SF News

Coast Guard, Local Authorities Search for Missing Canoer Off Treasure Island

The U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities are searching for a man who went missing after his canoe overturned off the coast of San Francisco this evening, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

Three people were in the canoe near Treasure Island when it overturned.

Two of the boaters swam to shore and contacted the Coast Guard at around 6:15 p.m. when they could not find the third boater or the canoe, Lt. Junior Grade Liezl Nicholas said.

The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter and two boats, while Sausalito and San Francisco fire and police boats were called in to assist with the search.

Shoreside assistance is being provided by the city of Berkeley and national and state parks officials. The man was still missing as of 10 p.m., Nicholas said.

CONTACT: Coast Guard Lt. Nicholas (415) 740-4364

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Police: Copper Thieves Posing as Construction Workers in Sunset District

San Francisco police today released more information about thieves posing as construction workers who have stolen copper from schools and churches in the city's Sunset District in the past week, a crime that police Chief Greg Suhr said is "an epidemic nationally."

The thefts began on Aug. 10 and continued over the next three days at Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, a Chinese immersion public school located at 1541 12th Ave., according to police.

Theft of copper rain gutters was reported from a building on the campus of the French School at 1201 Ortega St. on Sunday evening, and thefts have also been reported at St. Brendan's Church at 29 Rockaway Ave. and St. Emydius Catholic Church at 286 Ashton Ave., police said.

In the thefts, the suspect or suspects are posing as legitimate contractors by dressing in attire that includes reflective vests and hard hats. They appear to be working on the building, but are actually stealing the copper piping and wiring from the exterior of the buildings, according to police. In one of the incidents, a witness spotted two suspects -- a white man between 30 and 35 years old who is about 6 feet tall, 190 pounds with blonde hair and a black man who is also about 6 feet tall and 190 pounds.

Both were wearing reflective vests and blue jeans. In another theft, a witness spotted a suspect described as a white man who is in his 30s, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds with blonde hair, and was wearing a long-sleeved plaid shirt and tan pants.

Capt. Curtis Lum from the department's Taraval Station said Tuesday that police have put additional patrols in the area and are investigating whether they are all related.

Suhr addressed the copper thefts at today's meeting of the department's CompStat crime tracking program.

The chief said the thefts are not just a problem for the victims, but often for the thieves since some copper wiring is charged and can electrocute them.

Suhr said the department is assembling a task force to address the problem.

Anyone who sees people engaged in the theft of copper should call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or call 911 if the crime is in progress.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

San Francisco Bay Area Thursday News Roundup

Interstate Highway 580 Closed Due To All-Day Police Standoff

Commuters were advised to avoid Interstate Highway 580 in San Rafael, which remained closed because of an all-day police standoff involving an armed man who was barricaded in a hotel room Wednesday, authorities said.

San Rafael police headed to the Extended Stay Deluxe at 1775 Francisco Blvd. East around 8:30 a.m. after they learned that a suspect in a Sunday stabbing was there, police said.

After officers arrived, the man fired a shot toward the highway, and the California Highway Patrol shut down I-580.

A woman is also in the room with him, but Rohrbacher said she did not know if the woman is being held against her will. No injuries have been reported.   

In order to ensure public safety, I-580 has been shut down between U.S. Highway 101 and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Westbound traffic on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, which was initially closed after the shooting, was at a standstill Wednesday evening, CHP Officer Marc Johnston said.

"It's practically a parking lot," Johnston said of the bridge. "Cars are traveling less than 10 mph."

Some motorists were even running out of gas, and crews were assisting them, he said.

San Rafael police also closed Francisco Boulevard East in both directions in that area, Rohrbacher said.

Some hotel guests had been told to shelter in place or evacuate, depending on their proximity to the suspect's room, she said.

The man is suspected of stabbing a clerk during a shoplifting attempt at United Markets at 515 Third St. around 4 p.m. Sunday, Rohrbacher said.

The suspect took groceries from the supermarket and walked out without paying, according to police. The shoplifter was stopped and brought back inside the store, where he was questioned. During the questioning, he threatened an employee and held a knife to the employee's throat, police said.

Police said he then ran out of the store and several employees chased him. He unsuccessfully attempted to stab an employee from the meat section, but then stabbed a clerk in the chest. The victim's injuries were not serious, police said.

BART Deputy Police Chief Condemns Cyber Attack

BART Deputy Police Chief Ben Farrow Wednesday condemned a cyber attack in which hackers broke into the website of the union that represents the transit agency's officers and released personal information on 102 officers.

The information includes the officers' names, their home addresses, their email addresses and passwords for the website.

The cyber attack, which was discovered Wednesday, is the second to hit BART in the past week.

On Sunday, BART said a website for its passengers called MyBart.org had been hacked and that the names, addresses and passwords of more than 2,400 users was released.

A hacker group called "Anonymous" took credit for the attack and posted links to the stolen data on its Twitter account.

The group said the attack was in retaliation for BART's decision to temporarily shut down underground cellphone and wireless service at four stations in San Francisco last Thursday in anticipation of an anti-police protest there.

Farrow said the websites for MyBart.org and the police union are both run by outside vendors, not by BART.    

Farrow said BART police officers are concerned that the information that has been released could jeopardize the safety of their family members.

BART police officers are used to working in dangerous situations, but they aren't used to having their family members exposed to danger," he said.

Farrow said the FBI is already investigating the cyber attack on the MyBART.org website and will now expand its investigation to include the breach of the police union's website.

San Francisco Attorney Accused Of Sexual Assault Pleads Not Guilty

A San Francisco attorney accused of sexually assaulting at least three women he met through Craigslist since March pleaded not guilty earlier this week, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Robert Hoffman, 50, faces nine felony charges including rape, forced oral copulation and sexual battery, district attorney's spokeswoman Erica Terry Derryck said.

Hoffman allegedly sexually assaulted a 36-year-old East Bay woman in March, a 19-year-old San Francisco woman in June and a 25-year-old East Bay woman earlier this month, prosecutors said.

He apparently arranged meetings with all three victims after placing ads in the "Men Seeking Women" section of the popular classified ads website, and each went to his apartment near Aquatic Park where he reportedly became physically aggressive, police and prosecutors said.

Some of the victims tried to leave but were prevented from leaving, and were forced into sexual acts, police said.

Police said they had investigated a possible fourth case, but prosecutors only filed charges involving the three victims.

Hoffman worked as an employment lawyer in the city, Derryck said. Calls to Hoffman Employment Lawyers on Pine Street, where he apparently worked, were not immediately returned.    

He was arrested on Aug. 5 and pleaded not guilty to all charges on Monday.

Hoffman appeared in court Wednesday morning to set a date for a preliminary hearing. He did not speak at the hearing.

The preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 31 and is expected to last a day and a half, prosecutors said.   

Hoffman remains in custody on $3 million bail. The bail had initially been set at $5 million, but was lowered by a judge after his arraignment.    

San Francisco police are asking anyone who may have encountered Hoffman at his apartment or elsewhere to call them at (415) 553-1071. 

Oakland Unified School District Police Chief Retired On Wednesday

Oakland Unified School District Police Chief Peter Sarna, who had been under investigation since a formal complaint was filed against him on Aug. 4, retired Wednesday.

Oakland school officials did not disclose the nature of the complaint against Sarna. But according to published reports, Sarna, who is white, allegedly made racist remarks to two sergeants at a golf outing last month.

Sarna, 41, had been the school district's police chief for two years.

In his resignation letter to school board president Gary Yee, Sarna said, "I am deeply sorry for the pain my actions have caused."

School district spokesman Troy Flint said Sarna was placed on paid administrative leave when the complaint was filed against him.    

Flint said Sarna's retirement ends the investigation into the complaint and no findings will be issued.

He said the district's police department, which has 16 sworn officers and 79 school security officers, will be run by several sergeants while the district searches for a new chief.

Sarna previously worked at the Oakland Police Department for 15 years, rising to the level of lieutenant, where he commanded the Special Operations Group, which sought to clamp down on street-level violence in the city.

Sarna then served as deputy director of the state Department of Justice's Division of Law Enforcement, overseeing many state investigators and criminalists.

Sarna had developed a close relationship with Gov. Jerry Brown when Brown was mayor of Oakland and Brown appointed him to the state post after he was elected California Attorney General in 2006.

Sarna resigned from the state post in August 2007 after he was involved in a drunken driving-related crash in Walnut Creek.

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District's Board Of Directors Accepted Updated Costs And Revenues Report

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit district's board of directors Wednesday afternoon accepted a report containing updated costs and revenues for the commuter train and bike and pedestrian pathway between Santa Rosa and San Rafael.

The report by acting executive director Farhad Mansourian will be presented next month for approval of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Mansourian said the MTC wants a balanced financial plan for the 37-mile segment between the downtowns of Santa Rosa and San Rafael before SMART issues bonds for the project.

The balanced financial plan also is required before the MTC considers awarding $10 million in additional grant money for the project.   

The $10 million will match $8 million from the Transportation Authority of Marin and $3 million from the Sonoma County Transportation Authority.

The cost of the San Rafael-Santa Rosa initial operating segment is $359.9 million, and funding for it is estimated at $360.2 million, under the balanced financial plan.   

Voters in Marin and Sonoma counties approved a one-quarter percent sales tax hike in 2008 to finance the proposed 70-mile rail line and bike and pedestrian path between Cloverdale and Larkspur.   

In December, the SMART board voted to scale back the project to the Santa Rosa-San Rafael segment because of less than anticipated sales tax revenue and other adverse economic conditions.    

The board said it hoped to have the rail line and bike and pedestrian path in operation in 2014.   

The organization RepealSMART is circulating petitions to ask voters in both counties to repeal the sales tax measure in the June 2012 election.   

RepealSMART asserts the initial operating segment is not what voters approved.

Members of RepealSMART again criticized the board of directors Wednesday afternoon, calling for a more solid financial plan.   

An equal number of speakers urged the board to proceed with the Santa Rosa-San Rafael segment.   

Board members Wednesday unanimously approved the report by Mansourian and Chief Financial Officer David Heath.

Caltrain Officials Presented Results Of High-Speed Rail Feasibility

Caltrain officials Wednesday presented the results of a study that tested the feasibility of integrating high-speed rail with Caltrain on its Peninsula tracks.

While stressing the preliminary nature of the study results, Caltrain Modernization Program Acting Director Marian Lee said the possibility clearly exists for a "blended system" that could accommodate high-speed trains and a modernized Caltrain along a shared two-track corridor.

The study, which was conducted by LTK Engineering Services, concluded that if Caltrain were to electrify all of its operating trains, upgrade its signal system, and construct a 7- to 8-mile stretch of "passing tracks" between Hayward and San Carlos, the existing two-track right-of-way could accommodate up to four high-speed trains and six Caltrain trains per hour, Lee said.

The analysis supported a concept proposed by Peninsula lawmakers Rep. Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Richard Gordon, who in April called upon the California High-Speed Rail Authority to revisit its plans to build out a  high-speed rail system that would run separately from Caltrain between San Francisco and San Jose.

A high-speed rail system running independently from Caltrain would be duplicative and would never earn local support, the lawmakers said in a joint statement issued two months ago.    

Lee was cautious in overplaying the results of the analysis, emphasizing that much more research would need to done before plans to construct a blended system could move forward.    

Lee said the test did not consider freight train use along the corridor, the impact to cities like Belmont where passing tracks would be installed, or the need to accommodate increased train traffic by lowering crossing gates and blocking street traffic at more than 50 intersections between San Francisco and San Jose.

San Jose Detectives Seek Help In Finding Suspect For January Triple Homocide

San Jose detectives are seeking the public's help in finding 26-year-old Arturo Castillo Velasquez, the final suspect they identified this week in connection with a triple homicide in January.

The homicide occurred on the night of Jan. 8 at the Mexicali Club at 939 Oakland Road, police said.   

Surveillance footage released earlier this year shows a suspect wearing a ballistic vest and attempting to kidnap the owner, 28-year-old Humberto Sanchez, at gunpoint.

Detectives believe that suspect is Velasquez and have obtained a warrant for his arrest. Police said he is "extremely dangerous."

That evening, Antonio Allon, 31, Manuel Barraza, 29, and Velasquez allegedly entered the bar armed with guns intending to kidnap Sanchez over a debt, police said.

A fourth suspect, 32-year-old Hector Milla, of Salinas, allegedly waited outside as the driver of a getaway vehicle.

When the three suspects entered the bar, they were confronted by Manuel Mendosa, 26, who was armed with a firearm, police said.    

A gun battle broke out, and Allon and Mendosa died inside.   

Barraza escaped the bar but suffered fatal injuries and was found later in the getaway vehicle, which was located near the bar the next morning, according to police.

Sanche was shot several times, but was in stable condition. He is a resident of San Lorenzo.

Milla, who is also known as Arnaldo Perez Santana and goes by "Mono," remains at-large. A no-bail warrant has been issued for his arrest.   

The getaway vehicle is a two-door black 1997 Ford Explorer SUV with California license plate No. 6NOE692.    

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective at (408) 277-5283, or visit http://svcrimestoppers.org.   

Information provided could be eligible for a reward.   

The video can be accessed on the Police Department's website at http://www.sjpd.org/iNews/viewPressRelease.asp?ID=519.

Senator Boxer Held News Conference To Build Support For Transportation Programs

Sen. Barbara Boxer held a news conference at the Caldecott Tunnel in Oakland Wednesday to drum up support for a bill that would reauthorize funding for the nation's transportation programs for the next two years.    

The current surface transportation bill is set to expire Sept. 30 along with the gas tax, which has been funding transportation infrastructure projects since the 1930s, Boxer said.    

The new bill, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century," or MAP-21, would maintain funding at current levels and includes reforms designed to make the programs more efficient, according to Boxer.   

Boxer is chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and has worked closely with Republican Sen. James Inhofe, of Oklahoma, the committee's ranking member, to craft a bill that would garner bipartisan support, she said.

MAP-21 would sustain an estimated 1.8 million jobs nationwide, 170,000 of which are in California, according to Boxer.    

The bill, however, is a competing measure to a 34 percent funding cut proposed by the House, which Boxer said would result in the loss of 630,000 jobs, including more than 61,000 in California, by 2012.

Funding for the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore project will not be cut even if MAP-21 is rejected, but, Boxer said as she stood on a bridge with crews working on the new tunnel behind her, the project is an example of federal, state and local leaders working together. 

Metropolitan Transportation Commission Responds To Criticism And Threats

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, responding to heavy criticism and threats of litigation, Wednesday rescinded its approval in a 12-2 vote on July 27 to move the regional government center's headquarters from Oakland to San Francisco.   

However, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, a member of the MTC's board, said after a four-hour hearing on the issue Wednesday that he thinks there will be only "a short delay" in the proposed move and is optimistic that it will be approved for a second time sometime soon.

The MTC Wednesday appointed a six-member ad-hoc committee to study legal, financial and accessibility concerns that have been raised by opponents of the move to San Francisco. It is slated to report back to the full board within 60 days.

Wiener said the MTC is delaying a final vote only out of "an abundance of caution" due to a threat by the city of Oakland to file a lawsuit based on its allegation that the regional transit agency violated the state's open meeting laws when it had its initial vote three weeks ago.

The MTC has been located at a building at 101 8th St. in Oakland, which is across the street from the Lake Merritt BART station, for 40 years but says it wants to move to a new location because it has grown and needs more space.

After reviewing 12 possible sites over the past two years, the MTC proposed moving to a building at 390 Main St. in San Francisco, which is between Harrison and Folsom streets.

The MTC would spend up to $180 million to acquire and renovate the 497,000-square-foot building, which was built by the U.S. Navy in the 1940s for assembling military equipment. More recently it has housed a major U.S. Postal Service office. 

The MTC would be joined at the site by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which currently is located in an aging building at 939 Ellis St. in San Francisco and is seeking to move to new quarters. Its board approved the move in a 13-2 vote on July 18.  

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, has called for a Senate hearing and audit of the proposed deal because he questions the use of state bridge toll money to buy and rehabilitate the San Francisco building.

But Heminger said the MTC's lawyers believe that using toll funds for the building is appropriate and legal.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies with patchy drizzle are expected in the Bay Area today becoming partly cloudy after patchy dense fog in the morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated.   

Mostly clear skies are likely this evening before becoming mostly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle expected after midnight. Lows in the mid 50s are expected.

Forecasters predict a mostly cloudy Friday morning with patchy fog and drizzle. Highs near 60 are anticipated.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Prosecutors Refiling Attempted Murder Charge in Haight Market Shooting

Prosecutors today said they are refiling an attempted murder charge against an employee at a market on San Francisco's Haight Street accused of shooting a customer in the back during a dispute in February, after a judge dismissed the charge earlier this month.

Sam Kazzouh, 44, is accused in the Feb. 9 shooting at Fred's New Lite Market, a store at 1416 Haight St. near Masonic Avenue that is owned by his brother Fred.

The victim, Matthew Stafford, got into an argument earlier that day with Sam Kazzouh, who had allegedly kicked Stafford's tan Chihuahua named Gizmo while it was in the store, police and prosecutors said.

As the argument escalated, Kazzouh allegedly retrieved a gun and fired three shots at Stafford, one of which struck him in the back.

He survived the shooting but is now paralyzed, prosecutors said.

Kazzouh was arrested in the store a short time later and pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury, and discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner.

Gizmo, the dog at the center of the argument, died less than two weeks later when it was run over by a car at the intersection of Haight Street and Masonic Avenue. It was being cared for by one of Stafford's friends, police said.

At the Aug. 3 preliminary hearing in the case, Kazzouh's attorney, Christopher Hite of the public defender's office, argued that the shooting was in self-defense.

Hite brought forward several witnesses who testified that Stafford was loudly threatening Kazzouh just before the shooting.

Assistant District Attorney Michele Dawson countered that Stafford was unarmed and was shot in the back while trying to flee the store.

Judge Suzanne Bolanos ruled at the end of the hearing that there was not enough evidence to hold Kazzouh on the attempted murder charge, but ordered him to stand trial on the assault and firearm charges.

Bolanos also reduced Kazzouh's bail from $300,000 to $75,000, and he has since posted bail and been released from jail.

Kazzouh returned to court today for formal arraignment on the charges, and during the hearing Dawson said the district attorney's office would be refiling the attempted murder charge.

District attorney's spokeswoman Erica Terry Derryck said prosecutors can choose to go to trial with the charge even though it was dismissed by a judge, since that fact will be known to the jury and "makes for a more challenging case."

Kazzouh is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 12 for a pretrial conference, and the trial is tentatively scheduled to begin on Oct. 21.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Juvenile Detention Center Fire Causes $100K in Damage

A kitchen fire at a San Francisco juvenile detention center on Tuesday night caused more than $100,000 in damage, a fire department spokeswoman said today.

The one-alarm fire was reported at 8:09 p.m. at the Youth Guidance Center at 375 Woodside Ave. near Twin Peaks, which also contains courtrooms.

The blaze caused about $100,000 in damage to the building and $10,000 to its contents, fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

Talmadge said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

No one was in the building when the blaze started, and the area where it ignited was locked up, she said.

No firefighters were injured, and Talmadge said the juveniles in custody were in a separate building and were not affected by the fire.

Tony Gavero, court supervisor at the Youth Guidance Center, said court services are not affected today.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Burglar Gives Back Computers After Being Confronted by Victim

A burglar who was caught stealing computers from a man's house in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood early this morning gave them back after the victim confronted him as he was trying to flee, police said.

The burglary was reported at about 5:10 a.m. in the 400 block of Bryant Street.

The 52-year-old victim was in his home when he heard noises coming from near the front door, according to police.

The man got up and saw the front door was open, and walked outside to find a suspect putting some of his property into a blue Honda Civic, police said.

The man confronted the suspect, who gave back the stolen items -- three Apple computers and a Dell laptop, according to police.

The suspect, described as in his late teens, then fled in the Honda and has not been found.

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

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

SFSU Freshmen, Transfers Welcomed to Campus Today

San Francisco State University is welcoming new students today and Thursday for the start of the new school year.

About 7,000 freshmen and transfer students will arrive on campus today to learn about college life, university officials said.

More than 30 orientation activities for students and their parents are planned for today and Thursday.

Today's schedule includes moving about 2,000 students into campus housing on Font and Lake Merced boulevards between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

On Thursday, students will learn about sustainable living during a "Zero Waste" lunch at 11 a.m. on the main quad near 19th and Holloway avenues.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday News Roundup

Mitchell Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

After scathing comments by the mother of his deceased ex-girlfriend, James Mitchell, heir to the Mitchell Brothers adult film and theater business, asserted he did not kill 29-year-old Danielle Keller two years ago on the couple's daughter's first birthday.

Mitchell, 29, of Pittsburg, testified at his trial that he struggled with two men who were fleeing Keller's Diablo Court home when he arrived on July 12, 2009 with the intention of seeing his daughter on her birthday.

He said the men were trying to kidnap his daughter but he managed to free her, and during the struggle, one of the men struck him with a bat.

He testified he heard someone scream for help and he started walking to the back of the house. Mitchell said he left with his daughter when he heard someone say, 'call 911' because Keller had a restraining order against him and he did not want to be there when police arrived.

The jury did not believe Mitchell's story and convicted him of all charges except an allegation that he killed Keller so he could kidnap their child.

He was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years to life in prison for first-degree murder, use of a weapon, and kidnapping. Judge Kelly Simmons stayed imposition of the sentences on the other counts regarding stalking, child endangerment and domestic violence battery.

Drive-by Suspect Charged with Murder on Tuesday

The suspected driver in the drive-by shooting death of 3-year-old Carlos Nava in East Oakland last week was charged Tuesday with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Willie Torrence, a 22-year-old Oakland man, was arrested in Las Vegas Friday night and is expected to be extradited to Alameda County later this week to be arraigned.

Torrence was on parole for violating his probation for his previous conviction on illegal gun charges.

Oakland Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said police believe Torrence was the driver in the shooting incident in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:10 p.m. Aug. 8 in which Carlos was killed and two adult males were wounded.

Police said they believe the shooting was gang-related and the two adult men were the intended targets in the shooting, as Carlos and his family had no connection with them.

The suspected shooter, 26-year-old Oakland resident Lawrence Denard, was arrested in Pittsburg last Tuesday.

Denard was arraigned on Thursday on one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. He is scheduled to return to court Aug. 29 to enter a plea.

BART Spokeman Defends Agency's Decision to Hault Cellphone Service on Tuesday

In a press conference Tuesday, BART spokesman Linton Johnson again defended the agency's decision to halt cellphone service in several San Francisco BART stations for several hours Thursday.

Following another protest Monday that closed all downtown San Francisco BART stations, Johnson defended the agency's position despite mounting criticism that the move was illegal, as well as the announcement of a Federal Communications Commission investigation.

Johnson said that the decision to turn off cellphone service in the BART stations was legal, and speculated that the move prevented disruptive protests Thursday like the ones that BART dealt with Monday and on July 11 in response to the BART police shooting of Charles Hill on July 3.

"The result was a flawless commute, but now we're defending that decision," Johnson said.

He said that the 1969 Supreme Court decision Brandenburg v. Ohio allowed BART to disable cellphone service under very specific circumstances. He quoted directly from the decision, and said that free speech may only be impeded under the rare circumstances that it is "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action."

BART did not shut off cellphone service in its stations during protests Monday night, because the protests announced Thursday met the circumstances of that decision, but the information gathered about Monday's protest did not, Johnson said.

Johnson said the intelligence gathered regarding the planned protest Thursday, which was organized quietly so as not to attract a large police presence, implied that protesters planned an organized disruption using different teams at different stations coordinating by cellphones to disrupt the evening commute.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California sent a public letter to BART officials and the FCC Monday stating that the decision by BART violated fundamental civil liberties and was unconstitutional.

"BART's decision was in effect an effort by a government entity to silence its critics," the letter said. "BART's effort to avoid disruption by entirely shutting down all speech transmitted through wireless devices was unconstitutional."

Monday, the FCC released a statement that they would be investigating BART's cellphone block to determine if any legal action will be taken.

Santa Clara City Council moves to Lock in Funds for 49ers Stadium Project on Tuesday

The Santa Clara City Council Tuesday night was expected to approve a plan that would allow the city to keep its redevelopment agency alive by making an $11.2 million payment to the state, a move that would lock in necessary funds for the 49ers stadium project.

The action comes as Santa Clara and other cities all over California are awaiting a state Supreme Court decision on a lawsuit filed by the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association.

The lawsuit is challenging the state's plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies unless cities and counties take part in an "opt-in" program in which they would divert some funds back to the state.

The program would allow redevelopment agencies that want to continue operating to do so by making payments to the state totaling $1.7 billion this year and $400 million every year thereafter, said Pam Morrison, administrative analyst to the Santa Clara city manager.

According to the state's formula, Santa Clara's share of that total is $11.2 million this year and $2.7 million next year, she said.

Although the law is still on hold pending the state Supreme Court decision, Morrison said the City Council was expected to pass the opt-in ordinance Tuesday night "just in case."

If the state's plan is allowed to take effect, Santa Clara's participation in the opt-in program would allow it to reimburse the 49ers for a $40 million advance from the team for its stadium project, albeit at a slower pace than it had planned to.

But, she said, the opt-in program is still a better option than the possibility of losing nearly $15 million annually in property lease revenues if the redevelopment agency is dissolved, which Morrison said would be "devastating" to the city.

Until the court makes a ruling in the case -- which could take until January -- redevelopment agencies are barred from disposing of any assets or taking on new projects.

CHP Released More Information on Death of Former SF District Attorney

The California Highway Patrol has released more information about the truck investigators believe struck and killed noted San Francisco attorney Donald Casper as he jogged along a rural road in Sonoma County Sunday.

The CHP also released a photograph of the truck taken by a surveillance camera at Korbel Champagne Cellars at 13250 River Road moments before Casper was hit.

The truck is a newer model white Ford F-150 with an extended cab and possibly a gold stripe along the bottom, the CHP said.

Casper, 63, vice president of the San Francisco Civil Service Commission, was jogging along the south edge of eastbound River Road west of Wilshire Drive when he was struck by the truck around 7 p.m.

Witnesses said the truck slowed down, then fled east on River Road.

Emergency responders found him on the shoulder of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP said.

Casper was appointed vice president of the San Francisco Civil Service Commission in 2000 by then-Mayor Willie Brown.

He was a member of the law firm Jacobs, Spotswood & Casper, LLP.

Casper was a fourth-generation San Franciscan and was active in the city's Columbus Day celebration and the city's annual Italian Heritage Parade.

Anyone with information about the truck is asked to call CHP at (707) 588-1400.

Inner Sunset Bank Robbery Linked to Other Heists in the Neighborhood

A woman who robbed a bank in San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood on Monday afternoon appears to be connected to at least two other bank robberies in the city in the past month, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

The most recent robbery was reported at about 2:30 p.m. Monday at a bank in the 700 block of Irving Street. An employee at a nearby business said the robbery occurred at a Citibank at 701 Irving St.

The woman went into the bank, pulled out a gun and pointed it at a teller, demanding money. The teller complied, handing over an undisclosed amount of cash, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The robber matched the description of a woman who robbed the SF Fire Credit Union at 565 Buckingham Way, near the Stonestown Galleria Mall, twice last month. The robberies occurred on July 15 and July 25, police said.

In both cases, a woman entered the bank armed with a gun and fledwith cash. In one robbery, she fled in a white, two-door late-1990s car, possibly a Chevrolet, according to police.

The suspect is described as a black woman in her mid- to late 30s who is between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs about 200 pounds, and has her hair in cornrows down to her neck, police said.

No one was injured in any of the three robberies.

Jury Debates Fate of Man Accused of Murder

Jurors are deliberating the fate of a 25-year-old Rodeo man who is accused of murdering a marijuana dealer during an attempted robbery at the dealer's apartment in Emeryville three years ago.

Prosecutor Tim Wellman told jurors in his closing argument on Monday that Anthony Ramirez planned to rob 38-year-old Chad Clarke at his apartment in the 5500 block of Beaudry Street shortly after 1 a.m. on April 20, 2008, because a friend told him that Clarke kept large quantities of marijuana and cash at his home and he thought Clarke would be an easy target.

Instead, Ramirez wound up murdering Clarke after he discovered that Clarke was armed with a gun, Wellman said.

The prosecutor said Ramirez, 31-year-old Ricco Earl, who was acquainted with Clarke and knew he was a marijuana dealer, and two other men drove from Rodeo to Emeryville on April 20 so that Ramirez could rob Clarke.

While the other men waited outside in a car, Ramirez went to Clarke's apartment and got Clarke to open his door by using a ruse in which he told Clarke that someone had damaged his car, which was parked out in front, Wellman told jurors.

When Clarke opened his door, Ramirez noticed that Clarke had a gun, so he fired a single shot and killed him, Wellman said.

Earl, one of the other two men, and two people who had visited Clarke shortly before he was killed all identified Ramirez as the shooter, Wellman said.

Ramirez's lawyer, Patrick Hetrick, said the prosecution failed to prove that Ramirez is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and suggested that Earl might have killed Clarke and framed Ramirez to avoid a lengthy prison term.

Earl testified against Ramirez but Hetrick alleged that Earl lied on the witness stand and said jurors should question his credibility.

Earl was also charged with murder in connection with Clarke's death, but Wellman said Earl pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy to commit residential robbery two weeks ago and was promised a state prison term of 14 to 16 years in exchange for his testimony against Ramirez.

Jurors will resume their deliberations this morning.

Man Killled in Concord Car Crash on Monday

A man was killed Monday night when he crashed a car into a tree in somebody's front yard in Concord, police said Tuesday.

Police received a call shortly after 11 p.m. reporting a crash at 3143 Cowell Road. When officers arrived, they found that a 1996 Acura TL had crashed into a tree in the yard.

The victim, identified by the Contra Costa County coroner's office as 52-year-old Michael Wilen, a transient, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators believe he was driving east on Cowell Road when he veered to the right then back to the left, crossing westbound lanes and crashing into the tree.

The cause of the crash was still under investigation as of Tuesday.

Tenderloin Neighhorhood Awared with $450,000 Renovation Grant for Aarti Hotel

The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, a San Francisco nonprofit dedicated to providing low-income housing and support services, announced Monday that it has been awarded a $450,000 grant for renovations to the Aarti Hotel. 

The hotel, located at 391 Leavenworth St., is currently closed and will reopen this fall.

It will provide housing and mental health services for young people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are coming out of foster care and suffer from mental health issues.

It will be run by through a partnership between TNDC and Larkin Street Youth Services in which TNDC will serve as building managers and Larkin Street Youth Services will provide mental health services to its occupants.

The grant came from NeighborWorks America, a nationwide network of more than 235 nonprofit organizations that help provide affordable housing and foster community development. In all, $34.9 million was awarded to 115 NeighborWorks organizations.

The grants awarded to TNDC will go toward replacing the Aarti Hotel's windows and hallway light fixtures, repainting the hallways and the building's exterior, replacing the roof, and renovation work within the residential units.

TNDC has purchased and developed dozens of properties throughout the Tenderloin and surrounding neighborhoods to provide relief from poverty, homelessness and mental illness.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies are expected in the Bay Area today becoming mostly sunny after fog in the morning. Highs in the 50s to upper 60s are anticipated.

Mostly clear skies are likely this evening before becoming mostly cloudy with patchy fog expected after midnight. Lows in the mid 50s are expected.

Forecasters predict a mostly cloudy Thursday morning before becoming mostly sunny after patchy fog clears in the morning. Highs in the 50s to upper 60s are anticipated.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Under Fire, BART Spokesman Defends Decision To Blog Cellphone Access To Prevent Protest

In a press conference today, BART spokesman Linton Johnson again defended the agency's decision to halt cellphone service in several San Francisco BART stations for several hours Thursday.

Following another protest Monday that closed all downtown San Francisco BART stations, Johnson defended the agency's position despite mounting criticism that the move was illegal, as well as the announcement of a Federal Communications Commission investigation.

Johnson said that the decision to turn off cellphone service in the BART stations was legal, and speculated that the move prevented disruptive protests Thursday like the ones that BART dealt with Monday and on July 11 in response to the BART police shooting of Charles Hill on July 3.    

"The result was a flawless commute, but now we're defending that decision," Johnson said.

He said that the 1969 Supreme Court decision Brandenburg v. Ohio allowed BART to disable cellphone service under very specific circumstances. He quoted directly from the decision, and said that free speech may only be impeded under the rare circumstances that it is "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action."

BART did not shut off cellphone service in its stations during protests Monday night, because the protests announced Thursday met the circumstances of that decision, but the information gathered about Monday's protest did not, Johnson said.

Johnson said the intelligence gathered regarding the planned protest Thursday, which was organized quietly so as not to attract a large police presence, implied that protesters planned an organized disruption using different teams at different stations coordinating by cellphones to disrupt the evening commute.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California sent a public letter to BART officials and the FCC Monday stating that the decision by BART violated fundamental civil liberties and was unconstitutional.

The letter cited the same Supreme Court decision that Johnson did, but said that Thursday's announced protests did not meet those criteria. "Speech does not lose its protection merely because it may lead indirectly to disruption," the letter read.

"BART's decision was in effect an effort by a government entity to silence its critics," the letter said. "BART's effort to avoid disruption by entirely shutting down all speech transmitted through wireless devices was unconstitutional."

Michael Risher, a staff attorney with the Northern California ACLU, said that he and other ACLU officials met with BART Chief of Police Kenton Rainey Monday to discuss the ACLU's concerns. He said that no conclusions were reached but that the ACLU will continue to talk to BART officials to pursue a policy change.

"Our position is that BART needs to have a policy that restricts when they can do something like this to truly extraordinary circumstances," Risher said. He said that while the ACLU is not currently seeking to file a lawsuit, that all options are open to ensure that BART does not restrict communications during future protests.

"Our major concern is to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said. "We don't want this to become a precedent that other government entities can shut down communications efforts." He said that if BART did shut off communications during Monday's protest, it could have prompted more drastic action by the ACLU.

While BART decided not to shut down cell service Monday, BART officials said before the protest that the tactic was still under consideration and did not rule out that they would take that step during Monday's protest or in the future.

A statement released by the Electronic Frontier foundation, or EFF, last week charged that interrupting cellphone service to disrupt the protest violated federal law and FCC regulations.

The EFF compared BART's actions to those by governments fighting massive protests in Egypt, Syria and Libya, where shutting down Internet or cellphone service to prevent demonstrators from communicating is a regularly employed tactic.

Monday, the FCC released a statement that they would be investigating BART's cellphone block to determine if any legal action will be taken.

"We are continuing to collect information about BART's actions and will be taking steps to hear from stakeholders about the important issues those actions raised, including protecting public safety and ensuring the availability of communications networks," FCC spokesman Neil Grace said.

BART has also come under fire from within. BART board member Lynette Sweet said that the BART Board of Directors was not consulted in the decision, but that as policy makers, they would be held accountable.

"We're the ones that are going to be held accountable for these decisions," Sweet said. Johnson said today that the decision to cut cellphone service did not need to come from the board. "This is a staff matter," he said. Johnson said the decision was made by BART interim general manager Sherwood Wakeman, who served as general counsel to BART for 30 years until retiring in 2007 and who was appointed interim general manager earlier this year.

Sweet said that Wakeman should have consulted the board before making such a decision. "Had that been done, I think there would have been enough input from the board to realize that this might not be the way to go," she said.

Sweet said Wakeman's temporary position makes him less accountable than someone who had not come out of retirement to take the job. "What's the worst we could do to Sherwood? Ask him to re-retire?" Sweet said.

"What we ended up doing is giving these same people another reason to come back and protest us," Sweet said.

Monday's protests were a direct response to the decision to block cellphone service, according to statements from the hacker protest group "Anonymous," which organized the demonstration and also hacked the BART marketing website myBART.org Sunday, posting subscribers' personal information on the Internet.

As of today, myBART.org remains down, and Johnson was unable to give a specific estimate as to when the site would be reactivated, saying that it would only be restored when BART felt comfortable that they could ensure the safety of its customers.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Update: Police: Woman Who Robbed Inner Sunset Bank May Be Linked to Other Heists

A woman who robbed a bank in San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood on Monday afternoon appears to be connected to at least two other bank robberies in the city in the past month, a police spokesman said today.

The most recent robbery was reported at about 2:30 p.m. Monday at a bank in the 700 block of Irving Street. An employee at a nearby business said the robbery occurred at a Citibank at 701 Irving St. The woman went into the bank, pulled out a gun and pointed it at a teller, demanding money. The teller complied, handing over an undisclosed amount of cash, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The robber matched the description of a woman who robbed the SF Fire Credit Union at 565 Buckingham Way, near the Stonestown Galleria Mall, twice last month. The robberies occurred on July 15 and July 25, police said. In both cases, a woman entered the bank armed with a gun and fled with cash. In one robbery, she fled in a white, two-door late-1990s car, possibly a Chevrolet, according to police.

"It appears to be the same person," Esparza said, adding that the three robberies all had "the same M.O."

The suspect is described as a black woman in her mid- to late 30s who is between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs about 200 pounds, and has her hair in cornrows down to her neck, police said.

No one was injured in any of the three robberies.

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

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

120 Chronically Ill Children Get Weeklong Vacation in San Francisco

A group of 120 chronically ill children will arrive in San Francisco today for a weeklong summer vacation provided by the nonprofit Kids of Courage.

They will touch down at San Francisco International Airport this afternoon on a chartered flight carrying state-of-the-art medical equipment, accompanied by pediatricians.

They will be greeted with a water cannon salute on the runway. The children have a full slate of events lined up for the week, including trips to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Raging Waters, Alcatraz Island, and an Oakland A's game.

Officials from Kids of Courage said the trip allows children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses and conditions, such as cancer or muscular dystrophy, to forget about the constant medical attention they require and have fun.

The children, who came from 12 U.S. states as well as England, Canada and Israel, will be in San Francisco until Aug. 23.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Boy Injured In Hit-And-Run Returns Home To Pennsylvania

A 9-year-old boy who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident after he left a baseball game at San Francisco's AT&T Park earlier this month was flown back home to Pennsylvania on Monday, a San Francisco General Hospital spokeswoman said today.

Ryan White was struck by a white pickup truck at the intersection of Mission and New Montgomery streets at about 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 4. Ryan was visiting from Philadelphia with his family and had just left a game at the ballpark between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.

The driver of the pickup, Andrew Vargas, 21, allegedly also struck a woman, who suffered minor injuries, and two parked cars before fleeing, police and prosecutors said. He was stopped and arrested in Hayward, where he lives, about an hour later.

Ryan was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for a traumatic brain injury, fractures to his pelvis, left leg and ankle, and a laceration to his liver.

His condition was upgraded last week from critical to serious, and he had recovered enough by Monday to be taken back to Pennsylvania on a specially equipped medical plane, hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said.

Kagan said Ryan is still improving but remains in serious condition and will be treated at a hospital in his home state.

Vargas, who remains in custody, said he did not know that he struck Ryan until being told when he was arrested, his defense attorney Randall Knox said outside of court today after a bail hearing in the case.    

"He did not know he hit that kid ... but knew he hit the cab," Knox said.

At Vargas' arraignment last Thursday, prosecutor Omid Talai had argued for an increased bail amount out of concern for public safety.    

Talai said that after the crash, Vargas fled and drove to his apartment in Hayward, then tried to flee again when he saw police waiting outside.

When he was eventually stopped and arrested, Vargas' blood-alcohol content was between .13 and .15, nearly twice the legal limit, Talai said.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Nancy Davis sided with prosecutors, increasing the bail from $65,000 to $465,000.

Talai said at this morning's hearing that prosecutors had a video from a taxi that was in the area of the crash and would share it with the defense.

Knox said he had not seen the video and did not know if it was from the same taxi that Vargas apparently knew he hit before fleeing.

Knox had indicated at last week's arraignment that he would ask the judge to reduce the bail, but said today that he was withdrawing that motion.

Outside of court, Knox said he withdrew the motion because he did not have the grounds to get the bail reduced to what Vargas' family would be able to pay to get him out of jail.

Several family members and friends of Vargas attended today's hearing but did not speak to reporters.

He will return to court on Sept. 23 for a pre-hearing conference.    

People wishing to donate money for medical bills and family expenses for Ryan can visit www.kidsneedbaseball.com and contribute directly to him.   

Checks can also be sent to Ryan White at P.O. Box 542, San Francisco, 94104.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Woman Robs Bank At Gunpoint In Inner Sunset

A woman robbed a bank at gunpoint in San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood on Monday afternoon, police said.

The robbery was reported at about 2:30 p.m. Monday at a bank in the 700 block of Irving Street.

The suspect, described as a woman between the ages of 25 and 35, came into the bank, held a teller at gunpoint and demanded money, according to police.

The 26-year-old victim complied, handing over cash to the woman, who then fled, police said.

The victim was not injured in the robbery.   

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

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday News Roundup

FBI Agents Make Arrests In Association With Contra Costa And Concord Corruption

FBI agents arrested a former Contra Costa County drug task force commander and former Concord private investigator Monday on a 17-count federal grand jury indictment alleging the pair engaged in police corruption, extortion, armed robbery and drug sales.

A grand jury in San Francisco handed down the indictment on Aug. 8 against Norman Wielsch, 50, of Antioch, and Christopher Butler, 50, of Concord, according to United States Attorney Melinda Haag's office.

The indictment alleges that Wielsch, who was working as the commander of the state-run Central Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team, known as CNET, stole methamphetamine and marijuana from county evidence lockers and, working with Butler, a private investigator and former Antioch police officer, sold them back out onto the streets.

The two men are also charged with committing a phony sting operation in which they falsely detained a person, conducted searches without warrants and seized drugs from him while pretending to be conducting a legitimate law enforcement operation.

The indictment also alleges that Butler opened a massage parlor in Pleasant Hill where prostitution was occurring. Butler allegedly required the prostitutes to pay him a weekly fee, which he allegedly shared with Wielsch, in exchange for Wielsch providing them protection from law enforcement.

The pair also allegedly conducted false stings of prostitutes in which they arranged to meet them in local hotels and then, pretending to be acting under legitimate law enforcement authority, stole money and property from them, according to the indictment.

Several of the charges in the indictment carry possible life sentences, according to Haag.

The two men are being held without bail pending detention hearings scheduled for Thursday in San Francisco for Butler and the following Monday in Oakland for Wielsch, according to Haag's office.

The case began in January as a Contra Costa County investigation, but as it continued to expand, District Attorney Mark Peterson made the decision in June to turn it over to federal investigators.

The original case named two more defendants, former Danville police officer Stephen Tanabe and former San Ramon police officer Louis Lombardi.

Suspect Arrested For East Oakland Drive-By Shooting

A suspect in the drive-by shooting death of 3-year-old Carlos Nava in East Oakland last week was arrested two years ago for allegedly choking his ex-girlfriend and threatening to shoot her in the face, according to court records.

However, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office dismissed criminal threat and battery charges against Willie Torrence, 22, of Oakland, for the Oct. 3, 2009, incident last year after he admitted that he had violated his probation for his previous conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm in a 2007 case.

Torrence's plea agreement on Aug. 9, 2010, called for him to serve 16 months in state prison, but he was released from custody shortly afterward because he had already accumulated nearly 500 days of custody credits.

Oakland Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said Monday that Torrence was arrested in Las Vegas shortly after 11 p.m. Friday after being spotted in a car, according to police. He was still on parole for his weapon conviction.

Jordan said police waited until Monday to announce Torrence's arrest because they wanted to gather more information about him and did not want to disclose evidence in the case.

Jordan said police believe Torrence was the driver in the shooting incident in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:10 p.m. Aug. 8 in which Carlos was killed and two adult males were wounded.

Police said they believe the shooting was gang-related and the two
adult men were the intended targets in the shooting, as Carlos and his family had no connection with them.

The suspected shooter, 26-year-old Oakland resident Lawrence Denard, was arrested in Pittsburg last Tuesday.

On Thursday, Denard was arraigned on one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. He is scheduled to return to court Aug. 29 to enter a plea.

San Rafael City Council Expected To Request A Review Before Deciding On Proposal For Baseball Team

The San Rafael City Council Monday night was expected to request a review by an independent contractor before moving forward on a proposal that would bring a North American League baseball team to Albert Park, but the discussion was postponed until Sept. 19.

Centerfield Partnership, the East Bay-based group that is pitching the proposal, would pay for the independent review, which is expected to cost between $30,000 and $50,000.

The review would address neighbors' concerns regarding possible negative impacts on the community and would also determine whether a more formal environmental review is necessary, according to partnership spokesman Brian Sobel.

An independent review could take up to four months and delay the partnership's plan to have a team on the field next spring, Sobel said. 

Council members said that the decision to postpone Monday night's discussion regarding the independent contractor was at the request of the partnership so that that they could further analyze the situation.

Centerfield Partnership wants to lease the field at Albert Park for two years with an option for a third year.

Dublin resident Brian Clark, CEO of Centerfield Partners LLC, owns the independent North American League's territory rights for the Bay Area.

If the proposal passes, a San Rafael team would join six other teams in the North American League's Western Division and would play 90 games a season, excluding playoffs.

The team would play 45 of those games at Albert Park on Monday through Friday after 6:30 p.m. and on weekends between May and September, Sobel said.

The North American League is an independent professional league that was formed in the fall of 2010 and their play level is considered on par with Major League Baseballs' AA and AAA teams, according to the league's website.

A number of The National American League alumni have gone on to play for MLB teams, including Sergio Romo of the San Francisco Giants and Bobby Cramer of the Oakland Athletics.

San Francisco Mayora Debate Tonight

A San Francisco mayoral debate is being held this evening, the first since Public Defender Jeff Adachi made a surprise last-minute entrance into the race on Friday.

The debate, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the University of California at San Francisco's Mission Bay Conference Center, is being organized by the Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth, a coalition of business, labor and community leaders in the city.

Adachi, who announced his candidacy on Friday just before the deadline to file papers passed, joined an already crowded field of mayoral hopefuls, including interim Mayor Ed Lee, who made the controversial decision to run after pledging not to when he was appointed in January.

Lee and nine other candidates are scheduled to attend today's debate, according to Vince Courtney, executive director of the Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth.

The other nine candidates are state Sen. Leland Yee, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Supervisor John Avalos, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, former supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier, Bevan Dufty and Tony Hall, and venture capitalist Joanna Rees.

It was unclear as of Monday afternoon whether Adachi would join the group for today's debate.

Courtney said he did not know whether Adachi was attending, while Adachi said he had not even received an invitation to the debate.

The public defender said Monday afternoon that he was going to spend the first part of the week organizing his campaign, and was planning on making his first debate appearance at a forum on Thursday hosted by the Fillmore Neighborhood Association and the District 5 Democratic Club.

Adachi is backing a pension reform measure on the November ballot that is competing with another pension reform measure put on the ballot by Lee and other city officials, a topic that will likely get increased attention in the upcoming debates.

"He shakes things up quite a bit," Courtney said. "He'll put pension reform right up front, and some of the candidates will have to change their strategies."

San Francisco BART Protests Peaceful

Sharlana Turner, a student and city worker in Berkeley, hoisted a sign that read "You can jail a revolutionary, but you cannot jail the revolution" at a San Francisco BART station Monday evening as demonstrators around her chanted "No justice, no peace -- disband the BART police."

Shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, about 50 protesters gathered at BART's Civic Center station in response to the agency's decision to interrupt cell phone reception last week in order to disrupt a planned protest spurred by the fatal shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill on July 3 by BART police.

The fatal shooting was followed by a protest on July 11. During that demonstration, protesters "showed a propensity to create chaos on the platform, and that is unacceptable" because it jeopardizes customer and employee safety, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.

To prevent a similar disruption Thursday, BART temporarily suspended wireless services because "we had knowledge ahead of time about the time, place and manner of how this illegal protest was going to take place, and were forced into a gut-wrenching decision of how we were going to stop it," Johnson said.

The decision to interrupt wireless service has been widely criticized and reported worldwide, and already spurred a data breach by hacker protest group "Anonymous" on the agency's myBART.org website, which is used for marketing and to announce deals near BART stations.

Turner said she did not participate in other protests, but decided to participate Monday because Anonymous organizers said it was going to be peaceful.

Turner said she was there because of the July 3 shooting as well as Thursday's wireless disruption.    

"It's everything combined," she said. "You can't separate these things."

While the protest was peaceful, it led to the temporary closures of four downtown BART stations during rush hour, which left some commuters frustrated with the demonstrators.

BART officials closed the Civic Center station at around 5:30 p.m. and the crowd walked down Market Street to the Embarcadero. BART police shut down the Powell Street, Montgomery Street, and Embarcadero stations as the crowd made their way along the train route.

Along the way, demonstrators met with some angry reactions from thwarted commuters who shouted out insults.    

One of the protesters clad in a Guy Fawkes mask like the ones featured in the movie "V for Vendetta" said he welcomed their angry responses and that he appreciated that freedom of speech was their constitutional right.   

"Good for them," he said when a man called him a nihilist and another made an obscene gesture.

The demonstrators ended their walk at Embarcadero Station, where officers in riot gear lined the street and blocked the station entrance.

Giants Fan Bryan Stow Showing Improvement After Third Round Of Surgery

Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan severely beaten after a game in Los Angeles in March, is showing significant improvement after undergoing a third round of surgery Wednesday, according to a statement released Monday by San Francisco General Hospital.

"Mr. Stow is awake and breathing on his own," the statement said. "He is following simple commands and beginning to interact with his family. The goal now is to place him in a rehabilitation facility as soon as he no longer requires acute hospital care."

Stow was attacked outside of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles after the March 31 season opener. He was walking from the game with three friends when two men wearing Dodgers clothing approached him from behind, according to Los Angeles police.

The two suspects first taunted Stow, who was wearing Giants paraphernalia, and then hit him from behind, which caused him to fall to the ground. They kicked Stow while on the ground before fleeing in a car, and Stow was rushed to a local hospital.

Swelling in Stow's brain prompted Los Angels doctors to remove a portion of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain. Doctors from San Francisco General Hospital said the procedure saved Stow's life, but that replacing the missing skull fragment has remained challenging.

Doctors attempted to replace the skull fragment in mid-July, but that caused complications when fluid collected and was trapped underneath the fragment, and doctors were forced to operate within an hour of replacing the bone fragment.

On Wednesday, doctors again replaced the skull fragment with a custom prosthetic bone flap, and this time Stow appears to be tolerating the procedure well, hospital officials said. Doctors continue to closely observe Stow but are optimistic about his recent progress.

Doctors said that while recent developments have been encouraging, they must continue to be vigilant as the complexity of such brain injuries can create many challenging and unexpected problems.

Sanchez and Norwood are next scheduled to appear in court Sept. 30 at 8:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.

Petroleum Distributor Found In Violation Of Environmental Laws

A Martinez-based petroleum distributor that was found in violation of numerous environmental laws has been ordered to pay $3 million, a coalition of district attorneys announced Monday.

A Contra Costa County judge ordered Golden Gate Petroleum Corp. to pay $3 million for civil penalties and costs, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

A civil enforcement lawsuit was filed in November 2007 alleging that the company used underground storage tank systems to store hazardous materials and hazardous substances such as gasoline and diesel fuel.

Among the violations alleged in the suit were tampering with sensors by improperly raising them, failing to adequately train employees in responding to hazard materials releases or spills, and failing to maintain various records required under state law.

Golden Gate Petroleum will be required to comply with California law at their facilities to reduce the possibility of a release or spill of a hazardous substance into the environment.

In addition to its Martinez headquarters, Golden Gate Petroleum has 25 facilities in Northern California and Nevada, including in the cities of Hayward, San Jose, Richmond, Salinas and Brentwood.

The company sells a number of products including bulk lubricants, diesel, race gas, propane, fuel oil, gasoline, and biodiesel.

The settlement was announced by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, along with 14 other California district attorneys and state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

A call to Golden Gate Petroleum seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Teenager Detained But Not Arrested For Shooting

A teenager was detained but has not been arrested for allegedly shooting another teen in the foot in San Francisco's Bayview District on Friday evening, police said Monday.

The shooting was reported at about 6:50 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Ingalls Street and Gilman Avenue.

Officers responded and found blood across a liquor store entryway, but no victim was spotted, according to police.

The store's owner said he heard the door chime and looked up to see the victim sitting in his doorway and saying he had been shot in the foot, police said.

Another person then approached and helped the victim get up, and they both left the area. The 19-year-old victim was later found at San Francisco General Hospital with the gunshot wound to his foot. The injury is not considered life-threatening, according to police.

Officers responding to the scene also saw a suspect leaving the intersection of Ingalls Street and Fitzgerald Avenue. The suspect, who was walking at first, began to run but was quickly detained by officers.

Police also found a sawed-off shotgun in front of a home in the 2900 block of Ingalls Street.

The suspect, also in his late teens, was detained, and a gunshot residue test was performed to determine if he had fired the gun.

The results of the residue test are pending, and the suspect has not been arrested, police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak said Monday.

The shooting is being investigated by the Police Department's gang task force.

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

Three Men Arrested On Suspicion Of Home Invasion Robbery

Three men arrested on suspicion of committing a home invasion robbery in San Rafael late Friday afternoon are scheduled to be arraigned this morning in Marin County Superior Court.

San Rafael police identified the suspects as Frank Lee Gray, 23, of Oakland, Khiry Jefferson, 21, of San Rafael, and Kenneth Wayne Woodard, 19, of San Rafael.

They were arrested at different locations in San Rafael after a manhunt Friday evening. All are being held in Marin County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail. A fourth suspect is at large.

Police received a report about a home invasion robbery on Sea Way at 5:30 p.m. The woman caller said several men, including one man armed with a gun, forced their way into her home and then fled in a car, police said.

Two minutes after the call, an officer on Third Street saw a car containing four men matching descriptions of the robbers. The officer looked into the car and saw the passengers ducking down to hide from view. The officer then drove behind the car on Union Street, where the driver abruptly stopped and all four suspects jumped out of the car and ran away, police said.

Two suspects were caught and taken into custody immediately, while a third suspect ran into an apartment complex at 302 Fourth St. Witnesses told police the fourth suspect ran north on Union Street, according to police.

The area was immediately shut down and police officers from throughout Marin County responded to assist in the search for the two remaining suspects.

The third suspect was found hiding under a car in a parking lot at the apartment complex and was taken into custody at 7:50 p.m., police said.    

The search for the fourth suspect was called off at 9:30 p.m.    

Police described the at-large suspect as a black man, about 20 to 25 years old, who is about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall with extremely short hair that looks almost shaved. He was reported to have been wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes.

Santa Rosa Man Charged With Attempted Murder And Assault

A Santa Rosa man charged with attempted murder and assault in connection with a stabbing at a bus stop and a residential robbery and assault last week pleaded not guilty to drug possession charges Monday afternoon.

Ernest Martinez, 52, pleaded not guilty in Sonoma County Superior Court to possession of methamphetamine and bringing the drug into Sonoma County Jail.

Martinez pleaded not guilty Friday to the attempted stabbing murder of 53-year-old Edward James Sr. at a bus stop at 3180 Santa Rosa Ave. just south of Santa Rosa around 11:50 a.m. on Aug. 8. James was taken to a hospital.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said Martinez got out of a gold Chevrolet Silverado and allegedly stabbed James after an argument. The male driver of the truck is still being sought.

Martinez is charged with attempted murder and assault in that case.

He also pleaded not guilty Friday to allegedly assaulting and robbing another acquaintance, Morris Dumanske, 54, at gunpoint at a residence in the 200 block of Magnolia Avenue in Santa Rosa around 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 8.    

Dumanske suffered a head wound and also was hospitalized.   

The attempted murder charge, two assault charges, a burglary charge and a robbery charge from both those incidents have been combined into one complaint, but the drug charge is separate.

Martinez's brother, Edward Martinez, 50, also is charged with robbery, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy in connection with the Magnolia Avenue incident. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday afternoon.   

Edward Martinez is being held in the county jail on $70,000 bail.   

Ernest Martinez is being held in the county jail on $1 million bail. Judge Ken Gnoss noted Ernest Martinez has two prior strike convictions and a prior prison sentence.

Both men face a preliminary hearing on Aug. 25.

Preliminary Results Of Autopsy Of Woman Possibly Mauled By Pit Bulls

Preliminary results from an autopsy performed Friday on a pregnant woman found mauled to death in her Pacifica home show that one of her two pit bulls was likely responsible for killing her, police said Monday.

Darla Napora, 32, was found Thursday afternoon when her husband came home from work and said their 2-year-old male pit bull was hovering over
her badly mauled body, according to police.    

Efforts to revive Napora were not successful and paramedics declared her dead at the home.

The dog believed to have been responsible for the attack was shot and killed by police when it escaped from a backyard enclosure and approached emergency responders.

An autopsy conducted by the San Mateo County coroner's office concluded that Napora died from a combination of shock and blood loss from dog bites, police reported Monday.

Preliminary results from a necropsy preformed on the deceased pit bull showed the dog was likely the only animal that took part in the fatal attack. Investigators collected tissue samples, blood evidence and teeth impressions from the suspected dog and the second pet pit bull, a female.

Two forensic odontologists, or bite experts, compared the teeth impressions with bite marks on Napora and concluded that the wounds on her body were consistent with bites from the suspect male dog, according to police.

There was no evidence of any other trauma suffered by Napora that led to her death. Complete and final results from the autopsy and necropsy will not be available for at least two weeks.

The female pit bull remains in custody at the Peninsula Humane Society.

One Killed In Monday Fire At Daly City

One person was killed in a fire Monday afternoon at a Daly City home where firefighters remained on scene for hours mopping up hot spots, according to the North County Fire Authority.

Six fire companies, three chief officers, one fire investigator and an information officer responded to 210 1/2 Los Olivos Ave. in Daly City at about 4:25 p.m. after a report of a structure fire.

Crews found a working fire in a detached rear unit behind the single-family residence. Using hose lines, firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Firefighters located the male victim inside the home during a primary search inside. The man was pronounced dead by firefighter paramedics.

The fire was contained to the rear unit, and no firefighters or other residents were injured by the fire.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.   

The San Mateo County coroner's office had not yet released the victim's name, as it was pending notification of the man's family.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies are expected in the Bay Area today becoming partly cloudy after fog in the morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated.

Clear skies are likely this evening, before becoming mostly cloudy with patchy fog expected after midnight. Lows in the mid 50s are expected.

Forecasters predict a mostly cloudy Wednesday morning before becoming mostly sunny after patchy fog clears in the morning. Highs in the 50s to upper 60s are anticipated. 

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

$450,000 Awarded To Tenderloin Housing Nonprofit

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, or TNDC, a San Francisco nonprofit dedicated to providing low-income housing and support services, announced Monday that it was awarded a $450,000 grant for renovations to the Aarti Hotel.

The hotel, located at 391 Leavenworth St., is operated by TNDC and provides affordable housing to 40 formerly homeless and mentally ill individuals.

The grant came from NeighborWorks America, a nationwide network of 235 nonprofit organizations providing affordable housing and community development. In all, $34.93 million was awarded to 115 NeighborWorks organizations.

The grants awarded to TNDC will replace all of the Aarti Hotel's windows and hallway light fixtures, repaint the hallways and the building's exterior, replace the roof, and allow for additional renovation work within the residential units.

The hotel is run by TNDC in collaboration with Conard House, a San Francisco organization that promotes self-management for mentally ill individuals. TNDC owns and operates the building and Conard House provides staff to provide care for the residents' mental illnesses.

TNDC has purchased and developed dozens of properties throughout the Tenderloin neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods to provide relief from poverty, homelessness and mental illness.

Founded in 1981, TNDC also provides support services, including social workers, after school programs and community organizing, for one of San Francisco's most disadvantaged populations.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

BART Protest Peaceful, Temporarily Disrupts Service Monday Evening

Sharlana Turner, a student and city worker in Berkeley, hoisted a sign that read "You can jail a revolutionary, but you cannot jail the revolution" at a San Francisco BART station Monday evening as demonstrators around her chanted "No justice, no peace -- disband the BART police."

Shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, about 50 protesters gathered at BART's Civic Center station in response to the agency's decision to interrupt cell phone reception last week in order to disrupt a planned protest spurred by the fatal shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill on July 3 by BART police.

The fatal shooting was followed by a protest on July 11. During that demonstration, protesters "showed a propensity to create chaos on the platform, and that is unacceptable" because it jeopardizes customer and employee safety, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.

To prevent a similar disruption Thursday, BART temporarily suspended wireless services because "we had knowledge ahead of time about the time, place and manner of how this illegal protest was going to take place, and were forced into a gut-wrenching decision of how we were going to stop it," Johnson said.

The decision to interrupt wireless service has been widely criticized and reported worldwide, and already spurred a data breach by hacker protest group "Anonymous" on the agency's myBART.org website, which is used for marketing and to announce deals near BART stations.

Turner said she did not participate in other protests, but decided to participate Monday because Anonymous, organizers said it was going to be peaceful.

Turner said she was there because of the July 3 shooting as well as Thursday's wireless disruption.

"It's everything combined," she said. "You can't separate these things."

While the protest was peaceful, it led to the temporary closures of four downtown BART stations during rush hour, which left some commuters frustrated with the demonstrators.

BART officials closed the Civic Center station at around 5:30 p.m. and the crowd walked down Market Street to the Embarcadero. BART police shut down the Powell Street, Montgomery Street, and Embarcadero stations as the crowd made their way along the train route.

Along the way, demonstrators met with some angry reactions from thwarted commuters who shouted out insults.

One of the protesters clad in a Guy Fawkes mask like the ones featured in the movie "V for Vendetta" said he welcomed their angry responses and that he appreciated that freedom of speech was their constitutional right.

"Good for them," he said when a man called him a nihilist and another made an obscene gesture.

The demonstrators ended their walk at Embarcadero Station, where officers in riot gear lined the street and blocked the station entrance.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Federal Grand Jury Indicts 2 In Contra Costa Co. Police Corruption Case

FBI agents arrested a former Contra Costa County drug task force commander and former Concord private investigator today on a 17-count federal grand jury indictment alleging the pair engaged in police corruptionextortion, armed robbery and drug sales.

A grand jury in San Francisco handed down the indictment on Aug. 8 against Norman Wielsch, 50, of Antioch, and Christopher Butler, 50, of Concord, according to United States Attorney Melinda Haag's office.

The indictment alleges that Wielsch, who was working as the commander of the state-run Central Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team, known as CNET, stole methamphetamine and marijuana from county evidence lockers and, working with Butler, a private investigator and former Antioch police officer, sold them back out onto the streets.

The two men are also charged with committing a phony sting operation in which they falsely detained a person, conducted searches without warrants and seized drugs from him while pretending to be conducting a legitimate law enforcement operation.

The indictment also alleges that Butler opened a massage parlor in Pleasant Hill where prostitution was occurring. Butler allegedly required the prostitutes to pay him a weekly fee, which he allegedly shared with Wielsch, in exchange for Wielsch providing them protection from law enforcement.

The pair also allegedly conducted false stings of prostitutes in which they arranged to meet them in local hotels and then, pretending to be acting under legitimate law enforcement authority, stole money and property from them, according to the indictment.

Several of the charges in the indictment carry possible life sentences, according to Haag.

The two men are being held without bail pending detention hearings scheduled for Thursday in San Francisco for Butler and the following Monday in Oakland for Wielsch, according to Haag's office.

The case began in January as a Contra Costa County investigation, but as it continued to expand, District Attorney Mark Peterson made the decision in June to turn it over to federal investigators.

The original case named two more defendants, former Danville police officer Stephen Tanabe and former San Ramon police officer Louis Lombardi.

Information about whether federal prosecutors plan to charge Tanabe and Lombardi was not immediately available.

Jack Gillund, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office, said he could only comment on the indictment itself, which did not mention the two other defendants.

 

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Embezzler Ordered To Pay $1.3M In Restitution To Former Employer

A Mill Valley resident was sentenced last week for embezzling more than $1.3 million from his former company.

Richard John Schwalbe pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft and admitted to taking more than $1.3 million on June 24. 

Schwalbe was employed as a credit manager for Solectron and took advantage of his position to transfer debts owed to Solectron into his own accounts.

Schwalbe was ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution to his former employer and to serve two years and eight months in state prison.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Petroleum Distributor Ordered To Pay $3 Million For Environmental Violations

A Martinez-based petroleum distributor that was found in violation of numerous environmental laws has been ordered to pay $3 million, a coalition of district attorneys announced today.

A Contra Costa County judge ordered Golden Gate Petroleum Corp. to pay $3 million for civil penalties and costs, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

A civil enforcement lawsuit was filed in November 2007 alleging that the company used underground storage tank systems to store hazardous materials and hazardous substances such as gasoline and diesel fuel.

Among the violations alleged in the suit were tampering with sensors by improperly raising them, failing to adequately train employees in responding to hazard materials releases or spills, and failing to maintain various records required under state law.

Golden Gate Petroleum will be required to comply with California law at their facilities to reduce the possibility of a release or spill of a hazardous substance into the environment.

In addition to its Martinez headquarters, Golden Gate Petroleum has 25 facilities in Northern California and Nevada, including in the cities of Hayward, San Jose, Richmond, Salinas and Brentwood.

The company sells a number of products including bulk lubricants, diesel, race gas, propane, fuel oil, gasoline, and biodiesel.

The settlement was announced by Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, along with 14 other California district attorneys and state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

A call to Golden Gate Petroleum seeking comment was not immediately returned.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

Update: Suspect Detained, Not Yet Arrested For Bayview Shooting Friday

A teenager was detained but has not been arrested for allegedly shooting another teen in the foot in San Francisco's Bayview District on Friday evening, police said today.

The shooting was reported at about 6:50 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Ingalls Street and Gilman Avenue.

Officers responded and found blood across a liquor store entryway, but no victim was spotted, according to police.

The store's owner said he heard the door chime and looked up to see the victim sitting in his doorway and saying he had been shot in the foot, police said.

Another person then approached and helped the victim get up, and they both left the area. The 19-year-old victim was later found at San Francisco General Hospital with the gunshot wound to his foot. The injury is not considered life-threatening, according to police.

Officers responding to the scene also saw a suspect leaving the intersection of Ingalls Street and Fitzgerald Avenue. The suspect, who was walking at first, began to run but was quickly detained by officers.

Police also found a sawed-off shotgun in front of a home in the 2900 block of Ingalls Street.

The suspect, also in his late teens, was detained, and a gunshot residue test was performed to determine if he had fired the gun.

The results of the residue test are pending, and the suspect has not been arrested, police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak said today.

The shooting is being investigated by the Police Department's gang task force.

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

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

 

Check out some of our newest Blogs:

     Universal Internet Access for All San Franciscans

     Why is San Francisco So Dirty?

     SFPark – The iPhone App for Smart Parking in San Francisco

     Food Truck Rodeo Review – Off the Grid

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