SF News

SFMTA Board Approves Tunneling Contract For Central Subway Project

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's board of directors on Tuesday approved a tunneling contract for the $1.57 billion Central Subway project.

The project will create a new branch of the San Francisco Municipal Railway's T-Third line that will run north along Fourth Street from Brannan Street before going underground at Interstate Highway 80, with subway stops at Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown.

The board on Tuesday approved a $233.6 million contract that will pay for the development of about 8,240 feet of concrete tunnels and two tunnel-boring machines, according to Muni officials.

Barnard Impregilo Healy, a Montana-based contractor, was awarded the contract after offering the lowest bid.

The Central Subway project has received nearly $96 million in federal funding, including $20 million last week from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration.

"Investing in the Central Subway is an investment in jobs, in the economic vitality of our city, in safer transit and better commutes for San Francisco's workers," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement, "The Central Subway project is vital to connecting our city to our communities like never before." The Central Subway is expected to open by 2018 and carry 65,000 passengers daily by 2030, according to Muni officials.

 

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Update: 26-Year-Old Man Gunned Down In Portola Neighborhood Tuesday

A 26-year-old man was fatally shot while walking in San Francisco's Portola neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, a police spokesman said today.

The victim, identified by the medical examiner's office as Neilson Bates, was shot on San Bruno Avenue near Paul Avenue at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Officer Albie Esparza said. The suspect, described only as a black man in his 20s, came from behind Bates and opened fire, striking him multiple times, Esparza said. The shooter then ran away, possibly getting into a white Toyota that was seen leaving the scene, he said. Bates, a San Francisco resident, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:50 p.m., Esparza said. No motive for the shooting had been established as of this morning, he said. The homicide is San Francisco's 28th so far this year. At the same point in 2010, there had been 24 homicides in the city, Esparza said.

 

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Man Fatally Shot In Portola Neighborhood Tuesday Afternoon

A 26-year-old man was fatally shot in San Francisco's Portola neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said today.

The victim, identified by the medical examiner's office as Neilson Bates, was found injured in a shooting reported at 3:31 p.m. near the intersection of San Bruno and Paul avenues, fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

Bates, a San Francisco resident, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

A police spokesman was not immediately available this morning to provide more details about the shooting.

 

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Update: Wanted Parolee Shot, Wounded By Police On Gough Street

A wanted parolee considered armed and dangerous was shot and wounded by police this morning on a busy San Francisco thoroughfare during the morning commute.

Investigators had been searching for the 36-year-old man, who was wanted on a $75,000 warrant and is believed to have fired an assault weapon last week, police said.

This morning, they received information that he was in the 1000 block of Gough Street.

Two plainclothes officers spotted him near the corner of Gough and Ellis streets a few minutes before 8 a.m., Police Chief Greg Suhr said.

The officers identified themselves and tried to apprehend the man, but he shot at them and tried to escape in a gray four-door Honda Accord, police said.

The officers returned fire, hitting the suspect, and he crashed into a parked car in the 1000 block of Gough Street, according to police.

The man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for injuries that are not life-threatening, Dangerfield said.

Police are now interviewing him and have not yet released his name. No one else was injured in the shooting.

Investigators recovered two weapons from inside the Honda -- an AK47 assault rifle and a handgun, police said.

Several blocks of Gough Street were shut while detectives surveyed the crime scene.

A gardener who was planting a tree at Jefferson Square Park near the corner of Gough and Eddy streets said he heard two distinct shots, followed by heavy gunfire.

Immediately after the succession of gunshots, the gardener heard a loud crash.

He said he ran toward the Honda Accord, shovel in hand, and saw two plainclothes officers crouched near the car with guns pointed at vehicle.

The driver was slumped over the wheel and his head was moving slightly, said the gardener, who didn't want to be identified.

"Cops were here in rapid time," he said. Peter Gorman, who lives on Ellis near Gough, also said he heard two shots then a rapid succession of five to 10 shots.

He later went outside with his dog to see what had happened and found the street filled with police.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory is located near where the shooting happened, but a woman answering the phone there said the school was not affected.

 

 

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Police at Scene of Shooting at Gough and Ellis

A shooting has occurred at Gough and Ellis streets in San Francisco this morning, police said.

Police have not yet released details about the incident.

 

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UPDATE: 26-Year-Old Man Gunned Down In Portola Neighborhood Tuesday

A 26-year-old man was fatally shot while walking in San Francisco's Portola neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, a police spokesman said today.

The victim, identified by the medical examiner's office as Neilson Bates, was shot on San Bruno Avenue near Paul Avenue at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Officer Albie Esparza said.

The suspect, described only as a black man in his 20s, came from behind Bates and opened fire, striking him multiple times, Esparza said.

The shooter then ran away, possibly getting into a white Toyota that was seen leaving the scene, he said.

Bates, a San Francisco resident, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:50 p.m., Esparza said.

No motive for the shooting had been established as of this morning, he said.

The homicide is San Francisco's 28th so far this year.

At the same point in 2010, there had been 24 homicides in the city, Esparza said.

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Best San Francisco Pizza Delivery

Patxi's and Za Gourmet are the best places for pizza delivery in San Francisco according to judgesWhen living in a city with a culinary tradition as rich and diverse as San Francisco, one can head out to eat or order in almost every night of the week.

Whether it's Mexican food in the Mission or Italian food in North Beach, San Franciscans are all about their food choices.

But let's not overlook the most important food item - pizza.

The only problem is where to find the best one. Thankfully, in this article from 7x7SF, the best 7 delivery pizzas in San Francisco are listed.

They are, in order of ranking:

1. Patxi's and Za Gourmet (tie)
2. Marcello's
3. North Beach Pizza
4. Escape From NY
5. Nizario's
6. Cybelle's

What are your favorites?

After Crab Boat Sinks off Ocean Beach, Coat Guard Rescues Three men

Fishing Vessel Capsizes Near Cliff House

Three men were rescued off the coast of San Francisco this morning after their crab boat capsized, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

The Coast Guard received a mayday call over the radio at around 12:40 a.m., Petty Officer Laura Alcon said.

A crab boat capsized near the Cliff House and three people fell into the water before climbing into a life raft, Alcon said. 

Coast Guard crews rescued the stranded boaters and no serious injuries were reported.

There were about 270 crab pots on the deck and when the pots shifted the vessel's stability was disrupted, Alcon said.

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UPDATE: Gough Street Shut Down After Shooting With SF Police

Gough Street in San Francisco Shutdown After Gun Altercation Involving Police

 

An officer-involved shooting occurred near Gough and Ellis streets in San Francisco this morning, police said.

Police have released few details about the incident, but a fire dispatcher said the fire department was notified of the shooting shortly before 8 a.m. and that one person was taken to a hospital.

Peter Gorman, who lives on Ellis near Gough, said he heard two shots then a rapid succession of five to 10 shots.

He later went outside with his dog to see what had happened and found the street filled with police.

As of 8:30 a.m., several blocks of Gough Street were cordoned off and commute traffic was backed up.

A gray Honda sedan inside the crime scene appeared to have crashed into a parked car.

A San Francisco police patrol car was stopped in the middle of the street inside the taped-off area.

The shooting happened near Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, but a woman answering the phone there said the school was not affected and that she didn't believe any students were involved.

 

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SFMTA Board Names Debra Johnson as Interim SFMTA Chief

An interim San Francisco Municipal Transportation authority chief has been named for when the outgoing CEO leaves the agency on Thursday, the SFMTA board chairman said in a staff letter Tuesday. 

Debra Johnson will serve as the acting SFMTA executive director and CEO when Nathaniel Ford officially departs on Thursday.

Ford announced his resignation about two weeks ago, two and a half years before his contract's end. He received a separation package of about $380,000 that includes a year's salary, deferred compensation and unused vacation time.

Johnson has been working with the MTA since 2007, first as chief of staff and director of external affairs and currently as director of administration, taxis and accessible services, according to MTA board chairman Tom Nolan.

Johnson was selected as an interim head of the agency after deputy executive Carter Rohan a week ago announced his resignation from the agency, effective July 23. Rohan, as the SFMTA's second-in-command, would have served as interim executive director upon Ford's departure.

A permanent successor will be selected after applications from interested job seekers are reviewed -- hopefully before Rohan's final day, Rose said. Nolan said that before the interview process starts, the board is surveying SFMTA employees on what they want in their next executive director.

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SF BOS Rules Committe Passes Mayor Lee's Pentions Reform Ballot Measure

ballot measure proposed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to enact widespread reform to city workers' pensions and health benefits passed an important first step Tuesday. The Board of Supervisors' rules committee voted unanimously Tuesday morning to send the proposed charter amendment to the full board, which will vote in the coming weeks on whether to put the measure on the November ballot. The proposal -- the result of months of negotiations between city officials and labor and business leaders -- would cap pension benefits and raise retirement ages for city workers as well as require them to contribute more to their retirement and health plans. Lee has said the proposal could save the city between $800 million and $1 billion over the next decade. San Francisco's pension costs are set to increase by more than $125 million in the next fiscal year and by more than $100 million in each of the next three years, according to the mayor's office. The board committee voted 3-0 in favor of the measure Tuesday morning, and the full board could vote on it as soon as July 12, although Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said changes to the measure that day could delay the vote for another week. The measure appears to have the support of a majority of supervisors, nine of whom stood alongside Lee when he announced the measure last month. However, it might not be the only measure on the November ballot to address the city's pension costs. Public Defender Jeff Adachi is calling for more extensive reform and has proposed a separate ballot measure. He is collecting the roughly 50,000 signatures needed to get it on the November ballot. Adachi proposed a pension reform measure, Proposition B, on last November's ballot but it was rejected by the city's voters.

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U.S. Coast Guard in San Francisco Unveils New High-Tech Operations Center

U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Francisco unveiled a new high-tech operations center Tuesday that officials said would facilitate multiple agencies during a disaster and help take the "search" out of everyday search and rescue operations. The $18.1 million two-story Interagency Operations Center, or IOC, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, opened Tuesday to much fanfare at a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring keynote speaker House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco. The Coast Guard protects Americans from the sea and threats delivered by the sea, as well as the sea itself, she said. "The IOC will allow us to do so with the most cutting-edge, innovative technology, and interoperability between all of our first responders," she said. "That is a remarkable, remarkable achievement." She said that just after the Sept. 11 attacks, interoperability among local, state and federal agencies seemed "almost impossible." "Now you have it here," she said. The new center has space for members of the Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and California Emergency Management Agency to work side by side in case of an emergency. Members of local jurisdictions such as the San Francisco, Alameda and Oakland police and fire departments can coordinate at the interagency center, which will be especially valuable during the upcoming America's Cup sailing race, Pelosi said. Also housed at the new command center will be Rescue 21, a state-of-the-art emergency location system that Sector San Francisco has been phasing into its operations, Coast Guard Capt. Jay Jewess said. The program helps Coast Guard rescuers quickly locate distressed vessels by reducing search areas by up to 95 percent, he said. Mariners send out a call for help over VHF Channel 16, which goes out to seven radio towers along the coast and inland waterways. Four towers are set to come on line soon. The new high-tech receivers can detect the direction from which the call is coming, allowing rescuers to track direct lines of bearing to the distressed vessel and home in on a smaller search area, Jewess said.

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San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday News Roundup

Federal Magistrate Releases Italian Consulate Employee, Wife on Bail, Accused of Obtraining Forced Labor

A federal magistrate in San Francisco granted release on $250,000 bail Tuesday to an Italian consulate employee and his wife who are accused of obtaining forced labor from a Brazilian woman who worked as their servant in 2009. Giovanni Penzato, 55, an administrative clerk at the Italian Consulate in San Francisco, and Kesia Penzato, 33, were arrested by federal agents early Friday. Kesia Penzato and the couple's two children, ages 8 and 6, had been scheduled to leave that day to visit her family in Brazil. The husband and wife were each freed on $250,000 property bonds by U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Laporte Tuesday morning. Laporte scheduled their arraignment on the charges for July 18. Both Penzatos are charged in a criminal complaint filed Friday with obtaining forced labor by means of force, threats or physical restraint. That charge carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison upon conviction. Giuseppe Penzato is additionally charged with illegally confiscating the woman's passport in furtherance of forced labor. The charge has a maximum sentence of five years in prison if he is convicted. An affidavit filed with the complaint by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Melissa Saurwein alleges that the couple enticed an unnamed Brazilian woman, whom Kesia Penzato had known as a child, to come to San Francisco to work for them as a servant in 2009. The affidavit alleges that the couple forced the woman to work more than 60 hours a week for three months, failed to pay her most of the salary due, controlled when she could leave their house, took her passport and withheld food. Defense lawyers said in a court filing, "Both Penzatos vehemently deny the allegations." The attorneys wrote, "This case is nothing more than a civil wage and hour case brought by a scheming young woman to facilitate her goal of living permanently in the United States." The defense attorneys could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Italian Consul General Fabrizio Marcelli said he had no comment on the case.

 

BART Pays $1.3M to Oscar Grant's Mother

BART agreed Tuesday to pay $1.3 million to the mother of Oscar Grant III, a Hayward man who was fatally shot by former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009. The payment to Wanda Johnson, coupled with a $1.5 million payment last year to Grant's young daughter, Tatiana Grant, settles a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit that Oakland attorney John Burris filed in federal court on behalf of Grant's family in 2009. The total payment of $2.8 million represents only 5.6 percent of the $50 million that Grant's family had sought. At a new conference at Burris' office, Johnson said she was glad the lawsuit has been settled but added, "No amount of money could replace Oscar, and my heart still grieves for my son." Johnson said, "You still feel the pain daily that he's not here." Grant, 22, who was on parole for two prior felony convictions but was unarmed, was shot and killed by Mehserle on the platform at the Fruitvale station after Mehserle and other officers responded to reports that there was a fight on a BART train. Mehserle, who resigned a week after the incident, was charged with murder but he was convicted of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter. In a highly publicized trial that was moved to Los Angeles County because of concerns about whether he could get a fair trial in Alameda County, Mehserle admitted that he shot and killed Grant but said he had meant to use his Taser on Grant and fired his service gun by mistake. Mehserle was released from custody on June 13 after serving about one year of a two-year term. He was released early because of credits he had accumulated. BART's lawyer, Dale Allen, said BART made no admission of liability or constitutional violations in agreeing to the settlement. Burris said that was true but added that BART's decision to pay what he described as "a significant amount of money" is a major admission of wrongdoing. "It's obvious when you pay $2.8 million that you are acknowledging that the conduct was wrong, inappropriate and against the law," Burris said.

 

Brothers Arrested for Stabbing 3 People Near Walnut Creek Car Wash

Two brothers were arrested Monday night for allegedly stabbing three victims near a car wash in Walnut Creek, police said. Officers responded to reports of a fight involving five people, whom police later discovered are neighbors at a nearby apartment complex, at a car wash in the 2900 block of North Main Street shortly before 9 p.m., Walnut Creek police Sgt. Tom Cashion said. Two victims had stab wounds in their torsos and were taken to John Muir Medical Center where they underwent surgery and were in stable condition. A third victim had suffered stab wounds on their forearm, but the victim refused medical treatment. Two of the five people in the group were arrested and identified as brothers Jorge and Rogelio Argueta, 48 and 38, respectively, of Walnut Creek. They were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on $90,000 bail, Cashion said. The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office had not filed a court date for the Argueta brothers as of Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday investigators recovered a knife used in the fight Monday night. It seems the fight at the car wash, where some of the people in the fight are employees, stemmed from a "long-term feud might that may have been brewing," according to Cashion. The fight started with one person pointing a fake gun, which led to a fistfight and then to the stabbing, Cashion said.

 

Protesters Spread Information on Dangers of PG&E's SmartMeters at Farmer's Market

A group of protesters is planning to hand out fliers on the dangers of SmartMeters at the Santa Cruz Farmer's Market today as part of an ongoing demonstration against the installation of the meters. On Monday about 50 protestors gathered at the PG&E facility to stop trucks belonging to Wellington Energy, the company's subcontractor hired for the installation, from leaving the lot. Half that number showed up again Tuesday calling for the installation of the meters to be suspended. "PG&E wants a fight with the county, they've got one," said Josh Hart, of Scotts Valley-based Stop Smart Meters! Crews are installing SmartMeters to replace analog meters throughout Santa Cruz County. So far only one arrest has been made -- Hart was arrested on June 21 for blocking the doorway of the PG&E payment center in Capitola. He said almost everyone protesting says they are willing to risk arrest if necessary, because they are alarmed about the health risks SmartMeters pose. Hart said electromagnetic radiation emitted by these wireless technologies will have long-term, detrimental health effects on people, animals and plants. There are documented reports of people suffering from headaches, ringing in ears, inability to sleep, and heart arrhythmia, Hart said. SmartMeters are advanced utility meters that wirelessly communicate usage information to customers and utility companies. PG&E has scheduled installations of them for all of their customers by mid-2012. PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said the installations are already under way. The Board of Supervisors has approved a moratorium on new installations in unincorporated areas of the county, Hart said. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office is allowed to enforce the county ordinance, however the California Public Utilities Commission has oversight over the SmartMeter installations. Smith said the meters are beneficial because they give customers detailed information about their own energy usage and encourage them to conserve. He said the World Health Organization has reviewed the issue extensively and determined there was no connection between low-level electromagnetic emissions and negative health effects.

 

Santa Rosa Man Fell Off Boat at Lake Sonoma and Died

A 39-year-old Santa Rosa man died after he fell off a boat anchored in a cove at Lake Sonoma Monday evening, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said. Eric Robert Brown was onboard a cabin cruiser with his mother, 60-year-old Marlene Brown, at the area of the Island View campsite in the Warm Springs arm of the lake, said Sgt. Ed Hoener with the sheriff's office's marine unit. He told his mother he had been feeling light-headed and dizzy, Hoener said. Around 7:30 p.m., Marlene Brown saw her son fall through a railing in the front of the boat and into the water, Hoener said. Brown jumped into the water, grabbed her son and swam with him around 40 feet to the shore, Hoener said. At some point Brown called 911 on a cell phone, Hoener said, and the sheriff's marine unit and park rangers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responded, Hoener said. They found Brown in the water holding her son, Hoener said. The Geyserville Fire Protection District and the REACH medical helicopter also responded, but Brown was pronounced dead at the scene, Hoener said. It's believed he suffered a medical emergency, Hoener said. It was the second emergency at the lake since Saturday when a 7-year-old boy was struck by the propeller of his family's boat while tubing. The boy suffered severe lacerations to his upper legs and his stomach and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital but was transferred to a children's hospital, Hoener said. The boy was able to stand up Monday, and his family hoped he would be able to take a few steps Tuesday, Hoener said. Although the boy's injuries were nearly life threatening, Hoener said he is expected to survive. "They expect a long-term recovery," Hoener said. It was initially believed the tow rope attached to the tube pulled the boy toward the propeller, but it's possible the boy was injured getting out of the tube and into the boat, Hoener said.

 

South San Francisco Man Charged with Attempted Murder, Assault with a Machete

A South San Francisco man has been charged with attempted murder and assault after he allegedly attacked his neighbor with a machete on Sunday and bit him on the back, according to police. Pedro Garcia, 32, went to a barbecue at his neighbor's house in the 400 block of Baden Avenue and allegedly made inappropriate sexual comments to a female guest, South San Francisco police Sgt. Joni Lee said. The host asked Garcia to leave, and police said he then lifted up his shirt, exposing rifle ammunition in his waistband. Garcia allegedly threatened to shoot the host and left the party, according to police. At about 5:45 p.m., Garcia allegedly returned to the barbecue swinging a machete at the host's head and threatening to kill him, Lee said. The victim, who was bitten on the back in the attack, suffered cuts on his hands trying to defend himself. Police arrived just as Garcia stopped his attack and attempted to flee, Lee said. He was taken into custody after a brief struggle. The victim's cuts were considered minor and he did not need to go to the hospital. As Garcia was being placed in a patrol car to be taken from the police station in South San Francisco to the main jail in Redwood City, he attempted to escape, Lee said. He broke free from an officer and tried to run away while still in handcuffs, she said. The officer managed to tackle Garcia after a brief chase, and he was taken to San Mateo County Jail. His arm was broken during the escape attempt. Garcia was arraigned in San Mateo County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, making terrorist threats and resisting arrest, but he did not enter a plea. He is being held in jail without bail.

 

Man Killed in I-80 Accident Identified as James Fernandez

The Solano County coroner's office has identified a man who was killed when a car plunged off of Interstate Highway 80 in Fairfield Tuesday afternoon as 58-year-old James Fernandez, of Vacaville. Fernandez was a passenger in a 1998 Dodge Dakota pickup that crashed through a guardrail on rain-slicked westbound I-80 and overturned onto the Red Top Road off-ramp in Fairfield around noon. The truck nearly landed on a CHP patrol car that was traveling 15-20 mph on the off-ramp, CHP Officer Chris Parker said. CHP Officer Chris Franks heard the crash, looked behind him and accelerated away when he saw the truck on its roof coming toward him, Parker said. The back of the patrol car sustained only a glancing blow, Parker said. Fernandez, who was in the right front seat of the pickup, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck, Lynn Thompson, 62, of Vacaville, complained of neck pain, Parker said. The crash closed the Red Top Road off-ramp for about 90 minutes. Investigators don't believe alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, Parker said.

 

San Francisco Zoo's New Siberian Tiger Makes First Public Appearance

Visitors to the San Francisco Zoo got to see a Siberian tiger for the first time in more than a year Tuesday as the facility's newest big cat, Martha, made her first public appearance. Martha, who is almost 11, joins the zoo's two Sumatran tigers, two female lions, two male lions and two snow leopards, zoo spokeswoman Lora LaMarca said. She spent part of Tuesday on public view, marking the first time since Tony the tiger was euthanized in June 2010 that the zoo's visitors have been able to see a Siberian tiger. "We wanted to bring a Siberian back so people could see the difference between the two tiger species," LaMarca said. Siberian tigers are larger and have differently shaped faces than Sumatran tigers, which come from the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The San Francisco Zoo's wild cats program has come under scrutiny since a Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped from her enclosure on Christmas Day 2007 and mauled a visitor to death. Tatiana was shot and killed during the incident. Zoo officials have since enhanced the tiger exhibit with raised grotto walls and an electric wire along the interior of the moat to prevent the animals from escaping. The zoo has been ready for a new Siberian tiger "for quite some time," LaMarca said. Martha was born in 2000 at the Indianapolis Zoo and spent most of her life at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., which donated the cat to San Francisco. The cat went by "Shasta" in Omaha, but a San Francisco Zoological Society donor bid on the naming rights and chose to rename the animal after his wife, LaMarca said. She said Siberian tigers are independent animals and do not travel in groups. "The fact that we just have one was fine with Martha," she said.

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Captain Paul Miyamoto is Running for San Francsco Sheriff

San Francisco sheriff's Capt. Paul Miyamoto announced his candidacy for sheriff Tuesday in front of about 100 supporters on the steps of City Hall

Miyamoto, 44, has served in the sheriff's department for 15 years, and has been endorsed by the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association, many members of which came out Tuesday afternoon to support him.

Other candidates in the race include Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi -- who was endorsed by Sheriff Michael Hennessey -- as well as David Wong, the former president of the deputy sheriff's association, and Matt Haskell, a 13-year veteran of the department.

Miyamoto said Tuesday that his "breadth of knowledge" and experience at all levels of the sheriff's department separates him from the other candidates vying to replace Hennessey, who announced in February that he would not be seeking reelection after 31 years in the post. 

Miyamoto, a lifelong Democrat, has also received some high-profile endorsements, including former state Sen. Quentin Kopp and two of Mirkarimi's current and former colleagues -- Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and former Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

His most recent management experience with the sheriff's department involved leading and implementing inmate rehabilitation programs.

He was also responsible for creating the department's field training manual. Miyamoto, who grew up in San Francisco and still lives in the city with his wife and five children, said this is his first time running for public office. 

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Suspects Sought In Clothing Store Robbery

A clothing store in downtown San Francisco was robbed at gunpoint on Monday afternoon, police said.

The robbery was reported at about 3 p.m. Monday in the 200 block of Grant Avenue between Post and Sutter streets.

Three suspects -- a woman and two men -- entered the business with a handgun and forced two women, ages 26 and 32, into a closet, according to police.

One of the victims got into a struggle with one of the suspects, a woman in her mid-20s, and suffered minor injuries that left a mark on her neck, police said.

The suspects eventually took clothing and cash before fleeing.

Police did not specify which store was robbed.

The suspects were still at large this morning, police said.

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

 

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Four Men Sought For Early Morning Carjacking In Potrero Hill

Police are seeking four men in connection with a carjacking in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood early this morning, police said.

The carjacking was reported shortly after 2 a.m. near the intersection of 25th and Dakota streets.

The suspects flagged down a white car occupied by a 21-year-old woman and 30-year-old man, according to police. When victims stopped, one of the suspects held them at gunpoint and demanded their property and the car.

The victims complied, and the four men fled in the vehicle, which was later found unattended in another part of the city.

The four suspects had not been found as of this morning, according to police.

The victims were not injured in the carjacking.

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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Four Teens Arrested In Connection With Two Robberies Late Monday

Four teens were arrested on suspicion of robbing two men in separate attacks in San Francisco on Monday night, including one in which the victim was stabbed in the back, police said.

The first robbery was reported at about 10:40 p.m. near 18th and Sanchez streets in the city's Dolores Heights neighborhood.

The victim, a 37-year-old man, was approached from behind by the four teenage boys, one of whom grabbed him around the waist and demanded his property, according to police.

The suspects took the man's backpack, camera, iPod and bicycle, and ran away, police said. A short time later, at about 11:05 p.m., another robbery was reported a few blocks away near 15th and Dolores streets.

That victim, a 35-year-old man, was also approached from behind by the four suspects, but in that case one stabbed him in the back, according to police.

The suspects took the victim's backpack and ran away but they were later taken into custody, and property from the two victims was recovered, police said.

The victim who was stabbed was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are not considered life-threatening.

The names of the teens, boys between the ages of 15 and 17, are not being released because they are juveniles, according to police.

 

 

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N-Judah Train Strikes Truck Making U-Turn In Inner Sunset

Another Crash Bites the Dust

Tweet This!

A San Francisco Municipal Railway N-Judah train collided with a truck in the city's Inner Sunset neighborhood this morning, a Muni spokesman said.

The crash happened at 8:18 a.m. near the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Irving Street, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

The truck was making a U-turn when the collision happened, Rose said.n judah crash

No one was injured in the crash, and the N-Judah train did not sustain any major damage, he said.

The crash disrupted N-Judah service for about 20 minutes while crash was cleared, and regular service resumed by about 8:40 a.m., according to Rose.

It's just another MUNI meltdown... See a picture of the 37-Corbett crash into Coffee to the People.

You can read the Examiner's report here.
 

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San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday News Roundup

Sen. Hancock Intorduces Bill to Replace Death Penalty with Prison Impisonment, Citing State Budget Crisis

State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, introduced legislation Monday that would replace the death penalty in California with permanent imprisonment, which she called "an expensive failure." Hancock said the state's budget problems and a new study that calls the death penalty a multi-billion-dollar "debacle" are the reasons she's seeking to abolish the death penalty in California at this time. The report, which was written by U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon, a former prosecutor, and Loyola Law School professor Paula M. Mitchell, and is being published in the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review this week, says the cost of maintaining the current total of 714 death row inmates is $184 million a year more than what taxpayers would spend without the death penalty. It says that $4 billion of state and federal taxpayer money has been expended administering the death penalty since the state reinstated it in 1978 but only 13 death row inmates have been executed in that time. Hancock said 35 death row inmates have died of natural causes since 1978 and 18 other inmates have committed suicide. Hancock said if the state abolished the death penalty and saved $184 million a year, "We could send a lot of kids to college on full scholarships." Hancock said she wants to redirect the funds currently spent on the death penalty to other programs because she is "heartsick about the dreadful cuts to health and services programs" and other state programs. Hancock said she does not think the death penalty is effective in preventing serious crimes, and the law review report supports her view. "The death penalty is not deterring crime, because generally it is sociopaths and mentally ill people who are committing murders and they aren't making calculated decisions about their actions," she said.

 

Congresswoman Woolsey Announces Retirment After End of Term

Ten-term Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey announced Monday afternoon she is retiring at the end of her current term. Woolsey, a Democrat whose 6th District includes Marin County and most of Sonoma County, made the announcement Monday afternoon at her Petaluma home. Rumors of her intention to retire first surfaced in December. Woolsey, 73, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992 and has been re-elected to every term since. She is the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Just before her current term ends in 2012, Woolsey will turn 75, and she said that "after two decades of service in this district, it will be time for me to move on." Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams and author Norman Solomon have indicated they intend to run for Woolsey's seat.

 

Union City H.S. School Remembers Classmate who Died Suddently of Heart Attack

A Union City high school will remember a classmate who suddenly died just after the school year ended, a school district spokesman said. Jessica Diaz, 16, who lived in Union City with her single-father Santos Diaz, died unexpectedly from an apparent heart attack while exercising on June 18. She had just finished her sophomore year James Logan High School in Union City, according to New Haven Unified School District spokesman Rick La Plante. A viewing is scheduled today from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Rosary Church on 703 C St. in Union City. On Wednesday, a 10 a.m. mass is planned also at Our Lady of the Rosary with a burial following at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on 1051 Harder Road in Hayward. Jessica was a student in her high school's Puente Program, which serves Latino and other underrepresented students. Last week Puente students held a memorial on campus for Jessica. "She was a popular member of the Puente Program," La Plante said. "A number of children came to her memorial service." A memorial fund has been set up to help Diaz's family pay for funeral expenses. Checks can be written to Jessica Diaz and/or Santos Diaz and mailed to the attention of James Logan High School teacher Julie Panebianco at 1800 H St., Union City, 94587.

 

SF Supes Will Consider Proposal to Install AT&T Boxes

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today will again consider a proposal by AT&T to upgrade its network by installing hundreds of boxes around the city to house the technology. The board has twice delayed a vote on the company's plan, and after the second continuance last month, AT&T said it will propose a scaled-back version of the proposal, which had included the installation of 726 4-foot-tall boxes. The boxes would house the company's "Lightspeed" high-speed data transmission technology that would improve its U-verse Internet, cable and landline phone service in the city. In February, San Francisco's Planning Department gave the project an exemption from the usually lengthy environmental review process, but opponents appealed the exemption to the board, saying the boxes would impede pedestrian traffic, inconvenience property owners and reduce the aesthetic appeal of the city. The opponents -- which include San Francisco Beautiful and the Planning Association of the Richmond -- have said the cumulative impact of the hundreds of boxes is enough to warrant the environmental review, so AT&T spokesman Lane Kasselman said the company is paring down the total number of boxes in the proposal. Kasselman said Monday that AT&T officials "have been meeting with most of the supervisors and come up with some specifics that may be amenable to some of them," and said "we're looking forward to having a significant amount of support" for the plan at today's meeting. When the issue first came in front of the board at its April 26 meeting, AT&T officials also pointed out that the company would still have to get a permit from the city's Department of Public Works for each individual box, and would work around neighborhoods that did not want the boxes. Supervisor Scott Wiener, when announcing the most recent delay of a vote on the project last month, said, "I hope (AT&T) will think outside the box, literally and figuratively, and come up with something we can live with."

 

 

Fairfield Police Identify Man Shot as Jordan Hughes, Faces Charges of Atemmpted Murder of Police Officer

Fairfield police identified the man who was shot in his girlfriend's apartment Sunday night as 20-year-old Jordan Hughes. He had a confrontation with his 19-year-old girlfriend in Vallejo earlier Sunday and was waiting in her apartment for her to get home, Lt. Greg Hurlbut said. The woman's father picked her up in Vallejo after the confrontation and called police around 11:15 p.m. because he believed Hughes was hiding in his daughter's apartment, Hurlbut said. When police went to the apartment, the girlfriend told them Hughes was dangerous and that there had been several previous incidents of domestic violence, Hurlbut said. She said Hughes had threatened her with a handgun on another occasion, Hurlbut said. The girlfriend asked police to check her apartment because the door to it was unlocked and she was afraid that Hughes was hiding inside, Hurlbut said. The girlfriend also told police Hughes had made suicidal statements, Hurlbut said. Two officers searched the apartment and found that the bathroom door was locked, then called for additional officers, Hurlbut said. When two more officers arrived, police called out several times for anyone inside the locked bathroom to surrender, Hurlbut said. When no one responded after several minutes, the officers forced the door open, Hurlbut said. Hughes fired at the officers and police fired back and yelled for him to surrender, Hurlbut said. Hughes surrendered more than an hour later and was taken into custody. He had been shot once in the right arm and once in the chest and was taken to a Bay Area trauma center, Hurlbut said. His injuries are not life threatening. Hughes faces four counts of attempted murder of a police officer Hurlbut said. Hughes' family lives in Vallejo but he often stayed overnight at his girlfriend's apartment, Hurlbut said. Fairfield police and the Solano County District Attorney's Office are investigating the incident.

 

Mountain View Man Attacked, Shot, Robbed in Own Garage 

A 53-year-old Mountain View man was working in his garage Monday afternoon when a pair of men attacked him, shot him in the thigh, and took off with his pellet gun, according to police. The shooting occurred around 1:10 p.m. in the 200 block of Del Medio Avenue, police said. The victim told police the suspects approached him when he was in his garage and demanded his wallet. When he refused, both men attacked the victim. During the scuffle, one suspect took out a semi-automatic handgun and shot the victim in the thigh, police said. The suspects then snatched the victim's pellet gun and fled in a black sedan that had a rear spoiler. The victim's wallet was not taken, according to police. He was transported to a hospital to undergo surgery for a single gunshot wound. One suspect was described as a black man and the second was described as a Hispanic man. Both are believed to be in their late teens or early 20s and were wearing hooded jackets or sweatshirts with the hoods pulled up over their heads and partially covering their faces. They were last seen driving south on Del Medio Avenue, according to police.

 

Search for Vacaville Man That Went Overboard on Tomales Bay Called Off

Authorities have called off the search for a Vacaville man who fell out of a boat on Tomales Bay Sunday afternoon. Bach Van Nguyen, 48, was last seen piloting the 12-foot aluminum boat -- one fitted with a motor -- that he was using to transport friends and relatives across the bay, Marin County sheriff's Lt. Barry Heying said. Nguyen was not wearing a life jacket when he fell out of the boat near Lawson's Landing around 3 p.m., U.S. Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Aaron Bretz said Monday morning. People on shore saw Nguyen fall out of the boat and called 911, Bretz said. The boat washed ashore near Tom's Point south of Dillon Beach, Bretz said. The Coast Guard's air station in San Francisco and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office each sent a helicopter, and the National Park Service and Marin County Sheriff's Office joined the search Sunday. Heying said the search was suspended at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Nguyen is an Asian male who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call the Marin County Sheriff's Office at (415) 499-7233.

 

Thieves Break Into Danville Veterans Memorial Building Construction Site

Thieves broke into the Veterans Memorial Building construction site in Danville over the weekend and police are asking for the public's help identifying them, a spokesman for the town said Monday. The break-in, which was at 400 Hartz Ave., was discovered at about 8 a.m. Monday when workers arrived at the site, spokesman Geoff Gillette said. They discovered that copper wiring, construction tools and other items were taken, Gillette said. Some damage was also reported. Police are investigating the theft and looking for anyone who may have been near the site over the weekend and saw or heard anything unusual. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Sgt. Allan Shields at (925) 314-3703.

 

Terrell Blay Identified in Connection with Mid-Market Shooting, According to SF Police

San Francisco police have released the name of an 18-year-old man arrested in connection with a shooting near Market and Seventh streets that injured five people on Saturday evening. Terrell Blay was one of two people arrested after the shooting, which occurred at about 6:15 p.m. Saturday, police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak said. Witnesses said they saw two groups of people involved in some sort of fight before the shooting, police said. Along with the person who was targeted, four bystanders were shot. The unintended victims are a 17-year-old boy from El Cerrito, a 22-year-old man from Santa Cruz, a 45-year-old man visiting from England, and a 74-year-old San Francisco resident, police said. All five victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital and are expected to survive. Blay and a 16-year-old boy were arrested shortly after the shooting. The teen's name is not being released because he is a juvenile, Andraychak said. They were arrested on suspicion of several felonies including assault with a deadly weapon and gang-related offenses, police said. District attorney's office spokeswoman Erica Terry Derryck said prosecutors have until Wednesday to decide whether to file charges in connection with the shooting. The shooting was not related to this weekend's San Francisco Pride celebration taking place nearby at Civic Center Plaza.

 

SF DA Gascon Announces Parternship with YMCA to Employ At-Risk Youth

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon Monday announced a new partnership with the city's Bayview Hunters Point YMCA center to provide paid internships for at-risk high school students this summer. The Changing the Odds internship program will provide 10 students with the chance to work as an intern with the district attorney's office for four weeks, starting on July 11. The students are ones who need to recover school credits lost as a result of truancy or dropping out, and are already participating in the YMCA-run CARE program, which allows them to successfully transition back into an academic setting where they can earn a high school diploma. For the first time this summer, people in the CARE program will have the opportunity to participate in the district attorney's internship program. Gascon said, "The reality is no kid should be considered to be a throwaway kid," and that the goal of the program "is to provide them a better understanding of the criminal justice system." The students will be given a weekly stipend of $250 and perform various administrative duties and get mentored by prosecutors in the district attorney's office. The CARE program is funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant, and the district attorney's office is also contributing $25,000 toward the internship program, Gascon said. Charles Collins, president of the YMCA of San Francisco, said the program is especially important during the summer months. "During the summertime, it's a dangerous time for a lot of our kids," Collins said. "They're not in school, they don't have their regular programmed activities." Gina Fromer, executive director of the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA, said, "This program ... can give them some options to see how the real world works." Gascon, who said he was a high school dropout himself before getting back on track through a stint in the military, said he hoped other organizations and businesses in San Francisco will donate money to help expand the program to include more students. "It takes a village to raise a kid," he said.

 

Alamo Church Holds Nightly Prayers for Teen Injured at Santa Cruz Beach

The Creekside Community Church in Alamo will be holding nightly prayer sessions this week for a teenager who was injured at a beach in Santa Cruz County on Saturday when a tunnel he was digging in the sand collapsed on him. According to a Facebook page set up by the church's high school pastor Sean Donohue, Ryan Buchanan was on a church high school field trip to Sunset State Beach in unincorporated Santa Cruz County just west of Watsonville. Ryan and another boy, both 17, had dug two holes in the sand with a tunnel connecting them, said Mike McMenamy, public safety superintendent for the Santa Cruz state parks district. McMenamy estimated that the holes were about 7 feet deep with a tunnel at the bottom that connected them. "They were in and about these holes when the tunnel part and presumably part of the holes collapsed and buried them," McMenamy said. "People started screaming and digging to get the kids out," McMenamy said. The lifeguards, who were only about 125 yards away, were alerted to the situation at about 4:30 p.m. and quickly began digging as well, McMenamy said. While they were working, firefighters from Cal Fire and the Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection District joined the rescue efforts, along with two ambulance crews, deputies from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol officers and state park rangers. Rescuers had the first boy out of the sand within about five minutes and the second boy, Ryan, who was deeper in the sand, was pulled out a few minutes after that, McMenamy said. The first boy was taken by ambulance to Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, where he was released that evening, McMenamy said. Ryan was taken by helicopter to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition. Updates on how he was doing were not available Monday.

 

Hercules Woman Dies from House Fire Injuries

A woman who was pulled from her burning house in Hercules early Saturday morning has died from her injuries, Rodeo-Hercules Fire Chief Charles Hanley said Monday. The one-alarm fire was reported shortly after 1 a.m. at 475 Falcon Way, a fire dispatcher said. The victim, identified by the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office as 61-year-old Kathleen Bristol, was trapped inside her one-story home, the dispatcher said. Firefighters were able to get her out of the house and she was airlifted to the burn center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where she died late Saturday night, Hanley said. Firefighters had the blaze under control within about 30 minutes. No other injuries were reported. Rodeo-Hercules Fire District firefighters received assistance from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, the Pinole Fire Department and the Crockett-Carquinez Fire Department, Hanley said. He said an official cause of the fire hadn't been determined, but it appears to have started in the kitchen and is not considered suspicious.

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Neighbor Helps Police Thwart Home Invasion Robbery In Parkside

Three people were arrested after a home invasion robbery in San Francisco's Parkside neighborhood late Friday night was thwarted by a neighbor who called police.

The robbery was reported shortly before midnight Friday at a home in the 2100 block of Vicente Street.

Two residents, a 71-year-old man and 66-year-old woman, had just arrived at their home when they heard a crash in the front of the house and saw two people enter through the front door, according to police.

One held a gun to the man's head and demanded money, and he complied, police said.

A neighbor heard the commotion and called police, who responded and arrested the intruders, men ages 31 and 33, as well as a 22-year-old woman who was in the alleged getaway car, a blue Honda Civic.

The names of the suspects were not immediately available this morning. The victims were not injured in the robbery.

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