SF News

Update: Suspicious Package At Salvation Army Center Rendered Safe

A suspicious package has been rendered safe after causing the evacuation of a Salvation Army donation center in San Francisco's Mission District for a couple of hours today, police said.

The package was reported at 11:08 a.m. at the donation center located at 1500 Valencia St.

Employees at the center found a suspicious looking package mixed in with some items that had been donated, police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak said.

The employees were evacuated and the Police Department's bomb squad was called in to investigate the package, Andraychak said.

He said the package was rendered safe as of 1:15 p.m.

The police response caused the closure of streets near the intersection of Valencia and 26th streets, but all streets have since reopened, Andraychak said.

 

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Suspicious Package Prompts Evacuation Of Salvation Army Donation Center

A suspicious package was reported at a Salvation Army donation center in San Francisco's Mission District this morning, police said.

The package was reported at 11:08 a.m. at the donation center located at 1500 Valencia St.

Employees at the center found a suspicious package mixed in with some items that had been donated, police Sgt. Mike Andraychak said.

The employees were evacuated and the Police Department's bomb squad was called in to investigate the package, Andraychak said.

He said the bomb squad remained at the center as of about 12:30 p.m.

No injuries have been reported.

The package has prompted the closure of Valencia Street between 26th and Cesar Chavez streets and 26th Street between San Jose Avenue and Valencia Street, Andraychak said.

 

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Animal Rights Group To Protest South Korean Practice Of Eating Dogs & Cats

In Defense of Animals activists plan to hold a rally and march at the South Korean Consulate in San Francisco on Tuesday to protest the continued practice of eating dogs and cats as food in South Korea.

Protesters plan to gather at the South Korean consulate at 3500 Clay St. at 11 a.m. and march to the corner of California and Divisadero streets before marching back to the consulate.

The demonstration is one of 40 protests planned around the world, including in many U.S. cities, Canada, Ireland and South Africa. Called the "International Day of Action for South Korean Dogs and Cats," the event has been held annually for the last seven years.

In Defense of Animals will deliver a petition with about 15,000 signatures calling for the strengthening of laws to prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for consumption.

Dog and cat meat is illegal to sell for food in South Korea but continues to be sold on the black market, and, according to In Defense of Animals Campaign Manager Robin Dorman, the South Korean government is complicit in its continued sale.

"This sort of shameful indifference of the South Korean government allows this to happen," Dorman said.

Cultural tradition leads dog meat sellers to torture and beat the dogs before slaughter, Dorman said, as they believe the adrenaline released before death imbues men who eat the meat with greater virility.

"It's kind of a perverse belief," Dorman said. "The longer it takes to kill a dog the better the taste."

South Korea has come under scrutiny for the practice of eating dogs before, particularly during international sporting events hosted there, such as the 1998 Seoul Olympics and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, co-hosted with Japan.

Some reports following the 2002 World Cup said the practice of torturing dogs before slaughter had ended, and that dogs killed for meat were killed instantly by electric shock.

Dorman said that, according to South Korean animal rights groups working with In Defense of Animals, the practice still continues, despite laws against it.

"No it's not gone away," Dorman said. "This is still happening and happening in force."

Dorman also said cat meat is thought to have medicinal properties, and that cats are regularly killed by being bludgeoned and boiled alive.

 

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Attorney For Accused Trebek Thief Repeats Claim That She's A Prostitute, Not A Thief

An attorney for a woman accused of burglarizing the San Francisco hotel room of "Jeopardy" game show host Alex Trebek reiterated his claim today that his client was at the hotel as a prostitute and was not the thief.

Lucinda Moyers, 56, was arrested July 26 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis at 55 Fourth St. on suspicion of the burglary, and was in court this morning to set a date for a future hearing in the case.

Moyers' attorney, Mark Jacobs from the public defender's office, said outside of court following today's hearing that police arrested the wrong person.

Jacobs said Moyers was at the hotel to meet a john, but the man did not answer the hotel room door when she arrived there.    

Moyers was in the hallway when Trebek rushed out of his room, and she ran because she was afraid of getting caught for prostitution, according to the public defender's office.

Trebek, who was in the Bay Area filming the National Geographic World Championship at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, told police he and his wife Jean were sleeping when, at about 3 a.m., he awoke to find a woman inside the room.

He chased her down the hallway but ruptured his Achilles tendon and fell. Moyers was detained by hotel security and subsequently arrested by police.

Jacobs said today that the arrest was a case of mistaken identity since "Mr. Trebek was sound asleep and didn't see who entered his room," only seeing Moyers outside in the hallway.

He also said Moyers was not found with any of the stolen items, which included purses, wallets and cash. Officers found some of the items near a hotel ice machine, but cash and a bracelet remain missing, Jacobs said.

Moyers has pleaded not guilty to one count of residential burglary and one count of possession of stolen property and remains in custody on $625,000 bail.

She has two prior convictions for burglary in 1990 and 1991, according to prosecutors, who could pursue this as a three strikes case. Jacobs said she also has several citations from police for prostitution.

Moyers will return to court Aug. 25 for a status hearing in the case, with a preliminary hearing tentatively set for Sept. 14.
    

 

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Jogger Killed By Hit-And-Run Driver Was On SF Civil Service Commission

The Sonoma County coroner's office has identified the man who was killed by a hit-and-run driver Sunday while jogging on River Road in Forestville as 63-year-old Donald Andrew Casper of San Francisco.

The California Highway Patrol is still looking for the driver of the white Ford pickup with an extended cab that struck Casper around 7 p.m.

Witnesses reported the pickup driver slowed down before fleeing east on River Road. Casper was jogging on River Road west of Wilshire Drive when he was struck, the CHP said.

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

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

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

 

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Police Investigate Home Invasion Robbery In Outer Sunset

A man was robbed at gunpoint in his home in San Francisco's Outer Sunset neighborhood Saturday afternoon, police said.

The home invasion robbery was reported at 1:58 p.m. at the home in the 2000 block of 45th Avenue.

The 31-year-old victim had left the door to his house open, and two suspects entered, pulled out a gun, and ordered the man to lie on the floor, according to police.

The suspects then ransacked the house, taking an iPod and guitar before fleeing. They had not been found as of today, police said.

The victim was not injured during 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.

 

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72-Year-Old Man Struck In Head With Baseball Bat In Tenderloin

A 72-year-old man was struck in the head with a baseball bat in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood early Sunday morning, police said.

The attack was reported at 1:24 a.m. at the intersection of Ellis and Taylor streets.

The victim was standing on the street corner when a suspect approached and struck him with the bat, according to police.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with a concussion. His injuries are not considered to be life threatening, police said.

The suspect, described as a man in his early 20s, fled and had not been found as of today.

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

 

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19-Year-Old Man Shot In Foot In Bayview

A 19-year-old man was shot in the foot in San Francisco's Bayview District on Friday evening, police said.

The shooting was reported at about 6:50 p.m. in the 1200 block of Gilman Avenue.

The male suspect, also believed to be in his late teens, was about a half-block away from the victim when he began firing at him, according to police.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for the injury, which is not considered to be life threatening, police said.

The suspect fled and has not been found as of today. Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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3-Year-Old Boy Hit By Car Backing Out Of Driveway

A 3-year-old boy suffered life-threatening injuries when he was run over by a car backing out of a driveway in San Francisco's Telegraph Hill neighborhood Sunday evening, police said.

The incident was reported at about 5:25 p.m. near the intersection of Grant Avenue and Edgardo Place.

A man was backing his car out of the driveway when a witness nearby yelled at him to stop because someone was under the vehicle, according to police.

The man got out of the car and saw that it had rolled over the boy, who suffered a serious head injury, police said.

The boy was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

The man cooperated with investigators, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Sunshine is expected in the Bay Area today after fog and clouds clear this morning. Highs in the 60s are anticipated, with southwest winds 10 to 20 mph.

Clear skies are likely this evening, before becoming cloudy later tonight. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph are expected, with lows in the mid 50s.

Forecasters predict sunny skies Tuesday after clouds and fog clear in the morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph are also expected.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Monday News Roundup

MyBart.org Users' Data Stolen In Protest Of BART's Decision To Interrupt Wireless Service In Stations

Around 2,400 members of the myBART.org website were notified of a data breach Sunday in which personal details of hundreds of users were stolen and posted to the Internet, BART officials said.

The myBART website remains down while the agency works to secure it, BART spokesman Jim Allison said. Allison said it would not resume operations until officials were confident users' data was secure.

The hacker protest group "Anonymous" took credit for the attack, which was made in response to BART's decision to interrupt wireless cell phone service in several downtown San Francisco BART stations to prevent a disruptive protest on Thursday.

Allison said that BART is working with federal officials to respond to the attacks and to prevent any future security breaches. He said that any myBART.org users that have had their information stolen should not open any unsolicited emails and immediately change any passwords that my have been shared with their myBART.org account.

Allison noted that BART's website infrastructure is not connected to the computer systems that run the trains themselves, and that the web attacks would not result in any service delays.

Another website not associated with BART, Californiaavoid.org was also hacked. California Avoid is a state-sponsored partnership of law enforcement organizations to prevent drunk driving.

Anonymous announced its intention to hack BART websites in a posting on its website. The shadowy hacker group said that it is already engaged in a phone, email and fax campaign to disrupt BART's operations, and has said that there will be a live protest in the Civic Center BART station today at 5 p.m.

Firefighters Work To Contain Napa County Fire

Firefighters worked to contain a fire in Napa County Sunday that burned more than 500 acres near Lake Berryessa, according to Cal Fire officials.

The fire caused the closure of parts of Berryessa Knoxville Road, which will remain closed until today at noon. The road is closed two miles north of Lake Berryessa and three miles south on the Napa/Lake County line.    

The fire was first reported at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday in a rural area north of Pope Canyon Road, spokesman Harrison Hall said.

No structures were damaged or threatened as of Sunday evening, and there were no evacuations or injuries have been reported, Harrison said.

Cal Fire officials said that Lake Berryessa has not been affected by the fire and is still open for visitors.

The fire has called for a large response, and a total of 566 firefighters and other emergency personnel from 10 different agencies were battling the fire Sunday afternoon. They have also deployed 37 fire engines, three helicopters and four bulldozers.

Half Moon Bay Shooting

A shooting that occurred in the quiet coastal town of Half Moon Bay on Sunday evening may have been connected to gang violence, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

Two groups of young men became involved in an altercation that led to the shooting around 5 p.m. near First Avenue and Grove Street, a sheriff's office spokesman said.

The shooting did not result in any life-threatening injuries, and may have been gang-related, officials said.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his early 20s, who was riding a green bicycle. He is thought to live in the immediate area.

Officials said that citizens should not fear for their safety, since the shooting was directed at specific individuals.

Motorcycle Crash In Santa Rosa Friday Morning

A Novato man who crashed his motorcycle into a fence in Santa Rosa on Friday morning suffered major injuries, California Highway Patrol officials said.

Frank Brandi, 69, was riding a 2010 Harley Davidson bike east on West Sierra Avenue just east of Stony Point Road at about 10:25 a.m., CHP officials said. For unknown reasons, Brandi rode off the north edge of West Sierra Avenue and into a wire fence.

Brandi suffered major injuries in the collision and he was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Two Men Appointed To Serve In State Healthcare Agencies

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed two Bay Area men to serve in state healthcare agencies Thursday, officials announced.

Brent Barnhart, of Danville, was appointed director of the Department of Managed Health Care. Brown also appointed John Shen, of Berkeley, chief of the Long Term Care Division at the Department of Health Care Services.

Barnhart, 68, spent 13 years as senior counsel at the Oakland-based nonprofit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan from 1996 to 2009. Prior to that, he was a policy consultant to the California State Assembly for three years.

At Blue Cross of California, Barnhart served as legislative affairs director, senior attorney and legislative advocate. He was also the California legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1975 to 1983.

Shen, whose appointment does not require Senate approval, worked as a health care consultant for Marin and Contra Costa counties for four years.

In his last job, the 61-year-old was executive director of the Marin Community Clinic from 1997 to 2011. He also served as geriatric planning director at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

The Republican would earn $122,196 as chief of the Long Term Care Division at the Department of Health Care Services, state officials said.

Santa Cruz Automotive Store Owner And Another Man Arrested For Illegal Drug Possession And Stolen Property

The owner of a Santa Cruz automotive store and another man were arrested after detectives searched the shop and found illegal drugs and stolen property Thursday afternoon, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives issued a search warrant at Gondez Tires and Wheels at 2871 Soquel Ave. around 2:30 p.m., officials said. They found 35 grams of cocaine, 21 grams of methamphetamine, 9 grams of heroin and more than $2,000 in cash.

The store's owner, 41-year-old Hector Quinones Velasquez, was arrested on suspicion of drug influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of stolen property. Velasquez allegedly had a laptop computer in his possession that was stolen in a residential burglary, the sheriff's office said.

Juan Chavez, 38, was also arrested on suspicion of possession for sales of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, and drug influence. He originally told detectives his name was Eleazar Contreras, but when he was booked into jail, his fingerprints identified him as Chavez, deputies said.    

In 1999, Chavez was deported as an illegal alien after being arrested in Los Angeles for marijuana sales, according to the sheriff's office.    

The Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team provided assistance in the investigation. Gondez Tires and Wheels was closed for about four hours during the operation.

San Jose Officials Launch Service To Combat Junk Mail

San Jose officials are launching a free service to help residents reduce the amount of junk mail they receive.

Catalog Choice is an online mail preference service that allows San Jose residents and businesses to "opt out" of receiving unwanted store catalogs, phone books, coupons and credit solicitations.

San Jose residents recycle more than 74,000 tons of junk mail and mixed paper annually. About 17 trees can be saved for every ton of junk mail not produced, according to city officials.

Sign up for Catalog Choice at http://sanjose.catalogchoice.org.

Petaluma Police Search For Man Involved In Attempted Jewelry Theft

Petaluma police are looking for a man who tried to steal jewelry from a woman at the Washington Square Shopping Center on Saturday night.

The victim flagged down officers around 8 p.m. and told them she was approached by a man in the 300 block of South McDowell Boulevard who asked to use her cellphone, Petaluma police said.

The man then forcibly tried to grab the woman's necklace, police said. With the help of a good Samaritan, she was able to fight off the robber before he took the jewelry.

The suspect then ran south out of the shopping center, according to police. The victim did not suffer any injuries during the attempted robbery.

Cotati police also reported a similar incident, where the suspect approached the victim in the same way, about two hours earlier at a shopping center. The suspect's description matched the description of the Washington Square Shopping Center robber.

Petaluma police describe the suspect as a black man, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with a thin beard and no mustache. He was wearing dark clothing and his short curly hair was covered by a black baseball cap.

Fire Officials Start Controlled Burn Of 700 Acres

Fire officials will start a controlled burn of nearly 700 acres on the Camp Parks military facility in Alameda County today, a spokeswoman said.

The annual burn at the Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area near Dublin is scheduled to start sometime after 9 a.m. and will continue through Friday, Alameda County Fire Department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.

Flames and smoke will likely be visible to some residents of Dublin and San Ramon, Knowles said. Notifications were hand-delivered to more than 2,000 households that could be affected.

The burn is designed to reduce fire risk and give state and local firefighters a chance to train.

Motorcycle Crash On Highway 1

A motorcyclist was airlifted from the scene of a crash on state Highway 1 along the Marin County coast Sunday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash was reported on Highway 1 near Tomales Bay after a motor home collided with a motorcycle just before 1 p.m., CHP Officer Scott Cakebread said.

The injured motorcyclist was airlifted from the highway at about 1:40 p.m., Cakebread said.

North and southbound lanes were blocked for about an hour.

Three Men Found In Attempted Boat Theft

Police found three men attempting to steal a boat from a closed Petaluma business Saturday night, and arrested all three for trespassing and drug charges, according to police.

Police responded to a call that the three men had cut the gate lock on the business located on the 100 block of Stony Point Road and arrived to find Jonathan White, 31, Craig Travis, 41 and Jason Deangelo, 41 attempting to hitch a boat and trailer to their truck.

White and Deangelo are residents of Petaluma, and Travis is a resident of Oakdale.

When police arrived, they observed the three men discarding drugs and paraphernalia under their truck. Police searched the truck and found more drugs as well as the tools used to cut the lock on the gate.

Police found methamphetamine, Oxycontin and other prescription drugs, and hypodermic needles. They arrested all three men for possession of drugs, trespassing, and possession of burglary tools.

They were booked into Sonoma County Jail. Deangelo and Travis are being held for $10,000 bail, while White cannot post bail because he was already on parole.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Sunshine is expected in the San Francisco Bay Area today after fog and clouds clear this morning. Highs in the 60s are anticipated, with southwest winds 10 to 20 mph.

Clear skies are likely this evening, before becoming cloudy later tonight. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph are expected, with lows in the mid 50s.

Forecasters predict sunny skies Tuesday after clouds and fog clear in the morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph are also expected.

 

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BART Website Hacked, Hundreds Of Users' Data Stolen

A marketing website for BART, MyBart.org, was hacked today and data for hundreds of users was stolen and posted to the Internet. The stolen data included names, addresses, phone numbers and passwords.

"We are working to mitigate the attack," BART spokesman Jim Allison said. "We're also working to notify the people whose information has been breached."

The hacker protest group "Anonymous" took credit for the attack, and posted links to the stolen user data on its Twitter account. It also posted contact information for BART employees on its website and encouraged its members to flood them with emails and phone calls.

Allison said that BART is working with federal officials to respond to the attacks and to prevent any future security breaches. He said that any MyBART.org users that have had their information stolen should not open any unsolicited emails and immediately change any passwords that my have been shared with their MyBART.org account.

The MyBART.org website was defaced using the logo of Anonymous and to add a link to its Twitter account. The site is normally used for marketing, announcing and deals near BART stations, and sends subscribers regular emails.

As of 2:30 p.m., BART's main website, bart.gov was still accessible.  Allison said that if BART's website did go down, travelers are recommended to use 511.org for transit information.

Allison also noted that BART's website infrastructure is not at all connected to the computer systems that run the trains themselves, and that the web attacks would not result in any service delays.

Another website not associated with BART, Californiaavoid.org was also hacked with the logo of Anonymous and to add fake news stories containing racial slurs. California AVOID is a state-sponsored partnership of law enforcement organizations to prevent drunk driving.

Anonymous announced its intention to hack BART websites in a posting on its website. The shadowy hacker group said that it is already engaged in a phone, email and fax campaign to disrupt BART's operations, and that there will be a live protest in the Civic Center BART station Monday at 5 p.m.

The hacking attacks and protest are in response to BART's interruption of wireless cell phone service in several downtown San Francisco BART stations to prevent a disruptive protest on Thursday. 

Last week BART announced on its website that it was anticipating demonstrations on the BART platforms in August. Commuters were "advised that protesters may attempt to disrupt train service during August commute periods beginning as early as Thursday, August 11, 2011, in downtown San Francisco BART stations."

On July 11, protesters prevented trains from leaving the Civic Center BART station in response to the July 3 BART police shooting of Charles Hill in the same station.  Protesters blocked the train doors and one even climbed on top of a train.

The Civic Center, Powell Street and 16th Street BART stations were all temporarily closed due to the protest. As a precautionary measure on Thursday, BART temporarily suspended wireless cell phone service in several downtown San Francisco BART stations.

"They were clear in stating they could use mobile devices to organize," Allison said.  He said protesters intended to use cell phones to communicate about the number and location of BART police.

While the protest never materialized, Allison said he did not know if that was an effect of disrupting cell phone service in the stations.

The move has been widely criticized and reported worldwide, provoking further protest announcements and statements of disapproval from Bay Area public officials. 

Mayoral candidate Phil Ting released a statement Saturday that said the move violated fundamental principles of democracy. 

"The decision was made at the very highest staff level of the agency," Ting's statement said.  "Censorship is not, and must not become, a public safety tool."

State Sen. Leland Yee also released a statement blasting BART officials for their decision. "I am shocked that BART thinks they can use authoritarian control tactics," he said. "BART's decision was not only a gross violation of free speech rights; it was irresponsible and compromised public safety."

The planned actions against BART have been widely discussed on Twitter using the hashtags #OPBart and #MuBARTek, a reference to deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek, who reportedly disrupted Internet and wireless communications to stifle growing protests in Egypt. As of 11 a.m. today, over 100 people said they would be attending Monday's protest on a Facebook announcement.

Allison said no decision has been reached on whether BART will further disrupt cell phone services for Monday's demonstrations.  "The top priority for us is the safety of our passengers. We'll be taking steps to try to make sure our customers get home safely," he said, but did not specify what those steps may be.

He said that BART allows for protests in the station, but outside the fare gates. "We firmly believe in free speech, that's why we have an expressive activities program that allows for activities outside the fare gates, where it's safe," Allison said.

In an announcement for Monday's protest it was not clear whether demonstrators intended to gather on the platform or outside the fare gates.    

Organizers from Anonymous said the protest would be peaceful.

 

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BART's Suspension of Wireless Service Prompts More Protest Threats

BART's move to prevent a disruptive protest Thursday by temporarily interrupting wireless cell phone service in BART stations has provoked further protests and a threat by hackers to take down the BART website today. The hacker protest group "Anonymous" announced a series of actions shortly after reports surfaced that BART temporarily suspended cell phone service in several downtown San Francisco stations Thursday to make protest organizing more difficult. 

In a posting on its website, Anonymous claims that they are already engaged in a phone, email and fax campaign to disrupt BART's operations, that there will be a live protest in the Civic Center BART station Monday at 5 p.m., and that they will remove BART's website for six hours beginning at noon today. BART spokesman Jim Allison said that BART is aware of the threats that its web site will be taken down and said, "We're working to make sure that is still available to customers."

As of Sunday morning, BART officials had not seen any sign that the communications campaign is underway, Allison said. Last week BART announced on its website that it was anticipating demonstrations on the BART platforms in August. Commuters were "advised that protesters may attempt to disrupt train service during August commute periods beginning as early as Thursday, August 11, 2011, in downtown San Francisco BART stations," according to BART's web site.

On July 11, protesters prevented trains from leaving the Civic Center BART station in response to the July 3 BART police shooting of Charles Hill in the same station.  Protesters blocked the train doors and one even climbed on top of a train. 

The Civic Center, Powell Street and 16th Street BART stations were all temporarily closed due to the protest.

As a precautionary measure on Thursday, BART temporarily suspended wireless cell phone service in several downtown San Francisco BART stations. "They were clear in stating they could use mobile devices to organize," Allison said.  He said protesters intended to use cell phones to communicate about the number and location of BART police. 

While the protest never materialized, Allison said he did not know if that was an effect of disrupting cell phone service in the stations.

The move has been widely criticized and reported worldwide, provoking further protest announcements and statements of disapproval from Bay Area public officials.

Mayoral candidate Phil Ting released a statement Saturday that said the move violated fundamental principles of democracy.

"The decision was made at the very highest staff level of the agency," Ting's statement said.  "Censorship is not, and must not become, a public safety tool." 

State Sen. Leland Yee also released a statement blasting BART officials for their decision.

"I am shocked that BART thinks they can use authoritarian control tactics," he said. "BART's decision was not only a gross violation of free speech rights; it was irresponsible and compromised public safety."

The planned actions against BART have been widely discussed on Twitter using the hashtags #OPBart and #MuBARTek, a reference to deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek, who reportedly disrupted Internet and wireless communications to stifle growing protests in Egypt. As of 11 a.m. today, over 100 people said they would be attending Monday's protest on a Facebook announcement. Allison said no decision has been reached on whether BART will further disrupt cell phone services for Monday's demonstrations.  

"The top priority for us is the safety of our passengers. We'll be taking steps to try to make sure our customers get home safely," he said, but did not specify what those steps may be. 

He said that BART allows for protests in the station, but outside the fare gates. 

"We firmly believe in free speech, that's why we have an expressive activities program that allows for activities outside the fare gates, where it's safe," Allison said.

In an announcement for Monday's protest it was not clear whether demonstrators intended to gather on the platform or outside the fare gates.

Organizers from Anonymous said the protest would be peaceful. 

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Sunday News

Amber Alert Canceled After Father, Daughter Found Dead

A statewide Amber Alert that had been issued for a child who was abducted by her father in Sacramento was canceled after they were both found dead inside his vehicle, FBI officials said.

Mourad Samaan, 49, of Sacramento took his 2-year-old daughter Madeline Samaan-Fey a week ago today.

At about 8 p.m. Saturday, his green Toyota 4Runner was located in a remote area of El Dorado County near Placerville with both bodies inside, according to the FBI.

The cause and time of their deaths are unknown.

Samaan had shared joint custody of Madeline with her mother and was served a legal notice to return the child late last week, FBI officials said.

The mother reported the child missing Aug. 7 to Sacramento police, who worked in conjunction with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and the FBI on the case.

BART Decision to Cut Cell Service Drawing Criticism

The decision by BART officials to interrupt wireless service at several downtown San Francisco stations Thursday in an attempt to disrupt possible protest plans has drawn criticism.

The transit agency interrupted wireless service for several hours in response to a possible planned protest that was spurred by the fatal shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill by BART police July 3.

BART officials said organizers were planning to disrupt train service Thursday during rush hour, like protesters did July 11, when a protest at the Civic Center station temporarily closed it and led to a number of arrests.

The decision to cut service has been widely covered -- from Bay Area blogs to international outlets like Al Jazeera. A number of articles and comments have drawn comparisons to Egypt's deposed President Hosni Mubarek.

Twitter users have even started a trend using the hashtag #muBARTek as play on his name.

Civil rights groups have voiced opinions, as well. A blog post on the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California's website said, "Shutting down access to mobile phones is the wrong response to political protests, whether it's halfway around the world or right here at home."

State Sen. Leland Yee released a statement blasting BART officials for their decision.

"I am shocked that BART thinks they can use authoritarian control tactics," he said. "BART's decision was not only a gross violation of free speech rights; it was irresponsible and compromised public safety."

BART officials say they are well within their legal rights to disrupt wireless service and that they support free speech as long as it does not interfere with riders' safety.

"There are areas in the BART system that are designated free-speech areas. We support that," BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

The busy platforms with nearby fast-moving trains and high-voltage third rails, Allison said, is not the appropriate place for an "anything goes atmosphere."

"To allow free and unfettered activity of any kind is simply not safe," he said.

The online hacker group Anonymous has called for another protest Monday at 5 p.m.

The group sent out a letter to BART promising to "set the censored free from their silence." Using the Twitter hashtag #opBART to spread the word, Anonymous is calling on San Franciscans to participate in the protest and asking those who cannot attend to bombard BART with emails, faxes and phone calls.

"BART decided to cut off your communications and now we will flood theirs," their statement said.

Allison said BART officials are aware of the possible protest Monday and that he did not know whether they would disrupt wireless service again.

"We're making plans to try to protect our customers," Allison said.

Hayward Police Investigate Death of Woman Engulfed in Flames

Hayward police are investigating the death of a female who was found engulfed in flames Friday night, police said.

Emergency officials received initial calls of a structure fire in the 31000 block of Industrial Parkway Southwest shortly before 10 p.m. The report was quickly changed from a structure on fire to a person engulfed in flames.

Hayward firefighters and police responded within minutes but the female victim had already sustained to injuries sustained from the fire, police said.

The victim has not been identified.   

Police said investigators have not ruled out any cause of death and are speaking with witnesses at the scene.

Man Arrested for Alledged Stabbing in Salinas

A man was arrested for allegedly stabbing another man 12 times Friday morning at a Salinas park.

Police responded to Closter Park, located at 401 Towt St., after receiving a report of a stabbing at about 11:10 a.m. Officers found the victim, who appeared to be in his early 20s, with multiple stab wounds to his chest.

Following witness descriptions, officers checked the area and found 18-year-old Noe Vargas. He was arrested after witnesses identified him as the suspect in the stabbing.

The victim was transported by helicopter to a hospital, where he underwent surgery. He was listed in critical condition.

Vargas was transported to Monterey County jail.

The motive for the attack is unknown.

Illegal Ads for Anti-Graffiti Documentary Keep San Francisco Department of Public Works Busy

Illegally posted advertisements for a documentary about anti-graffiti vigilantes are keeping anti-graffiti crews from the San Francisco Department of Public Works busy.

City officials said the posters are showing up on storefronts, utility poles, and trash receptacles throughout the city.

The Mission District and surrounding neighborhoods are particularly problematic for the department as crews work to clean up more than 40 wheat-pasted posters in that area, city officials said.

The department said the posters promote the documentary "Vigilante, Vigilante: The Battle for Expression."

Department officials are asking the documentary's filmmakers to intervene and are asking the public to report poster sightings to 311.

Police Identify Fatally Shot Oakland Man

Police have identified a man who was fatally shot in Oakland Friday night as 20-year-old Jesus Razo Jr.

Officers responded to the 9800 block of Maddux Drive at around 11:15 p.m. They discovered Razo, an Oakland resident, inside of a vehicle suffering from gunshot wounds, police said.

Razo was pronounced dead at the scene.

No arrests have been made and police are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to call the homicide unit at (510) 238-3821.

Less than two hours later, police responded to another fatal shooting at Harrington Avenue and Galindo Street.

Police discovered two shooting victims at around 12:40 a.m. Saturday morning. One man died and another suffered injuries that were not life threatening, police said.

Officer Shoots Suspected Attacker in Oakland

A police officer shot a male suspect in Oakland Friday night after he allegedly attacked officers when they attempted to detain him for urinating in public, police said.

Officers attempted to detain the male, an Oakland resident, for public urination in the 2100 block of Fruitvale Avenue at around 7:40 p.m.

Police said the male became violent, assaulted an officer, and attacked the officers with a long, metal blunt object.

An officer pulled out her firearm and shot the suspect to defend the officers, according to police.

The suspect was taken to Alameda County Medical Center for his injuries and is expected to survive.

An officer was also injured during the incident. She was taken to Summit Hospital and was treated and released.

Man Accused of Murdering 3-Year-Old in Drive-By Assigned Public Defender

The man accused of murdering 3-year-old Carlos Nava in a drive-by shooting in East Oakland on Monday was assigned an attorney from the Alameda County Public Defender's Office at a brief hearing on Friday.

Lawrence Denard, a 26-year-old Oakland man who has prior convictions for grand theft and possession of a firearm by a felon, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Aug. 29 to enter a plea.

Denard is charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the shooting in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:12 p.m. on Monday that killed Carlos and wounded two adult males.

Oakland 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.

According to a probable cause statement filed in court by detectives, one of the men who was shot provided the name of the driver of the suspect vehicle when he was questioned at the hospital where he is being treated.

Investigators also located an additional witness who identified the shooter as Denard.

Denard was taken into custody shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in Pittsburg but police are still seeking the second suspect, who they believe drove the car that was used in the shooting.

The shooting outraged community members. At a vigil for Carlos on Tuesday night Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said the person who killed Carlos was "an animal."

But a female cousin of Denard who attended his hearing on Friday said Denard "is not an animal" and alleged that authorities "don't have no strong evidence against him."

The cousin, who declined to give her name, said Denard "is not going to do that kind of thing and we're going to get him out" of jail.

Another cousin, Edward Benton, said Denard "is a good, loving person who just wants to take care of his 4-year-old daughter."

Benton said he thinks Denard is being 'framed" and vowed "there will be a lawsuit" against the Alameda County District Attorney's Office for charging Denard.

Benton said the people who identified Denard as being the shooter in the incident didn't see the shooter's face and only described the shooter as having dreadlocks.

"There are a thousand people in Oakland who have dreadlocks," Benton said.

Some Oakland Administrative and City Services Will be Closed Monday Due to Budget Cuts

Oakland officials are reminding residents that some administrative and city services will be closed Monday as a result of budget cutbacks.

The business closures and the unpaid time off by city employees is part of an agreement by employee labor unions to help balance Oakland's deficit.

No street sweeping will occur Monday -- although public works employees will respond to serious emergencies, such as traffic signal outages or sewer overflows.

All libraries will be closed Monday. In addition, all branch libraries will be closed Saturday. The main library will be open this weekend and all libraries resume normal service hours Tuesday.

Oakland Animal Services will be closed Monday. Any stray animal emergencies should be reported to (510) 777-3333 and a shelter representative will be contacted.

The city's north, downtown, west and east senior centers will be closed Monday.

Head Start locations will be closed although Early Head Start sites will be open, city officials said.

City parks will be open to the public Monday, although no staff will be onsite and bathrooms will be closed. Paid programs and camps will continue as scheduled.

Police, fire, and emergency services will not be affected by the closures.

King City Man Arrested for Outstanding Warrants, Narcotics Violations, Attempting to Flee

A 26-year-old King City man was arrested by officers from multiple law enforcement agencies Saturday morning for allegedly having outstanding warrants and narcotics violations and for attempting to flee.

Monterey County sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers arrested David Godoy Salazar in the town of San Lucas.

At about 11:45 a.m., they made a perimeter around a home, but before they could contact Salazar, the suspect was seen jumping over a fence and running.

Following a foot chase, a CHP officer tased Salazar. Crystal methamphetamine and cocaine were allegedly located in Salazar's pockets.

He was booked into Monterey County jail.

Monterey County Sheriff's Office Arrests Man in Prunedale After Finding Narcotics

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office arrested a man in Prunedale after investigators found narcotics at his home Thursday.

Sergei Syx, 43, a resident at 13614 Monte Del Sol, was taken into custody and booked into the Monterey County Jail after a narcotics unit, with assistance from the patrol division, served a search warrant at his home, according to the sheriff's office.

Methamphetamine and items associated with selling methamphetamine were allegedly found at the home, sheriff's officials said.

Children With Chronic Illnesses to Arrive in San Francisco for Weeklong Vacation

About 150 children with chronic illnesses from three countries are arriving in San Francisco on Tuesday for a weeklong vacation.

A team of volunteer doctors, paramedics, nurses and counselors will lead the medically supervised trip. They will arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

A crew from the San Francisco Fire Department will greet the children, who are arriving from 12 U.S. states, Canada and Israel, with a water cannon salute.

The Kids of Courage team will visit Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Raging Waters water park and Alcatraz. The kids also will get to watch an Oakland A's game and see the Ringling Brothers Circus.

Kids of Courage is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people with serious medical diagnoses.

San Francisco Bay Area Sunday Weather Forecast

The Bay Area is expected to be partly cloudy with patches of fog this morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated, with west winds 5 to 15 mph.

Clear skies are expected this evening before becoming mostly cloudy tonight, with patchy fog after midnight. West winds 5 to 15 mph are anticipated. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s.

Sunshine is expected Monday after cloudy and foggy skies clear in the morning. Highs in the 50s to upper 60s are likely. West winds 5 to 10 mph are anticipated, increasing to 10 to 20 mph in the afternoon.

Firefighters Control One-Alarm Fire in Sunnydale

Firefighters have controlled a one-alarm fire in San Francisco's  Sunnydale neighborhood.    

The blaze at Santos Street and Blythedale Avenue was reported at  about 2:20 a.m., a fire official said. It was controlled within 15 minutes.    

No further information was immediately available. A fire investigation is underway.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

The Bay Area is expected to be partly cloudy with patches of fog this morning. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated, with west winds 5 to 15 mph.

Clear skies are expected this evening before becoming mostly cloudy tonight, with patchy fog after midnight. West winds 5 to 15 mph are anticipated. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s.

Sunshine is expected Monday after cloudy and foggy skies clear in the morning. Highs in the 50s to upper 60s are likely. West winds 5 to 10 mph are anticipated, increasing to 10 to 20 mph in the afternoon.

San Francisco Bay Area Saturday News

Statewide Amber Alert

A statewide Amber Alert has been issued for a child that was abducted by her father in Sacramento on Sunday and the pair may be headed toward the Bay Area, FBI officials said Friday. Mourad "Moni" Samaan, 49, of Sacramento took his 2-year-old daughter Madeline Samaan-Fey on Sunday and FBI investigators believe her life might be in jeopardy. Samaan has shared joint custody of Madeline with her mother and was served a legal notice to return the child late last week, but failed to return her, FBI officials said.

The mother reported the child missing on Sunday to Sacramento police, who are working in conjunction with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and the FBI on the case. Madeline is 2 feet 8 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes. Samaan, who is of Egyptian descent, is 5 feet 6 inches tall with black hair and brown eyes and is believed to be an accomplished Spanish speaker. He is known to drive a green Toyota 4Runner with California license plate No. 3XRM111. The FBI encourages anyone with information related to this case to call (916) 481-9110.

Armored Car Service Targeted by Robbers in Santa Rosa

An armored car service in Santa Rosa that was targeted by robbers Thursday night is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for the arrest of suspects involved in the crime. Santa Rosa police are examining surveillance video and trying to track down at least two suspects who robbed Garda Armored Car Service Thursday night, police said. Around 10:45 p.m. police reported to the business at 1650 Northpoint Parkway, where suspects had locked victims behind steel doors at the business after robbing the armored car company. Police said that the victims were quickly overtaken by the suspects, who had high-powered weapons. The suspects disarmed the victims and tied them up before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of money.

Police said that the suspects trapped two employees present at the time of the robbery. Those employees were unharmed. The suspects are at large, and the FBI has joined Santa Rosa police detectives in investigating the case. Sonoma County Alliance has also offered up to $2,500 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the suspects. Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Detective Ryan Corcoran or Sgt. Steve Fraga at the Santa Rosa Police Department's Violent Crimes Team at (707) 543-3590.

Santa Cruz Sheriff Deputies Seize 5,000 Medical Marijuana Plants Worth $5 Million

Santa Cruz County Sheriff's deputies seized more than 5,000 marijuana plants worth approximately $5 million from an acre of property outside of Watsonville on Wednesday. The sheriff's office says that the plants, which were seized near the 1000 block of Hecker Pass Road, had been terraced over an area fenced off with mesh and netting. Deputies came across a camp with shotgun rounds, rat poison, pesticides and other debris in the illegal garden, but the suspects were not on the site when the plants were seized. According to the sheriff's office, the grow matched the work of a drug trafficking organization. Agents from the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement assisted deputies in the seizure.

San Mateo Police Arrest Three Connected to Armed Robberies

San Mateo Police have arrested two adults and one juvenile from East Palo Alto Friday in connection with a series of armed robberies committed this week in San Mateo County. Last Saturday, two suspects brandishing handguns approached a delivery driver as he returned to his vehicle after a delivery. The suspects demanded the driver's money, assaulted the man, and fled on foot after taking his cash and property. Two days later, a man exiting a vehicle on South Grant Street was approached by two suspects, one who brandished a handgun. The suspects assaulted the man, took his property and cash, and fled on foot. According to police, detectives had reason to believe that the suspects were responsible for similar crimes in nearby cities, and so San Mateo police formed a task force with East Palo Alto police and the county's gang intelligence unit.

The task force identified three suspects, and detectives obtained search warrants that were served Friday morning. Marc Jordan, 23, Melissa Butler, 19, and a 16-year-old boy were taken into custody without incident, police said. Jordan and Butler were booked into San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy. The boy was booked into the county's juvenile hall for the same suspected offenses. Police said that property seized during the searches linked the suspects to Saturday's and Tuesday's robberies as well as a similar robberies in Burlingame and Belmont that both occurred on Wednesday. In the Belmont robbery, employees of a local restaurant were walking to their cars after closing the restaurant for the night when three suspects approached and demanded money. Two of the suspects brandished handguns, and the trio took a purse and laptop from one victim and money from the other, Belmont police said. The suspects fled south on Civic Lane toward Broadway, Belmont police said. During Friday morning's searches, detectives seized a handgun that police said matched the description of the one used in the robberies. The San Mateo Police Department asks anyone with additional information to contact detectives at (650) 522-7650.

Officers Investigate Salinas Shooting

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting of a Salinas man in Prunedale early Friday morning. Deputies responded to a report of a fight and shots fired at 10151 Reese Circle around 2:20 a.m. and found blood and three fired 9-millimeter shell casings, according to the sheriff's office.

Around the same time, the Natividad Medical Center in Salinas notified police about a man who had come to the emergency room with a gunshot wound to his leg, sheriff's officials said. Deputies questioned the victim, identified as Joseph Garcia, about the shooting and his attacker, but he refused to share any information, sheriff's Cmdr. Lisa Nash said. Two cousins who were at the scene of the shooting and had taken Garcia to the hospital also did not want to talk to investigators, Nash said. Detectives are continuing to investigate the case.

Chauncey Bailey Killer Sentenced to 25 years

The man who killed journalist Chauncey Bailey by shooting him three times at point-blank range while he was walking to work in downtown Oakland four years ago was sentenced Friday to 25 years in state prison. Devaughndre Broussard, 23, could have faced life in prison for killing Bailey, 57, on Aug. 2, 2007, and a second man, Odell Roberson Jr., 31, on July 8, 2007, as he initially was charged with two counts of murder.

But on May 7, 2009, prosecutors allowed Broussard to plead guilty to two counts of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and receive a shorter prison term in exchange for his testimony against Your Black Muslim Bakery Yusuf Bey IV. Prosecutors said they believe Bey ordered the deaths of Bailey, Roberson and a third man, 36-year-old Michael Wills, who was killed in Oakland on July 12, 2007. Broussard, who was a handyman at the bakery, also testified against bakery associate Antoine Mackey.

On June 9, jurors convicted Bey of three counts of first-degree murder and Mackey of two counts of first-degree murder. Bey was convicted on charges stemming from the deaths of all three victims in the case but jurors deadlocked on the murder charge Mackey faced for Roberson's death. Both men were also convicted of the special circumstance of committing multiple murders and they face life in prison without the possibility of parole when they are sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon on Aug. 26.

Outside Lands!

Music lovers converged on Golden Gate Park Friday for the fourth annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. The festival features bands including Phish, Muse, Arcade Fire, The Shins, Erykah Badu, John Fogerty, The Roots and The Decemberists. Bands will be performing at the Polo Fields, Speedway Meadow and Lindley Meadow. The festival gates opened at 11 a.m. Friday and will open at the same time today and Sunday. Music will end at 10 p.m. today and 9:45 p.m. on Sunday.

A number of streets in the park surrounding the festival have been closed for the weekend, and motorists should expect to encounter detours. San Francisco Municipal Railway service will also be affected. Due to heavy attendance, Muni is advising riders to expect delays, especially late at night on the N-Judah line and all bus lines serving Golden Gate Park, including the 5, 28, 29, 44, 71 and 71L. Additional service will be added on the 5-Fulton, 71-Haight Noriega and N-Judah lines to accommodate concertgoers, although passengers taking the 71 should only board those buses marked for Outside Lands supplemental service.

Outside Lands is also operating a shuttle from San Francisco's Civic Center to and from the concert for those taking BART or Caltrain or parking downtown, but tickets for the shuttle are sold out. Parking in the neighborhoods around the park is expected to be difficult, and organizers say tow trucks and Department of Parking and Traffic officers will be on hand to deal with any parking violations. Those attending the concert are strongly urged to take public transit, walk or bike.

Ygancio Valley Road in Walnut Creek Reopens

All lanes of Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek reopened Friday evening after eastbound lanes were closed for hours while PG&E crews worked to replace a power pole damaged by a truck crash Friday morning, police said. PG&E had initially hoped to have the pole near Ygnacio Valley Road and Hospital Drive repaired by around 2 p.m., but the utility worked throughout the afternoon and evening, Walnut Creek police Sgt. Steve Gorski said. The pole was damaged shortly before 5 a.m. Friday when a flatbed truck went off the road near John Muir Medical Center, landing in a culvert.

The truck's driver sustained minor injuries, but is not expected to face charges in connection with the crash, Gorski said. Before the pole was repaired, two eastbound lanes on Ygnacio Valley Road were closed between La Casa Via and San Carlos Drive. The closure began to impact rush-hour traffic early. Around 4 p.m., Gorski said that commute traffic was already starting to back up in the area. Signs were posted on the freeway and on Ygnacio Valley Road warning drivers of the closure. The roadway reopened shortly after 10 p.m., according to police. The truck remained in the culvert as of late Friday afternoon and was to be removed once PG&E finished with its work, Gorski said. The crash caused a power outage affecting around 3,800 PG&E customers, but power had been restored to all but a handful by mid-morning, according to the utility.

Bay Area Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy weather is expected in the Bay Area this morning with patchy fog before becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated. Tonight is expected to be mostly clear becoming mostly cloudy with patches of fog after midnight. Lows in the lower 50s are expected.

Forecasters predict mostly cloudy skies Sunday with patchy fog in the morning becoming partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are anticipated.
 

August 13, 2011

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It’s 6:15 a.m., 52° and going to 64°. You may recognize this weather as the same weather you’ve been having all week. Details are here. Bicyclists: be aware. SFPD was out at Market and Fifth Street yesterday morning handing out tickets to cyclists who ran red lights. Expect more of the same over the next...

The San Francisco Police Department has reversed course and identified the two officers who were involved in the July 16 fatal shooting of a Washington state parolee in the Bayview neighborhood. Police officials...

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