SF News

Condition of 11-year-old girl shot Friday night improving

Police have released the names of two suspects who were arrested in connection with a shooting Friday night in which a stray bullet penetrated a San Francisco apartment and struck an 11-year-old girl, San Francisco police said.

Shots were fired around 11:15 p.m. in the 1100 block of Laguna Street in the city's Western Addition neighborhood.

 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 condition has improved slightly, Esparza said.

Three men were detained after the shooting and two of them were arrested.

San Francisco Police Officer Albie Esparza identified them today as Lazarus Thomas, 19, of Daly City, and San Francisco resident Shadon Mitchell, 20.

They were booked into jail for assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a weapon and other charges, Esparza said.

Police say the shooting was gang-related and may have stemmed from an argument among a group of men outside the apartment. 

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Haight Street Movie House Wraps 31 Years At Tonight's Final Shows

Before the credits roll on San Francisco's iconic Red Vic Movie
House
, the theater will host two final sold-out shows this evening.
On its 31st and last birthday, the Haight Street independent
cinema has chosen to mark its closing with an apropos 1970s black comedy that
toys with death.
"Harold and Maude" is one of the theater's most popular films,
according to the movie house. Morbid teenager Harold, who drives a Jaguar
converted into a hearse, stages suicides and hangs around cemeteries, will
learn to appreciate life from the high-spirited 79-year-old Maude.
The Red Vic Movie House first opened its doors on Jan. 25, 1980 at
its original location at Haight and Belvedere streets as California's only
worker-owner and operated cinema, according to the theater. About 10 years
ago, it moved to its present location on Haight Street between Cole and
Shraeder streets.
Tonight's sold-out shows will begin at 7:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and
will give patrons one last opportunity to sink into a classic in the movie
house's legendary couches.

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Monday Morning News Roundup

Two Males Shot on Muni Early Sunday Morning 

Two San Francisco Municipal Railway bus passengers were shot early
Sunday morning in the city's Visitacion Valley neighborhood, police said.
    The shooting occurred aboard a Muni bus at Arleta and San Bruno
avenues at around 1:15 a.m.
    The suspect, described as a black male, was not aboard the bus,
according to police.
    One victim was shot in the hand and the other suffered a gunshot
wound to the neck. Both victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital
with non-life threatening injuries.

   Shots Fired in Target Parking Lot

   Watsonville police are searching for witnesses of a fatal shooting
in a busy Target parking lot Saturday evening.
    Officers responded to reports of gunfire in the Target shopping
center located at 1415 Main St. around 6:15 p.m., Watsonville police said.
    Police found an 18-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman suffering
from gunshot wounds in the store's parking lot. The 18-year-old was
pronounced dead at the scene and the woman was taken to Watsonville Community
Hospital for injuries that are not believed to be life threatening.
    Investigators said it appears the victims, who were dating, were
walking out of Target toward their car when suspects in a green Honda Accord
drove by them. The Accord circled the parking lot and met the victims when
they reached their car, police said.
    The suspects stopped and opened fire, shooting the couple, before
driving away, according to police.
    The shooting is being investigated as a gang-related homicide, but
it does not appear to be related to other recent murders in Santa Cruz
County, police said.
    Detectives are looking for new information from witnesses who were
walking or driving in the shopping center or parking lot, which had a steady
flow of traffic that evening.
    Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the
Watsonville Police Department Investigation Division at (831) 786-3350 or the
crime tip line at (831) 786-3544.

Deadly Shooting in Richmond Send Men to Hospital      


    One man is dead and another is in critical condition following a
deadly shooting in Richmond on Saturday night, police said.
    Officers responded to 24th Street and Exchange Place just before
10 p.m. and found two men suffering from gunshot wounds, Richmond police Lt.
Bisa French said.
    A 20-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene and a
29-year-old man was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, French said.
    The shooting is being investigated for its connection to gang
violence, but she said it did not appear to be connected to recent homicides.
    Saturday night's shooting marks Richmond's ninth homicide this
month, according to police. There has also been one homicide and several
shootings in unincorporated North Richmond.
    Richmond police have not arrested any suspects in this case and
have not released any further details.
     

Shooting in Mission District

 

    A woman was critically injured early Sunday morning in a shooting
in San Francisco's Mission District, police said.
    The woman was standing outside a house party near Folsom and 25th
streets when she was shot in the back at 2:30 a.m., according to San
Francisco police.
    The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital by her
friends, police said.
    The woman's injury was considered to be life threatening.
    Anyone with information is asked to contact the police department
at (415) 575-4444.

New Charges to Man After Confirmation of DNA Test     

 

    A man already charged with a decades-old rape and murder now faces
new charges after DNA evidence linked him to a second murder, the Santa Clara
County Sheriff's Office said Friday.
    Christopher Melvin Holland was charged Friday with the 1983 murder
of Tera Marowski, a 21-year-old San Jose resident. Marowski went missing in
late March of that year and was found dead in the back seat of her car on
April 2 in unincorporated San Jose.
    Holland was linked to the murder through DNA evidence after the
case was recently reopened by the sheriff's office cold case unit.
    Holland already faces murder charges in a killing that took place
only four months after Marowski's death. Cynthia Munoz, 17, was found dead in
her bedroom in Campbell on Aug. 7, 1983, raped, strangled and suffering from
stab wounds.
    Holland and a friend were regular visitors to the home. DNA
evidence led to charges being filed against Holland in that murder in 2007.
    Investigators obtained the DNA evidence in that case in part by
taking samples from Holland's brother, David Holland.
    David Holland's DNA sample in turn linked him to a 2001 rape of an
81-year-old woman in her San Jose home. He was arrested and charged with that
crime in 2007.
    Investigators said they analyzed the brothers' Y chromosomes
because the chromosomes are almost always the same among men who have the
same father.
   

Ice Cream in Exchange for Blood


    Starting today, Bay Area blood donors will receive a pint of ice
cream for donating a pint of blood to the American Red Cross.
    The "Pint for Pint" promotion will offer donors at several
participating blood centers a free coupon for a pint of Baskin-Robbins ice
cream, according to the Red Cross.
    The promotion, which runs through the end of August, is designed
to encourage people to donate blood during a time Red Cross officials call
challenging. Many regular blood donors are away on vacation or busy with
other summer plans, but the demand for blood often grows due to increased
road and travel-related injuries, officials said.
    Bay Area blood donors can redeem the free ice cream coupons at Red
Cross centers in Oakland, at 6230 Claremont Ave.; in Pleasant Hill, at 140
Gregory Lane, Suite 120; in Pleasanton at 556-B Springdale Ave.; in Newark at
39227 Cedar Blvd.; and in San Jose at 2731 N. First St.
    Donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with
parental consent, 110 pounds and in generally good health.
  

Fire at Santa Rosa Strip Mall Causes Damage


    A fire in a Santa Rosa strip mall early Sunday morning caused
serious damage to a restaurant, according to the fire department.
    Smoke was reported coming the roof of Rose Cafe at 1770 Piner Road
at about 1:30 a.m., according to the Santa Rosa Fire Department.
    Arriving units found flames in the kitchen and the business was
filled with smoke.
    Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it caused
extensive damage to the building spread to other structures.
    The origin of the fire was determined to be in the kitchen but the
exact cause was still under investigation.
    The fire caused about $50,000 in damage, according to the fire
department.

 

President Obama to Welcome the San Francisco Giants


    President Obama is scheduled to welcome the World Series Champion
San Francisco Giants to the White House today.
    The President is expected to recognize the Giants and their
efforts to give back to their community, according to a White House press
release.
    President Obama is scheduled to give his remarks honoring the
Giants at 4 p.m. EST, or 1 p.m. PST.
    San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is expected to attend.

Family of Four Displaced After Fire in San Jose


    A family of four was displaced by a one-alarm house fire in San
Jose Sunday morning, fire captain said.
    About 25 firefighters responded to reports of fire in a two-story
house in the 200 block of Moraga Way at about 11:15 a.m., San Jose fire Capt.
Michael Van Elgort said.
    Flames damaged parts of the roof and an attic space before it was
controlled in around 17 minutes, Van Elgort said.
    No one was injured in the fire.
    The fire caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to the contents
and structure of the home, Van Elgort said.
    The cause is still under investigation.
     

Two MUNI bus passengers shot this morning

Two San Francisco Municipal Railway bus passengers were shot early this morning in the city's Visitacion Valley neighborhood, police said.

The shooting occurred aboard a Muni bus at Arleta and San Bruno avenues at around 1:15 a.m.

The suspect, described as a black male, was not aboard the bus, according to police.

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One victim was shot in the hand and the other suffered a gunshot wound to the neck. Both victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call police at (415) 575-444 or text a tip to TIP411.

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2011 Giant Race Sells Out With Nearly 10,000 Runners

With more than a month before race day, organizers of the 2011

Giant Race in San Francisco have announced that the event is sold out,
although several dozen spots are still available through a fundraising
program.
    Nearly 10,000 runners have registered for the August 27 race,
which features a half-marathon, 10K and 5K races, all of which end on the
field of AT&T Park -- home of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.
    The annual race has raised more than $50,000 for Project Open
Hand
, an organization that provides meals to seniors and people living with
serious illnesses, organizers said.
    Runners who have not yet registered for the race can still
participate in any distance run through the Fundraise to Run Program, which
asks runners to commit to raising at least $500 for Project Open Hand.
    "We are thrilled that the running community, our Giants fans, and
supporters of Project Open Hand have embraced this race with such passion,
and that the event has doubled in size," said Sara Hunt, senior director for
Giants Enterprises.
    "We are now hoping to grow our fundraising totals for Project Open
Hand by the same impressive margins through the limited number of coveted
Fundraise to Run entries," she said.
    All participants will receive a medal, shirt, and a bobble head
doll of Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum. 
    After the races, participants can attend the Safeway Post Race
Expo at AT&T Park. The event will feature food, music, and ballpark vendors.
    

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Woman shot in back outside Mission District house party

A woman was critically injured early this morning in a shooting in San Francisco's Mission District, police said.

The woman was standing outside a house party near Folsom and 25th streets when she was shot in the back at 2:30 a.m., according to San Francisco police.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital by her friends, police said.

The woman's injury was considered to be life threatening.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police department at (415) 575-4444.

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Man shot in hand in Anza Vista neighborhood

A man was shot in the hand early this morning in San Francisco's Anza Vista neighborhood, police said.

Officers went to San Francisco General Hospital at about 12:10 a.m. on a report of a shooting victim, according to San Francisco police.

The victim said he had been walking in the 900 block of Anza Street when he heard a "pop" and realized he was shot in the hand.

The victim drove himself to the hospital, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the San Francisco police anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.

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San Francisco Bay Area Sunday News Roundup

Two Teens Arrested in Shooting of 11-Year-Old Girl

Police have arrested two teens in connection with a shooting in San Francisco's Western Addition neighborhood Friday night that left an 11-year-old girl with life-threatening injuries, a police spokesman said.

The girl was hit in the chest when shots fired at about 11:15 p.m. in the 1100 block of Laguna Street penetrated the walls of her apartment building, police said.

It appears a group of teenaged men had been arguing outside, and one began shooting, Officer Albie Esparza said.

Three 18- and 19-year-old men were detained, and two were eventually arrested, Esparza said. The third was released.

Esparza did not know what the argument was about, but he said the shooting is being investigated as gang related.

The girl, who was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, was still in life-threatening condition as of about noon Saturday, Esparza said.

Double Stabbing in San Francisco's Richmond District

Officers responded to a double stabbing incident in San Francisco's Richmond District Friday night, police said.

A verbal argument turned into a physical fight and a suspect stabbed two victims in the 400 block of Clement Street shortly before 9 p.m., according to police.

Both victims are at San Francisco General hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Good Samaritans chased and tackled the suspect, who was taken into custody by police. The weapon was also recovered, according to police.

The suspect suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

Two Arrested in Fairfiled Robbery

Two men who were arrested Saturday after a Fairfield convenience store clerk was held up at gunpoint have been linked to a previous robbery and a carjacking as well, according to police.

The clerk told police that two black males entered the store on the 1200 block of Tabor Avenue around 2:30 a.m., one carrying a rifle which he pointed at the clerk's head, police said. The other suspect grabbed lottery tickets, cigarettes and cash from behind the counter before fleeing south with the gunman.

Officers checking the area located suspects matching the descriptions from the robbery near an apartment on the 1900 block fo Pennsylvania Avenue.

The suspects were detained when they emerged from the apartment and property from the robbery and clothing worn during the robbery were found inside the apartment. The rifle has not been located.

The clerk identified the suspects as not only being the robbers in Saturday's incident, but also in a July 16 robbery at the same store.

Adrian Brown, a 19-year-old Fairfield resident, and Joseph Hill, an 18-year-old Fairfield resident, were both booked into Solano County Jail on multiple counts of robbery and conspiracy.

During the investigation, Brown was also identified as a suspect in a July 15 carjacking attempt. The victim in that incident was able to keep his vehicle but the suspect fired a single round at the rear-drive side of the car.

The victim, who was not injured, has identified Brown as the suspect. Brown now faces additional charges of attempted murder and attempted carjacking.

Two People Shot in Oakley, One Fatal

Two people were shot Saturday night in Oakley, one fatally, according to police.

Police said they received a report of shots fired around 7 p.m. in the area of O'Hara Avenue and Laurel Road.

One man was found shot inside a vehicle, and declared dead at the scene. A second man was found nearby with gunshot wounds and airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

A possible suspect vehicle was stopped near the scene, and one person is being questioned by police. Police are searching for additional suspects.

DNA Links Man to 1983 Murder

A man already charged with one decades-old rape and murder now faces new charges after DNA evidence linked him to a second murder, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said Friday.

Christopher Melvin Holland was charged Friday with the 1983 murder of Tera Marowski, a 21-year-old San Jose resident. Marowski went missing in late March of that year and was found dead in the back seat of her car on April 2 in unincorporated San Jose.

Holland was linked to the murder through DNA evidence after the case was reopened recently by the Sheriff's Office's cold case unit.

Holland already faces murder charges in a killing that took place only four months after Marowski's death. Cynthia Munoz, 17, was found dead in her bedroom in Campbell on Aug. 7, 1983, raped, strangled and suffering from stab wounds.

Holland and a friend were regular visitors to the home. DNA evidence led to charges being filed against Holland in that murder in 2007.

Investigators obtained the DNA evidence in that case in part by taking samples from Holland's brother, David Leonard Holland.

Ironically, David Holland's DNA sample in turn linked him to a 2001 rape of an 81-year-old woman in her San Jose home. He was arrested and charged with that crime in 2007.

Investigators said they analyzed the brothers' Y chromosomes because the chromosomes are almost always the same among men who have the same father.

BART Releases Second Video of Shooting

BART released a second video from security cameras operating during a July 3 officer-involved shooting late Friday, but said it held no "evidentiary value."

The video, taken from a camera at the Civic Center/UN Plaza BART station, shows an area approximately 600 feet away from the fatal shooting of Charles Hill, 45, and on the opposite platform. No sign of the shooting can be seen in the footage.

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey released the tape Friday after initially saying there was no other video available from the shooting.

"I was misinformed," Rainey said. "In the interest of transparency, I'm ordering the immediate release of the video, which the public can view on BARTtv."

Rainey said the video was turned over to the San Francisco Police Department immediately after the shooting. BART's independent auditor also has a copy.

A video from another security camera released on Thursday does not show Hill, as it shows only part of the platform, but it shows what police say is a bottle and a knife being thrown at the officers.

The two officers were called to the station around 9:45 p.m. on July 3 after BART received reports that Hill was carrying an open bottle of alcohol and was wobbling on the platform.

Hill was shot three times, allegedly after throwing a knife and bottle at the officers. A second knife was also found on the platform and BART police believe Hill was armed with that knife as well, Rainey said.

Investigations into the incident are being conducted by the San Francisco Police, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, the BART Police Department's internal affairs unit and BART Independent Police Auditor Mark Smith.

San Francisco Attorney Elected President of State Bar of California

San Francisco attorney Jon Streeter was elected the new president of the State Bar of California Friday.

Streeter, 54, is a partner in the law firm of Keker and Van Nest and specializes in business litigation.

He was elected by the bar's Board of Governors at a meeting at the organization's headquarters in San Francisco and will begin his one-year term at the bar's annual meeting in Long Beach in September.

The bar is the regulatory agency for California's 233,000 lawyers, in charge of licensing attorneys and investigating and disciplining those accused of misconduct. All practicing attorneys in California are required to be members. 

Streeter said his priorities for the coming year will be to focus on stabilizing and rebuilding the discipline system, improving governance by the board, and enhancing communications.

The bar's Office of Chief Trial Counsel, which investigates misconduct, recently lost its top prosecutor and four other veteran prosecutors. 

Man Critical After Shooting in Oakland

A man is in critical condition after a shooting in Oakland Friday night, police said.

Officers responded to the 2200 block of Chestnut Street at around 11 p.m. and found a man suffering from gunshot wounds.

The victim was taken to a hospital in critical condition and a male suspect is in custody.

Woman Shot During Robbery in Oakland

A woman was shot during a robbery in Oakland Friday night, police said.

Police responded to 41st Street and Piedmont Avenue at around 10:50 p.m. and found a woman suffering from gunshot wounds. The victim is in stable condition, according to police.

Officers are searching for four suspects. A suspect description was not immediately available.

California Public Utilities Commission Seeks New Director for Consumer Protection and Safety Division

The California Public Utilities Commission is looking for a new director for its Consumer Protection and Safety Division.

The division handles safety oversight of gas and electric utilities; railroads; light rail transit systems and highway/rail crossings; motor carriers of passengers and household goods and water vessels.

It also includes a new Risk Assessment Unit, created in response to September's natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, CPUC spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said.

CPUC Executive Director Paul Clanon called the explosion, which killed eight people, injured many more and destroyed 38 homes, a "game-changer for safety oversight."

"We've doubled the number of gas inspectors, we're forming a new Risk Assessment Unit to take a hard look at the risks that are out there that might not be covered by the old rules, and we're already far out in front of federal regulations in requiring testing or replacing of old, grandfathered pipes," Clanon said. "We aim to be the national model for safety regulation."

The division's current director, Richard Clark, is leaving for a new position as an administrative law judge, effective Aug. 1, Prosper said.

The director position will carry a maximum monthly salary of $10,520. Eligible candidates must be current or former California state or legislative employees, or former members of the U.S. military.

San Francisco Man Who Used Expletive to Cop Found Not Guilty

A 22-year-old San Francisco man who used a four-letter expletive during an encounter with police was found not guilty on Friday of five misdemeanor charges, including battery and resisting arrest, the public defender's office said.

Chris Christopher had been sitting with a friend in a legally parked car at Newhall Street and La Salle Avenue in the Bayview District on April 9, 2010, when his mother saw the pair and pulled up alongside them in her car, the public defender's office said.

An officer asked Christopher's mother, who was parked illegally, for identification and then moved on to question Christopher, according to the public defender's office.

The officer asked for Christopher's name but didn't believe him when he responded honestly, so Christopher fired back, "What if I tell you it's, 'F--- you'?," the public defender's office said.

"It wasn't respectful, but it was well within Mr. Christopher's First Amendment rights," his lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Erin Haney said in a statement. "There's nothing in the penal code about having a smart mouth."

An argument ensued in which Christopher allegedly threatened the officer, but witnesses who testified at the two-day trial denied that any threats took place, according to the public defender's office.

The department said Christopher has a clean record.

At one point Christopher got out of the car, but he complied with police orders to return to it, the public defender's office said. Soon after, officers allegedly pulled him out forcefully.

Christopher was arrested and charged with delaying or obstructing an officer with threat of violence, battery on a police officer, and three counts of resisting arrest, the public defender's office said. The jury acquitted him on all charges.

Haney had argued in court that police had no right to detain Christopher and used excessive force.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast

Cloudy and foggy skies are expected in the Bay Area this morning, before becoming partly cloudy later today. Highs in the mid 50s to lower 60s are anticipated. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph are also expected.

Tonight is expected to be cloudy, with patches of fog after midnight. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph are anticipated, with lows in the lower 50s.

Forecasters predict Monday will be mostly cloudy in the morning with patchy fog, before becoming partly cloudy later in the day. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are expected, with west winds 10 to 15 mph.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Forecast Sunday

Cloudy and foggy skies are expected in the Bay Area this morning, before becoming partly cloudy later today. Highs in the mid 50s to lower 60s are anticipated. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph are also expected.

Tonight is expected to be cloudy, with patches of fog after midnight. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph are anticipated, with lows in the lower 50s.

Forecasters predict Monday will be mostly cloudy in the morning with patchy fog, before becoming partly cloudy later in the day. Highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s are expected, with west winds 10 to 15 mph.
   

BART Police Chief Says Second Shooting Video of no "Evidentiary Value"

BART police released a second video from security cameras operating during a July 3 officer-involved shooting late Friday, but said it held no "evidentiary value."

The video, taken from a camera at the Civic Center/UN Plaza BART station, shows an area approximately 600 feet away from the fatal shooting of Charles Hill, 45, and on the opposite platform. No sign of the shooting can be seen in the footage.

BART police Chief Kenton Rainey released the tape Friday after initially saying there was no other video available from the shooting.

"I was misinformed," Rainey said this evening. "In the interest of transparency, I'm ordering the immediate release of the video, which the public can view on BARTtv."

Rainey said the video was turned over to the San Francisco Police Department immediately after the shooting and that BART's independent auditor also has a copy.

A video from another security camera released on Thursday does not show Hill, as it shows only part of the platform, but it shows what police say are a bottle and a knife being thrown at the officers.

The two officers were called to the station around 9:45 p.m. on July 3 after BART received reports that Hill was carrying an open bottle of alcohol and was wobbling on the platform.

Hill was shot three times, allegedly after throwing a knife and bottle at the officers. A second knife was also found on the platform and BART police believe Hill was armed with that knife as well, Rainey said.

Investigations into the incident are being conducted by the San Francisco Police, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, the BART Police Department's internal affairs unit and BART Independent Police Auditor Mark Smith.

The public can view the videos on BART's website.

San Francisco Bay Area Saturday News

The End of Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Friday's move to end the military's 18-year-old ban on openly gay troops will help remove a tremendous burden from gay and lesbian members of the armed forces, a local activist said. Retired U.S. Navy Commander Zoe Dunning, a San Francisco resident and decorated veteran who came out as a lesbian in 1993 while serving, said President Obama's signing Friday of the certification for repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" was "the final hurdle" in the fight against the policy. The certification from U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen states that the military is ready to repeal the policy and can maintain military readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment and retention goals.

The repeal, which was signed into law in December, will take effect 60 days from Friday, on Sept. 20, 2011. Dunning, a co-chair of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, was one of the first people prosecuted under "don't ask, don't tell," and one of the few to successfully fight discharge from the military under it, before her legal defense was banned by the Pentagon. She said the policy, which prohibited gay and lesbian servicemembers from being open about their sexual orientation, had a tremendous impact on the lives of those forced to serve under it.

"Every day that you go into work, you wonder if that is your last day, if someone turned you in or you're being investigated, and the stress of that burden takes a tremendous toll on you," Dunning said. Dunning said it was important to remember that gay and lesbian servicemembers would not truly be safe until "don't ask, don't tell" is formally repealed. Friday's certification drew praise as well from local officials and groups. U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, said the policy had weakened national security and ran counter to American values. "A person's fitness for service should be determined by their patriotism, valor and ability to carry out the mission, not sexual orientation," Speier said. "Many of our allies have already enacted policies of open service without any harm to battle readiness or unit cohesion."

3 Suspects Arrested in Bryan Stow Case

Police in Los Angeles confirmed Friday afternoon that three new suspects have been arrested in connection with the March beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow and that the man originally suspected has been exonerated. Louie Sanchez, 29, Marvin Norwood, 30, and Doreen Sanchez, 31, were arrested as a result of the ongoing investigation in which detectives have examined more than 850 clues and interviewed some 600 people, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said to cameras Friday afternoon. "We have tirelessly pursued the truth wherever it led us," he said. Just minutes before the news conference, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office brought charges against the two men, Beck said. The district attorney's office confirmed that Norwood and Louie Sanchez, who both live in San Bernadino County, were charged with one count each of mayhem and assault in the March 31 attack outside of Los Angeles' Dodgers Stadium. Friday's announcement represented a major change in the case, as police had originally believed Giovanni Ramirez, 31, of Los Angeles, was a prime suspect in the case. "Giovanni Ramirez is no longer a suspect in this case," Beck said. Ramirez was arrested on May 22 on suspicion of violating parole after police found a gun in a laundry hamper at his home. "In policing, it is just as important to exonerate the innocent as it is to implicate the guilty," Beck said. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa echoed Beck's statement of the department's commitment to the Stow case. "The best of the best at the LAPD have been tasked in working on this case," Villaraigosa said at the news conference. "The Los Angeles Police Department never gave up on this case," District Attorney Steve Cooley said in a prepared statement released Friday. 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. The two men are expected to appear for arraignment Monday in Department 30 at Los Angeles Superior Court. They were arrested Thursday at their Rialto homes by Los Angeles police and are being held on $500,000 bail each.

Small Plane Crashes in Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz man flying a small plane that crashed in Watsonville earlier this month had had his flying license for less than four months at the time of the accident, according to a preliminary report released Thursday. A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board indicates that pilot David Houghton, 44, had received his private pilot's license on March 17. He had accrued about 140 hours of flight time, including his flight training for his pilot certificate, at the time of the July 7 crash. Houghton and his wife, Dede Houghton, 44, were traveling to meet relatives in Groveland (Tuolumne County), with their two children, 12-year-old Luke and 10-year-old Ryan, when the 7:20 p.m. crash occurred. Witnesses told investigators that the plane, a 1974 single-engine Mooney M20F that Houghton had purchased with another person in November 2010, appeared to be climbing steeply after takeoff, the NTSB report said. About 500 feet off the ground, the plane began to roll until it was nearly inverted and the nose dropped. The plane descended rapidly and completed about two tight turns or spirals, then appeared to begin to recover before it disappeared behind the trees. The plane struck a parking lot on the Watsonville Community Hospital campus, slid about 130 feet forward and hit the medical office building. The crash damaged the building and started a fire that consumed portions of the badly damaged plane. Marks left in the pavement by the propeller indicated the engine was developing power at the time of the crash. The entire Houghton family was killed. No one in the medical office building or parking lot was injured, and the hospital remained open during the crash and subsequent fire. There were clear skies at the time of the crash over the airport, with low clouds southwest of the airport. Houghton checked weather briefings twice the day of the fatal flight, the report said.

Trial for Pittsburg Police Officer Murder

Family members and colleagues of a Pittsburg police officer who was killed in 2005 while chasing down two robbery suspects packed a Martinez courtroom Friday for a re-sentencing hearing of one of the two defendants whose sentence was overturned in an appellate court ruling. On April 23, 2005, Andrew Moffett, who was 17 years old at the time, paid a friend to steal a car for him. Later that day, Moffett and his friend Alexander Hamilton, who was 18 at the time, drove the stolen car to a Raley's supermarket in Pittsburg. Wearing gloves and masks and armed with loaded guns, the two teens entered the supermarket. Moffett pressed his gun to the head of one cashier and ordered her to open the register or he would kill her while Hamilton went to a Wells Fargo branch bank inside the supermarket, waved his gun at two tellers and ordered them to give him money. The two then fled in the stolen car, but crashed it a short distance away.

They took off on foot, hopping fences through people's backyards, until they came to the Delta de Anza trail. Moffett kept going, but Hamilton was hiding in the bushes as the first officers, 35-year-old Larry Lasater and his partner, got to the trail. As Lasater approached Hamilton, Hamilton shot him twice, dropping him to the ground. When other officers came to his aid, Hamilton shot at them, too, but missed. According to prosecutor Harold Jewett, Hamilton continued shooting until his gun was empty and he was forced to surrender. Moffett was arrested a short time later in a nearby backyard. He and Hamilton were convicted in 2007 of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree robbery, one count of car theft, multiple firearms enhancements and a special circumstances charge that they killed a peace officer. Judge Laurel Brady re-sentenced Moffett to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Inmate Convicted of Weapon Possession Faces 25 Years

A Salinas Valley State Prison inmate convicted of possessing a stabbing weapon he had concealed in his rectum faces 25 years to life in prison, according to prosecutors. A Monterey County jury on Wednesday found Miguel Angel Gonzalez, 23, guilty of felony possession of a sharp instrument that could be used as a stabbing weapon in a correctional facility, prosecutors said. Gonzalez had hidden the weapon in his rectum and then later complained to correctional officers that he was unable to pass it. The weapon was surgically removed at Natividad Medical Center. He is serving consecutive terms in prison for two separate strike offenses, including robbery with a deadly or dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon with enhancements for infliction of great bodily injury, and committing the assault for the benefit of a street gang, according to prosecutors. He was convicted of the offenses in April 2008 in Santa Cruz County. Gonzalez is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 10.

$350 Million budget cuts to San Francisco Courts

The governing body of California's judicial branch allocated a painful $350 million budget cut among different segments of the state court system at a meeting in San Francisco Friday. The funding cut, amounting to 15 percent of the court system's $2.3 billion operating budget, was made by the Legislature in the austerity budget enacted last month. The state Judicial Council carried out the reduction by adopting the recommendations of a working group of judges and court executives. California's trial courts -- the 58 county-based superior courts -- will see a 6.8 percent loss of funds. The California Supreme Court and six regional appeals courts will lose 9.7 percent of last year's funds and the central administration, known as the Administrative Office of the Courts, will forgo 12 percent.

"There is no way to spread this without substantial pain," working group member Stephen Nash, chief executive officer of San Bernardino County Superior Court, told the council. Nash said the cumulative funding cut to the court system, including previous reductions since 2008, is now $653 million. The full annual budget of the court system last year was $3.5 billion, but the adjusted operating budget considered by the working group excluded about $1.2 billion in non-reducible fixed costs. Those costs include court security provided by sheriffs, which is now being transferred to county budgets, and judges' salaries. The plan includes a delay in most new courthouse construction around the state and a one-year suspension of a controversial computerized case management system being developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The San Francisco court will lose nearly $5 million, in addition to a previous deficit of $8 million, from last year's $75 million budget. Feinstein announced Monday that the court is laying off 200 of its 480 employees and closing 12 of 15 civil trial courtrooms. Criminal trials will continue, but most civil lawsuits may take five years to go to trial, she said.

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District's Acting Executive Director, Farhad Mansourian, Recommends Increasing Cost of the Rail Line and Pedestrian/Bicycle Pathway

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit district's acting executive director Farhad Mansourian Friday recommended increasing the cost of the rail line and pedestrian/bicycle pathway between San Rafael and Santa Rosa by $57 to $69 million and completing it one or two years behind schedule. He also outlined $70 to $82 million in possible funding sources and savings measures to offset the increased costs. The cost of the segment between Santa Rosa and San Rafael was initially estimated at $335 million when it was part of the originally proposed 70-mile rail line and pathway between Cloverdale and Larkspur. The cost of building the line only between the downtowns of those cities -- the initial operating segment, or IOS -- is estimated at $395 million.

Mansourian is now projecting the cost of that segment at $404 million and is forecasting $407 million will be available to build it. His engineer's analysis of the costs and revenues of the IOS was to be completed by July 27, when the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is scheduled to approve $21 million in funding for the project, half of it from Marin and Sonoma counties' transportation authorities.

Mansourian is recommending restoring three items that previously were deleted from the San Rafael-Santa Rosa segment in April to help save $88 million. They include restoring $4.3 million for ticket vending machines, $3.4 million for a closed circuit television system on train station platforms and $5 million to replace the Novato Creek Bridge. He also is recommending $56 million in cost increases and revisions that include an additional $10 million for engineering, professional services and administrative staff, $11 million for an Operations and Maintenance facility, $26 million for a "positive train control" signaling and communications system, $4 million for systems and grade crossing work between the Marin Civic Center and downtown San Rafael and $2.8 million for signals and sound buffer medians to create "quiet zones."

Mansourian said SMART can save between $12 and $24 million by delaying the completion of the Santa Rosa-San Rafael segment one to two years to allow time to restore the deleted items.

San Francisco Police Arrest Suspect in Burned Body Case

Six weeks to the day after firefighters discovered the partially burned body of a man in San Francisco's Buena Vista Park, police arrested a suspect in the homicide. Police said that David M. Diaz, 22, of San Francisco, was arrested Friday at 850 Bryant St., the location of the San Francisco Hall of Justice. Diaz was booked into San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of arson and homicide, police said. On June 10, firefighters responding to reports of a brush fire in the park at about 4:40 a.m. found the burned body of Freddy Roberto Canul-Arguello. Firefighters discovered Canul-Arguello's partially burned body in a blue recycling bin near the park's tennis courts just off of Buena Vista Avenue East. Police said that Canul-Arguello, 23, was already dead when the fire began and that he was killed near the tennis courts earlier that morning.

Letter Carrier Hailed Hero

A letter carrier was hailed as a hero this week after he helped extinguish a fire at a Santa Clara townhouse, according to the U.S. Postal Service. On Wednesday, Danny Paeste, a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, stopped at 1343 Sarita Way to drop off mail when he noticed a woman and two children standing outside the townhouse, their faces shrouded in distress, postal service officials said. The woman told him she had been babysitting the children when a fire broke out in the kitchen and was quickly getting out of control. When Paeste saw black smoke coming out of the house, he called 911 and then grabbed a garden hose. He dragged the hose inside the house and tried to control the flames, but realized it was too short to reach the ceiling above the stove, so he found another hose, combined the two hoses, and began to fight the fire from a crouched position, all the while preventing himself from breathing in the hot smoke. Firefighters arrived and evacuated the babysitter, the children and neighbors in adjacent homes. After the fire was under control, Paeste continued on his rounds, postal service officials said. No one was harmed in the fire.

Bay Area Weather Forecast

The Bay Area is forecast to be partly cloudy with patchy fog this morning, becoming partly cloudy, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s. This evening is expected to be partly cloudy, with patchy fog expected after midnight and lows in the lower 50s. Sunday is expected to be mostly cloudy with patchy fog in the morning, becoming partly cloudy, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

Two Men Attacked Outside Downtown Nightclub

 A man was arrested and three others are being sought in connection with an attack on two men as they were leaving a nightclub in downtown SanFrancisco early this morning, police said.
    The assault was reported at 2:19 a.m. near the intersection of Stockton Street and Campton Place.
    The two victims, both 24-year-old men, were punched and knocked to the ground by the four suspects, who ran away, according to police.
    One of the suspects was arrested but the other three have not been found, police said. They are described as men in their mid 20s.
    The victims were taken to St. Francis Memorial Hospital to be treated for their injuries, which are not considered life-threatening.
    Anyone with information about the attack is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

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Pedestrian Struck By Muni Bus On Market Street

A pedestrian was struck by a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus on Market Street Thursday evening when he leaned over the side of a median bus stop.
The male pedestrian had his back to the inbound 31-Balboa bus as it was approaching the stop at New Montgomery Street around 7:45 p.m., said Muni spokesman Paul Rose.
He leaned over the side of the median stop and was struck by the bus, suffering a head injury.
The pedestrian was taken to a hospital and was listed in stable condition as of Thursday night.
Rose said the exact details of the accident, including whether the driver might have changed lanes prior to the crash, are still being
investigated.
In accordance with Muni's usual procedures for accidents, the driver has been placed on non-driving status and will undergo drug and alcohol testing.

 

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Phil Ting Says City's Real Estate Market 'Strongest In The State'

 San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting announced Thursday that the value of the city's real estate grew by nearly $2 billion in the past fiscal year, a contrast to decreasing property values in most other parts of California.
    The total roll assessment value, a combination of residential and commercial property values, grew by 1.3 percent to $163 billion during the fiscal year that ended June 30.
    "We're very, very fortunate in San Francisco," Ting said. "We still have the strongest real estate market in the state."
    He said many homeowners are still worried about the real estate market but predicted "we're going to see a continued resurgence" in the coming years.
    Daniel Cressman, executive vice president of the commercial real estate company Grubb & Ellis, said the value of the city's commercial properties are doing particularly well.
    San Francisco is "one of the very few markets in the entire country where investment demand for commercial office space is far outstripping the available supply that's for sale," Cressman said.
    That has led to property value increases of up to 40 percent in recent years, he said.
    John Lee, the former president of the San Francisco Association of Realtors, said the residential market is not doing as well, particularly for middle-class homeowners.
    "People worried about jobs can't commit to a long-term financial obligation," Lee said.
    He said, "I think the worst is behind us," but predicted the next few years for the market will probably be about the same as the past one.
    About 18,800 owners of single-family homes received a one-year temporary reduction last year in the assessed value of their properties, saving them a combined $27 million in taxes, Ting said.

    

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Coast Guard Patrol Boat Open to Public for SF Giants Family Safety Festival

The Coast Guard's 87-foot patrol boat will be open to the public for tours today as part of the San Francisco Giants' Family Safety Festival, team officials said. The cutter Tern will be moored at McCovey Cove Ferry Piers, just outside AT&T Park in O'Doul Plaza, and the boat's crew will be on-hand to meet the public. The vessel will be open for tours from 4 to 6 p.m., before the Giants game against the Milwaukee Brewers, which starts at 7:15 p.m. Representatives from local and state law enforcement and transportation agencies will also be at the safety festival with information booths and interactive displays at the park's O'Doul gate, team officials said.

July 23, 2011

It’s 7:06 a.m., 53° and heading for 63°. Details are here. I love walking up and down 24th Street any day of the week, and given how photogenic the street is, I’m not surprised that photographer Beth LaBerge has been inspired by its people and businesses. I am excited to see her work, which MissionMission...

The plan is to turn them into law-abiding citizens as quickly as possible.

San Francisco attorney Jon Streeter was elected president of the State Bar of California on Friday and said one of his top priorities would be to "restore the effectiveness and integrity" of the discipline system for...

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(07-22) 22:24 PDT Hanford, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities in the Central Valley city of Hanford say two children have died while playing in an inflatable pool. Hanford police say neighbors called for help a little after...

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