SF News

July 6, 2011

California State University Chancellor Charles Reed will ask trustees next week to raise tuition by 12 percent, or $588 a year, to help offset a cut in state funding of at least $650 million. The new prices would take...

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Two Shot In Tenderloin, Suspect In Custody

An Oakland man was arrested on suspicion of shooting two other men in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood on Saturday evening, leaving one with life-threatening injuries, a police spokesman said.

Aaron Spencer, 20, was arrested in connection with the shooting, which occurred at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday in the 400 block of Ellis Street, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

A 45-year-old man was shot in the neck and a 70-year-old man was shot in the foot, Esparza said.

The 45-year-old man was critically injured. Spencer was arrested two blocks away, and police recovered the firearm apparently used in the shooting, according to Esparza.

Spencer was booked into jail on suspicion of attempted murder, firearm offenses, a parole hold and possession of crack cocaine, Esparza said.

He said no motive has been established for the shooting.

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Coca Cola To Present $250,000 To San Francisco Parks Trust

Soda and fitness -- arguably on extreme ends of the health spectrum -- will meet in the middle in San Francisco's Outer Richmond neighborhood today, when the city accepts a $250,000 gift from Coca Cola.

The donation to San Francisco Parks Trust will mean a new trail in Golden Gate Park, along with other amenities in the park's northeast corner.

City and state leaders will meet at the Rochambeau Clubhouse at 238 25th Ave. to accept the gift from the beverage giant. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg are expected to attend the check presentation.

A Coca Cola representative is expected to speak about the company's Live Positively and Active Healthy Living programs, which are part of the company's commitment to parks and outdoor recreation.

The presentation is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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Homeless Activists Occupy Vacant Building in the Mission

At least 50 people occupied a vacant building in San Francisco's Mission District Monday afternoon to call for the community to reclaim what housing activists said was a "waste of housing."

The squatters collective Homes Not Jails organized the rally, march and occupation that began at Dolores Park at 4 p.m., said Matt Crain, a self-identified squatter who was one of the dozens of people occupying a 43-unit building near the corner of 20th and Mission streets.

Crain said that the building, once the Sierra Hotel, has sat unused for almost two decades.

Activists occupied the same space almost a year ago, when activists from Stop the Cuts Bay Area demonstrated at the long-vacant residential hotel.

"It's the most egregious waste of housing resource in the Mission," Crain said.

"It's been vacant more than any of the other housing that's being converted," he said referring to the Dolores Hotel, a 59-unit residential hotel on Woodward Street.

As of 5:25 p.m., Crain said that there were about 100 people still outside at the ongoing rally but that police had yet to make an appearance, which was "a little unusual."

Crain said that Homes Not Jails was reclaiming the vacant property for homeless families and individuals.

Organizers are outraged that on any given night approximately 10,000 San Franciscans are sleeping on the street.

The activists cited 2010 Census data indicating that some 32,000 housing units remained vacant.

Personally, I'd like to see the community occupy the space, take it over and use it," Crain said. "It's the community that's sleeping on the street in front of these 43 units."



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San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday News Roundup

BART Police Shoot, Kill Knife-Wielding Drunk at Civic Center - Officer Had Taser

One of the two BART police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man at San Francisco's Civic Center station on Sunday night was equipped with a Taser but didn't use it, BART's police chief said Monday. 

Chief Kenton Rainey said at a news conference at BART headquarters in Oakland Monday morning, however, that it appears the shooting was justified.

"When confronted with deadly force, (an officer) can choose to use a gun or not," Rainey said. BART officers and San Francisco police are working on separate but parallel investigations into what happened Sunday night at 9:46 p.m. when one of the two BART officers shot the man on the platform at the Civic Center station, Rainey said.

BART officials had received reports around 9:30 p.m. of a white man wearing a tie-dye shirt and green military fatigue pants with an open container of alcohol -- which is illegal in a BART station. A call into BART dispatch said the man was drunk and "wobbly on the platform," Rainey said.

Two officers -- one white, the other Asian -- arrived at the Civic Center station on a train from the Millbrae direction at 9:45 p.m., and a confrontation occurred between the suspect and officers.

Rainey said the suspect, estimated to be between 30 and 50 years old, was armed with a knife and a broken alcohol bottle he was wielding as a weapon. A minute after the confrontation began, one officer used his service weapon to shoot the man.

One of the officers was carrying a Taser at the time, Rainey said. He did not say whether the officer who fired his gun was the same one carrying the Taser.

Medical personnel performed CPR on the man, who was shot in his front torso area. He was then transported to San Francisco General Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 10:45 p.m., Rainey said. His name has not yet been released.

One of the officers suffered minor cuts to his arms but was otherwise uninjured, and no one else was hurt in the shooting, Rainey said.


4 Richmond Shootings Leave 3 Dead, 3 Injured

Four separate shootings within several hours killed three men and injured three others in the Richmond area on Sunday night, according to Richmond police and the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.

One of those victims was identified as 28-year-old Ray Anthony Hutson Jr., of North Richmond, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

Richmond police responded to the first shooting at about 8:30 p.m. near the intersection of Ohio Avenue and South 39th Street, Richmond police Lt. Bisa French said.

Arriving officers found a man suffering from gunshot wounds.

He was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive, French said. Just before 10:30 p.m., the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office received word of a fatal shooting in the 100 block of West Ruby Avenue in unincorporated North Richmond, sheriff's Lt. Vic Fernandez said. Hutson, who was in his 20s, was found lying on the sidewalk.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, Fernandez said. A second victim, also man in his 20s from North Richmond, was taken to a hospital by helicopter. Lee said Monday morning that the second man was reported to be in critical condition.

Then, shortly after 11 p.m., Richmond police responded to a homicide in the 3200 block of Center Avenue. A 19-year-old man was shot and killed in his car as he was preparing to leave after visiting friends in the neighborhood, French said.

The last homicide was reported at the intersection of MacDonald Avenue and First Street at about 11:15 p.m., she said.

A 27-year-old man was fatally shot, and another man also suffered injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening, French said. It is too early to tell whether any of the shootings are related, French said.

Investigators are interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence at the various crime scenes, she said.


Body of Santa Rosa Man Found in Russian River

Emergency officials found the body of a Santa Rosa man who drowned while swimming near a Monte Rio beach Monday afternoon, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

The body of 30-year-old Juan Martinez Leon was discovered in the middle of Russian River, in about 14 feet of water, at around 8:30 p.m. Monte Rio fire officials and Sonoma County deputies responded to the beach, located near state Highway 116 at Bohemian Highway, at around 2:20 p.m. in response to reports of a drowning, sheriff's officials said.

Responders learned that Leon and a woman had been swimming in the river when they unknowingly entered deeper water.

The current carried them downstream and the woman reportedly struggled to stay afloat. The woman told emergency officials that Leon helped her into a rescuer's kayak before he slipped underwater.

The Marin County sheriff's dive team was brought in to assist with the search for Leon. Leon's family was at the scene when he was found and they positively identified his body, sheriff's officials said.


Rohnert Park Fire Affects 12 Families

When a fire tore through an apartment building in Rohnert Park Monday afternoon, 12 units were damaged, affected an equal number of families, a Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety lieutenant said.

The fire at 6930 Commerce Blvd. was reported at 4:36 p.m., was at least a second-alarm fire, and took more than an hour to control, according to a public safety dispatcher.

Lt. Jeff Taylor said that cause of the fire remained under investigation.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and was later released, Taylor said. No other injuries were reported. The American Red Cross is providing assistance to the affected families.


Grease Fire Erupts at San Jose Red Robin

Restaurant patrons and employees at one San Jose Red Robin escaped harm when a cooking grease fire broke out Monday night, a fire captain said.

Calls from the Eastridge Mall restaurant's alarm company came in to the fire department at 7:19 p.m., according to a San Jose fire dispatcher, and a subsequent call from the business reported a fryer fire.

The fire, which was contained to the eatery's kitchen, was extinguished within an hour, the dispatcher said. According to fire Capt. Michael Van Elgort, no one was injured.


CHP: Plane Made Emergency Landing on I-280 Due to Mechanical Failure

The California Highway Patrol Monday released a few more details about the emergency landing of a small aircraft on northbound Interstate Highway 280 on Sunday.

The pilot, Scott Bohannon, 53, of San Mateo, was forced to land on the highway north of Farm Hill Boulevard after the plane suffered a mechanical failure, according to the CHP.

Bohannan had taken off from the San Carlos Airport on a test flight and was on his way back when the mechanical failure occurred, CHP Officer Art Montiel said.

Bohannon radioed the airport as he was landing. The CHP began to receive reports at 7:13 p.m. that a small aircraft had landed on the highway.

As officers were responding, the airport also contacted the CHP about the incident.

The plane's landing gear struck the roof of a 2009 Mercedes coupe driven by Wendy Kwon, 47, of Sausalito, that was also traveling north directly below the landing aircraft, CHP officials said.

Kwon was alone in the car. The rear window of the car was broken, the roof was dented and the car was towed away from the scene, but there were no injuries.

The plane, a 1975 Cessna, landed safely and was able to come to a stop on the highway's shoulder.

Traffic was light and was only moderately affected. The plane was towed to the airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the plane was conducting a photo mission when it lost engine power.


Fire Burns in Pleasant Hill, No Injuries

A two-alarm house fire burned in Pleasant Hill Monday afternoon, but no one was injured, a fire dispatcher said. The blaze was reported at 1:20 p.m. in the 100 block of Julian Way.

When firefighters arrived, the residents were outside, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District dispatcher said. Seven engines were dispatched to the scene.

The extent of the damage was not yet known, the dispatcher said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Sailboat Capsizes Off of Benicia Coast

A small sailboat capsized off the coast of Benicia Monday morning, sending its two occupants overboard, a fire captain said.

Two civilian vessels offered assistance, ferrying the stranded sailors to the shore using a fishing boat and a jet ski, Capt. Todd Matthews said.

The Benicia Fire Department responded shortly after the 15-foot vessel capsized at around 10:35 a.m., and one of the two men on board was transported to a hospital where he was treated for minor hypothermia.

Neither man was seriously injured.

The boat was still afloat in the waters off of First Street early Monday afternoon.

First responders were unable to tow the boat back to shore, and tied it to a stationary object to be dealt with later, Matthews said.


Richmond Police Officer Transporting Suspect Crashed on Highway 4 

A Richmond police officer transporting a suspect to the county jail Monday morning lost control and crashed on state Highway 4 in Hercules, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The crash happened at about 10:50 a.m. on eastbound Highway 4 just east of Interstate Highway 80, near Willow Avenue.

CHP Officer Kevin Bartlett said it appears the man being transported became combative inside the car, which may have contributed the crash.

He did not have details on the crash but said a Honda Accord was also involved.

Two people were sent to hospitals, including one who was taken to John Muir Medical Center with minor injuries.

The crash initially blocked lanes, but the roadway was cleared just before noon.

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SF Parks Trusts Gets $250k Gift from Coca Cola

Soda and fitness -- arguably on extreme ends of the health spectrum -- will meet in the middle in San Francisco's Outer Richmond neighborhood today, when the city accepts a $250,000 gift from Coca Cola

The donation to San Francisco Parks Trust will mean a new trail in Golden Gate Park, along with other amenities in the park's northeast corner.

City and state leaders will meet at the Rochambeau Clubhouse at 238 25th Ave. to accept the gift from the beverage giant.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg are expected to attend the check presentation.

A Coca Cola representative is expected to speak about the company's Live Positively and Active Healthy Living programs, which are part of the company's commitment to parks and outdoor recreation.

The presentation is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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Women's World Cup Viewing Party at Civic Center Hosted by SF Parks and Rec

Free Family-Friendly World Cup Viewing, Complete with Food Trucks

Encouraged by the popularity of last summer's World Cup viewing events at Civic Center Plaza, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will host free, family-friendly viewings of this summer's women's competition at the same location.

Between July 9 and July 17, attendees can watch the quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches of the FIFA Women's World Cup on a 13-by-17-foot screen.

Events for kids such as mini soccer games, giant inflatables and soccer skills challenges will be available thanks to a partnership with America SCORES Bay Area, the parks and recreation department said.

Gourmet food trucks from Off the Grid will park nearby to feed the participants.

The quarterfinals and semifinals take place July 9 and July 13, respectively, and matches begin at 9 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. both days. The finals will be July 17 at 11:45 a.m. 

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San Francisco Bay Area Saturday News Roundup

Oakland Rally to Protect CalWorks

About 40 angry welfare recipients and advocates for the poor rallied in Oakland Friday to protest cuts to the state's welfare-to-work program that took effect Friday. As part of the budget that was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday, monthly grants to CalWORKs recipients have been reduced by 8 percent to an average of $460 a month for a family of three, which advocates say is only 29 percent of the federal poverty level. Adults who receive CalWORKs cash assistance are now only eligible for 48 months of assistance in their lifetimes, instead of the previous limit of 60 months, and the earned income disregard has been cut in half, from $225 to $112 a month. Welfare advocates say the earned income disregard is an incentive for families to work by allowing them to keep more of the money they earn but the cut means families will be forced to give up more of their earned income. In the rally at the Alameda County Social Services Agency's office on San Pablo Avenue near 20th Street, Ashley Proctor, a young San Leandro single mother, said her reduction in income will make it harder for her to provide for her 4-year-old son.

Proctor said she used to receive $562 a month but now will only get $340 a month. Referring to her son, Proctor said, "You cannot give him what he needs for $300 a month" and said her income reduction "is very disrespectful." Proctor said she no longer will be employed through CalWORKs' work-study program and will lose all funding for school. Ethel Long-Scott, the executive director of the Women's Economic Agenda Project, asked, "What kind of America do we want" and vowed to fight cutbacks in welfare programs and other social services. "If they want to throwdown, we can throwdown, too," Long-Scott said.

Fire Killing Two SF Firefighters Most Likely Accidental

An investigation into the cause of a fire that claimed the lives of two San Francisco firefighters in June indicated that the blaze was accidental and most likely electrical in nature, fire officials said. Lt. Vincent Perez, 48, and firefighter-paramedic Anthony Valerio, 53, succumbed to injuries sustained battling the blaze at 133 Berkeley Way in the city's Diamond Heights neighborhood on June 2. Perez died later that day, and Valerio died two days later. It was the first time since 2003 that the department had a firefighter die in the line of duty, much less two. A third firefighter was also injured during the response. She was treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns at a hospital and was released. The two men, who were veterans of the department and worked out of Station 26, were found badly burned inside the home after radio communication was lost after a "flashover" -- an explosion from intense heat -- rocked the home. The exact cause of the fire was still unknown, fire officials said, because testing of electrical components and the residential electrical system had yet to be completed. What was known was that the fire started one floor below grade in the four-story single-family home.

An official report is scheduled to be released sometime next month, and that report will contain information from an internal safety investigation, according to fire officials. The San Francisco Fire Department also requested that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conduct an independent safety investigation. That investigation is ongoing.

Jurors in Martinez Deliberative in Shemeeka Davis Case

Jurors in Martinez deliberated for a little more than an hour Friday before finding that an Antioch woman was sane when she tortured and abused her two foster children and murdered one of them in 2008. Shemeeka Davis, 40, sobbed uncontrollably as the verdict was read. In June, the same jury convicted Davis of first-degree murder and two counts each of torture and child abuse for the torture, abuse and killing of her niece, 15-year-old Jazzmin Davis, and the torture and abuse of Jazzmin's twin brother, who survived. She now faces up to two life sentences for her crimes. Prosecutor Satish Jallepalli said during the trial that Davis had beat the children with belts, electrical cords and a wooden closet rod and burned them with boiling water and an iron.

She reportedly locked them in their closet for long periods of time and withheld food from them. When Jazzmin died on Sept. 2, 2008, she was so malnourished that she only weighed 78 pounds. She was 5 feet 7 inches tall. Her brother was also severely malnourished. Davis also withheld medical treatment from the children and prevented Jazzmin from going to school for about a year before her death. Her attorney Betty Barker argued during trial that Davis was legally insane and suffered from several severe mental illnesses, including psychotic delusions, which caused her to falsely believe that Jazzmin and her brother were evil and were trying to poison her and her biological daughter, who was 7 years old when Jazzmin died. Barker argued that Davis, in her delusional state, believed she was punishing the children to make them behave and was unable to see the damage she was doing. Jallepalli agreed that Davis was mentally ill, but said she went to great lengths to conceal the abuse, which showed that she knew what she was doing was wrong and that she was therefore legally sane when she committed her crimes. After the verdict was read, Davis was crying too hard to be able to set a date for sentencing. She is scheduled to return to Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez on Tuesday to set a sentencing date.

Man Accused of Killing Sonoma County Officer Arraigned

A man accused of killing a former Sonoma County corrections officer in downtown Santa Rosa early Wednesday morning was arraigned for murder and use of a gun Friday afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court. Ryan Mitchell Dietz, 29, of Santa Rosa, delayed entering his pleas until July 15. Judge Rene Chouteau ordered him not to change his physical appearance until he appears in a identification line-up next week. Dietz is charged with killing 33-year-old Jack Romero of Santa Rosa after an argument outside the Third Street Aleworks at 610 3rd St. He allegedly chased Romero and shot him as he ran. Romero's body was found around midnight Wednesday in a breezeway nearby. Dietz was arrested Wednesday afternoon at Integrity Electric in San Rafael, where he worked as an electrician. Santa Rosa police said Dietz confronted Romero on previous occasions about Romero dating his girlfriend, Garicka Lavern Rush, when the couple was estranged. Rush and Dietz have three children. Rush, 31, and Romero were at the pub just before the killing, according to police. Rush has been charged with being an accessory to the murder, but police said she did not witness it.

Friday afternoon she delayed entering her plea until Thursday. Chouteau raised her bail from $50,000 to $100,000 after Deputy District Attorney Jane Murray said Rush also tampered with evidence in the case. Dietz is being held without bail. Both the defendants and Romero were neighbors at one time, police said. Dietz and Rush have been charged with misdemeanor battery on a spouse or co-habitant, according to court records. Both their cases were dismissed. Dietz was arrested for false imprisonment and battery on Dec. 24, 2008. He was released from custody, placed under supervision and his case was dismissed on April 7, 2009, at the prosecution's request. Rush was arrested for spousal battery and vandalism on April 10, 2005. The case was dismissed on May 16, 2006 when the prosecution said it did not have the witnesses to proceed with the trial.

A Veteran's Story and the Housing 1000 Campaign

For the past year, a 71-year-old veteran has spent his days living out of his car at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and state Highway 85 in San Jose, among the thousands of people who are homeless in Santa Clara County and who, prior to this week, were nameless to the world. The man, who goes by "Charles," has diabetes, asthma, emphysema and liver disease, as well as mental illness and alcohol addiction, among other ailments. "He needs our help," Hilary Barroga, chairperson of the Santa Clara County Collaborative on Affordable Housing and Homeless Issues, said in front of San Jose City Hall Friday morning. Barroga and others held a debriefing on a three-day homeless survey conducted this week to determine why the most vulnerable and long-term homeless remain so, and to create a registry for a campaign that aims to move 1,000 homeless people into permanent housing by 2013.

As part of the Housing 1000 campaign, this week hundreds of volunteers canvassed the streets and shelters of Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale from 4:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. They identified and surveyed more than 700 people who are homeless, 271 of whom were found to have health conditions with a high mortality risk. The volunteers gathered their information, including their names, pictures and dates of birth, health status, institutional history, length of homelessness, patterns of shelter use, and previous housing situation. Of those surveyed, the oldest homeless person was 85 years old and the youngest was 18. The record for the longest length of homelessness was 58 years. One out of every five people surveyed reported being employed. The data will be used to create a registry of those who are in most need of housing and medical care, among other services. Another survey will be done in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin on July 20 and 21. Becky Kanis, the director for the national 100,000 Homes campaign, said it is one thing to be without a permanent home, but even more tragic for people to die on the streets unknown. "It upsets me that there are people dying on the streets who we don't even know their names," Kanis said.

625-lb Hamburger at Alameda County Fair!

History could be made at the Alameda County Fair today, as an attempt will be made to grill a 625-pound hamburger that would be the world's largest commercially available hamburger. Cooking such a large burger might seem to be a frivolous endeavor, but fair organizers say it is for a good cause, as individual bites will be sold for 99 cents, with the proceeds going to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. The 99-cent price is in celebration of the fair's 99th consecutive year of operations. Trying to break the record is serious business, as officials from the Guinness Book of Records will be on hand to verify that the burger is bigger than the 595-pound burger that currently holds the record. The burger is expected to be 1,375,000 calories, which is enough to feed one person for about 22.5 months.

The trimmings will include a 110-pound bun, more than 50 pounds of cheese, more than 20 pounds of onions, more than 12 pounds of pickles and 30 pounds of lettuce. The burger will be cooked on the world's largest barbecue, which is owned by Juicys, a mobile food and beverage business that serves large events such as the Kentucky Derby, car races, rodeos and fairs. Juicys owner Brett Enright said Friday that trying to cook the world's largest burger was his idea, as he likes the idea of having "a mega event" and trying to break a record. "It's a fun project," he said. Enright said cooks will begin preparing the burger at 5 a.m., and at 6 a.m. they will start cooking it on a huge fire pit grill mounted on an 18-wheel, 72,000-pound truck. "It looks like a big tanker," Enright said. He said cooking the burger will take about 10 hours and that a large crane will flip it halfway through the process. The burger will be tested around 4 p.m. to make sure it is done, and then Guinness officials will verify its size. Once all that is done, cooks will slice off chunks of the burgers to sell to fairgoers who want to taste a piece of history.

Santa Cruz Police Seize 100 Marijuana Plants

Santa Cruz police seized nearly 100 marijuana plants and about 20 pounds of processed and dried marijuana product from an auto repair shop on Thursday. Officers served a search warrant at Good Guys Diesel and Bio-Mechanics, located at 1191 Water St., around 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, according to police. Inside the business, they allegedly found nearly 100 plants and about 20 pounds of processed and dried marijuana product. The officers also found equipment, including grow lights, ventilation systems and a drying room. Police believe the operation was in mid-harvest and that the facility had the potential to produce higher volumes of marijuana.

The business is located a block away from a public middle school and a few hundred feet away from a daycare center, according to police. The investigation began after residents in the neighborhood tipped off police to a possible illegal marijuana grow operation at the business. Employees told officers that the diesel and bio-mechanics business was separate from the marijuana grow operation, but officers found evidence to suggest otherwise, according to police. They have not yet been able to locate the business owner. Officers are looking for the owner and investigating the business' financial records. Two people in connection with the business were arrested but were later released. The building was shut down because of illegal construction and electrical wiring violations, according to police.

Four People Arrested in Connection to 2008 Gang-Related Homicide, Union City

Four people were arrested Friday morning in connection with a 2008 gang-related homicide in Union City, police said Friday. Union City police served a series of search and arrest warrants Friday morning with the help of Fremont and Newark police and the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force, police Lt. Ben Horner said in a statement. Four of those arrested were identified as having taken part in the shooting death of Juan Carlos Gomez, a 28-year-old Hayward resident, on Feb. 29, 2008. Gomez was shot and killed near Kennedy Park. He and another man were found in a vehicle on 12th Street around 6:15 p.m., both suffering from gunshot wounds. Initial reports indicated that a group of males approached the two men, who were in their vehicle at 12th and J streets. After an argument, the car began to speed off through the park. Shots were fired at the vehicle, which broadsided a parked car on J Street. Gomez was said to be the driver at the time of the shooting. Investigators later determined that the shooting took place during a robbery and that gang-related slogans were overheard during the incident, Horner said. Police said they would not release the identities of those arrested until later Friday due to the "fluid and complex nature of the investigation."

Sea Plane Capsizes in Richardson Bay Near Sausalito

A sea plane carrying two people capsized in Richardson Bay near Sausalito tonight after it was hit by a wave while attempting to take off from the water, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The man and woman aboard the plane were rescued unharmed by a good Samaritan vessel, the Elixir, and the Sausalito Police Department, the Coast Guard said. Pollution response crews with the Coast Guard are investigating a potential pollution threat posed by the capsized plane. Station Golden Gate launched a 25-foot response boat to assess the scene, and pollution responders from Sector San Francisco's incident management division are involved in the ongoing investigation. -0- Two people who were apparently intoxicated were pulled from San Francisco Bay Friday along the Embarcadero, a police spokesman said. The two friends were near Pier 7 when one of them "jumped in the water to get something," San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said. "The other jumped in to save him." The pair was taken out of the water and treated by paramedics "for precautionary reasons," Esparza said. Esparza did not have information on whether any arrests related to the drunken swim were made.

Rise in Propoerty Value in San Mateo, More Money for Local Agencies

A rise in assessed property values means more money for local agencies, San Mateo County Assessor Mark Church said Friday. Assessed property values for San Mateo County rose 1.12 percent to more than $142.5 billion for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, marking a return to positive, if "anemic," growth, said Church. Last year, property assessment rolls dropped for the first time in decades, falling 1.39 percent, or $2 billion, in assessed value. This year's $1.5 billion increase, while small, is a return to positive growth driven largely by an increase in the consumer price index, Church said. "While the real estate market continues to show signs of weakness, some areas are showing a slight increase in market value," Church said. The increase means local agencies in the county will receive more property tax revenue -- approximately $15 million more, or 1 percent of the total roll value, Church said. The county's share will be around $$3.3 million, or 22 percent of $15 million. The property assessment roll is made up of the secured and unsecured rolls. The secured roll, which makes up 94.4 percent of the total value, includes commercial and residential real estate.

The unsecured roll includes the valuations of business/personal property. Growth in this year's property assessment roll was driven in part by inflation based on the California Consumer Price Index, Church said. The real estate market remained sluggish, according to Church. Nearly 40,000 residential properties and 612 commercial properties were reviewed to determine if they were eligible for property tax relief due to a drop in market value. Of those, nearly 35,000 residential properties and 546 commercial properties qualified for relief. While business property values declined, aviation and concession possessory interest value at San Francisco International Airport grew by $192 million, driving a 2.48 percent increase in the unsecured roll.

Bay Area Weather

The Bay Area is forecast to be cloudy with patchy fog this morning, becoming sunny, with highs in the mid 60s to upper 70s. Tonight is expected to be mostly clear with lows in the lower to mid 50s. Sunday is expected to be sunny, with highs in the upper 60s to lower 80s.

Suspicious Powder Found In Package At Police Station, Later Deemed Harmless

San Francisco police got a scare on Thursday evening when a woman brought a package to the department's Northern Station that was found to have a suspicious powder inside.

At about 6 p.m., the woman brought the package to the station, located at the corner of Turk and Fillmore streets in the city's Western Addition neighborhood.

The woman said she had received the package the day before, and an officer at the station examining the package found the suspicious powder, according to police.

The package was taken outside and taped off while firefighters responded.

The powder was eventually deemed harmless and was taken away by the city's Department of Public Health, police said.

Paramedics examined the woman and the officer for precautionary reasons, but neither were injured.


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July 3, 2011

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It’s 7:15 a.m., 58° and headed to 78°. Details are here. Everyone was out and about on Valencia and 24th Streets Saturday enjoying the great weather and looking at the weather forecast for today, people may be heading back out to soak up the sun. We may even be able to see the fireworks this...

So, I went online Friday looking to buy a copy of John Kenneth Galbraith 's "The Affluent Society & Other Writings, 1952-1967." Thought it might be timely to revisit the Harvard economist's distinction between "private...

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Typically, it's easy to spot a San Francisco tourist in July. They're the ones wearing freshly purchased fleece sweatshirts, and mumbling, "But it's supposed to be warm in California." That won't be the case today, as...

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Nellie Gaoteote sat at a desk in a fourth-floor classroom at John Muir Elementary School on a recent summer day, working on a writing assignment, as she paused to relate a recent lesson on Africa. Across San Francisco,...

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July 2, 2011

San Francisco police officers are investigating the cause of a collision that involved seven cars at Sixth and Harrison streets on Friday at about 3:55 p.m. Ten people were either treated or taken to local area hospitals. All suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to SFPD.

The San Francisco 49ers have sold $138 million worth of luxury boxes at the as-yet not-built Santa Clara football stadium.

It’s 7:15 a.m., 56° and headed to 72°. Details are here. A lot of things are happening in the neighborhood this holiday weekend. Chef Manuel Godino officially opened Venga Empanadas on Friday, so if you’re looking for a quick and delicious breakfast, stop by his new storefront at 443 Valencia Street and get a cup...

Two men - apparently intoxicated - were unharmed after authorities rescued them from San Francisco Bay at Pier 7 on the Embarcadero Friday afternoon. The pair said they jumped in the water over a misunderstanding. One...

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As many as 10 people were injured in a seven-car collision at Sixth and Harrison streets in San Francisco Friday afternoon, police said. A vehicle was apparently traveling the wrong way on Harrison Street, which led to...

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