SF News

San Francisco Bay Area Saturday News Roundup

15-Year-Old-Boy Scares Away Robbers With BB Gun

A 15-year-old boy was playing with a BB gun at his friend's apartment in Mountain View earlier this week when, as soon as his friend's father arrived home, a robber grabbed the man in a chokehold and pointed a gun at the boy's friend.

In response, the boy, who was sitting on the couch and playing with a BB gun, held up the gun at the suspect and his accomplices, police spokeswoman Liz Wylie said.

The boy's action caused all three suspects to scurry off. Nothing was taken from the apartment complex and no one was harmed, Wylie said.

The incident at the apartment complex in the 200 block of Ortega Avenue unfolded around 10:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Wylie said.

The boy and his friend, also 15, were sitting in the apartment's living room. The boy was playing with a BB gun and his friend was sitting at a desk using the computer when the friend's 43-year-old father opened the front door.

Wylie said just as he was opening the door, the man heard footsteps behind him. As he stepped inside the living room, a man grabbed him from behind in a chokehold and pointed a gun to his head, she said. 

The father grabbed the gun and tried to yank it out of the suspect's hand. Meanwhile, the victim's son sprang into action and went to help his father, but the suspect regained control of the gun and pointed it at the son who was standing two feet away, Wylie said.

At the same time, two additional suspects came up behind the father and started searching his pockets.

That is when the 15-year-old boy grabbed the BB gun, drew the slide back and released it, which Wylie said, "makes a sound as if he put a round in the chamber."

He pointed the BB gun at the suspects, causing them to flee. They remain at-large, Wylie said.

The suspects were described as males in their late teens, of average height, wearing black clothing from head to toe. The gunman was described as being skinny.

Anyone with information about the attempted robbery is asked to call the Police Department at (650) 903-6344.

Amber Alert For 4-Year-Old  Boy Canceled

An Amber Alert that was issued Friday in San Luis Obispo County for a 4-year-old who is thought to have been abducted by a woman in the homeless shelter where he was staying has been canceled.

Jeremy Guthrie was staying at the Echo Shelter in the city of Atascadero with his mother Thursday night when his mother had a fight with another resident at the shelter.

The other resident is believed to have abducted Jeremy around 4:30 a.m. Friday and fled the shelter, according to authorities.

The suspect, Annette Hale, was taken into custody Friday afternoon, and Jeremy was returned to his mother's care, according to an Atascadero police and fire dispatcher.

Person Found Dead In Burning Vehicle Identified

The identification of the person who was found dead in a burning vehicle near Tomales Thursday evening is pending an examination of dental records and DNA, Sgt. Keith Boyd, Marin County's Assistant Chief Deputy Coroner, said Friday afternoon.

The Marin County Fire Department found a vehicle engulfed in flames in the parking lot of the Miller Park boat ramp near Nick's Cove, fire Chief Ken Massucco said.

Firefighters found the body while extinguishing the fire, Massucco said.

The Marin County Sheriff's Office responded to the death on Shoreline Highway south of Tomales at 6 p.m.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at (415) 499-7233.

13 Inmates Performed Shakesspeare Musical

Laughter filled an auditorium in San Quentin State Prison Friday afternoon as 13 inmates performed a musical version of Shakespeare's comedy "Twelfth Night" for a crowded room of staff, guests and fellow prisoners.

First-time actor Perry "Spike" Simpson said he had butterflies in his stomach but was hiding it well. On the outside, "I'm like Denzel," he said. "But inside I'm going crazy."

Marin Shakespeare Company director Suraya Keating called the cast together for a pre-show pep talk and did her best to ease the actors' nerves.

The cast used a script adapted by Robert Currier, the company's managing director, and Lesley Currier, the managing director and performer in Friday's show.

The Curriers' version keeps the original language but has been modernized to take place in the 1960s. The performance was liberally interspersed with song-and-dance numbers with music from classic bands including Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.

From the first lip-synched number -- when a group of men burst into a choreographed dance to Jackie Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops" -- the crowd was hooked and audience members cheered and called out encouragement. 

Keating, Lesley Currier, and several interns worked with the inmates once a week for two hours a day over the past 10 months to bring Shakespeare to life.

The theater company began the program at San Quentin eight years ago and the cast Friday was a mix of first-timers and veterans.

Joey Barnes said he was excited for his first stage appearance and his family was as well, even though they could not be at Friday's performance. Barnes said he told his mother to watch for clips of him on the news. "And my daughter -- she's all jazzed," he said.

Mike Anthony is a seasoned veteran of the program but said this character was by far the most difficult. Anthony donned a dress and wig Friday afternoon to play the beautiful Countess Olivia. "The hardest part was acting like a girl," he said.

A Salinas man in prison for a 1987 murder was denied his request for parole this week, according to Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo.

Norman Price Baird Jr., 52, was denied parole on Wednesday and will not be eligible again for another 10 years, Flippo said Thursday.

This was Baird's first bid for parole following his conviction in 2004 for the March 8, 1987, murder of Raymond Demel.
    Demel, a 49-year-old retired correctional officer and Seaside resident, had been driving home with his wife on Blanco Road near the Salinas River Bridge when he pulled over to the side of the road to take a nap.

When his wife had trouble waking him, she flagged down a passing motorist for help. While she was speaking to the motorist, who has since been identified as Baird, Demel's van rolled forward a short distance and tapped the back of Baird's pickup truck.

Baird then pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and fired through the driver's side window into the victim's chest, before fleeing the scene.

Demel's wife remained the primary suspect in the murder for years, because there was no corroborating evidence to support her story.

However, in 2002, a Monterey County Sheriff's detective got a tip from a friend of Baird's, who said Baird had asked him to bury the weapon and ammunition in a field near Old Stage Road. A search of the field unearthed the weapon and ammunition, and detectives were able to link the gun to both Baird and the shooting.

Baird entered a no-contest plea to a charge of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life on April 28, 2004.

30-Year-Old Salinas Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Stabbing Stepson

A 30-year-old Salinas man was sentenced to life in prison for stabbing his 13-year-old stepson and leaving the boy to die in an agricultural field in unincorporated Monterey County last year.

Severino Perez told investigators he had suspected his live-in girlfriend of cheating.

In an attempt to exact his revenge on her, on the night of Oct. 16, Perez invited his stepson, who was 12 at the time, to go out for tacos with the intention of killing him, prosecutors said.

Perez and his 26-year-old brother, Domingo, took the boy to a remote area of Monterey County, where he stabbed his stepson with a knife 20 times in his upper body, and then took off, leaving the boy on Chualar Canyon Road.

Later that night, California Highway Patrol officers found Domingo Perez walking along U.S. Highway 101 at about the same time that Severino Perez called Salinas police and reported that his stepson had been kidnapped from his home in Salinas.

Severino Perez had wrecked his truck in a ditch at Old Stage Road and Chualar Canyon Road, about one-quarter of a mile from the field where they left the boy.

Police determined the kidnapping claim was a false report after a farmer found the boy on Chualar Canyon Road around 4 a.m., six hours after he was left there.

Deputies responded and found the boy in a weak condition. They described him as being in severe pain and dehydrated and said his internal organs were visible due to the large amount of stab wounds on his body. 

The boy told deputies he used his shoe as a pillow and covered up with his shirt throughout the night as he waited for help to arrive. 

The boy was airlifted to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he underwent multiple surgeries until his release on Nov. 11.

On Thursday, Monterey County Superior Court Judge Mark Hood sentenced Severino Perez to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Domingo Perez was sentenced to six years in jail for failing to intervene in the stabbing or alerting authorities to the boy's whereabouts.

Escaped Fremont Inmate Recaptured

An inmate who escaped from a holding area at the Fremont courthouse on Thursday was safely recaptured about three hours later, but embarrassed Alameda County Sheriff's officials are trying to figure out how he got away.

Sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said a preliminary investigation indicates "there was at least a portion of human error" involved in the escape of Mohit Basandrai, 21, and steps are being taken to avoid additional escapes in the future.

Nelson said sheriff's officials are trying to determine if there were any additional factors involved in Basandrai's escape.

Basandrai escaped at about 11:15 a.m. Thursday when was being detained in a holding area of the Fremont Hall of Justice, where he was to have a hearing on charges of possession of a stolen car and joy-riding after being arrested in Union City on July 26.

He was being held in an area away from other inmates and somehow got away, Nelson said.

Deputies noticed the absence of Basandrai, who was in a jail uniform, after only a few minutes and an alarm was sounded, Nelson said.

Deputies could not find him near the courthouse but found him at walking in the 27000 block of Sleepy Hollow Avenue South in Hayward, near his residence, at about 2:15 p.m. Thursday and took him into custody without incident, Nelson said.

Basandrai, who was still wearing jail-issued socks but had shed most of the rest of his jail clothes, stood out because he was wearing shorts even though it was cold and drizzly, Nelson said.

He now faces escape charges, in addition to the charges he already faced, and is scheduled to be arraigned at the Fremont Hall of Justice on Monday morning.

Basandrai is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without bail.

Mohammed Nuru Appointed As Acting Director For San Francisco Department Of Public Works

Mohammed Nuru has been appointed as acting director for the San Francisco Department of Public Works, city officials announced Friday.

Nuru has served more than 11 years as deputy director for the department, and has worked closely with city communities, agencies, businesses and non-profit groups, according to Acting City Administrator Amy Brown.

His experience ranges from improving the cleanliness of city streets and sidewalks to successfully managing construction projects.

"Even in an era of shrinking budgets, Mohammed has maximized DPW operations dollars to keep city streets clean and green," Brown said.

The appointment was hailed by neighborhood groups, who said Nuru had worked closely with them in their efforts to clean up and beautify the city.

"Mohammed has been a champion as far as getting what we need, month in and month out," said Dawn Trennert of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, which conducts monthly neighborhood cleanups, among other events. "I call this a great day for the neighborhood."

Marc Christensen, president of the Merced Extension Triangle Neighborhood Association, said that in Nuru's early days with the department, he and former department director Ed Lee came out for neighborhood cleanup days and donned work gloves alongside residents. Christensen said he was pleased by the appointment.

"Through Mohammed's commitment not only to our neighborhood but to neighborhoods throughout San Francisco over the past decade, the department of public works as well as other city agencies have enhanced the quality of life as well as safety issues for those who live, work and visit in San Francisco," Christensen said.

Nuru's appointment fills the vacancy left by the appointment of former Public Works Director Ed Reiskin as executive director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Reiskin is expected to take on his new role Aug. 15, replacing Debra Johnson, who took over as interim chief on July 1 after Nathaniel Ford stepped down.

Lefty O'Doul's Celebrates Christmas In August In Honor Of Santa Who Passed Away

A bar in San Francisco celebrated Christmas in August Friday night to remember the life of "Santa" John, who passed away last week.

"Santa" John Toomey, 69, was the long-time Santa at the Union Square Macy's until he was let go last December for telling dirty jokes to adult patrons -- an event which launched him into the national spotlight when he appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Lefty O'Doul's hired Toomey shortly after he was let go and Toomey's presence at the restaurant's annual San Francisco Firefighter's Toy Program on Christmas Eve helped to raise the amount of donations from 9,000 toys in 2009 to 15,000 last year, his former press agent Lee Houskeeper said.

Patrons Friday night were greeted by a brass band playing carols, while the back room of the restaurant was decked out with holiday trimmings -- complete with a Christmas tree, lights, pictures of Toomey in a Santa costume, and presents beneath the tree. The presents will be donated to the toy program in Toomey's honor.

Toomey's friends and colleagues took turns remembering the beloved Kris Kringle at the traditional Irish wake. They sang traditional Irish songs while partaking of the complimentary beer, whiskey and corned beef.

"He was always there for the kids," Karl Vostrez, Toomey's former manager at Macy's said. "He was always there for us." 

A fellow Santa who worked with Toomey remembered his professionalism and passion for his work. "I've done Santa for 19 years, but I felt like a rookie after I met him," retired Cal Fire Capt. Emmet Monahan Said. He told the mourners how Toomey had passed along some valuable Santa tips -- like the best way to "ho ho ho" and how to whiten a beard. 

Toomey was found dead in his residential hotel room on July 29. The cause of death has not been determined.

Bay Area Weather

The Bay Area is forecast to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog and patchy drizzle this morning, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

It is expected to be mostly cloudy this evening, with patchy fog and drizzle expected after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.

Sunday is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle in the morning, with highs near 60.

 

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

Bay Area Weather Forecast

The Bay Area is forecast to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog and patchy drizzle this morning, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s. 

It is expected to be mostly cloudy this evening, with patchy fog and drizzle expected after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.

Sunday is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle in the morning, with highs near 60.

 

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 To Crack Down On Pedestrian Safety Violations In SOMA

Police are cracking down on pedestrian safety violations in the South of Market area in the coming week.

Members of the Southern Station Community Police Advisory Board will hand out fliers and work to raise pedestrian awareness at Fifth and Market streets today from 9 a.m. to noon.

Following the educational campaign, police will conduct enforcement operations at that intersection starting Monday, using officers on cars, on motorcycles and on foot.

"In a city named most walkable in the country, it is unacceptable that our Southern District has the highest incidents of traffic-related injuries and fatalities," said Capt. Charlie Orkes, commanding officer of the Southern District Police Station. "If our joint effort between SFPD and residents saves just one life of those walking, riding or driving, it will be a success."

The safety campaign will be expanded to other southern parts of the city in future weeks.

 

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

Friends, Colleagues Remember "Santa" John At Christmas-Themed Wake

A bar in San Francisco celebrated Christmas in August tonight to remember the life of "Santa" John, who passed away last week.

"Santa" John Toomey, 69, was the long-time Santa at the Union Square Macy's until he was let go last December for telling dirty jokes to adult patrons -- an event which launched him into the national spotlight when he appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Lefty O'Doul's hired Toomey shortly after he was let go and Toomey's presence at the restaurant's annual San Francisco Firefighter's Toy Program on Christmas Eve helped to raise the amount of donations from 9,000 toys in 2009 to 15,000 last year, his former press agent Lee Houskeeper said.

Patrons tonight were greeted by a brass band playing carols, while the back room of the restaurant was decked out with holiday trimmings -- complete with a Christmas tree, lights, pictures of Toomey in a Santa costume, and presents beneath the tree. The presents will be donated to the toy program in Toomey's honor.

Toomey's friends and colleagues took turns remembering the beloved Kris Kringle at the traditional Irish wake. They sang traditional Irish songs while partaking of the complimentary beer, whiskey and corned beef.

"He was always there for the kids," Karl Vostrez, Toomey's former manager at Macy's said. "He was always there for us."

A fellow Santa who worked with Toomey remembered his professionalism and passion for his work. "I've done Santa for 19 years, but I felt like a rookie after I met him," retired Cal Fire Capt. Emmet Monahan Said. He told the mourners how Toomey had passed along some valuable Santa tips -- like the best way to "ho ho ho" and how to whiten a beard.

Toomey loved playing Santa and he loved the theater, Housekeeper said. After his experience with Macy's, what Toomey really wanted, Housekeeper said, was a "run of the show" contract, one that would ensure that he could never be fired or replaced.

According to Houskeeper, Toomey finally got what he wanted with his gig at Lefty O'Douls. "He finally got a run of show contract, but, unfortunately, the show outran him," he said.

Toomey was found dead in his residential hotel room on July 29. The cause of death has not been determined.

 

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

Acting Director Appointed For Department Of Public Works

Mohammed Nuru has been appointed as acting director for the San Francisco Department of Public Works, city officials announced today.

Nuru has served more than 11 years as deputy director for the department, and has worked closely with city communities, agencies, businesses and non-profit groups, according to Acting City Administrator Amy Brown.

His experience ranges from improving the cleanliness of city streets and sidewalks to successfully managing construction projects.

"Even in an era of shrinking budgets, Mohammed has maximized DPW operations dollars to keep city streets clean and green," Brown said. 

The appointment was hailed by neighborhood groups, who said Nuru had worked closely with them in their efforts to clean up and beautify the city.

"Mohammed has been a champion as far as getting what we need, month in and month out," said Dawn Trennert of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, which conducts monthly neighborhood cleanups, among other events. "I call this a great day for the neighborhood."

Marc Christensen, president of the Merced Extension Triangle Neighborhood Association, said that in Nuru's early days with the department, he and former department director Ed Lee came out for neighborhood cleanup days and donned work gloves alongside residents. Christensen said he was pleased by the appointment.

"Through Mohammed's commitment not only to our neighborhood but to neighborhoods throughout San Francisco over the past decade, the department of public works as well as other city agencies have enhanced the quality of life as well as safety issues for those who live, work and visit in San Francisco," Christensen said.

Nuru's appointment fills the vacancy left by the appointment of former Public Works Director Ed Reiskin as executive director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Reiskin is expected to take on his new role Aug. 15, replacing Debra Johnson, who took over as interim chief on July 1 after Nathaniel Ford stepped down.

Nuru said he was "humbled" by the appointment, and described the department as "part of my extended family for the past 11 years."

He said, "The services we provide every day affect the quality of life for people that work, live and visit this city and I am committed to ensuring a seamless transition, while continuing to build upon the momentum of maintaining a world-class organization."

 

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 Shot In Ankle By Man Who Tried To Take Radio At Gunpoint

A woman was shot in the ankle in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood on Thursday morning by a man who tried to take her radio at gunpoint, police said.

The shooting was reported at about 7:30 a.m. on Connecticut Street just north of 25th Street.

The 36-year-old victim was approached by the suspect, who asked for her radio. When the woman refused, the man pulled out a gun and pointed it at her, according to police.

The woman's husband, who was with her, grabbed the handgun, which fired a round that struck the woman in her left ankle, police said.

The suspect ran away but was known to the victim, who provided information about him to police that led to his arrest shortly afterward.

The woman was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for her injury, which is not life-threatening, according to police.

 

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: Mission Street Hit-And-Run Suspect Arrested, Identified

A Hayward man has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood on Thursday night that left a 9-year-old boy with life-threatening injuries, police said today.

Andrew Vargas, 21, was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence, San Francisco police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.

The 9-year-old boy was walking ahead of a family member while crossing Mission Street around 10:30 p.m. Thursday when he was struck by a white pickup truck turning left on to Mission Street. The truck had been driving north on New Montgomery Street, which is a one-way southbound street, police said.

The truck did not stop after hitting the boy, and continued west on Mission Street before colliding with numerous other parked and moving cars. The suspect then drove onto a nearby highway, police said.

Vargas was stopped in Hayward around 11:30 p.m. after his white Toyota pickup truck was spotted by local police.

Witnesses brought to the scene by San Francisco police identified him and his truck as those involved in the hit-and-run, and a preliminary screening indicated that his blood alcohol level was over the legal limit, Dangerfield said.

Vargas has been turned over to San Francisco police, and his truck is being impounded as evidence.

The 9-year-old boy remains hospitalized today. 

A 58-year-old woman from Granite Bay also suffered a foot injury in the crash but the injury is not considered life-threatening, police said.

 

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 Has Car Stolen By Man She Met At Sex Club

A woman had her car stolen at gunpoint in San Francisco early this morning by a man she met at a sex club in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood, police said.

The carjacking was reported at about 4 a.m. near the intersection of Seventh and Howard streets.

The 38-year-old victim met the suspect, a man in his 20s, at the Power Exchange, a sex club located at 220 Jones St.

After the pair left in the woman's car, a 2006 green BMW 325i, the suspect pulled out a handgun and told the woman to get out of the car, police said.

The woman complied, and the man fled with the car. The woman was not injured during the carjacking, according to police.

The suspect and car have not yet 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

San Francisco Bay Area Friday News Roundup

East Palo Alto Community Members Speak Out At Open Community Forum

Community members voiced their frustration in an open community forum held by East Palo Alto Mayor Carlos Romero and Police Chief Ron Davis.

Romero and Davis explained the timeline of recent events and programs the city has instituted and will institute to combat violence in East Palo Alto.

The meeting was held in the wake of the recent homicides in city, where five people have been murdered since the beginning of June. Only four people in East Palo Alto were murdered in 2010.

"The only way we can deal with violence in our community is to be engaged," Romero said. "We are not going to solve it with just police."

Residents responded through the recent period of violence by using the anonymous tip line created by East Palo Alto police, Davis said. Arrests and people of interest have been identified in all five cases through these tips.

Two of the people of interest are Fidel Silva Jr., 24, and Jaime Cardenas, 20, who are wanted for questioning about the murders of Hugo Chavez, Kevin Guzman, Catherine Fisher and an additional murder warrant in Grand Junction, Colo.

Silva and Cardenas, who are believed to be associated with a gang, are said to be moving to and from East Palo Alto and that the violence may not be over.

To prevent further gang actions, "Operation Ceasefire" will focus on those gang members on probation and parole to go along with "call-ins," which are designed to give gang members alternatives to gang life. 

While some citizens are in support of Romero and Davis, others do not believe the community is being empowered to help. 

Davis welcomed solutions but became defensive when crowd members questioned his commitment to the community. "I'm out there at two in the morning saving lives," Davis said. "It's easy to stand up there and ambush. What solutions do we have as a community?"

Anti-Prostitution Proposals Explored For Oakland

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts Thursday night told members of the San Antonio neighborhood that he expected at least one of two anti-prostitution proposals being explored for the area to become a reality soon.

Dozens of members of the community along International Boulevard, often called the "Track" because of the prevalence of the sex trade there, marched between 17th and 23rd avenues in a show of unity against the prostitution.

Before the rally, Batts said his department was looking into posting mug shots of men arrested on suspicion of prostitution on the Oakland police website, or using Department of Motor Vehicle records to send "Dear John" warning letters to owners of vehicles spotted loitering along the strip.

"We're working through issues with the city attorney and looking into whether we can use DMV records that way," he told the crowd as it gathered on 17th Avenue.

He said he was confident at least one of the ideas would pan out. 

The rally, called "Safe Streets, Safe Kids," marked the third time since March that the residents have gathered to oppose prostitution and pimping, particularly of minors.

A spokeswoman for the nonprofit Oakland Community Organizations, which organized the rally with the East Bay Asian Youth Center, said she lives in the neighborhood and struggles to raise two children in such a toxic environment.

"I was born and raised here, and before it wasn't this bad," Mili Bolanos said. "It's really hard now."

She said the sex trade seems to have gotten worse as the economy has weakened, but that the Police Department has done a good job responding to the community's request for more surveillance of the area.

As for the community's decision to come together, "It's marvelous," Batts said. "It's exactly what I want."

U.S. Senate And House Leaders Reach Agreement Thursday To Fully Fund Federal Aviation Administration

U.S. Senate and House leaders reached an agreement Thursday to fully fund the Federal Aviation Administration, which ends a 12-day standoff that furloughed 4,000 FAA workers and idled 70,000 construction workers at airport projects across the country.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hailed the agreement, calling it "a  tremendous victory for American workers everywhere."

In a prepared statement, LaHood said, "From construction workers to our FAA employees, they will have the security of knowing they are going to go back to work and get a paycheck -- and that's what we've been fighting for. We have the best aviation system in the world and we intend to keep it that way."

President Obama also expressed relief that leaders ended the impasse so that the tens of thousands of construction workers and others could resume work.

"We can't afford to let politics in Washington hamper our recovery, so this is an important step forward," Obama said in a statement. 

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, stressed the impact that the stalemate had on the state. She said, "California airports were hurt by this partial shutdown, with many safety projects delayed or halted, so I want to thank the Obama Administration for working with Senate Democratic leaders to end the impasse."

Boxer told reporters in a conference call before the agreement was announced that the funding battle between Democrats and Republicans concerned subsides for rural air service and rules that make it easier for aviation employees to unionize.

However, Boxer said the agreement only lasts through Sept. 16, so she is urging House Speaker John Boehner to quickly name conferees so that House and Senate officials can resolve their differences in a conference committee.

Among the projects that were halted because of disagreements between Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C., was the $31 million project to build a new air traffic control tower at the Oakland International Airport.

Boxer said 60 construction workers were idled when the work at the Oakland airport was halted.

State Appeals Court Struck Down DNA Sample Collection Law

A state appeals court in San Francisco Thursday struck down a California law that requires police to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony.

A three-judge Court of Appeal panel unanimously ruled that the measure, when applied to people who are arrested without a warrant and without any charges having been filed, violates the federal constitutional right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.

Justice Anthony Kline wrote that the DNA collection "unreasonably intrudes on such arrestees' expectation of privacy and is invalid under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution."

The case concerns "the extent to which technology can be permitted to diminish the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment," Kline wrote for the court.

"There is no doubt that an extraordinary amount of private personal information can be extracted from the DNA samples and specimens seized by the police without a warrant, collected and indefinitely retained by the (state) Department of Justice," Kline said.

The decision, made in the case of a San Francisco man arrested on suspicion of arson of a police car, conflicts directly with a ruling in which a federal trial judge upheld the law last year.

That decision, by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, is now being appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by four citizens who had their DNA collected after being arrested, but were never charged with a crime.

The state appeals court ruling can also be appealed, first to the California Supreme Court and then to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Shum Preston, a spokesman for California Attorney General Kamala Harris, said, "We are reviewing the court's opinion and will determine the appropriate course of action."

Since both the state and federal cases center on the federal Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court would have the final word on both, if it chooses to hear appeals.

16-Year-Old Charged With Armed Robbery Of An Antioch Barbershop

A 16-year-old boy and his alleged accomplice were charged Thursday in connection with an armed robbery at a barbershop in Antioch on Monday, during which the pair allegedly staged a kidnapping of the teen.

The 16-year-old was charged in juvenile court with second-degree robbery and carjacking -- both felonies -- and firearms enhancements, police said.

The adult suspect, Eric Lerone Walker, 23, was charged with four felonies, including second-degree robbery, second-degree burglary, carjacking and possession of a dangerous weapon. He is also facing firearms enhancements.

Both suspects are scheduled to be arraigned today in Contra Costa County courts.

The robbery happened at about 3:40 p.m. Monday at Al's Barber Shop, located at 11 W. 18th St., police said.

The victim, Al Holmes, who works in the barbershop, said he was in the shop alone when a man with a gun came in, pointed the gun at his head, ordered him to the ground, and robbed him.

While the robbery was happening, a 16-year-old boy who did odd jobs around the business came back from running an errand, Holmes said. 

The gunman, believed to be Walker, allegedly pointed his gun at the boy before forcing him into Holmes' SUV. The pair fled the scene in the stolen vehicle.

Police initially responded to the incident as a kidnapping and issued a statewide Amber Alert for the boy.

They were later told that the boy had been released, but he did not come talk to investigators, police said.

Meanwhile, Holmes said, rumors at the barbershop began to circulate that the kidnapping was a hoax and the teen was involved in the robbery.

Tuesday afternoon, police arrested the teenager and he allegedly admitted that he was involved in the robbery and had faked the kidnapping, police said.

Tuesday evening, police served a search warrant on an apartment in the 3100 block of Lone Tree Way, where they arrested Walker.

During a search of the premises, police found a sawed-off shotgun believed to have been used in the robbery and property that had been stolen during the robbery, police said.

CHP Officer Charged With Spousal Battery    

A California Highway Patrol officer has been charged with spousal battery and trying to prevent the victim from filing a complaint. 

Richard Robert Shuman Jr., 39, pleaded not guilty to two felony and four misdemeanor charges on July 27 in Sonoma County Superior Court. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 18.

Shuman has been a CHP officer for 11 years and is not currently working, said Lt. Jeff Rhea with the CHP office in Rohnert Park.

Rhea said he could not comment further on the personnel matter.

Shuman is charged with two misdemeanor counts and one felony count of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, a felony count of attempting to prevent a victim from filing a complaint, and misdemeanor charges of possession of a  controlled substance and violating domestic violence order.

Shuman is being held in Sonoma County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Shuman's attorney, L. Steven Turer, said the battery allegations, which he called "bogus", involve Shuman's wife of 18 months.

Turer also said the alleged offenses happened on different days.

Shuman was arrested on July 19. His wife then sought an emergency protective order and Shuman was arrested again on July 26 for allegedly violating the order, Turer said.

"She went to see him," Turer said regarding the alleged violation
of the protective order.

East Palo Alto Police Released Photographs Of Two Suspected For Murder

East Palo Alto police released photographs Thursday of two suspects wanted for questioning in two murders last month in an attempt to find the men and warn the public.

Jaime Cardenas, 19, and Fidel Silva, 20, are wanted for questioning in connection with homicides on July 13 and July 19, police said.

The two East Palo Alto residents are also suspects in two armed robberies and a triple shooting in Grand Junction, Colo., in which one person was killed and two others injured, police Chief Ron Davis said.

Investigators believe that the two men were responsible for the death of 19-year-old Catherine Fisher, who was shot while sitting in a parked car with another female and a male in the 2500 block of Annapolis Street at about 2:10 a.m. on July 13, police said.

The suspects approached the car and opened fire, killing the Menlo Park woman. Investigators believe the gunmen were targeting the male in the car.

Police suspect the men then traveled to Grand Junction, where Fuentes had a "connection," acting Capt. Jeff Liu said.

Grand Junction police said the men are suspects in an armed robbery at a cash advance business, a home burglary, an armed robbery at a liquor store and a fatal shooting. All of the crimes were committed on July 16.

Detectives believe the two men returned to East Palo Alto, and were involved in the shooting of 26-year-old Hugo Chavez on July 19 at about 8:35 p.m. near 13 Camellia Court.

Chavez, who had a brief conversation with the gunman before he was shot several times, was taken to a hospital where he died about four hours later.

Liu said he hopes that the photographs will provide new leads to find Cardenas and Silva, while also warning the public to be wary of the two men.

"These guys are dangerous. We need to get them off the streets. We don't want them to hurt people," Liu said.

Police Seek Helping Finding Man Missing Since Sunday

San Francisco police are asking for the public's help in finding a man who has been missing since last weekend.

Maurice James, 29, was last seen on Sunday. He was thought to be depressed and was believed to be going to a nearby beach, police said.

James is described as a black man who is 6 feet tall, weighs about 155 pounds, is bald and has green eyes. He was last seen wearing a red T-shirt and black leather pants, according to police.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call San Francisco police at (415) 553-0123 or the department's missing persons unit at (415) 558-5508.

South Bay Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Seeks Public's Help In Finding Who Is Responsible For Barn Owl Injuries

A barn owl was found in Gilroy recently with its bones and primary feathers removed from its left wing such that it could not fly, and a South Bay wildlife rehabilitation center is asking for the public's help in finding whoever is responsible for the act.

The adult female owl was discovered on June 20 in a residential driveway in Gilroy, according to Sue Howell, executive director of the Morgan Hill-based Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, which filed a police report in Gilroy on Tuesday detailing the animal cruelty.

"I've been working with wildlife for about 30 years, and this is a new one for me," Howell said.

The nameless owl was found in the driveway by someone who discovered it could not fly, took it inside and called police, who referred them to the wildlife center, Howell said.

Center officials believe the bird had escaped or been released very recently before it was found, since if it had been on the ground for a while, its remaining feathers "would have been really ragged," Howell said. 

She said the procedure of removing the bones and primary feathers, known as "pinioning," was likely meant to keep the animal as a pet. The procedure is sometimes performed on ducks and geese but very rarely on owls.

Center officials believe the procedure was done by someone with pinioning experience because "it was such a precise cut to the bone and feather area ... this was no amateur job." 

Barn owls typically catch their rodent prey by swooping down and picking them up, but because this owl is unable to fly, she will never be able to be released from captivity, Howell said. 

Howell said authorities are concerned that whoever performed the procedure on the owl could do it again to other animals. 

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the state's Department of Fish and Game at (888) 334-2258.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

The Bay Area is forecast to be cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle this morning, becoming partly cloudy, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s. 

It is expected to be partly cloudy this evening, becoming mostly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle expected after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s.

Saturday is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle in the morning, becoming partly cloudy, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

 

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

Little League Baseball Team Heading To Japan To Meet Giants At Tonight's Game

A San Mateo little league team will be joining the San Francisco Giants on the field of AT&T Park tonight before heading to Japan on Monday as baseball ambassadors.

The team of 18 boys, who are between 11 and 13 years old, with be joined by their coaches and chaperones when they leave for Toyonaka, Japan, on Monday. But before their trip, they are visiting the Japanese consulate in San Francisco and running out on the field to meet the Giants.

When asked if the kids were excited to meet the 2010 world champions, team coach Danny Harris just laughed. "Let's put it this way, they've lacked a little attention at practice since they found out that was going to happen," he said.

Scott Rodrick, a father of one of the boys agreed: "For my son, it's like an out-of-body experience to run out on the field, let alone meet a Giant."

The team is heading overseas as part of a cultural exchange program between the two cities, San Mateo and Toyonaka, which are sister cities. The baseball team exchange has been going on for the past 32 years, with each city alternating as host every other year, Harris said.

Tryouts for the team took place in October, and since that time the boys attended monthly culture classes where the teammates studied basic Japanese phrases, geography and how to use chopsticks.

The boys will be staying at the homes of their teammates, many of whom speak little to no English.

Team player Nicholas Novello, 13, said he is looking forward to making friends with his host family and has been brushing up on his Japanese. "Some of it's tough," he said. "But some of it's easy to learn."

This year's trip was in danger of being canceled after devastating earthquakes and tsunamis struck Japan in March, which left many parents concerned about safety.

Many of their fears regarding physical dangers were relieved, but Rodrick said that was not his only concern. "For me, as a parent, I became more concerned that we were sending our kids to families that were psychologically impacted," he said.

Rodrick and the other parents spoke to their Japanese counterparts, he said, and were assured that this was the time when the San Mateo team's presence would do the most good -- to raise the other team's spirits.

"There's no better time than now," Rodrick said. 

Harris said he is not overly concerned about safety issues. "The Japanese (organizers) would never want to put us in danger. If they were at all concerned with their homes they would have requested to postpone the trip."

This is Harris' third trip to Japan as a coach. He visited the country as a player in 1990. One of his teammates that year was a then-preteen Tom Brady, who went on to become the quarterback for the New England Patriots.

The team and their parents have raised more than $60,000 to pay for the trip and Harris said that whatever money is left over will be donated to aid victims of March's earthquakes and tsunamis.

Tonight's game against the Philadelphia Phillies starts at 7:15 p.m.

 

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 Seek Public's Help In Finding Man Missing Since Sunday

San Francisco police are asking for the public's help in finding a man who has been missing since last weekend.

Maurice James, 29, was last seen on Sunday. He was thought to be depressed and was believed to be going to a nearby beach, police said.

James is described as a black man who is 6 feet tall, weighs about 155 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a red T-shirt and black leather pants, according to police.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call San Francisco police at (415) 553-0123 or the department's missing persons unit at (415) 558-5508.

 

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

Public Discusses State's Parole System At State The Capitol

Emotions ran high in Sacramento Wednesday morning when the public was given the chance to voice their opinions on the state's parole system during a community discussion at the state Capitol.

The panel comes one day after El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson released a report detailing the ways law enforcement failed Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped from South Lake Tahoe at age 11 in 1991 and held captive for 18 years at the home of Phillip and Nancy Garrido outside of Antioch.

Phillip Garrido was on parole at the time of the kidnapping, and parole agents visited the home a number of times while Dugard was living in sheds in the backyard.

"It's easy to say that he (Garrido) is an anomaly," Pierson said, but up until the day he was arrested, Garrido was considered "a shining example of a reformed criminal."

A panel of experts on sex crimes and law enforcement were called together by state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, and Pierson, whose office recently prosecuted the Garridos, to discuss the problems with the current system and make suggestions for new legislation to improve it.

Pierson argues in his report that one of the systemic flaws is law enforcement's over-reliance on psychiatric evaluations of criminals. He said that Garrido is a prime example of a master manipulator who "gamed the system."

One of the most vocal critics of the state parole system was a former parole agent. Caroline Aguirre stepped up to the microphone and declared that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has become "the department of corruption." She called the current method of determining a sex offender's chances of repeating the crime "the worst risk assessment there is."

According to Pierson's report, if Garrido were assessed Wednesday using the current risk-assessment model, he would be rated a "moderate-low" risk.

Panelist Nancy O'Malley, Alameda County's district attorney and chair of the California Sex Offender Management Board, made suggestions for a new system she referred to as a the "containment method," which would include improving information sharing among law enforcement and treatment providers, and using polygraphs and better risk-assessment tools.

Vacaville City Employee Arrested On Charges of Pedophilia

A part-time employee with the City of Vacaville was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of having sex with a 14-year-old boy, a Vacaville police sergeant said.

Katrina Herrador, 21, of Fairfield, a program leader since May in Vacaville's Teen X-treme summer camp program, was arrested Tuesday for having sex with someone under age 18, Sgt. Denise Quatman said.

She was removed from duty on Friday and resigned on Monday, Quatman said.

Herrador became acquainted with the boy who attended the camp sessions, Quatman said.

Herrador allegedly had sex with the boy last Thursday evening at her home, Quatman said.

The boy's parents discovered a suspicious text message early Friday morning that caused them to suspect an unlawful sexual relationship between Herrador and their son, Quatman said.

It does not appear there was any misconduct or criminal activity during the summer camp program sessions, Quatman said.

Teen X-treme is a summer camp for teens in grades six through nine. It includes arts and crafts, sports, field trips and swimming, according to the City of Vacaville's summer camp web site.

Anyone with information about any inappropriate behavior involving Herrador with the boy or any other summer camp participants is asked to call detective David Marsh at (707) 469-6616.

New San Francisco 49ers Stadium Plans Unveiled

Fans entering the brand new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers
four years from now in Santa Clara might feel as if they have stepped inside
a Roman amphitheatre.

One of the project's lead designers, at an unveiling of the design plan in Santa Clara Wednesday morning for the planned $987 million, 68,500-seat stadium, made the comparison while holding photos of ancient Roman amphitheatres.

"We love the metaphor because we think the 49ers' level of play elevated to a beautiful thing," designer Fernando Vasquez said. "This building will create that sense of something special."

Vasquez and his design partner Tim Cahill, both with architecture firm HNTB, said they were conscious of incorporating the California lifestyle into the plan.

The designers envisioned an open-air multi-purpose facility resembling a C-shaped bowl surrounded by ascending seating suitable for professional and college football, as well as professional soccer, motocross, concerts, and Super Bowl and World Cup events.

The venue will feature four levels of suites, and throughout the stadium, seats with colors of three different California red wines.

At its base, the building will feature retail shops that would be open year-round.

The design plan did not take parking into account because there are existing lots, garages and public transportation within a short walking distance from the stadium.

The stadium is expected to open next to the Great America theme park in time for the 2015 football season.

Vasquez and Cahill said they are continuing to fine-tune aspects of the design plan.

Father And Son Involved In Boating Collision Near Hunters Point

A father and son whose dinghy overturned in the waters near San Francisco's Hunters Point Wednesday were rescued, but one of the men has died, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The dinghy collided with a motor vessel around 12:25 p.m., causing the dinghy to flip over and the father and son to be thrown into the water, Coast Guard Seaman Adam Stanton said.

The father was able to climb on top of the capsized hull, but his son, who is in his 20s, was trapped underneath the dinghy, he said.

The Coast Guard learned of the accident and dispatched a 25-foot response boat and helicopter to the scene. Both were rescued and taken to Oyster Point, where one was given CPR, San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.

The victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital by ambulance.

Wednesday afternoon, the father had been in stable condition, but Stanton said he did not know the son's condition. 

Medical officials reported that one of the two men later died. 

The South San Francisco Fire Department and the San Francisco Fire Department provided assistance.

The Brisbane City Police Department is investigating the capsizing and asks that anyone with information related to the accident contact the department at (415) 467-1212.

Man Shot Dead In South Richmond

An 18-year-old man was shot to death in south Richmond Wednesday afternoon in what was the third homicide in the city this week, Richmond police Detective Nicole Abetkov said.

Shortly before 12:30 p.m., police dispatchers started receiving calls reporting multiple gunshots in the 400 block of Florida Avenue. One of the callers reported that a person was down on the ground.

When officers arrived, they found the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, Abetkov said.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries, Abetkov said. His name was not being released because his family had not yet been notified of his death.

Police were still interviewing witnesses Wednesday afternoon, but so far no information about any possible suspects was available.

Abetkov said investigators also did not have enough information to determine whether the shooting was part of an ongoing feud between gangs in north and central Richmond that has been behind many of the city's recent homicides, including a shooting early Monday morning that killed two people in the city's Iron Triangle neighborhood.

Wednesday's victim is the city's 24th homicide this year, compared with 21 in all of 2010.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Tim Gray at (510) 620-6451. People who wish to remain anonymous can call the police department's tip line at (510) 232-TIPS.

Haight Street Market Employee Shoots Customer

An employee at a market on San Francisco's Haight Street accused of shooting a customer in the back during a dispute over a dog in February had attempted murder charges dropped against him Wednesday but was ordered to stand trial on lesser charges in the case.

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

The victim, a man named Michael 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 as a result of his injuries, prosecutors said.

Kazzouh was arrested shortly afterward 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.

At a preliminary hearing in San Francisco Superior Court Wednesday, several people testified who had been in the market before and during the argument and subsequent shooting.

Kazzouh's attorney, Christopher Hite from the public defender's office, said the testimony provided "ample evidence ... that he felt he had to defend himself."

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

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

Kazzouh will return to court on Aug. 17 to be formally arraigned on the assault and firearm charges.

Antioch Man On Trial For Fatal Shooting Of Son

An Antioch man was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on felony charges in connection with the accidental fatal shooting of his 2-year-old son in Antioch in December, prosecutor Paul Graves said Wednesday.

The shooting happened on Dec. 2 in the family's apartment on Lemontree Court.

The victim, Jyonn Carr, and his 4-year-old brother were alone in their parents' bedroom when a gun they were holding went off, police said.    

The children's grandmother, who was watching them at the time, heard the gunshot and found Jyonn in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to his head. He died at a hospital.

Investigators determined that the children's mother had recently bought the weapon, a 9mm handgun, and that their father, Eddie Lee Carr, 28, had removed it from a safe that morning, loaded it and placed it in a drawer in the bedroom, police said.

Both parents were initially arrested, but prosecutors found that there was insufficient evidence to charge the mother.

Carr, however, was charged with two counts of child endangerment, one of which carries an enhancement for causing death; being a felon in possession of a firearm; criminal storage of a firearm and possession of cocaine, Graves said.

A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday during which a judge ordered Carr held for trial on all counts, Graves said. 

Carr is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 22 in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Oakland Man Hits and Kills Bicyclist With His Car

An Oakland man accused of hitting and killing a bicyclist with his car in San Francisco's North of Panhandle neighborhood last year was ordered Wednesday to stand trial in the case.

On the night of Aug. 13, 2010, Joshua Calder, 37, was driving south on Masonic Avenue near Turk Street when he allegedly struck 21-year-old Nils Linke, who was visiting the U.S. from Germany.

According to police and prosecutors, Linke was also riding south on Masonic Avenue and was struck from behind by an older-model Mercedes-Benz. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Calder allegedly fled the scene, but was found about two blocks away after witnesses gave police a description of the vehicle.    

He pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, drunken driving, and hit-and-run, prosecutors said.

At the preliminary hearing in the case, which started on July 25 but was delayed for a week before it finished Wednesday, Calder's defense attorney Daniel Barton admitted that his client had been drinking before the crash but denied that his blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit.

Assistant District Attorney Todd Barrett countered that Calder had the equivalent of seven alcoholic drinks in his system, as well as THC from smoking marijuana.

Barrett alleged that Calder had been speeding and had swerved in the road prior to striking Linke, but Barton said that there is insufficient evidence that Calder had been driving negligently prior to the accident.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Newton Lam ordered Calder to stand trial on all of the charges, noting that police investigators found no skid marks on the road that would indicate that he was driving safely and tried to stop before striking Linke.

Calder will return to court on Sept. 1 to be formally arraigned on the charges.

Hunter Bitten By Wounded Wild Boar At Lake Sonoma

A hunter was injured Wednesday morning when he was bitten by a wounded wild boar at Lake Sonoma, a Cloverdale fire official said.

The elderly man, a resident of Middletown in Lake County, was hunting wild pigs with three other men in the Yorty Creek day use area off of Hot Springs Road near the Dry Creek arm of the lake.

Cloverdale Fire Protection District engineer Peter Avansino said that at about 10:30 a.m., one of the hunters shot the pig with a rifle, and the hunters then tracked the wounded animal into a canyon.

"It got backed into a corner, charged the hunters and bit the man in his hand and upper leg," Avansino said.

The hunters then killed the pig. 

One of the hunters hiked up to a ridge and called 911 on a cellphone, Avansino said.

A Cal Fire helicopter landed nearby, and rescue personnel hiked down to the injured hunter, secured him to a stretcher and carried him back up to the ridge.

The man was flown by REACH helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Avansino said. His name has not been released.

The other three hunters left the scene with the dead pig. 

In addition to Cal Fire and the Cloverdale Fire Protection District, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Army Corps of engineers and the Geyserville Fire Protection District responded to the incident.

8-Year-Old Boy Honored For Saving Two From Drowning

The mother of 8-year-old Ishaan Singh, San Jose's hero of the week after he helped save a 3-year-old girl and her grandfather from drowning, said her son asked her if he could show up at a news conference held in his honor Wednesday in a limousine.

He did not get his limo ride, but awaiting Ishaan at San Jose's Fire Station 14 was Fire Chief William McDonald with a plaque honoring him for his efforts in saving the lives of a friend's little sister and her 69-year-old grandfather at an apartment complex at 355 South Kiely Blvd. on Monday.

"We are really proud of your actions," McDonald told him.

And the fire chief was not the only one to shower accolades on the Eisenhower Elementary School fourth-grader. Ishaan's parents, Sarbjit Singh, 33, and Manjit Kaur, 32, praised their son for his "quick thinking" and "good heart."

Ishaan shyly thanked the crowd of firemen and reporters and said he also was "very proud" of himself.

"I was not scared," he said. "I was being brave." 

On Monday morning, Kaur had taken Ishaan and his 4-year-old sister Ramneek down to the pool. At about 1 p.m., as she was preparing to leave, Kaur noticed two bodies floating in the pool and asked a friend, "What type of swimming is that?"

Then she realized they were not swimming, but were actually drowning.

Not knowing how to swim herself, Kaur immediately called out to Ishaan to jump in and help them.

Ishaan dove in and pushed the little girl to the side of the pool while other residents helped pull her out. Meanwhile, a woman dove in and pushed the grandfather to the side of the pool, and he was also pulled from the water.

Bystanders administered chest compressions on both the man and the little girl until firefighters arrived.

Firefighters arrived within four minutes and found the man and child lying by the side of the pool. They were breathing but were unconscious and unresponsive.

The little girl is doing well but, as of Wednesday afternoon, her grandfather is still hospitalized and in serious condition.

36 Million Pounds Of Ground Turkey Recalled After Salmonella Outbreak Sickens One Person In The Bay Area

Following a national Salmonella outbreak that has sickened one person in the Bay Area, 36 million pounds of ground turkey were recalled according to the California Department of Health.

The voluntary recall from Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. on fresh and frozen ground turkey, which has been linked to the Salmonella Heidelberg bacteria, affected items produced in the company's Springdale, Ark., plant, said Patrick Kennelly, chief of the Food Safety Section of the California Department of Public Health.

Of the six cases of Salmonella Heidelberg in the state, one victim from San Francisco reported the infection in June, health department officials said.

State health officials have also confirmed that one fatality from the contamination was reported in Sacramento, where another non-fatal case was also identified. Both had exposure to ground turkey, Kennelly said.

Salmonella Heidelberg, which is resistant to many commonly prescribed medications, has also infected individuals in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture identified ground turkey as a possible source of the contamination.

Eileen Shields, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said she did not know if ground turkey was a factor in the city's reported infection.

Since the outbreak was first reported in March, 77 people in 26 states have fallen ill, according to the health department. California is one of five states with six or more cases of the bacteria.

The one reported instance in San Francisco does not yet necessitate an investigation, city health officials said.

The state health department is advising safeguards against Salmonella infection. Officials recommend thoroughly cooking poultry to 165 degrees, washing all surfaces immediately after contact with raw meat or poultry, and refrigerating raw and cooked meat within two hours of purchasing or cooking.

Ground turkey distributed by Honeysuckle White, Riverside and Kroger brands in California dated from Feb. 20 through Aug. 2 have been affected by the recall. For a full list of recalled items, consumers can visit www.cargill.com.

Former Pet Store Employee Will Receive $1.1 Million For Brain Damage Sustained During Investigation

A former pet store employee will receive nearly $1.1 million for the permanent brain damage he suffered when he fell 15 feet and hit his head while helping a Fremont police officer investigate the theft of 17 high-end puppies at the store, his attorney said Wednesday.

Omid Mehdavi, a 30-year-old Hayward man, will get $700,000 from the city of Fremont and $375,000 from the owners of the Mowry East Shopping Center, where the accident occurred at the Puppy Love Boutique on Nov. 20, 2008.

Mehdavi's attorney, Lewis Van Blois, said Mehdavi had previously settled with the shopping center's owners and reached a settlement with Fremont officials on Monday just before a trial was set to start in Alameda County Superior Court.

Fremont police Officer Christine Leopardi went to the store to investigate the theft of Dalmatians, Saint Bernards, Pekinese poodles and schnauzers that were valued at between $650 and $1,100 each.

Van Blois said Leopardi sent Mehdavi up to the pet store's roof to investigate the point of entry of the burglary.

He said Mehdavi had used a 14-foot ladder to get up to the roof's first level and was backing up to position it so he could use it to get up to the second level when he crashed through a skylight and fell to the pavement below.

Van Blois said Leopardi "failed to exercise ordinary care" when she directed Mehdavi to inspect the roof for her and watched him back up for seven seconds without warning him that he was approaching the skylight and might fall through.

But the city of Fremont's attorney, Gregory Fox, said Leopardi had only asked Mehdavi for a smaller ladder to get over the 6-foot wall to the roof's second level and was surprised when he used the 14-foot ladder again.

Fox also said Mehdavi had walked by the skylight a few minutes earlier and should have been aware that it was there.

"He wasn't looking where he was going," Fox said.

Bay Area Weather Forecast

The Bay Area is forecast to be cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle this morning, becoming partly cloudy, with highs near 60.

It is expected to be partly cloudy this evening, becoming cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle expected after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.

Friday is expected to be cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle in the morning, becoming sunny, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

 

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

Marina Business Robbed Wednesday Night

A business in San Francisco's Marina District was robbed on Wednesday night, police said.

The robbery was reported at about 8:50 p.m. at a business in the 3300 block of Fillmore Street between Lombard and Chestnut streets.

A suspect entered the store, took out a handgun and ordered two employees, a 21-year-old woman and 24-year-old man, to the rear of the business, according to police.

He ordered the male employee to open the company's safe and the victim complied, handing over cash, police said.

The suspect, described as a man in his early 30s, fled and had not been found as of this morning.

Neither employee was injured in the robbery, according to police. 

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

Inmate Found Dead In County Jail

An inmate was found dead in his San Francisco jail cell early this morning, and authorities believe the death was a suicide, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

The man was found dead at about 4:30 a.m. at the jail at the Hall of Justice on Bryant Street, spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said.

He was discovered while breakfast was being distributed to the inmates, Hirst said.

She said she could not release any more details about the incident or the inmate, who police said was 48 years old. His name is being withheld until the medical examiner's office notifies his family of the death.

A joint investigation into the death is being conducted by the sheriff's department, medical examiner's office and the Police Department's homicide unit, Hirst said.

 

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

Boater Who Died After Collision In Bay Identified

A man who was killed Wednesday in a collision between two boats in the water near San Francisco's Hunters Point has been identified by the medical examiner's office as Minh Troung.

Troung, 30, was boating with his father when their dinghy was hit by a motorboat around 12:25 p.m. Wednesday.

The impact caused the dinghy to flip over, sending the pair into the water, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The father was able to climb on top of the capsized hull of the vessel but Troung was trapped underneath, Coast Guard officials said.

Both men were eventually rescued and taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where Truong was pronounced dead. 

The father was in stable condition as of Wednesday night, according to the Coast Guard.

Brisbane police are investigating the collision. Sgt. T. Lynn said police interviewed people from both boats on Wednesday.

Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call Brisbane police at (415) 467-1212.

 

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: Two Window Washers Rescued From High-Rise After Dangling From Scaffolding

Two window washers were rescued from a high-rise in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood this morning after the scaffolding they were on gave way, a fire department spokeswoman said.

Firefighters were called to the 17-story residential building at 310 Berry St. near Fifth Street at about 8:35 a.m., San Francisco fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

It appears that the ropes on one side of the scaffolding had given way, Talmadge said.

Crews found the two workers hanging by their harnesses from the scaffolding -- which was practically vertical -- one near the bottom of the scaffolding and another near the top.

Rescuers were able to pull the worker near the top to the roof, she said. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

A ladder was set up to try to reach the second worker, but it was too short, so firefighters went into the 14th floor of the building and pulled the worker inside at about 9 a.m., Talmadge said. He was not seriously injured.

She did not know whether the scaffolding collapsed due to worker error or an equipment malfunction. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is responding to investigate.

Talmadge said the harnesses the workers were wearing prevented them from falling.

"They have them for a reason," she said.

Rodney Blanchard, a worker with AT&T who was installing fiber optic cable nearby, caught the incident on video on his cellphone. 

He said that despite hanging in the air, the workers seemed "pretty calm." 

 

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

Two Window Washers Rescued From 14th Floor Of Building

Firefighters rescued two window washers after their scaffolding gave way on the 14th floor of a San Francisco building this morning, a fire dispatcher said.

Emergency crews responded to 300 Berry St. at 8:34 a.m. and safely recovered the workers.

The dispatcher said the window washers were not seriously injured.

 

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: Woman Shot In Ankle In Potrero Hill, Suspect In Custody

A woman was shot in the ankle in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood this morning, a police sergeant said.

The shooting was reported at about 7:30 a.m. in the 1000 block of Connecticut Street, near 25th Street.

Police Sgt. Gerald Newbeck said the woman, who is in her 40s, was shot during an apparent robbery attempt.

She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and the shooter, a man in his 50s, has been arrested.

Police are still looking into the circumstances of the shooting, and Newbeck said the victim has not been fully cooperative with investigators.  

 

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: Woman Shot In Ankle In Potrero Hill

A woman was shot in the ankle at an apartment in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood this morning, a police spokesman said.

The shooting was reported at about 7:30 a.m. in the 1000 block of Connecticut Street, near 25th Street.

Police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said the woman, who is in her 40s, was with a man in the apartment when she was shot by a second man.

He said the woman and the shooter know each other but that the shooting does not appear to be a case of domestic violence.

Police are still investigating the circumstances and the motive. 

The woman was taken to a hospital and the shooter was arrested.

 

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 Responding To Shooting In Potrero Hill

Police are responding to a shooting in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood this morning.

The shooting happened in the area of 25th and Connecticut streets, a fire dispatcher said.

Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said initial reports indicate that four people may have been shot.

 

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