SF News

July 16, 2011

Man Found Fatally Shot Monday Night Identified

A man found shot to death in San Francisco on Monday night has been identified by the medical examiner's office as 20-year-old Sean Wilson.

Officers responded at 11:22 p.m. Monday to a report of shots fired in the 500 block of Webster Street, a few blocks from Alamo Square.

They arrived to find Wilson, a San Francisco resident, who had been shot in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

No arrests have been made in the case, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

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

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Bank on Montgomery Street Robbed Tuesday Afternoon

A bank in San Francisco's Financial District was robbed on Tuesday afternoon, police said.
The robbery was reported shortly before 3:15 p.m. at a bank in the 500 block of Montgomery Street.
The suspect, a white man in his 40s, handed a teller a note saying he was robbing the bank, then gave the teller a bag, according to police.
The teller put cash into the bag, and the robber fled with the money, police said.
Police had not found the man as of this morning.
Anyone with information about the robbery is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

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San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday News Roundup

CSU Trustees Approve 12% Tuition Hike

California State University trustees approved a 12 percent tuition hike Tuesday that would take effect this fall. The increase is expected to help close the budget gap created by $650 million in state funding cuts. CSU officials said the tuition increase will generate $150 million for the CSU system, and the remaining $400 million shortfall will be saved through cutbacks and through an additional 10 percent tuition hike approved in November. The board is also planning to reduce enrollment by roughly 10,000 students statewide. Campus budgets will be reduced by a combined $281 million, according to CSU officials. The increases will bring annual tuition for CSU campuses to $5,472. Students and faculty have criticized the board because of the hikes, which became necessary when tax increases proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown were blocked by the Legislature. Brown himself issued a letter Tuesday criticizing the board for planning to raise the salary for incoming San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman by $100,000 while asking students to pay dramatically increased tuition. The CSU system faces additional cuts of $100 million mid-year if state revenue projections are not met, and are bracing to potentially make additional cuts or fee increases. Prior to the vote, CSU officials said that state funding to the CSU system is roughly the same as it was during the 1998-99 school year; however, at that time the system served 72,000 fewer students. Adjusted for inflation, CSU received more than $10,000 per student from the state in 1998-99, but now receives less than $6,500 per student. One-third of the revenue from the tuition increase will be allocated for financial aid, but many are still concerned that lower income students will still be faced with untenable costs that may keep them out of college. California State University, Los Angeles psychology professor Kimberly King addressed the board before their vote, raising concerns that the proposed increases would hurt all students but lower income students in particular. "The students that are paying will be paying more and getting less," she said.
 

El Dorado DA Shows Jaycee Dugard was Phillip Garrido's 5th Kidnapping Victim

The El Dorado County District Attorney's office released information Tuesday showing that kidnapping survivor Jaycee Dugard was Phillip Garrido's fifth identified victim. According to a map of Garrido's crimes, four of his previous victims had also been attacked in South Lake Tahoe. The first known assault was a rape and kidnapping in Antioch on April 14, 1972. That attack was followed by another rape and kidnapping on June 7, 1976, in South Lake Tahoe. The next assault was on November 22, 1976, when Garrido attempted to rape and kidnap one woman and then raped and kidnapped a second woman, also in South Lake Tahoe. That attack led to his conviction in federal court for kidnapping and in state court for rape. He was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison and five years to life in state prison. He only served 11 years of that sentence, however, and was paroled in 1988. On June 10, 1991, Garrido and his wife, Nancy Garrido, used a stun gun and forcibly kidnapped Dugard, then 11, as she walked to the school bus stop near her South Lake Tahoe home. The couple took her to their home on Walnut Avenue just outside Antioch, where they held her captive for the next 18 years. During that time, Garrido repeatedly raped Dugard and she gave birth to two daughters fathered by him. She wasn't found until Aug. 4, 2009, despite numerous searches by state and federal parole agents. Phillip and Nancy Garrido have since pleaded guilty to rape and kidnapping charges. They were sentenced in June to life in prison. A memoir written by Dugard telling of her abduction, captivity and survival was released in bookstores Tuesday. The book, titled "A Stolen Life," is published by Simon and Schuster. A statement released Tuesday by El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said that law enforcement investigators knew that Garrido had committed the previous assaults at the time that they were searching for Dugard, but somehow Garrido never became a suspect. Pierson, along with Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, law enforcement leaders and victims' rights organizations plan to discuss some of the unanswered questions in the case at a public meeting in Sacramento on Aug. 3.
 

BART Police Chief, Police Review Committee Questioned about Charles Hill Shooting

BART's police chief and members of its Police Review Committee were subjected to tough questions Tuesday about a recent confrontation at San Francisco's Civic Center station in which BART police shot and killed a knife-wielding man. A leader of the activist group No Justice, No BART who identified himself as Krystof angrily asked committee members, "What training do you have in running your police department?" The Police Review Committee was formed after passenger Oscar Grant was fatally shot by former officer Johannes Mehserle on Jan. 1 to try to make the transit agency's police department more accountable to the public. But Krystof, who was one of only four speakers at Tuesday's meeting, said the fatal shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill at the Civic Center station on July 3 marks the second time BART police have killed someone since Grant was killed. Fred Collins, a 48-year-old Oakland man, was fatally shot by BART and Oakland police officers near the Fruitvale station in Oakland on July 17, 2010, after allegedly charging at them with knives in each hand. BART Director Lynette Sweet, who chairs the Police Review Committee, said she and other committee members are also upset that Hill was killed, saying, "None of us are happy." Krystof responded, "The solution is simple: disband the BART Police Department." Director Tom Radulovich, another committee member, said he considered asking for the department to be dissolved after Grant was killed, but he ultimately came to the conclusion that it would be better to reform the department instead of contracting out police work to an outside agency that would not be accountable to BART and the public.
 

Crowd in Front of SF City Hall Shows Support for Deshon Marman & His Sagging Pants

About 100 people gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall Tuesday in support of a man who was removed from a U.S. Airways flight and arrested last month after he allegedly refused to pull up his sagging pants. Deshon Marman, 20, was arrested on suspicion of battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and trespassing on June 15 after boarding a flight from San Francisco to Albuquerque, N.M., where he is a student and football player at the University of New Mexico. San Francisco police said Marman was instructed by airline crew members several times to pull up his pants to cover his underwear both before and after he boarded the plane. He allegedly refused to do so, and eventually the plane's captain told the other passengers to deplane, ordered Marman to leave the aircraft and then placed him under citizen's arrest when he refused to exit, police said. Marman was escorted off the plane by police and then allegedly resisted officers when they tried to arrest him. One officer suffered a cut to his hand and a sprained knee in the struggle, according to police. At Tuesday afternoon's rally in support of Marman, his family, friends and other backers questioned the police version of the events, and called on U.S. Airways to apologize to him. His aunt, Sheila Burton, said Marman could not initially pull up his pants because he was carrying his baggage, and acted respectful throughout the incident. "They're the ones that took it to another level," Burton said. She said the incident was especially unfortunate because Marman had flown back to San Francisco for the funeral of his friend, former high school football star David Henderson, who was fatally shot in the Bayview. Marman's mother, Donna Doyle, said she was "very appalled that U.S. Airways sees fit to stop my son, but not the cross-dresser," a white man who was apparently allowed to travel while wearing women's underwear, according to various media reports in the days after the incident.
 

Jury Convicts James Raphael Mitchell of Murder of Ex-Girlfriend, Kidnapping Baby daughter

A Marin County jury Tuesday afternoon convicted James Raphael Mitchell of first-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend Danielle Keller and kidnapping the couple's one-year-old daughter at her Novato home two years ago. The jury reached the verdict after deliberating two days in Marin County Superior Court. Deputy District Attorney Charles Cacciatore said the jury did not convict Mitchell of the special circumstance of murder during a kidnapping. Mitchell, 29, faces 34 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 16, Cacciatore said. Cacciatore said the verdict reflects "the seriousness with which we treat domestic violence cases here in Marin County." "We want to make sure the victims take steps to get out of violent relationships and know they will have the assistance of the Marin County courts when they make that decision," Cacciatore said. Mitchell, an heir to the Mitchell family pornography and strip club business, was charged with killing Keller by repeatedly hitting her head with a softball bat at her Diablo Court home in Novato and kidnapping their daughter on the toddler's first birthday on July 12, 2009. He also was convicted of stalking, child endangerment and domestic violence, Cacciatore said. Mitchell testified he fought off two men who actually killed Keller and tried to take their daughter from the residence as he arrived to celebrate the girl's birthday. He was arrested about five hours later in Citrus Heights after he ran out of gas. His daughter was not injured. The prosecution claimed the slaying was the culmination of a series of domestic violence incidents committed by Mitchell against Keller. The verdicts also came four years to the day after Mitchell's father Jim died.
 

Michael Heartsman-Anthony Charged with Murder for Shooting Death of Ditiyan Franklin Jr.

A suspect has been charged with murder for the shooting death of a well-liked 17-year-old senior at the Castlewood Leadership Preparatory High School in East Oakland, Oakland police said Tuesday. Michael Heartsman-Anthony, a 22-year-old Oakland man, was arrested last Wednesday for the shooting of Ditiyan Franklin Jr. in the 2400 block of Ritchie Street at about 2:30 p.m. on May 25, but Oakland police waited until late Tuesday to announce his arrest. Franklin was weeks away from graduation when the shooting occurred. Alameda County Chief Assistant District Attorney Kevin Dunleavy said Heartsman-Anthony was arraigned Friday and returned to court Monday to be assigned an attorney. Heartsman-Anthony is scheduled to return to court soon to enter a plea. The Castlemont campus, which hosts three small schools, including the Leadership Preparatory High School, is located at 8601 MacArthur Blvd., which is about five blocks away from the shooting scene. Oakland police spokeswoman Sgt. Holly Joshi said Heartsman-Anthony has denied being involved in the shooting. Dunleavy said Heartsman was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and with attempted murder because another person was standing in the line of fire when Franklin was shot. That person was not injured. Joshi said Heartsman-Anthony shot at Franklin as Franklin rode a bicycle in the 2400 block of Ritchie Street. She said Franklin dismounted the bicycle and tried to run away, but Heartsman-Anthony chased him and fatally shot him. Joshi said homicide investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a dispute between Heartsman-Anthony and Franklin, who knew each other.
 

29th Birthday of UC Graduate Shane Bauer Detained in Iran Marked at Fundraiser

The 29th birthday of a University of California at Berkeley graduate who has been detained in Iran for nearly two years will be marked at a fundraising event at a photo gallery in San Francisco tonight. Shane Bauer, his fiancee, 32-year-old Sarah Shourd, and 28-year-old Josh Fattal were arrested on July 31, 2009, while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region near the Iran border. Shourd and Fattal are also UC Berkeley graduates. Shourd, who was released last September, said in an interview Tuesday that they were detained after they accidentally crossed an unmarked border into Iran. "It's impossible to just walk into Iran," she said. But Iran has accused all three hikers of espionage and entering the country illegally and plans to prosecute them. Shourd announced in May that she would not return to Iran for a trial because she is suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. She said the trial of Bauer and Fattal has been postponed several times but is now scheduled to begin on July 31. Shourd said Bauer is a photojournalist who has had his work published in many prominent publications and some of his photographs will be shown at the event at the Rayko Photo Center at 428 Third St. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Shourd will be one of the speakers as will Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Kim Komenich, former Reuters photographer Lou Demattais and Shon Meckfessel, who was with the other hikers but escaped captivity because he stayed in their hotel with a cold on the day that they were detained. The money raised at the event will help pay Bauer and Fattal's legal fees as well as the media campaign aimed at getting them released from prison.
 

Fatal Rush Hour Collision on Highway 17 that Killed a Woman Intentionally Caused

A collision on state Highway 17 in Santa Cruz in which a woman was killed during rush hour on Monday was intentionally caused by a wrong-way driver, according to the California Highway Patrol. The collision occurred at about 3:10 p.m. on the transition from southbound Highway 17 to northbound state Highway 1, near the Ocean Street exit, according to the CHP. The victim, whose name will not be released until her family is notified, was a 49-year-old woman from Santa Cruz. She was driving north on Highway 1 when the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Eric Weers, of Soquel, drove his silver Acura SUV head-on toward her and collided with the woman's maroon Chrysler sedan. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Weers' SUV caught on fire, but he managed to escape unharmed, CHP Officer Hatcher said. A preliminary investigation indicated the collision was intentional, but that the vehicle Weers collided with was chosen at random, Hatcher said. "There was an element of premeditation," Hatcher said. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to have factored into the crash, he said. Weers was arrested on suspicion of murder, assault with a deadly weapon, driving the wrong way on a divided highway, and vehicular manslaughter.
 

Public Support Growing for Revitalizing Market Street into Thriving Public Place

The overcrowded room at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association Tuesday afternoon represents just a fraction of the 250,000 people who use Market Street every day, but signifies the public's growing interest in the street's improvement. The findings released at a 12:30 p.m. forum will be the basis for the Better Market Street Project, an initiative between city agencies and community groups to revitalize the stretch from The Embarcadero to Octavia Boulevard. Surveyors recorded pedestrian traffic and stationary activity, as well as evaluated crosswalks, intersections, and public spaces. Research showed that nearly half of Market Street users are pedestrians, accounting for 49 percent of its traffic on weekdays, said Kris Opbroek, the project manager from the Department of Public Works. Of people who use public transit along Market Street, 32 percent navigate on foot after arriving at their destination, she said. Opbroek said she expected a high percentage of pedestrians, but the heavy concentration of walkers between Fourth and Fifth streets was surprising. The area encompasses the street's retail hub, including the Westfield San Francisco Centre. Market Street motorists and bikers represent the remaining 14 percent and 5 percent, respectively, of weekday traffic. About 75 percent of the people on Market Street are involved in stationary activities, such as waiting for a bus, said David Alumbaugh, a senior urban designer for the San Francisco Planning Department. However, the staying activity for the street is slim. "How little people come to Market Street as a place, versus just passing through, is surprising," Alumbaugh said. He said he hopes the improvements will focus on making Market Street a destination rather than a layover. "People should meet on Market Street, as you might meet someone in Union Square," Alumbaugh said.
 

Judge Approves EIR for Hunters Point Redevelopment Project

A massive redevelopment project at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Candlestick Point in San Francisco has cleared a major hurdle, gaining a judge's approval of most of an environmental study. The 702-acre project by the city's redevelopment agency and Miami-based Lennar Corp. will include 10,500 housing units as well as offices, stores and parks on the southeast shore of San Francisco. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith on Monday upheld most of an environmental impact report on the plan, rejecting several challenges in a lawsuit by two citizens' groups. But at the same time, Goldsmith barred development of some sections of the shipyard -- estimated by one lawyer to amount to at least 235 acres -- until a multi-year cleanup of contamination is complete. Lennar and the city had envisioned a so-called early transfer of several parcels of land from the Navy to the developers, under which the developers rather than the Navy would complete the cleanup of hazardous waste caused by ship building and repair. But Goldsmith said that because the EIR did not discuss a possible cleanup by the developers instead of the Navy, the document could not be used as a basis for allowing an early transfer of the contaminated land. Instead, the judge said, Goldsmith said the development of those parcels may not proceed until "the remediation process is complete and approved by regulating agencies as safe for human health and development." Meanwhile, however, the remaining portions of the project "may move forward," the judge ruled. Kofi Bonner, president of Lennar's urban development division, called the ruling "a great victory for the city and the residents of Bayview Hunters Point." "We are gratified that Judge Goldsmith has concluded that the Environmental Impact Report is not only adequate but provides a way forward to protect human health, "Bonner said. "As the Navy completes cleanup of individual parcels, we will be ready to begin development," he said. The report was required by the California Environmental Quality Act. Its adequacy was challenged by People Organized to Win Employment Rights, known as POWER, and Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice.

Women's World Cup Viewing Party at Civic Center Today

The Women's World Cup semi-finals will be broadcast on a giant screen in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza today, with family-friendly activities, food, and games.
Encouraged by the popularity of last summer's display of the men's World Cup, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department has been hosting a similar event for the women's tournament.
The event includes games and activities for both children and adults, including mini-soccer games and soccer skills sessions.
Gourmet food trucks from Off the Grid will be parked nearby.
Today's semi-final matches are USA vs. France at 9 a.m. and Sweden vs. Japan at 11:45 a.m. The final match will be held on Sunday and will also be broadcast on the 13-by-17-foot screen in Civic Center Plaza.

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Pension Reform Battle Heating Up THis Week

Pension reform is a hot topic this week in San Francisco, where two competing plans to address the issue are coming into the spotlight.

On Monday, Public Defender Jeff Adachi dropped off more than 72,000 signatures at the city's elections department to get his pension reform measure on the November ballot.

Today, the Board of Supervisors is set to consider a separate measure being put forth by Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials.

A coalition of city workers and retirees planned to hold a rally prior to today's board meeting to oppose both measures.

Adachi said his measure, which proposes higher pension contributions from city employees and caps on pensions for new employees, among other changes, would save the city more money than the mayor's proposal.

Lee's plan is the result of months of negotiations between city officials and labor and business leaders. The Board of Supervisors will consider it today and will likely vote next week on whether to place the measure on the ballot.

Adachi said today that the 72,640-plus signatures his measure received far exceeded the 46,177 required to get it on the November ballot. The signatures will have to be certified by the Department of Elections within the next 30 days.

He said the number of signatures shows "not only the level of support from voters but their level of awareness."

"They're very concerned about the pension crisis, people are realizing how this affects their lives," Adachi said.

Adachi said he is open to compromise with the other city officials and that he hopes the supervisors today will consider incorporating his proposal into the other measure in order to have "a unitary proposal" rather than two competing initiatives on the ballot.

He said his plan would save the city about $1.25 billion over 10 years, compared to about $750 million in savings from the mayor's plan over the same period. He said a compromise plan he offered last week would fall somewhere in between.

However, if his proposal is not considered by the board, Adachi said he plans to move forward with his measure.

"I'm not interested in kicking the can down the road for a couple of years," he said.

Today's protest prior to the board meeting is organized by a coalition that includes the United Public Workers for Action and the West Bay Retirees chapter of Service Employees International 1021, the city's largest labor union.

The rally was set for 1 p.m., and the Board of Supervisors meeting begins at 2 p.m.

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Commuters' Opinions Split on Monday's BART Protest

Commuters inconvenienced by rowdy protests at several BART stations in San Francisco on Monday expressed mixed reactions to the demonstrations this morning.

The protesters gathered on the platform of the Civic Center station late Monday afternoon to protest the death of Charles Hill, 45, who was shot at that station by BART police on July 3 during a confrontation in which police said he wielded a knife and a broken bottle as weapons.

Several commuters arriving at the Civic Center station this morning said they left work early on Monday in anticipation of the protest, but others were left waiting on crowded platforms, or forced to take an alternate routes when the Civic Center, Powell Street and 16th Street stations were closed.

Rebecca Hathaway, a 29-year-old case manager from Berkeley, said she first heard of the shooting because of the protests.

"It kind of took me by surprise, I didn't know there was any kind of incident," she said. "I wish they had picked a different time, though I can see why they would when there's traffic."

Erica Kesel, a 35-year-old fundraiser from San Francisco's Mission District, said she understands the protesters' motivations but thinks that their tactics were inappropriate. 

"I don't understand protesting on the platform where people are inconvenienced," she said. "I do understand it's a serious issue but I think there's a more constructive way."

Despite the inconvenience, several commuters expressed support for the demonstrations.

"Civic Center was closed so I had to walk to Powell," said Nate Allbee, a 31-year-old political consultant.

He said, however, that he didn't mind.

"I think it's important that people's voices are heard," he said. "I'm definitely on the side of the protest."

Essie Nelson, a 32-year-old Oakland resident who works at Alcatraz, also said she supports the protests.

"There should be a big protest," Nelson said. "It's ridiculous how they tried to justify that, them being sober and him being drunk. It's going back to a police state in a way."

The BART officers involved in the confrontation were responding to a report of a "wobbly" man on the platform with an open container of alcohol, according to BART.

The protests were organized by No Justice No BART and Oakland for Justice, two groups that came together after the BART police shooting of Oscar Grant in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.

Organizers said that because of those shootings and others, they believe that BART police should be disbanded.

The protesters began their demonstration at Civic Center on Monday, then moved around to other stations, which caused the closure of the 16th Street and Powell Stations later in the evening. It at times became rowdy, with a scuffle on a train and a protester climbing atop a train at one point.

One person was arrested by San Francisco police, but BART police made no arrests. 

BART spokesman Linton Johnson criticized the protesters on Monday night. 

"These fringe groups have apparently shown no regard for the work of their fellow citizens and, of course, the customers on the train, the elderly -- all those folks who need Civic Center station open and rely on the station," he said.

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Tenants Sue City for Its Approval of Parkmerced Project

Tenants of San Francisco's Parkmerced apartments filed a lawsuit against the city on Monday for its approval last month of a plan to add thousands of apartments and demolish others at the complex.

The lawsuit comes after tenants delivered signatures to the city's Department of Elections on Friday for a ballot measure that could nullify the plan, which would add about 5,700 apartments and replace about 1,800 others during the next two to three decades.

Some tenants of Parkmerced, located at 19th and Holloway avenues, say the proposal, approved by the Board of Supervisors last month by a 6-5 vote, would displace them and leave them at risk of losing their rent-controlled housing.

The tenants' groups that filed the lawsuit include the Parkmerced Action Coalition and San Francisco Tomorrow.

Their attorney Stuart Flashman said the groups are making "a two-pronged attack on the city's approval of the project -- one on the legal side and the other on the political side."

Flashman said the lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that the environmental impact report certified by the board was inaccurate and inadequate.

He said the project also contradicts policies and priorities enacted by Proposition M, an initiative approved by voters in 1986 that puts limits on high-rise developments and sets planning priorities that protect affordable housing.

"That was put in place to prevent developers from attempting to take over the city, and running roughshod over existing neighborhoods," he said.

Flashman said the lawsuit also addresses alleged violations of the city's sunshine ordinance because during Planning Commission hearings on the plan, public comment time was reduced from three minutes to one minute per speaker.

During the final board committee hearing on the proposal, Board President David Chiu issued four pages of amendments at the start of the meeting that he said would help protect the rights of Parkmerced tenants.

But Flashman said, "That's the first anybody saw them, and I think that's outrageous."

He said the residents of Parkmerced should have "an opportunity to receive notice of changes to a development agreement that's going to have a tremendous effect on them, and to spring it on them at the last minute is really unfair."

Chiu, who was the swing vote in the 6-5 decision on the plan, defended his vote in a letter posted on his website.

He wrote, "I fully recognize that change is never easy, but Parkmerced strikes the right balance between protecting existing tenants while providing a tremendous opportunity to add much-need housing and community improvements to the west side of the city."

Parkmerced spokesman P.J. Johnston has also said that while many residents will be relocated within the complex, the new apartments will be
built before the old ones are demolished so people will only have to move
once, and the new units will be similar in size and will have the same rent
control status.

But Cathy Lentz, a spokeswoman for the Parkmerced Action Coalition, argued that might not happen if the project changes ownership at some point in the future.

She added, "Who would want to live through 30 years of construction?"

Lentz, who was one of two women who had to be removed from the Board of Supervisors chambers after yelling at supervisors during a contentious hearing at which the board initially approved the plan, said the tenants' actions Friday and Monday mark the beginning of their effort to overturn the project.

"There was a small group of people that started this, and we're slowly moving a mountain," she said.

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Rally Held for Man Escorted from Flight Due to Saggy Pants

A crowd is expected to gather outside San Francisco City Hall today in support of a man who was removed from a U.S. Airways flight and arrested last month after he allegedly refused to pull up his sagging pants.

Deshon Marman, 20, was arrested on suspicion of battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and trespassing on June 15 after boarding a flight from San Francisco to Albuquerque, N.M., where he is a student and football player at the University of New Mexico.

Marman was instructed by airline crew members several times to pull up his pants to cover his underwear, both before he boarded and while on the plane, according to San Francisco police.

He allegedly refused to do so, and eventually the plane's captain told the other passengers to deplane, ordered Marman to leave the aircraft and then placed him under citizen's arrest for trespassing after he refused to exit, police said.

Marman was escorted off the plane by police and then allegedly resisted officers when they tried to handcuff him. One officer suffered a cut to his hand and a sprained knee in the struggle, according to police.

The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office has not filed charges against Marman, who posted $11,000 bail and was released from jail. The district attorney's office has until the end of the week to decide whether to charge him.

Today's rally is also in support of a resolution that will be introduced at today's Board of Supervisors meeting by Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district includes the Bayview, where Marman grew up.

The resolution calls for San Francisco to join the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in asking for the case to be dismissed and for a formal apology from U.S. Airways.

The airline released a statement after last month's incident, saying while the company "does not have a specific dress code, we ask our customers to dress in an appropriate manner to ensure the safety and comfort of all of our passengers."

Today's rally was scheduled to start at noon and will precede the 2 p.m. meeting of the Board of Supervisors where Cohen will introduce the resolution.

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Protestors Shutdown SF BART Stations in Wake of Charles Hill Shooting by BART Police

BART Shutdown by Protestors at Civic Center, Returns to Service

BART service returned to normal Monday night, hours after it was disrupted by protests at several San Francisco BART stations Monday evening. Shortly before the start of the evening commute, close to 100 demonstrators gathered at Civic Center station. BART and San Francisco Municipal Railway service was temporarily suspended at that shared station after the protesters attempted to prevent an East Bay-bound BART train from departing there. The demonstrators then moved between the Powell and 16th Street stations, and the agencies instituted full and partial closures, inconveniencing hundreds of transit riders. The group No Justice, No BART, which organized the protest, said it is demanding that the BART Police Department be disbanded after BART police officers shot and killed a knife-wielding man at the station last week. The group is also demanding that both of the two officers involved in the July 3 shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill be fired and criminally charged if it is found that the shooting was not justified. The dwindling group of demonstrators took to Market Street just before 7 p.m., marching from Civic Center to Powell Street, where San Francisco police officers blocked about a dozen protesters from traveling up Powell Street. About as many police officers had formed a line to block the protesters' path. After the disruptions, Johnson criticized the demonstrators' actions. "These fringe groups have apparently shown no regard for the work of their fellow citizens and, of course, the customers on the train, the elderly -- all those folks who need Civic Center station open and rely on the station," he said. Johnson said that the station was closed "to maintain safety at an inconvenience to the elderly, the disabled" and all other customers because of the demonstrators' actions. Johnson said that BART police had not made any arrests Monday night. On July 3, Hill wielded a knife and a broken alcohol bottle before BART police shot him on the train platform, Johnson said. BART police said Hill was aggressive and combative and did not comply with orders. One of the officers suffered minor cuts during the confrontation, BART officials said.

BART Police Auditor Will Investigate Charles Hill Shooting

BART's new independent police auditor said Monday that he will conduct a thorough investigation into a recent confrontation at a San Francisco station in which BART police shot and killed a knife-wielding man. Mark T. Smith said his investigation will parallel those also being conducted by the BART and San Francisco police departments and will look at whether officers used the proper tactics and were justified in using force in fatally shooting 45-year-old Charles Hill at the Civic Center station at about 9:45 p.m. on July 3. BART officials said Hill was armed with a knife and a broken bottle that he was wielding as a weapon, was aggressive and combative with officers who attempted to contact him, and did not comply with orders. The officer-involved shooting occurred after Smith, who previously served in police review positions in Los Angeles and Chicago, had been at BART for only a week. BART Director Lynette Sweet, who chairs BART's police review committee, said, "Talk about trial by fire." The independent police auditor's job is a new position that was created in the wake of criticism about the way the transit agency investigated the fatal shooting of passenger Oscar Grant III at the hands of BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009. Sweet said BART created the police auditor's job and formed an 11-member citizen review board to assure the public that investigations into police actions are conducted with "transparency, integrity and honesty." Sweet said each entity reports directly to the BART Board of Directors, not to each other. She said the auditor reports his findings to the citizen's review board and then to the Board of Directors. The citizen review board can either agree or disagree with the auditor's report and make its own decision whether to accept its recommendations and report its decision to the Board of Directors. Referring to the fatal shooting of Hill, Sweet said, "I'm disappointed we're here today." But Sweet said "the people are not in bad hands" because she is confident that Smith will conduct a fair investigation that is completely separate from the probes being performed by BART and San Francisco police.

 

Man Found Shot Late Monday Night near Alamo Square

A man was found shot to death in San Francisco late Monday night, police said.

Officers responded at 11:22 p.m. to a report of shots fired in the 500 block of Webster Street, several blocks from Alamo Square.

They arrived to find a 20-year-old man who had been shot in the head.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

The medical examiner's office is withholding the victim's name until his family has been notified of the death.

No arrests have been made and no other details of the shooting were immediately available this morning, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

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

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SFMTA to Change Parking Meter Rates as Part of SFpark

Demand-Based Pricing: Higher Parking Meter Rates for Crowded Neighborhoods

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will be changing the rates at some parking meters around the city later this month, the first adjustments since it started a pilot program to track real-time parking data, an agency spokesman said Monday. SFpark, a two-year pilot program unveiled last year, collects information from meters and sensors embedded in the street about where parking was available. The information was then made available in April at www.sfpark.org or via smartphone apps. Starting at an undetermined date later this month, the SFMTA will begin changing the rates, with higher rates for more crowded neighborhoods and lower ones for areas with more empty spots, spokesman Paul Rose said. About 31 percent of the rates will be going up -- by no more than 25 cents per hour -- while 37 percent are staying the same and 32 percent will be decreasing by no more than 50 cents. The rates, which range from $1.75 per hour to $3.75 per hour, vary from block to block, by time of day, and by whether it is a weekday or weekend, Rose said. The program includes the Civic Center, Hayes Valley, Financial District, South of Market, Mission, Fisherman's Wharf, Fillmore and Marina neighborhoods. It covers roughly a quarter of the city's 28,800 parking meters and more than 12,000 spaces in 15 of its city-owned garages. In the Fisherman's Wharf area, the rates are going down either 25 cents or 50 cents per hour for most weekday hours, and are increasing for most city blocks in the neighborhood after noon on weekends. Conversely, the hourly rates will be increasing for most streets in the Financial District during weekdays, but most will be decreasing on the weekends. The rates will not be changed more than once a month and in increments of no more than 50 cents per hour. SFMTA officials say the demand-based pricing, combined with the information drivers can use to see where spots are, will reduce energy use and pollution from cars circling a block in search of parking.

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Nb 280 Off-Ramp To Highway 1/19th Ave. As Chp Responds To Fatal Crash

A northbound Interstate Highway 280 off-ramp to state Highway 1 at 19th Avenue in San Francisco is closed as California Highway Patrol officers respond to a fatal crash, a CHP officer said.

A pedestrian was reportedly killed in the crash which occurred at around 3 a.m., CHP Officer Ralph Caggiano said.

It was not immediately known at what time the off-ramp would reopen.

 

UPDATE ON ADVISORY

 The northbound Interstate Highway 280 ramp to state Highway 1/19th Avenue in San Francisco has reopened after a fatal crash this morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle at around 3 a.m., CHP Officer Ralph Caggiano said.

The connector ramp was closed to traffic until about 5 a.m. as CHP officers investigated the incident.

Information regarding the victim and circumstances surrounding the crash was not immediately available.

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Community, Government Leaders Brainstorm Market Street's Future

Transforming Market From a Transit Hub to Public Destination

San Francisco community leaders and planners will meet today to brainstorm on Market Street's future at a lunchtime forum. Event planners referred to Market Street as "a critical artery where much of the city's transit infrastructure comes together" in a statement. Organizers said they are hoping today's forum will help launch ideas for ways the street can be transformed from a transit hub to a destination location. Representatives from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the city's Planning Department, the Department of Public Works, and the Bicycle Coalition are expected to attend today's lunchtime event, organizers said. Today's forum is hosted by the nonprofit SPUR -- or, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. The event is free to SPUR members and $5 for non-members. It is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at 654 Mission St. in San Francisco.

San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday News Roundup

San Jose Autistic Boy Goes Missing, Found by LAPD

A 13-year-old San Jose boy who has autism and went missing Monday morning was located by Los Angeles police Monday afternoon after the boy arrived at a Greyhound bus station, police said. Jesus Garza went to bed at his home in the 300 block of North Eighth Street around 12:30 a.m. Monday, but when his parents checked on him at about 6:30 a.m., he wasn't there, police said. Jesus is autistic and has the mental capacity of a 6- or 7-year-old, according to police. Investigators learned that the boy had expressed interest in traveling to Hollywood in hopes of meeting television celebrities. When investigators contacted Greyhounds employees in San Jose, they learned that Jesus had purchased a ticket and boarded a bus bound for Southern California. Greyhound employees identified the bus in which Jesus was traveling and informed investigators that it would arrive at the San Fernando Valley bus station. Los Angeles police were notified and dispatched officers to the station, where Jesus was taken into protective custody upon his arrival at about 4:30 p.m.. Jesus does not have a history of running away. He attended Peter Burnett Middle School and is scheduled to attend Leland High School in the fall. He is currently taking summer school classes at Horace Mann Elementary School. San Jose police investigators were traveling to Southern California to pick up Jesus, but the case remains under investigation. Anyone with information about Jesus and his disappearance is asked to San Jose police detectives Alfonso Rodriguez or Ryan Hansen of the missing persons unit at (408) 277-4786. Anonymous tipsters may call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867) or may visit svcrimestoppers.org, and may be eligible for a reward.

 

Family Raises Reward for Information About Missing Nursing Student Michelle Lee

The family of missing nursing student Michelle Le, who disappeared on May 27, has increased the reward amount for her return or for information regarding her location to $100,000. Le, 26, went missing on May 27 during a break from her clinical rotation at Kaiser Permanente Hayward Medical Center on Sleeping Hollow Avenue. Last Friday, her family, friends and sorority sisters held a fundraiser at a Hayward restaurant in which 20 percent of the sales were donated toward the reward fund. Her family continues to hold out hope despite the fact that Hayward police classified Le's disappearance as a homicide. Although the family has been working with Hayward police and the FBI, it hired a private investigator last month to independently conduct a parallel investigation. "Our family has spent the last 45 days saving money to reach this amount," Michelle's brother, Michael Le, said in a statement released by the family Monday. "We're hoping this will motivate someone to find it in themselves to step forward; we just want her home with us." The family plans to distribute fliers on Wednesday at 26231 Mission Blvd. in Hayward. Search parties are also being organized for Friday and Saturday. Volunteers will meet at 25350 Cypress Ave. in Hayward at 8 a.m. on both days.

 

Girl Dies After Drinking Soda Spiked with Alcohol

A 14-year-old girl died after apparently drinking soda spiked with alcohol at a sleepover in Sonoma County on Saturday night, a Sonoma County sheriff's lieutenant said Monday. The sheriff's office identified the girl as Takeimi Rao, of Santa Rosa, who recently graduated from Rincon Valley Middle School. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday, but the cause of Rao's death will not be determined until toxicology test results are in, Lt. Dennis O'Leary said. Three other girls attended the sleepover at Rao's house, located in the 6000 block of Foothill Ranch Road in unincorporated Sonoma County north of Santa Rosa, O'Leary said. At about 3 a.m., some of the girls became ill and vomited, and Rao's mother helped clean them up and put them back to sleep, believing that they had food poisoning, O'Leary said. Rao's mother also looked in on her daughter, who appeared to be asleep in her bed, O'Leary said. When Rao's mother went to wake her around 9 a.m., she was unresponsive and the mother then called 911, O'Leary said. One of the girls admitted to bringing alcohol into the room, and sheriff's deputies recovered a bottle of alcohol, O'Leary said. "The parents are really good parents and they were home the entire night," O'Leary said. It's believed the girls were experimenting with alcohol they had found in the house, O'Leary said. Friends posted messages Monday on a Facebook page titled "Rest in Peace Takeimi Rao." "I only had to hang out with you as much as we did for me to love you. I'll miss you girl rest in peace. I will never forget you," one post read. "Nobody this young and beautiful should have passed away. Especially at 14. Everyone misses you. Hopefully this will all teach us a lesson. Somebody should have been there to prevent it. RIP," read another post.

 

Man Accused of Stealing Ballots in SF Remains Silent at Hearing

A man accused of stealing ballots from a San Francisco polling station last November seems determined not to get out of jail after giving the silent treatment to the judge at his sentencing hearing Monday. Karl Bradfield Nicholas, 51, was set to receive a one-year sentence but would likely have been set free Monday because of credit for time already served. Instead, he is being held for at least two additional days for a mental health examination. The silent treatment was the latest in a series of bizarre hearings involving the case, in which Nicholas is accused of taking ballots, a voter roster, and a memory box and access key to a voting machine on Knott Court in the city's Crocker Amazon neighborhood where he was working as a voting station inspector on Nov. 2, 2010. Nicholas was arrested on Nov. 3, and the ballots were later found in the lagoon at the Palace of Fine Arts, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty in December to felony counts of tampering with voting machines and ballots, but then tried to withdraw the plea in April, but the motion was denied by Judge James Collins. Then last Tuesday -- the one-year mark of his credit for time served -- Nicholas was tackled by sheriff's deputies during a hearing in which his defense attorney Stuart Blumstein had filed a motion to have him released from jail on his own recognizance. But during the hearing, Nicholas started yelling at Collins and was taken to the ground by the deputies, according to Blumstein. The yelling "was out of character" for Nicholas, said Blumstein, who said he did not know what sparked the outburst since "he had an opportunity to get out." Nicholas took the opposite approach Monday with Judge Anne Boulianne, the judge who had received his guilty plea and presided over the sentencing hearing. He refused to acknowledge questions from Boulianne, instead staring straight ahead silently, prompting her to order him held until Wednesday, saying his actions made her "very concerned."

 

Search and Rescue Team Looks for Man Who Fell into Blowhole

A search and rescue team in Maui Monday continued to look for a 44-year-old San Anselmo man who has been missing since he fell into a blowhole near the ocean on Saturday afternoon, a spokesman said. The man was visiting the Nakalele Blowhole on the north side of Maui when a rogue wave struck him from behind and pushed him through the opening in the rocky shoreline, Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said. The man was in the area with family members who saw him get knocked down and disappear, Antone said. Teams from the Maui County Department of Fire and Safety searched the ocean waters around Nakalele Point until sundown on Saturday and continued the search effort during daylight hours Sunday and Monday, Antone said.

 

East Bay Woman Punched, Loses Eye After Giving a Man a Ride in Tenderloin

An East Bay woman lost an eye as a result of being punched by a man to whom she had given a ride in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood on Friday evening, a police spokesman said Monday. The attack was reported at about 6:30 p.m. near the intersection of Eddy and Larkin streets. The 59-year-old victim was called by the 60-year-old suspect, who asked her for a ride to the Tenderloin to sell some of his belongings, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said. After driving the man there, the woman waited for a few minutes but then wanted to leave, but he said he didn't want to, Esparza said. The woman leaned over from the driver's seat and reached over the man to open the passenger door, at which point the man began punching her repeatedly, Esparza said. The woman suffered serious injuries to her eye, and the man agreed to accompany her to San Francisco General Hospital, but then fled after they arrived at the hospital, according to Esparza. The woman was treated at the hospital for the injuries, which are not life-threatening, but will result in the loss of her eye, Esparza said. She provided police with a description of the man, who had not been found as of early Monday afternoon. The man is described as a 60-year-old black man who is 5 feet 7 inches tall, about 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, Esparza said. Police were also given the man's address but have not yet been able to locate him, he said. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411.

 

2 Southern California Men Arrested for Cloning ATM

Two Southern California men were arrested in Pleasant Hill on Sunday on suspicion of cloning hundreds of ATM, police said. At about 12:10 p.m. police responded to a report of two men loitering around the Citibank ATM machines at 700 Contra Costa Blvd. When the officers contacted the men, identified as 22-year-old Arman Vardanyan and 20-year-old Eduard Arakelyan, one of them fled on foot. Officers chased him and caught him a short distance away. The other man was arrested at the bank. When the two men were searched, officers allegedly found several loaded firearms, a large quantity of cash and hundreds of cloned access cards, police said. Both men were arrested and booked into county jail. Investigators believe the men may have committed crimes in other nearby cities and anyone with information about the case is asked to call detectives at (925) 288-4630.

 

Argument Over Drug Deal Leads to 3 Dead in Richmond Iron Triangle Shooting

Investigators believe an argument over a drug deal led to the shooting deaths of three men inside an apartment in Richmond's Iron Triangle neighborhood on Saturday, Richmond police Capt. Mark Gagan said Monday. Police received a 911 call reporting a shooting at 974 Triangle Circle in the Triangle Court public housing development just before 4:30 p.m., Gagan said. Investigators believe there was a dispute over a drug transaction that led to the shooting of a resident, 26-year-old Michael Anderson. Other people then reportedly shot and killed 19-year-old Oakland resident Dante Deloney and 28-year-old San Leandro resident Corey Walker II, Gagan said. Two people were taken to the police station for questioning afterward but have since been released. "After looking at the physical evidence and the statements they made, they are not being charged at this time," Gagan said. Police declined to release further details about the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.

SF Arts Commission Names JD Beltran Interim Director

The San Francisco Arts Commission voted unanimously on a new interim director Monday, officials from the mayor's office announced. The agency named JD Beltran, the current vice president, to act as director while they recruit a new permanent director of cultural affairs. Beltran will replace Luis Cancel, who has been the director of cultural affairs since 2007. The mayor's office announced that Cancel had tendered his resignation last week and planned to return to his hometown of New York City where he previously served as the head of that city's Department of Cultural Affairs. Beltran is a conceptual artist, filmmaker, and writer as well as a member of the San Francisco Art Institute's faculty. Beltran is also the director of the school's City Studio arts education program for underserved youth. "JD is a fantastic artist, a well respected member of the arts community, and a committed public servant dedicated to the well-being of this organization," commission President PJ Johnston said in a statement. "We're very fortunate that she's willing to step in and serve for this brief period." Johnston said the search for a permanent director is expected to take two to three months. "I see my role as one of placeholder, helping the Arts Commission get through this transition to its new director," Beltran said in a statement. "I have no interest in the permanent job -- indeed, I'll need to get back to my work soon. But I do care deeply about the San Francisco Arts Commission, and I want to see it flourish." Beltran said she hopes to return to the commission once a permanent replacement has been found.

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Update: Group Plans Protest At Civic Center Bart Station

A group is planning a protest this afternoon at the Civic Center BART station in San Francisco, where BART police shot and killed a knife-wielding man last week.

The group No Justice, No BART said it is demanding that the BART Police Department be disbanded, and that both of the two officers involved in the July 3 shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill be fired and criminally charged if it is found that the shooting was not justified.

Today's protest is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on the platform of the Civic Center station.

BART spokesman Linton Johnson said such a protest would be illegal.

"Disruptive protests like this planned one on small platforms with fast moving trains and large crowds are against the law because they put ... riders, BART workers, journalists and protesters at serious risk of injury or death," he said.

Hill was wielding a knife and a broken alcohol bottle before BART police shot him on the train platform, Johnson said.

BART police said Hill was aggressive and combative and did not comply with orders.

One of the officers suffered minor cuts during the confrontation, BART officials said.

A Facebook page has been set up for this afternoon's rally, and as of this morning, more than 370 people had indicated they would attend.

The group No Justice, No BART was formed in response to the New Year's Day 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant III. Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward resident who was unarmed, was shot and killed by then-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station in Oakland.

 

 

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Woman Loses Eye After Being Punched In Tenderloin Friday

A woman lost an eye as a result of being punched by a man inside her car in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood on Friday evening, police said.

The attack was reported at about 6:30 p.m. near the intersection of Eddy and Larkin streets.

The 59-year-old woman was in her car with the 60-year-old suspect when she told him to get out, according to police.

The man refused and became enraged, and punched her on the right side of her face, police said.

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The woman was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for her injuries, which were not life-threatening but resulted in the loss of her eye, according to police.

The man fled after the attack and had not been found as of this morning, police said.

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

 

 

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Man Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries In Bayview Shooting Early Sunday

A man was seriously injured in a shooting in San Francisco's Bayview District early Sunday morning, police said.

The shooting occurred shortly before 3:30 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of Third Street and Gilman Avenue.

Four men in their 20s were driving on Third Street and turned onto Gilman Avenue when someone ran up to their car and opened fire, according to police.

One of the people in the car, a 23-year-old man, was hit by the gunfire.

He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are considered life-threatening, police said.

No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.

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

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July 11, 2011

Unfortunately for us, crime never rests.

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