinda Teen Injured at Santa Cruz Beach Remains in Critical Condition
An Orinda teenager injured Saturday at a state beach in Santa Cruz County remains in critical condition at a San Jose hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said. Ryan Buchanan, 17, was on a field trip to Sunset State Beach near Watsonville with a group from Creekside Community Church in Alamo. Ryan and a 17-year-old friend had dug two holes in the sand with a tunnel connecting them, said Mike McMenamy, public safety superintendent for the Santa Cruz state parks district. The tunnel collapsed and buried Ryan and his friend. The other boy was rescued from the sand within about five minutes, but Ryan was deeper in the sand and was pulled from the sand a few minutes after his friend. He was taken by helicopter to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center where he has been treated in the pediatric intensive care unit, according to his family who has been posting updates on Ryan's health at www.caringbridge.org/visit/ryanbuchanan. Wednesday the family wrote Ryan has been taken off all his sedation medication, but was given new medicine after he had a couple of minor seizures. His lungs, heart and other organs are functioning on their own and he has shown some small movements. When his shoulders are stimulated his legs move and his eyes have responded slightly to light. The family said he has been coughing and gagging, which is good to loosen sand that was lodged in his lungs during the collapse. Nurses can now suction out more of the sand he ingested. The family remains cautiously optimistic about Ryan's reovery and knows it will take time. Doctors have told them it may be a few more days before Ryan will be able to open his eyes. "It sure will be nice to see his smile and to hear him sing again," the family wrote. Every night since the Saturday accident Creekside Community Church has held 7 p.m. vigils for Ryan, who will be a senior at Miramonte High School in Orinda. The vigils will continue this week at the church on 1350 Danville Blvd. in Alamo.
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2 Landscapers Arrested for Attempting to Steal Pickup Truck
Two East Bay landscapers were arrested Tuesday while allegedly trying to steal a pickup truck in South San Francisco, police said. Neighborhood patrol officers reported halting the vehicle theft in progress in the 800 block of Olive Avenue at about 10:45 p.m., according to South San Francisco police. Three suspects -- Oakland residents Gerardo Delaberrera, 26, Jesus Duenas, 29, and an unidentified man -- drove off in their own vehicle but were pursued by police until the 900 block of Linden Avenue. The men ditched their vehicle and tried to flee on foot, police said. Duenas a parolee, and Delaberrera, who is on probation, were both apprehended after a brief foot chase and arrested, police said. The third suspect was last seen in the area of Linden Avenue at Airport Boulevard. He was described as a 25-year-old Hispanic man, about 5 feet 10 inches tall with an average build. Anyone who might have information about the suspect is asked to call South San Francisco police at (650) 277-8937.