SF News

San Francisco Bay Area Thursday Morning News Round Up

Castro Rally Gathers LGBT Community to Celebrate Same Sex Marriage Ruling

It was hard not find a smile at San Francisco's Castro District as hundreds of gay rights supports gathered Wednesday evening to celebrate Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Rainbows were everywhere from flags to balloons to feather boas as supporters gathered at Castro and Market streets for a rally organized by a coalition of advocacy groups including Marriage Equality USA, March4Equality and Unite Here Local 2. Local performers were also staged at 19th and Castro streets. Cleve Jones, founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, praised Wednesday's "milestone in our long struggle to equality and social justice" however he noted work still needs to be done.

Jones also took the time to acknowledge Nelson Mandela's efforts towards equality in South Africa. He said Mandela is in critical condition and encouraged the crowd to chant "Viva Nelson Mandela." People were waving mini red and blue flags with yellow equal signs as speakers continued to pump up the crowd.

Laura Snodgrass, 32, of Eureka, arrived earlier Wednesday from New York for a wedding and found out about the news through Twitter. She said she and her partner Julie Strubinger, 34, cried with others while waiting for their connecting flight in Newark, N.J. Snodgrass and her partner were married five years ago and were glad to hear that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional. People were dressed in all sorts of costumes from puffy dresses to wedding veils or in some cases wore no clothing at all.

"Overjoyed" was the word David Miner chose to describe his feelings towards Wednesday's rulings. Miner, 53, is an Associate Priest and Project Coordinator at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in San Francisco, who was at the rally with his partner Matthew Chacko.

The couple has been together for 20 years and married five years ago at San Francisco City Hall. People held multiple signs including ones that read "Today We Are More American" and "Marry Who You Love." Naan White, 56, of San Francisco was enjoying the rally with her partner Barnie Simpson and their kids, Rashaad and Rashidah Simpson-White. When asked about his feelings towards Wednesday's Supreme Court rulings Rashaad simply gave two thumbs up.

Brother Junipero of the Society of St. Francis in San Francisco was supporting the LGBT community at the rally. Junipero said he was in a prayer group with his fellow brothers Wednesday morning and they were all glancing their phones to check the latest news on the U.S. Supreme Court rulings. "This is a great landmark opportunity for us to build bridges," he said.

Lori Katz, 59, was wearing a "bride-to-be" headband at the rally. Her girlfriend, Bea Coll 55, proposed to her three weeks ago and the couple is planning their wedding for next summer. Melinda Kendall, 55, had an "overwhelming feeling of safety" when she heard the news on the U.S. Supreme Court rulings Wednesday morning. She is a teacher at West Portal Elementary School and remembers the threat of the Briggs Initiative, a state ballot proposition which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching at public schools.

Tonight's rally allowed the LGBT community to come together and celebrate, Marriage Equality USA national media director Stuart Gaffney said. With the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade coming up this weekend "the timing of these decisions couldn't be better," Gaffney said.

Wildlife Rescuers Attempting to Capture Marmot in Bernal Heights

Wildlife rescuers have set a trap hoping to capture a wayward marmot that was spotted in the backyard of a home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood.

A resident reported the marmot in the yard Wednesday morning. The call was forwarded to members of Wildlife Emergency Services, based in Moss Landing, who were on scene Wednesday afternoon trying to coax the marmot from underneath a shed, said Rebecca Dmytryk, an animal expert with the organization.

Dmytryk said she believes the animal made its way to Bernal Heights by hitching a ride on the undercarriage of a truck or car on the drive from the Sierras or other mountainous location and has likely been in San Francisco for about a week. She cited a phenomenon in which marmots get into automobile engines and chew through the engine hoses to drink antifreeze.

Marmots are not from the Bay Area, and typically live in colder climates at elevations of 5,000 feet or higher, she said. Outside of its normal habitat, the marmot could die.

In addition to capturing the marmot, WES is attempting to learn where the animal came from so that rescuers can return it to its home once it is captured. Rescuers have set up a trap in the yard to capture the marmot and the home's resident has volunteered to keep an eye on it and alert WES if the marmot is caught, Dmytryk said.

Anyone with information about how the marmot came to San Francisco or who recently returned to the city from the mountains is asked to call WES at (866) 945-3911. "Just in case we catch this guy, give us a holler so we can take him back home," Dmytryk said.

Local Faith Leaders Celebrate, Others Denounce Prop 8, Doma Rulings

The Bay Area faith community responded to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding same-sex marriage with dozen of religious leaders gathering in San Francisco Wednesday afternoon. A coalition of about 60 clergy of myriad faiths stood on the steps of Grace Cathedral at the top of Nob Hill to celebrate the high court's decisions on marriage equality.

The Rev. Phil Lawson from the Easter Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond praised the Supreme Court for bringing justice to California and beyond. "Thank God they got it right today," he said.

From Berkeley's Beyt Tikkun synagogue, Rabbi Michael Lerner said the religious community owes the gay community an apology on behalf of the many congregations that in past years have not recognized same-sex love and civil rights. "We are fully and 100 percent with you," he said. "Thank God that the gay community vigorously sought the right to marry."

The Rev. Kamal Hassan from the Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church in Richmond lauded the decisions that will allow same-sex marriages to resume in California, but said he will remain wary. "Celebrate this moment, but be cautious at the same time," he said.

As a black and openly gay pastor, the Rev. Deborah Johnson from Inner Light Ministries in Santa Cruz spoke about fighting injustices for people in and beyond the LGBT community. "Our message to the world is not, 'We won,' but 'We are one,'" she said.

Mitch Mayne said he has been optimistic about when -- not if -- gay marriage would become legal. As an openly gay Mormon he said he has to have a good attitude. "We will prevail," he said. He noted that as a Mormon he believes discriminating against any family is wrong.

Before a closing prayer, the Rev. Amos Brown said he and the San Francisco chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stand in solidarity with the LGBT community. He serves as president of the NAACP San Francisco chapter. "An injustice to one is an injury to all," he said. He urged attendees to not walk away Wednesday "in a state of euphoria" but to be mindful that marriage equality is still sought nationwide and that other struggles plague other minority groups. "We must continue the conversation," Brown said.

The Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone denounced the Supreme Court decisions Wednesday morning in a joint statement with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cordileone issued the statement while in Rome Wednesday, archdiocese spokesman George Wesolek said. The pair called Wednesday a "tragic day for marriage and our nation. "The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage," the statement read. The statement continued, "Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with secure foundation of a mother and a father."

Shark Bites Kayak Off Coast of Pacifica Beach, No One Injured 

Warning notices have been posted at the Pacifica State Beach Wednesday after a man in a kayak fishing off the coast said a shark bit his boat before swimming away.

Pacifica police Chief Jim Tasa said in a report that the attack occurred around 4:55 p.m. Tuesday when the uninjured man in a kayak called police. The victim said a shark bit the kayak then briefly circled the watercraft before swimming away.

The victim in the kayak was able to return to shore unharmed, according to Tasa. The Pacifica Department of Public Works posted signs at the beach Wednesday warning of the incident, but the attack occurred outside the area where surfers and swimmers tend to frequent.

The beach will be monitored nonetheless, Tasa reported.

City Officials Break Ground on Decades-Long Hunters Point Project

San Francisco city officials broke ground Wednesday on a massive, decades-long redevelopment project in the city's Hunters Point neighborhood.

Mayor Ed Lee, former Mayor Willie Brown, Supervisor Malia Cohen and former Supervisor Sophie Maxwell were among the dignitaries on hand to celebrate the start of construction on the first phase of the nearly $8 billion project.

Developed by the company Lennar Urban, the Hunters Point project is expected to create more than 12,000 new residential units, as well as new retail space and more than 350 acres of parkland over the next 20 years, according to the mayor's office.

"The promise is being delivered," Lee said. "It's no longer promises, the dirt is being turned over and buildings are getting started." The project has had "at times a somewhat complicated journey" in getting to the groundbreaking, said Kofi Bonner, who is overseeing the redevelopment for Lennar.

The site has undergone extensive cleanup of hazardous materials from the former naval shipyard while project organizers have also dealt with the uncertainty over whether the San Francisco 49ers were going to stay in their stadium at Candlestick Park. With the team moving down to a new stadium in Santa Clara in 2014, the stadium will be demolished and new retail space will take its place in the second phase of the redevelopment project, Bonner said.

He said the first residential units will be completed on the site in the next three years. Cohen, whose district includes the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods in the southeast end of the city, said those neighborhoods "have had significant challenges" with crime and blight but said the new project will bring better days ahead. "We're moving beyond that old narrative of fear and hatred ... and walking lockstep into a prosperous future," she said.

Brown said, "There is no other piece of soil in any other urban area that's as potentially lucrative." "It's going to be an ideal place to live," he said.

Away from the celebration, dozens of members of the job advocate group Aboriginal Blackman United protested what they said was a lack of job opportunities for neighborhood residents on the project. ABU president James Richards said his group has not been consulted in negotiations over who will be hired for the project.

The city's Building Trades Council signed an agreement with Lennar in 2007 tasking another group, the local nonprofit Young Community Developers, to oversee local hire efforts for the Hunters Point project, council secretary-treasurer Michael Theriault said.

Richards said his group will continue to protest at the site in the coming days until Lennar and the city engage them and other neighborhood groups about jobs on the project. "We'll be back tomorrow and the next day and the next day, until we get justice on these jobs," he said.

Bonner from Lennar said, "We know them well, they know us well ... they want to make sure nobody forgets them and we appreciate that." More information about the Hunters Point project can be found online at www.theshipyardsf.com.

Weather Forecast

Partly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely in the Bay Area this morning, becoming sunny later in the day. Highs are expected to be in the lower 60s to mid 70s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph in the afternoon.

Clear skies with patchy fog are expected this evening. Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies with patchy fog are expected Friday morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s. Southwest winds up to 20 mph and gusts up to 35 mph are expected in the afternoon.

 

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Gay Men's Chorus Holding Harvey Milk-Themed Concert

In what is turning out to be fortuitous timing, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus tonight is premiering a new choral work dedicated to civil rights champion and late San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.

"I Am Harvey Milk," featuring a performance by Tony and Grammy Award nominee Andrew Lippa, will debut at 8 p.m. today at Harvey Milk 2013, the chorus' 35th anniversary concert celebrating the life and legacy of Milk, the city's first openly gay supervisor.

The concert, which will take place at the Nourse Theatre at 201-299 Hayes St., will also feature a variety of other performance pieces celebrating Milk, who was slain along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White at City Hall on Nov. 27, 1978.

The concert happens to fall on the same day the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and dismissed an appeal in California's Proposition 8 case.

"I can't find the words to describe how I feel today," chorus artistic director Tim Seelig said in a statement.

"Tonight, 300 chorus members will raise their voices in song, just as San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus did 35 years ago, when they performed for the first time at the candlelight vigil for Harvey Milk," Seelig said. "No matter what, we will always keep singing."

Bruce Cohen, a producer of "I Am Harvey Milk," added, "This is a historic victory for California, for equality, and, most of all, for loving gay and lesbian couples and their families.

Clearly, Harvey's work continues and he would be extraordinarily proud today." Harvey Milk 2013 will continue on Thursday and Friday at the Nourse Theatre, with tickets ranging in price from $25 to $60.

More information about the concerts can be found online at www.sfgmc.org or by calling City Box Office at (415) 392-4400.

 

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BART Union Employees Vote to Authorize Strike

BART's two biggest labor unions announced today that their members have voted to authorize a strike against the transit agency.

Members of Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, voted on Tuesday but the results weren't announced until today.

The votes give union leaders the power to call a strike, but they don't necessarily mean that one will occur.

The unions' contracts with BART expire on Sunday, so a strike could potentially begin as soon as Monday morning.

Key issues in the talks, which began on April 1, are wages, health care costs, pension contribution costs, work rules and safety.

BART management spokesman Rick Rice called the strike authorization votes "a procedural move" by the unions but he said the two sides are "continuing to negotiate to try to get a deal."

Rice said contract talks will resume today.

He said negotiations were suspended on Tuesday so union members could vote.

John Arantes, the president of the BART chapter of SEIU Local 1021, said in a statement, "We have tried in vain to get BART to have serious conversations about the issues facing workers every day -- there are fewer workers, working for less money, in more dangerous conditions."

Arantes said, "This is an unsafe, unfair situation that can't be allowed to continue. We don't want to strike, but BART management seems determined to cause one."

Antonette Bryant, the president of ATU Local 1555, said, "Our members are under attack and the district refuses to act. All we want is fair compensation and a safe workplace."

Rice said BART has asked Gov. Jerry Brown not to order a 60-day cooling off period that would delay a strike if an agreement isn't reached by Sunday.

He said that if a strike is to occur, the transit agency would rather face one now, when ridership is down due to summer vacations, rather than in September, when ridership returns to peak levels.

The last time BART employees staged a strike was in September 1997.

The walkout lasted six days before a settlement was finally reached.

 

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City Hall Crowd Reacts to Rulings

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote today that the sponsors of Proposition 8 had no standing, or legal authority, to appeal a trial court ruling that struck down the statewide ban on same-sex marriage.

The decision has the effect of reinstating a 2010 ruling in which U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said the ban violated the federal constitutional rights to equal treatment and due process.

Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris had refused to appeal Walker's ruling, and the high court said today that proponents of a voter initiative don't have the right to defend it on appeal if state officials decline to do so.

In another decision today, the court by a 5-4 vote struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had prohibited the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

Hundreds of people gathered inside San Francisco City Hall this morning in anticipation of today's rulings.

The DOMA ruling was announced first, eliciting loud cheers. When the Proposition 8 ruling was released, there was initial confusion about what it meant, but the confusion quickly turned to jubilation when it became clear that same-sex marriages will likely resume in California.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee addressed the crowd, calling today a "historic, historic day for all of us." "It's been a long road ... but gosh, it feels good to have love triumph over ignorance," Lee said.

Lee and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom walked down the steps under the City Hall Rotunda with Phyllis Lyon, one half of the first lesbian couple to wed in San Francisco when same-sex marriage was briefly legal in 2008.

Her spouse, Del Martin, died later that year.

"What a day, a special day," said Newsom, who started it all by unexpectedly allowing same-sex weddings in the city shortly after he became mayor in 2004.

Newsom said it is the leadership of same-sex rights pioneers like Lyon and Martin that led to today's events.

"It's people like Phyllis and Del that stepped up and stepped in half a century ago to these debates ... They didn't wait for someone to tap them on the shoulder, they didn't wait to ask for permission," Newsom said.

He pointed out that the story is not yet finished.

"Like any journey it's not linear -- it's messy, it's complex. There are good days and bad days, but it's a worthy journey that we're on," Newsom said.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has said that in the event that the Supreme Court ruled on the standing issue, he expected same-sex weddings in the California to resume by late July.

That timing includes 25 days in which Proposition 8 sponsors could ask the court for a rehearing, plus several days for a federal appeals court to issue a mandate dismissing the appeal.

But there could be further litigation about the scope of the trial court ruling striking down Proposition 8.

Herrera and lawyers for two couples who challenged Proposition 8 say the injunction issued by Walker requires California officials to license and register same-sex marriages statewide.

The sponsors of Proposition 8 have said in court filings, however, that they think Walker's injunction would apply only to the two individual couples who challenged Proposition 8.

The couples, who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in San Francisco in 2009, are Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier of Berkeley and Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo of Burbank.

 

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Happy Couples Celebrate Court Rulings at City Hall

Elated couples and same-sex marriage supporters celebrated at San Francisco City Hall this morning as they learned that the U.S. Supreme Court had dismissed an appeal in the Proposition 8 case and struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Karen Topakian, 58, and her partner Peg Stevenson, 50, live in San Francisco's Mission District.

The two have been together for 25 years.

They came to City Hall this morning to witness the "historic moment" with others, Topakian said.

Both agreed it feels good to have the option to wed.

"Now we have to decide if we want to get married," Topakian said.

She said she is excited about the benefits she would qualify for if she were married, although she noted, "I don't need the government to recognize my relationship, love and humanity."

There is some disagreement about what the Proposition 8 ruling means.

The high court didn't rule on the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban but rather decided that its sponsors didn't have the legal authority to appeal a lower court ruling striking it down.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Gov. Jerry Brown both said they expect same-sex weddings to resume soon, but the Proposition 8 sponsors have vowed to continue fighting to enforce the ban.

Frank Reyes, 54, and his partner Paul Brady, 47, live together in the city's Castro District and were holding hands at City Hall today.

Brady called this morning's news "surreal" and said he is happy to now have the same marriage rights as heterosexual citizens.

"It's nice to be on this side of things," Brady said.

A few minutes later, an ecstatic Reyes yelled, "I just proposed to him!" Brady said yes, he said.

Bobby Spencer, 47, a resident of San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, said he woke up at 5:30 a.m. today to make it to City Hall in time for the rulings.

He said he has lost sleep this week because he was so anxious to hear what would happen.

This morning, he joked, "My future ex-husband is somewhere in this room."

Two large screens had been set up inside City Hall for the occasion; one was tuned to CNN and the other showed posts from SCOTUSblog, the widely trusted source of breaking Supreme Court news.

Outside City Hall, numerous motorists honked in support of same-sex marriage.

After this morning's gathering, many left City Hall to head to work.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Passengers Brace for a Possible BART Strike

As Bay Area transit riders brace for a possible strike by BART workers, a union representing 1,800 AC Transit workers warned that a BART strike could create a dangerous situation for transit workers and commuters. 

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192 released a letter from union president Yvonne Williams to AC Transit general manager David Armijo expressing concern about news reports that AC Transit could help absorb large numbers of transit riders who would otherwise be stranded by a BART strike

"There are not enough buses in AC Transit's fleet to serve patrons who normally ride BART. In the past, AC Transit has redirected service away from our loyal, daily passengers, stranding them," Williams wrote in the letter. 

However, AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson stressed that there would be no re-direction of AC Transit buses away from their regular routes in the event of a BART strike. 

"Our regular East Bay service will remain intact," Johnson said. "We would offer as much supplemental service as we could or might be needed along our existing Transbay lines." 

Williams said Tuesday that during a previous BART strike in 1997, some AC Transit drivers faced a "riotous" situation, where buses might be surrounded by stranded commuters or placed in situations where riders were pushing and shoving to get a space on public transit, something in short supply in the absence of BART. 

At the time, BART carried about 200,000 passengers per day, Williams said. Now it averages about 400,000. 

Further compounding a potentially chaotic transit situation, the AC Transit union's contract expires on Sunday, the same day contracts between BART and its five unions end. Williams said 97.4 percent of AC Transit employees who participated in a vote last week supported authorizing a possible strike. 

Johnson said he remains hopeful that a new contract will be negotiated in time to avert a strike, and said the agency and the union are currently working with a state mediator. 

Williams cited worker safety and plans to replace sheriff's deputies assigned to AC Transit with private security guards as primary union concerns in the negotiations. She said that AC Transit has recorded a 50 percent increase in on-the-job injuries to operators from 2011 to 2012. 

But she said that the union is continuing to negotiate Tuesday in the hopes of having a contract in place shortly. 

Negotiations between BART and two of its five unions have been more contentious, with both sides publicly alleging bad-faith bargaining, and two of the unions filing a lawsuit. 

State mediators have been called in, and BART's two largest unions are conducting a strike authorization vote among their members Tuesday. 

The two unions are Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, and Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers. 

Antonette Bryant, a spokeswoman for ATU Local 1555, said a joint statement will be released this morning detailing the results of the strike vote. 

"We are fighting to get a contract," Bryant said. 

She said, however, that the union hopes to avoid a strike. BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the agency is also trying to prevent a strike from happening. She said the unions' decision to hold a strike authorization vote Tuesday has delayed negotiations until today. 

But, Trost said, BART is "not at the point of warning our passengers." 

The MTC has posted an alert on its 511.org website that warns of a possible BART strike as soon as Monday. 

The agency is advising commuters to plan ahead and try to work from home or carpool. Heavy traffic and overcrowded public transit systems are likely in the event of a strike, MTC officials said. 

Reward for the Capture of Two Oakland Shooters

The family of a 22-year-old shot by two suspects after a traffic accident earlier this month in Oakland announced Tuesday they are offering a $35,000 reward for information leading to the capture of two suspects. 

At the site where Aya Nakano, a recent University of Oregon graduate, was gunned down by two male suspects after they had rear-ended his car near Market Street and Stanford Avenue the night of June 12, his family and friends stood behind a memorial of flower bouquets and held fliers and framed pictures of their smiling relatives Tuesday afternoon. 

Nakano was driving west on Stanford Avenue near Market Street when he was hit. He then pulled over in the 5800 block of Market Street where two male suspects confronted him and one shot him dead, Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said. 

The suspects' vehicle is described as a newer-model four-door silver sedan, according to Watson. 

Police are reviewing surveillance video that shows Nakano driving back to his Emeryville home from the University of California at Berkeley where he had been playing basketball before the 11 p.m. collision, Watson said. 

"Video has played a key component," she said about the investigation. 

Still more information is needed, Watson said, and the reward is being posted on billboards, benches, and buses throughout Oakland, and 800 fliers have been printed, Watson said. 

Watson said tips have come in about the case, but investigators need more to find the perpetrators. 

Additionally, Watson said investigators are trying to determine if the shooting stemmed from a simple fender-bender or if it was a ruse to get Nakano exposed. 

"This is a tremendous loss to them," Watson said about Nakano's family. 

One of Nakano's mothers, Maria Climaco, pleaded for the public to come forward with information about who took away her son. 

While clutching a framed photograph of her family, including Nakano's pet dog, Climaco said the toughest part of losing Nakano is waiting for him to walk through the front door. 

"I really miss him," she said. 

She emphasized the need to find the suspects. "I'm begging you with all my heart to please come forward," she said. 

Two Vallejo Firemen Honored for Heroic Actions

A man who was trapped on the balcony of his burning apartment in Vallejo last month escaped with his life thanks to a crew of dedicated firefighters. 

Tonight, the Vallejo City Council will honor two of them -- Vallejo Fire Battalion Chief David Urrutia and Firefighter Kevin Hickey -- with Medals of Valor for their roles in that rescue. 

"They're great firefighters," fire department spokesman Mark Libby said. 

"We're a short-staffed department, we don't have a lot of people, so sometimes even the chiefs have to go into action," he said. 

Around 4:30 p.m. on May 20, Urrutia and Hickey were part of a small engine company that responded to the blaze at an apartment complex in the 400 block of Ebbetts Pass Road, fire officials said. 

Once on the scene, the crew learned that a man was trapped on the balcony of his apartment, Libby said. 

"Fire was coming up over the top of his head and burning his head, and for some reason he walked back into his apartment," he said. 

Hickey quickly grabbed a ladder and climbed into the second-floor apartment, found the man and pulled him back onto the balcony. 

Urrutia was waiting at the top of the ladder to help the man down to safety, Libby said. 

The victim was taken to a trauma center to be treated for third-degree burns to his neck and arms, according to fire officials. 

About 20 people were displaced by the fire, which caused smoke and fire damage to multiple apartments. 

Libby said the fire was ultimately deemed accidental. 

The City Council is set to present the commendations to Hickey and Urrutia shortly at tonight's 7 p.m. meeting at Vallejo City Hall, located at 555 Santa Clara St.

2010 San Francisco Stabber found Gulity 

A 23-year-old man was convicted of multiple felony counts on Monday in connection with a brutal stabbing near San Francisco's Union Square in 2010, prosecutors said Tuesday. 

Oscar Arana was found guilty of aggravated mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon for the attack on Nov. 3, 2010, following the parade celebrating the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory, according to the district attorney's office. 

According to court testimony, Arana and the then-21-year-old victim were with a group of friends when, unprovoked, Arana came up from behind and stabbed the victim four times in the back, prosecutors said.

One of the stab wounds ruptured the victim's kidney and spleen and the others left him paralyzed from the chest down, prosecutors said. 

After a trial that lasted more than two weeks, a San Francisco Superior Court jury deliberated for about two days before returning the guilty verdicts, although he was acquitted of attempted murder, according to the district attorney's office. 

The aggravated mayhem charge still carries the possibility of a life sentence in prison, prosecutors said. Arana is set to be sentenced in the case on July 29. 

"This cowardly and abhorrent act changed the victim's life forever," District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. 

3-Year-Old Boy Dies After Drive-By Shooting in East Oakland 

An eyewitness said in court Tuesday that 3-year-old Carlos Nava remained alive for a few moments after he was struck by bullets in a drive-by shooting in East Oakland two years ago but soon succumbed to his injuries. 

Fighting back tears as she testified in the preliminary hearing for suspected shooter Lawrence Denard, 28, and suspected driver Willie Torrence, 24, Cynthia Montiel said Carlos was "looking and wondering what had happened" and she tried to comfort Carlos by telling him "to hold on." 

But Montiel, 22, said Carlos soon "started twitching his head, his eyes closed and his skin changed color to pale or green."  

Montiel said, "I seen him falling asleep and I knew he wouldn't make it because he couldn't twitch hard anymore." 

However, Montiel said she didn't tell Carlos' mother that Carlos had died because she was "really out of control" and she didn't know how she would react. 

Denard and Torrence are both charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder for the shooting outside a grocery store in a strip mall in the 6400 block of International Boulevard at about 1:10 p.m. on Aug. 8, which left Carlos dead and two men wounded. 

Oakland police said they believe the shooting was gang-related and the intended targets were the two men, who survived their injuries. 

They said Carlos and his family, who were shopping at the time, had no connection to the two men. 

Montiel said she was also shopping at the strip mall with her sister, her niece and a friend and saw Carlos with his mother and an older brother who appeared to be about five years old. She said Carlos was in a miniature car outside the grocery store when a gunman in a gray car fired shots at two black men who were near her. 

Carlos' mother immediately and repeatedly screamed in Spanish that her son had been shot, Montiel testified. 

She said that when she looked at Carlos "I seen a little hole in the side of his neck." 

Montiel said the two men were also struck by the gunfire and as they lay on the ground they yelled for someone to call an ambulance. 

Robert Hudson, 39, one of the men who was hit, denied on the witness stand Tuesday that he told police in a taped interview on Sept. 14, 2011, that Denard was the man who shot him. 

After the interview was played in court, Hudson admitted that his voice was on the tape but said he never told authorities that he got a good look at Denard as he hung halfway out a car window and fired shots. 

When Denard's lawyer, Annie Beles, asked him if he thought the tape had been doctored, Hudson said, "It has got to be. They rigged it up." 

When Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon, who is presiding over the hearing, asked him if was his voice identifying Denard as the shooter, Hudson said, "I don't know how they put it together" and said he doesn't know Denard and doesn't know who shot him.

Advocates Protest Against Hunters Point Shipyard Project  

Dozens of advocates for construction workers in San Francisco's southeast neighborhoods blocked vehicles from entering the Hunters Point Shipyard project site Tuesday, protesting what they said was a lack of job opportunities for residents living nearby. 

Members of the Bayview-Hunters Point-based group Aboriginal Blackman United gathered at the intersection of Innes Avenue and Donahue Street Tuesday morning and stopped trucks and other vehicles from entering the site, where construction is set to begin this summer. 

The redevelopment of the former naval shipyard is expected to eventually include thousands of new homes and new retail and commercial space being built over the next several years, according to project organizers. 

The city's Building Trades Council signed an agreement in 2007 with Lennar Urban, the company overseeing the Hunters Point redevelopment, to work with the local nonprofit Young Community Developers on local hire efforts for the project, council secretary-treasurer Michael Theriault said. 

ABU president James Richards said his members are protesting because they "haven't been brought to the table" in negotiations over who will be hired for the project. The group held a similar protest at the site last week and will continue to take similar actions until Lennar and the city develop a plan to engage with them and other local job groups who want to work on the project, Richards said. 

"The job is getting ready to get started," he said. "I can't lie down and let this happen." 

He said, "Our motto is if we don't work, no one works." 

The group blocked several large trucks and other vehicles from turning left from Innes Avenue onto Donahue Street toward the worksite. 

A couple of police patrol cars arrived at the intersection around noon to oversee the protest but did not stop the group from blocking traffic. 

Derek Lynch, a member of a collective of artists who works at a studio at the shipyard unassociated with the construction project, was among the drivers who were blocked by the protesters. 

Lynch said he was annoyed at being stopped since he and other artists are in favor of the neighborhood residents getting jobs on the project. 

"We're on their side as much as anyone," he said.

Theriault said the city is not making any changes as a result of the protests. 

"We will stand by all of our agreements," he said, adding that Young Community Developers "will do a fine job of referring Bayview-Hunters Point residents" to jobs on the project. 

Theriault said if ABU members "want a job, tell them to go sign up with YCD." 

Bernal Heights Shooting Victim Identified

A man who was fatally shot near a public housing complex in San
Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood early Tuesday morning has been
identified by the medical examiner's office as 27-year-old Richard Wells

Officers responded shortly after midnight to a report of shots fired in the 900 block of Ellsworth Street near the San Francisco Housing Authority's Alemany Boulevard complex, police said. 

They found Wells suffering from at least one gunshot wound to his chest. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:38 a.m., according to police. 

No arrests have been made in connection with the killing, police said. 

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Police Department's homicide detail at (415) 553-1145, its anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message. 

Suspected Shooters at Hunters Point Bus Stop Arrested 

San Francisco police have arrested two suspects in a shooting at a Hunters Point bus stop that left a man dead and a teen girl in critical
condition. 

The two were shot at about 1 p.m. Monday at West Point and Middle Point roads, police said. 

Jaquan Rice, 19, of San Francisco and a 17-year-old girl were both taken tolSan Francisco General Hospital, where Rice succumbed to his injuries.  

The girl remained at the hospital being treated for injuries that are considered life threatening, according to police. 

Police announced Tuesday that 20-year-old Derrick Hunter of San Francisco and a 14 year-old boy were arrested and booked on suspicion of Rice's murder. 

One Suspect Arrested in Suisun City Robbery 

Fairfield police have arrested one suspect and are seeking two others believed to have robbed a victim of his cellphone on Monday. 

At about 10:20 a.m. Monday, the victim called Fairfield police to report that the suspects had stolen his cellphone in a strong-arm robbery in Suisun City and that he had followed them to Fairfield, police said. 

The suspects were driving a brown 1987 Toyota Corolla and parked it in the 100 block of Villa Circle in Fairfield, according to police. 

Officers responded to that block, and the suspects fled north on foot, climbing over fences into a residential neighborhood, police said. 

Ground units and a CHP helicopter scoured the neighborhood for the suspects, and one was located on a roof in the 1200 block of Meadowlark Drive

He was taken into custody and identified as 19-year-old Jakkari Sampson, of Dixon, police said. He was found to be in possession of the victim's cellphone. 

Sampson was arrested for possession of stolen property and robbery, police said. The other two suspects were not located. 

The suspects' vehicle was reported stolen out of Vallejo on Sunday, and the trio is believed to have taken it during an armed carjacking, Fairfield police said.  

Bay Area Forecast for Wednesday 26

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely in the Bay Area this morning, with highs in the upper 50s to lower 70s. Southwest winds up to 20 mph are expected. 

Continued clouds and patchy fog are expected this evening. Lows are likely to be in the 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. 

Sunny skies with patchy fog in the morning are likely on Thursday. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to mid 70s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

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BART Strike Possible as Soon as Monday

Community leaders spoke out this morning near San Francisco's 24th Street BART station in support of BART workers embroiled in contentions labor negotiations that could potentially result in a strike as soon as Monday.

Contracts between BART and its five unions expire on Sunday, and negotiations are at a standstill. State mediators have been called in, and BART's two largest unions are conducting a strike authorization vote among their members today.

The two unions are Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, and Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers. Antonette Bryant, a spokeswoman for ATU Local 1555, said a joint statement will be released Wednesday morning detailing the results of the strike vote. "We are fighting to get a contract," Bryant said. She said, however, that the union hopes to avoid a strike.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the agency is also trying to prevent a strike from happening. She said the unions' decision to hold a strike authorization vote today has delayed negotiations until Wednesday. "We think there is a deal to be had," she said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is working on putting together a contingency plan in case a strike occurs. Trost said BART is "not at the point of warning our passengers." The MTC has posted an alert on its 511.org website that warns of a possible BART strike as soon as Monday.

The agency is advising commuters to plan ahead and try to work from home, carpool, or telecommute. Heavy traffic and overcrowded public transit systems are likely in the event of a strike, MTC officials said.

At the union news conference in San Francisco this morning, SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Leah Berlanga pointed to a lawsuit filed by the two unions in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday morning in which they allege that BART is failing to bargain in good faith over worker safety. "BART has not addressed safety issues and proposals we put on the table," Berlanga said.

Among other measures, the unions are demanding improved lighting on the tracks and in the stations. San Francisco Supervisor David Campos said he stands in solidarity with the workers, and highlighted the importance of safety. He underscored the case of BART electrician Robert Rhodes, who was killed while working on the 24th Street station tracks in 2001. "It's only appropriate that we ensure their safety on a daily basis," he said. Campos called for "reasonable, open, good-faith negotiations." The supervisor said he doesn't want a strike, but that the safety issues need to be resolved before the unions can agree on a contract.

Trost has previously said that union leaders haven't mentioned safety issues in their own internal communications about the labor talks, instead emphasizing matters such as salaries, benefits and work rules.

 

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Prop 8 'Decision Day' Rallies Planned Throughout Bay Area

With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to release its Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act rulings on Wednesday, rallies are planned all over the Bay Area in support of same-sex marriage rights.

On what is dubbed "decision day," a group will gather at Castro and Market streets in San Francisco's Castro District at 6:30 p.m. Marriage Equality USA spokesman Billy Bradford said preparations are under way for a rally and potential celebration, including two stages for music and speeches. Police have been notified about the event.

He said the celebratory mood could be soured, however, depending on the content of the rulings. Bradford said those attending may have to "temper our joy. Our work here isn't done."

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera will be holding a news conference Wednesday morning following the Supreme Court's announcement, which is expected shortly after 7 a.m. Herrera's news conference will take place on the steps of City Hall, where Herrera and Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart will discuss the possible legal repercussions of the decision, as well as plans for how the city could handle a potential flurry of same-sex weddings.

Later in the morning, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is expected to speak. Daly City resident Thom Watson, who has been with his partner Jeff Tabaco for 10 years, said he will be watching closely at home before heading to San Francisco City Hall for what he considers a historic moment. He said he hasn't been sleeping well waiting for the high court's decision and has been analyzing what various potential rulings could mean for marriage equality. "We're in a constant state of fatigue mixed with excitement," he said.

Evan Costner, who organized the annual Berkeley Pride celebration that took place in that city on Monday evening, said a contingent from the Berkeley area is ready to "flock to San Francisco and rally there." He said Berkeley's pride planning committee had hoped that the Supreme Court would issue a ruling on Monday in time for the annual festival, which had the timely theme, "First comes love, then comes marriage..." In other parts of the Bay Area, various groups are ready to spring into action once they hear the ruling, including the local LGBT activist group Hearts on Silicon Valley, which is planning to meet at San Jose City Hall at 6 p.m. Organizers of that event posted on Facebook that there will be speakers and live music at the community gathering at City Hall, which is located at 200 E. Santa Clara St. Oakland community groups have plans for a celebration at 5:30 p.m. at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue, with participants convening at that intersection before moving on to dance parties at nearby bars and clubs. In Concord, a 6:30 p.m. celebration complete with champagne is planned at the Rainbow Community Center, located 2118 Willow Pass Road. Other events are in the works in Mountain View, Redwood City, Santa Cruz, Vallejo, Fairfield, Guerneville and Healdsburg.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday Midday News Roundup

Supreme Court Expected To Announce Prop 8, DOMA Rulings Wednesday

The U.S. Supreme Court's long-awaited decision on Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, is due on Wednesday.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced at the close of a court session today that the panel will issue its remaining decisions Wednesday on cases argued during the current court term.

Those cases include challenges to Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Proposition 8, enacted by state voters in a ballot initiative in 2008, provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

It was challenged in 2009 in a civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco by two couples who want to marry.

The high court will rule on an appeal by the proposition's sponsors of a lower court decision that struck down the measure.

The marriage ban has remained in effect during the appeal process.

The court has several options for ruling on the case, ranging from upholding Proposition 8 to dismissing the appeal.

The justices' questions and comments during a hearing in March suggest they may be inclined to favor either of two procedural options that would result in the invalidation of Proposition 8, thereby allowing same-sex weddings to resume in California as early as late July.

In those two potential scenarios, the high court itself would not rule directly on whether the measure violates the U.S. Constitution, but would in effect dismiss the appeal and reinstate a lower court ruling that struck down Proposition 8.

In one option, the court could rule that its hearing on the appeal was "improvidently granted," meaning that justices decided that they should not have taken up the case.

That step would reinstate a 2012 decision in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated Proposition 8 on grounds that would apply only to California.

In another option, the court could say the sponsors of Proposition 8 had no standing, or legal authority, to appeal the case after Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris declined to do so.

That scenario would reinstate a broad ruling in which now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said in 2010 that Proposition 8 violates the constitutional rights of due process and equal treatment.

The two sides dispute whether Walker's ruling would then apply statewide or only to the two couples who sued.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has said he is confident the lower court ruling would apply statewide.

He has estimated that same-sex weddings could resume in California by late July, following a 25-day period for sponsors to ask the high court to reconsider the case, plus a few additional days for a court mandate to be issued.

Prop 8 'Decision Day' Rallies Planned Throughout Bay Area

With the Supreme Court expected to release its Proposition 8 and DOMA rulings on Wednesday, rallies are planned all over the Bay Area in support of same-sex marriage rights.

On what is dubbed "decision day," a group will gather at Castro and Market streets in San Francisco's Castro District at 6:30 p.m.

Marriage Equality USA spokesman Billy Bradford said preparations are under way for a rally and potential celebration, including two stages for music and speeches. Police have been notified about the event.

He said the celebratory mood could be soured, however, depending on the content of the rulings. Bradford said those attending may have to "temper our joy. Our work here isn't done."

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera will be holding a news conference Wednesday morning following the Supreme Court's announcement, which is expected shortly after 7 a.m.

Herrera's news conference will take place on the steps of City Hall, where Herrera and Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart will discuss the possible legal repercussions of the decision, as well as plans for how the city could handle a potential flurry of same-sex weddings.

Later in the morning, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is expected to speak.

Daly City resident Thom Watson, who has been with his partner Jeff Tabaco for 10 years, said he will be watching closely at home before heading to San Francisco City Hall for what he considers a historic moment.

He said he hasn't been sleeping well waiting for the high court's decision and has been analyzing what various potential rulings could mean for marriage equality.

"We're in a constant state of fatigue mixed with excitement," he said.

Evan Costner, who organized the annual Berkeley Pride celebration that took place in that city on Monday evening, said a contingent from the Berkeley area is ready to "flock to San Francisco and rally there."

He said Berkeley's pride planning committee had hoped that the Supreme Court would issue a ruling on Monday in time for the annual festival, which had the timely theme, "First comes love, then comes marriage..."

In other parts of the Bay Area, various groups are ready to spring into action once they hear the ruling, including the local LGBT activist group Hearts on Silicon Valley, which is planning to meet at San Jose City Hall at 6 p.m.

Organizers of that event posted on Facebook that there will be speakers and live music at the community gathering at City Hall, which is located at 200 E. Santa Clara St.

Oakland community groups have plans for a celebration at 5:30 p.m. at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue, with participants convening at that intersection before moving on to dance parties at nearby bars and clubs.

In Concord, a 6:30 p.m. celebration complete with champagne is planned at the Rainbow Community Center, located 2118 Willow Pass Road.

Other events are in the works in Mountain View, Redwood City, Santa Cruz, Vallejo, Fairfield, Guerneville and Healdsburg.

BART Strike Possible As Soon As Monday

Community leaders spoke out this morning near San Francisco's 24th Street BART station in support of BART workers embroiled in contentious labor negotiations that could potentially result in a strike as soon as Monday.

Contracts between BART and its five unions expire on Sunday, and negotiations are at a standstill.

State mediators have been called in, and BART's two largest unions are conducting a strike authorization vote among their members today.

The two unions are Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, and Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers.

Antonette Bryant, a spokeswoman for ATU Local 1555, said a joint statement will be released Wednesday morning detailing the results of the strike vote.

"We are fighting to get a contract," Bryant said.

She said, however, that the union hopes to avoid a strike.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the agency is also trying to prevent a strike from happening. She said the unions' decision to hold a strike authorization vote today has delayed negotiations until Wednesday.

"We think there is a deal to be had," she said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is working on putting together a contingency plan in case a strike occurs.

Trost said BART is "not at the point of warning our passengers."

The MTC has posted an alert on its 511.org website that warns of a possible BART strike as soon as Monday.

The agency is advising commuters to plan ahead and try to work from home, carpool, or telecommute.

Heavy traffic and overcrowded public transit systems are likely in the event of a strike, MTC officials said.

At the union news conference in San Francisco this morning, SEIU Local 1021 spokeswoman Leah Berlanga pointed to a lawsuit filed by the two unions in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday morning in which they allege that BART is failing to bargain in good faith over worker safety.

"BART has not addressed safety issues and proposals we put on the table," Berlanga said.

Among other measures, the unions are demanding improved lighting on the tracks and in the stations.

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos said he stands in solidarity with the workers, and highlighted the importance of safety.

He underscored the case of BART electrician Robert Rhodes, who was killed while working on the 24th Street station tracks in 2001.

"It's only appropriate that we ensure their safety on a daily basis," he said.

Campos called for "reasonable, open, good-faith negotiations."

The supervisor said he doesn't want a strike, but that the safety issues need to be resolved before the unions can agree on a contract.

Trost has previously said that union leaders haven't mentioned safety issues in their own internal communications about the labor talks, instead emphasizing matters such as salaries, benefits and work rules.

Man Fatally Shot In Bernal Heights, No Suspects Arrested

A man in his 20s was fatally shot in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood early this morning, according to police.

San Francisco police received calls shortly after midnight reporting gunshots heard in the 900 block of Ellsworth Street, near the San Francisco Housing Authority's Alemany Boulevard property.

Police and firefighters responded and located the victim with at least one gunshot wound to his chest.

The victim was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:38 a.m., police said.

No suspects had been arrested in connection with the homicide as of this morning, police said.

Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call 911, the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

Fatal Shooting ID

A man who was fatally shot at a bus stop in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood on Monday afternoon has been identified by the medical examiner's office as 19-year-old Jaquan Rice.

Rice, a San Francisco resident, was one of two people shot at about 1 p.m. Monday at West Point and Middle Point roads, police said.

Rice and a female victim were taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where Rice succumbed to his injuries.

The female victim remained at the hospital being treated for injuries that are considered life-threatening, according to police.

No arrests had been made in connection with the shooting as of this morning, police said.

Children At Home During Home Invasion Robbery, Shooting In Bayview District

Two children were inside a residence during a home invasion robbery and shooting in San Francisco's Bayview District this morning, according to a police sergeant.

Police responded to a report of gunfire at 2:25 a.m. in the first block of Elmira Street, just south of Industrial Street, and found two men and a woman with gunshot wounds, San Francisco police Sgt. Dennis Toomer said.

All three were transported to San Francisco General Hospital.

Two of the wounded parties - one of the men and the woman - reside at the home and are between 20 and 30 years old, Toomer said.

The female resident suffered life-threatening injuries and the male resident is expected to survive, according to Toomer.

The two children in the home at the time of the shooting were not harmed, but were taken to San Francisco General Hospital for observation, Toomer said.

Police believe the third person injured in the shooting may be one of the suspects.

One of the residents may have been able to get a hold of the suspects' handgun and wound him with it.

There are two suspects still outstanding and both are described as black men in their 20s, Toomer said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call 911, the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

Police Ask For Public's Help In Finding Missing 16-Year-Old Girl

San Francisco police are asking for the public's help in finding a 16-year-old girl who went missing on Monday in the city's North of Panhandle neighborhood.

Gabrielle Spagnola was last seen around 3 p.m. Monday in the 2200 block of Hayes Street.

Spagnola is described as white, 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 120 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, according to police.

At the time of her disappearance, she was wearing a blue jacket, blue jeans and black shoes, police said.

A photo of Spagnola can be viewed online at
www.baycitynews.com/images/Spagnola06.25.13.jpg.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call San Francisco police at (415) 553-1071.

City Hall Photo Exhibit Offers Glimpse Into Building New Bay Bridge Span

While work continues on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, dozens of photographs that document nearly a decade of labor to build the new span are on display at City Hall.

The series of 85 photographs captured by former boilermaker, shipfitter and welder Joseph Blum, 72, are hanging on the walls on the ground floor of City Hall, providing a glimpse of the work that has gone into the $6.3 billion project.

Starting with photos snapped in 2004 and throughout the project's progression into 2012, viewers get a sense of what it takes to scale the cables, weld large metal pieces, hang by harness from atop a tower, and work with heavy machinery - all while donning safety equipment, gloves, goggles and hard hats, often hundreds of feet above the water.

The photographer said he hopes the series shows "the skills, stamina, determination, the courage" that the workers have and use every day.

The color photographs catch the Bay and the growing structure on both the foggy and sunny days, and many feature the San Francisco skyline in the background.

Blum said he did not interfere with the work while getting his shots, but rather "I tried to get as close to the work as possible without endangering myself or others."

The photographs give insight into the footwork, balance, handiwork and intelligence required to build a massive structure, Blum said.

"Every day is a challenge," he said. "It's a lot more cerebral work."

He said he wanted to document the labor process, even if that meant getting into a crane above the bridge. He said he's comfortable at a construction site and not afraid of heights.

The San Francisco Arts Commission put together the show that is on display on the ground floor of City Hall.

The exhibition was initially timed to be on display in conjunction with the anticipated Labor Day weekend opening of the bridge.

However, after faulty bolts were discovered earlier this year, that date could be pushed back.

The new section of the bridge includes a self-anchored suspension span, which covers a 2,047 feet of the bridge east of Yerba Buena Island.

An artist reception will be held at the photo exhibit on July 11 at 5:30 p.m.

The exhibit runs until Sept. 27.

 

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Update: Supreme Court Expected to Announce Prop 8, Doma Ruling Wednesday

The U.S. Supreme Court's long-awaited decision on Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, is due on Wednesday. Chief Justice John Roberts announced at the close of a court session today that the panel will issue its remaining decisions Wednesday on cases argued during the current court term.

Those cases include challenges to Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Proposition 8, enacted by state voters in a ballot initiative in 2008, provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. It was challenged in 2009 in a civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco by two couples who want to marry.

The high court will rule on an appeal by the proposition's sponsors of a lower court decision that struck down the measure. The marriage ban has remained in effect during the appeal process.

The court has several options for ruling on the case, ranging from upholding Proposition 8 to dismissing the appeal. The justices' questions and comments during a hearing in March suggest they may be inclined to favor either of two procedural options that would result in the invalidation of Proposition 8, thereby allowing same-sex weddings to resume in California as early as late July.

In those two potential scenarios, the high court itself would not rule directly on whether the measure violates the U.S. Constitution, but would in effect dismiss the appeal and reinstate a lower court ruling that struck down Proposition 8. In one option, the court could rule that its hearing on the appeal was "improvidently granted," meaning that justices decided that they should not have taken up the case.

That step would reinstate a 2012 decision in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated Proposition 8 on grounds that would apply only to California. In another option, the court could say the sponsors of Proposition 8 had no standing, or legal authority, to appeal the case after Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris declined to do so. That scenario would reinstate a broad ruling in which now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said in 2010 that Proposition 8 violates the constitutional rights of due process and equal treatment.

The two sides dispute whether Walker's ruling would then apply statewide or only to the two couples who sued. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has said he is confident the lower court ruling would apply statewide. He has estimated that same-sex weddings could resume in California by late July, following a 25-day period for sponsors to ask the high court to reconsider the case, plus a few additional days for a court mandate to be issued.

 

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Wet Weather Causing More Flight Delays

Low clouds and drizzle this morning have caused flights to be delayed by up to an hour at San Francisco International Airport, a duty manager said. Arriving flights were between 30 minutes and an hour behind schedule as of 10 a.m., airport duty manager Chuck Navigante said.

Most of this morning's early departures left on time, though flights scheduled to depart later in the day are expected be an hour or more late, Navigante said. Travelers are advised to check with individual airlines to get the most updated flight information.

The wet weather was not affecting air traffic at Oakland and Mineta San Jose international airports.

 

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Police Ask For Public's Help In Finding Missing 16-Year-Old Girl

San Francisco police are asking for the public's help in finding a 16-year-old girl who went missing on Monday in the city's North of Panhandle neighborhood.

Gabrielle Spagnola was last seen around 3 p.m. Monday in the 2200 block of Hayes Street. Spagnola is described as white, 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 120 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, according to police.

At the time of her disappearance, she was wearing a blue jacket, blue jeans and black shoes, police said. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call San Francisco police at (415) 553-1071.

 

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Elderly Woman Hospitalized After Being Robbed at Powell Street Muni Station

An elderly woman was hospitalized after having her suitcase stolen at San Francisco Municipal Railway's Powell Street station on Monday afternoon, police said today.

The 78-year-old victim got into the station's elevator around 4 p.m. As the doors were closing, a female suspect reached in and grabbed her suitcase, according to police. The victim struggled with the suspect over the suitcase but the suspect ripped it away, causing the victim to fall and hit her head on the elevator door, police said.

The thief then fled with the suitcase and had not been found as of this morning. The victim was taken to a hospital to be treated for a bruise to her head and pain in her left hip, police said. The injuries are not considered life-threatening.

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 to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

 

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Man Fatally Short at Hunters Point Bus Stop Identified

A man who was fatally shot at a bus stop in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood on Monday afternoon has been identified by the medical examiner's office as 19-year-old Jaquan Rice.

Rice, a San Francisco resident, was one of two people shot at about 1 p.m. Monday at West Point and Middle Point roads, police said. Rice and a female victim were taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where Rice succumbed to his injuries.

The female victim remained at the hospital being treated for injuries that are considered life-threatening, according to police. No arrests had been made in connection with the shooting as of this morning, police said.

 

 

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Man Taking Pictures Assaulted, Robbed Sunday Morning

A 75-year-old man taking pictures on Franklin Street in San Francisco was assaulted and robbed of his camera on Sunday morning, police said.

The man was snapping photos in the 2300 block of Franklin Street, near Broadway, when two men in their 20s approached him, according to police. One brandished a handgun and the other demanded the man's camera and punched him several times in the face, police said.

The suspects then grabbed the man's camera and lens and fled. The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with facial wounds. His injuries were not considered life-threatening, police said. No arrests had been made as of this morning.

 

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Supreme Court Expected to Announce Proposition 8 Ruling Wednesday

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to release its ruling on the Proposition 8 case on Wednesday.

Wednesday will be the last day of the Supreme Court's current term, and the court will issue all of its remaining opinions on that day. The Proposition 8 decision will likely be announced shortly after 7 a.m. PST.
   

 

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Update: Children At Home During Home Invasion Robbery, Shooting in Bayview District

Two children were inside a residence during a home invasion robbery and shooting in San Francisco's Bayview district this morning, according to a police sergeant.

Police responded to a report of gunfire at 2:25 a.m. in the initial block of Elmira Street, just south of Industrial Street and found two men and a woman with gunshot wounds, San Francisco police Sgt. Dennis Toomer said. The three adult victims were transported to San Francisco General Hospital, according to Toomer.

The man and woman who reside at the home are between 20 and 30 years old, Toomer said. The female resident sustained life-threatening injuries and the male resident suffered injuries not considered to be life-threatening, according to Toomer.

The two children in the home at the time of the shooting were not harmed, but were taken to San Francisco General Hospital for observation, Toomer said. Police believe the third person injured in the shooting may be one of the suspects.

One of the residents may have been able to get a hold of the suspects' handgun and wound him with it. There are two suspects still outstanding and both are described as black men in their 20s, Toomer said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call 911, the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

 

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Three Injured in Bayview Shooting This Morning

Two men and a woman were injured in a shooting in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood this morning, according to police.

At about 2:25 a.m., police and emergency crews responded to a report of gunfire in the initial block of Elmira Street, just south of Industrial Street. Three victims were located at the scene and transported to San Francisco General Hospital, according to police. One man was shot in the face and is in critical condition.

A second man was shot in the foot and is in stable condition this morning, police said.
A woman is in serious condition after sustaining a gunshot wound
to her stomach, police said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call 911, the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by
text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

 

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Man Fatally Shot in Bernal Heights, No Suspects Arrested

A man in his 20s was fatally shot in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood early this morning, according to police.

San Francisco police received calls shortly after midnight, reporting gunshots heard in the 900 block of Ellsworth Street, near the San Francisco Housing Authority's Alemany Boulevard property. Police and fire units responded to the scene and located the victim with at least one gunshot wound to his chest.

The victim was transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:38 a.m., police said.

No suspects had been arrested in connection with the homicide as of this morning, police said. Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call 911, the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

 

Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Rain is likely in the Bay Area today, with highs in the upper 50s
to lower 70s.

Southerly winds between 10 and 20 mph are expected.
Continued clouds and rain are expected this evening. Lows are
likely to be in the 50s to lower 60s, with southwest winds up to 10 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies are likely on Wednesday. Highs are expected to
be in the upper 50s to lower 70s with westerly winds up to 15 mph.

 

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