SF News

Two Men Shot While Driving in San Francisco's Wester Addition

Two men were shot in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood early Saturday morning, police said.

The two victims, a 19-year-old man and a 30-year-old man, were driving in the 1900 block of Geary Boulevard around 4 a.m. when multiple shots were fired at their vehicle, Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.

Both victims were struck, but they were able to drive themselves to San Francisco General Hospital, Dangerfield said. Their injuries were not considered life threatening.

Police are investigating the motive for the shooting and have not released any suspect information.

San Francisco Firefighters Respond to One-Alarm Fire This Morning

Firefighters responded to a one-alarm structure fire in San Francisco this morning, a fire dispatcher said.

The blaze was reported at 255 Ney St. at 4:06 a.m., and firefighters had the fire under control by 4:43 a.m.

No one was reported injured, and no residents were displaced, according to the dispatcher. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

San Francisco Bay Area Saturday News

Two UC Berkeley Graduates to Stand Trial in Iran Tomorrow

Two University of California at Berkeley graduates are scheduled to stand trial in Iran on Sunday on charges of espionage and entering the country illegally. Sunday also marks the second anniversary of the day that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, both 29, as well as a third UC Berkeley graduate, 32-year-old Sarah Shourd, were arrested while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region near the Iran border. Although Iran has accused them of espionage, the hikers and the hikers say they aren't spies but instead were detained after they accidentally crossed an unmarked border into Iran. Iran released Shourd, who is engaged to Bauer, last September because she was in poor health.
Shourd announced in May that she would not return to Iran for a trial because she is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Shourd and the families of Bauer and Fattal led a rally outside the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York Friday to demand that Bauer and Fattal be released. Shourd, who was a teacher in Damascus, Syria, before she was arrested, said in a statement that she's hopeful Bauer and Fattal will be released soon. She said, "I know in my heart that when Shane and Josh walk out of prison, they will hold no bitterness towards anyone. I hope that day is soon." Shourd added, "I know their hearts will be filled with the same love and respect for the world that they had two years ago. If anything, they will have more."
According to a website that supports the hikers, Bauer and Fattal have appeared in court only once, on Feb. 6, when they testified that they are innocent. Bauer, a freelance photojournalist, and Fattal, an environmental advocate, previously were scheduled to stand trial on May 11 but their trial was postponed.

Daniel Hernak honored at Pittsburg City Council

Pittsburg resident Daniel Hernak will be honored at the Pittsburg City Council meeting Monday for saving three women from a house fire in March. The fire started at about 2:35 a.m. in the kitchen of a house at 534 East 12th St. in Pittsburg, according to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Investigator Vic Massenkoff. Resident Cylvia Williamson, 90, her live-in caretaker Evangeline Raymundo, 58, and Raymundo's mother-in-law Lolita Raymundo, 84, were asleep upstairs as smoke began to fill the house.
The smoke and heat from the fire woke Evangeline Raymundo first, and she told her mother-in-law to head for the front door as she went to get Williamson, Massenkoff said. The caretaker managed to get Williamson and her mother-in-law past what was a raging fire at the bottom of the stairs and into the living room, which was filled with smoke and heat. As they crawled along the floor, Evangeline Raymundo and her mother-in-law became disorientated and overcome by smoke. As the three women were struggling, Hernak, 48, came out of a friend's house across the street and saw smoke and flames coming from a side window in Williamson's house. Hernak guided Lolita Raymundo toward the door with his voice and she was able to unlock it. When the door opened, Hernak was hit by smoke and heat from inside. He got down low and pulled Lolita Raymundo out of the house and onto the lawn, and she told him that more people were inside, Massenkoff said.
Hernak went back to the house and crawled through the smoke and heat until he found Evangeline Raymundo on the floor. As he pulled her out the front door he realized Williamson was holding onto her feet and he was actually pulling both women out of the house, Massenkoff said. The three women, county fire Chief Daryl Louder, Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover and the Pittsburg City Council will hold a ceremony to honor Hernak at 7 p.m. Monday at Pittsburg City Hall at 65 Civic Ave.

Lt. Gov. Newsom Releases Economic Development Strategy

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom released an economic and workforce development strategy for the state Friday calling for growth in manufacturing and exports and an emphasis on clean technology, education and infrastructure development. The Economic Growth and Competitiveness Agenda for California was released Friday at an event at Wyse Technology in San Jose. Newsom said the state has lacked a comprehensive plan to guide economic growth for more than a decade. He began work on the plan shortly after being elected lieutenant governor.
"This document, and the actions it calls for, outlines how we can retake control and drive forward again, moving California back into the lead on sustainable growth and real job creation -- regaining our leadership role as America's opportunity capital," Newsom said. Key pillars of the plan include an emphasis on exports across all sectors and regions, a call for a reinvigoration of manufacturing, investment in innovation, expansion in clean technology, expansion of job opportunities through the development of new skills, construction and maintenance of infrastructure, the creation of regional economic clusters, and the streamlining of state agencies involved in economic development. The report drew praise and endorsements Friday from officials including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, as well as from groups including the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Labor Federation, among others.
A copy of the report and its recommendations is available online at http://ltg.ca.gov/docs/LGN_Econ_Agenda.pdf

AC Transit Board of Directors Approves Labor Contracts

AC Transit's board of directors has approved labor contracts with three employee groups that it said will result in more than $7 million in savings through early 2014. Directors said the cash-strapped bus agency that serves parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties will achieve part of those savings by having employees in those groups contribute 10 percent of the cost of their monthly medical and dental insurance premiums and getting one fewer paid holiday. The 200 managers, professionals, supervisors, paraprofessionals and administrative staff who belong to Local 3916 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will take a 5 percent pay cut through June 30, 2013, which will save $5.8 million for AC Transit. But base wages will remain the same for the 25 electricians, electronic technicians and heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialists who belong to Local 1245 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. However, there will be work rule changes for Local 1245 workers and AC Transit expects to gain $667,800 in savings from them.
Wages for the third group, 55 workers who do not belong to a union, will be cut by 3 percent. AC Transit is also canceling a 2 percent pay increase that had been planned for those employees. In addition to cutting its labor costs, other steps that AC Transit has taken to balance its budget include raising fares, cutting service and eliminating more than 70 general and administrative staff positions. Its next fare hike will occur on Monday, when there will be a 10-cent increase in the basic adult fare and a 5-cent increase for youths, seniors and the disabled. The increase will raise the basic bus fare to $2.10 and the fare for seniors, youths and the disabled will rise to $1.05. The cost of a monthly pass for youths will increase from $15 to $20, but the monthly pass for seniors and the disabled will remain at $20.

Oakland Police Look for Murder Suspect

Police say they are looking for a suspect vehicle in the fatal shooting of Paris Powell, an Oakland resident known for feeding the homeless. The vehicle, wanted in connection with Wednesday's shooting on the 1000 block of 47th Avenue, was described Friday as a turquoise Ford Windstar minivan, with a make year of 2001 or more recent. Powell was shot around 12:30 a.m. while he, his wife and two stepchildren, ages 3 and 7, were handing out food to homeless people. His wife, who is pregnant, was grazed by a bullet and the 3-year-old received a minor flesh wound. He was pronounced dead at 10:25 a.m. Wednesday. There is a $25,000 reward being offered for information in connection with the shooting. Powell, known as "Brother John" to some, was the president of the Rise Above Foundation, an Oakland-based non-profit organization that offers support for abused women and programs to feed the homeless. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Oakland Police Department's Homicide Section at (510) 238-3821 or oaklandhomicide@oaklandnet.com.

Body Charring Murder Suspect Claims Not Guilty in San Francisco

A man accused of killing another man and then setting his body on fire in San Francisco's Buena Vista Park last month pleaded not guilty to murder and arson charges Friday in a case that his attorney says was "a terrible accident" that occurred during a sexual encounter. David Munoz Diaz, 22, was arrested last Friday and charged Tuesday in connection with the death of Freddy Roberto Canul-Arguello, whose partially burned body was found early on June 10 near the park's tennis courts just off of Buena Vista Avenue East. Police said Canul-Arguello, 23, was already dead before he was burned, and that he had been killed near the tennis courts earlier that morning. Diaz, whose arraignment was delayed for two days because he was hospitalized and undergoing a mental health evaluation, pleaded not guilty Friday morning to charges of murder, arson, mutilating a body and destruction of evidence, prosecutors said. Diaz's attorney, Alex Lilien from the public defender's office, said outside of court that the death came after a consensual encounter between Canul-Arguello and his client.
"This was two young gay Latino men who went up to Buena Vista Park to have sex," Lilien said, adding that the death appeared to be from asphyxiation, although the medical examiner's office has not released its final report on the case. The burning of Canul-Arguello's body occurred because "I think there was panic" from Diaz about what happened, Lilien said. "This is a kid with no criminal record," he said. "It wasn't a robbery, it was a terrible accident." Diaz remains in jail in lieu of $5 million bail. He will return to court on Aug. 12 to set a date for the preliminary hearing.

Thousands Pay Tribute to Marin County Sheriff

Family, friends and law enforcement officers from around the Bay Area filled the 2,000-seat Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium Friday to pay tribute to 49-year-old slain Marin County sheriff's Deputy Jim Mathiesen. Mathiesen, a nine-year sheriff's deputy, was fatally shot July 19 by Thomas Halloran, the 28-year-old ex-boyfriend of a family friend's daughter, outside a residence on Liberty Road near Petaluma. Mathiesen was off-duty and went to the home after the family friend said Halloran had sent threatening messages to her daughter.
After shooting Mathiesen, Halloran was also fatally shot at the home after he took the family friend hostage. Speakers at Friday's memorial service in San Rafael said it was Mathiesen's nature to help anyone in need and that is what led him to become a deputy at age 40 after a career in the construction industry. Mathieson's oldest son Vincent said his father held his children and his wife "in the highest bracket of his life." Recalling a bumper sticker on his father's truck, Vincent said, "He lived every day like it was his last. I'm going to live by that." Mathieson was remembered as a practical joker, a good dancer, a man who worked and played hard and as someone who was known to enjoy a cocktail. "I once sold him a car for two vodka cranberries," Mathieson's brother-in-law Doug Fletcher said, eliciting much laughter. "He never said, 'You owe me one,'" Fletcher said, echoing others who said Mathieson helped anyone who needed it.
"He was all about people. Like Norm on 'Cheers,' everyone knew his name," Fletcher said. "He knew intuitively what is important and what is not. He was not about petty," he said. Nephew Ryan Cogbill said his uncle "loved this life" and said "he 'got' it." Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle recalled hiring Mathieson in 2002. "Every organization needs a bunch of Jims," Doyle said.

Visitacion Valley Branch Library Opens Today

The brand new Visitacion Valley Branch Library is set to open today. For more than 75 years, the Visitacion Valley neighborhood's library branch has operated out of leased or temporary spaces, according to library officials. Today, a new permanent 9,000-square-foot branch library will open at 201 Leland Ave. at Rutland Avenue. The new library, built at a cost of $13.4 million, will house a larger collection of materials including a large Chinese collection. It will include designated space for teens and children, a quiet study room, a hanging public art sculpture and a program room accessible after hours for community meetings. The library is the 20th project to be completed under the Branch Library Improvement Program, which is funded by a $105.9 million taxpayer-approved bond. Furniture and equipment for the Vistacion Valley branch will be paid for through a fundraising campaign by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
The library opening will take place at 1 p.m., and will be attended by officials including City Library Luis Herrera, Supervisor Malia Cohen, state Sen. Mark Leno, Department of Public Works Director Edward Reiskin and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Executive Director Donna Bero.

Windsor Man Sentenced to 40 years in Prison

A Windsor man was sentenced Friday in Sonoma County Superior Court to 40 years to life in prison for cutting his mother's throat with a razor last October. Socorro Sierra, 29, was convicted in May after a weeklong trial of assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. The jury also found Sierra personally inflicted great bodily injury on his mother during the assault, Ravitch said. Judge Arthur Wick found Sierra had been two previous strike convictions and two prison terms. Wick sentenced Sierra to 15 years and a consecutive 25-years-to-life term under the three strikes law, Ravitch said. Sierra and his father took the victim to the hospital on Oct. 15, Ravitch said. Sierra's mother said she suffered a laceration to the left side of her neck when she fell, but later admitted her son assaulted her with a razor blade, Ravitch said. An investigation determined Sierra and his mother were arguing about car keys that were taken from Sierra because he lost his job, Ravitch said.
As Sierra's mother's left for work, Sierra stepped in front of her and lunged at her with a razor blade, Ravitch said. The wound required seven stitches. Ravitch said the judge called the assault "unthinkable" and the lengthy sentence was required to protect society. Sierra's two previous strike convictions include a 2000 assault with a deadly weapon committed in association with a criminal street gang in Sonoma County, and a 2001 first-degree burglary conviction in Marin County, Ravitch said. The 25-years-to-life term includes the possibility of parole, Ravitch said.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast 

The Bay Area is forecast to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle this morning, becoming partly cloudy, with highs in the 50s to upper 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. Sunday is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle in the morning, becoming sunny, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s. -0-

Famous Santa Claus Found Dead in Market Street Residential Hotel

A man who gained fame when he was fired from his job as Santa Claus at Macy's Union Square last year for telling off-color jokes and then rehired to preside over a local toy drive has reportedly died.

John Toomey was found dead in his room at a Market Street residential hotel today, said Nick Bovis, owner of Lefty O'Doul's.

"We're all really emotional here," said Bovis, who hired Toomey as his in-house Santa following his famous falling-out with Macy's. "He was a great person."

Toomey had been playing Santa Claus at Macy's for around 20 years when he was fired. The incident drew nationwide attention including a television appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

In his stint at Lefty O'Doul's, Toomey posed for photos in a specially constructed North Pole Winter Wonderland at $10 a shot to raise money for the Firefighters Toy Program. His presence gave the toy drive and fundraising program a major boost, Bovis said.

The toy drive, which had set a goal of collecting 10,000 toys, instead collected around 15,000. The photos raised around $10,000, which was also donated.

"There are 12,000 kids in San Francisco that wouldn't have had a Christmas without Santa John last year," said publicist Lee Houskeeper, who works with Lefty O'Doul's. "We're just devastated by his passing."

Houskeeper said Bovis had helped Toomey get medical care for respiratory issues when he hired him at Lefty's, but that "Santa John" would work himself into exhaustion if allowed to do so.

"He would sit there until the last child left," Houskeeper said. "I would have to come down and tell them to stop because he would work until he was really tired."

Toomey had a lifetime contract to return to Lefty O'Doul's as Santa Claus and was looking forward to this Christmas, Houskeeper said. He said the restaurant has no plans to replace him because he was "irreplaceable."

Like Santa Claus, Toomey's age remains somewhat in doubt. On his job application, Bovis said Toomey had written under "age": "My tongue is slightly older than my teeth."

The application, after a bit of a hunt, was found filed away under "Kris Kringle."

 

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California Supreme Court Will Hear Crucial Prop 8 Issue on Sept. 6

A crucial procedural issue in the legal battle over Proposition 8 will go before the California Supreme Court in San Francisco on Sept. 6.

The court announced late Thursday it will hear arguments on that date on whether state law gives sponsors of the gay marriage ban the right to appeal a federal court decision overturning the measure.

Proposition 8, enacted by California voters in 2008, prohibits same-sex marriage by providing that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Last year, acting in a lawsuit filed by two couples who want to marry, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco struck down the initiative on the ground that it violated the federal Constitution.

The sponsors of the initiative and their committee, Protect Marriage, are seeking to appeal that decision before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Walker's decision has been stayed during the appeal, keeping the ban in effect for the time being.

But because state officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris, have declined to appeal, the initiative sponsors have been left as the only party pursuing an appeal.

In January, a panel of the appeals court said that federal law, as defined in a 1997 Supreme Court decision, doesn't seem to allow sponsors to defend an initiative when state officials refuse to do so.

But the appeals panel said there might be a right under state law, and asked the California Supreme Court to step in and decide that issue.

The seven-member state high court will hear one hour of arguments in its State Building courtroom on Sept. 6 and then will have 90 days to issue a written ruling.

Court spokeswoman Lynn Holton said that because of public interest in the case, the court has approved a live statewide television broadcast of the arguments on the California Channel, a public affairs network.

If the state court eventually rules that the sponsors have standing, or the right to appeal, the case will then go back to the 9th Circuit for review of Walker's decision, a process that might take several more months.

But the federal appeals court said earlier this year that if the sponsors lack legal standing, the federal court would be required to dismiss the appeal.

 

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Update: Powell Street Cable Car Line Reopened

San Francisco Municipal Railway's Powell Street cable car line is back in service this morning after unexpected repairs forced the agency to close it for a few hours, a Muni spokesman said.

Officials discovered at about 7:40 a.m. that repairs needed to be made on one of the cables, agency spokesman Paul Rose said.

Muni ran shuttle buses along the line until about 11 a.m., when the cable cars were cleared to start running again, Rose said.

 

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Sea Lions Entangled in Trash Evade Capture By Rescuers

The fate of two sea lions entangled in ocean trash who have been spotted at San Francisco's Pier 39 this month is all too common, wildlife rescuers said today.

The two sea lions, a juvenile weighing roughly 200 pounds, and an older one weighing around 400 pounds, both have strands of plastic or wire wrapped around their necks.

The two animals remain healthy so far and have eluded four attempts at capture by would-be rescuers, but face potential injury or death if the snares are not removed, Marine Mammal Center spokesman Jim Oswald said today.

Oswald said that while some animals live for a long time with entanglements, the trash wrapped around the neck can prevent them from foraging, causing them to lose weight and making them more vulnerable to disease and predators. In addition, as they grow, the strands can cut deeply into their skin.

He said rescuers will make further attempts to rescue the animals, but need to be careful to allow them to rest and to not make the entanglements tighter.

While these sea lions are drawing attention because of their highly visible location at a site popular with tourists, Oswald said such entanglements are extremely common. Common hazards include fishing lines and fishing nets made of plastic.

"This is something we see all too often, especially down in the Monterey area, where there are all kinds of animals entangled in ocean trash," Oswald said. "Ocean trash is a huge problem."

An exhibit of ocean trash sculptures at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito right now highlights the global problem, Oswald said.

"If you have fishing line or fishing net, don't dispose of it inthe ocean," Oswald said. "Cut it up and dispose of it properly."

 

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Outdoor Youth-Led Summit Convenes Today

Hundreds of youth leaders are converging on San Francisco today to kick off a three-day summit that aims to develop new ways to connect youth with the outdoors.

The youth-led movement, Outdoor Nation, is holding a 2011 regional summit this weekend and organizers expect more than 200 youth leaders between the ages of 16 and 28 to attend.

Participants, who were chosen from online applications and nominations, will be discussing factors that may be keeping the Millennial generation from participating in outdoor activities and developing strategies to overcome those barriers, organizers said.

Participants will vote for the best ideas and the winning picks will receive $10,000 in support from the nonprofit Outdoor Foundation.

The same amount will be given to the winners of the other four regional summits -- which occurred in New York City, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Denver this summer. More than $100,000 will be invested in the projects in total, according to organizers.

The summit is not all work and no play though, organizers said.

Outdoor Nation, The Presidio Trust, and the National Park Service are hosting a Summer Fun Day at Crissy Field at noon Saturday.

Summer Fun Day is open to the public and will offer outdoor activities, including rock climbing, boating and camping competitions.

The summit kicks off today at noon at the Presidio's Fort Scott.

 

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Powell Street Cable Car Line Out Of Operation Due To Repairs

San Francisco Municipal Railway's Powell Street cable car line is out of commission today until further notice, a Muni spokesman said.
Officials discovered at about 7:40 a.m. that unexpected repairs needed to be made on one of the cables, agency spokesman Paul Rose said.
It was unclear when the repairs would be finished, but the agency is running shuttle buses until the cable cars are back in action, Rose said.
"Our crews are out there trying to make the repairs as soon as possible," he said.

 

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San Francisco Friday Morning News Roundup

California Department of Food and Argriculture Realease Specie To Control Weed

Scientists with the California Department of Food and Agriculture
began releasing a small insect native to South America into the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta earlier this month in an effort to control an
invasive species of plant that has been choking waterways.
    The insect, known as the water hyacinth plant hopper, has a
voracious appetite for water hyacinth, an aquatic weed that has been causing
serious problems in the Delta.
    Water hyacinth, which itself is native to the Amazon region of
South America, is a floating weed that can grow so densely that it forms
thick rafts that cover the surface of the water, preventing boat access and
clogging intake systems.
    The leaf hoppers destroy the plant by sucking plant juices from
its leaves, eventually killing them.
    Before releasing the insect, state and federal scientists reviewed
it extensively to make sure its introduction into the Delta would not cause
unforeseen harm to the ecosystem, said Steve Lyle, director of public affairs
for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
    The creature has proven to feed only on water hyacinth, which
makes it an ideal insect to use as a biological control agent, Lyle said.
    He said scientists do not believe it presents any potential harm
to humans or to native species living in the Delta.
    So far, the department has released a little more than 5,000 water
hyacinth leaf hoppers into the Delta in Sacramento and San Joaquin counties,
Lyle said.
    "The hope is that we will get self-sustaining colonies," Lyle
said.
    If the pilot release is successful, Lyle said the department would
most likely release more water hyacinth leaf hoppers into other areas in the
Delta where water hyacinth is a problem.
    He also said this program is one of many in which the department
is working to control pests without the use of pesticide sprays.

Marijuana Plant Found

    East Bay Regional Park District police have found at least one

active marijuana cultivation site near a woodland area south of Moraga where
suspects opened fire on a police officer earlier this week, the department
said Thursday.
    The officer was conducting a foot patrol near the Upper San
Leandro Reservoir at about 6:50 p.m. Monday when two suspects fired an
assault rifle at him.
    Police said the officer returned fire and took cover, and was not
injured in the attack. He called for emergency assistance and was safely
retrieved from the scene in a park district police armored rescue vehicle,
police said.
    Alameda County SWAT teams and other local jurisdictions helped
regional parks police search the expansive watershed space on Tuesday and
Wednesday, when they finally found the crime scene, police said Thursday.
    Evidence of the firefight -- including expended firearms
ammunition casings from a high-powered assault rifle -- was sent to a crime
lab for processing, police said.
    The department said aerial surveillance has uncovered at least one
active marijuana cultivation site, although it is not clear yet if the
shooting was related to the grow.
    Police had not identified any suspects as of Thursday and were
asking anyone with information to call the department at (510) 881-1833.

 

Memorial to be Held for Slain Officer


    A memorial service will be held this morning for slain Marin
County sheriff's Deputy Jim Mathiesen.
    Between 800 and 1,200 people are expected to attend the service at
the 2,000-seat Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium between 11 a.m. and 4
p.m., San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said.
    Traffic on North San Pedro Road, Civic Center Drive, Redwood
Highway and Scettrini Drive may be severely impacted, and there will be heavy
foot traffic from the Marin County Civic Center crossing Civic Center Drive,
Rohrbacher said.
    There will be no parking between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. on either side
of a stretch of Civic Center Drive south of Peter Behr Drive or on McInnis
Parkway from Civic Center Drive past the Embassy Suites Hotel, Rohrbacher
said.
    Mathiesen, 49, a nine-year sheriff's employee who worked at the
jail and county courthouse, was fatally shot by 28-year-old Thomas Halloran
of Novato outside a home on Liberty Drive near Petaluma on July 19,
investigators said.
    Mathiesen was unarmed and off-duty when he went to the home after
Halloran's ex-girlfriend's mother, Stacey Powers, who was his friend,
informed him that Halloran had sent threatening text messages to her
22-year-old daughter.
    Halloran showed up at the residence about 20 minutes after
Mathiesen arrived. Several people were home at the time -- Powers, her
daughter and her son, Anthony Taverna.
    When Mathiesen went outside to ask Halloran to leave, Halloran
shot the deputy at least twice around 12:12 a.m., according to the Sonoma
County Sheriff's Office. Mathiesen died at the scene.
    When Halloran then took Powers hostage and tried to force her at
gunpoint into a car in the garage, Powers' son Anthony Taverna shot Halloran,
who also died at the scene, sheriff's officials said.

People suround City Hall In Support of Man

    About 20 people gathered outside San Francisco City Hall Thursday
in support of a man who said he was the target of harassment by police
because of his criticism of a shooting that involved officers in the city's
Bayview District earlier this month.
    Debray Carpenter, 22, said he was arrested Saturday for making
disparaging comments about police to a media outlet a day earlier.
    Carpenter was arrested on suspicion of making threats on an
executive officer and resisting arrest, police spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield
said.
    The district attorney's office declined to file charges against
him and he was released early Wednesday.
    Carpenter said, "Police have attacked me and continue to attack me
because I speak up" about the death of 19-year-old Seattle resident Kenneth
Harding Jr. in the Bayview on July 16.
    Harding died following a shootout with police officers who were
conducting San Francisco Municipal Railway fare enforcement near Third Street
and Palou Avenue earlier that day.
    Police said officers shot at Harding after he fired at them, and
later said an autopsy showed that the bullet that killed him did not come
from a police gun, and that he appeared to have shot himself.
    Thursday police also announced that they had found Harding's gun,
which amateur video footage showed was apparently picked up by someone at the
scene who walked away with it before officers could establish the crime
scene.
    Carpenter, a lifetime Bayview resident who also goes by the
nickname "Fly Benzo," questioned the police version of the events in
Harding's case, saying "police make stuff up every day."
    He also denied the police version of his own arrest on Saturday.
    Dangerfield said Carpenter was arrested not because of anything
that occurred on Saturday, but rather for an incident on July 19 at Third
Street and Oakdale Avenue, where the shooting involving Harding occurred.

Two Men Arrested After Attacking Airlines Pilot

    Two men were arrested Wednesday night at Miami International
Airport after they allegedly attacked an American Airlines pilot on a flight
headed to San Francisco, police and airline officials said.
    Flight 1755 was taxiing out of the Miami airport at about 9 p.m.
Wednesday when a passenger who seemed intoxicated failed to comply with
flight crew instructions, according to police.
    The suspect, Jonathan Baez, 27, was sleeping and not wearing his
seat belt, and when a flight attendant tried unsuccessfully to wake him up,
she became concerned he was drunk or on drugs, according to the Miami-Dade
police arrest affidavit.
    The flight attendant told the pilot, who decided to turn the plane
around, the affidavit said.
    "(The crew) didn't want that to escalate in the air," airline
spokesman Tim Smith said.
    The pilot and the flight attendant then went to wake up Baez and
tell him he could not fly because of his condition, the affidavit said.
    Baez's brother, Luis Daniel Baez, 29, was also on the flight and
decided to go with his brother, according to the document.
    The affidavit said the pair became belligerent as they were
walking toward the door, and Luiz Baez told the pilot he would have him
killed the next time he flies to San Juan.
    The brothers left the aircraft, but then Jonathan Baez allegedly
returned and punched the pilot in the face, causing a large bruise and
lacerations, and blurring the vision in his left eye, the affidavit said.
    A flight attendant tried to intervene and was hit in the shoulder.
    The pilot then decided to escort the suspects on the jet bridge to
make sure they left the plane, the affidavit said, although Smith said the
pilot was actually walking to the gate to discuss flight logistics.
    The brothers allegedly jumped on the pilot and started punching
his body and chest. They chased him into the terminal area and continued to
beat him, the affidavit said.
    Flight crew members and other passengers were finally able to
subdue Jonathan Baez, who was arrested on suspicion of aggravated and simple
battery, and Luis Baez, who was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault
and battery.

Family Given Green Light

    A federal appeals court in San Francisco gave a green light
Thursday to a police brutality lawsuit filed against the city of Oakland by
the family of a man who died of rib injuries after a police confrontation 11
years ago.
    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the mother and sister
of Jerry Amaro were not too late when they filed their civil lawsuit in 2009
because stonewalling and an alleged cover-up by Oakland police delayed them
in getting the information they needed.
    Amaro, 36, died of pneumonia related to five rib fractures and a
punctured lung on April 21, 2000, a month after he was arrested by Oakland
police on suspicion of buying cocaine in an undercover sting.
    He and his family alleged his ribs were broken in a beating by
several officers during the arrest on March 23, 2000.
    Amaro was held in jail for five days after his arrest. The
family's lawsuit alleges that he repeatedly complained of pain and asked for
medical treatment both while being transported to jail and while there, but
was not seen by a doctor.
    A police report on the arrest did not mention a beating.
    But an internal police investigation later in 2000 concluded that
at least five officers used force on the 140-pound Amaro and said "there is
very little doubt Amaro was struck by officers during his arrest," according
to the court.
    The report also concluded that officers were derelict in failing
to respond to Amaro's requests for medical treatment, the court said.
    Information from the internal affairs report was withheld from
Amaro's mother and sister, Geraldine and Stephanie Montoya, however, and they
did not file the lawsuit until March 2009, after reading news reports of an
FBI investigation into the incident.
    In Thursday's ruling, the appeals court upheld a federal trial
judge's decision that a two-year deadline for such lawsuits did not apply
because the delays were caused by the Police Department.
    Circuit Judge Carlos Bea wrote, "The department's continued
stonewalling in refusing her request for department reports prevented Montoya
from appreciating the full nature of her claim."

Man Murdered After Giving Food To the Homeless

    The murder of a man who was helping feed homeless people in East
Oakland "is an outrage," Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said Thursday.
    Batts said 29-year-old Paris Powell, who was known on the streets
as "Brother John," was "trying to make a difference in the lives of homeless
people."
    Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said, "This one is not explainable at all.
I hope it was a case of mistaken identity."
    Quan said she plans to meet with Powell's family to express her
condolences.
    Powell was pronounced dead at 10:25 p.m. Wednesday.
    Oakland police said he was shot in an industrial area in the 1000
block of 47th Avenue at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday while he, his wife and two
step-children, ages 3 and 7, were handing out food to homeless people.
    At noon Thursday, there was a small vase with red and orange
flowers near the site where Powell was shot.
    Powell's death was mourned by 61-year-old formerly homeless man
William Holloway, who witnessed the shooting incident and said Powell
regularly gave him food and checked up on him.
    Holloway now works as a security guard at a pallet company in the
block where the shooting occurred. He also lives in a tiny two-room house on
the pallet company's property.
    Holloway said Powell, his wife and step-children were in the midst
of giving him food when Powell was shot.
    He said Powell and his family were in a Ford Aerostar van when a
young, light-skinned black man who was in a late model turquoise Ford
Aerostar van came around the corner and opened fire.
    Oakland police have not provided a description of the suspect or
his van.
    The suspect, who was alone, "fired three shots right away and then
fired two more after that," Holloway said.
    Powell was shot in the face and "caught most of the bullets,"
Holloway said.
    Holloway said he ducked down to avoid getting hit and Powell's
wife and stepchildren started screaming after Powell was hit.


   Woman Accused of Hotel Situation with Jeporday Host Appears at Court

    A woman accused of burglarizing the San Francisco hotel room of
"Jeopardy" game show host Alex Trebek early Tuesday made her initial
appearance in court Thursday to face charges in the case.
    Lucinda Moyers, 56, was arrested at the San Francisco Marriott
Marquis at 55 Fourth St. around 3 a.m. Tuesday after being detained by hotel
security guards, police said.
    Trebek was in town filming the National Geographic World
Championship at Google headquarters in Mountain View.
    Early Tuesday, he and his wife Jean were sleeping when he awoke to
find a woman inside their room, stealing property.
    He got out of bed and began chasing her down the hotel's hallway
when his Achilles tendon ruptured and he fell "in an ignominious heap to the
carpeting," he told the audience at Google after he showed up on crutches to
the taping.
    San Francisco police responded and eventually took Moyers into
custody. She is believed to have stolen items including purses, wallets and
cash, and although officers found several of the items near a hotel ice
machine, no cash was recovered, according to police.
    Moyers was charged with one count of residential burglary and one
count of possession of stolen property.
    She appeared in San Francisco Superior Court Thursday to be
arraigned but did not enter a plea. The arraignment was delayed until Monday
while she is assigned an attorney with the public defender's office.
    Moyers has two prior convictions for residential burglary in San
Francisco in 1990 and 1991, and served time in state prison for both,
district attorney's spokeswoman Erica Terry Derryck said.
    Derryck said the district attorney has not yet decided whether to
prosecute the burglary as a three-strikes case.
    Moyers is being held on $625,000 bail and was also ordered to stay
at least 150 yards away from Trebek and his wife.

Police Say They Recovered Gun Used By Harding

San Francisco police say they have recovered the gun used by
Kenneth Harding, the 19-year-old man who died in a shooting that involved
police in the Bayview District on July 16.
    The .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol was recovered after a
Bayview resident led police to the gun following a weeklong community effort,
police said Thursday.
    Harding died after he exchanged fire with police officers who were
conducting San Francisco Municipal Railway fare enforcement near Third and
Palou streets.
    Police said officers shot at Harding after he fired at them.
    Police later said an autopsy showed that the bullet that killed
Harding did not come from a police gun, and that he appeared to have shot
himself.
    They said video taken just after the shooting shows someone
picking up Harding's gun and walking away with it.
    Ballistic tests conducted by the Police Department's crime lab
confirmed that the .380-caliber gun recovered by investigators is the gun
that fired the fatal shot, according to police.
    Earlier in the investigation, police recovered a .45-caliber gun
at a local parolee's house that they initially believed was Harding's gun.

Bay Area Needs to Invest Money Into Infrastructure

    The Bay Area needs to invest an additional $2.83 billion in

infrastructure annually in order to meet residents' needs and avert further
disrepair, according to a report released Thursday by the American Society of
Civil Engineers' San Francisco section.
    The 2011 "Report Card for Bay Area Infrastructure" rated
categories such as transit, parks and water, and gave the region an overall
grade of "C." 
    Mike Kincaid, chairman of the report card committee, said at a
news conference Thursday that a "B" grade would be considered the minimum
acceptable score.
    "We are here because we believe we can't ignore infrastructure any
longer," Kincaid said. 
    He said the public has come to expect that roads will be drivable,
toilets will flush, water will be clean, and streets will not flood. But if
officials do not reprioritize infrastructure, these assumptions will not hold
true, he said. 
    "We are aware there are other needs for funds, but if we fail to
fund this $2.8 billion now, it will be $14 billion in five years," Kincaid
said.
    The report card committee gave the Bay Area the highest marks in
aviation, for which it earned a "B."
    Water received a "B-," transit a "C," and bridges and wastewater
were each given a "C+". Parks were given a "C-," while the lowest marks went
to roadways, goods movement and urban stormwater, all of which received "D+"
grades.
    The society of civil engineers, which also evaluates other
metropolitan areas in the U.S., released its last infrastructure report card
for the Bay Area in 2005, when the overall grade given to the region was a
"C-."
    San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee released a statement saying the report
"illustrates the dire and deteriorating condition of so much of our
infrastructure here in the Bay Area."

Two Men Stabbed After Coming to Woman's Defense in Mid-Market

Two men were stabbed after coming to the defense of a woman who was punched in the face in San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood on Thursday evening, police said.

The stabbings were reported at 6:52 p.m. Thursday near the intersection of Market and Seventh streets.

The suspect, a man in his 50s, got into an argument with a 43-year-old woman and then punched her in the face, according to police.

When the two men, ages 37 and 47, came to the woman's defense, the suspect took out a folding knife and stabbed them both and then ran away, police said.

The victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for their injuries, which are not considered life-threatening.

The suspect had not been found as of this morning. 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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Man Convicted of Attempted Manslaughter in Stabbing of Daughter's Mother

A man who stabbed a woman through her car window in San Francisco last summer was convicted of attempted manslaughter this week, District Attorney George Gascon announced Thursday.

A jury found Julius Joel Lee, 30, guilty on Monday of one count of attempted manslaughter with a knife and two counts of felony domestic violence, among others.

On Aug. 16, 2010, Lee was working as a bouncer outside a club when he got into an argument with Lou Thomas, the mother of his toddler daughter.

The argument turned physical, and Lee punched Thomas in the face, according to evidence presented during the trial. Thomas left with a friend to get ice from Lee's home for her eye, which had begun to swell.

Unable to enter the home, Thomas sat in her car with the windows down. A short time later, Lee exited his home armed with a butcher knife and threatened Thomas, saying, "I'm going to kill you."

Lee stabbed her through the open car window in her arm and face, and the friend fled from the car to call 911, according to the district attorney's office. In the struggle, Thomas was able to fight back and grabbed hold of Lee's hand that was clutching the knife.

When police arrived, Lee dropped the knife and ran inside his house. He eventually surrendered to police.

The weapon was recovered, and Thomas did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

"The defendant viciously and violently attacked the victim in this case," Gascon said in a statement today. "This conviction hopefully gives some level of closure to the victim."

Lee was also found guilty of one count each of attempted aggravated mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, and criminal threats, according to the district attorney's office.

Lee could face a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison. A sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 24.

 

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Police Arrest 40 Wanted Suspects During Citywide Sweep Wednesday

San Francisco police on Wednesday did a citywide sweep targeting wanted suspects that netted 40 arrests, including 30 on felony offenses, police said today.

Over the course of seven hours Wednesday, police led an operation that included officers from all 10 district police stations, as well as assistance from the sheriff's department, The U.S. Marshals Service, state parole agents, and the city's adult probation officers.

Of the 40 people arrested, 16 are on active parole with the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, according to police.

The operation was the first of its kind in nearly two years in San Francisco, and police Chief Greg Suhr plans on conducting similar operations monthly to reduce crime in the city.

The point of the operations "is to get these felons who are wanted off the streets of San Francisco," police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said. "It reduces the possibility of future crimes and makes the city safer."

 

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Bayview Man Says He Was Harassed By Cops For Criticism of Bayview Shooting

About 20 people gathered outside San Francisco City Hall today in support of a man who said he was the target of harassment by police because of his criticism of a shooting that involved officers in the city's Bayview District earlier this month.

Debray Carpenter, 22, said he was arrested Saturday for making disparaging comments about police to a media outlet a day earlier. 

Carpenter was arrested on suspicion of making threats on an executive officer and resisting arrest, police spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.

The district attorney's office declined to file charges against him and he was released early Wednesday.

Carpenter said, "Police have attacked me and continue to attack me because I speak up" about the death of 19-year-old Seattle resident Kenneth Harding, Jr. in the Bayview on July 16.

Harding died following a shootout with police officers who were conducting San Francisco Municipal Railway fare enforcement near Third Street and Palou Avenue earlier that day.

Police said officers shot at Harding after he fired at them, and later said an autopsy showed that the bullet that killed him did not come from a police gun, and that he appeared to have shot himself.

Today police also announced that they had found Harding's gun, which amateur video footage showed was apparently picked up by someone at the scene who walked away with it before officers could establish the crime scene.

Carpenter, a lifetime Bayview resident who also goes by the nickname "Fly Benzo," questioned the police version of the events in Harding's case, saying "police make stuff up every day."

He also denied the police version of his own arrest on Saturday.

Dangerfield said Carpenter was arrested not because of anything that occurred on Saturday, but rather for an incident on July 19 at Third Street and Oakdale Avenue, where the shooting involving Harding occurred.

He allegedly threatened the officer by saying "You white pig b----, I'm going to put one in you," and after the officer asked him if he was making threats, he said "You bleed like I do, I'm going to put one in you and show you," Dangerfield said.

Dangerfield said Carpenter "was too hostile at that point" so officers decided to wait until days later to arrest him.

Carpenter said, "I never threatened the cops, I never said anything like that," and said he did not resist arrest either.

Erica Terry Derryck, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said the decision was made to not file charges against Carpenter because "we were unable to prove elements of the offense."

Carpenter said his arrest was an example of how youth in the Bayview are treated like criminals, and said the Muni fare enforcement operations that led to Harding's death are another example.

"On the T trains, people are criminalized for not having enough money," he said. "(The Bayview) is the only community where police hop on the train and chase people down."

Several other people spoke at today's event outside City Hall, including Carpenter's father Claude, who said city and police officials have to do a better job of working with the people of the Bayview if they want the neighborhood to thrive.

"You can't build up the community without building up the people of the community," Claude said.

Carpenter and the other speakers at the event called for the city to make several changes to its policies, including stopping fare inspection by police officers, improving schools in the neighborhood, and setting up a citizen review board with the power to indict officers for misconduct.

 

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Appeals Court Allows Oakland Police Brutality Lawsuit to Proceed

A federal appeals court in San Francisco gave a green light today to a police brutality lawsuit filed against the city of Oakland by the family of a man who died of rib injuries after a police confrontation 11 years ago.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the mother and sister of Jerry Amaro were not too late when they filed their civil lawsuit in 2009 because stonewalling and an alleged cover-up by Oakland police delayed them in getting the information they needed.

Amaro, 36, died of pneumonia related to five rib fractures and a punctured lung on April 21, 2000, a month after he was arrested by Oakland police on suspicion of buying cocaine in an undercover sting.

He and his family alleged his ribs were broken in a beating by several officers during the arrest on March 23, 2000.

Amaro was held in jail for five days after his arrest. The family's lawsuit alleges that he repeatedly complained of pain and asked for medical treatment both while being transported to jail and while there, but was not seen by a doctor.

A police report on the arrest did not mention a beating.

But an internal police investigation later in 2000 concluded that at least five officers used force on the 140-pound Amaro and said "there is very little doubt Amaro was struck by officers during his arrest," according to the court.

The report also concluded that officers were derelict in failing to respond to Amaro's requests for medical treatment, the court said.

Information from the internal affairs report was withheld from Amaro's mother and sister, Geraldine and Stephanie Montoya, however, and they did not file the lawsuit until March 2009, after reading news reports of an FBI investigation into the incident.

In today's ruling, the appeals court upheld a federal trial judge's decision that a two-year deadline for such lawsuits did not apply because the delays were caused by the Police Department.

Circuit Judge Carlos Bea wrote, "The department's continued stonewalling in refusing her request for department reports prevented Montoya from appreciating the full nature of her claim."

The case now goes back to the court of U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco for a possible trial.

John Burris, a lawyer for Amaro's family, said, "This is an excellent ruling. This was a tragic case of police conduct that denied Ms. Montoya the knowledge of how her son died. It was a horrible example of a police disinformation campaign."

Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said, "It's a very complex ruling. We are going to spend time reviewing it and looking at our options."

The 2009 lawsuit said the Montoyas became aware in January 2009 of news reports stating that the FBI was looking into allegations that Police Capt. Edward Poulson had kicked Amaro during the March 23, 2000, arrest and directed his subordinates to lie about it.

Poulson was a lieutenant in charge of the undercover drug sting at the time of Amaro's arrest.

He was promoted to captain and put in charge of the department's internal affairs division in 2008, but then-Chief Wayne Tucker suspended him from that post in Jan. 2009 until the FBI investigation was completed.

FBI spokeswoman Julianne Sohn declined to comment on the results of the probe today, saying, "Our policy is that we can't confirm or deny an investigation."

Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Holly Joshi confirmed today that Poulson is currently an active member of the department, but referred further questions to Parker, who declined to comment on the matter.

The lawsuit asks for $10 million in compensation for alleged use of excessive force by police and alleged concealment of the facts of the incident.

 

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Police Say They Have Recovered Kenneth Harding's Gun

San Francisco police say they have recovered the gun used by Kenneth Harding, the 19-year-old man who died in a shooting that involved police in the Bayview District on July 16.
The .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol was recovered after a Bayview resident led police to the gun following a weeklong community effort, police said today.
Harding died after he exchanged fire with police officers who were conducting San Francisco Municipal Railway fare enforcement near Third and Palou streets. Police said officers shot at Harding after he fired at them. Police later said an autopsy showed that the bullet that killed Harding did not come from a police gun, and that he appeared to have shot himself.
They said video taken just after the shooting shows someone picking up Harding's gun and walking away with it. Ballistic tests conducted by the Police Department's crime lab confirmed that the .380-caliber gun recovered by investigators is the gun that fired the fatal shot, according to police.
Earlier in the investigation, police recovered a .45-caliber gun at a local parolee's house that they initially believed was Harding's gun.
 
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Man Robs Wells Fargo Bank in Inner Sunset

A Wells Fargo bank in San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood was robbed on Wednesday afternoon, police said.
The robbery was reported at about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday at the bank, located at 725 Irving St.
The suspect, described as a man in his 50s, entered the bank an approached a teller while simulating that he had a handgun, although no weapon was seen, according to police.
The man demanded money from the teller, a 26-year-old woman who complied and handed over an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

The man then fled the bank and had not been found as of this morning.
Anyone with information about the robbery is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message at TIP411.

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San Francisco Thursday Roundup

Car Chase Leads to Arrests

Two men taken into custody Wednesday night after leading law
enforcement officials on a lengthy car chase through the East Bay are not the
murder suspects police are seeking, East Palo Alto police said.
    Officers of a multi-jurisdictional task force that was formed to
capture Jaime Cardenas and Fidel Silva -- two men suspected of murder in
Grand Junction, Colo., and of two other murders in East Palo Alto -- spotted
a vehicle in Newark registered to one of the murder suspects at around 7:45
p.m., according to police.
    The officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver failed
to yield.
    As the suspects traveled north on Interstate Highway 880, the
California Highway Patrol, as well as several local departments, including
Fremont police, assisted in the pursuit, Fremont police Sgt. Kevin Moran
said.
    "We received a request from an outside agency to assist along
northbound I-880 as it passed through Fremont," he said. The three Fremont
police units transitioned out of the pursuit as it moved north, CHP Officer
Sam Morgan said.
    More CHP units joined the pursuit as it cut through Hayward, San
Leandro and Oakland, where the suspects merged onto eastbound I-980 before
merging again onto eastbound I-580, Morgan said.
    The suspects led authorities at freeway speeds topping out at
about 70 mph, passing through the Livermore area and beyond the jurisdiction
of Bay Area CHP, Morgan said.
    CHP in Lathrop were waiting for the suspects and laid out a spike
strip that popped one of the suspect vehicle's tires, Moran said.
    The suspect vehicle stopped on its own, Moran said, and the men
were taken into custody without incident just after 9 p.m.
    East Palo Alto police said Wednesday that the two men taken into
custody are not Cardenas and Silva and the driver of the vehicle will be
arrested for evading police.

Inmates Convicted of Attempted Murder Inside of Jail

    Two gang members have been convicted of premeditated attempted
murder for attacking a fellow inmate and gang associate with jail-issued
razor blades at Alameda County Jail in Dublin five years ago.
    Jurors deliberated for two days before delivering their verdict
last Thursday against Ronnie Padilla, 28, and Ismael Contreras, 34, for the
Oct. 3, 2006, attack on the gang associate, who is now 30.
    Padilla and Contreras were additionally convicted of acting to
further the interest of a criminal gang, which is an enhancement clause that
will increase the length of their prison terms. Jurors convicted Padilla of
nine gang enhancement clauses and Contreras of one such clause.
    Padilla was also convicted of five counts of assault with a
firearm, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and other charges for
attacking various people in Oakland on Nov. 12, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2005.
    The additional convictions against Padilla are shooting at an
occupied vehicle, permitting another person to shoot at a vehicle,
discharging a firearm with gross negligence, kidnapping for ransom and making
a criminal threat.
    Padilla was also convicted of possessing a weapon in jail for
having a plastic shard, which apparently was fashioned from a fragment from a
plastic chair, in his cell in 2008.
    It is expected that Padilla will get a state prison term of at
least 40 years to life in state prison and Contreras will get 30 years to
life when Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman sentences them on
Aug. 18.
    Padilla's lawyer, Ted Johnson, did not return a phone call seeking
comment on the case.
    Prosecutor Steve Dal Porto said Contreras and Padilla attacked the
other inmate because they thought the other man was planning to leave their
gang, as he had had some gang tattoos removed and had taken other steps to
possibly move away from the gang.
    However, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Casey Bates, who
prosecuted that gang member in an unrelated murder case, said he thinks the
attack stemmed from a power struggle within the gang and he does not think
the gang member was really trying to quit gang life.

Murder Suspect Arrested

    A suspect in three Bay Area murders was arrested Tuesday night in
Coos Bay, Ore., the U.S. Marshals Service said Wednesday.
    Johnathan Walker, 20, was arrested at 1601 Idaho Ave. in Coos Bay
around 9:20 p.m., said Cory Cunningham, a spokesman for the Oregon District
of the U.S Marshals Service.
    Walker is a suspect in the Vallejo murders of Charles Chandler II,
19, on June 19, 2008, and of Michael C. Ross, 22, on June 23 of this year.
Both men were shot at close range, Vallejo police said.
    Walker also is suspected of killing 19-year-old Robert O' Bryant
and shooting another man who survived at a party in the 1600 block of
Kirkwood Avenue in San Francisco's Bayview District on Jan. 25 of this year.
    Walker, also known as "John-John," barricaded himself at the Idaho
Avenue address in Coos Bay while the Oregon State Police SWAT team served a
search warrant Tuesday night, Cunningham said.
    He surrendered 30 minutes later and was booked in Coos Bay County
Jail on felony warrants for murder and a parole violation, Cunningham said.
    The Marshals Service's Oregon Fugitive Task Force received
information from the its Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task in
California that Walker was hiding out with friends in the Coos Bay area,
Cunningham said.
    The Oregon Fugitive Task Force and Coos Bay police identified the
Idaho Avenue location where Walker was and positively identified him inside
the residence, Cunningham said.
    "This residence popped up. We got lucky," Cunningham said.
    Walker was on parole for a robbery in California. Vallejo police
issued two warrants for his arrest on July 12.

San Jose Man Hero After Pulling Daughter from Pool

    Police and firefighters are calling a San Jose man a hero after he
pulled a father and his young daughter, both unconscious, from the bottom of
a pool Wednesday night and revived them, a fire captain said.
    Some residents of a housing complex in the area of Bollinger Road
and Miller Avenue were relaxing in the community's hot tub Wednesday night
while a 44-year-old man swam with his 6-year-old daughter on his shoulders in
the pool that was some 20 to 30 feet away, San Jose fire Capt. Rob Brown
said.
    At some point the people in the hot tub realized that the father's
and daughter's voices had fallen silent, Brown said, and a male resident
leapt into action.
    The man ran over to the pool area, where he saw two bodies at the
pool's bottom. He dove into the water, pulled them out and initiated CPR,
Brown said.
    Within seconds the unconscious man and girl began to come around,
Brown said, and were conscious but in distress when emergency personnel
arrived at 9:01 p.m., five minutes after the near-drowning was reported,
Brown said.
    "Without that action, things might have turned out very
differently," Brown said.
    The father and daughter were still having difficulty breathing
when paramedics arrived, he said, and the pair was transported to a hospital
for evaluation.
    "It just kind of goes to show that with pools and summertime comes
danger," Brown said. He recommended that swimmers take precaution by having
extra people watching and being aware of those in the pool.
    Brown said that police and fire were calling the fast-acting
resident a hero. "We've got a gentleman here who's deserving of some
accolades," he said.

Vote becomes Big Blow

    In a blow to Oakland, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission
voted 12-2 at a marathon meeting Wednesday in favor of relocating a major
regional government center in San Francisco instead of Oakland.
    If the plan wins final approval, the MTC and the Association of
Bay Area Governments, which have shared a building near the Lake Merritt BART
station in Oakland for 40 years, would move to a building at 390 Main St. in
San Francisco, which is between Harrison and Folsom streets.
    The two agencies would be joined at the site by the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District, which currently is located in an aging building
at 939 Ellis St. in San Francisco and is seeking to move to new quarters.
    The Air Quality Management District's board voted in favor of
moving to the 390 Main St. location last week but ABAG's board has not yet
voted. The ABAG board met in closed session for two hours last week to
consider the matter but adjourned without making a decision.
    However, transit officials who support having all three agencies
at 390 Main St. hope that the MTC's vote Wednesday will spur the ABAG board
to also support the move.
    The MTC voted to spend $150 million to acquire the 390 Main St.
building, which was built by the U.S. Navy in the 1940s for military
equipment assembly. More recently it has housed a major U.S. Postal Service
office.
    The two votes against moving to the San Francisco site were cast
by MTC members from Alameda County -- Union City Mayor Mark Green and Alameda
County Supervisor Scott Haggerty. The board's vote followed a 90-minute
public hearing and a 90-minute closed session.
    The meeting was held at the Joseph Bort MetroCenter at 101 8th St.
in Oakland, the building that currently houses the MTC and ABAG.
    Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Oakland City Council members Rebecca
Kaplan and Larry Reid and other Oakland officials came to the MTC meeting
Wednesday to urge the board to consider an alternate site at 1100 Broadway in
downtown Oakland.


Group Gets Award

    For the second year in a row, a local coalition has awarded
Mountain View, Saratoga and Milpitas its highest marks in tobacco-control
efforts among cities in Santa Clara County.
    The "2010-2011 Community's Health on Tobacco Report Card" was
released by the Tobacco Free Coalition of Santa Clara County and Community
Advocate Teens of Today, in partnership with the Santa Clara County Public
Health Department, to monitor Santa Clara County cities' tobacco-control
policies and encourage enforcement efforts.
    Grading was based on tobacco advertising and displays and
preventing youth access to tobacco. Points were awarded for a high compliance
rate with window advertising regulations, enforcement of underage tobacco
sales laws, and creation of policies requiring a tobacco retailer license.
    San Jose climbed up from an 'F' grade to a 'B' after the city
adopted a new tobacco-control policy earlier this year.
    The cities of Mountain View, Saratoga, and Milpitas received 'A'
grades for the second year in a row.
    This year the county has also joined the 'A' list, which officials
are crediting to the enforcement of new laws passed last year by the Board of
Supervisors restricting tobacco sales in unincorporated areas of the county.
    Supervisor Ken Yeager, one of the board members who was
instrumental in the introduction and enactment of the laws, said combating
youth smoking and protecting residents from secondhand smoke exposure only in
incorporated areas of the county is not enough.
    "Research has shown these laws are working," Yeager said Wednesday
morning at a news conference in San Jose to announce the results of the
report. "I'm hoping that we can bring [other cities] along."
    Dr. Martin Fenstersheib, the county's health officer, said the
county spends about $830 million annually on treatment of tobacco-related
health effects.
    The new laws require retailers that sell tobacco in unincorporated
areas to obtain and maintain an annual permit. New retail outlets would be
prohibited from selling tobacco if they operate a pharmacy or are located
within 1,000 feet of a school or within 500 feet of another tobacco retailer.

Men Not Charged Yet After Shooting

    Charges are not being filed against two men arrested in connection
with a shooting last Friday in which a stray bullet went into a San Francisco
apartment and struck an 11-year-old girl, a spokeswoman for the district
attorney's office said Wednesday.
    Lazarus Thomas, 19, of Daly City, and Shadon Mitchell, 20, of San
Francisco, were arrested following the shooting, which occurred around 11:15
p.m. Friday in the 1100 block of Laguna Street in the city's Western Addition
neighborhood, police said.
    The girl who was hit by the bullet was taken to San Francisco
General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. She remains at the hospital,
but her injuries are no longer considered life threatening, police Officer
Albie Esparza said Wednesday.
    Thomas and Mitchell were arrested after a shooting that police
believe was gang-related and stemmed from an argument between a group of men
outside the apartment where the girl was hit.
    But district attorney's spokeswoman Erica Terry Derryck said
Wednesday charges are not being filed against the pair because of a lack of
sufficient evidence.
    Derryck said there is still an active investigation into the
shooting.

Cyclist Found in Pacifica After Serious Injury

    Police found a cyclist seriously injured in Pacifica early Tuesday
evening.
    Officers and medical personnel found the man around 5:55 p.m.
lying on a sidewalk in the area of Oddstad and Terra Nova boulevards, police
said.
    He had facial injuries and was not verbally response, police said.
    The man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he is
listed in critical condition Wednesday, according to police.
    Police are investigating whether a vehicle was involved or if the
man was injured as a result of his bike experiencing equipment failure.
    On Friday, Kijana Crossley, a 15-year-old boy from Pacifica, was
struck by a car while riding his bicycle in the 100 block of Palmetto Avenue
between Esplanade Avenue and Westline Drive.
    He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with massive head
trauma and was declared brain dead the following day.
    

Judge's Tentative Ruling Says Circumcision Ban Should Be Stricken From Ballot

A judge issued a tentative ruling today stating that a proposed ballot measure that would criminalize male circumcision in San Francisco should be stricken from the November ballot because of its conflict with a state law about medical procedures.

The proposed ban would punish people who circumcise a minor with a fine of up to $1,000 or up to a year in jail.

The ban is the subject of a hearing in San Francisco Superior Court on Thursday morning that would result in its removal from the ballot if Judge Loretta Giorgi sticks with the tentative ruling she issued in the case this afternoon.

The organizer of the ban campaign, Lloyd Schofield, has said he believes male circumcision is wrong and likened it to female circumcision practices that are already banned in the U.S. He collected thousands of signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

But opponents of the ban, who include the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Anti-Defamation League, filed a lawsuit last month that seeks to have the measure removed from the ballot.

The opponents say San Francisco would have no power to enact the ordinance because only the state can make rules about medical procedures, and have also argued that the decision to circumcise boys for religious reasons is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Giorgi appears to side with the opponents' argument about the state regulation of medical procedures, according to the tentative ruling she issued in the case this afternoon.

Giorgi said in the ruling that the ordinance should be stricken from the ballot because "it attempts to regulate a medical procedure" and the state law "leaves no room for localities to regulate in this area."

She said, "It serves no legitimate purpose to allow a measure whose invalidity can be determined as a matter of law to remain on the ballot after such a ruling has been made."

Schofield was not immediately available for comment today, but the city attorney's office, which has also filed a brief in the case saying the law was "clearly invalid," said they have received word from him that he plans to go forward with his oral argument at Thursday's hearing.

The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the city's Civic Center Courthouse, located at 400 McAllister St.

 

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Thousands of Dollars Stolen From Bay Area Roller Derby League

Thousands of dollars was stolen from a Bay Area roller derby league when two players were robbed as they returned home to San Francisco's Mission District from a match in Richmond earlier this month, police said.

Two members of B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls -- a skater-owned and -operated nonprofit women's flat track roller derby league -- were unlocking the door to an apartment in the 100 block of Guerrero Street on July 9 around 11:30 p.m. when two armed men approached them from behind and demanded the cash box they were carrying, San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said.

He declined to say how much money was in the box but said it was in the thousands.

The suspects forced the women to the ground, took the box and ran away, Esparza said. The women, who are 31 and 37 years old, were not injured in the attack.

The victims told police they believed they were targets of the armed robbery because the suspects did not steal any other valuables except for the cash box, he said.

"No words were said other than 'Hand over the cash box,'" Esparza said.

He did not know whether the league had been robbed in the past.

When the women were looking for a parking spot near their building, they noticed a light-colored 1990s Mazda van, he said.

"They noticed the van waiting for an available parking spot, but the van didn't take the spot and parked on another street," Esparza said.

San Francisco police are searching for a vehicle matching the victims' description in addition to the suspects.

Esparza described one of the suspects as a black man in his mid 20s about 6 feet tall, 250 pounds, who was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. The other suspect is described as a black man in his 20s about 6 feet tall, 240 pounds, with shoulder-length dreadlocks, who was wearing dark clothing.

The B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls is asking fans to donate to the league in an effort to recoup some of the losses. Those who wish to contribute can visit the league's website at www.bayareaderbygirls.com and click the "Donate" button.

The league is also looking for supporters to attend the upcoming Golden Bowl Tournament from Aug. 12-14 at the Oakland Convention Center.

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

 

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