SF News

"Jeopardy" Host Alex Trebek Injures Leg Chasing Hotel Burglar

"Jeopardy" game show host Alex Trebek was injured chasing a burglar out of his San Francisco hotel room early Tuesday morning.

Trebek, who is in town filming the National Geographic World Championship at Google headquarters in Mountain View, appeared at today's taping in a leg brace and told the audience that he had fallen and hurt his leg while chasing a burglar at his hotel in San Francisco, a Google spokeswoman said.

The 71-year-old is doing well, according to Jeopardy senior publicist Phil Zimmerman, who declined to comment further on the incident.

San Francisco police responded to a report of a burglary at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, at 55 Fourth St., around 3 a.m., Police Lt. Troy Dangerfield and the hotel's director of sales and marketing Leslie Duncan said.

Dangerfield said two hotel guests were sleeping when a woman entered their room and stole a number of items, including purses, wallets and cash.

One of the guests awoke and saw the woman leaving the room, then jumped out of bed and chased her down the hallway, he said. During the chase, the victim fell and injured his leg.

The woman continued to run until she was captured by hotel security guards, who notified San Francisco police, Dangerfield said. 

Police arrested 56-year-old Lucinda Moyers on suspicion of burglary and receiving stolen property, he said. No other suspects are believed to be involved.

Officers found several of the stolen items near the hotel ice machine, but no cash was recovered, Dangerfield said.

Duncan could not comment on how the woman got into the hotel room, saying the case is still under investigation, but said "safety and security are paramount to our guests."

She also said that the woman arrested was not an employee of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. 

 

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Man Charged in Buena Vista Park Murder Under Mental Health Evaluation

A man arrested last week in connection with a June homicide in San Francisco's Buena Vista Park has been charged with murder but missed his initial court hearing today because he is in a hospital undergoing a mental health evaluation.

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 in a blue recycling bin 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, a San Francisco resident, was arrested Friday and was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon on charges of murder, arson, mutilating a body, and destruction of evidence.

However, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ross said today that Diaz is in the hospital, and postponed the arraignment until Friday morning.

Deputy Public Defender Anne Irwin asked Ross for another evaluation of Diaz's mental health, the results of which will also be considered at Friday's hearing.

Diaz is being held on $5 million bail.

 

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DA Not Filing Charges Against Pair Arrested in Shooting of 11-Year-Old Girl

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 today.

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 today.

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 today district attorney's spokeswoman Erica Terry Derryck said 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.

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Supes Approve Putting Ads on Some Muni Bus Windows

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday narrowly approved allowing some San Francisco Municipal Railway buses to be wrapped in advertising.

The board voted 6-5 in favor of allowing the advertising firm Titan Outdoor to place ads on the windows of 15 Muni buses. The move is expected to bring the agency as much as $500,000 in additional revenue, according to Muni officials.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, one of the five members of the board to oppose the proposal, said he had talked to bus riders about the advertising and said it "didn't get very positive reviews."

Mirkarimi said the ads give riders the feeling of "being 'sardined' in even more" on the buses, and that they add to urban blight.

Eric Mar, Scott Wiener, John Avalos and David Campos were the other four supervisors to oppose the plan.

But Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said the advertising is a way to stem further cuts to Muni service.

"As a rider, what am I willing to deal with? An obstructed window, or having to walk 10 more blocks because the service has been cut?" Elsbernd said. "I'll take the obstructed view."

The proposal will go into effect on Sept. 1.

 

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Office Workers Interrupt Bicycle Theft Near the Embarcadero

 A would-be bicycle thief in San Francisco had his own bike confiscated after dropping the key to his lock in a botched attempt to ride off on a bicycle he stole in broad daylight last week outside a San Francisco office.

A surveillance camera outside the office of WCG, a global communications company at 60 Francisco St., captured footage of the thief in action, and the company posted the video to its YouTube page Tuesday after two of its workers thwarted the theft on July 20.

The video shows a man with a shaved head wearing a blue shirt, shorts and a backpack snip a lock that secured a bicycle on a rack in the brightly lit courtyard outside the building.

Kristen Bell, a creative associate at the company, said her female coworker was timidly observing the events unfold through a window.

The coworker hesitated but said that someone was stealing a bike. Bell, thinking the bike was hers, bolted through a door to the courtyard.

"I just saw someone riding off," Bell said. "I just got up and ran out the door."

Because the bicycle actually belonged to a "rather tall" female intern at the company, Bell said, its seat post was too high for the thief to ride off quickly or comfortably.

The video shows the thief fumbling, and just as he finally gets on the bike, Bell and a male coworker come bursting out of the office door. Bell dives for the front tire, blocking the thief's way and causing him to topple
off the bike.

The thief scoops up his belongings and casually ambles away. Although Bell said she and the male coworker could have chased him down, she thought twice.

"I realized that it was probably a bad idea," Bell said. "I could hear my mom's voice saying 'This guy's got a knife.'"

It turned out to be a wise decision, she said, because when building security guards tried to confront the man, he allegedly pulled a knife on them.

"I think we did a pretty good job of avoiding conflict," Bell said."

It is rare that a stolen bike is recovered, but it is even less common that the victim of the crime is avenged.

In this case, both happened. Bell said that before trying to steal the WCG intern's bike, the thief apparently had chained his own bicycle to a sign outside the building. During the courtyard scuffle, he dropped the key to his lock.

The key ended up in the hands of building security guards, who happened to notice the improperly locked bicycle. They unlocked the bike and confiscated it, Bell said.

    "Whoever's missing that bike can claim it within 30 days," Bell said.

Although the bike thief was unsuccessful in his theft attempt, there have been several other bikes stolen from the same rack in recent years, Bell said.

In this case, the intern's bicycle was tethered to the rack with only a cable lock, which can be easily cut, as the thief did.

But even taking measures to better secure two-wheeled property may be for naught at this location, Bell said, because the rack itself has been tampered with in the past.

"It's just never really felt like a good place to keep our bikes even though it's in broad daylight and there's security walking around," she said.

The video of the thwarted theft can be viewed at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-zJQzi7dMg&feature=player_embedded

 

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Credit Union Robberies

 Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a woman who
has robbed a credit union near San Francisco's Stonestown Galleria Mall twice
in the past two weeks.
    The latest robbery was reported at about 1:30 p.m. Monday at the
SF Fire Credit Union at 565 Buckingham Way. That came after another robbery
at the same location on the afternoon of July 15, according to police.
    In Monday's robbery, the woman entered the credit union and
approached a teller, took out a gun and demanded money. The 19-year-old
teller complied, and the woman fled with the cash.
    Police believe the same woman robbed the credit union on July 15.
That day, she was seen leaving in a white, two-door late-1990s car, possibly
a Chevrolet.
    She is described as a black woman in her mid to late 30s who is
between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs about 200 pounds,
and has her hair in corn rows down to her neck, police said.
    The woman was last seen wearing clear eyeglasses, a brown hooded
sweatshirt with a zipper, blue jeans and dark shoes, and was armed with a
handgun, according to police.
    Monday's robbery prompted the credit union to close its doors
Tuesday to allow employees to regroup. It will reopen at 11:30 a.m. today.
    Anyone with information about the suspect or her whereabouts is
asked 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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San Francisco Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Joe Gallagher and Mike McAllister are tired of waiting.

    The San Francisco couple has been engaged since 2008, when
same-sex marriage was legal for a few months before voters enacted
Proposition 8, the state's gay marriage ban.
    The pair did not think there was a rush to get married then and
were a bit surprised when the ban passed, McAllister said.
    They dismissed the idea of going to Iowa or Connecticut for their
nuptials, but when the New York Legislature began discussing same-sex
marriage this summer, they agreed to go for it if the measure passed.
    "I think we just got tired of waiting," McAllister said. "At some
point you have to live your life and not wait for the state to give you the
stamp of approval."
    The two are among countless same-sex couples in California
debating whether to leave the state to get married or wait it out at home,
especially now that New York -- the most populated and most diverse state to
legalize same-sex marriage -- has begun granting marriage licenses this week,
said Stuart Gaffney, a spokesman for Marriage Equality.
    About 30 people attended a meeting Monday night for information
about the legality of New York same-sex wedding licenses in California,
Gaffney said.
    He said most of the couples seriously discussing New York nuptials
are like Gallagher, 50, and McAllister, 40, who have lived in New York and
have family nearby.
    The pair is heading to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in August to
exchange vows, McAllister said.
    He said that at first he was willing to wait for the courts to
overturn Proposition 8, which a federal judge ruled last year violates the
Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses.
    But the decision is currently caught up in the appeals process,
and Gallagher was especially eager to wed sooner rather than later,
McAllister said. The couple has been together for five years.

Thirteen Bay Area post offices may be shutting down

    Thirteen Bay Area post offices, including five in San Francisco,
have been notified they are being eyed for closure, a U.S. Postal Service
representative said Tuesday.
    The post offices were notified that the Postal Service would begin
a pre-proposal stage, which will review every aspect of the site, including
community impact, proximity to other post offices and frequency of use, to
decide if the individual outlets will be placed under consideration for
discontinuation.
    A decision on any site will not be made until after December,
according to the USPS.
    If a site is placed under consideration, it will enter a 60-day
proposal period in which the USPS will hold community meetings hear and
address customers' concerns.
    "We meet them face-to-face, get a feel for the reaction," USPS
spokesman Augustine Ruiz said.
    After two 60-day periods, the USPS will make a decision on whether
to recommend a site for discontinuation.
    There are at least seven Bay Area sites that had been recommended
for closure prior to these 13 being announced, including two in Oakland and
in San Jose.
    Ruiz said she is conscious of the community impact the closures
could have.
    "By closing a particular post office, we have to make sure we give
access (to our services)," Ruiz said.
    For this reason, the USPS is setting up Village Post Offices,
which will provide services similar to those offered by the current offices
but at third party locations such as grocery stores or pharmacies.
    The San Francisco offices in danger are the Federal Building,
Civic Center, Visitation Station (Vistacion Valley), Bayview and McLaren
offices. The Byron Rumford and Eastmont stations in Oakland along with the
Colonnade station in San Jose also are candidates.
    The San Mateo County sites are the Loma Mar, San Gregorio, Colma
and Linden post offices. Yountville's Veterans Home post office is Solano
County's lone site on the list.

Two Arrests Made in Connection to Bulgary

    Santa Cruz police arrested two juveniles in connection with a
burglary at a business early Tuesday morning.
    The burglary allegedly occurred at a business in the 100 block of
Front Street around 12:10 a.m., according to police.
    Witnesses told police they saw two males leaving the business and
heading toward Pacific Avenue.
    When officers arrived, they found a window had been smashed and
went searching with a police dog for the suspects.
    Shortly thereafter they located and detained two juvenile
suspects. Both were hiding in the 600 block of Pacific Avenue. One suspect
allegedly had glass fragments on his clothes, police said.
    The police dog was used to track the scent of the suspects from
the scene of the burglary to where they were hiding, police said.
    Officers recovered a switchblade knife from one of the suspects.
    The boys were booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of burglary
and conspiracy to commit a crime.
    Anyone with information is asked to contact the investigations
unit at (831) 420-5820 or leave an anonymous tip at www.santacruzpolice.com.

13 Year Old Boy Arrested in Connection Robbery    

    Gilroy police have arrested a 13-year-old boy and are looking for
two additional suspects in connection with an attempted armed robbery early
Tuesday morning.
    Police said someone called 911 to report gunfire near Garlic City
Club at 40 Hornlein Court around 2:25 a.m.
    Officers arrived and found the victim, an employee of the
business, who explained to police he was sitting in a car when three people
approached him, according to police.
    He said two suspects were holding handguns and demanded money from
him. He said he responded by reaching for his own gun inside the car and
firing at both suspects, striking one, police said.
    The victim was not injured.
    Police searched the area for the suspects with the assistance of
Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies.
    One deputy found a 13-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to his
hand in the area of Forest and Serafino streets, police said.
    He was transported to Saint Louise Regional Hospital for
treatment.
    After he was released from the hospital, police arrested him on
suspicion of attempted armed robbery, but because of his injury, he was
released to his mother pending juvenile court proceedings, police said.
    The other two suspects remain at-large.
    Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Mike Bolton at
(408) 846-0335 or the We Tip line at (800) 782-7463.

    

Governor Brown Reaches Out

    Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that Berkeley law professor Goodwin
Liu did not apply for a state Supreme Court post and that Brown instead
reached out to him after learning about his credentials during a bruising
U.S. Senate battle.
    "I noticed he was having trouble getting confirmed," Brown said,
referring to President Obama's unsuccessful nomination of Liu to serve on a
federal appeals court in San Francisco.
    That nomination process, however, drew Brown's attention to Liu's
qualifications and background, the governor said at a news conference at the
State Building in San Francisco.
    "Based on that, I just picked up the telephone and said, 'I'd like
to talk to you,'" the governor said.
    Brown nominated Liu, 40, a professor of constitutional law at the
University of California at Berkeley, to the California Supreme Court
Tuesday.
    "There is no doubt in my mind that he has the background, the
intellect and the vision to really help our state Supreme Court again to be
one of the great courts of our country," Brown said.
    Brown said he eventually interviewed Liu at Brown's loft residence
in Oakland and said, "The more I talked to him, the more impressed I was.
    "He is extremely knowledgeable and has a very agile mind and a
great concern for human beings," Brown said.
    Liu has taught at UC Berkeley since 2003 and previously worked for
the U.S. Department of Education and in private practice.
    The son of Taiwanese immigrants, he was born in Georgia and grew
up in Sacramento. He earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford, a
master's degree from Oxford and his law degree from Yale.
    Liu was previously nominated twice by President Obama, in 2010 and
2011, to a judgeship on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
    But that nomination was blocked by U.S. Senate Republicans, and
Liu eventually withdrew his name during a Republican filibuster in May.
    Liu must be confirmed to the new post by the state Commission on
Judicial Appointments, made up of California Chief Justice Tani
Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and senior Court of Appeal
Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.
    If confirmed, he will replace Justice Carlos Moreno, who retired
in February.
    Liu would be one of four justices of Asian descent and one of
three men on the seven-member court, which is based in San Francisco.
    The panel currently has no Hispanic and no African-American
members.
    Asked about the lack of representation of those two groups, Brown
said he did not think national origin, gender or race should be the
predominant factor in judicial nominations.
    "You have to weigh many factors. We're all Americans, we're all
Californians," Brown said.
    Moreno issued a statement saying, "Governor Brown is to be
commended for this visionary and truly meritorious appointment.
    "Goodwin Liu is a brilliant scholar and dedicated teacher. He is
admired for his measured, balanced and rational judgment," Moreno said.
    UC Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley called Liu "an
exemplary scholar with enormous constitutional knowledge and intellectual
rigor."
    Liu said in a statement, "I'm deeply honored by Governor Brown's
nomination and look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of
California on our state's highest court."
    Brown said he expects Liu will be confirmed by September, which is
when the state high court is scheduled to hear arguments on an important
procedural issue concerning Proposition 8, the state's voter-approved ban on
same-sex marriage.
    That issue is whether the sponsors of the measure have the legal
right to appeal a federal court ruling that struck down the ban.
    Brown said he did not ask Liu about his views on same-sex marriage
or the death penalty during interviews. Instead, Brown said he asked Liu
about the role of law and the role of the state Supreme Court.
    If confirmed, Liu would be the first member of the court since the
1980s who had not previously served as a judge.
    Brown said he did not consider lack of judicial experience to be a
problem and cited the example of Roger Traynor, a Berkeley law professor who
was appointed to the court by Gov. Culbert Olson in 1940 and came to be
considered one of the panel's greatest chief justices.
    Brown said he thought Liu's academic background would complement
the experience of the court's other six members, all of whom previously
served as Court of Appeal justices.
    "I think he will add to the mix up there," Brown said.

Brother of Man Killed in Bayview Arrested in Connection with Seattle Murder

The brother of a man killed in a recent shooting that involved San Francisco police in the city's Bayview District has been arrested in connection with a murder in Seattle, police said today.

Ondrell Harding, 21, was arrested Monday night south of Seattle as a suspect in the beating death of a 50-year-old man in Seattle on Saturday, Seattle police Detective Mark Jamieson said.

He has been booked into King County Jail and is being held without bail.

Ondrell Harding is the older brother of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding, who died after being shot while running from police who were conducting a San Francisco Municipal Railway fare check in the Bayview District on July 16.

Police said Kenneth Harding fired at officers and they returned fire. An autopsy later determined that the bullet that killed him did not come from a police gun, and police said he might have shot himself.

The incident has sparked protests in San Francisco, and Harding's family held a news conference on Monday to announce that they were considering legal action against the San Francisco police.

At the news conference, Kenneth Harding's mother said her son had come to San Francisco to launch his career as a rap artist. She said his brother has a recording contract with a record label in San Francisco and planned to help Harding.

Seattle police could not confirm how Ondrell Harding was taken into custody, but an attorney working with the family on the possible civil case said Tuesday that Harding was planning to turn himself in.

Prior to his arrest, Seattle police alerted San Francisco police that Harding was being sought for questioning, in case he was in the Bay Area, San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza said.

Kenneth Harding was a person of interest in a separate Seattle case -- the July 13 murder of a 19-year-old woman -- at the time of his death, police said.

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Same-Sex Couple Plans New York Nuptials as State Begins Issuing Marriage Licenses

Joe Gallagher and Mike McAllister are tired of waiting.

The San Francisco couple has been engaged since 2008, when same-sex marriage was legal for a few months before voters enacted Proposition 8, the state's gay marriage ban.

The pair did not think there was a rush to get married then and were a bit surprised when the ban passed, McAllister said.

They dismissed the idea of going to Iowa or Connecticut for their nuptials, but when the New York Legislature began discussing same-sex marriage this summer, they agreed to go for it if the measure passed.

"I think we just got tired of waiting," McAllister said. "At some point you have to live your life and not wait for the state to give you the stamp of approval."

The two are among countless same-sex couples in California debating whether to leave the state to get married or wait it out at home, especially now that New York -- the most populated and most diverse state to legalize same-sex marriage -- has begun granting marriage licenses this week, said Stuart Gaffney, a spokesman for Marriage Equality.

About 30 people attended a meeting Monday night for information about the legality of New York same-sex wedding licenses in California, Gaffney said.

He said most of the couples seriously discussing New York nuptials are like Gallagher, 50, and McAllister, 40, who have lived in New York and have family nearby.

The pair is heading to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in August to
exchange vows, McAllister said.

He said that at first he was willing to wait for the courts to overturn Proposition 8, which a federal judge ruled last year violates the Constitution's equal protection and due process clauses.

But the decision is currently caught up in the appeals process, and Gallagher was especially eager to wed sooner rather than later, McAllister said. The couple has been together for five years.

Once they realized they could get legally married in New York and have a second ceremony on the West Coast, both were happy with the arrangement, McAllister said.

"I don't think I was expecting this, but the response by family and friends to the word 'marriage' has been kind of amazing," he said. "People just take it a lot more seriously. The congratulations, well wishes, (and) support have been pretty overwhelming."

The couple knows their relationship will be on shaky legal ground in their home state, though.

The California Legislature voted to recognize the rights and responsibilities of same-sex couples married outside the state, but since "marriage" is defined by the state Constitution as one man and one woman, those relationships cannot be called "marriages," Gaffney said.

McAllister said he and Gallagher have therefore been advised to also apply for a domestic partnership in California, and they're working with a lawyer to draft wills and establish durable power of attorney that will be recognized separately from their actual marriage.

Gaffney said the situation just illustrates the complications of inequality.

"A California couple is faced with a very confusing array of options," he said. "It's a really unfair landscape for same-sex couples who want to say 'I do.'"

McAllister said he and Gallagher hold out hope that Proposition 8 will be overturned and their New York marriage validated at home.

There is no doubt to them that marriage is an upgrade from domestic partnership, McAllister said.

"Marriage implies to me that I'm making this commitment to this guy," he said. "That he's the one I choose to spend the rest of my life with. It's not a decision to make lightly."

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Lee Signs Budget After Supervisors Give Unanimous Final Approval

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee today signed the city's budget for the next fiscal year after the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to give it final approval earlier this afternoon.

The $6.83 billion budget proposed by Lee in June was approved by the board after it made more than $20 million in adjustments to funding for various city departments.

Although the budget requires significant cuts to city departments, it also includes funding for a police academy class in response to concerns about the need to replace retiring officers, and maintained funding for the sheriff's department to provide security at San Francisco General Hospital and Laguna Honda Hospital, reversing a proposal by Lee to contract those services out to a private company.

Lee was joined by the entire Board of Supervisors and other city officials in the mayor's office as he signed the budget.

Lee said collaboration in crafting the plan -- including several town hall meetings and dozens of meetings with labor and community groups -- was key to a more peaceful budgetary process than past years, even though he inherited a $380 million deficit when he took office in January.

"We wanted to approach this budget in a very different way," he said.

He said he appreciated the board's close relationship with him and said, "We're going to have to keep that relationship tight."

Board President David Chiu agreed, saying "the spirit of cooperation ... is what we clearly need at this time."

Just before signing the budget, Lee said he was signing it while wearing his favorite tie, an orange one that he also wore when he accompanied the San Francisco Giants to the White House to be honored by President Obama for their World Series win.

"When you're happy, when you have unity in the city, you wear your best tie," he said.

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Brown Says He Learned of State Supreme Court Nominee's Credentials During Senate Battle

Gov. Jerry Brown said today that Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu did not apply for a state Supreme Court post and that Brown instead reached out to him after learning about his credentials during a bruising U.S. Senate battle.

"I noticed he was having trouble getting confirmed," Brown said, referring to President Obama's unsuccessful nomination of Liu to serve on a federal appeals court in San Francisco.

That nomination process, however, drew Brown's attention to Liu's qualifications and background, the governor said at a news conference at the State Building in San Francisco.

"Based on that, I just picked up the telephone and said, 'I'd like to talk to you,'" the governor said.

Brown nominated Liu, 40, a professor of constitutional law at the University of California at Berkeley, to the California Supreme Court today.

"There is no doubt in my mind that he has the background, the intellect and the vision to really help our state Supreme Court again to be one of the great courts of our country," Brown said.

Brown said he eventually interviewed Liu at Brown's loft residence in Oakland and said, "The more I talked to him, the more impressed I was.

"He is extremely knowledgeable and has a very agile mind and a great concern for human beings," Brown said.

Liu has taught at UC Berkeley since 2003 and previously worked for the U.S. Department of Education and in private practice.

The son of Taiwanese immigrants, he was born in Georgia and grew up in Sacramento. He earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford, a master's degree from Oxford and his law degree from Yale.

Liu was previously nominated twice by President Obama, in 2010 and 2011, to a judgeship on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

But that nomination was blocked by U.S. Senate Republicans, and Liu eventually withdrew his name during a Republican filibuster in May.

Liu must be confirmed to the new post by the state Commission on Judicial Appointments, made up of California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and senior Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.

If confirmed, he will replace Justice Carlos Moreno, who retired in February.

Liu would be one of four justices of Asian descent and one of three men on the seven-member court, which is based in San Francisco.

The panel currently has no Hispanic and no African-American members.

Asked about the lack of representation of those two groups, Brown said he did not think national origin, gender or race should be the predominant factor in judicial nominations.

"You have to weigh many factors. We're all Americans, we're all Californians," Brown said.

Moreno issued a statement saying, "Governor Brown is to be commended for this visionary and truly meritorious appointment.

"Goodwin Liu is a brilliant scholar and dedicated teacher. He is admired for his measured, balanced and rational judgment," Moreno said.

UC Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley called Liu "an exemplary scholar with enormous constitutional knowledge and intellectual rigor."

Liu said in a statement, "I'm deeply honored by Governor Brown's nomination and look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of California on our state's highest court."

Brown said he expects Liu will be confirmed by September, which is when the state high court is scheduled to hear arguments on an important procedural issue concerning Proposition 8, the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

That issue is whether the sponsors of the measure have the legal right to appeal a federal court ruling that struck down the ban.

Brown said he did not ask Liu about his views on same-sex marriage or the death penalty during interviews. Instead, Brown said he asked Liu about the role of law and the role of the state Supreme Court.

If confirmed, Liu would be the first member of the court since the 1980s who had not previously served as a judge.

Brown said he did not consider lack of judicial experience to be a problem and cited the example of Roger Traynor, a Berkeley law professor who was appointed to the court by Gov. Culbert Olson in 1940 and came to be considered one of the panel's greatest chief justices.

Brown said he thought Liu's academic background would complement the experience of the court's other six members, all of whom previously served as Court of Appeal justices.

"I think he will add to the mix up there," Brown said.
 

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Credit Union Near Stonestown Robbed Again

A credit union near San Francisco's Stonestown Galleria Mall was robbed Monday afternoon for the second time in less than two weeks.

The robbery was reported at about 1:30 p.m. Monday at the SF Fire Credit Union at 565 Buckingham Way. The previous robbery happened the afternoon of July 15, police said.

In Monday's robbery, a woman entered the bank and approached a teller, took out a gun and demanded money.

The 19-year-old teller complied, and the woman fled with the cash.

In both robberies, the suspect was described as a black woman in her 30s, but police have not said whether the two incidents are connected, and no arrests have been made.

No one was injured in either robbery.

The second robbery prompted the credit union to close its today to allow employees to regroup, senior vice president Glenn Gortney said. It will reopen at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"We regret any inconvenience this may be causing to our membership, but we feel, under the circumstances, they'll understand why we are taking this action," Gortney said.

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Crime-Ridden Bus Shelter in Tenderloin to Be Discussed at Meeting Tonight

San Francisco police and transit officials will be discussing solutions for dealing with a problematic bus shelter in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood at a community meeting this evening.

The problem stop, the San Francisco Municipal Railway bus shelter at Turk and Hyde streets, will be addressed at the monthly community meeting at the Tenderloin Police Station.

People living near the bus stop have complained about crime there, Muni's transit outreach manager Lulu Feliciano said.

Other residents are concerned that the shelter will be removed and they won't be able to catch the outbound 19-Polk bus there, Feliciano said.

"We're going to listen to both sides and talk about solutions," such as replacing the shelter with one that has better lighting and other features that would deter criminal activity, she said.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the community room at the Tenderloin Police Station at 301 Eddy St.

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Hundreds of Chinatown Children Receive New Shoes For School Year

The start of the school year is just few weeks out -- summer's days are numbered -- and back-to-school preparation is already under way.

Backpacks, notebooks and pencil cases may be at the top of some parents' school supply lists, but for some San Francisco families, new shoes are the items most needed to start the school year off on the right foot.

Thanks to donations from one non-profit organization, some 440 children living in Chinatown single-room occupancy hotels each received a pair of new shoes to help them look and feel confident as they return to school on Aug. 15.

For the third year running, My New Red Shoes, whose mission is to provide homeless children with new clothing and shoes, has partnered with the Chinatown Community Development Center to bring the shoes and retail gift card to students entering K-12 grades this year. 

The children, who mainly come from low-income families, each received a $50 gift card to Old Navy.

Chinatown CDC deputy directory Norman Fong said the donations do more than give the students confidence.

"This program can assist their parents to save money and spend on other living necessities," Fong said in a statement.

Since 2006, My New Red Shoes has distributed clothing to more than 4,600 children throughout Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco and Alameda counties.

"Our children are our future community leaders," Fong said. "We encourage more community members to support our children with their educational needs so that our community will become a better place."

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Two Men that Beat Stow May of Had History

  Two new suspects in the beating of Bay Area man Bryan Stow were in
Los Angeles court Monday morning and were scheduled to be arraigned, but the
arraignment has been postponed until August, a district attorney spokesman
said.
    Louie Sanchez, 29, and Marvin Norwood, 30, were arrested in San
Bernadino County Thursday, along with Doreen Sanchez, 31. The men, both of
Rialto, were charged with one count of mayhem and assault in connection with
the March 31 Dodger Stadium parking lot beating that left Stow comatose for
weeks after a Giants-versus-Dodgers baseball game.
    Doreen Sanchez has not been charged.
    The two men appeared Monday at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal
Justice Center, Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office spokesman Matt
Krasnowski said.
    At the request of both men's attorneys, the arraignment has been
postponed until Aug. 10 at 8:30 a.m., district attorney's spokeswoman Jane
Robinson said.
    The two men are being held at a Los Angeles County jail in lieu of
$500,000 bail, Krasnowski said.
    Louie Sanchez was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of
battery stemming from a separate incident on March 31, according to the
district attorney's office.
    A criminal complaint details injuries Stow suffered during the
attack including slits to his nose, ear and lip, along with cuts to his
tongue and injury to one of his eyes.
    Stow, a 42-year-old Santa Cruz father of two who worked as a
paramedic in Santa Clara County, was treated for many weeks after the attack
at a Los Angeles hospital until he was stable enough to be transferred to San
Francisco General Hospital, where he has been undergoing treatment since
mid-May. In June, Stow's doctors upgraded his condition from critical to
serious.
    According to his family's website, Stow has been more alert after
complications last week from bone flap surgery the previous week.
    Until last week's arrest, the primary suspect in the beating had
been Giovanni Ramirez, 31, of Los Angeles. In late June he had his parole
revoked in an unrelated offense and will spend the next 10 months in jail.
Police said Ramirez is no longer a suspect in the attack.

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Charges of Shooting at Police Last Month

A man accused of firing a gun at San Francisco police officers
near Gough and Ellis streets during a busy morning commute last month pleaded
not guilty today to a number of charges including attempted murder.

Roselyndo Sicat, 38, was shot and wounded by officers after he
allegedly fired at least one round at them shortly before 8 a.m. on June 29,
police said.

The shooting happened after two plainclothes officers spotted
Sicat as he was leaving a residential driveway in a four-door Honda, police
said.

He was wanted on a $75,000 warrant for felony vandalism and resisting
arrest
and was on active parole for a weapons violation.

The officers identified themselves as police and approached Sicat,
who allegedly shot at them before being shot himself, according to police.

After he was shot, Sicat crashed into a parked car and the
officers, who were not hit by the gunfire, took him into custody, police
said.
Sicat was arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court this morning
on charges of attempted murder of a police officer, four counts of assault
with a deadly weapon on a police officer and one count of possession of a
semiautomatic firearm.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He is being held on $5 million bail and will return to court on
Aug. 8 for a hearing on evidence in the case and whether his bail should be
reduced.

 

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Two Teens Arrested After Robbery Near City Hall

 Two teens were arrested after they allegedly robbed and beat a man
who was taking pictures at San Francisco City Hall late Monday night, police
said.
    The robbery was reported at about 11:55 p.m. Monday near the
intersection of Polk and Grove streets.
    The 45-year-old victim was approached by someone who struck him on
the head several times with a handgun, according to police.
    The suspect took the victim's camera and fled in a waiting
vehicle, but the victim was able to follow it and provided police with a
description of the car, a white 1997 Hyundai.
    Two suspects, boys ages 16 and 17, were subsequently arrested in
connection with the robbery, police said.
    The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be
treated for head lacerations, and was in stable condition this morning,
according to police.
    

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Firefighters Battle One-Alarm Blaze This Morning

San Francisco firefighters responded to a one-alarm blaze in the city's Telegraph Hill neighborhood early this morning, a fire dispatcher said.
    The fire was reported at 1:15 a.m. at a residence at 1170 Montgomery St.
    The blaze started on the roof and was under control by 1:51 a.m., the dispatcher said.
    No residents were injured or displaced.

 

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San Francisco Tuesday Morning News Roundup

President Obama Honors the World Series Champions San Francisco Giants

    President Obama hosted the San Francisco Giants at the White House
Monday to honor their recent World Series victory.
    Obama congratulated the Giants on their remarkable season, which
ended in Game 5 of the World Series last year when the Giants triumphed over
the Texas Rangers 3-1.
    He drew attention to some of the unusual characters that populate
the Giants' lineup and quoted Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who once called his
Giants team a group of "misfits and castoffs."
    In particular, the president mentioned starting pitcher Tim
Lincecum and closer Brian Wilson, who are also known by their colorful
nicknames, "The Freak" and "The Beard," respectively.
    Lincecum is as well known for his thin frame and long hair as he
is for his fastball, and Obama pointed out that he was passed over nine times
in the Major League draft before he was picked up by the Giants. "Nobody
thought somebody that skinny, with that violent a delivery, could survive
without just flying apart," Obama said.
    But Lincecum has since proven himself after winning two Cy Young
awards and the final game of the World Series. "Before Game 5 last year, Tim
was so relaxed he was singing in the clubhouse," Obama said.
    The president said he does, indeed, "fear the beard," referring to
Wilson's popular catch phrase. Wilson, renowned for his dominant pitching, is
equally well known for his off-field persona, including arriving at this
year's ESPY Awards in a spandex tuxedo.
    The president joked that Wilson's presence took the pressure off
First Lady Michelle Obama to make a fashion statement.
    Also in attendance was baseball great Willie Mays, who played for
the team when they won their last World Series in 1954 as the New York
Giants. Mays was 23 years old at the time.
    San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, former mayor Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom,
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein also attended
the event, as well as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, whom Obama said was
a big Giants fan.

Family Mourns Loss

Hundreds of mourners gathered in Family Bible Fellowship Church in
Newark Monday to remember Johntue Caldwell, the victim of a July 15 homicide
in Hayward and best friend of Oscar Grant III.
    Caldwell, 25, was found dead from gunshot wounds in a parked car
at West Tennyson Road and Calaroga Avenue. Police said they did not believe
the shooting was random but have not yet determined a motive.
    Hayward police Lt. Roger Keener said the department is still in
the process of interviewing witnesses but said he is optimistic that the case
will be solved.
    Caldwell's family and friends remembered Grant as well as Caldwell
during the services. The two were friends growing up in Hayward and were
employed together at Farmer Joe's Market in Oakland.
    Beverly Dupree, Caldwell's aunt, recalled a story from his
childhood, when a fearless Caldwell tried again and again to climb to the
roof of his house.
    Grant's uncle, Cephus Johnson, said he never realized just how
similar Grant and Caldwell were until he heard that story. He said Grant had
done the same thing as a child. "They were one," Johnson said.
    Caldwell and Grant were both detained on the Fruitvale BART
platform in the early morning of Jan 1, 2009, which sparked violent protests
in Oakland after video emerged showing a BART police officer shooting Grant
while he was restrained face-down on the platform.
    Officer Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary
manslaughter for Grant's death and was recently released from prison.
Caldwell was involved in a lawsuit against the BART police regarding Grant's
death and other allegations of police misconduct that night.
    Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, spoke at the services and thanked
attorneys for Grant and Caldwell for their pursuit of justice in that case.
"What good could come out of this?" she said of the death of her son's best
friend. "I'm just thankful for the path that he and Oscar shared together,"
she said.
    Johnson was recently awarded a $1.3 million settlement from BART
for the death of her son.

Oakland Airport Halts Work   

    Inaction by Congress has halted work on important modernization
projects at the Oakland International Airport and on other airport
improvement projects across the country, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray
LaHood said Monday.
    LaHood told reporters in a conference call that because Congress
failed last Friday to keep the Federal Aviation Administration fully funded,
4,000 of the FAA's 45,000 employees were furloughed over the weekend and
construction workers were told to stay at home Monday.
    However, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said air traffic
controllers are continuing to work and there has not been any impact on
flights.
    "Air traffic is fully managed and there's no compromise to the
safety of the traveling public," Babbitt said.
    LaHood said a funding fight in Congress has forced the issuance of
more than $148 million in stop-work orders at airports across the nation,
including for a $31 million project to build a new air traffic control tower
at the Oakland airport.
    "Thousands of construction jobs have been halted because Congress
didn't do its work," he said.
    Port of Oakland spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur said ground was
broken last October for the project to build the new 236-foot air traffic
control tower. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
    Sandifur said the new tower will replace the two smaller and aging
towers that currently serve the airport, give air traffic controllers a
better view of the airfield and make the airport more efficient.
    She said 60 people are working on the project but they were told
not to report to work Monday.
    LaHood said "there's no excuse" for Congress failing to pass
legislation that maintains full funding for the FAA, and added that the
funding "is critical for our country and our transportation system."
    -0-

Family of Man shot In Bayview Seeks Answers

Family members of a Seattle man who died in an officer-involved
shooting in San Francisco police want to find out what really happened in the
deadly incident, an attorney said Monday.
    Adante Pointer, an associate of Oakland civil rights attorney John
Burris, said he has not yet decided whether to file a lawsuit on behalf of
the family of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding Jr. but at this point wants to
"help them get the answers they deserve."
    Pointer alleged that San Francisco police have given out
"conflicting" versions of what happened to Harding in a confrontation that
began at about 4:45 p.m. on July 16, when police said he ran from officers
who had attempted to detain him for fare evasion at a San Francisco Municipal
Railway light-rail stop at Third Street and Palou Avenue.
    Police initially said officers fatally shot Harding after he fired
at them but they later said they believe he killed himself with his own gun.
They said they do not know if it was an accident or Harding shot himself on
purpose.
    San Francisco chief medical examiner Dr. Amy Hart said that the
bullet believed to have killed Harding that was removed from his head was a
.380-caliber bullet, which is inconsistent with the service ammunition used
by San Francisco police.
    Police said last week that they also found an unused .380-caliber
bullet in Harding's right jacket pocket.
    Pointer said, "The truth seems to be far at hand" and he wants San
Francisco police to release records, witness statements and other documents
so that Harding's family "can have the closure they deserve."
    Pointer said witnesses he has interviewed claim that Harding
"never fired a shot" at police and "was in full sprint" away from police when
he was shot and killed.
    No weapon was found by police at the scene, but amateur video
footage captured in the shooting's aftermath showed a passerby picking up
what police investigators believe was Harding's gun and taking it from the
area before police could establish the crime scene.

Male Attacks Police   

    An 18-year-old Union City man was charged Monday with attempting
to murder a peace officer and six other felonies in connection with a
burglary and long standoff with police last week.
    In addition to the attempted murder charge, Lamar Lomack faces two
counts of assault with a firearm on a peace officer and four counts of child
endangerment.
    Authorities allege that Lomack, who was free on bail in an
unrelated case, placed two babies and two other children in harm's way in the
incident that started at about 10:15 a.m. Thursday, when Union City police
received a report of a burglary near Darlene Way and Jean Drive.
    Lomack and co-defendant Christopher Gaines, 19, who is charged
with first-degree residential burglary, were arraigned in Alameda County
Superior Court in Fremont and are scheduled to return to court soon to enter
pleas.
    Union City police said Gaines hangs out in their city but does not
have a permanent residence and also hangs out in other cities in the Bay
Area.
    Lomack is being held in lieu of $3.2 million bail and Gaines is
being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
    Union City police Lt. Ben Horner said residents of the burglarized
house were upstairs when they heard a knock at the door last Thursday morning
and then heard glass breaking.
    When the residents came downstairs, they saw a male intruder. He
was startled and ran away, Horner said.
    Neighbors called police and reported seeing a man running through
backyards and jumping over fences, he said. Officers arrived and began
investigating the burglary and found a person of interest on Darlene Way.
    When the officers approached the man, later identified as Lomack,
he pulled out a handgun and fired at them and the officers fired back, Horner
said. No officers were struck by the gunfire, he said. Lomack dodged the
shots and ran away from police.
    -0-
    An injured bicyclist was airlifted out of Mount Diablo State Park
Monday afternoon, San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District spokeswoman Kim
French said.
    The fire district received a call shortly before 1:15 p.m. from
someone reporting that a bicyclist was injured near Rock City, an area on the
south side of the park off of South Gate Road.
    Information about how the person was hurt was not immediately
available, but French was able to confirm that the person's injuries were
serious enough that firefighters called for a helicopter.

   

  
Ten desktop computers From School in Portola Valley

    Ten desktop computers were stolen last week from an elementary

school in Portola Valley, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
    Deputies responded on Friday to a burglary reported at Woodside
Priory School at about 8:45 a.m., according to the sheriff's office.
    The Apple iMac computers were stolen from the school's computer
lab and were estimated to be worth $12,000, according to the sheriff's
office.
    Detectives believe the burglar or burglars entered the computer
lab by cutting a screen and sliding open a window located next to the lab.
    The sheriff's office is continuing to investigate a similar
burglary at Corte Madera School, also in Portola Valley, in which 21 laptop
computers worth $16,000 were stolen sometime between June 29 and June 30.
    Anyone who might have witnessed the crimes or has information that
could help the investigation is asked to contact San Mateo County Sheriff's
Detective Ben Hand at (650) 363-4192 or call the sheriff's anonymous tip line
at (800) 547-2700.
  

Woman Shot In North Beach Monday Night

A woman who was shot in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood
Monday night was most likely not the intended target, according to police.
    Police responded to reports of a shooting at Francisco Street,
between Taylor and Mason streets, at around 9:40 p.m.
    The victim, a woman in her 40s, was walking home when she heard
rapid gunshots and realized she had been shot in the back, police said.
    She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for non-life
threatening injuries.
    Information regarding suspects was not immediately available.
    

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