One-Day Strike Closes Some San Francisco Courtrooms And All Clerk’s Offices
A one-day strike by nearly 200 San Francisco Superior Court clerks closed some courtrooms and all clerks' offices Monday, but administrators said they kept essential functions going by reassigning other, nonstriking workers.
"I'm not saying that justice is at a platinum level, but justice is continuing," said Court Executive Officer Michael Yuen.
"The court is doing everything it can to make sure justice will be accessible and is working in San Francisco," he said.
The strike by members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 was to protest a 5 percent pay cut imposed by the court at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.
The cut was made necessary by ongoing court budget reductions made during the state's fiscal crisis, Yuen said.
The local represents clerks who work in courtrooms, stand behind public counters and maintain court files.
Three other unions, representing about 180 managers, supervisors and court reporters, previously accepted the 5 percent cut.
Local 1021 contends the San Francisco court management didn't provide the financial information required by federal labor law to show the need for the cuts.
"We're doing this because the Superior Court is not being transparent about the financial data we're entitled to by law," said Gary Feliciano, a deputy clerk and shop steward who was among about 80 workers marching with picket signs outside the Civic Center Courthouse.
Felciano said that despite any inconvenience to the public Monday, "The public has been inconvenienced for the last three years. The public has lost services, services and services.
"We're the last stand for the public," he said.
Yuen, speaking at a news conference inside the courthouse, said the strike forced the court to close more than one-third of its courtrooms and all of its clerk's offices, including the windows where people pay or contest traffic tickets.
San Francisco Giant Pablo Sandoval Will Not Face Charges
San Francisco Giant Pablo Sandoval will not face charges in connection to allegations that he sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman in Aptos last month, according to the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office.
Sandoval, 25, was being investigated in connection with an incident in which the woman told authorities that the Giants' third baseman had assaulted her at a resort in Aptos.
The announcement follows a similar statement Thursday by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office that it's own independent investigation had not revealed enough evidence to warrant arresting Sandoval.
On Monday, after reviewing the sheriff's department's investigation, the district attorney's office announced it agreed there was not enough evidence to file charges or arrest Sandoval.
"Nothing from the physical evidence and other witnesses helped corroborate her story. All evidence that might be relevant to the contested issues of force and lack of consent is simply inconclusive," said Deputy District Attorney Bob Lee.
Lee also mentioned that the "nature and number of the complainant's inconsistencies" led his office to the decision not to charge Sandoval.
The woman had filed a complaint against Sandoval at 4:25 a.m. on the morning of June 1. She said she had met a group of people in downtown Santa Cruz the previous night, then gone to the resort, according to the sheriff's office.
An employee at the Motiv restaurant and bar at 1209 Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz said Sandoval was at the bar that night.
According to Lee, the sheriff's department's investigation was extensive and included interviews with witnesses, search warrants, security video tapes, text messages, toxicology reports and physical evidence.
Bill Lockyer Files For Divorce From Wife Nadia Lockyer
California Treasurer Bill Lockyer has filed for divorce from his wife, former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Davis Lockyer, his spokesman said Monday.
Bill Lockyer, 71, filed the divorce papers in Alameda County Superior Court on Friday, according to his spokesman, Tom Dresslar.
The couple have been married for nine years and have an 8-year-old son.
Nadia Lockyer, 41, who has been in a substance abuse treatment program and alleges that her ex-boyfriend assaulted her in a motel in Newark on Feb. 3, announced her resignation on April 20.
Lockyer, who was elected to office in November 2010, said in her letter of resignation that said she wasn't able to be a good mother to her child and represent her 325,000 constituents in District 2 "while also trudging the waters of early recovery from addiction and the aftermath of interpersonal violence."
Lockyer apparently was referring to an incident at a motel in Newark on Feb. 3 in which she alleges that an ex-boyfriend assaulted her.
The District 2 seat that she served encompasses Hayward, Newark and Union City and parts of Fremont and Sunol. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted last month to have former Union City Councilman Richard Valle fill the seat until the November election.
Dresslar said Bill Lockyer wants the divorce petition "to be resolved to serve the best interests of his son" and "to be handled as privately and amicably as possible."
Lockyer's attorney, Bruce Jobson, couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Nadia Lockyer also could not be reached for comment.
Tenderloin Market Accused Of Illicit Activity To Pay $30,000 To City Of San Francisco
The owner of a market in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood accused of allowing drug deals and other illicit activity to take place there agreed Monday to pay $30,000 to the city and abide by a strict injunction, according to the city attorney's office.
Barah Market, located at 200 Leavenworth St., was one of two Tenderloin markets targeted by City Attorney Dennis Herrera in a lawsuit filed Jan. 30 that alleged the business provided a safe haven for drug deals and also bought and sold stolen merchandise.
The other market named in the lawsuit, Razan Deli at 391 Ellis St., was ordered closed for a year by a judge on April 1.
A San Francisco Superior Court judge Monday approved an agreement requiring Jaber Algahim, the owner of Barah Market, to pay $30,000 over the next 45 months, as well as fulfill several other obligations.
The market must close between midnight and 7 a.m. each night, employ a security guard between 8 p.m. and midnight and maintain a video surveillance system, among other terms of the injunction, which will last for at least the next two years, according to the city attorney's office.
The market "played a central role in drug dealing and related crimes that victimized its neighbors for too long, and the court acknowledged that the evidence of their lawlessness was overwhelming," Herrera said in a statement.
"My clients are glad that they have this thing resolved, but at the same time, they feel the city and county was very hard on them," said Dan Siegel, an attorney representing the market.
Attorney Seeks Damages For Hans Reiser’s Children
An attorney who represents Hans Reiser's two children asked jurors Monday to order Reiser to pay millions of dollars of damages for depriving them of their mother, Nina Reiser, by murdering her.
In his closing argument in Reiser's wrongful death trial in Alameda County Superior Court, the children's attorney, Arturo Gonzalez, said, "I ask you to do some justice for Nina and her family. They didn't deserve this."
Hans Reiser, 48, is serving a term of 15 years to life in state prison for murdering Nina Reiser, 31, at his home in the Oakland hills on Sept. 3, 2006, while they were in the midst of divorce proceedings.
Nina had been awarded custody of the children but Hans was allowed to have them on alternate weeks.
The couple's children, Rory, 12, and Niorline, 11, have been living in Russia, where Nina was born and raised, with Nina's mother since December 2006.
Gonzalez is asking jurors to award a total of $25 million to Rory and Niorline. He said each child should get $10 million in damages and Reiser should be ordered to pay an additional $5 million in punitive damages to deter other husbands from murdering their wives.
Gonzalez said that although it's uncertain if Reiser has any assets at this time, he said Reiser has an opportunity to create valuable business ideas while he's in state prison because of his experience as a computer engineer who still owns a software company.
Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes Monday and will resume their deliberations this morning.
Addressing jurors in an hour-long closing argument, Reiser was unapologetic for killing Nina, saying he did so to stop her from harming their children by inventing illnesses in an effort to make him look like a bad father so she could get custody of them.
Reiser alleged that Nina suffered from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which is a disorder in which parents fake illnesses in their children to gain attention and sympathy, and said there was nothing he could do to cure her of that syndrome.
Reiser said, "My heart didn't want to kill her but I forced myself to kill her" because he believed a textbook's assertion that people who have Munchausen syndrome by proxy and have elevated levels of the hormone oxytocin "are like heroin addicts" and can't be helped.
Construction Of New Wharves, Promenade Set To Get Under Way At Redwood City Port
A $13.9 million project to revamp the Port of Redwood City is set to begin at the end of August, a port official said Monday.
Manager of operations Don Snaman said the Wharves 1 & 2 Modernization Project will create hundreds of feet of new concrete docking space for ships and barges that will allow for safer, more efficient use of the port's facilities.
"We're removing the old, unsafe, dilapidated dock that was originally built in the late 1930s and replacing it with a new concrete structure," Snaman said.
The Port of Redwood City -- the southernmost deepwater port on San Francisco Bay -- saw the number of vessels making calls nearly double during the last fiscal year compared to the year before.
Snaman said that 48 ships and 26 barges called at the port last year, a significant increase from the 36 ships and 11 barges that came in the year before.
The increase is due in large part to a rise in Bay Area construction activity, according to port executive director Mike Giari.
Sand, gravel and other construction materials that move through the port saw a 51 percent increase in volume in fiscal year 2011-2012.
The wharves modernization project will allow the port to increase its operating capacity even further, Snaman said.
The first phase of the project involves demolishing existing wharves, pilings and warehouses, while the second phase will see the construction of the new concrete wharf, which will be 426 feet long and 58 feet wide, with 30-foot wide access ramps to shore.
The improvement project also includes upgrades to the port's public access areas, including the marina and fishing pier.
The major addition will be a new 400-foot waterfront promenade running parallel to the shoreline, with new handicap access and parking.
The promenade will feature a new lawn, landscaping and a raised seating area with views of the Bay.
The modernization project is currently in its design phase, with demolition work scheduled to begin in August or September, Snaman said.
Construction is expected to finish by the end of 2013.
Crews Break Ground On New High-Rise At One Rincon Hill In San Francisco
Crews broke ground Monday on a new high-rise building at One Rincon Hill in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood, a companion to the taller tower already at the site.
The new, 52-floor north tower at First and Harrison streets will go alongside the 64-floor south tower, which its developers tout as the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi River.
The new 299-unit tower "will bring much needed housing to the San Francisco residential market, while at the same time, adding another high-quality real estate property to the fantastic city skyline," Rod Vogel, managing director at Principal Real Estate, said in a statement.
Principal Real Estate is one of the developers of the tower, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014.
The north tower at One Rincon Hill opened in February 2008 and currently has more than 650 residents, according to the developers.
Because of a lack of below-market rate units at the new building, developers are paying a $15.1 million fee to the city, as well as more than $10 million in other fees.
San Jose Defendants Accused Of Neglecting Disabled Residents Appear In Court
Four people accused of neglecting mentally disabled residents at an uncertified group home were arraigned Monday, according to Deputy District Attorney Charles Huang.
On July 2nd, police arrested five caretakers after finding 12 dependent adults living in a squalid house with rotting food, locked refrigerators, no running water and about 25 dogs.
All five were out on bail but four were taken into custody again Monday after the judge raised their bail from $10,000 to $50,000.
The defendants, Kathy Le, George Dac Nguyen, Jennifer Ngo, Charles Nguyen, and Margaret Ngo, were charged with dependent adult abuse and animal neglect on July 5, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
The defendants were accused of beating, rarely bathing, and withholding food and toilet use from 12 dependent adults who suffer schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
Prosecutors also allege that the defendants were taking the residents' social security checks.
Authorities first learned of the abuse on May 31, when family members of one disabled adult complained to San Jose police that they could not visit their relative at the home and were told that the relative did not even live at the care center.
Initially unable to enter the home, police saw the resident inside and entered to discover abject conditions. Residents were sleeping on mattresses and the home was filled with urine and feces from the 25 dogs, according to prosecutors.
Residents there told investigators they were kept in their rooms all day and their clothes were only washed once a month, right before their monthly doctor's appointment.
None of the defendants, all of whom have hired private attorneys, entered a plea Monday, Huang said. Le was the only defendant who did not appear in court Monday, though her lawyer was present.
According to Huang, the adults who were removed from house and taken into Adult Protective Custody are now in licensed care facilities. The dogs were taken by Santa Clara County Animal Care and Control.
Huang added that resident's families and caretakers had informal care agreements with the defendants, whose neglectful "care facility" was not licensed.
If convicted, the defendants could each face up to 18 years in prison.
The defendants are scheduled to appear in court again on August 21.
23-Year-Old Man Killed In Half Moon Bay Crash With Parked Car
A 23-year-old Sacramento man was killed in fiery crash in Half Moon Bay early Monday morning, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies were called to a the 400 block of Kelly Avenue, where a 1991 Honda Civic had crashed into a parked 2000 Honda Passport at about 3:25 a.m., according to the sheriff's office.
The engine in the Honda Civic burst into flames upon impact, and the driver was pulled out of the car by nearby residents, the sheriff's office said.
The Honda Passport was pushed about 150 feet from where it was parked by the force of the crash.
Arriving deputies put out the engine fire, and the victim was taken to Stanford Hospital where he later died.
The medical examiner's office did not release his name pending notification of his relatives.
The sheriff's office is searching for anyone that might have witnessed the crash. Anyone with information is urged to contact the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office at (650) 726-8288.
Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area
Mostly cloudy skies, patchy fog and drizzle are expected in the Bay Area today. Highs are expected to be in the 60s.
Partly cloudy skies are likely this evening, becoming cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.
Mostly cloudy skies with patchy fog and drizzle are expected Wednesday morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to mid 60s.
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