SF News

Man Attacked, Robbed After Denying Sip of Beer to Suspect

A man was attacked and robbed after he refused to share his beer in San Francisco's Excelsior neighborhood on Sunday evening, police said.

The incident was reported at about 5 p.m. in the 1000 block of Brazil Avenue.

The victim, a 45-year-old man, was outside drinking a beer when the suspect approached him and asked for a sip, according to police. When the victim said no, the suspect grabbed the bottle of beer and hit the victim over the back of the head with it, police said.

The suspect then took the victim's phone and fled. The victim was taken to a hospital to be treated for cuts to the back of his head. Police said on Monday that the suspect, a 28-year-old man, had not been arrested.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Hunters Point Shooting Victim Dies

One of two people shot at a bus stop in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood Monday afternoon has died, police said. 

A male and female victim were shot around 1 p.m. while at a bus stop at West Point and Middle Point roads, police said. 

Both were taken to San Francisco General Hospital where the male victim succumbed to his injuries, police said.

The female victim is being treated for injuries considered life-threatening, police said. No suspect information was immediately available.

Federal Judge Approves Settlement for 2010 Protest Related to Shooting of Oscar Grant

A federal judge has given preliminary approval to a $1 million settlement in a lawsuitm filed against the city of Oakland and Alameda County on behalf of 150 people who were arrested during a 2010 protest related to the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant III

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco tentatively approved the settlement in a June 13 order and will hold a final approval hearing on Sept. 9. 

The people were arrested during a march protesting the sentencing of former BART officer Johannes Mehserle, who fatally shot Grant, 22, of Hayward, at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland early on New Year's Day in 2009. 

Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced in November 2010 to two years in prison. He was given credit for time served and was released in June 2011. 

The civil rights lawsuit was filed in 2011 by four protesters as a class action on behalf of the approximately 150 marchers arrested during a demonstration on Nov. 5, 2010. 

Under the agreement, the four named plaintiffs will each receive $9,000; other class members who file approved claims will be given an estimated $4,500 to $5,000 each; and attorneys working with the National Lawyers Guild will be awarded $350,000 for fees and costs.

In a court filing, both sides told the judge, "It is undisputed that the 150 class members were not given an order or opportunity to disperse before being penned in by police lines in the residential Oakland East Lake neighborhood, and arrested." 

The protesters were placed in sheriff's office custody for 14 to 24 hours, and were held on buses and then in a county jail holding area before being released, according to the filing. 

One of the plaintiffs, National Lawyers Guild legal observer Dan Spalding, said in a statement, "We were never given a warning or a chance to leave.

"I tried to tell the officers that I was a legal observer, but they handcuffed me and put me on a sheriff's bus," Spalding said. 

Spalding said protesters were handcuffed and left sitting on the street and in buses for about eight hours without bathroom access. 

A spokesman for Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker had no immediate comment. 

Alameda County Counsel Donna Ziegler said the county will pay $175,000 of the settlement. 

"We settled the case and we're happy to be moving forward with other issues that confront the county," she said. 

The proposed settlement document says the agreement is not an admission by either side about the merits of the lawsuit's claims. 

The planned settlement also includes an agreement by Oakland police and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office for expedited procedures for processing and releasing people arrested at demonstrations.

Man Struck By Muni Train Fighting For His Life

A man is fighting for his life after being hit by a San Francisco Municipal Railway train at the Civic Center station early Monday evening, police said. 

The man was struck on the Muni tracks near the outbound platform at 5:17 p.m. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. 

The collision shut down service Muni Metro service between the Civic Center and Embarcadero stations, Muni officials said. Bus shuttles were provided at the affected stations. Muni service has since recovered.

Accused Abductor Missing at Large in Antioch

The father who briefly abducted a baby girl in Antioch Monday morning remains at large after safely dropping off his daughter, according to Antioch police

The 11-month-old girl, Justice Alasheia Benton, was allegedly abducted by her father, Joshua Elijah Benton, police said. 

Antioch police said they received a report at 10:19 a.m. of shots fired in the area of Rainier and Sunset lanes, off of Davison Drive. 

Arriving officers learned that Joshua Benton had allegedly taken his daughter during a domestic dispute, according to police. 

Police said that as Benton was leaving, he fired one shot into the air from a handgun and got into the passenger side of a dark green Dodge Caravan-type vehicle with tinted windows. 

A second person was believed to be driving the car. A license plate number was not immediately available. 

Around 2 p.m. the baby was found safe after she was spotted with Benton near his residence carrying her, police said. 

Family members were following behind him, and when he noticed police he handed the baby over to a family member and fled on foot, according to police. 

Police searched the area but could not find him and he remains at large. 

Benton is described as a 23-year-old black man with a light complexion, standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 144 pounds. His hair is in twisted rows. 

He has brown eyes and was last wearing white shorts, a blue T-shirt, flip-flops and a brown hat, according to police. 

Authorities warn that Benton may be armed and dangerous and prone to violent behavior. 

BART Contracts Getting Ready to Expire in Less Than Week 

With less than a week to go before BART's contracts with its two largest unions expire, labor leaders and management are busy Monday holding news conferences and issuing news releases accusing each other of bargaining in bad faith. 

Leaders of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, and Service Employees International Union Local 1221, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, fired the first shot by holding a news conference to announce that they filed a lawsuit accusing management of failing to bargain in good faith over worker safety. 

BART management spokeswoman Alicia Trost responded by issuing a news release that says the worker safety allegations are "a smoke screen for the fact union leaders are refusing to bring our contracts in line with what is normal for the Bay Area and the transit industry." 

The transit agency's management said it will hold its own news conference at 1:30 p.m. Monday to provide an update on contract talks, which began on April 1 but haven't been fruitful so far. Trost previously said that union leaders haven't even mentioned safety issues in their own internal communications about the labor talks, instead emphasizing matters such as salaries, benefits and work rules. 

In another twist in the worker safety issues, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office Monday filed a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report against BART station agent and union spokesman George Figueroa. 

Trost said Figueroa filed a police report saying he was struck by a BART patron at an Oakland station on June 8, citing the incident as an example of the safety issues faced by BART union employees. 

Trost said Figueroa took three paid days off after the alleged incident and did media interviews "acting as a BART union spokesman making broad claims about the dangers faced by BART union station agents, train drivers and other frontline union employees." 

But Trost said a videotape of the alleged incident indicates that he was never struck by the BART patron. 

ATU Local 1555 and SEIU Local 1021 members vote today on whether to authorize a strike. 

ATU Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant said at the union news conference in front of BART headquarters Monday that the unions don't want to strike and, "We're here to get a deal." 

But Bryant alleged that management is using "rubber numbers" and "inaccurate information" in contract talks and that's making it difficult for the unions to bargain fairly. 

The unions' lawsuit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court Monday morning. 

The suit accuses BART's elected board of directors of refusing to bargain in good faith over worker safety and engaging in other violations of state law. 

Bay Bridge Photographs Displayed at City Hall

While work continues on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, dozens of photographs that document nearly a decade of labor to build the new span are on display at City Hall starting Monday. 

The series of 85 photographs captured by former boilermaker, shipfitter and welder Joseph Blum, 72, are hanging on the walls on the ground floor of City Hall, providing a glimpse of the work that has gone into the $6.3 billion project. 

Starting with photos snapped in 2004 and throughout the project's progression into 2012, viewers get a sense of what it takes to scale the cables, weld large metal pieces, hang by harness from atop a tower, and work with heavy machinery -- all while donning safety equipment, gloves, goggles and hard hats, often hundreds of feet above the water. 

The photographer said he hopes the series shows "the skills, stamina, determination, the courage" that the workers have and use everyday. 

The color photographs catch the Bay and the growing structure on both the foggy and sunny days, and many feature the San Francisco skyline in the background. 

Blum said he did not interfere with the work while getting his shots, but rather "I tried to get as close as the work as possible without endangering myself or others." 

The photographs give insight into the footwork, balance, handiwork and intelligence required to build a massive structure, Blum said. 

"Everyday is a challenge," he said. "It's a lot more cerebral work." 

He said he wanted to document the labor process, even if that meant getting into a crane above the bridge. He said he's comfortable at a construction site and not afraid of heights. 

The San Francisco Arts Commission put together the show that is on display on the ground floor of City Hall. 

The exhibition was initially timed to be on display in conjunction with the anticipated Labor Day weekend opening of the bridge. 

However, after faulty bolts were discovered earlier this year, that date could be pushed back. 

The new section of the bridge includes a self-anchored suspension span, which covers a 2,047 feet of the bridge east of Yerba Buena Island. 

An artist reception will be held at the photo exhibit on July 11 at 5:30 p.m. 

The exhibit runs until Sept. 27. 

Gang Violance Rises in San Jose

Several male teens assaulted another male teen Sunday in a suspected gang-related robbery attempt in East San Jose during the first weekend of an anti-gang program by San Jose police, a spokesman said Monday. 

The 16-year-old male was walking with his girlfriend on Lido Avenue east of King Road at about 3:45 p.m. when four or five gang members approached, police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer said. 

The gang members, also in their teens, tried to rob the girl of her purse and began to assault her, Dwyer said. 

When the 16-year-old, himself a suspected member of a rival gang, tried to defend her, he was cut on his head by some kind of "edge weapon," Dwyer said. 

The teen's injures were not life-threatening and he received stitches on his head, Dwyer said.

The teen suspects, still unidentified, fled on foot before police arrived, he said. 

"We have determined that it is gang-related," Dwyer said at a news conference about the assault. "We know the suspects made some kind of gang slur or statement to the victim. The victim we believe has gang ties as well." 

"So, it's not as if these people are out there targeting people that not associated with gangs," Dwyer said. 

"It was probably just a matter of somebody who was associated with a gang walking through the wrong area at the wrong time, and they targeted him for a robbery," he said. 

The gang-related incident occurred two days after the San Jose Police Department announced its Violent Crime Reduction Plan to beef up enforcement and patrols in gang-heavy areas in San Jose over the summer months. 

Police developed the plan in response to violence traced to gang clashes in San Jose, including eight gang-involved homicides so far this year of the 25 murders committed in San Jose in 2013. 

The plan started last week with 40 to 45 new officers assigned per week all week for the rest of June in "gang suppression cars" with two officers each, increasing to 64 officers each week in July. 

Officers from the SWAT and Special Operations units will also be in the mix on weekdays and weekends. 

A Gang Suppression Unit debuts in August with two teams of officers deployed during hours of peak gang activity, seven days a week throughout the city. 

Dwyer said that the attack on Sunday was "your prototypical kind of gang kind of crime that we're trying to prevent." 

"They are grouping up in four to five people, they are taking on one or two, they are assaulting them, they are overwhelming them with numbers," Dwyer said. 

"That's how gangs work," he said. "They're pack animals. They work in numbers and that's where they get their strength." 

Friends of gang members, including the girlfriend of the assaulted teen gang member, may be regarded as gang associates by police, Dwyer said. 

"I don't know if the girl's actually what we would call a gang member, but just the fact that she's dating somebody who's a gang member there's some nexus, some connection." 

Missing Women Found Dead on State Beach

A woman who was reported missing earlier this month was found washed up on a San Mateo County beach last week, according to county sheriff's officials. 

Ara Ghorgyi Ward, 48, was last seen the evening of June 12 with her boyfriend when they were at Montara State Beach, according to sheriff's officials. 

Apparently the couple fell asleep and when the boyfriend woke up the next morning, Ward was gone, sheriff's officials said. 

Authorities searched for Ward in the days following her disappearance until a woman's body was found on Pomponio State Beach in San Gregorio last Wednesday evening. 

Around 7:15 p.m. deputies reported calls of a woman found in that area, and it is believed to be the body of Ward. 

The cause of death has not yet been determined. 

Ward was reportedly depressed and possibly suicidal, sheriff's officials said. 

Alameda County Civil Grand Jury Issues Report Criticizing Oakland Officials

The Alameda County civil grand jury issued a report Monday criticizing the way city of Oakland officials oversaw the development of a teen center in East Oakland, calling the process "a complete fiasco." 

At issue are the Rainbow Recreation Center and the adjacent Digital Arts and Culinary Academy on International Boulevard, projects that have been championed by City Councilwoman Desley Brooks, who represents that area. 

The grand jury said in its annual report that after interviewing numerous witnesses and sorting through hundreds of documents it found that "city contracting, purchasing and hiring rules were circumvented during the teen center project." 

The report didn't mention Brooks by name, but it said, "One council member stepped out of their role on the council and inappropriately made administrative decisions throughout the process, often with full knowledge and complicity of city staff." 

The panel said former city executives as well as current and former department heads "failed to stop this inappropriate conduct" and allowed the project to move forward "at a time when other parks and recreation programs were being cut and projects with higher priorities went unfounded." 

The grand jury's report is similar to a report issued in March by City Auditor Courtney Ruby, who said Brooks interfered with city workers in her efforts to get the Rainbow Recreation Center built as well as another teen center in her district, the Arroyo Viejo Recreation Center

Brooks couldn't be reached for comment Monday. 

The grand jury report said it made numerous attempts to get the council member mentioned in its report to appear before the penal but "the council member refused to cooperate with the investigation." 

In its report, called "Misgoverning the City of Oakland," the grand jury said the council member "lacked the experience and expertise to ensure that city rules -- and more importantly -- state laws intended to protect the city were followed." 

The panel said, "What ensued was a complete fiasco that diverted city administration's attention away from many other dire issues the city was facing." 

The grand jury said that among the problems with the project are that construction work wasn't put up for competitive bidding and the center's employees hadn't gone through sufficient background checks before being allowed to work with children. 

The report said, "The Oakland City Council's interference with, and intimidation of staff, diminish the overall effectiveness of city government" and failure by city staff and department heads to report or stop council interference "contributes to the unacceptable culture of intimidation and leads to continued misconduct." 

The grand jury recommended that the City Council provide the city's Public Ethics Commission with sufficient power and funding to enforce the city's ethics-related ordinances and that city elected officials receive ethics training every two years, with proof of compliance made available to the public through the city's website. 

The panel also said, "No member of the city council should conduct any city business outside of the realm of their council powers as designated in the city charter and in the municipal code."

Bay Area Forecast for Tuesday June 25th 

Rain is likely in the Bay Area today, with highs in the upper 50s to lower 70s. Southerly winds between 10 and 20 mph are expected. 

Continued clouds and rain are expected this evening. Lows are likely to be in the 50s to lower 60s, with southwest winds up to 10 mph. 

Mostly cloudy skies are likely on Wednesday. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s with westerly winds up to 15 mph.

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$1 Million Tentative Settlement Reached in Oscar Grant Protest Case

A federal judge has given preliminary approval to a $1 million settlement in a lawsuit filed against the city of Oakland and Alameda County on behalf of 150 people who were arrested during a 2010 protest related to the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant III.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco tentatively approved the settlement in a June 13 order and will hold a final approval hearing on Sept. 9.

The people were arrested during a march protesting the sentencing of former BART officer Johannes Meheserle, who fatally shot Grant, 22, of Hayward, at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland early on New Year's Day in 2009.

Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced in November 2010 to two years in prison.

He was given credit for time served and was released in June 2011.

The civil rights lawsuit was filed in 2011 by four protesters as a class action on behalf of the approximately 150 marchers arrested during a demonstration on Nov. 5, 2010.

Under the agreement, the four named plaintiffs will each receive $9,000; other class members who file approved claims will be given an estimated $4,500 to $5,000 each; and attorneys working with the National Lawyers Guild will be awarded $350,000 for fees and costs.

In a court filing, both sides told the judge, "It is undisputed that the 150 class members were not given an order or opportunity to disperse before being penned in by police lines in the residential Oakland East Lake neighborhood, and arrested."

The protesters were placed in Sheriff's Office custody for 14 to 24 hours, and were held on buses and then in a county jail holding area before being released, according to the filing.

One of the plaintiffs, National Lawyers Guild legal observer Dan Spalding, said in a statement, "We were never given a warning or a chance to leave. "I tried to tell the officers that I was a legal observer, but they handcuffed me and put me on a sheriff's bus," Spalding said.

Spalding said protesters were handcuffed and left sitting on the street and in buses for about eight hours without bathroom access.

"People urinated in their pants as we sat in the hot crowded bus," he said.

A spokesman for Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker had no immediate comment.

The proposed settlement document says the agreement is not an admission by either side about the merits of the lawsuit's claims.

The planned settlement also includes an agreement by Oakland police and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office for expedited procedures for processing and releasing people arrested at demonstrations.

 

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11-Month-Old Girl Abducted By Father in Antioch

An Amber Alert has been issued for a baby girl taken from Antioch this morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The 11-month-old girl, Justice Alasheia Benton, was abducted by her father, Joshua Elijah Benton, who drove off at 10:19 a.m. in a dark green

Dodge Caravan with tinted back windows, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A second person was believed to be driving the car. A license plate number was not immediately available. The girl is wearing pink pajamas.

The father is described as a 23-year-old black man with a light complexion, standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 144 pounds.

His hair is in twisted rows. He has brown eyes and was last wearing white shorts, a blue T-shirt, flip-flops and a brown hat, according to the CHP.

Authorities are warning that Benton may be armed and dangerous and prone to violent behavior.

Anyone with information about the girl's whereabouts is asked to call Antioch police at (925) 778-2441. 

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Monday Midday News Roundup

 

Dead Marin County Jail Inmate Identified

An inmate who was found dead in the Marin County Jail on Friday was identified this morning as Jeffrey Griffin Boyce, a suspect in the Oregon murder of a Castro Valley woman in April.

Boyce, 30, was pronounced dead at 2:06 p.m. Friday, a coroner's office spokeswoman said. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Boyce was scheduled to appear in Marin County Superior Court this morning to face carjacking charges stemming from a Rohnert Park car theft on April 29, plus kidnapping and attempted carjacking charges for trying to steal a woman's car in the parking lot of the Bon Air shopping center in Greenbrae later that day.

He had not yet entered a plea and had been undergoing a mental health evaluation.

Boyce was also suspected of killing 57-year-old Kirsten Elaine Englund, of Castro Valley, Oregon authorities said.

Englund's body was found April 28 near Winchester Bay Wayfinding Point along U.S. Highway 101, roughly 3 miles south of Reedsport, Ore.

The Sonoma County coroner's office and San Rafael police are investigating Boyce's death.

Low-lying Clouds Causing Flight Delays

Low-lying clouds were causing flight delays at San Francisco International Airport this morning, an airport duty manager said.

The inclement weather prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to enact a ground delay program that slowed the rate of arrivals, SFO duty manager Joe Walsh said.

The airport typically can handle about 60 arriving flights per hour, but because of the low visibility, that number was cut in half this morning, Walsh said.

Travelers are advised to check with their airlines for information about flight times and delays.

Officials Planning Bike Share Program

Regional air quality and transit officials are planning a bike rental program that will launch later this year with 70 docking stations holding 700 Canadian-made bicycles stretching from San Francisco to San Jose.

The bike share program mirrors similar ones in Paris, London, Boston, Washington D.C., and one launched in New York City earlier this month, said Karen Schkolnick, grants program manager for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

"We're excited about how this will work as a mobility solution," Schkolnick said.

The $7 million program is set to start in August with about 700 seven-speed, unisex bikes made by Montreal-based Public Bike System Company and equipment repairs to be handled by Alta Bike Share, of Portland, Ore., Schkolnick said.

The San Francisco-based air district is partnering with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Oakland and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose to operate the program in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, Schkolnick said.

Bike sharing has been widely used in Europe for decades and is beginning to make inroads in America, she said.

The approach has the potential to work in the Bay Area because many transit venues are only about five minutes from where people need to get, an easy reach by bike, Schkolnick said.

The problem is that many who drive to work -- for instance people employed at business campuses in Mountain View - do not take mass transit such as VTA's light-rail vehicles because it does not stop close enough to their jobs, Schkolnick said.

The bike ride to and from work could get them to take the train and drive fewer miles in their cars and reduce auto traffic and air pollution, Schkolnick said.

"We call it the last mile solution," Schkolnick said.

"As folks learn about bike sharing, and try it, it could increase their reliance on mass transit instead of driving a mile or two."

Bikes would be stored in outdoor locked racks at Caltrain stations in San Francisco, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto and San Jose specifically for trips of 30 minutes or less to connect to other docking locations in the cities.

To start off, 35 of the docking stations would be dispersed in San Francisco, 10 in Redwood City, about 20 in San Jose and the rest in Palo Alto and Mountain View, Schkolnick said.

The agencies hope to increase the program to 1,000 bikes by next year and as many as 6,000 to 10,000 farther down the road, she said.

People getting off at or near a Caltrain station would pay to borrow a bike at a docking station, ride to another docking place close to their destination, drop off the bike and then use another one for the ride back.

Users, who must be 18 or older, can become members for a day or more for an as-yet-undetermined fee, and can use their credit or debit cards at terminals at docking stations to release the bikes, Schkolnick said.

The normal length of use for a bike is 30 minutes but riders can pay to use them for longer periods.

The bikes are sturdy, with adjustable seats and baskets for storage, Schkolnick said.

Prospective riders would have to sign a user agreement and would be held liable for the cost of the bike if they failed to return it, Schkolnick said.

Chance to Name New Fireboat

Redwood City children have a chance to name a new $1 million fireboat coming soon to the city's fire department.

Children ages 5 to 13 are eligible to enter the "Name Redwood City's New Fireboat" contest, city spokesman Malcolm Smith said.

Contestants can enter online or by filling out an entry form at Redwood City Hall, located at 1017 Middlefield Road, or at any branch of the Redwood City Library, Smith said.

Entries are due by July 12.

Those who submitted the top 10 names will receive gift cards from Target and will be honored at a special event at the Port of Redwood City on Aug. 10, when the winning name is unveiled on the bow of the boat.

The new 36-foot MetalCraft Marine FireStorm 36 fireboat will be permanently berthed at the port and will be used to respond to water emergencies in Redwood City and around the San Francisco Bay.

The boat, which was paid for with grant money from the Department of Homeland Security, is currently under construction in New York.

Full contest details can be found online at www.redwoodcity.org/fire.

One-alarm Fire at Mobile Home Park

A one-alarm fire was reported early this morning at a mobile home park in Sunnyvale, a Department of Public Safety officer said.

The blaze was reported at about 3:30 a.m. in the 1000 block of East El Camino Real, Officer Amy Pistor said.

Fire crews responded and extinguished the fire, which was confined to a single mobile home, Pistor said.

No one was injured in the blaze, she said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Woman Who Drove Minivan Into Bay Identified

Investigators are continuing to look into the circumstances of an incident Friday in which a woman died after driving her minivan into the Bay from San Francisco's Marina Green.

The woman was identified by the medical examiner's office on Sunday as 60-year-old Debra Crenshaw, of San Francisco.

The incident occurred at about 5 p.m. Friday.

Police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said this morning it is not yet clear what caused Crenshaw to drive toward the water and plunge into the Bay.

Several witnesses tried to rescue her but were unable to, and the minivan eventually became submerged in the water.

The U.S. Coast Guard initially reported that there were multiple people in the vehicle, but Shyy later clarified that Crenshaw was alone in the minivan.

Dive teams worked to reach her on Friday evening, but the efforts were suspended until Saturday morning, when the car was pulled from the water by a private contractor.

Navy Transfers Land to Alameda

Federal and local officials today are celebrating the transfer of 1,380 acres of land from the U.S. Navy to the city of Alameda.

The city took control of the land at Alameda Point, formerly the site of the Alameda Naval Air Station, on June 4.

A conveyance ceremony will be held this afternoon, and participants will include Rep. Barbara Lee, Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, and Roger Natsuhara, the Navy's acting assistant secretary of energy, installations and environment.

"This is a momentous occasion for the city of Alameda," Gilmore said in a statement. "Twenty years after the federal government announced the closure of this Naval Air Station, we are now the proud owner of over 1,300 acres of property in one of the most coveted locations in the Bay Area."

The Navy, which closed the base in 1997 because of budget cuts, had initially asked for $108 million for land but agreed in September 2011 to transfer the site back to the city at no cost.

Naval officials have said the federal government will save money by not maintaining the site anymore, although it is still responsible for environmental cleanup there.

The city lost an estimated 14,000 military and civilian jobs when the base closed, but city officials say redeveloping the site will lead to thousands of new jobs and increased tax revenue.

Today's ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the end of Main Street at Navy Way.

Chez Panisse Reopens

A famous gourmet restaurant in Berkeley that was heavily damaged by a fire in March is reopening its doors today after a lengthy repair project.

Chez Panisse, owned by renowned chef Alice Waters, will serve meals to the public again after a March 8 fire that caused an estimated $200,000 in damage when electrical equipment malfunctioned under the porch of the building at 1517 Shattuck Ave.

A statement on the Chez Panisse website says that the upstairs cafe could have opened earlier, but the decision was made to keep the entire building closed to expedite the completion of the repairs.

"We feel very fortunate to have such a passionate and motivated community behind us, and extend our thanks to the many individuals and businesses who have so generously offered their support in the cleanup and restoration process," the statement said.

Reservations can be made up to a month in advance at Chez Panisse, which opens its upstairs cafe for lunch at 11:30 a.m.

Mondays through Saturdays and the downstairs restaurant at 6 p.m. on the same days.

More information about the restaurant can be found online at www.chezpanisse.com.

Pittsburg Fire Station Closes

A meeting is scheduled for tonight to inform residents about the closure of a fire station in Pittsburg next month.

The public meeting will come a week ahead of the closure of Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Station 87, located at 800 W. Leland Road.

The station will be the latest of the district's fire outposts to close its doors as part of an ongoing service reduction plan created in order to close a multimillion-dollar budget gap.

Stations in Lafayette, Martinez and Walnut Creek closed in January and the hours of operation at Clayton's only fire station were drastically reduced.

Fire officials say the closures are a last resort after years of declining revenues from property taxes and soaring personnel and operational costs.

Last November, voters rejected a parcel tax measure meant to bridge the budget shortfall.

Today's meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at City Hall at 65 Civic Ave. in Pittsburg, will be a chance for community members to learn about the district's plan to provide fire and medical service in the area around the shuttered station.

Concord Man Dies In Car Crash

A 21-year-old Concord man was killed in car accident early this morning during wet weather conditions on state Highway 17 near Santa Cruz, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The man, whose name has not yet been released, was headed south on the highway near Pasatiempo Drive when his 1998 Honda Civic went off the slick roadway and crashed into a tree, CHP spokesman Brad Sadek said.

The driver, who was alone in the car, died at the scene, Sadek said.

Officers were unable to pinpoint the exact time the crash happened because there were no witnesses, but they later learned that the man had left his home at about 4:30 a.m., Sadek said.

The off-ramp from Highway 17 to Pasatiempo Drive was closed for about two and a half hours during the investigation into the accident, Sadek said.

The slickness of the pavement likely contributed to the crash, Sadek said.

Prunedale Man Arrested While On Bail

A Prunedale man who was out on bail after being arrested on suspicion of assault was taken back into custody early Saturday morning -- this time for allegedly possessing methamphetamine for sale, Monterey County sheriff's officials said.

James Wyatt, 43, was pulled over by sheriff's deputies at about 3:15 a.m. Saturday on northbound U.S. Highway 101 near Mallory Canyon Road in unincorporated Prunedale, according to the sheriff's office.

Wyatt was in violation of restrictions on his license and appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant, sheriff's officials said.

He allegedly failed field sobriety tests and refused to provide a urine sample.

Investigators then found methamphetamine in his shoe, as well as evidence indicating he was selling the drug -- including cash, "pay-owe" sheets, and text messages, sheriff's officials said.

Wyatt was arrested and booked into Monterey County Jail.

 

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Police Still Investigating Death of Woman Who Drove Minivan Into Bay

Investigators are continuing to look into the circumstances of an incident Friday in which a woman died after driving her minivan into the Bay from San Francisco's Marina Green.

The woman was identified by the medical examiner's office on Sunday as 60-year-old Debra Crenshaw, of San Francisco.

The incident occurred at about 5 p.m. Friday. Police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said this morning it is not yet clear what caused Crenshaw to drive toward the water and plunge into the Bay.

Several witnesses tried to rescue her but were unable to, and the minivan eventually became submerged in the water.

The U.S. Coast Guard initially reported that there were multiple people in the vehicle, but Shyy later clarified that Crenshaw was alone in the minivan.

Dive teams worked to reach her on Friday evening, but the efforts were suspended until Saturday morning, when the car was pulled from the water by a private contractor.

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Bike Share Program

Regional air quality and transit officials are planning a rental bike program that will launch later this year with 70 docking stations holding 700 Canadian-made bicycles stretching from San Francisco to San Jose.

The bike share program mirrors similar ones in Paris, London, Boston, Washington D.C., and one launched in New York City earlier this month, said Karen Schkolnick, grants program manager for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

"We're excited about how this will work as a mobility solution," Schkolnick said.

The $7 million program is set to start in August with about 700 seven-speed, unisex bikes made by Montreal-based Public Bike System Company and equipment repairs to be handled by Alta Bike Share, of Portland, Ore., Schkolnick said.

The San Francisco-based air district is partnering with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Oakland and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose to operate the program in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, Schkolnick said.

Bike sharing has been widely used in Europe for decades and is beginning to make inroads in America, she said.

The approach has the potential to work in the Bay Area because many transit venues are only about five minutes from where people need to get, an easy reach by bike, Schkolnick said. 

The problem is that many who drive to work -- for instance people employed at business campuses in Mountain View - do not take mass transit such as VTA's light-rail vehicles because it does not stop close enough to their jobs, Schkolnick said.

The bike ride to and from work could get them to take the train and drive fewer miles in their cars and reduce auto traffic and air pollution, Schkolnick said.

"We call it the last mile solution," Schkolnick said. "As folks learn about bike sharing, and try it, it could increase their reliance on mass transit instead of driving a mile or two."

Bikes would be stored in outdoor locked racks at Caltrain stations in San Francisco, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto and San Jose specifically for trips of 30 minutes or less to connect to other docking locations in the cities.

To start off, 35 of the docking stations would be dispersed in San Francisco, 10 in Redwood City, about 20 in San Jose and the rest in Palo Alto and Mountain View, Schkolnick said.

The agencies hope to increase the program to 1,000 bikes by next year and as many as 6,000 to 10,000 farther down the road, she said.

People getting off at or near a Caltrain station would pay to borrow a bike at a docking station, ride to another docking place close to their destination, drop off the bike and then use another one for the ride back.

Users, who must be 18 or older, can become members for a day or more for an as-yet-undetermined fee, and can use their credit or debit cards at terminals at docking stations to release the bikes, Schkolnick said.

The normal length of use for a bike is 30 minutes but riders can pay to use them for longer periods.

The bikes are sturdy, with adjustable seats and baskets for storage, Schkolnick said.

Prospective riders would have to sign a user agreement and would be held liable for the cost of the bike if they failed to return it, Schkolnick said.

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California Symphony Appoints New Music Director

The Walnut Creek-based California Symphony has appointed Donato Cabrera as its music director, symphony officials announced Sunday.

Cabrera, who has worked with the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera, signed an initial three-year contract to lead the orchestra in six of eight concerts during the 2013-2014 season, symphony officials said.

"I truly believe that the California Symphony is positioned to become one of the leading regional orchestras in the U.S. and I look forward to shaping its future," Cabrera said in a statement.

The symphony is also looking for a new executive director after the departure of Walter Collins this month.

Collins left for a position as vice president at Pacific Union College in the Napa Valley.

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Low-Lying Clouds Causing Airport Delays of About an Hour

Low-lying clouds are expected to cause delays of about an hour for flights at San Francisco International Airport this morning, an airport duty manager said.

The inclement weather is prompting a ground delay program that is expected to last from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., SFO duty manager Joe Walsh said.

The airport typically can handle about 60 arriving flights per hour, but the low visibility means that number will be cut in half this morning, Walsh said.

Travelers are advised to check with their airline for information about flight times and possible delays.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Monday Morning News Roundup

 

Drowning Victim Identified

A woman who died in a minivan that drove into the San Francisco Bay on Friday has been identified as 60-year-old Debra Crenshaw, according to the San Francisco medical examiner's office.

The San Francisco resident was one of several people who were in the minivan when it plunged into the water from the Marina Green at about 5 p.m., police Officer Gordon Shyy said.

All but Crenshaw managed to get out of the vehicle, which eventually sank with the woman still inside.

Dive teams found the vehicle after searching for hours, but conditions caused the rescue operation to be suspended until Saturday.

The salvage team marked the vehicle with a beacon and an officer stayed at the scene.

The vehicle and Crenshaw's body were pulled from the Bay on Saturday morning.

Police were still investigating why the van drove over the embankment into the Bay.

Man Killed in Car Crash

A 70-year-old man was killed in a crash in Martinez Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Bay Point resident was driving a 1995 Saturn Sedan west on state Highway 4 when for unknown reasons the car left the roadway east of Interstate Highway 680 at about 2:15 a.m., the CHP said.

The vehicle crashed through brush at the side of the road, through a chain link fence and down into Grayson Creek.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. There were no other occupants in the vehicle. He was believed to be wearing his seatbelt at the time, the CHP said.

It has not been determined if drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash, which remains under investigation by the CHP.

Fire in San Rafeal, No One Injured

A fire burned about a quarter-acre of brush near a homeless encampment in San Rafael Sunday morning.

The fire was reported in an open lot near 3020 Kerner Boulevard just before 6 a.m., according to the San Rafael Fire Department.

Four engines, a medic unit, and police units responded to the emergency, and the fire was quickly extinguished, the fire department said.

No one was injured and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Officials reminded that camping in open areas around San Rafael is not permitted.

Any suspicious activity should be reported by calling 911.

Bay Area Weather Causes Flight Delays

Cool and cloudy weather on Sunday caused flight delays of more than an hour at San Francisco International Airport, and more is set to come with a wet weather system forecast to hit the Bay Area on Monday.

Flights coming in and out of SFO on Sunday were experiencing delays between an hour and 90 minutes as of 11 a.m., airport duty manager Joe Walsh said.

National Weather Forecaster Steve Anderson said that rain was expected to hit the Bay Area on Monday and would continue on and off through Tuesday.

The storm is part of the "remnants" of Tropical Storm Yagi that hit the western Pacific last week about 250 miles south of Japan, Anderson said.

Rainfall could measure up to an inch in the North Bay and coastal mountains, he said.

San Francisco could get between a quarter and half an inch of rain, and the South Bay is likely to get around a quarter of an inch, he said.

The weather is likely to warm up and return to more familiar summer patterns on Wednesday.

Chez Panisse Restaurant Reopens

A famous gourmet restaurant in Berkeley that was heavily damaged by a fire in March is reopening its doors today after a lengthy repair project.

Chez Panisse, owned by renowned chef Alice Waters, will serve meals to the public again after a March 8 fire that caused an estimated $200,000 in damage when electrical equipment malfunctioned under the porch of the building at 1517 Shattuck Ave.

A statement on the Chez Panisse website says that the upstairs cafe could have opened earlier, but the decision was made to keep the entire building closed to expedite the completion of the repairs.

"We feel very fortunate to have such a passionate and motivated community behind us, and extend our thanks to the many individuals and businesses who have so generously offered their support in the cleanup and restoration process," the statement said.

Reservations can be made up to a month in advance at Chez Panisse, which opens its upstairs cafe for lunch at 11:30 a.m.

Mondays through Saturdays and the downstairs restaurant at 6 p.m. on the same days.

More information about the restaurant can be found online at www.chezpanisse.com.

Drunk Man Arrested After Bar Fight

A man was arrested after allegedly stabbing another man four times at a bar in Santa Rosa Saturday night, police said.

Officers responded to a report of a fight between two patrons at the Wagon Wheel Saloon, located at 3320 Mendocino Ave., at about 9:35 p.m., police said.

An investigation revealed that Donald Lee Mastroianni, 53, of Santa Rosa, was drunk and threw a beer bottle at a female bartender, police said.

Brian Teager, 52, of Santa Rosa, came to the aid of the bartender, and Mastroianni came at him with a knife, stabbing him four times - three in the leg, one in the hand, according to police.

His injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Teager struck Mastroianni with a pool cue before other patrons broke up the fight and detained Mastroianni until officers arrived, police said.

Mastroianni was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury, police said.

Police Search for Four Attempted Kidnapping Suspects

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office is looking for four suspects who may have attempted to kidnap a 15-year-old girl on Saturday.

The girl contacted deputies around 6 p.m. and told them that she was walking home from Maxwell Park when a dark green Lexus pulled up next to her and stopped, according to Sgt. Spencer Crum.

Four men allegedly stepped out of the car and confronted her, calling her cute and telling her to get in the car, Crum said.

One man allegedly grabbed her arm and tried to get her in the car, but she pulled out of his grasp, fell to the sidewalk and then ran back to Maxwell Park where her family members were located, Crum said.

Passengers Attack Taxi Cab Driver

A Santa Rosa taxi driver drove to the Sonoma County jail for help while he was allegedly being attacked by an unruly passenger, police said Sunday.

The driver had picked up three people in the downtown area around 12:30 a.m. Sunday and was driving to the In-and-Out restaurant on County Center Drive when the passengers became involved in an argument.

The driver told the passengers to get out of the cab, and then they allegedly began attacking him from the back seat.

They allegedly continued to attack the driver as he drove to the Sonoma County Jail, where he hoped to find help.

When he pulled into the jail driveway, witnesses saw a passenger continue to assault the driver until all three fled on foot.

The driver, a 42-year-old Santa Rosa resident, suffered substantial facial and mouth injuries and was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Police located and detained three suspects on the 2700 block of Mendocino Avenue.

They arrested Clint Robert Metz, a 37-year-old Bodega Bay resident, on suspicion of felony assault and terrorist threats, and Cory Michael Griffin, a 29-year-old Petaluma resident, on suspicion of public intoxication.

Griffin was released on bail, while Metz is being held in lieu of $60,000 bail. A woman was released.

Burlingame Hotel Welcomes Family of Barn Owls

A Burlingame hotel is welcoming back some unusual guests -- a family of barn owls.

A nesting pair of barn owls have hatched four babies on the balcony of room 1141 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, hotel officials said this week.

This is the second year the owls have nested outside what hotel officials are now calling the "Hoot Suite."

Because barn owls are protected birds of prey, hotel officials say they have not moved them and try to keep the room on the Concierge Level vacant.

When the hotel is sold out and the room is needed, the hotel asks guests to be respectful of the birds.

In celebration of the barn owls, children staying at the hotel are being offered a complimentary stuffed owl toy, as are guests in room 1141.

The breeding seasons for barn owls typically starts in March or early April, but breeding can occur at any time of year when food is plentiful, according to hotel officials.

The female usually lays four to seven eggs, and stays in the nest to care for the eggs and chicks while the male brings food to the nest.

California Symphony Appoints New Music Director

The Walnut Creek-based California Symphony has appointed Donato Cabrera as music director, officials announced Sunday.

Cabrera, who has worked with the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera, has signed an initial three-year contract will lead the orchestra in six of eight concerts during the 2013-2014 season, symphony officials said.

"I truly believe that the California Symphony is positioned to become one of the leading regional orchestras in the U.S. and I look forward to shaping its future," Cabrera said in a statement today.

The symphony is also looking for a new executive director after the departure of Walter Collins this month.

Collins left for a position as vice president at Pacific Union College in the Napa Valley.

San Jose Fire Leaves One Injured

One person was injured and a family was displaced from a one-alarm blaze that firefighters spent about an hour to knock down Sunday morning in San Jose, officials said.

Crews responded to a report of a fire at a home in the 5900 block of South Garden Court at about 3:45 a.m., a dispatcher said.

The blaze engulfed a home, injuring one person and displacing a family of three - two adults and one child, officials said.

The injury is not considered life-threatening, the dispatcher said.

At about 4:50 a.m., the fire was knocked down, and just before 5 a.m., it was deemed under control, the dispatcher said.

No other structures were damaged in the fire. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Bay Area Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies and rain are likely in the Bay Area today, with highs in the 50s to lower 70s and southwest winds of up to 15 mph.

Continued clouds and rain are expected this evening. Lows are likely to be in the 50s with southerly winds of up to 15 mph.

Showers are likely on Tuesday. Highs are expected to be in the 50s to upper 70s with southerly winds of up to 20 mph. 

 

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Feds Ask Public's Help to Find Mail Fraud Fugitive

Federal authorities Thursday asked for the public's help in finding a man who scammed a San Francisco educational software company and is wanted for mail fraud charges.

Bruce Lee Marshall, 38, who also goes by the aliases Francois Marshall and Francois Delacroix, is wanted on mail fraud charges for a scam spanning from July 2010 to August 2011, according to an indictment filed against him in federal court last month.

Marshall, a San Francisco resident, worked as an operations engineer at the software company and was tasked with selecting a contractor for computer servers and other services, according to the indictment. However, instead of picking a legitimate company, he allegedly set up a fake one and convinced his employer to hire its services, FBI officials said.

Marshall's fake company provided only a fraction of the services agreed upon in the contract and collected more than $100,000 in cash while causing additional monetary losses to his employer, according to the FBI.

Marshall has previously been arrested and pleaded guilty to one count of falsely altering a U.S. passport. After he was indicted on May 16 for the mail fraud charges, he failed to appear in U.S. District Court the next day and is considered a fugitive, FBI officials said.

Marshall is described as a black man who is about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs about 165 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. He is known to wear dark-rimmed glasses and has ties to San Diego as well as the state of Georgia.

Anyone with information about Marshall's whereabouts is asked to call 911 or their nearest FBI office. San Francisco FBI agents can be reached at (415) 553-7400 while the U.S. Marshals Service can be reached locally at (415) 436-7660. Tips can also be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov.

 

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More Trees Vandalized in Golden Gate Park; Reward Offered

Hundreds of trees have been destroyed in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in the past nine months, and the city's Recreation and Parks Department is hoping to stop the vandals before more damage is done, a department spokeswoman said today.

Parks spokeswoman Connie Chan said more than 200 trees have been damaged since September, with the most recent vandalism occurring last month. The vandals have been targeting trees in sections of the park undergoing reforestation and are marked as so, Chan said.

She said the young trees, which are about 3 to 5 years old, cost about $250 each. The damage has cost the department about $50,000 in a nine-month period. Chan said that cost does not include staff time and effort to grow and nurture the vegetation. She said about 1,000 trees are planted in the park each year and, in an average year, about 20 to 30 trees are vandalized.

Chan called the situation "very disheartening" and said the vandals are taking advantage of signage marking the young trees and alerting the public to be mindful. She said the trees are left to die and have to be removed after the vandals damage the treetops, which exposes them to disease and rot.

Park patrol units have been alerted to the situation and are working with the San Francisco Police Department to keep an eye out for more park vandalism. The attacks on the trees that occurred in September and October and then again in May were mostly on the west end of the park, Chan said.

The San Francisco Forest Alliance, a group unaffiliated with the parks department, has pledged $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the tree vandals. The organization is calling on other environmental groups to match the award offer. The group said they plan to work with police to distribute the money if anyone is caught in connection with the tree destruction.

 

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Man Shot Twice in Soma Neighborhood Thursday Night

A man was injured in a shooting in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood late Thursday night, according to police.

Police received a report of the shooting at Sixth and Natoma streets at about 10 p.m. The victim sustained two gunshot wounds and was in stable condition when he was transported to San Francisco General Hospital via ambulance.

Police said the victim was not cooperative in the investigation and refused to give details regarding the incident. According to police, multiple types of shell casings, indicating more than one gunman, were located at the scene. The shooting remains under investigation.

 

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Man Seriously Injured in Mid-Market Stabbing

A 25-year-old man was seriously injured in a stabbing in San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood early this morning, police said.

The victim's brother called police from the 1700 block of Eddy Street around 3 a.m. to say that his brother had been stabbed near Eighth and Market streets, police said.

Emergency personnel transported the victim to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for injuries that are considered life-threatening, according to police. No arrests had been made and no suspect information was immediately available from police as of this morning.

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

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Friday Morning News Roundup

"Fruitvale Station" Screening

Hundreds of people have gathered at the Grand Lake Theater near Oakland's Lake Merritt Thursday evening for a private screening of the film "Fruitvale Station" which depicts the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant III.

Grant, 22, was fatally shot in the back on the platform of the Fruitvale BART station on Jan. 1, 2009, by former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a 2010 trial.

He was sentenced to two years in prison with credit for time served, and was released in early 2011.

During the trial, Mehserle testified that he meant to use his Taser but accidentally fired his service weapon instead.

The killing prompted widespread outrage in the Bay Area, including several destructive protests in Oakland.

The film, directed by Bay Area native Ryan Coogler and featuring actors Octavia Spencer and Michael B. Jordan, opens nationwide in on July 12 after earning top honors at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Grant's uncle, Cephus Johnson, was attending tonight's screening and said, "I wish the entire community could share this experience but we know there are not enough seats."

He said that the support that Grant's family received following his death "means everything to us.

If had it not been for community, none of us would know who Oscar is." He said he hopes the film will help to "undemonize black and brown men."

"It's bigger than Oscar," Johnson said. "This film will help bring to reality that these men are not demons."

Grant's cousin, Akeem Aziz, 18, said that the film means Grant's life was "worth enough to make a movie out of it."

He said about two dozen members of Grant's family were on hand to attend the screening, and the family has been healing in the years since Grant's very public death but that it's a "slow process."

Also at the screening were the parents of Alan Blueford, an 18-year-old student at Skyline High School who was shot and killed by Oakland police Officer Miguel Masso on May 6, 2012, in a chase near 92nd Avenue and Birch Street in East Oakland.

Blueford's mother, Jeralynn Blueford, said she sees the death of Grant and the death of her son as two "very parallel" incidents.

"The Grant family reached out to us the day after our son died," she said. "Our son was yelling 'why did you shoot me?'" after he was shot, and she said Grant's family told her that he yelled the same thing after he was shot.

The film was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m. there was still a crowd of people outside waiting to get in, many dressed in suits and dresses.

Several lead actors from the film, the director and other filmmakers -- including actor, producer and director Forest Whitaker -- were in attendance for the special screening.

An after-party for the actors, filmmakers and invited guests is scheduled at Oakland barbecue joint Everett and Jones.

Authorities Searching for Scammer

Federal authorities Thursday asked for the public's help in finding a man who scammed a San Francisco educational software company and is wanted for mail fraud charges.

Bruce Lee Marshall, 38, who also goes by the aliases Francois Marshall and Francois Delacroix, is wanted on mail fraud charges for a scam spanning from July 2010 to August 2011, according to an indictment filed against him in federal court last month.

Marshall, a San Francisco resident, worked as an operations engineer at the software company and was tasked with selecting a contractor for computer servers and other services, according to the indictment.

However, instead of picking a legitimate company, he allegedly set up a fake one and convinced his employer to hire its services, FBI officials said.

Marshall's fake company provided only a fraction of the services agreed upon in the contract and collected more than $100,000 in cash while causing additional monetary losses to his employer, according to the FBI.

Marshall has previously been arrested and pleaded guilty to one count of falsely altering a U.S. passport.

After he was indicted on May 16 for the mail fraud charges, he failed to appear in U.S. District Court the next day and is considered a fugitive, FBI officials said.

Marshall is described as a black man who is about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs about 165 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.

He is known to wear dark-rimmed glasses and has ties to San Diego as well as the state of Georgia.

Muni Bus Crashes With Car

A Muni bus hit a car near the Panhandle in San Francisco Thursday, sending the bus driver to the hospital, a Muni spokesman said.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said the 43-Masonic bus hit a car making an illegal U-turn near the intersection of Fell Street and Masonic Avenue at about 6:20 p.m.

Pictures posted to social media showed the bus well inside the park with the car crumpled in front of it.

The bus driver was transported to San Francisco General Hospital and the car's driver refused medical aid, Rose said. No one else was injured.

Federal Court Orders Reduction in Prison Population

A federal court Thursday reaffirmed its order for a reduction of nearly 10,000 in the state's prison population by Dec. 31, saying that Gov. Brown and other officials "have no excuse for failing to meet" the requirement.

A three-judge panel, in a ruling issued in San Francisco, suggested several ways the state could decrease the number of inmates, including by expanding sentencing credit for good behavior in prison.

But the panel said that if the Brown administration can't or won't accept the suggestions, it must then release prisoners from a list of those considered at low risk for reoffending.

The mandated decrease of 9,636 inmates from the current 132,888 would bring the population of the state's 33 overcrowded adult prisons to 137.5 percent of design capacity.

In previous decisions that were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011, the panel concluded that percentage represented the minimum reduction needed to provide adequate prison health care.

"No matter what implementation challenges defendants face, no matter what unexpected misfortunes arise, defendants shall reduce the prison population to 137.5 percent by Dec. 31, 2013, even if that is achieved solely through the release of prisoners from the low-risk list," the panel said Thursday.

The panel is made up of U.S. district judges Thelton Henderson of San Francisco and Lawrence Karlton of Sacramento and 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt of Los Angeles.

Henderson and Karlton are presiding over two long-running inmate civil rights lawsuits concerning medical and mental health care in the prisons.

Brown said he will challenge the order.

"The state will seek an immediate stay of this unprecedented order to release almost 10,000 inmates by the end of this year," the governor said.

The state has already filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of an April ruling in which the panel declined to modify or set aside the 137.5 percent target.

Brown contends that conditions have improved and that further reductions are unneeded and would endanger public safety.

The state has previously decreased prisoner numbers from a peak of 162,500 in 2006, most recently through a realignment policy that shifts low-level offenders to county jails.

After the panel rejected Brown's argument in April, state officials in May reluctantly submitted a plan to achieve part of the remaining reduction through measures including increased use of fire camps, a program that has employed over 1,500 inmates as firefighters.

But the panel said Thursday that Brown's plan fell short by 4,170 inmates.

The court used its federal judicial power to order a waiver of any state laws that would prevent the Brown administration from expanding good-time credits or leasing county jail space for use as prison cells.

It said increasing good-time credits "is fully consistent with public safety" and noted that the Supreme Court had upheld its conclusions on that issue.

The panel ordered Brown and Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard to submit reports every two weeks on progress toward meeting the goal, and said they could be found in contempt of court if they fail to take needed steps or to submit the reports.

San Jose Teen Dies of Gunshot Wound

A teen boy found shot in San Jose Wednesday evening died at a hospital Thursday, police said.

Manuel Urzoua, 16, of San Jose was found suffering from at least one gunshot wound in the 1600 block of Virginia Avenue shortly after 6 p.m.

He was taken to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries Thursday, according to police.

Police believe the shooting was gang-related but have not identified any suspects or made any arrests in the case.

Anyone with information about the case has been asked to contact Detective Sgt. Davies or Detective Spears at (408) 277-5283.

Convicted Man Witness in Rape Trial

A man who was convicted in connection with the brutal gang rape of a 16-year-old girl outside of a Richmond High School homecoming dance took the witness stand Thursday in the trial against two of his alleged co-conspirators.

Ari Morales, 19, of San Pablo, testified in a Martinez courtroom Thursday about the events of the night of Oct. 24, 2009, when he and several others took part in the gang rape and beating.

The testimony is part of the trial against 20-year-old Marcelles Peter and 22-year-old Jose Montano, who are both charged with rape, rape with a foreign object and forced oral copulation.

Richmond man Manuel Ortega, 22, who has been described as the ringleader of the attack, is now serving a 32-year prison sentence while Morales has begun a 27-year sentence.

Both men received the sentences in exchange for plea deals with the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.

As part of the bargains, both agreed to testify in the current trial.

Dressed in a yellow jail jumpsuit, Morales sometimes contradicted himself on the stand and often said he couldn't remember details of the night when questioned by both Deputy District Attorney John Cope and defense attorneys for Montano and Peter.

At one point, Morales testified that Montano was "trying to" have sex with the victim, while at other times he said he saw the rape occur. 

Despite his sometimes inconsistent testimony, Morales was clear in his depiction of Montano as an aggressor in the attack against the highly intoxicated victim, referred to in court as Jane Doe, in a darkened courtyard on the Richmond High School campus.

He testified that Montano pulled a condom out of his pocket, climbed on top of Doe as she lay on the ground unconscious and appeared to have intercourse with her.

At the same time, Ortega attempted to force the girl into oral copulation, Morales testified.

When those attempts were unsuccessful, Morales recalled, "Ortega starts to torture this girl," punching her in the face repeatedly. Meanwhile, Morales and about 20 other young men stood in a circle, watching the assault.

After apparently having sex with the girl, Montano "got up and threw the condom away," Morales testified.

Morales testified that after Ortega and Montano, he also took a turn in the assault, inserting the antenna of a walkie-talkie radio into the victim's vagina and stealing a ring off of her finger while she was unconscious.

However, while on the stand Thursday, he did not implicate Peter, a former friend and neighbor. He testified that he only remembered seeing Peter standing and watching the assaults but did not see or hear him participate.

The trial against Montano and Peter is set to continue on Monday afternoon.

Two other defendants, Elvis Torrentes and John Crane Jr., are still awaiting trial.

Oakland Police Introduce New Neighborhood Policing Plan

Oakland Interim Police Chief Sean Whent said Thursday that his department's new neighborhood policing plan is aimed at being more efficient in reducing the city's high crime rate.

"We want to better identify crime hotspots and react to them," Whent said at a news conference at the police Eastmont substation, where he introduced the commanders of the five new police districts.

The Police Department had been divided into two large geographic districts in recent years but in March it started switching to five smaller districts, each with its own captain and about 66 officers.

Police officials say the new units will be able to focus on smaller beats and consequently improve response times and allow for more proactive policing.

Whent said the department also wants to "improve our relationship with the community" so that community members feel more comfortable talking with police officers and helping them solve crimes. "As trust builds, cooperation increases," he said.

Whent said he believes "there will be a significant crime reduction" by using the new system.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said, "I'm really excited" about the new system and said the city is "building a new Police Department" in which police work hard to develop better relationships with citizens. "We want officers to slow down and smile," Quan said.

Quan said "crime is beginning to level off a bit" since the new system began to roll out in March but admitted "we still have a long way to go."

District 1 consists of Jack London Square as well as the adjacent downtown, Chinatown and Uptown districts.

Capt. Eric Lewis, who oversees the area, said, "We have a very serious robbery issue," particularly in the Seventh Street corridor and around 14th Street and Broadway in the heart of downtown.

"It's unacceptable, the things that are occurring in the middle of the city," Lewis said.

He said he's assigned officers to work in the areas most affected by robberies 24 hours a day and also pledged to do more bicycle patrols.

District 2 includes the Oakland hills and the Montclair, Temescal and Rockridge neighborhoods. Lt. Chris Bolton, who assists Capt.

Anthony Toribio in commanding the area, said he feels "a sense of personal accountability to our citizens" and he believes the new system will lead to "a better, safer Oakland.

District 3 consists of the city's Lakeshore, East Lake, Dimond and Laurel neighborhoods.

Capt. Ricardo Orozco, who commands the area, said he and his team will focus on reducing robberies and fighting human trafficking.

"We will target specific areas where crimes are occurring," Orozco said.

Capt. Steven Tull said human trafficking also is an important issue in District 4, which runs east from Fruitvale Avenue to 62nd Avenue in part of East Oakland.

"I walked my district and people told me their primary issue is human trafficking," Tull said.

He said he's also focusing on reducing robberies and burglaries. "There's still a lot to be done but we're moving in the right direction," Tull said. Capt.

Kirk Coleman, who heads District 5, which goes from 62nd Avenue southward to Oakland's border with San Leandro in a section of East Oakland adjacent to District 4, said he's been working to identify and crackdown on his area's most violent groups.

"We want to eliminate violent crime, including robberies," Coleman said.

He said he is increasing bicycle and foot patrols by officers because "we want to get up and personal" with criminals.

"Flame of Hope" Passes Through Bay Area

The "Flame of Hope" passed through parts of the Bay Area Thursday afternoon and will continue to make its way through the region ahead of the Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games next week.

Thousands of members from local law enforcement agencies are passing off the torch throughout Northern California.

Many law enforcement agencies are major year-round fundraisers for the sporting event for disabled athletes.

Law personnel are handing off the torch that will eventually make its way to the opening ceremony on June 28 at the University of California at Davis Aggie Stadium.

The Special Olympics games include athletes who have qualified to compete in aquatics, bocce, tennis and track and field.

Thursday various runs of the torch went through San Jose, Menlo Park and Milpitas. The torch running continues today with routes going through Livermore, parts of Marin County, into Fremont and San Mateo County.

On Monday, the torch will arrive in San Ramon, Alameda and San Francisco.

The flame will continue to be passed Tuesday into parts of Contra Costa County before coming to Napa and Solano counties on Wednesday. Thursday the torch will be passed off to law enforcement in Dixon in the penultimate leg before arriving in Davis.

More information about the games is available at summergamesso.com.

Medical Emergency Kills Unidentified Male Bicyclist

A male bicyclist apparently suffered a medical emergency while riding on Warm Springs Road in Glen Ellen Thursday afternoon and died at Sonoma Valley Hospital, the California Highway Patrol said.

"Passers-by said he was riding fine then keeled over," CHP Officer Kim Lemons said.

The man was not carrying identification, Lemons said. The medical emergency at 4601 Warm Springs Road near Flicker Hill Road was reported at 12:09 p.m., a Sonoma County fire and medical center dispatcher said.

Lemons said the Sonoma County coroner's office, not the CHP, will investigate the incident because the death appears to be medically related and a vehicle was not involved.

SCYEC Employs At-Risk Youth

More than 200 at-risk youth from lower-income families between 14 and 24 years old began their summer job Thursday restoring ecosystems in Sonoma County.

For the next eight weeks, the members of the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps will restore wetlands and open spaces, plant native shrubs and trees and build trails throughout Sonoma County.

The entry-level youth will earn $8 an hour, and older youth who use power tools will be paid $10 an hour.

In addition to restoring ecosystems, they will receive job-readiness training and environmental education about the cycles of ecosystems and watersheds, plant maintenance and resource conservation.

The Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps was created in 2009.

This year, in partnership with the Parks Alliance of Sonoma County, three additional youth crews will work in national, state, regional and local parks in Sonoma County.

This year, 42 percent of last year's workforce returned for another summer, said SCYEC spokeswoman Ann DuBay who is a program specialist with the Sonoma County Water Agency. In 2012, 29 percent of 2010's youth workforce returned.

The Water Agency is among 16 entities that are providing $2 million in funding for this summer's program.

The workforce over the past five years has been between 180 and 200 youth evenly divided between males and females, DuBay said.

Kathy Halloran, a program development manager with the county's Human Services Department, said the youth come from six regions of the county.

The youth work 6- to 8-hour days Monday through Thursday, and the program is "wildly successful," Halloran said. Halloran said at the end of the summer, she conducts mock job interviews with the summer workers, during which "they know how to look you in the eye and talk like an adult."

Social Advocates for Youth is one of the partners with the Youth Ecology Corp.

"These jobs are often a kid's first job, and they change the course of these young people's lives, setting them up for success," Social Advocates for Youth executive director Matt Martin said. Training for the 200 young workers began Monday.

Local elected officials addressed the workers at the kickoff program Thursday afternoon at Howarth Park in Santa Rosa.

Bay Area Friday Morning Weather Forecast

Sunny skies are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph in the afternoon. 

Mostly clear skies are likely this evening becoming partly cloudy. Patchy fog is expected after midnight. 

Lows are likely to be in the upper 40s to mid 50s with westerly winds up to 30 mph. Mostly cloudy skies are expected Saturday morning becoming sunny later in the day. 

Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to lower 70s.

Westerly winds are likely to reach up to 20 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph in the afternoon.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Thursday Morning News Roundup

San Francisco: 'Landlords from Hell' Each Plead Guilty to Four Felony Counts

A husband and wife dubbed the "landlords from hell" for a series of escalating actions and threats made against their tenants in a San Francisco apartment building several years ago have pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Kip Macy, 38, and his wife Nicole Macy, 37, were recently extradited from Italy for a case that began when they wanted to evict tenants out of a six-unit apartment building they owned in the 700 block of Clementina Street in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood.

They each pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony counts of residential burglary, one felony count of stalking and one felony count of attempted grand theft and face up to four years and four months in prison when they are sentenced on Aug. 22.

Starting in August 2006, Nicole Macy sent an email from an account she created pretending to be a tenant to fire an attorney who was representing the tenant in a civil matter against the Macys, prosecutors said.

She also sent another fraudulent email to her own attorneys, pretending to be the tenant and threatening to kidnap and dismember the attorneys' children, prosecutors said. The next month, the Macys twice cut holes in the floor of one victim's living room with a power saw.

The tenant took a picture of one of the incidents and used a hammer to strike the saw and stop the cutting, prosecutors said. They also cut sections out of the joists below the victim's floor in an apparent attempt to make the floor collapse, prosecutors said.

The couple also threatened to shoot another victim who was working as a building manager for them and burglarized other tenants' units, while soaking beds, clothes and electronics in ammonia on one occasion, prosecutors said.

After an investigation by the district attorney's office, the Macys were charged in 2008 and indicted by a criminal grand jury the following year. As they were set to appear for trial in June 2010, the Macys failed to appear in court and fled the country. They were eventually taken into custody in Milan, Italy in May 2012 with the assistance of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service.

After fighting extradition, they were transported back to San Francisco last month and agreed this week to plead guilty, prosecutors said. District Attorney George Gascon said the landlords created a "very unsafe situation" and "almost a cartoon-like setting" for tenants. Assistant District Attorney Kelly Burke said the Macys had wanted to evict the tenants to renovate the apartments and sell the building. Burke said the property is no longer owned by the couple.

SJ: Update: Third Suspect Indentified in Stabbing of 56-year-old man

Police arrested three suspects Saturday in connection with the allegedly gang-related fatal stabbing of a 56-year-old man in East San Jose last week.

Last Thursday, San Jose resident Gregorio Ogana was fatally stabbed near his East San Jose home, police said. Police received a report of a stabbing in the 100 block of Checkers Drive, off of Alum Rock Avenue, at 12:37 a.m., Officer Albert Morales said. Ogana was found in front of a residence suffering from multiple stab wounds. He was transported to Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead shortly after 1:30 a.m.

Homicide detectives determined the murder was gang-motivated. On Saturday, the San Jose Police Department's Covert Response Unit located and arrested three suspects in connection with the stabbing. Police arrested 21-year-old Robert Alvarez, 24-year-old Cassandra Reyes and a 17-year-old Christopher Madrigal, all San Jose residents, without incident.

Alvarez and Reyes were booked into the Santa Clara County Jail for murder with a gang enhancement. Madrigal was booked into the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall for murder with a gang enhancement, according to police. Madrigal is being charged as an adult by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office, police said.

The killing marks San Jose's 24th homicide of 2013, according to police. Police Lt. Mike Kihmm commended the homicide detectives on their quick follow up on this case. "They were able to solve this case within 48 hours of this murder and I am glad that it will give the family members of the victim relief that these violent criminals are off our streets," Kihmm said.

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact Detective Sgt. Guire or Detective Tran of the San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit at (408) 277-5283. Persons who wish to provide information anonymously may do so by calling Silicon Valley Crimestoppers at (408) 947-STOP.

Richmond: City Council OKs Plastic Bag Ban

Richmond has become the first Contra Costa County city to approve a plastic bag ban, following other communities throughout the Bay Area and statewide.

The City Council passed a first reading Tuesday night of an ordinance that would institute a ban on plastic bags at all grocery and retail stores and a 5-cent fee for plastic bags. The paper bag fee would increase to 10 cents in 2016, according to Jennifer Ly, a sustainability analyst for the city.

The fee is meant to encourage residents to eschew paper bags for reusable shopping bags, according to city staff. Ly said the eco-friendly ordinance does not apply to restaurants and proposes a $250 fee on retailers that violate the ban. If approved, it would take effect Jan. 1.

The ordinance passed its first reading with five councilmembers' approval and councilmen Jael Myrick, Corky Booze and Nat Bates abstaining.

Ly said some residents have worried that the new law will be a burden on the city's poorest residents. The city has given out more than 5,000 reusable shopping bags at senior and recreation centers and other areas in an effort to provide low-income residents with help complying with the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance was adopted from a model law drafted by the West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management Authority and is similar to bans already in effect in Alameda, Marin and San Mateo counties, according to city staff. Nearby El Cerrito and San Pablo are expected to adopt similar plastic bag bans this summer, Ly said. She said Richmond's City Council will likely vote on a second reading of the ordinance next month.

Fremont: Former Teacher Charge with Sodomizing Student 15 Years Ago

A former Fremont schoolteacher who was convicted more than 10 years ago of possessing child pornography faces new charges that he sodomized a boy in his classroom in the late 1990s.

Michael Schoop, 63, of Pleasanton, was arrested on the new charges last week and is being held in the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $410,000 in bail. The Alameda County District Attorney's Office has charged Schoop with four counts of sodomy of a person under the age of 14 with an age difference of at least 10 years.

Prosecutors allege that the incidents occurred in a side room of a portable classroom at the Mission Valley Elementary School in Fremont, where Schoop taught for 25 years and once was named a distinguished teacher. In 2002 Schoop pleaded guilty in Alameda County Superior Court to one felony count of possessing child pornography.

He was placed on five years' probation and required to register as a sex offender. In a related case in federal court, Schoop was sentenced in 2003 to one year in federal prison. The state and federal cases began when a 45-year-old man told Oakland police that Schoop had molested him for several years, starting in 1967, when the man was about 12 years old.

Schoop originally was charged with four counts of lewd conduct with a child under 14 and one count of forced oral copulation with a minor but those charges were later dropped and the only charge that remained was the child pornography count to which he pleaded guilty.

Schoop's attorney, Bruce Nickerson, said Wednesday that he thinks the new charges against Schoop are "totally specious" and are related to Schoop's effort to obtain a certificate of rehabilitation so he no longer will have to register as a sex offender.

Nickerson said the district attorney alleged that Schoop, who was released from federal prison in 2004, must wait 10 years to obtain the certificate but an appellate court ruled six months ago that he only had to wait seven years. Nickerson said that when Schoop returns to court for a pretrial hearing on June 26 he will ask that the charges against him be dismissed, alleging that they lack specificity.

The defense attorney said the Fremont Police Department declined to take any action against Schoop when the allegations about the reputed conduct in 1998 and 1999 first emerged so the new charges are based on the district attorney's own investigation. Representatives from the district attorney's office declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

Salinas: Body Found Near Where Abandoned Car Of Missing Woman was Found

The decomposed body of a female was found in Salinas near where the abandoned car of a 35-year-old woman missing since Thanksgiving Day had been parked, a Salinas police spokesman said Wednesday.

A Salinas city cleaning crew reported coming across something suspicious while working last Saturday morning near Garner Avenue in Natividad Creek Park, Salinas police Officer Miguel Cabrera said.

Police later confirmed the crew had found badly decomposed human remains that the Monterey County coroner's office this week determined was of a woman but could not identify her, Cabrera said. Authorities extracted a DNA sample from the body and sent it for examination to a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice in hopes of finding a match, Cabrera said.

The remains were discovered in the vicinity of where an unlocked car owned by Leticia Morales-Soto, of Salinas, was located at the end of Garner Avenue next to Natividad Creek Park, Cabrera said. Police suspected the remains might be those of Morales-Soto and so contacted her family members before releasing details about it to the public, Cabrera said.

There is no timetable for the results of the DNA test, however "we're trying to expedite the process," Cabrera said.

Morales-Soto's husband reported her missing at 3 p.m. on Nov. 23, a day after a family member last saw her driving away to pick up an acquaintance, 37-year-old Rafael "Rafa" Carballo, Cabrera said.

On Thanksgiving Day, the day she was last seen, Morales-Soto had been cooking the holiday dinner and decided to drive to store with her uncle to do some shopping when Carballo called her cellphone and asked for a ride, police said. She agreed, then dropped her uncle off and apparently drove to meet Carballo but her family members never saw her again, police said.

The day after Thanksgiving, Carballo and members of his family went to the Salinas Police Department at 1 p.m. to report that Carballo had been assaulted at Natividad Creek Park the previous night. Carballo, known to some as "Rafa," had injuries consistent with being in some kind of struggle and an officer filed a battery report, police said.

After Morales-Soto's husband found her car later that afternoon, police arranged for the car to be towed and accompanied her husband to "Rafa's" home to talk to him, police said. Carballo was not at the residence, but one of the officers recognized some of his family members from the battery report that afternoon and identified "Rafa" as Carballo, police said.

Salinas police and the Monterey County sheriff's office searched Natividad Creek Park on Nov. 24 and Nov. 27 but were unable to find any leads. In early December, police issued a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of murder and he is still the primary suspect in the woman's disappearance, Cabrera said. Police believe Carballo may have fled to Mexico, Cabrera said.

San Mateo County: Man Arrested, Wife Sought for Allegedly Running Prostitution Ring

A 49-year-old San Bruno and South San Francisco man appeared in court Wednesday following his arrest last week when state officials busted a brothel ring based in Sacramento and the Bay Area, according to the San Mateo County chief deputy district attorney.

Zhi Liu was arrested on human trafficking, pandering, and pimping charges last Thursday after a state Department of Justice investigation revealed a Sacramento prostitution ring was using an apartment in San Bruno, according to prosecutors.

The ring was rotating prostitutes through the Bay Area, including through the San Bruno residence run by Liu who allegedly went by "Bob" and his wife, Wei Guo, 51, who used the name, "Coco." Authorities are still trying to track down Guo, who is wanted on a $100,000 arrest warrant, San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said.

According to prosecutors, the brothel moved from San Bruno to a location in South San Francisco in May. State investigators took down the brothels in San Mateo County and in Sacramento County, where three others were arrested last week.

In court Wednesday, a friend of the defendant offered a property bond to release Liu, who is being held on $200,000 bail, Guidotti said. A hearing was held to determine if the property offered for bail was involved in any illegal activity, Guidotti said.

She said there was no evidence to prove there was any illicit connections with the property and the bond is expected to go through. However, Liu has been ordered to not leave the state upon his release.

SJ: Police Arrest Four Suspects in January Stabbing Murder

San Jose police Wednesday announced the arrests of three men and a juvenile in connection with the alleged gang-related fatal stabbing of a 44-year-old Donald Harvey during a street robbery in January.

Officers units arrested Enrique Martinez, 20, and Ceasar Torres, 18, in San Jose last Wednesday on suspicion of murder, police said. Two days later, officers took a 17-year-old juvenile into custody in San Jose, police said. The fourth suspect, Joel Madrigal, 27, was arrested while in custody at the Santa Clara County Main Jail for an unrelated case, police said.

On Jan. 24, Harvey, a San Jose resident, was walking by himself in the area of Southside Drive and Hope Street when several males attacked him, police said.

Someone called police at about 8:25 p.m., and responding officers found Harvey suffering from multiple stab wounds. Emergency responders took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 9:30 p.m., police said.

"Unfortunately, this was another case where the suspects robbed an innocent victim walking down the street who was minding his own business," police Lt. Mike Kihmm said. Investigators believe the suspects are gang members, police said.

The killing marked San Jose's third homicide of 2013. Kihmm said detectives from the department's gang investigations unit were instrumental in helping locate and arrest the suspects.

Fremont: Grand Opening Celebration Today For New Skate Park

Skateboarders and city officials are holding a grand opening celebration for the new Fremont Skate Park Wednesday.

The 1-acre park, which features both street courses and bowls, is part of the city's 450-acre Central Park. "Skateboarding has become an extremely popular sport. We've had so much demand for a skate park" since a temporary park closed in 2009, said Roger Ravenstad, a senior city landscape architect who was the new facility's project manager.

Ravenstad said the new park is already in use, and when the construction fence was taken down on the evening of June 7, some 50 skaters were ready to rush in. Within an hour, 150 were gliding, spinning and jumping on the course.

Wednesday's 5 p.m. grand opening celebration was timed to coincide with the last day of classes in Fremont public schools. The event will feature a ribbon-cutting, music and professional demonstrations.

Ravenstad said the $2.2 million facility was funded by park development fees provided by housing developers. The city has contracted with professional skateboarder Justin Richter to offer a fee-based summer camp and lessons at the skate park.

More information about the program, known as the Jordan Richter Skateboarding Academy Camps and Lessons, is available online at www.RegeRec.com or by calling (510) 790-5546.

Monterey: Crops Values Hit Record $4.1B As Wine Grape Production Rises 52 Percent

Monterey County's agriculture industry earned a record $4.14 billion last year, buoyed by lettuce, strawberries and a 52 percent rise in wine grape production, according to a new county report.

Crop production in the county, nicknamed by local officials as the "salad bowl of the world," rose 7 percent, or $285 million, in 2012 over 2011, the county reported. The county's 2102 crop report lists 10 crops grown there that produced more than $100 million in value, led by $794 million from leaf lettuce, $784 million from strawberries, $476 million from head lettuce and $316 million from broccoli.

"I think it shows the strength of the diversity of commodities produced in Monterey County," county Agricultural Commissioner Eric Lauritzen said. Within California's $40 billion agriculture economy, Monterey's industry is behind Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties but would rank in the middle of all American states in crop production, Lauritzen said.

"It's really staggering when you think about how important it is," Lauritzen said. The total economic benefit from the county's agriculture is about $9 billion when including things like cut lettuce for salads and wine made from grapes grown there, Lauritzen said.

As many as one in every five jobs in Monterey County, or about 20 percent, is tied to agriculture, Lauritzen said. Production of wine grapes, grown mostly in the southern part of the county, increased by 52 percent last year, Lauritzen said. Monterey exports much of its grapes to wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties for bottling. Monterey is trying to become more of a wine destination itself by bottling more of its wine locally, he said.

Other crops grown in the county that made the top ten list for production in 2012 included celery ($193 million), spinach ($130 million) and cauliflower ($109 million).

Weather Forecast

Sunny skies are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the mid 50s to upper 60s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph in the afternoon.

Mostly clear skies are likely this evening becoming partly cloudy. Patchy fog is expected after midnight.

Lows are likely to be in the upper 40s to mid 50s with westerly winds up to 30 mph. Sunny skies are expected Friday morning. Highs are expected to be in the mid 50s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

 

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Man Stabbed with Rebar in Mission District

A man was critically injured when he was stabbed in the neck with a piece of rebar in San Francisco's Mission District early this morning, police said.

The stabbing was reported at about 1:40 a.m. in the 2000 block of Mission Street, between 16th and 17th streets.

The 51-year-old victim got into an argument with a man and woman that turned physical when the man stabbed him, according to police. The pair, described as between 30 and 40 years old, then got into a silver, two-door vehicle and drove away. They had not been found as of this morning, police said.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for life-threatening injuries.

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

 

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SF Supes Approve Food Truck Legislation

SF Supes Approve Food Truck Legislation

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation that clarifies and tweaks the laws for the city's burgeoning food truck industry.

The legislation, authored by Supervisor Scott Wiener, creates a 75-foot "buffer zone" around the entrances to restaurants in which food trucks are not allowed to operate. 

It also shrinks the buffer zone around schools and updates zoning laws to allow the food trucks to operate on college and hospital campuses, among other changes. 

Wiener said food trucks "bring new and interesting food" to the city and are a way for people, especially women and immigrants, to become entrepreneurs in the food industry. 

He said the trucks "activate public spaces" and "have broad public support, which we can see from the long lines forming around them." 

However, current city laws restrict some food trucks while allowing others to operate without permits, he said. 

The changes outlined in his legislation were the result of two years of negotiations involving the owners of food trucks, restaurants and other stakeholders, according to Wiener. 

Under the current law, food trucks can't operate within 1,500 feet of schools, which amounts to roughly three city blocks, he said. 

Wiener said the law blocked the trucks from operating in large swaths of neighborhoods like the Mission District. The new legislation will reduce the buffer zone to 500 feet around middle schools and 1,000 feet for some high schools. 

Other high schools will have a smaller buffer zone of 750 feet because they are located in dense commercial districts, he said. 

Supervisor Jane Kim said she was in favor of making the zone the same for all schools to simplify the law for business owners, but ultimately voted for the legislation. 

The new regulations increase the penalty for trucks operating without a permit and allow San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency parking control officers to issue citations for violations. 

Currently, only Department of Public Works inspectors can issue the citations, but Wiener has said the department does not have enough resources to regulate all of the food trucks across the city. 

To become law, the legislation will need the mayor's signature after it receives final approval from the board next week.

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AT&T Park Protesters Arrested

AT&T Park Protesters Arrested

A demonstration in support of AT&T Park concession workers at a San Francisco Giants game on Tuesday night led to 10 arrests, police said. 

Hundreds of members of Unite Here Local 2 and their supporters gathered outside the ballpark on Tuesday evening before the Giants' game against the San Diego Padres, then dozens bought tickets to the game and came inside, police said.

The union, which represents the concession workers, is in a labor dispute with the team's food and beverage subcontractor Centerplate for better wages, benefits and job security. 

About 40 to 50 protesters staged a "sit-down" demonstration near the Gilroy Garlic Fries stand behind Section 119 during the game. When officers notified them that they were violating the ballpark's fan code of conduct and asked them to leave, 10 refused and were arrested, police said. 

The protesters were cited for trespassing and were released after being escorted out of the ballpark, according to police. 

The Unite Here Local 2 concession workers, who launched a one-day strike during a game last month, were chanting to fans and encouraging them not to buy food at the concession stands, union spokeswoman Nischit Hegde said. 

Hegde said the workers have not received a pay hike in three years despite two lucrative World Series wins by the Giants. 

She said the union is asking for "wage increases and dignity," including benches to sit on during work breaks. 

Sam Singer, a spokesman for the subcontractor Centerplate, has said AT&T Park workers, who he said earn between $15 and $20 per hour, are the highest-paid staff in the concession business. 

Giants spokeswoman Shana Daum has emphasized that the dispute is not with the team and that the organization is encouraging both sides to get back to the bargaining table to resolve their differences. 

Hegde said the union and Centerplate met for negotiations last week but that the company "has pretty much dug in on their proposal." 

She said two more bargaining sessions are scheduled between the two sides next month.

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Mechanical Problem Causes More Caltrain Delays

A mechanical problem is causing northbound Caltrain delays this morning, a Caltrain spokeswoman said.

Because of the problem, northbound train No. 231 was coupled with northbound train No. 233 at the Millbrae station, spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

As of 10:18 a.m., the two trains were still at the station, Dunn said.

The first was 56 minutes behind schedule and the second was delayed by 34 minutes.

Affected riders are able to catch BART or a SamTrans bus at that station, she said.

The incident follows an earlier delay that began shortly before 8 a.m. when a medical emergency caused Caltrain to take a northbound train out of service at the San Jose Diridon station.

 

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Check out some of our most popular blogs:

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