SF News

San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday Midday News Roundup

Officials Say Last Major Milestone Has Been Reached for Bay Bridge

Work on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge has "reached its  last major milestone" and "we can smell the finish line," Metropolitan  Transportation Commission Executive Director Steve Heminger said today.   

At a news briefing at a Caltrans office in Oakland near the Bay  Bridge, Heminger said with the recent successful completion of a complex  process called a "load transfer," the new $6.3 billion span remains on  schedule to open on Labor Day weekend next year.

Heminger said the transfer was a three-month process in which  workers lifted 35,200-ton bridge decks from the temporary steel trestles where they were assembled onto the tower and main suspension cable that  cradle and support the self-anchored suspension span, a 2,047-foot section of  bridge east of Yerba Buena Island.    

The weight of the bridge is now supported by a single,  one-mile-long cable that acts like a sling, he said. "The design of the new eastern span is unusual because the cables of traditional suspension bridges are anchored into the ground on either end, Heminger said. 

"The new bridge is supporting itself and is functioning as a self-anchored suspension bridge so there's a pretty big collective sigh of relief by the engineers," Heminger said.

He described the remaining tasks to be completed before the new span opens next year as "meat and potatoes work" such as roadwork, striping of lanes and mechanical and electrical work.

In completing the new span, "We're unwrapping a gift for our region that will last 100 years or more," he said.

Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said the self-anchored suspension span is the longest span of its kind in the world and is the signature element of the new eastern portion of the bridge.    

 

CalTrain Back on Schedule After Early Morning Fatality on Tracks 

Caltrain service was back on schedule this morning after a train fatally struck a man on the tracks in Palo Alto earlier today, an agency spokeswoman said.

Trains departing just after 9 a.m. from stations in San Jose and San Francisco were on time and regular service was expected to resume for the remainder of the day, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

At about 5:35 a.m., northbound train No. 103 struck and killed a man at the Charleston Avenue crossing, Dunn said. A preliminary investigation indicated that the incident was a suicide, Dunn said.

No injuries were reported among the 55 passengers aboard the train who were later transferred to another train at East Meadow Drive.

Trains were single-tracked through Palo Alto at around 10 mph until 8:40 a.m., causing system-wide delays of up to an hour and a half during the morning commute, Dunn said.

The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office was working to identify the victim and make a final determination regarding the cause of death, a deputy said.  

The fatality is the 11th on the Caltrain right of way so far in  2012, five of which have been determined to be suicides, Dunn said.  There were 16 Caltrain-related fatalities in 2011.   

 

Two Separate Water Mains Break in Redwood City 

Two separate water mains broke this morning in Redwood City, flooding two homes and damaging an intersection, a city water department supervisor said.

The first rupture was reported when an 8-inch water main broke beneath the intersection of Brewster Avenue and Warren Street at about 2:40 a.m., said Xavier Mercado, acting public works supervisor for water. Water flowed into the basements of two homes, which were evacuated, Mercado said.

Redwood City firefighters responded and pumped out the water and residents were able to return to their homes within a couple of hours, he said.

A second rupture on a different 8-inch pipeline was detected in a residential neighborhood near Allerton and Standish streets at about 6:15  a.m., Mercado said.

No property was damaged and no evacuations were necessary, he said.

The intersection of Brewster Avenue and Warren Street remained closed as of 10 a.m. while public works crews made repairs to the pipe and to a portion of roadway that was damaged, Mercado said.    

The intersection was expected to reopen this afternoon.  

Water service to the area was slowed but not cut off, Mercado said. Full service was expected to be restored later today. A preliminary investigation indicated that the two ruptures, located about five blocks apart, did not appear to be related, Mercado said. Small earthquakes and changes in weather can often cause the soil around pipes to shift or become unstable, he said.    

 

Water Main Break Shuts Down Sevice to 25 San Jose Customers

A water main break this morning in East San Jose has shut down service to more than two dozen customers, a San Jose Water Company spokesman  said.

The 12-inch pipe burst around 8:10 a.m. on Story Road at Lyndale Avenue, spokesman John Tang said. Service was shut off, affecting 25 residents on Story Road between Lyndale Avenue and Stonehedge Way, according to a San Jose Water customer service representative.

Water service is expected to be restored by late this afternoon.

"We expect minimal impact," Tang said. "We are not seeing any damage from any flooding."

There is water in the area and crews are working quickly to repair the leak, he said. A woman answering the phone at the San Jose Foothill Family Community Clinic, located at 2880 Story Road, said around 9 a.m. that the water was spewing from the middle of the road near the Safeway on Story Road. 

She said she hadn't seen any flooding and that it's "not to the  point where it's scary."

The water main break is one of a handful throughout the city  today. A water company customer service representative said four other smaller breaks were also reported this morning, including at Woodhaven and Dale drives and Alum Rock Avenue and Edgemont Drive.     

 

6-inch Water Main in Pittsburgh Breaks Overnight

A water main broke in Pittsburg overnight, affecting service to more than a dozen homes, city officials said this morning. The 6-inch, cast-iron pipe broke around midnight on West 11th Street between York and Cutter streets, said Walter Pease, the city's director of water utilities. About 15 homes lost water service but were expected to be back in service by shortly after 9 a.m. once repairs to the pipe were completed, Pease said. No houses were damaged by flooding from the main break, which caused a hole about 3 feet deep in the roadway, according to Pease.    

 

Body Found in SF Bay was Pinole Man

The Marin County coroner's office has identified the body of a man found Sunday in San Francisco Bay as 24-year-old Salamon Mujadiddi of Pinole.

The U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body around 8 a.m. near Fort Baker. There was no identification on the body and no match to missing persons reports. A family member confirmed Mujadiddi was found Sunday but did not want to comment this morning on his death.    

 

San Jose Pastor Steps Down after Sex Offender Volunteers at Parish Festival

The Catholic Diocese of San Jose announced Monday that the pastor who allowed a registered sex offender to volunteer at an elementary school festival last month has stepped down from his position at St. Frances Cabrini Parish.

The Rev. Lieu Vu resigned from his position as pastor at the school and parish on Monday, according to the diocese.  The diocese also released a copy of a November 2010 letter that allowed convicted sex offender Mark Gurries to attend and volunteer at a festival on Oct. 6 at the school and parish at 15325 Woodard Road in an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County near San Jose.

The letter confirms that the Diocese of San Jose knew Gurries' legal status as a sex offender and allowed him to volunteer at the parish and in school activities as long as they did not involve regular, unsupervised contact with children, youth or vulnerable adults. State law only allows a registered sex offender onto school property around children if he or she can produce written permission from a  school administrator, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

The diocese said in a statement that the letter was prepared by the Personnel Department of the Diocese of San Jose but was not authorized or approved by Bishop Patrick McGrath or his Vicars General. The author of the letter was redacted by the diocese.

Over the weekend, McGrath wrote a letter apologizing to parents and community members for the diocese allowing Gurries to volunteer at the festival.    

"Our policy is clear: no one who has been found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult can be hired as an employee or allowed to volunteer in any activity that involves children, young people, or vulnerable adults," McGrath wrote. "I am deeply troubled and I apologize to you that this policy was not followed," he wrote.  

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement today from the organization's outreach director Barbara Dorris  expressing relief about Vu's resignation but saying questions still remain. Vu "needlessly and deliberately put kids in harm's way," Dorris said. Noting that the letter allowing him to go on school property was written in 2010, she said "it is frightening to think of how many times that  letter could have been used to gain access to kids."

Dorris called on McGrath to clarify the original purpose of the letter and to disclose and denounce the church employee who wrote it.

"It's time for him to punish those who endanger kids, not just vaguely apologize for some alleged bureaucratic snafu," she said. Following Vu's resignation, McGrath appointed Reverend Monsignor  J. Patrick Browne as Administrator Pro Tempore of St. Frances Cabrini Parish, according to the diocese. Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith will be at the school on Nov. 27 from 2 to 6 p.m. to meet with parents and respond to their concerns, McGrath said.    

 

Stockton Man Pleads Guilty to 6 Bank Robberies

A 22-year-old Stockton man has pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland to carrying out six bank robberies in the East Bay and Stockton in February and March. 

Jeremy Morton entered the plea at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken on Monday.

Morton will be sentenced by Wilken on Feb. 4 for the six counts of bank robbery. Each count carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Morton admitted taking a total of $25,911 from the six banks. The amounts lost by each bank ranged from $800 to $9,037.

The sites robbed were a Bank of the West branch in Concord on Feb. 16; two Bank of the West outlets in Stockton on Feb. 24 and March 6; a Bank of the West branch in Oakland on March 12; a Citibank in San Leandro on March 24; and a Chase Bank branch in Livermore on March 26.

An affidavit filed in the case in April by FBI Special Agent Matthew Ernst said Morton was identified after the FBI circulated bank surveillance photos from the Concord heist among local law enforcement agencies.

Two state parole agents recognized Morton as a person who was on parole from a previous bank robbery conviction in Stockton, Ernst said in the affidavit. Morton had a distinctive tattoo with cursive writing on the side of his neck, the agent said.

Ernst wrote that in the Concord robbery, a teller reported that a man with a tattoo on his neck approached her and said in a low, deep voice, "I want $5,000." The man also placed a piece of paper on the counter containing the numbers $5,000 and said, "Hurry up." The teller was afraid for her safety and gave the man the $2,054  in her teller drawer. The robber was seen shortly afterwards getting into a car parked along the shoulder of Interstate Highway 680 nearby, according to  the affidavit. 

 

Police Say House Cleaner Stole From at Least Two Palo Alto Homes

A house cleaner was arrested this weekend for stealing jewelry from at least two Palo Alto homes where she worked and investigators say they suspect she may have stolen from others throughout the Peninsula, police said.

Police arrested Martha Quintero-Ramirez, 36, in Redwood City on Saturday on suspicion of burglary after catching her with stolen items from Palo Alto homes she cleaned, police said.

The investigation began when police responded to a home in the 700 block of Bryant Street after receiving reports of a burglary just after 8:40  a.m. Saturday.

The victim told police the theft occurred the previous morning when the home had been cleaned by two house cleaners, including a 20-year employee of the homeowner and a relatively newer employee, Quintero-Ramirez, who had been cleaning the home for less than two years. The victim also said a next-door neighbor's home had been cleaned by the same pair. The victim told police that after the home had been cleaned, she noticed that money hidden in her closet was missing, along with six pieces of jewelry and two bottles of prescription medications.

The victim called the neighbor, who checked and noticed that a wedding ring and antique watch were missing from their home. The two victims then contacted another Palo Alto resident who  employed the same house cleaners to alert them.  

That person reported that antique coins and jewelry had gone missing from their home within the past two months. 

Police said that their investigation led them to believe that Quintero-Ramirez was acting alone and that her partner had not known about the thefts or stolen anything herself. When police contacted Quintero-Ramirez on Saturday, they found a wedding ring from the second victim's home and a bracelet from the third victim's home, along with several other items of jewelry.

Quintero-Ramirez was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of two felony counts of residential burglary.    

Police say that Quintero-Ramirez also cleaned homes in Mountain View, Los Altos, San Carlos, San Mateo and Redwood City and that she may have  been stealing from employers for more than a year. Police said that anyone who employed Quintero-Ramirez is encouraged to contact their local police department.    

 

PG&E Offers $10K Reward for Info in Employee's Kidnapping

PG&E is offering a reward for information that will help police track down two men who kidnapped a company contract worker in a Walnut Creek parking lot earlier this month, police and utility officials announced today.  

A $10,000 reward is available from PG&E for information about the two men who remain outstanding after abducting a 57-year-old woman around 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 as she was leaving work at the Shadelands Business Park, PG&E officials said.    

The woman was walking to her car in the business center's empty parking lot when the two men ran up to her and forced her into her own car before tying her up and blindfolding her, police said.

The suspects drove the woman to various locations to withdraw money from ATMs before they abandoned her in an isolated area in the Oakland Hills, according to police. 

The suspects got away in a smaller, older dark-colored pickup truck, possibly a Toyota, with a loud muffler, police said.

The woman freed herself and called 911. Oakland police responded and sought medical attention for the woman. Walnut Creek police then took over the investigation.  

Last week, police released photographs of one of the suspects captured at a drive-by bank ATM the day of the kidnapping.

Police said the man in the photos went by the name "Aubrey." The second suspect, whose photo was not released, went by the name "David."

Police emphasized that investigators do not know if these are the suspects' actual names.

The men were described as two white men in their early 20s. The first man, or "Aubrey," is about 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs about 185 pounds with broad shoulders and short dark hair. He was last seen wearing a light colored T-shirt under a black zip-up collared shirt and jeans.

The other suspect, "David," was about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a slight build weighing about 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a mask, a black hooded sweatshirt and jeans, police said. 

Anyone with information about the kidnapping is asked to call the Walnut Creek Police Department's investigations unit at (925) 943-5868 or (925) 943-5844.   

 

Salinas Pair Arrested Trying to Move Weapons Out of Home After Robbery

Two men were arrested Saturday after their house was robbed at gunpoint and they were caught by officers loading firearms into a car, police said.

The robbery was reported at about 3:40 p.m. Saturday in the 300 block of Williams Road, where two suspects armed with handguns entered the home and robbed six occupants of cash and property before fleeing the scene.

The suspects are still at large, according to police. Two men who also live at the home, Miguel Beltran, 26, and William Hernandez, 19, arrived after the robbery and witnesses started calling police  to report that the two men were loading firearms into a white car. Once officers reached the scene, they detained Beltran and Hernandez after seeing them walk away from the white vehicle.

When police looked into the car, they spied a rifle in plain view. During a search inside, they found a .30-caliber M1 carbine rifle, a 9mm pistol with a 30-round clip, multiple rounds of ammunition and a  military-grade flak jacket. 

Officers also recovered a pound of marijuana from inside the car, police said. Beltran and Hernandez were apparently trying to transport the guns and drugs to another location before they were arrested, police said.

They were booked into Monterey County Jail on suspicion of felony weapons and drugs charges.    

 

Masked Men Fire, Shot, While Trying to Rob SF Market

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office is looking for two masked gunmen who held up a Chualar market on Monday evening.

Deputies said the men entered the Amigo Market and Laundry at 24415 Grant St. around 6:15 p.m. wearing black clothes, ski masks and carrying handguns, according to the sheriff's office.    

The men told customers and employees to lie down and demanded money, but store employees were frightened and ran out from behind the counter, sheriff's officials said.   

The men then fled without having taken any money, though one suspect did fire his gun, striking a display shelf, according to the  sheriff's office. No one was injured in the incident.  

Sheriff's officials said the suspects are described as Hispanic men who are about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 5 feet 11 inches tall, respectively.

 

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Attorney Says Suspect in Oakland's Oiko's Shooting is Mentally Incompetent

A psychiatrist has concluded that the man accused of killing seven people in a shooting rampage at Oakland's Oikos University earlier this year is incompetent to stand trial, the man's attorney said Monday.

The psychiatrist, whose report was discussed at a brief court hearing Monday, found that One Goh, 43, "has long-standing paranoid schizophrenia" and is unable to cooperate with his lawyers because he doesn't understand the criminal justice system, defense attorney David Klaus said.

However, a second court-appointed psychiatrist hasn't yet completed his report on Goh, so a hearing on whether criminal proceedings against him should remain suspended was postponed until Jan. 7.

Goh, a Korean national who lived in Oakland, is being held without bail on seven counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder for allegedly shooting three victims who survived and 10 special-circumstance allegations, including committing murder during a carjacking.

Police said that Goh fled the campus after the April 2 shootings in a car belonging to one of the victims. He was arrested in Alameda a short time later after he confessed to a Safeway security guard that he had just shot several people, according to police.

Goh is a former student who had left the school voluntarily.

Prosecutors have said he appears to have wanted a refund of his tuition, and may have been targeting an administrator who was not present the day of the shooting. According to a probable cause statement filed in court by Oakland police Officer Robert Trevino, Goh has admitted that he carried out the shootings.

Those killed were students Lydia Sim, 21, Sonam Choedon, 33, Grace Kim, 23, Doris Chibuko, 40, Judith Seymour, 53, and Tshering Bhutia, 38, and Katleen Ping, 24, who worked at the school. In addition to the murder and attempted murder charges, Goh faces 10 special circumstance allegations that could result in the death penalty if he's convicted.

 

Vallejo Teen's Arraignment for Kidnapping and Assaulting Woman Postponed

The arraignment of a 14-year-old Vallejo boy charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 65-year-old Solano County woman Thursday was continued until Nov. 26 in Solano County Superior Court in Vallejo. Kaviar King is being prosecuted as an adult.

The Solano County District Attorney's Office filed ten charges Friday afternoon against King that include attempted murder, torture, kidnapping for ransom, carjacking, robbery and sexual assault, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Ganz said.

King was booked at 6 a.m. Friday in juvenile hall and remains in custody.

Police said the woman was kidnapped at gunpoint in front of a retail business in the 100 block of Plaza Drive near the Gateway Plaza in Vallejo Thursday. The woman was forced to drive her white minivan several miles, where she was assaulted, left unconscious and bound in duct-tape in a ditch. The suspect then left in the minivan.

There is no known relationship between King and the victim, Lt. Lee Horton said.

Passersby helped the woman in distress and called police and requested medical aid, Lt. Jim O'Connell said. The passersby also gave information that led to King's arrest, O'Connell said.

Police responded around 6 p.m. and found the woman, a victim of an egregious physical and sexual assault, in the area of Hiddenbrooke Parkway and Interstate Highway 80 outside Vallejo city limits, O'Connell said. One of the victim's family members received a phone call from someone who demanded money in exchange for the victim's return, O'Connell said.

Police arrested King when he returned to the Plaza Drive area, and he was found in possession of the victim's property, a replica handgun and her minivan, O'Connell said.

 

Alameda County Transportation Tax Measure Just Misses Passage Almost 2 Weeks After 2012 Election

Nearly two weeks after the November election, Measure B1 has missed the required two-thirds passage by several hundred votes, or about 0.14 percent, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters announced Monday.

The measure, which would have raised Alameda County's transportation sales tax to a full 1 cent, garnered 350,899 votes, or 66.53 percent, short of two-thirds of the 527,403 people who cast ballots on Nov. 6, county officials reported.

The tally of votes in the race for Measure B1 was so close on Election Day and after an updated count last Tuesday that the registrar could not say whether it passed or not until now.

Measure B1 would have increased the county's transportation sales tax, first passed in 1986, from a half-cent to one cent and would have made the hike permanent.

The money raised by the measure would have been spent on roads, freeways, pedestrian, bicycle and other transit-related projects. But opponents of Measure B1 said the tax increase was too steep and would have disproportionately impacted working people because a higher percentage of their incomes go to sales taxes.

 

Alameda County DA Declines to File Charges Against Man with "Suspicious Watch"

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office has declined to file charges against a Southern California artist and teacher who was arrested Thursday evening at Oakland International Airport for wearing a suspicious watch. A district attorney's office spokeswoman declined to comment on why charges weren't filed against 49-year-old Geoffrey McGann of Rancho Palos Verdes.

McGann was arrested at about 7:45 p.m. Thursday after airport security found him wearing a watch that looked like a timing device for an explosive, Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

McGann's attorney Douglas Horngrad said Monday that McGann did not have any harmful materials, didn't intend to harm anyone and didn't pose a threat to anyone.

Horngrad accused Transportation Security Administration and Alameda County sheriff's officials of "overreacting" and said the prosecutor's decision "illustrates the unreasonableness of law enforcement's actions here."

Nelson said McGann was wearing a watch on his wrist that had a toggle switch and wires and fuses protruding from it that looked suspicious.

A bomb squad was called to the checkpoint and determined there was no explosive device connected to the watch. McGann was arrested and taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin but was later released after he posted $150,000 bail, Horngrad said.

Nelson said even if McGann truly is innocent and didn't intend to harm anyone, he still thinks that McGann showed "a lack of good judgment" and "was not being very smart" in traveling with the watch. However, Horngrad said McGann has traveled with the watch before and has never previously been arrested.

 

SF Superior Court Clerks Await Judges' Approval of Pact Repealing Pay Cut

About 240 San Francisco Superior Court clerks have ratified a labor contract that would repeal a 5 percent wage cut, but are awaiting approval from the judges on the court's executive committee.

Members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 approved the proposed contract, which was negotiated with court representatives, by a vote of 215 to 1 in late October, according to union spokesman Steve Stallone.

Stallone said the unit is made up of about 240 court clerks who work in courtrooms, stand behind public counters and maintain files.

The agreement must be approved by the court's executive committee, which has 11 of the court's 46 judges as its members.

Court spokeswoman Ann Donlan said the committee has tentatively scheduled a meeting Dec. 4 "to consider labor issues" but said she could not give any details. In the meantime, the 5 percent cut was suspended beginning on Sept. 14 as a negotiating gesture by the court, Stallone said.

The court imposed the pay reduction at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1 at a time of deep funding cuts for courts statewide.

In San Francisco Superior Court, the budget crisis resulted in the layoff of 67 court workers, the closure of 11 courtrooms and an emergency loan of $2.5 million from a state agency last year. The court repaid the loan to the California Judicial Council in June, Donlan said. The clerks held a one-day strike on July 16 to protest the cut.

In addition to rescinding the cut, the proposed contract would include a $3,500 bonus for each worker this year, a 3 percent raise next year, two more floating holidays in each of the next three years and in addition, one extra floating holiday this year.

Asked how the clerks achieved the proposal at a time of budget crisis, Stallone said the workers were able to negotiate with the court representatives to draw on a $12 million court reserve fund. "It's a matter of workers organizing. We went out on a strike. We showed them we were serious," Stallone said.

 

11-year-old Sea Otter Dies at Monterey Bay Aquarium

An 11-year-old female sea otter at the Monterey Bay Aquarium died over the weekend, aquarium officials said Monday.

Mae, the first surrogate mother otter to raise a pup on exhibit at the aquarium, began having seizures last Wednesday and died late Saturday afternoon, aquarium spokesman Ken Peterson said. The animal's cause of death is unknown, pending the results of a necropsy.

Mae, nicknamed "Mayhem" by aquarium staff because of her feisty personality, was rescued in April 2001 as a two-day-old pup and ended up staying at the aquarium after researchers determined she was not acquiring the skills needed to survive in the wild. The name Mae -- that of a truck stop waitress with a screeching voice in Monterey-area native John Steinbeck's famous book "The Grapes of Wrath" -- was chosen by the public for the animal in an online poll.

Mae's first surrogate pup, Kit, is now at SeaWorld in San Diego, and she also served as a surrogate mother to four other pups and as a companion animal to many others at the aquarium. Peterson said sea otters typically live up to 20 years old.

The sea otter exhibit at the aquarium is currently closed for renovations and is set to reopen in mid-March 2013.

 

Supes Committee Reccommends Against Free Youth Muni Pass Proposal

A San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee voted Monday to recommend against a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency proposal that would give free Muni passes to youth.

The proposal is part of $6.7 million awarded to the SFMTA as part of Transit Performance Initiative funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission that also would include service reliability improvements. However, SFMTA's proposal to use $1.6 million to fund a free Muni pass program for youth has come under criticism by some city lawmakers.

During Monday's Government Accountability and Oversight Committee meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener cited Muni's the poor performance record and the $420 million in differed maintenance to vehicles.

"For decades, we as a city have severely under-invested in Muni," Wiener said. "There's always a reason for diverting money away from investing in Muni. Politicians, interest groups and others can always think of great ideas for using Muni maintenance vehicles and other operational money for a purpose other than making Muni more reliable."

The proposal will now be heard by the full Board of Supervisors but the committee's recommendation will be to disallow the free pass program. Muni vehicles are operating on-time 60.8 percent of the time, which is 24.2 percent below the mandated 85 percent stated in Proposition E, according to the SFMTA. Prop. E was passed in 1999.

"There's always a great reason and money then gets diverted and Muni and the riding public suffer," Wiener said.

The MTC awarded SFMTA with the Transit Performance Initiative funding last month, giving the SFMTA $6.7 million for improving reliability and increasing the ridership of the transit agency, but leaving it up to the agency to determine what programs it will be used for.

"There is no more effective way to achieve these goals than a system that's in good shape, that's reliable, and on which people believe they can depend," Wiener said. "These funds should be dedicated 100 percent to improving Muni's deteriorating reliability by maintaining, rehabilitating, and purchasing Muni vehicles and improving Muni's operations."

SFMTA's proposal would use $1.6 million to fund the first five months of a 22-month free youth Muni pass pilot program. "I don't see this as an either or," Ed Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation, said. "We have ridership goals, we have the other goal of... productivity. We're trying to use these dollars to address both."

 

Police Arrest Five in Connection with Santa Cruz Encampment Killing

Police have now arrested five people in connection with the death of a 51-year-old man in a Santa Cruz homeless encampment on Friday.

Police have arrested 26-year-old Jeremiah Long, 21-year-old Shaelyn Gonzales, 41-year-old Michael Hudson, 43-year-old Tina Anderson, and 31-year-old Jason Weiland on suspicion of killing the man, who was found by police in a homeless encampment south of Depot Park around 10:55 p.m. on Friday night.

When police found the man, he was unresponsive and later pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police first arrested Long at the scene, followed by Gonzales and Hudson late Sunday afternoon. Anderson and Weiland were arrested in the last 24 hours, police said Monday afternoon.

All of the suspects are transients who have been living in Santa Cruz, according to police. Police said they believe the death may have resulted from a fight between the victim and the suspects, but say they are still investigating.

The victim's name has not been released pending notification of his next of kin.

 

San Francisco Bay Area Morning Weather Report

Mostly cloudy skies and a chance of rain are expected in the Bay Area today. Highs are likely to be in the mid 60s, with southern winds up to 20 mph.

Rain is likely tonight, with lows expected to be in the mid 50s and southern winds up to 20 mph. Mostly cloudy skies are likely on Wednesday, with a chance of rain throughout the day.

Highs are expected to be in the lower 60s.

 

 

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Man Shot In Leg While Inside Store In Hayes Valley

A man was shot in the leg while inside a store in San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood on Saturday evening, a police spokesman said today.

The shooting was reported at 6:12 p.m. Saturday in the 500 block of Grove Street near Octavia Street.

The 52-year-old victim and a younger acquaintance were inside the store when two suspects fired into it, apparently targeting the younger male, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The younger victim was not hit but the 52-year-old was struck in the right leg by the gunfire. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are not considered life-threatening, Esparza said.

The suspects, described as two men in their mid 20s who were wearing all-black clothing, had not been found as of this afternoon, according to Esparza.

The younger victim left from the store before officers arrived and has not yet talked to police, Esparza said.

The shooting remains under investigation.

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

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Monday Midday News Roundup

San Jose Mayor's Office Ups Reward To $20,000 For Info On Crime Spree Suspect

The reward has been increased for information leading to the arrest of a second suspect in a Friday crime spree that resulted in the murder of a San Jose man and the shooting of a police officer, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed announced today.

Reed joined leaders from the City Council and Police Department this morning to announce that his office will add $10,000 to the $10,000 already offered up by the San Jose Police Officers Association on Sunday.

One suspect, San Jose resident Jonathan Wilbanks, 26, is already in custody, but police are looking for his accomplice in the two-hour crime spree that escalated into what Assistant police Chief Rikki Goede called a "carjacking gone bad."

Police today released a sketch of the suspect and Goede said investigators are asking the public for information about him. Although Wilbanks is in custody, Goede said he has not given police any big leads on his accomplice so far.

"He's given us the indications that he wants to give us, let's put it that way," Goede said, later adding that police have no idea who or where the other suspect is.

"He could be anywhere," she said.

Police said Wilbanks and his accomplice committed four robberies on Friday, starting with a Little Caesars Pizza in the 2800 block of Story Road at 7:25 p.m.

They then allegedly robbed a gas station in the 1000 block of E.

Capitol Expressway at 7:40 p.m., a Jack on the Box in the 600 block of Curtner Avenue at 8:43 p.m., and a spa in the 1400 block of Bird Avenue at 8:58 p.m.

Minutes later, the suspects allegedly shot San Jose resident Rory Parkpettiford, 22, while carjacking him in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store in the 400 block of South Kiely Boulevard. ParkPettiford died at the scene.

The crime spree escalated further when the pair ran into police around 9:13 p.m. near U.S. Highway 101 and Interstate Highway 280, where officers had seen the vehicle.

The vehicle fled and police pursued until the vehicle stopped at a red light at Tully Road and Lanai Avenue and the suspects got out and allegedly opened fire on the officers.

Officer Bruce Barthelemy and another officer, whose identity has not been released, returned fire and hit Wilbanks.

The second officer was injured during the exchange, suffering two gunshot wounds.

The suspects then got back into their car and drove away, with police chasing them.

The suspects allegedly continued to fire at police as they drove.

At some point, the passenger jumped out of the car and fled on foot while Wilbanks continued to flee in the vehicle.

Wilbanks' vehicle then crashed on Cunningham Avenue on the west side of Reid-Hillview Airport where he fled on foot, eventually entering a house through the back door. The residents told police where he was and officers surrounded the house and arrested him.

Goede said today that Wilbanks did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he was arrested.

Wilbanks was treated for two gunshot wounds that were not life-threatening and was arrested on suspicion of murder, two counts of attempted murder, four counts of robbery, burglary and auto theft.

The injured officer has since been treated for his gunshot wounds and was released.

Though Reed and police have often been at odds over fiscal issues and pension plans for officers, today they agreed that the second suspect needs to be found.

"We need to get him off the street as soon as possible," Reed said, calling the suspect "a danger to the community and a danger to police officers."

He said, "We know that people know these suspects ... We're probably talking about people that might not necessarily be willing to help us, $20,000 will get their attention."

Police say the second suspect is described as a Hispanic or black man between 20 and 25 years old who weighs about 180 to 200 pounds.

He is 5 foot 10 inches to 6 feet tall and was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and white tennis shoes at the time of the crime.

Anyone with information about the alleged crimes or the identity and whereabouts of the second suspect should contact San Jose police Detective Sgt. Craig Storlie at (408) 277-5283. Anonymous tips can be made by calling (408) 947-7867 or go to www.tipsubmit.com.

United Flight at SFO Halted Briefly Over Suspicious Checked Baggage

Outgoing flights by United Airlines at San Francisco International Airport were briefly halted this morning after authorities found a checked bag believed to be suspicious, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman said.

The luggage triggered an alarm and required an inspection by TSA and United representatives at about 8:30 a.m., said TSA spokesman Nico Melendez.

United flights were briefly grounded but were released for takeoff at about 8:50 a.m., according to airport spokesman Doug Yakel.

Authorities are not yet saying what was in the baggage and the incident remains under investigation, Melendez said.

49ers Hosting Their First Monday Night Football Game Since Power Outages Last December

The San Francisco 49ers tonight are hosting their first Monday Night Football game at Candlestick Park since embarrassing power outages last December delayed the nationally televised game.

Today's 5:30 p.m. game matches up the 49ers with the Chicago Bears, two of the top teams in the National Football Conference.

Team and city officials are hoping tonight's game goes more smoothly than the 49ers' Monday Night Football game last season on Dec. 19, 2011, when the stadium went dark twice before and during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in what Mayor Ed Lee called a "national embarrassment."

PG&E admitted fault for the first outage, which occurred shortly before game time and was caused when a splice, which connects two overhead wires, failed and the power line fell to the ground on Ingerson Avenue near the stadium.

The city admitted fault for the second outage, which happened during the second quarter of the game and was caused by a malfunctioning switch on the backup power inside the stadium.

Crews made repairs and the 49ers have hosted night games since then that have gone off without a hitch, including last season's NFC Championship game in January and two Sunday Night Football games this season.

The 49ers have a 6-2-1 record on the season while their opponents from Chicago have a 7-2 record.

Both teams will be without their starting quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Jay Cutler, who each suffered concussions last week. However, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who was briefly hospitalized last Thursday with an irregular heartbeat, is expected to be on the sidelines for the game.

The game will be televised nationally on ESPN as well as locally on CBS5.

Fans attending today's game will receive red rally towels and will receive coupons for two free Jack in the Box tacos if the 49ers win.

The 49ers are also joining with Second Harvest Food Bank to hold a holiday food and fund drive. Fans can drop off non-perishable food items at all gates throughout the stadium.

Fire At Guerneville Resort Sends 4 To Hospital, Downs Power Lines

Four people were hospitalized and power lines knocked down after a two-alarm fire broke out early this morning at a Russian River resort, a Sonoma County Fire dispatcher said.

Firefighters were called around 3:45 a.m. to reports of a blaze at the Guerneville Lodge at 15905 River Road, according to the dispatcher.

When crews arrived, multiple occupants were still inside the building. Four occupants were transported to an area hospital, and the American Red Cross was called to assist others at the scene. The extent of the injuries was not immediately known.

No firefighters were reported injured in the blaze, which was knocked down around 4:30 a.m., according to the dispatcher.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and crews remained on the scene as of 6:30 a.m.

The blaze also sent two power lines across both lanes of traffic on River Road, which has been closed from Bonita Avenue to state Highway 116, according to the CHP.

A fire dispatcher said that PG&E crews have been called to the scene to repair the power lines.

Man Fatally Shot Early Saturday In East Oakland Identified

A man who was fatally shot in East Oakland early Saturday was identified by police today as 27-year-old Ian Smart, who lived near Coronado in Southern California.

Oakland police said Smart was found with several gunshot wounds at about 1 a.m. Saturday in the 3100 block of Pleitner Avenue, which is located near School Street and only a few blocks from Interstate Highway 580.

Smart was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have not released any information about suspects or a motive for the shooting as of this morning.

Man Critically Injured In Excelsior District Shooting Sunday

A man was critically injured when he was shot in the head in San Francisco's Excelsior District early Sunday morning, police said today.

Officers responded at 3:33 a.m. Sunday to a report of shots fired at Mission Street and Silver Avenue, where they found the 24-year-old victim suffering from a gunshot wound to his head, according to police.

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

No arrests had been made and no suspect information was available in connection with the shooting as of this morning.

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

Chevron, Air Quality Officials To Discuss Richmond Refinery Repairs

Chevron officials were slated today to address the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's board of directors about the progress of repairs to the crude oil unit at the company's Richmond refinery that was damaged during a major fire in August.

At its 9:45 a.m. meeting in San Francisco, air quality management district officials planned to discuss their visits to the refinery and hear from Chevron representatives about reconstruction plans for the crude oil unit that was torched on Aug. 6. Richmond city officials were also expected to attend the meeting.

The fire caused a vapor plume that spread for miles and prompted 15,000 people to go to hospitals to complain about breathing problems.

In a letter dated Nov. 7 to BAAQMD and Richmond officials, Chevron Richmond refinery General Manager Nigel Hearne wrote that the oil company continues to work with federal, state and local investigations into the root cause of the fire.

Hearne wrote that Chevron estimates only about 20 percent of the crude oil unit was damaged in the blaze.

Refinery management is working toward replacing pipeways, tanks, pumps and other structures destroyed in the fire, according to Hearne. 

Repairs will also be made to a cooling tower and a motor control center damaged in the blaze.

Before it can complete the repairs, Chevron will need to obtain building permits from the city of Richmond. That permitting process, which could begin this month, was also set to be discussed at today's meeting.

Man Arrested For Stabbing At Baptism Celebration In Redwood City

A man was stabbed and another was arrested at a party celebrating a baptism in Redwood City on Saturday night, police said today.

Officers responded at 10:21 p.m. Saturday to a report of a fight in progress involving several people at Highland Community Club, located at 1665 Fernside St.

They arrived and detained a suspect armed with a folding pocketknife as well as several other people involved in the altercation.

Police then learned that a stabbing victim had been taken to a hospital.

The victim, a 24-year-old man, was stabbed in his lower abdomen and left forearm. He is expected to survive, according to police.

Investigators believe the victim and the suspect with the knife, later identified as Yazmani Moreno Ramirez, 28, got into an argument on the club's dance floor shortly before the altercation and stabbing.

Ramirez apparently felt the victim had disrespected his wife, police Sgt. Sean Hart said.

Ramirez was booked into San Mateo County Jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

The other people detained following the altercation were later released, Hart said.

Vallejo Police Investigate Series Of Shootings Saturday Night

Three men were arrested on suspicion of illegal gun possession after a routine traffic stop in Vallejo on Sunday afternoon, a police lieutenant said.

Around 3:35 p.m. Sunday, an officer conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle in the 1600 block of Fairgrounds Drive, Lt. Kenny Park said.

The officer determined that the car's driver was a probationer who is subject to search and seizure. A search of the car turned up a loaded handgun and live ammunition, Park said.

All three men in the vehicle were arrested. They were identified as 30-year-old Vallejo man and convicted felon Dondi Davis, Steven Henderson, 45, and Carlos Addison, 55, both of Oakland.

Park said that while the arrests took place not far from the scenes of three separate shootings in Vallejo Saturday night, police have not determined any link between the suspects and any of the shootings.

"As far as we're concerned, we're treating them as separate incidents," he said.

Boy Steals Car Before Crashing and Fleeing In Concord

A 14-year-old boy was arrested Sunday evening after allegedly stealing and crashing a car in Concord, police said.

Police received a report around 6:50 p.m. Sunday of a car stolen from the parking lot of the Burger King restaurant at 3399 Port Chicago Highway, Lt. Tim Runyon said.

The car belonged to an employee of the Burger King, who got into a co-worker's car and followed the thief as he sped away from the restaurant.

The employee witnessed the thief crash her car. He and two other teen boys then exited the car and fled the area on foot, Runyon said.

Police caught up to the driver of the car after a brief foot chase. He was cited and released to the custody of a guardian.

Santa Rosa Suspect Arrested For Burglary, Vehicle Theft

A Santa Rosa man was arrested Friday on suspicion of burglarizing a used car dealership and stealing a van, a Sonoma County sheriff's sergeant said.

The owner of Avenida Auto Sales notified the sheriff's office at 8:35 a.m. Friday of the burglary and theft at the car lot at 3534 Santa Rosa Ave. in Santa Rosa, Sgt. Mike Raasch said.

The owner said a locked gate was damaged when it apparently was rammed by a vehicle, and that a 2003 Dodge Caravan was missing, Raasch said.

A surveillance camera recorded the burglary, which happened around 1:10 a.m., and sheriff's deputies found paperwork inside the business that identified the suspect, according to Raasch.

A Global Positioning System in the van led deputies to the 3200 block of River Road where Javid Kashani, 31, was sitting in the parked van, Raasch said.

Kashani was arrested on suspicion of burglary, vandalism, vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and a violation of probation, he said.

Kashani has been convicted of misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and trying to remove a peace officer's weapon, Raasch said.

He is being held under no bail in the Sonoma County jail.

Man Critically Injured In Excelsior District Shooting

A man was critically injured when he was shot in the head in San Francisco's Excelsior District early Sunday morning, police said today.

Officers responded at 3:33 a.m. Sunday to a report of shots fired at Mission Street and Silver Avenue, where they found the 24-year-old victim suffering from a gunshot wound to his head, according to police.

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

No arrests had been made and no suspect information was available in connection with the shooting as of this morning.

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

 

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Chevron, Air Quality Officials To Discuss Richmond Refinery Repairs

Chevron officials are slated today to address the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's board of directors about the progress of repairs to the crude oil unit at the company's Richmond refinery that was damaged during a major fire in August.

At its 9:45 a.m. meeting in San Francisco, air quality management district officials will discuss their visits to the refinery and will hear from Chevron representatives about reconstruction plans for the crude oil unit that was torched on Aug. 6. Richmond city officials are also expected to attend the meeting.

The fire caused a vapor plume that spread for miles and prompted 15,000 people to go to hospitals to complain about breathing problems.

In a letter dated Nov. 7 to BAAQMD and Richmond officials, Chevron Richmond refinery General Manager Nigel Hearne wrote that the oil company continues to work with federal, state and local investigations into the root cause of the fire.

Hearne wrote that Chevron estimates only about 20 percent of the crude oil unit was damaged in the blaze.

Refinery management is working toward replacing pipeways, tanks, pumps and other structures destroyed in the fire, according to Hearne. Repairs will also be made to a cooling tower and a motor control center damaged in the blaze.

Before it can complete the repairs, Chevron will need to obtain building permits from the city of Richmond. That permitting process, which could begin this month, will also be discussed at today's meeting.

 

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DUI Patrols Planned Around Candlestick After 49ers Game

San Francisco police will conduct extra traffic patrols in the Candlestick Park corridor today following the San Francisco 49ers' game against the Chicago Bears.

Motorcycle officers and marked police units will be in the Candlestick Park area from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., police said.

Officers will be watching closely for impaired drivers. The game starts at 5:30 p.m.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Monday Morning News Roundup

Suspects In San Jose Police Shootout, Robberies Tied To Carjacking, Homicide

The San Jose Police Officers Association offered a $10,000 reward Sunday for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in a crime spree that resulted in the murder of a San Jose man and the shooting of an officer.

One suspect, San Jose resident Jonathan Wilbanks, 26, is in custody in connection with the series of robberies, a homicide and a shootout with police, but a second suspect remains at large.

Police say Wilbanks and his accomplice committed four robberies on Friday, starting with a Little Caesars Pizza on the 2800 block of Story Road at 7:25 p.m.

They allegedly hit a gas station on the 1000 block of E. Capitol Expressway at 7:40 p.m., a Jack on the Box on the 600 block of Curtner Avenue at 8:43 p.m., and a spa on the 1400 block of Bird Avenue at 8:58 p.m.

Minutes later, the suspects allegedly tried to carjack San Jose resident Rory Parkpettiford, 22, in the parking lot of a 7-11 store on the 400 block of South Kiely Boulevard.

Parkpettiford was shot during the attempted carjacking, and was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Police intercepted the pair around 9:13 p.m., after two police officers spotted the suspect vehicle on U.S. Highway 101 near Interstate Highway 280.

The suspects exchanged shots with police at Tully Road and Lanai Avenue before eventually crashing on Cunningham Avenue.

Police took Wilbanks, who suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds during the shootout, into custody after a foot pursuit and search. He was arrested on suspicion of murder, two counts of attempted murder, four counts of robbery, burglary and auto theft.

The injured officer has since been treated for two gunshot wounds and released.

Oakland Port Workers Plan 24-Hour Strike Over Contract Talks

Port workers who say they have gone 16 months without a new contract plan to go on strike Monday and Tuesday in Oakland.

The Service Employees International Union 1021 has announced plans for a 24-hour strike starting Monday at 9 p.m.

The strike will kick off Monday night at Oakland International Airport's Terminal 1 at 9 p.m.

On Tuesday, picketers will target both the airport and the port.

The strike comes at a time when port officials are already under scrutiny.

Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin announced his retirement last week following an investigation into alleged improper expenditures, including public money spent at a strip club in Houston, Texas.

For further strike details, go to www.seiu1021.org/node/35122.

Man Fatally Shot Saturday Evening In Menlo Park Identified

A 42-year-old man who was fatally shot in Menlo Park on Saturday evening has been identified as Carey Cudlip, of Newark, according to the San Mateo County coroner's office.

Cudlip was in his vehicle in the 300 block of Ivy Drive when police responded to several reports of gunfire at about 6:30 p.m., according to Menlo Park police.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and seeing two people fleeing the area. One was seen running north on Ivy Drive and the other was running west on Modoc Avenue, police said.

Supervisor Committee To Discuss Muni Reliability Problem On Monday

A public hearing to discuss reliability problems with the San Francisco Municipal Railway system is scheduled to take place at City Hall on Monday.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said the hearing will cover Muni's lack of reliability, lack of adequate maintenance, and need for increased investment, according to a statement from Wiener's office.

"Muni's performance has deteriorated, including a 57.2% on-time rate in August, many missed runs, broken down vehicles and other problems that have undermined reliability," Wiener said.

Monday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors Government Accountability and Oversight Committee is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. in City Hall Room 263.

Men In Ski Masks Pepper Spray Santa Cruz Jewelry Store Employees, Fail To Rob Store

Three men wearing black ski masks attempted to rob a jewelry store in Santa Cruz on Friday afternoon.

The men entered Dell Williams Jewelers at about 12:55 p.m. and tried to break into a display case, according to Santa Cruz police.

A fourth suspect was driving a black Audi A7 with paper dealership plates from Audi of Oakland, police said.

One of the suspects sprayed jewelry store employees with pepper spray while two other suspects tried to break the display case, police said.

The suspects were not successful in breaching the case, and they fled the scene in the Audi, which was waiting on Pacific Avenue.

Police received numerous reports of the car driving recklessly through downtown on the state Highway 1 bypass, police said.

The car was later found abandoned in the 100 block of Fern Street. Investigators contacted the Audi dealership in Oakland and discovered that the car had been missing from the lot for two days.

The employees exposed to pepper spray were treated at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

The suspects were described as men between 20 and 25 years old with medium builds and dark complexion, all wearing baggy pants, and black ski masks over their faces.

Two of the suspects were wearing black hoodies, and the third suspect was wearing a gray hoodie. 

There was no description of the driver.

The incident was similar to recent robberies that occurred in San Carlos, Danville, Corte Madera and Campbell, police said.

Man's Body Pulled From San Francisco Bay Near Fort Baker

Authorities are trying to identify a body that was pulled from San Francisco Bay Sunday morning near Marin County.

The U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body of an adult man near Fort Baker just before 8 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.

No identification was found on the victim, and the authorities have not been able to match the man with any missing persons reports as of Sunday afternoon, the Coast Guard said.

There was no immediate information about how the victim died, according to the Coast Guard.

The case remains under investigation.

Carport, 3 Cars Torched In Early Morning North Oakland Fire

Firefighters extinguished a one-alarm blaze that torched a carport and three cars and threatened adjacent North Oakland homes early Sunday morning.

Fire crews were called around 4:50 a.m. to reports of a car fire between a house and an apartment building at the intersection of Market and 41st streets, Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Emon Usher said.

A few residents had already exited one of the buildings before firefighters arrived, and firefighters had to help residents living in the second floor of the apartment building exposed to the fire exit the building down a ladder, Usher said.

No injuries were reported.

The battalion chief said that the carport was fully engulfed in flames and three cars under the structure already damaged by the fire when he arrived on the scene.

A storage building behind the carport appeared to be only minimally damaged.

Fire and police investigators are looking into what caused the blaze.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Report

Mostly cloudy skies are expected in the Bay Area today. Highs are likely to be in the mid 60s.

Mostly cloudy skies are likely tonight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.

Mostly cloudy skies are likely on Tuesday, with a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s.

San Francisco Bay Area Friday Midday News Roundup

Oakland Airport Passenger Found With Suspicious Device During Security Screening

A passenger attempting to depart from Oakland International Airport on Thursday evening was arrested at a security checkpoint when a suspicious item was discovered, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman said today.

The passenger was at the Terminal 2 checkpoint at about 7:45 p.m. when TSA officers found the suspicious device, TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said.

The discovery closed the security checkpoint area and the passenger was taken into custody by Alameda County sheriff's deputies, according to Melendez.

Armed Teen Kidnaps, Sexually Assaults 65-Year-Old Woman In Vallejo

A 14-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the kidnapping, physical and sexual assault and attempted murder of a 65-year-old woman in Vallejo on Thursday evening, according to police.

Vallejo police were dispatched to the area of Hiddenbrooke Parkway and Interstate Highway 80 at 6:02 p.m. on reports of a woman who had been found bound by duct tape in a ditch.

Police and medical personnel arrived at the scene and took the victim to a hospital, police said. Information about her condition was not immediately available this morning.

Detectives spoke with the victim and determined that she had been kidnapped at gunpoint from in front of a retail store in the 100 block of Plaza Drive in Vallejo, police said.

Police said she was forced to drive to a location within five miles of her abduction and was physically and sexually assaulted, then left unconscious and bound by duct tape in a ditch.

Police said the suspect fled in her minivan and passersby then saw the victim in distress and came to her assistance and alerted police.

While the woman was being kidnapped, one of her family members had received a phone call from someone demanding money in exchange for the victim's return, police said.

Detectives located the suspect, who had returned to the area, andvtook him into custody without incident. His name is not being released because he is a juvenile.

The teen was found to be in possession of a replica handgun, the victim's property, and the victim's minivan, police said.

The juvenile suspect, identified as a Vallejo resident, was arrested for multiple charges related to the assaults, as well as on suspicion of attempted murder, carjacking, armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom.

He was booked into Solano County Juvenile Hall, police said.

Vallejo police plan to hold a news conference to discuss the case at 11 a.m. today.

Norman Yee Declares Victory In District 7 Supervisor Race

In the historically tight race for San Francisco's District 7 supervisor seat, board of education president Norman Yee declared victory over F.X. Crowley on Thursday, nine days after Election Day.

Yee edged out Crowley, a former member of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and San Francisco Port Commission, by 131 votes after six rounds of ranked-choice voting.

Thursday's totals, which appear to represent the final vote tally in the race, had 12,448 votes for Yee compared to Crowley's 12,317.

"I am pleased that the final vote count has been completed, showing I have come out in front," Yee said in a statement Thursday.

"It has been a very long eight days since Election Night for my family and my supporters," Yee said. "Through it all, they have stood by me and provided encouragement."

The San Francisco Department of Elections will certify the votes by a deadline of Dec. 4.

As of this morning, Crowley had yet to concede.

Nine contestants were vying for the seat in the Nov. 6 election to replace termed-out Supervisor Sean Elsbernd.

Michael Garcia, who was endorsed by Elsbernd, finished third. Yee acknowledged the neck-and-neck race, which Crowley was initially leading on Election Night before Yee went ahead last weekend as provisional ballots were tabulated.

Department of Elections director John Arntz said earlier this week that the race was the closest he was aware of for a supervisor seat in San Francisco history.

"I would like to thank my opponents for creating a dynamic race," Yee said. "I think we can all agree that we care about San Francisco and District 7."

As the winner, Yee will represent the district in the southwest part of the city that includes the West Portal and Park Merced neighborhoods as well as the areas near Lake Merced, San Francisco State University and west of Twin Peaks.

State Legislators Defend Moraga Teen Kicked Out Of Boy Scouts For Being Gay

Dozens of prominent local elected officials are rallying to the defense of a Moraga teen who was kicked out of his Boy Scouts troop after acknowledging he is gay.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer are among 32 state legislators who signed onto a letter authored by state Sen. Leland Yee urging the Boy Scouts of America to honor 18-year-old Ryan Andresen's bid to receive the Eagle Scout Award -- the Boy Scouts' highest rank.

The showing of support comes more than a month after the teen's mother, Karen Andresen, started a petition on Change.org asking the Boy Scouts to give her son the award and to end its discriminatory policy toward gay members. The petition had gained nearly 425,000 signatures as of this morning.

The Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council, which oversees the teen's former troop, has said that it was following the national organization's policy when it expelled Andresen after he informed troop leaders that he is gay.

The council's scout executive could not immediately be reached for comment this morning.

But state legislators are now urging the local council to reject that policy, as many troops nationwide have done, and to award Andresen the Eagle Scout Award, which the teen earned by completing an anti-bullying "Tolerance Wall" at his former middle school in Moraga.

"In defending this hurtful and discriminatory policy barring gay youth and leaders, the Boy Scouts of America are simply standing on the wrong side of history. And in doing so, the Boy Scouts are hurting the very people that you aim to serve: the young men who participate in your programs," Newsom wrote in a letter to the Boy Scouts this week.

In his letter to the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council, signed by the 32 state legislators, Sen. Yee wrote that the organization's decision to hold Andresen to a different standard than other scouts is "as offensive and un-American as it would be to do so because of the color of his skin."

The local teen and his mother, who both appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show last month, say that they are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from lawmakers and from people worldwide who have signed the Change.org petition.

Andresen said he is encouraged by the actions of companies like UPS, a large corporate donor of the Boy Scouts of America, which stated this week that it would no longer donate to organizations that discriminate, including the BSA.

"I really hope the Boy Scouts realize that this is just the beginning," Andresen said. "Their decision to uphold this awful policy doesn't just hurt gay Scouts like me, but it hurts the entire Scouting community. But I know that if enough of us speak out, we can change this."

Antioch Man Shot And Killed In Apartment Complex Wednesday Identified

A man who was shot and killed at an Antioch apartment complex Wednesday night has been identified as 32-year-old Juan Hernandez, a Contra Costa County coroner's deputy said.

Officers were called at 9:12 p.m. Wednesday to reports of a shooting at the Delta Pines apartment complex at 2301 Sycamore Drive, according to police.

Arriving officers located Hernandez, an Antioch resident, inside an apartment at the complex, dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

Inside the apartment, police also discovered a suspicious device and summoned the Walnut Creek Police Department's bomb squad, which determined that the device was not a bomb and removed it from the premises.

Antioch police are investigating Hernandez' death as a homicide but have not confirmed any arrests or suspects in the case.

Man Who Died After Apparent Fall In Berkeley Hills Identified

A man who fell to his death in the Berkeley Hills on Wednesday evening while drinking and hiking with friends has been identified as Jonathan Geovany Mendiola Urbina, 24, of San Pablo.

University of California at Berkeley police said they responded to a report of a hiker who had gone missing from his group near Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Boulevard at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Capt. Margo Bennett said when officers arrived, a hiking group of four people told them that the fifth member of the group had trekked to a different area and had not returned.

Police searched the area and found the man, later identified as Mendiola Urbina, down the hillside, Bennett said.

Bennett said police learned from the group that Mendiola Urbina and another hiker had started to climb a large rock in the area. The second hiker had left to return to the group but Mendiola Urbina stayed by the rock, she said.

Bennett said it appears Mendiola Urbina fell from the rock. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The members of the group said they had been drinking prior to the apparent accident, the captain said.

The apparent fall occurred on UC Berkeley property in the hills, but none of the group members are affiliated with UC Berkeley, according to Bennett.

The incident remains under investigation.

Cats, Dogs Up For Adoption Starting Today At Macy's Holiday Window in Downtown San Francisco

Adoptable puppies and kittens are expected to draw crowds at storefront window displays being unveiled today to kick off the holiday season at the downtown San Francisco Macy's.

Former Mayor Willie Brown will join San Francisco SPCA officials at 5 p.m. to pull back the curtains at the 26th annual window displays outside the department store at Stockton and O'Farrell streets.

More than 325 animals found homes and the adoption center raised nearly $80,000 during last year's holiday season, organizers said.

To see a preview of the different cats and dogs up for adoption each day at the Macy's windows, check the SPCA website at www.sfspca.org/holiday, SPCA spokeswoman Krista Maloney said.

The SPCA is still looking for volunteers to take on two-hour shifts greeting people on the street, accepting donations and directing interested families to adoption officials, Maloney said.

Those interested in signing up can visit www.sfspca.org/holiday-volunteer.

For those dissuaded by the large crowds but who still want a glimpse of the cuddly creatures up for adoption, a daily livestream of the window displays will also be available for viewing on the SPCA website.

The windows will remain open with pets up for adoption until Jan. 1, 2013.

For those who can't make it to Macy's to look at the animals, the SPCA will be waiving adoption fees on adult animals at the main adoption center at 250 Florida St. through New Year's Day.

Santa Rosa Man Arrested For DUI After CHP Pursuit In Two Counties

A Santa Rosa man was arrested on suspicion of DUI and evading police officers after leading the California Highway Patrol on a 30-mile pursuit in Sonoma and Marin counties early this morning.

Jacob Henry Shull, 26, was arrested following a pursuit that started when a Toyota 4Runner failed to yield on eastbound West Sierra Avenue in Cotati around 2 a.m., CHP Officer Jon Sloat said.

The Toyota then turned onto Old Redwood Highway and sped through surface streets in Cotati in excess of 90 mph before driving south on U.S. Highway 101 into Marin County, Sloat said.

Marin CHP officers joined the chase as the vehicle exited the freeway onto Manuel T. Freitas Parkway and drove through red lights and stop signs, according to Sloat.

The Toyota stopped at the end of Arlene Terrace in San Rafael where the driver, later identified as Shull, ran onto a pedestrian trail, Sloat said.

Shull eventually surrendered and was booked into Sonoma County Jail around 5:30 a.m. on suspicion of evading police, DUI and resisting or obstructing an officer, Sloat said.

Shull was on probation for DUI that required an ignition-interlocking device, according to Sloat.

San Jose Police Searching For Missing 75-Year-Old Man With Alzheimer's

A man suffering from Alzheimer's disease was located in San Jose today about 14 hours after his family reported him missing when he did not return home from a walk to a supermarket on Thursday afternoon, police said.

Fernando Nunez, 75, was found by San Jose police officers in the 1800 block of Oakland Road at about 8:20 a.m. today after residents reported a suspicious man standing close to parked cars, police said.

Nunez, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, which can result in disorientation and memory loss, was unhurt and reunited with his family, police said.

Foul play is not suspected in his overnight disappearance, according to police.

Nunez's family called police at 6:40 p.m. Thursday to report he had not returned after walking from their home in the 400 block of North 12th Street in San Jose a few hours earlier.

Nunez told family members he planned to go to the nearby Mi Pueblo supermarket to return a shopping cart.

Officers responded and searched for him throughout the night after a "be on the lookout" message was sent to patrol units, police said.

Oakland Man Charged With Alleged Craigslist Armed Robberies

A 19-year-old Oakland man has been charged with two counts of armed robbery in connection with alleged robberies of victims he met through Craigslist.

Oakland police said Cas Black also is a suspect in a string of similar robberies between Aug. 22 and Oct. 22.

They said Black placed ads on Craigslist, was contacted by potential customers and then robbed them at gunpoint when they arrived to buy the items.

Black was arrested on Nov. 9 but Oakland police didn't announce his arrest until Thursday night.

He has already been arraigned and is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Wednesday for a pretrial hearing. He is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $150,000 bail.

San Francisco City Leaders To Open Newly Renovated Sunset Recreation Center

San Francisco leaders will convene today to officially open a newly renovated recreation center in the city's Sunset District.

The Sunset Recreation Center, located at 29th Avenue and Lawton Street, has had renovations done to its 18,000-square-foot gym and clubhouse, sprinkler system, restrooms, doors, windows, roof, and mechanical and electrical systems. The center has also been made more accessible for those with disabilities.

The center, which will again be open for residents, "has been a community hub since 1940," said Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman Connie Chan. Chan said the renovations began in June 2011 and were just recently finished.

The cost of making the renovations to the center was $14.2 million and was funded by the voter-approved 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond.

District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu will join other city representatives, including Recreation and Park Commissioner Allan Low, for a ribbon-cutting event at the center at 1 p.m.

The Sunset Recreation Center has been a public space since 1937, when it was purchased by the city and turned into a park.

In the 1950s, Mayor Elmer Robinson dedicated a new facility on the site with a clubhouse and gym.

The latest renovation was the first one to be made at the site since the 1950s, according to city officials.

San Francisco Police Seek Suspect In Tenderloin Home Invasion Robbery

A man was robbed at knifepoint by a suspect who forced his way inside his home in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood on Thursday night, police said today.

The home invasion robbery was reported at about 10:15 p.m. in the 400 block of Ellis Street.

The 52-year-old victim heard a knock on his door and when he answered it, the suspect forced his way inside and held him at knifepoint, according to police.

The suspect, described as a man in his late 20s, took cash from the victim and then fled from the residence. He had not been found as of this morning, police said.

The victim was not injured in the robbery.

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

PG&E Employees Returning From NY After Helping To Restore Power

The last group of PG&E employees who traveled to New York to help restore power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is set to return to California today, according to utility officials.

PG&E sent around 250 employees, including overhead and underground maintenance and construction crews, electric first responders and damage assessment personnel, as well as logistical support and field safety personnel, officials said.

The first group of around 150 employees returned on Wednesday after working to help Con Edison in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The group of around 100 employees returning today have spent the past two weeks restoring power to Long Island Power Authority customers by replacing and repairing wires and transformers and cutting and pruning fallen trees.

They are expected to arrive at Sacramento International Airport around 1 p.m. today.

Bay Area Unemployment Rates Mostly Stagnant In October

Unemployment throughout the state dropped slightly in October, while Bay Area counties maintained similar rates from September, according to a state employment report released today.

The California unemployment rate dropped from 10.2 percent in September to 10.1 percent last month. In October 2011, the jobless rate was 11.5 percent, according to the state's Employment Development Department.

Locally, Marin County maintained the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.8 percent in October, the same as the previous month.

The highest unemployment numbers in the region come from Solano County, where a 9.3 percent rate continued in October.

San Francisco's rate remained at 6.8 percent.

The national unemployment rate jumped slightly to 7.9 percent in October compared to 7.8 percent the previous month, according to officials.

The state's unemployment rate is derived from a federal survey of 5,500 households throughout California.

San Francisco Bay Area Friday Morning News Roundup

Louvre Representatives Sign Agreement, Loan Rare Art To Legion Of Honor

Thursday marked an important moment in the history of the San Francisco fine arts scene as the director of Paris' Louvre and the head of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco met to sign an exchange agreement and open a new exhibition of French art.

At the end of a long, pristine white corridor on the Legion of Honor's lower floor, in a room flanked by glass cases of rare, polished porcelain artifacts, some of them centuries old, Louvre director Henri Loyrette sat next to Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Board President Diane Wilsey.

Just after 10 a.m., the two signed an accord that establishes a formal exchange linking the museums until at least 2017.

"Without question," Wilsey said, Thursday marks one of the most exciting things ever to happen to the Legion of Honor.

The accord, Wilsey explained, is part of an agreement between "the mother church of all museums" and San Francisco's de Young and Legion of Honor museums in which the two will exchange exhibitions, objects of art, educational material and ideas.

The accord will last for at least the next five years, "which is much longer than some marriages last," Wilsey said.

According to Wilsey, the first wave of art lent to the Legion as part of the accord is a rare collection titled "Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette."

The exhibit includes some of the Louvre's most precious treasures, including Louis XIV's personal collection of hard-stone vases mounted in gold and gemstones, the museum said.

Strikingly lit, the vases are made of solid stone amber, jade, rock crystal, agate, and amethyst and placed in glass cases throughout the exhibit.

According Marc Bascou, a representative of the Louvre, some of the actual stone pieces date back to the late Roman Empire.

Family of Man Killed Outside Home In Berkeley Hills Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against The City

The wife and two sons of a 67-year-old man who was killed outside his home in the Berkeley Hills in February filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city Thursday, alleging that it was negligent in the way it handled the situation.

Peter Cukor, who owned a logistics consulting firm, was killed outside his home at 2 Park Gate Road at about 9 p.m. on Feb. 18.

Daniel Jordan Dewitt, 23, who grew up in Alameda, has been charged with murder for allegedly killing Cukor with a flowerpot but a judge ruled in March that he is mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Dewitt's attorney, Brian Bloom said Thursday that Dewitt is being state mental hospital and he's due back on court on Jan. 25 for a progress report on his mental health.

The suit on behalf of Andrea, Christopher and Alexander Cukor, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, says that when Peter and Andrea Cukor saw a suspicious trespasser, later identified as Dewitt, on their property shortly before 8:45 p.m. on Feb. 18, Peter Cukor called the Berkeley Police Department's emergency number to ask that an officer be sent to their home right away.

The suit says a dispatcher told Cukor that an officer would be sent to his home "soon" but alleges that the dispatcher acted "with gross negligence and in bad faith" because the dispatcher knew officers wouldn't respond.

R. Lewis Van Blois, the attorney who filed the suit on behalf of the Cukors, said Thursday that the Police Department had "plenty of officers" on duty that night but the department's priority was to have them monitor Occupy Wall Street protesters who were marching from Oakland to Berkeley.

Van Blois said an officer who heard Cukor's call offered to go to Cukor's home but was told by his superiors not to respond.

Van Blois said the Police Department has the right not to send an officer to a potential emergency situation but in Cukor's situation they should have told him they weren't sending someone immediately but if the threat continued he should call them back.

The suit alleges that Cukor relied on the dispatcher's representation that an officer would be responding so when no officers came after several minutes he went outside to see if police were having trouble finding his house, as that had happened on a previous occasion when an officer had been dispatched there.

The suit says, "Peter Cukor would not have gone outside if he did not believe that a trained and armed professional police officer was approaching his home and would arrive at any moment or was in the street near the home but needed assistance to find the driveway."

When Cukor went outside with a flashlight, Dewitt confronted him and ultimately killed him, according to the suit.

Buster Posey Named 2012 National League MVP

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey was named the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player Thursday afternoon.

Posey, 25, has racked up a number of awards this year, including Comeback Player of the Year, a National League batting title, the NL Hank Aaron Award for best hitter, and a NL Silver Slugger for best hitter at his position.

In 2010, he was named NL Rookie of the Year.

Posey, a 2012 All Star, batted .336 this year, while hitting 24 home runs and driving in 103 runs.

He was part of both World Series championship teams for the Giants, in 2010 and this year.

The Baseball Writers Association of America chooses the MVP.

Vallejo Fire Chief: Three Fires Within 12 Hours Were Arson

Three two-alarm fires that burned within a half-mile of each other and less than 12 hours apart are believed to be cases of arson, Vallejo Fire Department Chief Paige Meyers said Thursday afternoon.

"The way they were set and the form of the accelerant are similar. There were obvious signs of deliberately set fires," Meyers said. The first fire, reported around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, burned in a house in the 1400 block of Alabama Street.

The second blaze, at the Vintage Cocktail Lounge at 732 Tuolumne St., started around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, and the third was reported at 7:30 a.m. Thursday in a pet clinic at 1207 York St., Meyers said.

All the structures that burned were badly damaged, Meyers said.

All 18 firefighters and a battalion chief who were on duty responded to the blazes, Meyer said.

There were no witnesses, and Vallejo police are looking for suspects, Meyers said.

Contra Costa County Jury Deliberating Conviction Of Man Who Murdered Former Girlfriend and Her Male Friend

A Contra Costa County jury is now weighing the fate of the man who murdered his former girlfriend and her male friend on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza.

Nathan Burris, 49, who is representing himself in Contra Costa County Superior Court, took the stand in Martinez Thursday to present closing arguments in the penalty phase of his capital murder trial.

The jury that convicted him last week on murder charges with special circumstances for fatally shooting Deborah Ross, 51, of Richmond and 58-year-old Ersie "Chuckie" Everette of San Leandro on Aug. 11, 2009 began deliberations Thursday afternoon to decide whether to sentence Burris to life in prison or to death.

His testimony Thursday morning came after closing arguments by Chief Assistant District Attorney Harold Jewett, who reminded the jury that the district attorney's office is seeking the death penalty in the case.

Jewett advised the jury that they are tasked with reaching the most just verdict, regardless of their own views on the death penalty or the perceived wishes of the family or of Burris himself.

Whether or not the death penalty is ever carried out, depending on state law at the time, the prosecutor told the jury that their condemnation of the defendant should "echo through the depths of time."

Jewett Thursday described Burris as a "psychopathic killer" and a sociopath who is devoid of a conscience.

"Nathan Burris is motivated by hate and he has been for most of his life," he told the jury Thursday morning. He reminded them of an incident in 1993 when Burris allegedly threatened to kill managers at an Oakland housing complex where he had just quit his job if they failed to deliver his last check within three days.

During testimony on Wednesday, Burris also spontaneously confessed to committing a string of armed robberies at Walgreens pharmacies in San Francisco during the mid-1990s -- a factor that Jewett said the jurors have the right to consider when determining a sentence.

The defendant himself testified earlier in the trial that his anger and hatred for Ross and Everette, the man Burris believed she was dating, spurred him to go to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza where Ross was working as a toll-taker during rush hour on Aug. 11, 2009. There, he shot and killed Everette as he sat in a pickup truck parked at the toll plaza, then ran over to the tollbooth where Ross worked and opened fire on her.

Thursday, he reiterated his oft-repeated stance that it's all the same to him whether he is sentenced to death or to life imprisonment, and that he is ready to accept his fate.

City College Students, Staff Protest Proposal To Consolidate Diversity Departments

More than 100 City College of San Francisco students, teachers and their supporters held a rally Thursday to encourage the school to not consolidate diversity departments as part of a plan to maintain its accreditation.

The group, which gathered at City College's Ram Plaza on the Ocean Campus, included members of the school's departments of women's studies, LGBT studies, labor and community studies and studies of various ethnic groups.

Those departments could be consolidated as part of a revamping of City College's administrative structure, one of several problems cited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which in July placed the school on "show cause" status.

City College last month submitted an action plan responding to the problems identified by the commission and has until March 15, 2013 to submit another report showing progress made toward resolving the problems.

Elizabeth Arruda, chair of the women's studies department, said the attempt to consolidate the departments "is happening nationwide," while others argued that taking away the departments' autonomy would dilute their quality and possibly lead to their elimination.

Shanell Williams, president of the Associated Student Council for the Ocean Campus, said each department "enriches students' learning environment." Williams said, "We're here Thursday to defend diversity."

Other speakers criticized another proposal that would reassign department chairs back to full-time teaching roles, a move school officials said would create savings of more than $2 million annually.

Forklift Operator Killed At East Oakland Plastics Company

A worker who was killed in an industrial accident at an East Oakland plastics company Thursday was a forklift operator who was trying to service a forklift, a Cal/OSHA spokesman said.

Peter Melton of Cal/OSHA said the worker at Super Link Plastics Inc. at 888 92nd Ave., identified by Oakland police as a 34-year-old Oakland man, was using one forklift to lift up and service a second forklift when the second forklift came down and crushed his head.

Oakland police said they received a 911 call from the company about the accident at 9:43 a.m. Thursday and when officers arrived the man wasn't breathing.

The Oakland Fire Department and Paramedics Plus responded and pronounced the man dead, police said.

Melton said Cal/OSHA's investigation into the accident will focus on whether Super Link Plastics implemented adequate safety measures and training for its forklift operations. He said the agency has six months to complete its probe.

Melton said after Cal/OSHA officials conducted a routine inspection at the company in November 2011 they issued two violations for minor seat belt and electrical issues and proposed a $395 fine but the company has challenged the findings.

He said a Super Link Plastic worker sprained his ankle when he fell while disposing of garbage at a public garbage facility on May 2, 2011, but after Cal/OSHA investigated the matter it decided not to cite the company.

Four Arraigned Thursday In Jewelry Scam At Alemany Farmers' Market

Three women and a man were arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court Thursday in connection with a scam in which they tried to dupe people into giving them jewelry and cash at a farmer's market last weekend, District Attorney George Gascon said.

Ying Liu Tam, 38, Ah Chung Liu, 48, Mudi Wu, 44, and Yong Hua Zeng, 53, were arrested Saturday after allegedly trying to scam two women at the Alemany Farmers' Market at 100 Alemany Blvd.

Three of the suspects approached a woman and told her she was plagued by evil spirits and that a purification ceremony was needed on her jewelry and money to get rid of the spirits, police Inspector Marty Dito said.

However, the woman had remembered media reports earlier this year in which three people were arrested for a similar scam, so she decided to go to the Ingleside Police Station rather than her home and came back with police officers, Gascon said.

The suspects tried to flee in a taxi once police arrived but were arrested.

Investigators quickly learned that a second victim had already given the suspects more than $10,000 in jewelry and cash and that property was recovered, Dito said.

All four pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to various charges for the incident.

Tam and Liu were charged with felony grand theft, extortion, attempted extortion and attempted grand theft. They are being held on $200,000 bail each, prosecutors said.

Wu and Zeng are each being held on $100,000. Wu's charges are attempted extortion and attempted grand theft while Zeng's are extortion and grand theft.

All four will return to court on today to set a preliminary hearing date.

Prosecutor Alleges Pair Killed Antioch Man Over $150 Debt

A Contra Costa County prosecutor alleges that a man and woman charged with murder in connection with a fatal shooting in Antioch last week killed the victim over a $150 debt.

Felicia Viscaina, 25, and Joshua Perry, 31, both from Antioch, were arraigned on murder charges in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Pittsburg Wednesday. The pair is accused of killing 44-year-old Vaughn Walker outside of his home on West 18th Street in Antioch the night of Nov. 8, according to police.

Viscaina had been released from County Jail only a week earlier after serving a year sentence on car theft charges and was also on parole for residential burglary charges at the time of the slaying, Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox said.

The prosecutor said the two went to confront Walker about $150 he owed them. The suspects allegedly shot Walker, who died from his injuries around 9:30 p.m. at a local hospital.

Knox said the pair then attempted to flee to Yosemite with the help of Forrest Murray, 30, of Antioch, whose car apparently ran out of gas before he could help carry out the plan.

Murray was charged with possession of ammunition and being an accessory after the fact.

Attorney Says Ruling Overturning Affirmative Action Ban In Michigan Could Set A Precedent For California

A lawyer for a civil rights group that won a ruling overturning a ban on affirmative action in Michigan public university admissions Thursday said the decision could pave the way for renewal of a limited affirmative action program in California.

In Thursday's decision, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati by an 8-7 vote struck down a Michigan voter-approved ban on affirmative action in admissions of women and minority-group members at the University of Michigan and other public colleges.

That ruling conflicts with a decision in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in April upheld Proposition 209, a similar prohibition enacted by California voters in 1996.

George B. Washington, a lawyer for the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, said, "I am virtually certain" the U.S. Supreme Court will review the Michigan case to resolve the conflict between the two appeals courts.

If the high court takes the case and "if we win, it will open the door to affirmative action in higher education," Washington said.

"I think this ruling (by the 6th Circuit) is a nationally important decision, partly because California and Michigan have the two greatest public university systems in the nation," he said.

Washington, a Detroit lawyer, was also one of the attorneys representing the coalition and 46 minority students in the unsuccessful challenge to Proposition 209 in California.

In the Michigan case, the group challenged Proposal 2, enacted by Michigan voters in 2006.

Both the Michigan and California initiatives were state constitutional amendments proposed by former University of California Regent Ward Connerly and both banned race- and sex-based preferences in state government employment, contracting and education.

The coalition's recent lawsuits challenged only the parts of the two measures that applied to public universities. The suits were based partly on a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed the University of Michigan's law school to consider race as one of a number of factors in admissions.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Report

Rain and isolated thunderstorms are expected in the Bay Area today. Highs are likely to be in the lower 60s with eastern winds around 5 mph.

Rain is likely tonight. Lows are expected to be in the mid 50s, with winds from the southeast up to 20 mph.

Showers are likely Saturday, with highs around 60. Winds from the southwest are expected to be up to 20 mph.

Burlingame Woman Fatally Struck By Train In Indiana

A Burlingame woman attending a small college in Indiana was killed and two other people were injured when they were struck by a train early this morning, according to the school and local police.

Therese Heymann, 21, a senior at Earlham College, was killed in the accident, reported just after 1 a.m. in Richmond, Ind., police and school officials said.

The other two students were airlifted to a hospital for treatment of various injuries, police said.

The trio was walking in the area when they were struck, according to police.

Earlham College, a Quaker-affiliated school, suspended classes today following the tragedy.

"This is one of the worst scenarios we can imagine," Earlham President David Dawson said in a statement. "This is a very tightly knit community and tragedies such as this affect us all very deeply."

 

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Man Stabbed In Head At Powell Street Muni Metro Station

A man was stabbed in the head at San Francisco Municipal Railway's Powell Street Muni Metro station late Thursday night, police said today.

The stabbing was reported at 11:58 p.m. at the station. The 21-year-old victim transported himself to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are not considered life-threatening, police said.

The suspect, a man described as being in his late 30s, had not been arrested as of this morning, according to police.

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.

 

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Donors For Disaster Relief Should Beware Of Scams

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office is warning people to beware of con artists soliciting donations to help aid the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

The culprits reach out to people claiming they are working for a community organization or well-known charities -- either by phone, email or in person, according to the district attorney's office.

Some red flags to be aware of include a solicitor pressuring for a donation, asking for cash, offering to come to a home to pick up a check or being unable to explain how a donation will be used, prosecutors said.

Instead, the district attorney's office said to donate directly to an established, major nonprofit organization, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army.

When contacted by anyone asking for donations, do not give out any personal information and do not click on any links when solicited for money through emails.

Anyone with questions or who believes they may be a victim of a scam is asked to call the consumer protection unit of the district attorney's office at (408) 792-2880.

 

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BART Passengers Can Anticipate 15-Minute Delay This Morning

Bart riders can expect trains to be delayed 10 to 15 minutes on the Richmond line in the Fremont, Richmond and Millbrae directions due to an obstruction on the track this morning, according to a Bart official.

 

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San Francisco Bay Area Friday Morning News Roundup

Mountian View Police Bust DMT Drug Lab, Seize Guns

Law enforcement officials have arrested three people and expect to arrest more at two Mountain View apartment complexes where police say they have found a drug lab, drugs and guns.

Mountain View police said that police officers from Mountain View and Sunnyvale joined forces with a Los Altos SWAT team, members of the state Department of Justice and the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team to serve search warrants at four apartments in two complexes located at 242 and 228 Bush St.

So far, law enforcement officers had found heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, an assault rifle, shotguns, other weapons and a Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) lab, police said.

Police had arrested three people as of 5 p.m. and expect to make more arrests in the case.

Mountain View police Sgt. Sean Thompson said that to his knowledge, this kind of drug lab was a rare find for police.

"We're still doing research but we believe this will be the third DMT lab busted in state and only the first one busted in the Bay Area," Thompson said. "They're still searching and they'll be out there well into the night."

Police said that authorities will also be working to clear hazardous materials from the DMT lab. DMT is classified as a Schedule I substance by the federal government and is a hallucinogen that naturally occurs in plants and can also be synthesized in a lab.

Fallen CHP Officer To Be Honored At Fundraiser Dinner

A semi-formal fundraiser dinner is set for Friday night in San Ramon to support the family of slain California Highway Patrol Officer Kenyon Youngstrom, who died after an on-duty shooting on Interstate Highway 680 in September.

All proceeds from the dinner Friday night at the Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center in San Ramon at 6:30 p.m., organized by the Contra Costa County Peace Officers' Alliance, will go to Youngstrom's family.

Youngstrom, 37, was shot in the head on Sept. 4 by 36-year-old Christopher Boone Lacy, the driver of a Jeep Wrangler Youngstrom had stopped on Interstate Highway 680 near Alamo for an obstructed license plate.

Youngstrom's CHP beat partner, Officer Tyler Carlton, then shot Lacy multiple times, killing him.

Youngstrom was pronounced dead the next day at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

He is survived his wife Karen, his two sons and two daughters, his parents Jill and Guy Youngstrom, four brothers and a sister.

Karen Youngstrom will attend Friday's dinner, organizer Carolyn Wilson said.

"We want her to see the support from the community," Wilson said. Close friends of the family are expected to attend as well, she said.

The banquet center is hosting the event at no cost to the nonprofit CCCPOA and providing food, beverages, service staff, a photo booth, and dancing for ticket-holding attendees.

Wilson encouraged Bay Area residents to dress up and make it a date night with plenty of meaning, as all money spent will support the Youngstroms directly.

Woman Kidnapped From Business Center Parking Lot Then Abandoned In Oakland Hills

A woman leaving work in Walnut Creek Wednesday night was kidnapped by two men who forced her to withdraw money from various ATMs before abandoning her in the Oakland Hills, Walnut Creek police said.

The 57-year-old woman was abducted as she was leaving her work place at the Shadelands Business Park in Walnut Creek around 7:30 p.m., police said.

She was walking to her car in the business center's empty parking lot when two suspects ran up to her and forced her into her car, tied her up and blindfolded her.

The woman was driven to various locations to get money from ATMs before the suspects drove her to an isolated area in the Oakland Hills, police said.

The suspects left and got away in a smaller, older dark-colored pickup truck, possibly a Toyota, with a loud muffler, police said.

The victim was then able to free herself and call 911.

Oakland police responded and sought medical attention for her, before handing the investigation over to Walnut Creek police.

The suspects were described as two white men in their early 20s.

One stood about 5 feet 11 inches, weighed about 185 pounds with broad shoulders and short dark hair.

He was last seen wearing a light colored T-shirt under a black zip-up collared shirt, and jeans.

The other suspect was about 5 feet 9 inches, with a slight build weighing about 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a mask, a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood on and jeans.

Anyone with information about the kidnapping is asked to call the Walnut Creek Police Department's investigations unit at (925) 943-5868 or (925) 943-5844.

Top Two Candidates In Supes District 7 Race Less Than 100 Votes Apart

The top two candidates are less than 100 votes apart in the race for San Francisco's District 7 supervisor, according to the latest results released Thursday by the city's Department of Elections.

FX Crowley, who has served on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and San Francisco Port Commission, is only 97 votes ahead of Norman Yee, president of the San Francisco Board of Education, elections officials said Thursday afternoon.

After six rounds of ranked-choice voting using the latest vote totals, Crowley has 10,689 votes or 50.23 percent, compared to 10,592 votes and 49.77 percent for Yee.

There are about 72,000 votes citywide that have yet to be counted, including both vote-by-mail and provisional ballots, according to elections officials.

The winner of the race will replace termed-out Supervisor Sean Elsbernd in representing the district in the southwest part of the city that includes the neighborhoods of West Portal and Parkmerced as well as the areas near Twin Peaks, Lake Merced and San Francisco State University.

Michael Garcia, who Elsbernd endorsed to be his successor, finished in third place, according to the latest totals.

The next round of results will be announced at 4 p.m. Friday.

Santa Rosa Driver Held Over For Trial For Road Rage Attempted Murder Of Bicyclist On Golf Course

A Santa Rosa man was held over for trial Thursday morning for the road rage attempted murder of bicyclist he allegedly pursued in his car onto a golf course in August.

After a preliminary hearing in Sonoma County Superior Court, Harry Edward Smith, 82, was ordered to stand trial on charges of attempted murder, hit-and-run, assault with a deadly weapon, making criminal threats and driving on a suspended license.

Toraj Soltani, 47, testified he was sitting upright while riding his bicycle on Pythian Road without his hands on the handlebars to give his back a rest around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 16.

Smith pulled his Toyota sedan along side his bicycle and said, "Get your hands on the handlebars you mother------," Soltani said.

"He said, 'Get out of Oakmont you son of a bitch, you don't belong here.' Then he veered into me and struck my left thigh," Soltani said.

Soltani testified he became angry and punched the passenger side mirror of Smith's Toyota twice with his fist. The Toyota was about 12 inches away, when Smith said, 'You damaged my vehicle. I'm going to get you. I'm going to kill you,' Soltani said.

Smith took out his cell phone and said he was going to call the police, Soltani said.

Soltani said he then rode his bike on the sidewalk and turned left on Oak Leaf Drive but Smith followed him. Soltani said he then rode his bike back to Pythian Road and down the cart path at the Oakmont Golf Course to escape the Toyota.

"I didn't look back. I thought I was safe," Soltani said. 

Soltani said he rode about 100 yards when he heard an engine accelerating before the Toyota struck the rear of his bike.

CSU Considering New Fees To Encourage Student Efficiency 

California State University Chancellor's Office Thursday revealed a proposal to modify the undergraduate fee structure in the hopes of opening up room for more new admissions that the Board of Trustees will review next week.

The proposal would establish new fees for students who have earned more credits than are necessary to graduate, are taking more than 18 credits per semester, or are repeating a course.

CSU officials hope the proposal will result in greater efficiency for students in attaining their undergraduate degree.

If passed, the proposal is estimated to generate $30 million annually, Assistant Vice Chancellor Robert Turnage said.

"Very little will come in fees," Turnage said in a teleconference about the revenue Thursday. "Most of the revenue will come from new students with the regular full-time fees."

Any student with more than 150 units completed, called super seniors, will be charged $372 per unit beyond that point.

There are currently 9,000 super seniors who would be given a one-year grace period to complete their degree, CSU Executive Vice Chancellor Ephraim Smith said.

Students at CSU generally need 120 units to graduate. 

The second fee will be charged to students who take more than 18 units per semester.

Currently, CSU has a two-tier fee system for students, charging a set price for students taking six or fewer units, and another for students taking more than six units.

If the proposal passes, any student with 18 or more units will be charged $182 per unit.

The third fee will be charged to any student who repeats a course.

Any student taking a course over will be charged an additional $91 per course.

These fees are expected to help students graduate on time, and give them a greater incentive to achieve their degree, Assistant Vice Chancellor Eric Forbes said.

Berkeley Development Measure Inches Ahead By One Vote

A ballot measure that would allow more flexibility in the development of large parcels of land in West Berkeley inched ahead by one vote in updated election results released late Thursday.

Measure T, which would amend the West Berkeley Plan and the city's zoning ordinance for areas west of San Pablo Avenue, was narrowly behind on election night and in an update on Wednesday but it's now leading by 16,640 votes to 16,639, leaving the measure in a virtual tie.

The measure had trailed by 26 votes on Wednesday and by 123 votes election night.

The updated results aren't final because the Alameda County Registrar of Voters must still count many more vote-by-mail and provisional ballots countywide, including Berkeley.

Registrar spokesman Guy Ashley said employees will continue counting ballots over the weekend and officials hope to finish counting sometime next week.

Measure T would allow buildings 75 feet high on six large parcels in West Berkeley. However, projects couldn't be built until the City Council adopts rules requiring developers to provide community benefits, such as affordable housing or job training requirements.

Supporters say the measure would create jobs and allow property owners to develop unused lots with the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue to the city to pay for enhanced amenities and services to the community.

But opponents say big new buildings would create an eyesore in the area and force rents to increase, making it less affordable for artists who currently work in the area.

Ancient Mammoth Tooth Unearthed Downtown On Display At Academy Of Sciences

The unique find of an Ice Age Columbian mammoth tooth discovered during construction at San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center in September is now on display at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

The fossil tooth was discovered by crane operator Brandon Valasik buried about 110 feet below street level on Sept. 10 while he was working at the Transbay Transit Center construction project at the downtown site.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which is leading the project, donated the tooth to the California Academy of Sciences on Sept. 20, where the ancient find was cleaned and persevered and added to the research fossil collection.

Academy of Sciences spokesman Andrew Ng said the tooth is part of an Ice Age display case in the Naturalist Center in the museum that will be available for viewing for the next few months. The tooth has been on view since Tuesday.

The mammoth tooth joins a wolf skull, mastodon tooth, saber-tooth cat lower jaw and bison vertebrae already on display, Ng said.

The tooth is an upper left molar of a Columbian mammoth and was found in two pieces. One portion of the tooth is still missing.

Although San Francisco was never covered in ice, during the icy Pleistocene Epoch about 1.8 million to 11,000 years ago, the San Francisco area was a grassy valley where, along with Columbian mammoths, saber-tooth cats, giant sloths, mastodons, elk, tapirs and bison lived.

The closely related woolly mammoth had a furry coat and lived further north.

The tooth is believed to be from an animal that lived between 8,000 and 150,000 years ago and was about 12 to 14 feet tall and weighed between 5 and 10 tons.

The ancient bones were found at the eastern end of the site between Minna and Natoma streets at First Street, which is under construction for the $4 billion transportation project. The first phase of the center is expected to be complete by 2017.

The tooth will be on display 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends at the museum located at 55 Music Concourse Drive.

San Mateo County Changes Supervisor Elections By Passing Measure B

San Mateo County voters have decided to change the way the county elects its Board of Supervisors by approving Measure B, and the measure's supporters believe future elections for county office will be more competitive as a result.

As of Thursday afternoon, Measure B, which changes the mode of selecting individual supervisors from countywide "at-large" elections to five separate "by-district" elections, was passing by a wide margin.

According to preliminary elections returns, Measure B had about 58 percent support with an estimated 70,000 mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted, according to the elections office.

Supervisor Dave Pine, who was a strong advocate for Measure B, said that more localized district elections would likely lower campaign costs and bring in a higher number of more diverse candidates for supervisor.

"It makes it possible for more people to run for supervisor," Pine said. "It reduces barriers."

Pine said the new process of electing supervisors would make it easier for candidates to run grassroots campaigns in their own districts.

"I was thrilled to see it get such strong voter support," he said. 

The next supervisorial election is scheduled to take place in 2014, when District 2 Supervisor Carole Groom and District 3 Supervisor Don Horsley will be up for re-election.

Before Tuesday's passage of Measure B, San Mateo County was the only county in California to have at-large elections for supervisors.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Report

Thunderstorms, hail and showers are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the mid 50s, with western winds up to 10 mph.

Cloudy skies, thunderstorms, hail and showers are likely tonight, with lows likely to be in the upper 40s. Northwestern winds up to 15 mph are expected in the Bay Area tonight.

Partly cloudy skies are expected Saturday. Sunny skies are likely later in the day, with a slight chance of showers. Highs are expected to be in the mid 50s, with northern winds around 10 mph.

San Francisco Bay Area Thursday Morning News Roundup

U.S. Judge Temporarily Blocks Prop 35 Internet Disclosure Requirement

A day after California voters approved Proposition 35, a federal judge Wednesday temporarily blocked the new law's requirement that the state's 73,000 registered sex offenders must immediately give police a list of their online screen names and Internet service providers.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson issued the temporary restraining order in San Francisco in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Wednesday morning by two registered offenders and a nonprofit group.

The temporary order will remain in effect until a Nov. 20 hearing on whether Henderson should grant a longer-term preliminary injunction against the disclosure requirement.

Henderson wrote in a four-page order, "The court finds the plaintiffs have raised serious questions about whether the challenged sections of (the law) violate their First Amendment right to free speech and other constitutional rights."

Proposition 35, the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act, was approved by 81 percent of voters in Tuesday's election, according to the secretary of state's office.

In addition to mandating that registered offenders must report their Internet information, it increases prison sentences and fines for people convicted of sex trafficking.

The plaintiffs are challenging only the disclosure requirement, which they claim infringes on their free-speech right to express their views on law reform and other topics anonymously.

The registered offenders who filed the lawsuit used the pseudonyms of John Doe, described as a 75-year-old Alameda man, and Jack Roe, described as a former California resident who wants to return to the state.

They were joined in the lawsuit by a group called California Reform Sex Offender Laws, which says it believes that no sexual abuse is ever acceptable, but that laws should be based on sound research and common sense.

The plaintiffs are represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Napa Man Arrested on Suspicion of Burglarizing Nancy Pelosi's Home and Several Others

A Napa man was arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of burglarizing six residences, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's St. Helena house twice, a Napa County sheriff's captain said.

The five burglaries in Napa County and one in Solano County occurred in the past week, Capt. Tracy Stuart said.

The suspect, Kevin Michael Hagan, 21, admitted the six burglaries since Halloween, including those at Pelosi's residence on Zinfandel Lane outside St. Helena on Nov. 5 and 6, Stuart said.

Deputies found a glass door to the main Pelosi residence and a glass door to the pool house had been smashed when they responded to an alarm there around 2:50 p.m. on Nov. 5.

No one was home at the time and it's unknown what was taken, Stuart said.

On Nov. 6 at 9:50 a.m., a caretaker at the Pelosi home discovered plywood that was placed over the broken glass doors the day before had been removed, and someone entered the main house and pool house, Stuart said.

It appeared someone looked through drawers and cabinets, Stuart said.

Sheriff's deputies responded at 10:10 a.m. Wednesday to a residence at 2150 Silverado Trail outside St. Helena after a caretaker found an upstairs door open and a locked bedroom door, Stuart said.

Thinking someone might be inside the house, the caretaker called police, Stuart said.

A sheriff's deputy discovered a window had been removed and a suspect was inside the house, Stuart said.

Hagan was found and admitted burglarizing the Pelosi residence twice and two other properties on Zinfandel Lane, Stuart said.

Stuart said Hagan did not realize it was Pelosi's home the first time he burglarized it but he was aware the second time.

Judge Dismisses Murder Charge in David Lewis Killing, D.A. Weighs Options

A San Mateo County judge on Tuesday dismissed murder charges against a man suspected of fatally shooting East Palo activist David Lewis in San Mateo in 2010, ruling that police had inappropriately obtained a confession, the district attorney said.

Gregory Elarms, 60, has been accused of following Lewis to the Hillsdale Shopping Center on June 9, 2010, where he allegedly shot the man once in the stomach with a .44-caliber handgun, fatally wounding him, according to the district attorney's office.

Six months after the killing, an anonymous caller in Pittsburg contacted investigators at the San Mateo County Police Department and claimed he had information regarding Lewis' murderers, according to police.

The caller, who turned out to be Gregory Elarms, allegedly said he needed protection because Lewis' killers had been threatening him.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that detectives offered to meet with Elarms.

While he was in police custody but before he was arrested, the suspect allegedly confessed to the murder and "muttered" something about needing an attorney.

When Judge Stephen Hall dismissed the murder charge and a related gun charge on Tuesday, he ruled that the confession -- a key piece of evidence in the case -- was inappropriately obtained, and that Elarms' Miranda Rights had been violated, Wagstaffe said.

"While we respect the judge's ruling, we believe it is erroneous," he said.

He said the district attorney's office will be reviewing the case and possible options for moving forward, such as appealing the judge's decision or re-filing murder charges.

The murder holds particular interest to the community because of Lewis' decades of work in East Palo Alto and the Bay Area, advocating for "the downtrodden" and working to reintegrate former inmates and parolees into productive roles in society, Wagstaffe said.

"We have to do everything in our power to make sure Mr. Elarms faces justice," he said.

Elarms, who had been ruled incompetent to stand trial until earlier this year, remains in custody without bail at San Mateo County jail, Wagstaffe said.

He is still facing a weapons charge for being found with an illegal sharp object while in custody, Wagstaffe said.

Rep. Stark Loses Congressional Seat to Stalwell

Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell has defeated 20-term incumbent Rep. Pete Stark in the 15th congressional district race in the East Bay.

Swalwell, 31, received 53.1 percent of the vote and Stark, 80, got 46.9 percent. Both ran as Democrats.

The district includes all or parts of Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, Sunol, San Ramon, Castro Valley, Hayward, Union City, San Leandro, Fremont, Danville, Byron and Tracy.

Swalwell couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday but Stark issued a statement saying, "It has been my honor to serve the people of the East Bay for the last 40 years."

Stark said, "I have worked hard to deliver results: accomplishments like writing the COBRA law to make health insurance portable between jobs, bringing the first computers to schools, and crafting President Obama's groundbreaking health care law."

He said, "I went to Washington by running against an unpopular war and for women's rights, opportunity for children and dignity for seniors. I leave knowing that the landscape has changed, but the needs of my constituents remain."

Stark said, "I congratulate Mr. Swalwell on his victory. I am happy to be of assistance in the future."

Second Suspect Arrested in Connection with Post Giants Victory Muni Bus Arson

San Francisco police arrested a second suspect Wednesday in the destruction of a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus following last month's Giants' World Series win.

Nicholas Hudson, 19, of Daly City, was arrested in South San Francisco at 10:15 a.m. and booked into San Francisco County Jail on arson and vandalism charges, police said.

The arrest stems from riotous celebrations after the Giants victory against the Detroit Tigers that included the torching of a Muni bus on Market and Third streets around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 29.

Another suspect, Gregory Graniss, 22, was arrested Oct. 30 after he was connected with the bus vandalism.

A San Francisco Chronicle photographer had captured a picture of a man smashing the windshield of the bus with a metal police barricade. The photograph circulated through social media and Graniss was identified as the suspect and he turned himself in to police, police said.

Graniss has since pleaded not guilty to felony vandalism and willful tampering with a passenger transit vehicle for the 8X-Bayshore Express bus that he allegedly targeted.

Graniss is out of custody on $40,000 bail and will return to court on Dec. 17 for a pre-hearing conference.

Police said additional suspects are wanted for breaking windows of the bus including a white man in his 20s wearing all dark clothing and a baseball cap who apparently used a skateboard to break windows on the side of the bus.

Another suspect was photographed using a barricade to break the Muni bus windows. That man is described as a black man in his 20s wearing a red shirt with gray horizontal stripes, police said.

Fate of Development Measure Remains Up in the Air

The fate of a ballot measure that would allow more flexibility in the development of large parcels of land in West Berkeley remained up in the air in updated election results released late Wednesday afternoon.

Measure T, which would amend the West Berkeley Plan and the city's zoning ordinance for areas west of San Pablo Avenue, is trailing by only 26 votes, or 50.04 percent to 49.96 percent.

The gap in the results posted by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters shortly after 4 p.m. is smaller than the 123-vote margin in the results announced shortly after midnight.

It will take several more days to count additional vote-by-mail and provisional ballots, voting officials said.

Countywide, about 85,000 vote-by-mail ballots and 40,000 provisional ballots still need to be tabulated. Voting officials don't have a breakdown of how many of those are from Berkeley.

Measure T would allow buildings 75 feet high on six large parcels in West Berkeley. However, projects couldn't be built until the City Council adopts rules requiring developers to provide community benefits, such as affordable housing or job training requirements.

Supporters say the measure would create jobs and allow property owners to develop unused lots with the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue to the city to pay for enhanced amenities and services to the community.

But opponents say big new buildings would create an eyesore in the area and force rents to increase, making it less affordable for artists who currently work in the area.

The gap also narrowed slightly Wednesday in the margin against Measure S, which would ban sitting on sidewalks in the city's commercial areas from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.

The measure trailed by 1,055 in the results announced just after midnight but the margin decreased to 1,101 votes in the updated tally late Wednesday afternoon.

However, Measure S still faces an uphill battle because it trails by 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent.

Supporters say the measure is needed to reduce the number of street people who loiter in front of stores because they scare customers away and hurt business.

But opponents say the measure discriminates against people who happen to be poor and the city already has an ordinance that prohibits people from lying on the sidewalk during daytime hours.

School District Apologizes, Drops Claim that Former Student May Have Been Partly to Blame for Sexual Abuse by Teachers

A woman suing the Moraga School District on charges of failing to act on her complaints of sexual abuse by teachers in 1996 Wednesday accepted an apology from the district for suggesting she may have been partly to blame for what happened, her lawyer said.

The school district's governing board at its meeting in Moraga Wednesday morning issued a formal apology to Kristen Cunnane for charging in its answer to her suit that she may have been "careless and negligent" prior to the alleged abuse.

"The Governing Board and its attorneys, Stubbs and Leone, apologize to Ms. Cunnane for any anxiety or distress caused by the inclusion of this defense in its response to her pleading," the district stated.

The district board will "withdraw the defense of comparative fault and any assertion of carelessness or negligence on the part of Ms. Cunnane" from its defense pleadings, according to the statement.

Cunnane, 30, a swimming coach at the University of California at Berkeley, issued a response though her San Francisco attorney Paul Llewellyn.

"We appreciate the apology and are pleased that the district is formally withdrawing the defenses," Llewellyn said. "We hope this signals the start of a more productive dialog."

A spokeswoman for school district Superintendent Bruce Burns said that Burns would have no further comment beyond the statement.

Cunnane has asked for unspecified damages in her suit against four defendants, including the district, a former principal and vice principal of Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School and a former district superintendent, charging they failed to act on her complaints of sexual abuse in the 1990s.

The plaintiff claims that the defendants did not follow up on her reports of sexual mistreatment by Julie Correa, a gym teacher, and Daniel Witters, a science teacher, in 1996 when Cunnane was a child enrolled at the middle school in Moraga.

Witters committed suicide that year after the sex abuse charges from Cunnane surfaced. Correa was convicted last year of rape and sexual battery and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Transportation Sales Tax Measure Still Narrowly Trailing

A measure that would double Alameda County's transportation sales tax to a full 1 cent was still narrowly trailing in updated election results released shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Measure B1 has received 65.6 percent of the vote, but that's short of the 66.6 percent, or two-thirds majority, needed to pass.

However, the results could change because about 85,000 vote-by-mail ballots and 40,000 provisional ballots in Alameda County still need to be tabulated.

Alameda County Registrar of Voters officials said it will take several more days to count the remaining ballots.

The county's transportation sales tax was first passed in 1986. Measure B1 would make the tax permanent and increase it from a half-cent to a full 1 cent.

It would raise money to increase spending on roads, freeways, public transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements and transit-oriented developments.

Opponents said in their ballot argument that the measure is "a massive tax increase" that would disproportionately harm working families because a greater percentage of their income goes to sales taxes.

Measure A1, a countywide measure to raise funds for the Oakland Zoo, also remains slightly short of the two-thirds margin it needs for approval. The latest results show 62.75 percent of voters for it and 37.25 percent against.

Measure A1 would generate $112 million over a 25-year period to pay for the basic needs and care of zoo animals, facility upgrades, staff, education programs and field trips.

 


Cloudy skies and showers are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s, with western winds up to 20 mph.

Cloudy skies and showers are likely tonight, with lows likely to be in the upper 40s, and western winds up to 15 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected Friday, with a chance of thunderstorms and hail in the morning. Highs are expected to be in the mid 50s, with northern winds up to 10 mph.

 

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Transit Officials Estimate Giants Parade Crowds At Least As Big A 2010

Bay Area transit officials are reporting that crowds headed to the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory parade are at least as big as the ones that showed up for the championship parade two years ago.

As of 9:30 a.m., BART had recorded 160,338 exits from its system -- 13,406 more than the day of the 2010 parade, and roughly 55,000 more than an average weekday morning commute, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said.

"We have very crowded platforms and stations and trains," Trost said.

There were five- to 10-minute delays systemwide because of the crowds this morning, she said.

Trost said BART will be operating on a rush-hour commute schedule for the entire day.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. near the foot of Market Street and will end with a celebration in Civic Center Plaza.

Caltrain was also dealing with packed trains headed up the Peninsula to San Francisco this morning, spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

Dunn said the agency ran seven extra trains during its morning service, including two express trains from San Jose to San Francisco with no stops in between.

"All trains have been very full," she said.

Dunn said Caltrain officials will monitor the situation when people leave after the celebration, and begin running trains every 15 minutes from the San Francisco station. The trains will stop at all stations, she said.

San Francisco Municipal Railway buses were also very crowded, with some full buses bypassing those waiting at stops.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said mid-morning, "We do have heavy ridership, but we're not overwhelmed at this point."

Rose said the agency anticipates that light-rail vehicles and buses will likely be more packed later today when the celebration ends and everyone leaves at once.

Several bus lines have been redirected from their normal routes on Mission Street, which closed around 9:30 a.m., and Market Street, which closed about an hour earlier, Rose said.

Golden Gate Transit ferries carried just under 13,000 people to the 2010 parade, and spokeswoman Mary Currie said the agency "is expecting we'll at least meet that number" for today's festivities.

"The crowd has now finally dissipated -- it's mostly stragglers now," Currie said at about 10:30 a.m. "We're going to take a break because we haven't had one."

She said there have been no problems with the droves of jubilant fans going to celebrate their team's victory.

"The crowds have been really courteous and patient and festive," she said. "Everyone is very, very well-behaved."

 

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Check out some of our most popular blogs:

     We Built a Stronger SF Economy on Smart Government Investments

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     Love Muni, Hate Muni or Somewhere in Between? Let the SFMTA Know!

San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Bay Area Steps Up to Assist East Coast in Aftermath of Massive Storm

After post-tropical cyclone Sandy made landfall Monday evening and continued to wreak havoc along the Eastern Seaboard from Virginia to Massachusetts, cutting power to millions and flooding homes and streets, the Bay Area is responding to the natural disaster.

The 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard based out of Mountain View sent 100 service men and women Monday to a staging area in Charlotte, N.C., to assist with victims, most likely affected by flooding, according to spokesman Capt. Donald LeBlanc.

He said seven aircrafts, including aerial refuelers and two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, left from Moffett Field Monday to assist with the rescue on the East Coast.

Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said the local Urban Search and Rescue Incident Support Team is on standby, ready to be deployed for water rescues.

"At this point California is committed to sending water rescue assets and a team if necessary," he said.

According to Gov. Jerry Brown's office, on Saturday ten first responders from teams in the Sacramento and Southern California areas were sent to Virginia to support Federal Emergency Management Agency requests.

Widespread power outages have affected more than 8 million, which is a top concern that President Obama spoke about at a briefing about the hurricane Tuesday morning.

"The President made clear that beyond the immediate lifesaving and life sustaining activities, which remain the primary focus, he wanted his team to continue to focus on what they can do to support state, local, and private sector efforts to restore power and asked the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to continue to work in support of FEMA towards this goal," according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security briefing report.

PG&E announced Monday that more than 150 employees were heading to New York to help restore power in the aftermath of the storm.

Utility companies in the storm's path have called for extra workers and recourses, with PG&E called to assist Con Edison in New York City and Westchester County.

PG&E will send overhead and underground maintenance and construction crews and electric first responders and damage assessment personnel along with other support staff.

Locals looking for ways to assist those on the East Coast can head to a Bay Area hardware store, Pedrotti Ace Hardware in Benicia, which is matching customer donations to the American Red Cross's Hurricane Sandy Fund.

The store hopes to raise $10,000.

"We're trying to inspire people" to spread good will, said storeowner Gene Pedrotti.

Customers can make donations at the store located at 830 Southampton Road in Benicia.

Man Arrested in Connection With  Vandalizing Muni Bus Following Giants Victory

Police arrested a 22-year-old San Francisco man Tuesday in connection with the vandalism of a Muni bus in San Francisco early Monday morning following the Giants' World Series victory.

Shortly after midnight on Monday the suspect smashed the windshield of a Muni bus at the intersection of Third and Market streets, police said.

The suspect was photographed while committing the act of vandalism, police said.

With the assistance of the public and media, the suspect in the photograph was identified as Gregory Tyler Graniss, according to police.

Police took Graniss into custody at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in San Francisco, police said.

He was booked into county jail on charges of felony vandalism and destroying a passenger transit vehicle, also a felony, according to police.

San Francisco police are continuing to investigate the vandalism and search for suspects who later set the bus on fire.

"This was a senseless act of destruction and there is no tolerance for such criminal behavior in San Francisco," San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said.

Anyone with information on the vandalism of the Muni bus is asked to contact police at (415) 553-1133 or call the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with "SFPD."

Mayor Lee, Giants Release More Information About Today's Parade

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Giants president and CEO Larry Baer Tuesday highlighted more details about today's parade that will honor the team on its World Series title.

The parade, scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at the foot of Market Street, will proceed down the thoroughfare before making a right at McAllister Street and ending at City Hall and Civic Center Plaza.

There, Lee will present the Giants with a key to the city and honor them in a celebration featuring speeches from players, coaches and dignitaries. It is the team's second World Series in three years.

The mayor said the city is "ready for a great, great celebration" that will be "a family-friendly event," a stark contrast to raucous celebrations after Sunday's series-clinching win that led to 36 arrests and destruction around the city.

"We want to prevent that from happening" again today, Lee said. 

Baer said "a parade can't just come together in 36 or 48 hours," so the team had worked in secret with city officials before the clinching game but did not want to publicize the plans out of fear of jinxing the team.

He said today's revelry will be "a day to relax, reflect and just celebrate our heroes."

Lee said a difference from the parade to honor the Giants' 2010 World Series will be that this year, each player will have their own vehicle with their family.

In 2010, multiple players were on wheeled cable cars that some onlookers said were difficult to see, he said.

"It will make the parade a little longer but increase fan appreciation," the mayor said.

Market and Mission streets will be closed to drivers between Justin Herman Plaza and Van Ness Avenue from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for parade and construction-related activities.

Lee said safety precautions during the parade will include four reunification centers for children who may get separated from their parents. He said he anticipates "quite a number of kids" attending the event.

However, San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza encouraged students to stay in school and not attend the parade.

"Every day and every minute of instruction counts," Carranza said in a statement. "So we encourage families to make sure their child is in school and ready to learn."

Councilwoman, Opponent's Supporters Trade Charges Over Yard Signs

The husband of Councilwoman Rose Herrera filed a report with police alleging assault and battery in connection with a dispute with supporters of Herrera's election opponent Jimmy Nguyen over missing campaign signs in the hotly-contested race for City Council District 8.

Herrera's husband, Matt Wahlin, filed a report with the San Jose Police Department Tuesday, claiming that at about midnight he suffered cuts to his face and hand and a bruised knee after at least one person knocked him down, the Herrera campaign said in a prepared statement.

Wahlin said he saw two people, one who pointed a camera at him and another with a bright light who then left the scene, the statement said. 

Herrera's campaign said before the alleged attack, Wahlin had been walking his dog and "came across Jimmy Nguyen campaign lawn signs placed on our property without permission."

"This had occurred several times over the past few nights. Matt removed the signs from our property and took them to a public garbage bin to dispose of them," Herrera's campaign said.

San Jose Police Officer Albert Morales confirmed that Wahlin had filed a misdemeanor assault and battery report Tuesday morning and that the matter is under investigation.

But in a news conference in the Evergreen neighborhood in eastern
San Jose Tuesday, Nguyen supporters charged that Wahlin has been removing
Nguyen's campaign signs from people's front lawns and other property, cutting
them into thirds and throwing them in trash bins at night.

Nguyen's supporters released a video they said shows Wahlin taking
Nguyen campaign signs to a trash container on Chemin de Riviere near Place de
Louise and then confronting the camera, shouting an obscenity and saying that
he had a knife.

Dustin DeRollo, a political consultant with the firm Saggau-DeRollo who said he represents the Committee to Protect San Jose Neighborhoods, an independent group that wants Nguyen for council, said he himself took the video over two nights.

The first scene with Wahlin took place on Sunday night, and the one with the confrontation happened sometime shortly after midnight Tuesday, DeRollo said.

At about 11 p.m. Sunday, DeRollo said he saw Wahlin drive to the intersection of Murillo Avenue and Chemin de Riviere, park on Place de Louise and then throw out about five of the signs into a trashcan.

DeRollo said he was recently asked by Nguyen supporters to help find out why lawn signs were disappearing from homes in the Evergreen neighborhood where Herrera and Wahlin live.

"We were contacted by people in the community who were concerned about the signs," DeRollo said.

He said that there were "stolen lawn signs from the street that Councilwoman Herrera lives on -- that's unusual."

Councilman Criticizes City Leaders for Voicemail Problem Response

Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington Tuesday criticized city leaders for what he said was their poor response to problems with the city's voicemail system the past 13 days.

Worthington said the problem has meant that Berkeley residents haven't been able to leave messages with council members during much of that 13-day period, unless someone was in the office to take calls and messages.

He said the problem began the morning of Oct. 18 and there were intermittent issues until last Thursday, when the system crashed completely until it apparently was fixed early Tuesday afternoon.

"It was consistently off for six days," Worthington said.

He said, "It's amazing that we're having this problem in the technological center of the world, with the most tech-savvy people."

Worthington said, "The city should not have hundreds of unanswered phones."

He said the city should have provided council members with tips for dealing with the situation, such as setting up a call-forwarding system or emailing constituents with an alternate phone number to use while their voicemail system was down.

"I think the public deserves better," Worthington said.

He said he sent an email with an alternate phone number to about 15,000 people in his district but he doesn't think other council members did anything like that.

City of Berkeley spokeswoman Mary Kay Clunies-Ross said, "The intermittent outages were caused by a faulty piece of equipment and because our telephone system is about 20 years old it took a few days to locate a replacement part."

She said, "The city is in the process of moving to a new voice over Internet protocol phone system for all 42 service locations" which was authorized by the City Council on July 17.

Clunies-Ross said, "We are sorry for the inconvenience this caused our residents and our staff and appreciate everyone's patience."

Appeals Court Upholds Murder Conviction for 2008 North Beach Shooting

A state appeals court Tuesday upheld a San Francisco man's conviction and sentence of 25 years to life in prison for the murder of a 29-year-old man outside a North Beach nightclub four years ago. 

Charles Heard, 27, was convicted in San Francisco Superior Court in 2010 of the first-degree murder and attempted robbery of Richard Barrett outside the Fuse Bar early in the morning of Nov. 25, 2008.

He was sentenced in 2011 to the term of 25 years to life.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal in San Francisco unanimously upheld
the conviction and sentence.

Barrett was wearing a necklace with a jewel-encrusted pendant depicting the Flintstones cartoon child character "Bamm-Bamm" when he was shot.

Two witnesses said they saw Heard and another man reaching or clawing at Barrett's chest and saw Barrett try to run away. Barrett was shot in the back with two bullets.

As Barrett lay dying on the floor of the Fuse bar, a friend who tried to comfort him saw him grasping the pendant in his hand. The friend collected the pendant and later returned it to Barrett's family, according to the appellate ruling.

Prosecutors contended Heard was the shooter, but the jurors rejected an allegation that he personally and intentionally used a firearm, indicating that at least some of the jurors did not believe that he fired the fatal shot.

The jurors were instructed, however, that they could convict him of first-degree murder under the felony murder doctrine, in which a person who commits a felony such as attempted robbery can be convicted of murder if the act results in a death.

In his appeal, Heard argued that there was no basis for the felony murder instruction because there was insufficient evidence that he attempted to steal anything from Heard.

But the appeals court said there was "substantial circumstantial evidence that Heard and another assailant intended to rob Barrett."

The court said the evidence included an FBI wiretap from four months earlier in which Heard spoke of robbing people of jewelry, the testimony of the two witnesses who saw the attackers grabbing at Barrett's chest, and the testimony of another man who alleged Heard stole a $22,000 pendant necklace from him at gunpoint two weeks later.

Nudists Rally Against Proposed City Ban on Public Nudity

Several people doffed their clothes for a rally Tuesday outside San Francisco City Hall in protest of a proposed ban on public nudity in the city.

The group is opposing an ordinance introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener that would prohibit the display of genitals or buttocks in plaza or parklets in the city, as well as on sidewalks, streets and public transit.

George Davis, who said he is "66 chronologically but 45 physically," was one of the protesters who bared it all for the sake of the rally.

Choosing what to wear, if anything, "is the first decision you make in the morning," Davis said. "It's an essential freedom that's proposed to be taken away."

The rally was initially planned to be on the steps of City Hall but preparations for the parade celebrating the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory prompted the group to move to a spot in Civic Center Plaza near an Annie's Hot Dogs stand.

The colorful crowd included a man adorned with nothing but a pet parrot on his shoulder and other naked men who held signs with the supervisor's picture that said "the only Wiener that doesn't belong in San Francisco."

Ckiara Rose was one of two women who undressed for the rally and said the public nudists in the city are innocuous.

"No one is harming anyone here," Rose said. "Has anyone ever died by looking at us naked?"

Wiener has said he felt the legislation was necessary after an increasing amount of nudists were showing up regularly in Jane Warner Plaza in the city's Castro District.

He said Tuesday, "I disagree that people should be able to take over public spaces and use them as nudist colonies, it's just not the best way for us to go."

If the board approves the proposal, violations would cost $100 for the first offense and $200 for the second, with rising penalties for each additional offense within a year.

Violators, however, would not be required to register as sex offenders and the legislation would not apply to street fairs and parades like Folsom Street Fair and the Pride Parade.

The ordinance will be heard at a board committee hearing on Monday and the nudists said they plan on attending. However, they will have to wear clothes -- public nudity is banned at City Hall.

Three Men Ordered to Stand Trial For Planned Robbery of Armored Car Service Company

Three Santa Rosa men were held over for trial Tuesday on charges of attempted first-degree robbery and conspiring to rob millions of dollars in August from an armored car service that had been robbed the year before.

Monico Dominguez, 39, his nephew Juan Manuel Dominguez Jr., 27, and 33-year-old Shawn Geernaert also were charged with attempted kidnapping with the intent to rob the Garda Cash Logistics in southwest Santa Rosa on Aug. 6.

After a preliminary hearing in Sonoma County Superior Court, Judge Kenneth Gnoss ruled Tuesday there was no evidence of attempted kidnapping. 

Monico Dominguez, who also is charged with robbing nearly $1 million from Garda Cash Logistics on Aug. 11, 2011, also was held to answer to soliciting criminal acts and two counts of robbery with the personal use of a firearm.

Geernaert also was ordered to stand trial for charges of possession of an assault weapon.

The three defendants were arrested Aug. 7 after an informant notified police about the planned heist. They are being held in the Sonoma County jail under bail between $1 million and $5 million.

The prosecution alleges Monico Dominguez and other unnamed defendants who have not been charged were wearing body armor and carrying assault weapons when they robbed Garda Cash Logistics of over $990,000 last year. The thieves left several millions of dollars behind, Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner said.

The masked robbers ducked under a door that was closing after an armored car entered the building at 1650 Northpoint Parkway around 10:45 p.m. in last year's robbery, according to Santa Rosa police.

Monico Dominguez conspired with Juan Dominguez and Geernaert to rob the armored car service again, Waner said. To make sure that millions of dollars would not be left behind, the plan was to drive away in an armored car and hide it in a "safe harbor", Geernaert's cabinet shop, Waner said.

"This is a huge, sophisticated conspiracy," Waner said when the three defendants were arraigned.

Geernaert's attorney Joe Stogner said his client, who was acquainted with Monico Dominguez, knew nothing about the planned Aug. 6 robbery.

Update: Prisoner Death Leads to Jail Lockdown

Prisoner arrivals in the Martinez jail reopened Tuesday evening
after a death there forced a jail lockdown Tuesday afternoon, a sheriff's
spokesman said.

At about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday a 58-year-old inmate became combative
with deputies in the intake area, and while he was being escorted to a
holding cell, a deputy used a Taser on him, Contra Costa County sheriff's
spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

The man, who had been brought to the jail earlier in the morning by Pinole police, was then placed in a safety cell.

When deputies checked on him later at 2:30 p.m., he was found unresponsive in his cell. Medical staff attempted CPR and he was transported to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The jail was locked down and no prisoners could be brought in until the intake area reopened at about 7:15 p.m. The case is being investigated by the sheriff's office and the district attorney's office, Lee said.

Two Arrested in Connection with Mission Homicide

A 20-year-old man and 14-year-old boy have been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting in San Francisco's Mission District early Tuesday morning, police said.

Officers responded at 12:03 a.m. to a shooting at the intersection of South Van Ness Avenue and 20th Street, where they found a man in his 20s lying on the sidewalk and suffering from an apparent gunshot wound, according to police.

The victim, whose name is not yet being released, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses led officers to the area of 21st and Folsom streets where they detained four people. Investigators also found two handguns and several discarded articles of clothing in the 600 block of Shotwell Street, police said.

Officers eventually arrested Sterling Samm, 20, and the 14-year-old boy on suspicion of murder and weapons charges.

Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes the Mission, praised the quick action by police to arrest the suspects.

"The swiftness of the arrests, I think, sends a very clear message that we are serious about protecting our residents, and that anyone who engages in criminal activity will have to deal with law enforcement," Campos said during Tuesday's board meeting.

The shooting remains under investigation by police. Anyone with information is asked to call Inspectors Dedet or Velarde or Sgt. Warnke of the department's homicide unit at (415) 553-1145.

People can also call the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 and begin the message with "SFPD."

 

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely in the Bay Area this morning, with a chance of rain in the afternoon. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s, with winds up to 20 mph.

Rain is expected this evening, with lows likely to be in the mid 50s.

Cloudy skies and showers are likely Thursday morning. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s.

 

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Trains, Buses Packed As Giants Fans Flock To World Series Victory Celebration

Droves of San Francisco Giants fans are making their way into the city today for a parade to celebrate the team's second World Series title in three seasons.

Even before the sun came up, BART trains in the East Bay were already packed with orange-and-black-clad fans.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said ridership is significantly up from an average workday, but that trains are running smoothly.

All available trains are in service, Trost said. The Dublin/Pleasanton, Millbrae and Civic Center stations have been the busiest, she said.

San Francisco Municipal Railway buses were also packed, with some full buses bypassing those waiting at bus stops.

The Giants' World Series victory parade is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. near the foot of Market Street and travel to City Hall, where a massive celebration will be held in Civic Center Plaza.

On a BART train heading from Fremont to San Francisco this morning, numerous fans at one point joined in a "Let's go Giants" chant.

Of the parade-goers was Arum Kashy, 21, of Union City. Kashy took the day off from his job as a software engineer to help congratulate the team.

"It's going to be madness today," Kashy said.

Kashy said he thinks the 2012 team is better than the team in 2010, when the Giants also won the World Series.

"This team always had the 'it' factor," Kashy said.

One dedicated fan who chose not to give his name, a San Jose native now living in Virginia, flew out to the Bay Area Monday to celebrate. He said a lot of his friends who still live in the Bay Area called in sick to work today.

"Everyone is sick, it's an epidemic," he said.

One of those friends is Joel Sustiguer, 32, of San Lorenzo, who said he is afflicted with "Giants fever."

"I never had doubts about this year's playoff run," Sustiguer said. This year's parade is going to be packed, and way better than 2010."

As the parade start time nears, Trost advised riders to make sure to fill all the cars, including the lead and last cars, which are typically less crowded.

As of 8:15 a.m., all trains were on time, but Trost said people should still allow time for delays.

Ridership is already up from the 2010 parade day, she said.

Business was booming at stores and eateries near Civic Center early this morning. Lines were out the door at Sam's Diner and a Subway sandwich shop on Market Street, as well as the Starbucks and Anderson Bread Co. in Fox Plaza at Market and 10th streets.

Crowds had already formed in Civic Center Plaza, where fans waited in a drizzle of rain to honor their team.

 

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Man Arrested In Connection With Vandalizing Muni Bus Following Giants Victory

Police arrested a 22-year-old San Francisco man Tuesday in connection with the vandalism of a Muni bus in San Francisco early Monday morning following the Giants' World Series victory.

Shortly after midnight on Monday the suspect smashed the windshield of a Muni bus at the intersection of Third and Market streets, police said.

The suspect was photographed while committing the act of vandalism, police said.

With the assistance of the public and media, the suspect in the photograph was identified as Gregory Tyler Graniss, according to police.

Police took Graniss into custody at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in San Francisco, police said.

He was booked into county jail on charges of felony vandalism and destroying a passenger transit vehicle, also a felony, according to police.

San Francisco police are continuing to investigate the vandalism and search for suspects who later set the bus on fire.

"This was a senseless act of destruction and there is no tolerance for such criminal behavior in San Francisco," San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said.

Anyone with information on the vandalism of the Muni bus is asked to contact police at (415) 553-1133 or call the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD.

 

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     Love Muni, Hate Muni or Somewhere in Between? Let the SFMTA Know!

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