SF News

San Francisco Bay Area Friday News Roundup

Tactical Teams Negotiating with Burglar in Union City Lock-Down

Hours after a lock-down began on a residential Union City street, a tactical team was still trying to negotiate with someone in a home they surrounded and neighbors were still instructed to remain inside. A suspected burglar who fired shots at police, prompting an extensive search and the lengthy lock-down near Darlene Way and Jean Drive, surrendered to Union City police earlier Thursday evening, a police lieutenant said. As of 7 p.m., the tactical team had surrounded the home where the shooting occurred because they believe there may be an additional suspect inside. SWAT teams, helicopter crews and K9 units spent hours pursuing the first suspect, while police shut down several streets in the area, Union City police Lt. Ben Horner said. Police ordered residents to stay indoors during the manhunt, which ended at about 5:25 p.m. when the suspect turned himself in a few doors down from the site of the shooting, Horner said. The suspect, who surrendered earlier in the vicinity of the home where the shooting happened, did not appear to be injured, he said. Police are in the process of identifying the suspect, Horner said, and officers planned to continue going door-to-door and searching the area to make sure residents are safe. Horner did not say whether the weapon was recovered. As of 7 p.m., roads in the area were still blocked. The incident started at about 10:15 a.m., when Union City police received a report of a burglary in that neighborhood. Residents of the burglarized house were upstairs when they heard a knock at the door and then heard glass breaking, Horner said. When the residents came downstairs, they saw a male intruder. He was startled and ran away, Horner said. Neighbors called police and reported seeing a man running through backyards and jumping over fences, he said. Officers arrived and began investigating the burglary, and found a person of interest on Darlene Way. When the officers approached the man, he pulled out a handgun and fired at them and the officers fired back, Horner said. No officers were struck by the gunfire, he said. The man dodged the shots and ran away from police.

 

SF Police Shooting Victim Died of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

A man who was thought to have died from an officer-involved shooting in San Francisco last weekend appears instead to have been killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, investigators revealed Thursday. Kenneth Harding Jr., a 19-year-old Seattle resident, allegedly ran from officers who had attempted to detain him Saturday for fare evasion at a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail stop at Third Street and Palou Avenue. Police had originally said Harding had turned to his left while running and fired at the officers, who fired several shots in return and fatally struck him. However, the bullet believed to have killed Harding was removed from his head by the medical examiner, who discovered it was a .380-caliber bullet, which is not consistent with the service ammunition used by San Francisco police. The bullet had entered his body from the right side of his neck before lodging in his head, chief medical examiner Dr. Amy Hart said. Police said they also found an unused .380-caliber bullet in Harding's right jacket pocket. "We believe the fatal wound on Mr. Harding's body was self-inflicted," said police Cmdr. Mike Biel, who said it was still unclear whether the wound was accidental. Many questions still remain, however, about what happened out in the Bayview that day. No weapon was found by police at the scene, but amateur video footage taken in the aftermath of the shooting showed a passerby picking up what investigators believe was Harding's gun and taking it from the area before police could establish the crime scene. A cellphone and several bullet casings were also apparently taken from the scene, police said. A .45-caliber gun was later found at a local parolee's house that investigators initially believed was Harding's gun, but the new ballistic evidence has shown that not to be the case. Biel said police are still seeking the man who picked up the gun, as well as the firearm, and said the department is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone with information that will help to recover the gun.

 

Video of Charles Hill Shooting Shows He Threw Bottle, Knife at BART Police Officers

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said Thursday that he believes a video of a recent confrontation at the Civic Center station in San Francisco shows that a man threw a bottle and a knife at two officers before one of the officers fatally shot him. BART Interim General Manager Sherwood Wakeman said multiple investigations into the July 3 incident are continuing but San Francisco police, who are the lead investigators, said the video could be released to the news media and the public because they finished interviewing all the witnesses in the case. BART is releasing the 73-second-long video because the transit agency, Wakeman said, "wants to have as much transparency as possible." Charles Hill, 45, was killed in the incident on the platform at the Civic Center station, but he is not shown in the video, as it shows only part of the platform. While showing the video to reporters at BART's headquarters, Rainey said two officers -- one white, the other Asian -- arrived at the station at 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. Rainey said that when the officers first got off a train and arrived at the station they "walked very casually" in the direction where they thought Hill was. The video indicates that Hill threw a bottle at the two officers, and then shows the white officer drawing his service weapon, holding it in his left hand and bracing his outstretched left arm with his right hand. The officer apparently "felt threatened in some way," Rainey said. The officer is shown moving his mouth and Rainey said he believes the officer was commanding Hill to drop his knife. The knife is then shown coming near the officer, hitting the side of a train and ricocheting to the platform, where it came to rest. The officer then fired his gun, the video indicates. Rainey said three shell casings were recovered on the station platform and indicate that the officer fired three shots.

 

2 Gang Members Charged with Murder of 21-Year-Old Woman

Two suspected gang members were charged with special circumstances murder Thursday for allegedly brutally beating a 21-year-old Union City woman to death, dumping her body in an upscale Oakland neighborhood and then setting it on fire. Authorities declined to disclose the motive for the murder of Monica Rodas, who was the mother of a 2-year-old boy, but said suspects Salvador Valasco, 22, and Hector Garcia, 31, apparently were upset with her about something and wanted to send a message to the community not to mess with them. Rodas' body was found at about 4:40 a.m. on July 14 in the 5800 block of Ivanhoe Road in Oakland's Rockridge District, near a state Highway 24 off-ramp. Valasco and Garcia are both charged with committing a murder during the course of a kidnapping, desecrating human remains and evading police officers. Garcia is also charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and of having six prior felony convictions, an allegation that could add to his prison sentence if he is convicted. His prior convictions include evading an officer, possession of a firearm by a felon, receiving stolen property, car theft and possession of a controlled substance. The special circumstances allegations mean that Valasco and Garcia could face the death penalty if they are convicted, but prosecutors will decide later if they want to seek the death penalty. According to a probable cause statement filed in court by Oakland police Sgt. Steve Nowak and Sgt. Sean Fleming, Garcia denied any knowledge of the crime but Valasco admitted his involvement and said he bound Rodas' hands, gagged her mouth and put a sweater over her. Valasco said Garcia threatened to burn Rodas with a blowtorch and slapped her, according to the statement. Witnesses said Garcia kicked Rodas while she was bound and gagged, the court document said. Valasco and Garcia then walked Rodas to a car, put her in the trunk and drove her to another location, where she was killed, the police investigators said. The two men next drove Rodas' body to Ivanhoe Road, where they dumped and burned it, according to the statement.

 

Demonstrators Cited at Hotel Workers Protest

Police said that approximately 80 demonstrators were cited at a protest Thursday night near San Francisco's Union Square, where hotel workers demanded an end to what they say are abuses they face on the job. Hundreds gathered outside the Grand Hyatt San Francisco on Stockton Street near Sutter Street for the demonstration. Hotel workers say that the hotel has eliminated jobs while increasing the workload for those who remain behind. Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said the demonstrators were cited for failing to obey a law enforcement officer and for being pedestrians in the roadway. This was the latest installment in the ongoing contract dispute -- the Hyatt workers' labor contract expired in 2009 and negotiations for its replacement are still under way. Hyatt workers who are members of the hotel union Unite Here Local 2 say that they want to retain the right to strike in support of other Hyatt workers nationwide. In the past several months, Hyatt workers across North America have gone on strike, led demonstrations, and called for boycotts of 18 Hyatt properties. In the Bay Area, workers have led boycotts of the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency Embarcadero and the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. Thursday's demonstrations stretched beyond San Francisco, with Hyatt workers in nine cities across the U.S. picketing. "Our bodies hurt, but Hyatt is ignoring us," housekeeper Ofelia Martinez said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. Martinez was on strike Thursday at the Park Hyatt in Chicago. "We will no longer suffer in silence."

 

Former Richmond Police Officers Indicted for Deceiving Authorities About Handgun Purchases

Two former Richmond police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury in Oakland Thursday on charges of conspiring to deceive authorities about one officer's alleged purchase of handguns for two underage youths. The indictment alleges that former officer Danny Harris Jr., of Pinole, bought three semiautomatic pistols from an unidentified gun dealer in San Jose in June, July and November 2009 on behalf of two minors and one other person. Harris is charged with four counts of making false statements on federal firearms transaction forms about the true buyers of the guns. In addition, he and fellow former officer Raymond Thomas Jr., of Fairfield, are each charged with one count of conspiring to prevent disclosure of the alleged crimes to federal law enforcement officers and one count of obstructing a grand jury investigation. The indictment alleges the two men's schemes to deceive authorities included hiring a private investigator in Concord to conduct a sting operation in which the two youths were to be arrested for drunk driving and illegal possession of the pistols. A second plot was to have a woman who worked for the investigator set up a date with one of the youths and ask him to bring his gun to their meeting, the indictment alleges. The document does not give the name of the private investigator. The two men are due to make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate in Oakland on Aug. 9. The charges each carry maximum sentences ranging from five to 20 years in prison, if the defendants are convicted. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said the prosecution results from an 11-month investigation by the FBI, the Richmond Police Department and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.

 

New Gang Task Force Created to Curb Gun Violence

Representatives from the Richmond Police Department, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office and the Richmond City Council jointly announced Thursday the creation of a new gang task force aimed at ending a recent rise in gun violence in the area. "Over the past several months, several neighborhoods in Richmond and unincorporated North Richmond have been significantly affected by a spike in gun violence," Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus said. He said much of the violence has involved retaliatory shootings between young men from rival gangs or street groups that have been targeting each other. So far this month there have been eight homicides in Richmond and nine other shootings, Magnus said. There has also been one homicide and several shootings in unincorporated North Richmond. The new gang task force, which is a collaboration between the Richmond Police Department and the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, is being created in an effort to disrupt the cycle of retaliation, Magnus said. Richmond police officers will be riding in patrol cars with sheriff's deputies and focusing on specific problem areas in the city as well as individuals believed to be involved in committing crimes, Magnus said. Investigators from both departments will be working together to investigate the crimes and will be meeting regularly to share information, identify suspects and build criminal cases against them, Magnus said. The two departments will also be working closely with the district attorney's office to prosecute the crimes. Deputy District Attorney Tom Kensok said the district attorney's office would be aggressively prosecuting gang members and has recently doubled the size of the office's gang unit. However, he noted that law enforcement needed help from the community to be able to address the problem of violence in Richmond. "We are not going to arrest and prosecute our way out of this problem," Kensok said.

 

Woman Found Dead in Vallejo Parking Lot Identified as Jessica Garcia

The woman found dead in the parking lot of the Deluxe Inn in Vallejo late Tuesday night has been identified as 30-year-old Jessica Garcia, of Vallejo, police said. Police responded at about 11:25 p.m. to a report of gunshots at the hotel at 2070 Solano Ave., where they found Garcia, who had been shot. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Garcia is the city's 11th homicide victim this year. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives Mat Mustard or Ted Postolaki at 1-800-488-9383.

 

Longtime Sunnyvale City Councilmember Ron Swegles Passed Away

A longtime Sunnyvale city councilman passed away in Michigan Thursday morning. Councilman Ron Swegles, 67, was in the final year of his second term in office, and city officials said his health had been declining. He died at about 9 a.m. Michigan time. "Ron's death has struck all of us on council very deeply," Mayor Melinda Hamilton said in a statement. "He will be sorely missed by his fellow council members." Swegles was first elected to the City Council in 2003. He served as vice mayor from 2004 to 2005 and then as mayor from 2005 to 2006. He had also been on the parks and recreation commission, and had served as its chair. Additionally, Swegles had been a member of Sunnyvale's senior advisory committee, the downtown planning committee and the planning commission, and had served on the board of the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy's Submarine Service. Swegles is survived by his wife Gail and his two children, three stepchildren, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 

San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum to Hold "Hand Holding Day"

In response to an incident where a security guard told a lesbian couple that hand holding was not allowed, the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco will hold "Hand Holding Day" this Sunday. "Hand Holding Day" will coincide with the previously scheduled event "LGBT Family Morning of Gertrude Stein," an event celebrating the life of the famous lesbian artist and LGBT families. The couple was approached by the security guard on Sunday while attending the current exhibit featured at the museum, "Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories." The guard's suggestion that handholding was not allowed at the museum sparked outrage from other museum patrons. Museum officials responded swiftly to reports of the incident, and publicly announced that the guard's actions did not reflect museum policy and that the security guard would not be employed at the museum in the future. Daryl Carr, director of marketing and communications for the museum, said this event reflects the continued commitment "I do believe the story got picked up because of the irony of it all," he said, referring to the fact that the incident happened at the Stein exhibit. "The museum director is a lesbian, I'm gay, we have a very diverse workforce," Carr said. "The commitment we have to the LGBT community with just this event is astounding." Sunday's event will be held from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. and will include performances by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, the Voices Lesbian Choral Ensemble, and the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco. "LGBT Family Morning" is the latest in a summer of LGBT-themed events at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The next will be "An Evening in Gay Paris" in conjunction with the San Francisco MOMA on Aug 4. 

Bird causes morning power outage in Dogpatch neighborhood

A bird caused a power outage that affected about 500 PG&E customers in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood this morning.

PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said the bird sparked the outage shortly after 8 a.m. at 24th and Illinois streets.

"What happened was, a bird made contact with two of our power lines at the same time," he said.

One wire fell to the street, and crews responded to make repairs.

Power was restored to most customers shortly after 10 a.m., and the rest had their electricity back by 11:30 a.m., he said.

There was no word on the bird's fate, but Molica said birds don't typically survive incidents like this morning's, which he said are rare. 

 

UPDATE:

A seagull caused a power outage that affected about 500 PG&E customers in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood this morning.

PG&E spokesman Joe Molica said the seagull sparked the outage shortly after 8 a.m. at 24th and Illinois streets.

"A bird made contact with two of our power lines at the same time," he said.   

One wire fell to the street, and crews responded to make repairs.

Power was restored to most customers shortly after 10 a.m., and the rest had their electricity back by 11:30 a.m., he said.

Molica said the seagull survived and is being tended to by San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

 

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Police now say man killed in Bayview Saturday died of self-inflicted wound

A man who was thought to have died from an officer-involved shooting in San Francisco last weekend appears instead to have been killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound, investigators revealed today.

Kenneth Harding Jr., a 19-year-old Seattle resident, allegedly ran from officers who had attempted to detain him Saturday for fare evasion at a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail stop at Third Street and Palou Avenue.

Police had originally said Harding had turned and fired at the officers, who returned fire and fatally struck him.

However, the bullet believed to have killed Harding was removed from his head by the medical examiner, who discovered it was a .380-caliber bullet, which is not consistent with the service ammunition used by San Francisco police.

Police said they also found an unused .380-caliber bullet in the right jacket pocket of Harding.

The shooting has triggered several protests around the city since last weekend, including one Tuesday that led to 45 people being arrested.

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Woman Robbed At Knifepoint In SOMA Parking Garage

A woman was robbed at knifepoint in a parking garage in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood on Wednesday morning, police said.
    The robbery was reported at about 7:10 a.m. Wednesday at a garage near the intersection of Fourth and Mission streets.
    The 44-year-old victim was approached by a suspect who put a knife to her side and demanded her purse, according to police.
    The victim handed over the purse and the suspect fled. He had not been found as of today, police said.
    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.

 

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Inner-City Kids Head To The Mountains For Summer Camp

 More than 100 inner-city San Francisco kids will be heading to the Santa Cruz mountains today for summer camp, thanks to the Salvation Army, organizers said.

    The children will be bused to the Salvation Army's Camp Redwood Glen in Scotts Valley for five days of outdoor fun after today's 13th Annual Camp Send-Off event, organizers said.
    Children between the ages of 7 and 16 will attend the camp, many of whom have never been outside of the city, organizers said.
    Campers from low-income families pay only $25 for the camp, a fraction of the normal price. The extra costs are subsidized by donations, organizers said.
    

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Public Works Director Ed Reiskin Chosen To Head SFMTA (MUNI)

new muni directors chosen    San Francisco public works director Ed Reiskin will be shifting gears in his new role as executive director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
    Reiskin has no transit experience, but has worked for more than 20 years in the private, academic, nonprofit and public sectors. He was named asthe new head of the SFMTA at a news conference held by the agency this morning.
    His contract goes before the Board of Supervisors on Aug. 2, and Reiskin is expected to take on his new role on Aug. 15, replacing Debra
Johnson, who took over as interim chief on July 1 after Nathaniel Ford stepped down.
    Reiskin was appointed as public works director by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2008. In that role, he has managed an annual $165 million operating budget and overseen more than 1,100 employees.
    When he takes over as the SFMTA's executive director, Reiskin will be responsible for an operating budget of more than $775 million and about
five times as many employees.
    As an active cyclist and daily Muni rider, Reiskin said he has been personally invested in the agency for some time.
    "Because of our density and because of our hills and because of our strong opinions about everything, transportation I see as essentially important to maintaining and enhancing the quality of life for people of San Francisco," Reiskin said.
    Board of Supervisors President David Chiu described Reiskin as a man who "rides the ride and walks the walk."
    One of Reiskin's first tasks will be resolving the contract dispute with Muni operators. He said he looks forward to engaging in a "constructive partnership" with the operators and putting transportation first.
    Safety is also likely to be a top priority, as the agency has come under fire for several light rail crashes in recent years and crime on its vehicles.
    Reiskin said he would work with police Chief Greg Suhr to address the outcry in the city's Bayview District over a recent officer-involved
shooting by San Francisco police that occurred while officers were conducing fare enforcement.
    At a community meeting at the Bayview Opera House on Wednesday night, some complained that the Bayview is targeted disproportionately in
fare enforcement operations.
    Reiskin said people should not feel harassed when riding Muni.
    His experience includes serving as assistant to the city manager in Oakland, where he coordinated work involving various city agencies,
focusing on public safety and community development.
    Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Reiskin served as the District of Columbia's liaison to independent, federal, and regional public safety
agencies, and as the District of Columbia's homeland security adviser.
    Reiskin received a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a master's degree in business administration from New York University's Stern School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    "The future of transportation is bright," said Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA board of directors.

   .

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Bicyclist Dies After Wednesday Collision With Truck

   A 25-year-old bicyclist who was critically injured in a collision with a truck in San Francisco on Wednesday morning has died, according to the medical examiner's office.
    Nancy Ho, of San Francisco, was traveling east on Mission Streetm when she was struck by a westbound Berkeley Farms truck as she turned leftm onto Fremont street around 8 a.m., San Francisco police Lt. Troy Dangerfieldm said.
    Ho was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for a serious head wound and other injuries, he said. She was not wearing a helmet.
    Although both Ho and the truck driver had a green light, she was mmaking an illegal left turn, Dangerfield said.
    Left turns are only permitted for taxis and San Franciscom Municipal Transportation Agency buses, according to posted signs.
    A video camera at a nearby business captured the collision, andm police are reviewing the footage, he said.
    Dangerfield said that bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians should mbe alert when navigating San Francisco streets.
    "Everyone has to share the roadway and be cautious," he said.
    Investigators do not suspect that drugs or alcohol played a role min the collision. The driver of the truck, owned by the Newark-based company Sunrise Food Distributors Inc., was cooperative with detectives.
    San Francisco police did not provide any updates about the investigation this morning. The intersection was closed for a couple of hours mwhile investigators gathered evidence.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Thursday News Roundup

Angry Community Members Take Over Bayview Townhall About Fatal Police Shooting

A town hall meeting held in San Francisco's Bayview District Wednesday night to address a fatal police shooting there last weekend was stopped early after angry community members took over the microphone to yell at police and city officials. The meeting was in response to the shooting of 19-year-old Seattle resident Kenneth Harding Jr., who allegedly ran from officers who had attempted to detain him Saturday for fare evasion at a San Francisco Municipal Railway stop at Third Street and Palou Avenue. Police said Harding jumped off the Muni platform and ran through nearby Mendell Plaza where he fired at the officers. The officers returned fire, striking Harding, who died later that day. The shooting has prompted a series of protests, including a rally and march through San Francisco on Tuesday that resulted in 45 arrests, and a capacity crowd of about 300 people came out to Wednesday night's town hall meeting. The meeting was organized by local community and faith leaders and held at the Bayview Opera House, located less than a block from where the shooting occurred. At the start of the meeting, Police Chief Greg Suhr planned to lay out the results of the investigation into the shooting so far, but as he started to speak, he was shouted down by several people in the crowd. Suhr then stepped away from the microphone as organizers allowed various community members to come up and air their grievances against the Police Department and other city officials. A second microphone was eventually set up to allow Suhr to answer questions from a handful of people, many of whom accused the Police Department of unfair treatment, including enforcing fare evasion more often in the Bayview than in other parts of the city. As the meeting devolved further, about an hour into it, Suhr and other police officials left the building, but said they would be returning for more discussion with the community at a later date. "I'll be back all the time," he said.

 

Half of Shooting Protestors Were Not From SF

San Francisco police said Wednesday that more than half of the 45 people arrested during Tuesday evening's protest over a fatal police shooting last weekend were not city residents. The demonstration was in response to the fatal shooting Saturday of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding Jr., who allegedly ran from police and fired at officers who had attempted to detain him while conducting fare enforcement at a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail stop in the city's Bayview District. The rally began at about 5 p.m. with about 150 people gathering at Dolores Park, followed by a march that began about an hour later through the city's Castro and Mission districts before proceeding down Market Street to Powell Street. Protesters were repeatedly warned by officers to leave the roadway and to return to the sidewalk, and they were arrested when they refused to comply, police said. The protesters were then taken away from the scene and cited for failure to obey a lawful order to disperse by a law enforcement officer. Of the 43 people arrested for the protest violations, 26 were not city residents, including one who was not from California, according to police. One person was also arrested for assaulting a member of the media, while another was arrested on suspicion of an assault in the Castro, police said. At one point while protesters were walking past the Mission Police Station, one threw a hammer at officers, but no one was injured, according to police.

 

Santa Clara Sheriff Eradicates 20,000 Marijuana Plants Worth $30 million

Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies and state authorities Wednesday eradicated nearly 20,000 marijuana plants worth an estimated $30 million at four gardens tucked within Mount Madonna County Park. A team of 12 officers from the California Department of Justice's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting and five sheriff's deputies conducted the operation from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The plants, were found using a helicopter at illegal grow sites in deep rural areas, two of which were located within the park and two on private land. "This is relatively tough terrain," Neil Cuthbert, a commander for the California Department of Justice, said. Because of the size of the sites, officers eradicated each garden one at a time, Cuthbert said. The plants were nearly 4 feet tall and none appeared to be mature, Cuthbert said. Sgt. Troy Smith, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said, in Santa Clara County, the procedure to dispose the plants is typically to bury them in an undisclosed landfill. No weapons were found at any of the gardens, but some telltale signs of a grow operation included a long hose at one site and at another site, authorities stumbled upon a pan with food atop a portable stove and several cups of Top Ramen noodles, a jar of peanut butter, a bottle of oil, plastic cups, dish soap, a box of large garbage bags, bags of raw potatoes, several pans and other canned foods. No arrests were made. Asked why anyone would risk running such an operation, Cuthbert said the main motive is profit. "It is very profitable for them, that's why they do it." The plants have a street value of anywhere from $25 million to $30 million, Smith said. He said detectives this year would begin to focus on investigating ties any suspects who are arrested might have to major drug trafficking organizations in Mexico.

 

Eliminating Local Redevelopment Agencies WIll Be Economic Disaster, According to Local Officials

Elected officials from a large group of East Bay cities said Wednesday that a state budget measure that will eliminate or reshape local redevelopment agencies will be an economic disaster for the state. Speaking at a news conference at a housing project near BART's Coliseum station in Oakland that was built with redevelopment funds, Emeryville Mayor Nora Davis said Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature "should consider what they've done to the economic stability of the state." Davis said Emeryville "would still be a decaying dump" if it had not received state redevelopment funds that changed it to what she described as "a vital, sustainable city" that's home to many businesses and developments. Davis alleged that in cutting funding to local redevelopment agencies in an effort to save $1.7 billion annually, "Sacramento is saying stop to economic development." Union City Mayor Mark Green, who also is president of the Association of Bay Area Governments, said the plan to cut redevelopment funds "is the worst decision Sacramento has made" in the 20 years he has been involved in local government. Green said redevelopment funds have helped convert slaughterhouses and abandoned industrial and commercial facilities to more productive uses. He said redevelopment funds have also helped build affordable housing complexes in Union City and other cities and complained that cutting redevelopment funds "will be a huge hit on affordable housing." San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson said redevelopment funds have helped clean up blighted areas in his city and said it is "ludicrous" for the state to take away such funds. Hayward City Councilwoman Barbara Halliday agreed, saying, "It's a really idiotic thing" to cut funding for redevelopment. But state Finance Department spokesman H.D. Palmer said Brown agrees with a report issued by the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst's Office earlier this year that says there's no reliable evidence that redevelopment agencies improve overall economic development in California.

 

East Palo Alto Police Investigating Another Homicide - 3rd This Week

Police are investigating the third homicide in the past week in East Palo Alto after the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man Tuesday night. Responding officers found Hugo Chavez from East Palo Alto lying in the driveway of 13 Camellia Court around 10:15 p.m., police said. He had multiple gunshot wounds to his torso. Chavez was taken to a hospital for treatment but died about four hours later, according to police. Investigators determined a man approached Chavez in front of the house before the attack. It appears the two may have had a brief conversation before the suspect shot Chavez several times and ran away, police said. East Palo Alto police have not released any suspect information and have not made any arrests in the homicide. Investigators have not determined the motive or identified that this homicide was the result of gang-violence. Less than 24 hours earlier, police arrived at the 2500 block of Illinois Avenue on Monday at about 8:45 p.m. to find 23-year-old Jabari Banford, who had been shot multiple times, lying on the sidewalk. Paramedics treated Banford, but he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. On July 13, 19-year-old Catherine Fisher was shot while sitting in a car with two others in the 2500 block of Annapolis Street at about 2:10 a.m., police said. The Menlo Park woman was taken to Stanford Hospital, where she died later that day. Last month, a 3-month-old baby was killed as his family was leaving a baby shower on Wisteria Drive on June 5. Investigators believe Izack Jesus was mistakenly shot in retaliation for an assault by Sureno gang members in Redwood City on May 31. Fabian Zaragoza, the 17-year-old who prosecutors suspect killed the infant, pleaded not guilty to murder charges on July 13. Chavez's death marks East Palo Alto's fifth homicide of the year, which is already more than the city's four murders in 2010.

 

Seatbelts to be Installed on UCSF Shuttle Buses After Fatal Crash

Seatbelts will be installed on all University of California at San Francisco shuttle buses following a crash last week that killed one of its passengers, the school's chancellor said. The shuttle bus collided with a big-rig on Octavia Boulevard and Oak Street around 6:20 a.m. last Thursday, killing 52-year-old Dr. Kevin Mack, a UCSF psychiatrist and associate professor, and injuring three others, San Francisco police said. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who represents the area where the crash happened, said that seatbelts, which are not required on the type of shuttle buses used by UCSF, might have saved Mack's life. He said adding seatbelts is a welcome change. "It can never come soon enough," Mirkarimi said. "It's sad that it's in light of a tragedy, but it lets us know that we're saving lives in the future." The goal to outfit the entire fleet with seatbelts by August is just one of the changes the university will be implementing to make riding the shuttle buses safer, Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann said. Following the crash, transportation supervisors conducted one-on-one meetings with shuttle drivers to emphasize safe driving techniques that are included in the UCSF training program, she said. Riders will soon be able to give feedback through a "How am I driving?" telephone hotline. More information about the hotline, which will be advertised inside and outside shuttles, will be available next month. The university is also launching a full review of all shuttle operations and asking experts from UCSF, other universities that operate shuttles, and transportation agencies for recommendations. "We would like to see other institutions follow their lead," Mirkarimi said. He approached Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, on Monday to discuss the possibility of changes at a state level. "(Ammiano) is working with us in examining ways we might change state law so we can compel those who use private shuttles to install seatbelts," Mirkarimi said. Mirkarimi also introduced a query at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday afternoon asking various departments about the issue of seatbelts on buses.

 

Marin County Cop Killer Had Previous Conviction for Threatening Ex-Girlfriend

Thomas Edwin Halloran, the Marin County man who killed 49-year-old sheriff's deputy Jim Mathiesen early Tuesday morning at a rural residence near Petaluma, had a previous conviction for making threats against another ex-girlfriend three years ago. Mathiesen, a nine-year sheriff's office veteran, went to the residence unarmed and off duty late Monday night after Halloran's ex-girlfriend notified him Halloran had texted death threats to her. Mathiesen was a close friend of the woman and her family. One of those family members then shot and killed Halloran after Halloran shot Mathiesen twice in the chest and took a woman hostage in a garage at the residence. Sonoma County Superior Court records show Halloran was arrested on July 22, 2008, for threatening a crime with intent to terrorize. Petaluma police said at the time that Halloran vandalized his ex-girlfriend's car and sent her death threats via text messages. Marin County sheriff's deputies arrested him two days later and turned him over to Petaluma police. Halloran pleaded no contest to the felony threat charge on Aug. 18, 2008. Judge Elliot Daum indicated he would sentence Halloran to a probation term if he entered a drug treatment program. The judge also vacated a criminal protective order and allowed Halloran to have peaceful contact with the victim. On Sept. 16, 2008, Daum sentenced Halloran to three years' probation and one year in Sonoma County Jail. Daum said the sentence could be served in any penal institution. The judge ordered him not to possess any weapons or alcohol or take steroids, and he ordered Halloran to complete a 52-week batter's program. Halloran was cited on Jan. 21, 2009, for violating his probation. On Feb. 5, 2009, Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Dean Beaupre ordered him released from Marin County Jail so he could enter a drug treatment program. Court records show Halloran violated his Sonoma County probation again in June and August 2009.

 

Man Charged with Kidnapping His Mother May Be Hiding in the Bay Area

The FBI believes that a California man charged with kidnapping his elderly mother in Oregon may be hiding in the Bay Area, officials said. Marshall McMains Goldberg, 55, allegedly kidnapped his 85-year-old mother, Doris Goldberg, from her home in Ashland, Ore., where she was living with another son on May 24, FBI San Francisco Division spokeswoman Julianne Sohn said. Doris Goldberg, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and dementia, is considered "endangered" because she is unable to care for herself. On May 31, a Jackson County, Ore. grand jury indicted Marshall Goldberg on state charges of kidnapping, custodial interference and contempt of court. Local authorities believe that he fled the state with his mother, and obtained a federal fugitive warrant on June 30. Marshall Goldberg has ties to Daly City and the Bay Area, where the FBI suspects he initially traveled after the kidnapping, FBI Portland Division spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said. "He has known acquaintances in the Bay Area," Steele said. Marshall Goldberg as has connections to Los Angeles and its North Hollywood district, Steele said. He previously worked as an unskilled laborer in the film industry and may try to do so again, she said. He is described as a white man standing 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing between 160 and 165 pounds, who has brown hair and blue eyes and may wear glasses. Doris Goldberg is described as a white woman standing 5 feet 1 inch tall, weighing about 135 pounds, with white hair and blue eyes. The FBI suspects Marshall Goldberg may be driving a 1996 gold Oldsmobile four-door sedan with the California license plate 3SZY023. Anyone with information about Marshall or Doris Goldberg's whereabouts is urged to call the FBI San Francisco Division tip line at (415) 553-7400.

 

Search Continues for Minivan Diver that Hit, Killed Motorcyclist

Authorities are looking for the driver of a minivan that hit and killed a motorcyclist on southbound U.S. Highway 101 in Santa Clara Wednesday morning. The crash happened at about 5:50 a.m. just south of San Tomas Expressway. A man in a green Dodge Caravan was driving behind a Kia Rio sedan when a man on a Harley Davidson motorcycle merged onto the freeway from Montague Expressway in front of the minivan, California Highway Patrol officials said. The minivan struck the rear of the motorcycle, ejecting and killing the rider, a Santa Clara man, CHP officials said. The Dodge then struck the Kia. The motorcyclist was identified by the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office as 35-year-old Joseph Yabes. The 54-year-old San Jose man in the Kia was not injured. Witnesses told investigators that the driver of the Dodge had been speeding before the collision, CHP Officer Peter Van Eckhardt said. The Dodge and Kia drivers both pulled onto the right shoulder, but the driver of the Dodge got out of his van and ran away. He is described as about 30 years old and clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He was wearing a tan work uniform. Officers are searching for the driver as the investigation continues, Van Eckhardt said.

 

Oakland City Council Votes to Put Parcel Tax on November Ballot

The Oakland City Council voted 7-1 Tuesday to place on a November ballot an $80-per-year parcel tax that would raise $11 million a year for the next five years to help maintain city services. The measure will go before the city's voters in a special all-mail election on Nov. 15. The lone dissenting vote at the council's meeting Tuesday night was cast by Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan first proposed the parcel tax at the beginning of March and had initially hoped that it would be placed on the ballot in June if a special statewide election were held, but that didn't happen. Quan's spokesman Sue Piper said Wednesday that the mayor is "very glad the measure will be on the ballot" in November. It must be approved by two-thirds of voters to pass. Piper said it is now "time for the community to do its share" in helping the city balance its budget. She pointed out that city workers recently agreed to $23 million in concessions to help the city close its $58 million funding shortfall. She said the measure, which would levy a tax of $80 per single-family unit, would only cost Oakland residents about 25 cents a day. Piper said money from the tax would allow the city to have another police academy and to maintain staffing levels, keep libraries and recreation centers open, restore some of the senior center hours that were cut recently and restore some park maintenance crews. Piper said revenue from the tax also would allow the city to rehire some employees who were laid off on July 1 when the City Council made cuts that helped the city balance its budget. When Quan proposed the parcel tax in March, she said she thought it had a good chance of passing because it asks for less than the $360-per-parcel tax proposed by Measure X in the Nov. 2 election. Voters shot down that measure, with just 28 percent voting in favor of the extra expense.

 

Orinda Teen Injured in Beach Accident is in Perpetual Vegetative State

Doctors believe that Ryan Buchanan, a 17-year-old Orinda boy who was injured in June when a sand tunnel he was digging collapsed on him, is in a perpetual vegetative state, according to his father, Bret Buchanan. Ryan's father, who has been updating friends and family members of Ryan's condition via the Internet, said family members learned Tuesday that Ryan is not likely to regain any voluntary movement. Ryan had been on a field trip to Sunset State Beach near Watsonville with a group from Creekside Community Church in Alamo on June 25. He and a friend, also 17, had dug two deep holes in the sand with a tunnel connecting them. The tunnel collapsed and buried Ryan and his friend. The other boy was rescued quickly, but Ryan, who was deeper, was under the sand for about 15 minutes. When he was finally unburied, Ryan was flown by helicopter to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. He was eventually transferred to Kaiser's Oakland Medical Center, where he is being treated. On Monday his father reported that he had been taken off a respirator and was breathing on his own. -0- A tri-lingual coalition of women gathered on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to try to convince Mayor Ed Lee to run this November for a full mayoral term, saying their mustachioed avenger had been "redeployed" for service. Lee said when he took over as interim mayor -- replacing now-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom -- at the beginning of the year that he had no plans to run for a four-year stint starting in 2012. So far he has maintained that position despite mounting pressure from a "Run, Ed, Run" campaign. Wednesday's "Women for Ed" rally marked the latest effort to get the 58-year-old to join the race, as speakers explained in English, Spanish and Chinese why they think Lee's record of supporting women's rights makes him the best candidate for the job. One of Lee's first legal victories was organizing a renters' strike at a public housing complex in 1977 in response to the murder and attempted rape of a 17-year-old resident, a long-time tenant of the Ping Yuen public housing complex said through a translator. Lee was a clerk at the Asian Law Caucus at the time and represented the tenants during negotiations with the San Francisco Housing Authority. He later served as executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, where he oversaw the city's first-ever Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and as head of the Department of Public Works, where he implemented the convention's hiring recommendations and expanded the department's female work force. "I've known him nearly 20 years," said Shelley Bradford-Bell, co-chair for Women for Ed. "He admits when he's wrong. He has no ego. It's not 'my way or the highway;' it's 'our' way."

2nd Suspect Arrested in Connection with Taxi Driver Robbery

A second person has been arrested in connection with the robbery of a taxi driver in San Francisco earlier this month, police said. The robbery occurred at about 4:10 a.m. on July 10 near the intersection of Grove and Lyon streets in the city's North of Panhandle neighborhood. The 66-year-old cabbie had picked up three people, one of whom demanded money from him, according to police. The suspects searched the driver and took cash from him. Two of the men then hit him in the head with their handguns, then all three got out of the cab and fled, police said. The cabbie was not seriously injured in the attack. On Friday night, an officer from the Park Police Station spotted a man near Haight Street and Masonic Avenue who he recognized from an image taken by the cab's surveillance system, according to police. The man, a 19-year-old Treasure Island resident, tried to flee after being detained by police but was eventually captured and booked on suspicion of robbery. Then on Monday, an officer near Clayton and Haight streets recognized another suspect from the surveillance footage of the robbery. The suspect, a juvenile from Oakland, was arrested without incident, police said.

Man Shot Near Dolores Park Tuesday Afternoon

A man was injured in a shooting near San Francisco's Dolores Park on Tuesday afternoon, police said.
    The shooting was reported at about 2 p.m. Tuesday in an alley near the park, which is bounded by 18th and 20th streets and Dolores and Church streets.
    The 22-year-old victim met a female who drove him to the alley, where two male suspects appeared and demanded money, according to police.
    The man handed over cash to the suspects, who began to run away.
The victim chased after them, at which point one of the suspects turned and fired at him, striking him once, police said.
    The victim was taken to a hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are not considered life-threatening.
    The two suspects fled and had not been found as of this morning.
    Police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said he does not know whether the female was an innocent bystander or was an accessory to the crime.
    Anyone with information about the shooting 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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San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday News Roundup

Protest in Response to SF Police Shooting of Teen Snarls Traffic, Transit

    Police arrested approximately 35 people during a protest Tuesday night that traversed the city, a protest that at times blocked traffic and disrupted transit service.
    A group of about 150 protesters gathered at San Francisco's Dolores Park around 5 p.m., and at about 6 p.m. began marching through the city's Castro and Mission districts before arriving on Powell Street almost 90 minutes later.
    The demonstration was in response to the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding Jr., who allegedly ran from police and fired shots after officers attempted to detain him while conducting a fare enforcement at a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail stop.
    About two dozen police officers on foot and motorcycles, as well as in SUVs, were corralling the crowd as they marched through the Castro and blocked the group's path down Church Street.
    The group changed course and arrived at the Muni station at Market and Castro streets, where they attempted to break Muni ticket machines, overturned garbage cans, and threw smoke bombs.
    Police said that the protesters vandalized a Bank of America at 18th and Castro streets.
    The group also marched past the Police Department's Mission Station at 17th and Valencia streets.
    One person threw a hammer at the station's window but failed to cause any damage. Another attempted to splash the station in paint, and a third dropped a smoke bomb.
    The protesters headed toward downtown and marched east down Market Street toward the Civic Center station at about 7:15 p.m. Market Street was mostly blocked in the area by a combination of the protesters and police.
    When the group arrived at Powell Street, police in riot gear rounded up about 20 people, including members of the media, and a police line surrounded a second, larger portion of the protesters.
    Some people were trapped inside the Blondie's Pizza at 63 Powell St. as police tried to slow the group's movements.
    Police spokesman Office Albie Esparza said that police announced an unlawful assembly at about 7:45 p.m. and that approximately 35 protesters were arrested.
 

SF Mayor Ed Lee & City Officials Meet with Community About Bayview Teenager Shooting

    San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials met Tuesday afternoon with community leaders who are concerned over the handling of the fatal police shooting of a 19-year-old man in the Bayview District on Saturday, but many attendees left unsatisfied with the answers they received.
    Kenneth Harding Jr. allegedly ran from police and shot at officers who attempted to detain him while conducting fare enforcement at a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail stop at Third Street and Palou Avenue at about 4:45 p.m. Saturday.
    Two officers returned fire, wounding Harding, who was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead that evening.
    Harding, a Seattle resident, was a person of interest in a shooting in that city last Wednesday that killed a 19-year-old pregnant woman and injured three other people, police said.
    He was on parole in Washington after serving part of a 22-month sentence for attempting to promote the prostitution of a 14-year-old girl, and was violating the terms of his parole by being in San Francisco, according to police.
    Amateur video footage of the aftermath of Saturday's exchange between Harding and the officers was posted online and showed that he did not receive medical treatment immediately after the shooting despite several officers being in the area, and some critics have questioned whether Harding even had a gun or shot at police.
    The shooting has triggered several rallies around the city in the past few days, including one that started Tuesday evening in Dolores Park and has led to about 150 people marching through the city.
    Police said one of the videos showed a passerby picking up what investigators believe is Harding's gun and took it from the area before police could find it. A gun has since been found at a local parolee's house, but police have not confirmed whether that was the gun involved in the shooting.
    However, Tuesday police said that analysis of evidence collected from Harding's right hand revealed gunshot residue supporting statements from the officers and several eyewitnesses that he fired at them prior to being shot.     
 

6 Suspects Accused of Fatal Shooting of German Tourist

Six suspects accused of the fatal shooting of a German tourist near San Francisco's Union Square last year pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges in the case. Mechthild Schroer, a 50-year-old woman from Minden, Germany, was fatally shot on Aug. 8, 2010, in the 400 block of Mason Street after getting caught in the crossfire of a shootout between groups of people outside a private party, police said. Schroer had been visiting the U.S. with her husband Stefan, and the couple had been staying at a nearby hotel. Two teens, a 15-year-old boy and 19-year-old woman, were also struck by the gunfire but survived. None of the three victims were the intended targets of the shooting, according to police. A total of seven suspects were arrested in May in connection with the shooting, and an eighth suspect is still being sought by police. Phillip Stewart, 19, Marcus Blueford, 19, Delvon Scott, 20, Willie Eason, 19, and Raheem Jackson, 17, were charged with murder, while Gethsamine Pita, 18, and a juvenile were charged with being an accessory to murder, prosecutors said. Jackson is being charged as an adult in the case, which also involves weapon and gang-related charges against the suspects. At a joint hearing in San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday afternoon involving all of the defendants except the juvenile, the six pleaded not guilty to the various charges against them. Prosecutors have said they will not be seeking the death penalty in the case after taking into account the suspects' ages and prior criminal histories. All of the suspects remain in custody on bail amounts ranging from $1 million to $7 million. They will return to court again on Aug. 4 to discuss issues with the evidence in the case.
 

Silicon Valley Jobs to Grow 15% Over Next 2 Years

Silicon Valley's tech industry is emerging from recession and heading for a 15 percent growth in jobs over the next two years, according to an economic development study of Silicon Valley released Tuesday. The study, conducted over a period of eight months and based on 250 employer surveys and more than 50 executive interviews, was released a day after Cisco announced the company is eliminating 6,500 of its jobs. Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy and an author of the study, said it is unclear what implications that decision will have on growth prospects. He said the move indicates that Silicon Valley is in a constant state of flux. "Cisco has had a very strong rise in employment over the last 10 years, so this has to be put in context," Levy said. "There are always going to be companies that for some reason or another shrink." The study suggests the industry is shifting from hardware-oriented sectors to the Internet, applications and social networking. Since December 2009, tech companies have added 13,000 jobs with expansions planned for Google, Facebook and Skype, Levy said. The sponsoring workforce boards for the study included NOVA, based in Sunnyvale, and Work2Future in San Jose and San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. The report, titled "Silicon Valley in Transition: Economic and Workforce Implications in the Age of iPads, Android Apps and the Social Web," can be accessed at http://novaworks.org/LaborMarketInfo/Reports/InformationTechnologyStudy.....
 

14 Hacker Activists Arrested for Cyber Attack on PayPal

Fourteen so-called "hacktivists" were arrested around the country Tuesday on charges of leading a cyber attack on San Jose-based PayPal Inc. as payback for its suspension of WikiLeaks' donation accounts, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday. The 14 members of an online group called "Anonymous" were indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose on July 13. The indictment accusing them of conspiring to damage PayPal's computers was filed under seal and unsealed after Tuesday's arrests. Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for Northern California, said the arrests were made in California, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington, D.C. According to the indictment, the attack on PayPal came after WikiLeaks, a nonprofit group dedicated to making secret government and corporation documents public, released thousands of classified U.S. State Department cables on its website in November. PayPal, an online payment service, then suspended accounts through which WikiLeaks received donations, an action that WikiLeaks termed an attempt "to economically strangle WikiLeaks." In retaliation, the members of Anonymous sought to freeze or slow down PayPal's operations by bombarding its website with packets of information and requests, the indictment said. The practice of hacking a website for political reasons is sometimes known as hactivism. Anonymous called the coordinated attacks "Operation Revenge Assange," according to the indictment, in a reference to Wikileaks leader Julian Assange. The defendants are each charged with one count of conspiring to damage a computer used in interstate commerce and one count of intentionally damaging such a computer. The defendants include Christopher Wayne "Anthrophobic" Cooper, 23; Joshua John Covelli, 26, nicknamed "Absolem" and "Toxic;" Keith Wilson Downey, 26; Mercedes Renee Haefer, 20, also known as "No" and "MMMM;" and Donald "Ananon" Husband, 29. Others are Vincent Charles Kershaw, 27, known as "Trivette," "Triv" and "Reaper;" Ethan Miles, 33; James C. Murphy, 36; Drew Alan Phillips, 26, nicknamed "Drew010;" Jeffrey Puglisi, 28, known as "Jeffer," "Jefferp" and "Ji;" Daniel Sullivan, 22; Tracy Ann Valenzuela, 42; and Christopher Quang Vo, 22. The name of the 14th defendant was sealed as of Tuesday evening.
 

3 Teens Charged with Murder for Fatal Shooting of Concord Man

Three teenagers have been charged with murder for the shooting death of a 25-year-old Concord man last Friday, Oakland police said Tuesday. Charged in the death of Pretis Golson-Jackson are Andrew Lucero, 19, Jason Hunter, 19, and 16-year-old Samuel Garcia, police said. Lucero lives in San Pablo, and Hunter and Garcia are Oakland residents. Oakland police Sgt. Holly Joshi said Golson-Jackson and the three suspects were in an apartment in the 2400 block of 106th Avenue around 9:30 p.m. Friday when they began arguing. She said Golson-Jackson was shot and died at a local hospital the next morning. Joshi said homicide investigators Sgt. Rachael Van Sloten and Sgt. Jim Rullamas developed information that led to the identification and arrests on Saturday of Garcia, who is a juvenile being charged as an adult, and Lucero. Hunter was arrested on Sunday, she said. In addition to being charged with murder, Hunter is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
 

SF Supervisors Approve Installation of AT&T Boxes in 6-5 Vote

After months of wrangling between AT&T and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the board narrowly approved Tuesday allowing the company to upgrade its network by installing hundreds of 4-foot-tall boxes around the city. The board voted 6-5 in favor of the proposal, which calls for the installation of 726 boxes around San Francisco to house AT&T's "Lightspeed" data transmission technology that would improve its Internet, cable and landline phone service in the city. However, the company pledged to only install 495 at first before seeking further approval from supervisors to build the rest. In February, San Francisco's Planning Department gave the project an exemption from the state's usually lengthy environmental review process, but opponents appealed the exemption to the board, saying the boxes would impede pedestrian traffic, inconvenience property owners and reduce the city's aesthetic appeal. Milo Hanke, the past president of San Francisco Beautiful, one of the opponents who appealed the issue to the board, called the boxes "an encroachment on what makes San Francisco unique." Supervisors held a lengthy hearing on the issue in April, but voted to delay the decision for a month while more study was done on the plan. The decision was delayed twice more in May and June while AT&T officials met with each supervisor to discuss their issues with the proposal. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi tried to delay the vote until after the board's August recess, but his motion failed, and the board voted by the slimmest of margins Tuesday to affirm the exemption from the environmental review. Mirkarimi joined David Chiu, Jane Kim, Eric Mar and John Avalos as the five supervisors who voted no on the exemption. The board's approval will allow AT&T to start work in the city as soon as today.
 

Marin Sheriff Pays Tribute to Deputy Shot by Friend's Ex-Boyfriend

Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle paid tribute Tuesday afternoon to Deputy Jim Mathiesen, who was fatally shot early Tuesday by a friend's ex-boyfriend near Petaluma. The ex-boyfriend, Thomas Edwin Halloran, 28, of Marin County, was in turn killed by a man who lived at the residence in the 800 block of Liberty Road in Sonoma County where the fatal shootings occurred. "This is tragic news. Jim died trying to help others," Doyle said. "He was known for his kindness and his helpful nature." Mathiesen, 49, of Petaluma, worked as a sheriff's deputy for nine years. He was assigned to the custodial division that includes the county jail and Marin County Superior Court. Mathiesen was a close family friend of the woman who had been dating Halloran since March, Assistant Sonoma County Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas said. When the woman broke off the relationship nine days ago, Halloran made numerous threats to the woman and her family, including one made earlier Monday night, Duenas said. The woman and her family asked for Mathiesen's advice and help because he was employed as a sheriff's deputy, and Mathiesen arrived at the Liberty Road residence between 11:30 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. Monday, Sonoma County sheriff's Sgt. Carlos Basurto said. Halloran showed up at the property about 20 minutes after Mathiesen arrived, and Mathiesen went outside to ask Halloran to leave, Basurto said. Mathiesen was unarmed when Halloran shot him twice in the upper body, Basurto said. Halloran then found a woman inside the house and threatened to shoot her if he did not locate his ex-girlfriend, Basurto said. He then forced the woman at gunpoint into a garage and threatened to shoot her, Basurto said. While Halloran was trying to force the woman into a vehicle, a male resident of the house shot Halloran once in the upper body and once in the lower body, Basurto said. Halloran and Mathiesen died at the scene. All the weapons were recovered, Basurto said.
 

2 Men Arrested in Connection with Oakland Murder, Burning Body

Two men believed by police to be connected to the July 14 Oakland homicide of Monica Rodas, whose body was found burning in the city's Rockridge neighborhood, were taken into custody Tuesday, a police spokeswoman said. Members of the Oakland Police Department's Gang Investigations Task Force located the men walking in the 4800 block of MacArthur Boulevard at about 3:15 p.m., Sgt. Holly Joshi said. Officers attempted to stop the men, who then took off running, Joshi said. Fifteen minutes later, one of the men was found in the 4600 block of Steel Street on the John Swett Elementary School campus. A perimeter was formed to search for the second man, who was located at 5:15 p.m. in the 4800 block of MacArthur Boulevard in an empty, fenced-in lot. Joshi said that both men would be interviewed by homicide investigators Tuesday evening. The body of Rodas, a union City resident, was found at about 4:40 a.m. July 14 at Ivanhoe and Chabot roads. She appeared to have suffered trauma before her body was burned, police said.
 

Friends, Family of Capsized Boat Victim Raise Funds for Dive Team

Friends and family of one of the seven men missing in the waters off the eastern coast of Mexico after a fishing boat accident Tuesday started efforts to raise money for a dive team. "Ideally, we'd like the government to send people down since seven citizens are missing," Santa Rosa resident and fundraiser organizer Lorie Goldbeck said. Working with missing Bay Area fisherman Shawn Chaddock's brother, Darryl, and close friends, Goldbeck is heading efforts to send private divers to search for the men who have been missing since the boat, operated by the fishing excursion company Baja Sportfishing Inc., sank at 2:30 a.m. on July 3 during a fishing trip, according to the Coast Guard. Goldbeck said a dive effort might cost around $300,000 -- necessitating community fundraising. She has not planned any fundraisers, but five Santa Rosa restaurants have shown interest in holding an event. "We'd love to do a poker run. Shawn loved poker and his Harley Davidson motorcycle," she said. Her husband grew up with Chaddock and she considers him and his family close friends. Goldbeck said a group would be at the Santa Rosa Night Market from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in downtown Santa Rosa handing out fliers to get community members involved in fundraiser efforts. She has encouraged interested businesses or people to call (707) 292-7200 or email her at goldbecks@sbcglobal.net with fundraising ideas. According to Mexican navy officials the missing men include Don Lee, Russell Bautista, Mark Dorland, Brian Wong, Al Mein, Gene J. Leong and Shawn Chaddock.
 

Belmont Police Release Names of Burglary Suspects

Police in Belmont have released the names of three burglary suspects who were arrested Monday after a mailman spotted them outside a house and called 911. The letter carrier called police after he noticed the three men loitering in the backyard of a house in the 400 block of Yorkshire Way at around 2 p.m., according to Belmont police. Responding officers found the suspects with stolen property and confirmed that the home had been burglarized, police said. The suspects were later identified as Belmont resident Tele Matangi, 23, and East Palo Alto residents Tavasa Pale and Erik Palomarescabrera, both 18. They were arrested and booked into San Mateo County Jail for residential burglary, conspiracy, and possession of stolen property. Police are continuing to investigate whether the men are connected to other home burglaries in the area. Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to contact Belmont police at (650) 595-7400.
 

Caltrain Hits, Kills Man in Sunnyvale - 11th Caltrain Fatality This Year

A man was struck and killed by a Caltrain at the Lawrence train station in Sunnyvale, an agency spokeswoman said. At about 6:45 p.m., southbound train No. 274 struck the man, spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said. The 125 passengers who were aboard that train were transported to a rescue train that continued to San Jose. Trains were stopped in both directions for a period of time until trains began single-tracking through the affected area. Bartholomew said earlier Tuesday night that all tracks were expected to reopen around 10 p.m. Caltrain experienced delays of up to 90 minutes. This is the 11th fatality on the Caltrain right-of-way this year. The cause of the man's death was still under investigation and will be determined by the county coroner following a complete investigation.

Bicyclist Hit By Truck At Mission And Fremont Streets

 A person was hit by a vehicle at Mission and Fremont streets in
San Francisco this morning, a San Francisco fire dispatcher said.
    The incident was reported just after 8 a.m.
    An employee at the Powersource Cafe on Fremont Street said the
streets in the area were closed.

 

UPDATE

 A female bicyclist in her 20s suffered life-threatening injuries
this morning in a collision with a Berkeley Farms food distribution truck at
Mission and Fremont streets in San Francisco, police said.
    The woman was headed east on Mission Street and was hit by the
westbound truck as she turned left onto Fremont Street just after 8 a.m.,
police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.
    Both the truck driver and the bicyclist had a green light, but the
bicyclist was making an illegal left turn, Dangerfield said.
    Signs posted at that intersection only permit left turns for taxis
and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency buses.
    The woman, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered a serious head
injury along with injuries to her body and was taken to San Francisco General
Hospital, he said.
    Police have obtained footage of the accident from a video camera
at a nearby business, Dangerfield said.
    The driver of the truck, owned by the Newark-based company Sunrise
Food Distributors Inc., cooperated with investigators, and drugs and alcohol
are not believed to be factors in the collision, he said.
    Dangerfield said he estimates that the intersection would be
closed until at least 11 a.m.
    He said the collision should serve as a warning for bicyclists,
motorists and pedestrians
.
    "Everyone has to share the roadway and be cautious," Dangerfield
said.

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State, SF Officials Celebrate Columbarium Expansion

 State and local officials gathered in San Francisco Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking on a project to expand the only active nondenominational cemetery property in the city.
    The Columbarium, located near the intersection of Stanyan and Anza streets near the University of San Francisco, provides 8,500 "niches" for inurnment on its current property, but that number will increase by 5,300 at the end of the project that kicked off Tuesday.
    State Sen. Leland Yee and Supervisor Eric Mar were among the dignitaries who attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the project Tuesday morning.
    The first phase of the expansion, a new building called the Hall of the Olympians, is scheduled to be completed this fall, while two other buildings -- the Hall of Titans and the Hall of Heroes -- and an exterior garden will be completed shortly after that.
    The Columbarium was originally built in 1896 with the theme of the Greek gods in mind, so the expansion "is trying to stay true to the historical significance of the property," said Mike Miller, president of the Neptune Society of Northern California, which operates the facility.
    The 8,500 niches inside the Columbarium, which cost upwards of $30,000, include pictures and personal memorabilia from the lives of the people inurned there, Miller said.
    There are only 28 available niches left, which necessitated the expansion, he said, adding that the project should add 15 to 20 years to the operating life of the property.
    Among the building's current niches is the empty tomb of Harvey Milk, the San Francisco supervisor who was the first openly gay elected official in the U.S.
    Milk and then-Mayor George Moscone were assassinated on Nov. 27, 1978, by their colleague, Supervisor Dan White.
    For more information about the Columbarium, visit www.neptune-society.com.

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Truck Hits Pedestrian at Mission and Fremont Streets

A person was hit by a vehicle at Mission and Fremont streets in San Francisco this morning, a San Francisco fire dispatcher said.
The incident was reported just after 8 a.m.
An employee at the Powersource Cafe on Fremont Street said the streets in the area were closed.
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Lee meets with community leaders concerned over fatal police shooting

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials met this afternoon with community leaders who are concerned over the handling of the fatal police shooting of a 19-year-old man in the Bayview District on Saturday, but many attendees left unsatisfied with the answers they received.

Kenneth Harding Jr. allegedly ran from police and shot at officers who attempted to detain him while conducting fare enforcement at a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail stop at Third Street and Palou Avenue at about 4:45 p.m. Saturday.

Two officers returned fire, wounding Harding, who was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead that evening.

Harding, a Seattle resident, was a person of interest in a shooting in that city last Wednesday that killed a 19-year-old pregnant woman and injured three other people, police said.

He was on parole in Washington after serving part of a 22-month sentence for attempting to promote the prostitution of a 14-year-old girl, and was violating the terms of his parole by being in San Francisco, according to police.

Amateur video footage of the aftermath of Saturday's exchange between Harding and the officers was posted online and showed that he did not receive medical treatment immediately after the shooting despite several officers being in the area, and some critics have questioned whether Harding even had a gun or shot at police.

The shooting has triggered several rallies around the city in the past few days, including one that started this evening in Dolores Park and has led to about 150 people marching through the city.

Police said one of the videos showed a passerby picking up what investigators believe is Harding's gun and took it from the area before police could find it. A gun has since been found at a local parolee's house, but police have not confirmed whether that was the gun involved in the shooting.

However, today police said that analysis of evidence collected from Harding's right hand revealed gunshot residue supporting statements from the officers and several eyewitnesses that he fired at the them prior to being shot.

Lee, joined by other police and city officials, met at City Hall with local religious and community leaders to discuss the shooting. Members of the media were not allowed into the meeting.

Lee said he wanted to "provide every opportunity to fully explain what (police) have uncovered as the evidence, and make sure people base their views at least on the facts as we know it."

However, some people who were in the meeting said they left dissatisfied with what was said.

Geoffrea Morris, a local community organizer, said Lee did not wait around "to hear one public comment ... I thought this meeting was going to be productive, but where do we go from here?"

Chris Jackson, who serves as a trustee on the San Francisco Community College Board, said "they were basically talking at us" and said "I feel my time was wasted" because he said city officials offered no solutions to prevent similar cases from happening in the future.

Police Chief Greg Suhr, Supervisor Malia Cohen and other city officials are holding a town hall meeting Wednesday night at the Bayview Opera House to address the shooting.

Cohen, speaking during a break at the Board of Supervisors' regular meeting this afternoon, said she plans to call for a reevaluation of the Police Department's presence on Muni's T-Third line and would look into making grief counselors available for people who witnessed the shooting. Those were two of the requests made by community leaders.

The Rev. Amos Brown, president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was also at today's meeting at City Hall.

He said the shooting, and the reaction to it, is the result of a long history of poverty and mistreatment of people living in the southeast part of the city.

"What we see there is pain and anger and frustration and mistrust, and as long as we have that kind of a climate, it makes it unwieldy and most difficult for us to be at ease," Brown said. "We're always on the edge."


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Group protesting police shooting death march through Castro District

A group of about 150 protesters who gathered at San Francisco's Dolores Park tonight are on the move through the city's Castro District.

The demonstration is in response to the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding Jr., who allegedly ran from police and fired shots after officers attempted to detain him while conducting a fare enforcement at a San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail stop.

The group departed the park at 6 p.m. and traveled west on 18th Street before turning right on Church Street.

Some of the protesters carried a banner reading "They can't shoot us all," and others chanted, "How do you spell murder? S-F-P-D."

About two dozen police officers on foot and motorcycles, as well as in SUVs, were corralling the crowd as they marched through the Castro and blocked the group's path down Church Street.

The group changed course and traveled on 17th Street to reach Market Street. First traveling toward downtown, the demonstrators, after an about face, arrived at the Muni station at Market and Castro streets.

Some of the group entered the station, where they attempted to break Muni ticket machines and overturned garbage cans. The group then exited the station to return to the streets of the Castro.

Harding was shot at about 4:45 p.m. after running from officers who had taken him off a Muni light-rail vehicle at Third Street and Palou Avenue for suspected fare evasion, police said.

During the chase, Harding allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot at pursuing officers, according to police. Two officers returned fire, striking Harding, who later died at a hospital.

Harding, a Seattle resident, was also a parolee who was being sought as a person of interest in a homicide that occurred in that city last week.

 

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Supes give initial approval to $6.83B budget

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today gave unanimous initial approval to the city's $6.83 billion budget for the next fiscal year.

The budget was proposed by Mayor Ed Lee in June and approved by the board's budget committee in the early morning hours of July 1 with more than $17 million in adjustments to funding for various city departments.

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

Supervisor Carmen Chu, the budget committee chair, said the final product "reflects our shared values" as a city.

Several supervisors complimented Lee on overseeing a more peaceful budget negotiation process than previous years with former Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said the past negotiations "had a barbaric feel" to them because it led to various city departments competing against each other for funding, while Lee's process was more inclusive.

Supervisor David Campos said, "It made a big difference to know that every concern that we've had would be heard out."

The board voted 11-0 to give initial approval to the budget, and will return to finalize its approval next week.


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6 plead not guilty in 2010 German tourist killing

Six suspects accused of the fatal shooting of a German tourist near San Francisco's Union Square last year pleaded not guilty today to charges in the case.

Mechthild Schroer, a 50-year-old woman from Minden, Germany, was fatally shot on Aug. 8, 2010, in the 400 block of Mason Street after getting caught in the crossfire of a shootout between groups of people outside a private party, police said.

Schroer had been visiting the U.S. with her husband Stefan, and the couple had been staying at a nearby hotel.

Two teens, a 15-year-old boy and 19-year-old woman, were also struck by the gunfire but survived. None of the three victims were the intended targets of the shooting, according to police.

A total of seven suspects were arrested in May in connection with the shooting, and an eighth suspect is still being sought by police.

Phillip Stewart, 19, Marcus Blueford, 19, Delvon Scott, 20, Willie Eason, 19, and Raheem Jackson, 17, were charged with murder, while Gethsamine Pita, 18, and a juvenile were charged with being an accessory to murder, prosecutors said.

Jackson is being charged as an adult in the case, which also involves weapon and gang-related charges against the suspects.

At a joint hearing in San Francisco Superior Court this afternoon involving all of the defendants except the juvenile, the six pleaded not guilty to the various charges against them.

Prosecutors have said they will not be seeking the death penalty in the case after taking into account the suspects' ages and prior criminal histories.

All of the suspects remain in custody on bail amounts ranging from $1 million to $7 million. They will return to court again on Aug. 4 to discuss issues with the evidence in the case.

 

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Man arrested for robbery of taxi driver

A man suspected of robbing a taxi driver in San Francisco earlier this month was arrested Friday after an officer recognized him from a surveillance photo taken during the robbery, police said.

The robbery occurred at about 4:10 a.m. on July 10 near the intersection of Grove and Lyon streets in the city's North of Panhandle neighborhood.

The 66-year-old cabbie had picked up three men, and one demanded money from him, according to police.

The suspects searched the driver and took cash from him. Two of the men then hit him in the head with their handguns, then all three got out of the cab and fled, police said.

The cabbie was not seriously injured in the attack.

At about 10:35 p.m. Friday, an officer from the Park Police Station spotted a man near Haight Street and Masonic Avenue and recognized him from an image taken by the cab's surveillance system.

The officer detained the man, a 19-year-old Treasure Island resident, and a sergeant also responded to the scene to question him, police said.

He briefly ran away from police during the interview but was arrested near Fell and Ashbury streets after a short chase, police said.

His name has not yet been released. 

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Teen injured in Visitacion Valley shooting Monday night

A teenage boy was injured in a shooting in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley neighborhood on Monday night, police said.

The shooting was reported at 9:48 p.m. near Sunnydale Avenue and Britton Street.

The 15-year-old victim was walking in the area when he was shot. He was taken to a hospital by an acquaintance, police said.

His injuries are not considered life-threatening, according to police.

No arrests have been made in the case. Anyone with information about the shooting 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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