SF News

Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Mostly cloudy skies are expected in the Bay Area this morning becoming sunny later in the day. Highs are likely to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. Gusts of wind up to 35 mph are likely in the afternoon.

Clear skies are expected this evening, becoming partly cloudy later in the night. Lows are likely to be in the upper 50s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph.

Sunny skies are likely Friday morning. Highs are expected to be in the 60s to upper 70s, with winds up to 15 mph.

 

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Fisherman's Warf Stabbing

A man was stabbed during a fight in San Francisco's Fisherman Wharf neighborhood on Tuesday evening, police said.

The stabbing was reported around 7:45 p.m. in the 100 block of Jefferson Street, police said.

A man in his 40s accused the victim, a 24-year-old, of stealing his property. A physical fight broke out and the suspect pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim in the torso, police said.

The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening, police said.

The suspect fled after the stabbing and remained at large as of this morning.

 

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Bank Robbery

A man robbed a bank in San Francisco's Financial District on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The robbery occurred in the 100 block of Spear Street around 3:30 p.m., according to police. A Wells Fargo bank branch is listed in that block.

The man came into the bank and demanded money while simulating that he had a gun by putting his hand in his jacket pocket, police said.

The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the suspect, described as a man in his 40s, fled, police said.

 

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America's Cup Ruling

Oracle Team USA, the defending champion of the America's Cup, has been given an "unprecedented" penalty for allegedly making illegal boat modifications during earlier exhibition sailing races.
The Oracle team has been penalized two points in the upcoming final round of the regatta in San Francisco, according to a ruling released Tuesday by the America's Cup International Jury, a five-person panel tasked with resolving disputes over race rules.
The team allegedly placed additional weight in the forward king posts of its AC45 boats during America's Cup World Series exhibition races in 2012 and earlier this year.
The boats are smaller versions of the 72-foot catamarans being used in the America's Cup Finals, which begins Saturday between Oracle and Emirates Team New Zealand.
In a 14-page ruling issued Tuesday, the jury said, "the seriousness of the breaches cannot be understated."
Oracle team officials asserted that the modification was not performance-enhancing, but the jury did not find that argument credible.
"The Jury holds the view that each of the modifications were made in the belief that they would enhance performance," the panel wrote in its ruling.
"The performance enhancement would likely be small, but making many small enhancements is the nature of winning races at the top level," the jury wrote.
The two-point penalty means Oracle will now have to win 11 races in the America's Cup Finals, while Team New Zealand will only have to win nine.
The jury also has excluded one Oracle sailor and two members of the team's shore crew from further participation in the regatta, and ordered the team to pay a fine of $250,000.
Team CEO Russell Coutts said in a statement that the rules infractions "involved only a few of our 130 team members, and were done without the knowledge of either our team's management or the skippers who were driving the boats."
Coutts said, "While we disagree with the unprecedented penalties imposed by the Jury, we have no choice but to make the necessary changes to personnel on our race boat and do our best to use the next four days for the new team to practice and get ready."
The ruling is the latest problem to plague the America's Cup races in San Francisco.
Regatta and city officials had initially estimated more than a dozen teams would compete for the international trophy, but the high price to build the 72-foot boats led to only three teams challenging Oracle.
The design of the boats has also prompted criticism, particularly after a British sailor on Sweden-based Artemis Racing died when the team's catamaran capsized during a practice run in May. The death prompted regatta officials to implement multiple new safety reforms for the races.
The downsizing of the regatta has also led to sparse crowds and struggles by race officials to raise enough money to recoup San Francisco for the city's costs related to the races.
"It looks like this event is cursed," said San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos, one of the local legislators most vocal in his criticism of the regatta thus far.
Avalos said the cheating scandal was an example of "the chickens coming home to roost" for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who owns Oracle Team USA and had the right as winner of the previous America's Cup to choose the boat design for this race.
Ellison "created a boat design that not even his team could fulfill," Avalos said.
The America's Cup Finals begin Saturday with two races at 1:10 p.m. and 2:10 p.m.
More information about the races can be found online at www.americascup.com.
 

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Wednesday Morning News Roundup

San Jose Approves Funding For More Police Officers

The San Jose City Council Tuesday approved a funding strategy that backers claim would add 141 new police officer positions and restore other city services but would require tens of millions in revenue the city does not yet have.

The council voted 10 to 1, with Councilman Ash Kalra opposed, a proposal by Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilman Sam Liccardo that they said would raise the number of San Jose police officers from 1,109 in the current budget to 1,250 in four years.

The proposal seeks to investigate options to return city services to January 2011 levels, including restoring 10 percent pay cuts given to city employees, with police staffing the highest priority.

Reed and Liccardo also proposed to restore funding levels for fire, library, and community center services.

The city is now $20 million short of the money it would cost to restore the 10 percent salary cuts to city workers and would need $35 million to restore police, fire, libraries and community centers to what they received in January 2011, Reed said.

Reed and Liccardo, in a joint memo to the council, reported that the money may be raised in a variety of ways, such as reducing police overtime pay, eliminating sick leave pay to officers at retirement and using $15 million the city set aside during labor negotiations with the Police Department.

Reed said at the meeting that the city should also consider asking city voters to pass a new tax measure, preferably on the ballot in November 2014, to raise additional funds.

San Jose also needs to find $70 million to $80 million in funding for needed repairs to city streets, Reed said.

"So we are a lot of money short from where we'd like to be, both to restore pay and to restore services," Reed said.

"Today, we are talking really about prioritizing the work as we go forward in anticipation of being able to both restore services and to restore pay," he said.

Hiring the 141 new police officers, at a cost of $153,000 in compensation plus $13,000 in equipment and other costs for each one, would alone require $23.4 million the city does not have, according to Reed.

The Reed-Liccardo plan would pay San Jose police officers an incentive bonus equal to 4 percent of their salaries to convince them to stay with the force.

Reed described the proposed strategy as a balance between reviving city services and pay and "making the Police Department the highest priority for restoring services and the highest priority for restoring pay."

Acting police Chief Larry Esquivel, who attended the meeting, commended the council for proposing the 4 percent retention incentive for current officers.

The inducement would help "to keep our people here, from fleeing" to better-paying jobs in other cities, Esquivel said.

So far this year, the department has lost 75 officers, two-thirds of whom left after resigning their positions, Esquivel said.

As of last week, the San Jose police had 996 sworn officers with about 43 police cadets nearing graduation from the police academy, police said.

Suspect Shot By Union City Police

A suspect shot by Union City police Saturday while allegedly threatening officers has been identified as 46-year-old Vergel Ricafrente Worrell of Union City, police said.

Police responded to reports of a man with a gun randomly firing 10-15 times in the 32600 block of Kenita Way at about 2:30 p.m.

The reports said that the man was screaming profanities and acting incoherent.

Officers confronted the man with a hostage negotiator and an officer trained to deal with people with mental illness, but the man eventually pointed his gun at the officers, who shot and killed him, police said.

Police identified him as Worrell Tuesday.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is investigating the officer-involved shooting while Union City police investigators are trying to determine why Worrell suddenly became violent.

Anyone with information about the case has been asked to call Union City police at (510) 675-5207.

Two Killed In Hit-And-Run

Two women killed early Monday in a hit-and-run collision near Mineta San Jose International Airport have been identified.

The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office identified the victims as Carmen Zavala, 63, and Cristina De Leon Castro, 62, both of San Jose.

Zavala and Castro died when the driver of a silver 2004 Mercedes-Benz smashed into their 2012 Toyota Yaris early Monday morning, according to San Jose police.

The crash happened at about 3:15 a.m. after California Highway Patrol officers spotted the Mercedes speeding on northbound U.S. Highway 101 and followed the vehicle for a traffic stop, CHP spokesman Chris Falkowski said.

The officers followed the Mercedes as it exited on the First Street off-ramp and activated their emergency lights, he said.

The Mercedes turned left on Brokaw Road and pulled over to the right shoulder appearing to yield to officers but instead accelerated southbound on North First Street, running a red light, Falkowski said.

The CHP officers stopped pursuing the Mercedes and deactivated their emergency lights for safety reasons at Matrix Boulevard. They noticed hazard lights on Skyport Drive and North First Street and found the damaged Toyota Yaris, he said.

The Mercedes had broadsided the Toyota, and the impact was strong enough to kill the women even though the car's air bags deployed, police spokeswoman Sgt. Heather Randol said.

The Toyota was so badly damaged that police at first could not verify its make and model, Randol said.

Police have obtained registration information from the Mercedes but are still trying to locate the driver, Randol said Tuesday.

That driver could be charged with felony hit-and-run for leaving the accident scene, Randol said.

Zavala and Castro were employees at San Jose International Airport eateries managed under HSMHost Corporation.

HSMHost spokeswoman Sarah Cody said in a statement, "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Cristina De Leon Castro and Carmen Maria Zavala. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this extremely difficult time. Cristina and Carmen will be truly missed by their HMSHost family."

Federal Jury Finds Former Sheriff's Deputy Guilty Of Conspiracy

A federal jury Tuesday afternoon found a former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion for aiding a former private investigator in arranging so-called "dirty DUI" arrests in Danville.

Stephen Tanabe, 50, of Alamo, was found guilty in federal court in San Francisco of one count of conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud and two counts of extortion.

He was acquitted of one charge of extortion.

The jury was comprised of four women and eight men.

The charges stem from his role in helping former private investigator Christopher Butler, 52, of Concord, set up the arrests of three men in stings in Danville between November 2010 and January 2011.

The men, who were husbands of Butler's female clients in divorce and child custody cases, were allegedly enticed by employees associated with Butler to become intoxicated at Danville bars and then arrested after Butler alerted Tanabe that the drunken men were driving away.

Tanabe stood trial for three such arrests.

The jury found Tanabe guilty of extortion for receiving a Glock gun worth roughly $600 from Butler in exchange for making arrests.

Defense attorney Tim Pori said the jury acquitted him of the second extortion charge, which stemmed from allegations that Butler also gave him $200 worth of cocaine as payment for the "dirty DUIs."

The wire fraud charges stem from text messages he and Butler exchanged the evenings of the setups.

Butler and former Contra Costa County narcotics squad commander Norman Wielsch were the ringleaders of a larger corruption scheme that included stealing drugs seized as evidence and extorting protection payments from workers at a massage business they set up.

Last year, Butler was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to seven charges including illegal wiretapping and conspiring to sell methamphetamine and marijuana Wielsch had stolen from evidence lockers. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to testify against Tanabe.

Wielsch pleaded guilty in 2012 to five charges, including conspiracy to distribute marijuana and methamphetamine, and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Tanabe is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 11. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

He is out on bail, Pori said.

San Burno, Still Rebuilding After PG&E Pipeline Explosion

Nearly three years after a PG&E gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, the city's mayor said Tuesday that residents are still rebuilding their devastated neighborhood, and city leaders continue to advocate for stricter oversight of the state's natural gas infrastructure.

The explosion in San Bruno's Crestmoor Canyon neighborhood on Sept. 9, 2010, destroyed 38 homes, killed 8 people, injured more than 60 others and "left a massive hole in our community," Mayor Jim Ruane said at a news conference.

"Since tragedy struck our city three years ago this month, nearly half of the destroyed homes in the Crestmoor neighborhood have been rebuilt," Ruane said.

Of the 38 homes that were destroyed, 16 have been rebuilt and are once again occupied, he said. Out of 17 homes that were burned and badly damaged, 15 have been fully repaired.

The city has so far spent more than $13 million to replace water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure in the immediate area of the explosion, a figure that is expected to grow as infrastructure repairs continue beyond the blast zone, Ruane said.

"A similar project to replace underground infrastructure is now under way in the rest of the neighborhood," he said.

"We anticipate that the final reconstruction of the sidewalks, streets, streetlight system and expansion and rebuild of the neighborhood park will begin in coming months," Ruane said.

City Manager Connie Jackson said that the city continues to be an interested party in proceedings at the California Public Utilities Commission, where a panel of administrative law judges is in the process of considering how much to penalize PG&E for the explosion.

"There continues to be a great deal of important activity going on at CPUC," Jackson said.

San Bruno leaders have pledged to honor the lives of the eight who died in the explosion by ensuring that PG&E pays for its negligent safety standards, and that CPUC is held responsible for its lack of oversight.

"We are calling on stronger and improved oversight by state regulators at the CPUC to understand why this happened and to make sure it never happens again," Ruane said.

A decision on how much the state will fine PG&E is expected to be handed down this fall. San Bruno officials and consumer advocates have called for a maximum penalty of more than $2 billion.

Crestmoor residents and city officials plan to hold a private remembrance of the explosion's three-year anniversary on Monday at around 6 p.m., Jackson said.

Families who have moved back to the neighborhood since last year's remembrance ceremony will receive a proclamation from the city, she said.

Body From Richmond BART Shooting Identified

A man who was shot and killed near the Richmond BART station on Monday night has been identified by the Contra Costa County coroner's bureau as 30-year-old Faheim Smith.

The shooting was reported at about 10:10 p.m., when a BART police officer notified Richmond police that he heard gunfire and that someone told him a man had been shot, Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

Police responded and found Smith, a Richmond resident, down with a gunshot wound to his torso near 19th Street and Nevin Avenue, just east of the BART station, Abetkov said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Abetkov said the shooter may have fled on a bicycle. Investigators will review BART surveillance footage to see if the shooting was captured on video, she said.

"Rim Fire" is 75 Percent Contained

The massive "Rim Fire" in and around Yosemite National Park was 75 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, however the U.S. Forest Service is estimating the fire will continue burning until later this month.

The fire, which started on Aug. 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest and spread into Yosemite National Park, has charred 235,841 acres and destroyed 11 homes and 100 other buildings, according to the forest service.

There have been five injuries reported in connection with the fire.

Cal Fire officials said the blaze is the fourth largest wildfire in California history.

As of Tuesday afternoon, all evacuations prompted by the quick-spreading blaze were lifted as firefighters gained the upper hand on it.

However a portion of state Highway 120 remains closed near Yosemite and other road closures should be expected throughout the region.

A lingering concern is smoky conditions and poor air quality as the fire continues to burn, officials said.

Full containment is not expected until Sept. 20, according to the forest service.

The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir that provides water to 2.6 million San Francisco area residents remains unaffected despite ash falling on the water, with turbidity, or cloudiness, levels below state-mandated levels, according to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Two of three hydroelectric powerhouses, the Kirkwood and Holm turbines, were taken offline on Aug. 19, but Tuesday the Kirkwood facility has resumed providing power after repairs were made over the weekend, according to PUC officials.

Both facilities were affected by the fire with Kirkwood minimally damaged, while the Holm Powerhouse sustained a burned roof and the structure partially collapsed.

Holm is the city's largest powerhouse and crews are working to get it back online, however power supplies have not been disrupted since the fire with Moccasin Powerhouse generating power throughout the blaze, according to the commission.

Since the shutdowns, the city has spent about $860,000 on alternative energy sources, according to PUC officials.

San Jose Police Investigate Body Found Near School

San Jose police are investigating the discovery of a body near San Antonio Elementary School Tuesday afternoon, a police sergeant said.

Officers responded to a 911 call from someone reporting a body in a vehicle at South King Road and San Antonio Street at 12:41 p.m., Sgt. Heather Randol said.

The person was found unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:45 p.m., she said.

The death has not been classified as a murder, but the Police Department's homicide unit is investigating the case as a matter of protocol, Randol said.

Police said all of the children at the elementary school are safe and that there is no public safety issue.

Oakland Man Convicted Of First- Degree Murder

An Oakland man was convicted of first-degree murder Tuesday for fatally shooting another man during a discussion about the existence of God while they were both under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.

Douglas Yim, 33, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion when jurors, who deliberated for only a day and a half, announced their verdict against him for the death 25-year-old Dzuy Dunh Phan of Alameda at Yim's home in the 3100 block of Herriott Avenue in Oakland in the early morning hours of April 2, 2011.

Yim faces more than 100 years in state prison when he's sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon on Nov. 8 because he also was convicted of assault with a firearm and mayhem for shooting another man, Paul Park, in the incident and has a prior felony conviction.

Prosecutor Allyson Donovan said Yim and Phan were friends but a conversation about the existence of God eventually sparked the shooting, which she described as "extremely senseless."

Donovan said Yim got upset when Phan said he didn't believe in God and asked Yim where God was when Yim lost a video game and when Yim's father collapsed and died of a stroke several years earlier.

She said Yim threw his video game controller through a television screen at his home but Phan tried to calm him down.

Yim didn't respond, so Phan told Yim that if he was upset he should just go get his gun, Donovan said.

Yim waited five minutes, walked into his bedroom, grabbed and loaded his semi-automatic rifle and shot Phan six times, according to the prosecutor.

Yim testified that he fired in self-defense because Phan had a black object in his hand that he thought was a gun.

But Donovan said Phan was only holding a cellphone, never had a gun and never threatened Yim. "This clearly was a murder that was carried out in execution style," Donovan said.

She said all six shots that Yim fired at Phan hit his body between his waist and his head and the final shot was fired less than a foot from Phan's head as Phan lay on the ground while bleeding from the impact of the initial shots.

Yim testified during the trial that, "I was really drunk that night" and said he remembered the first shot and the last shot but not the shots in between.

His attorney, Mario Andrews, said after the verdict Tuesday that he thinks Yim should only have been convicted of manslaughter under the theory of imperfect self-defense because he thinks Yim didn't intend to kill Phan and shot at him with the mistaken belief that Phan had a gun.

Andrews also said he doesn't think Yim fully knew what he was doing because he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Donovan said Yim was mildly impaired but "knew what he was doing" because he was able to talk away from the scene, get rid of the murder weapon, drive out of town and buy new clothes.

"He was able to make the decision to kill and the jury got it completely right," Donovan said.

Missing Man From San Mateo Found, But Dies In Hospital

An at-risk man who went missing from the Coyote Point area of San Mateo on Monday was found in South San Francisco early Tuesday morning but died at a hospital a short time later, police said.

Runfa Wang, 50, had last been seen in the Coyote Point area early Monday morning. Police said Wang's speech resembled that of a small child, but that a medical condition left him unlikely to speak at all, police said.

Wang was discovered in South San Francisco shortly after midnight Tuesday morning and was taken to a hospital because of his medical condition, police said. He died at a hospital shortly afterward.

Police said his death is not considered suspicious. 

Request For Hearing About SFPD's Handling Of Accidents Involving Cyclists

Issues over how police investigated the death of a bicyclist in San Francisco last month has prompted a city supervisor Tuesday to request a hearing on how the Police Department conducts investigations into accidents involving cyclists.

Supervisor Jane Kim requested the hearing following the Aug. 14 death of 24-year-old Amelie Le Moullac, who was killed when a truck made a right turn and struck her at Sixth and Folsom streets in the city's South of Market neighborhood, which Kim represents.

Police initially did not cite the truck driver, but have since found him at fault after a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition uncovered surveillance video of the crash.

The bicycle coalition has criticized the department for not finding the video, and also for the actions of a police sergeant who they say stopped at an event they held a week after Le Moullac's death and said the cyclist was to blame for the collision.

Police Chief Greg Suhr last week apologized for the sergeant's actions and said the incident will be reviewed by the city's Office of Citizen Complaints, which handles complaints against police.

Kim, the supervisor, said the hearing at a board committee would not include "finger-pointing" regarding the case.

"We merely want to have a discussion about how we do investigations," she said.

Kim said she wants to make sure there's a process in place that is "comprehensive" and takes into account the needs of the family of the victim.

Although police found the driver at fault in the crash, district attorney's office spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman said Tuesday that the case has not yet been formally presented to prosecutors.

SF Court Declines To Block Closure Of Oyster Farm

A federal appeals court in San Francisco Tuesday declined to block the closure of a popular oyster farm in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2-1 decision Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling in February denying a preliminary injunction that would have allowed the farm to stay in business until a full trial was held on a lawsuit filed by the company.

The suit was filed last December, just days after U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar announced that he had decided not to renew the oyster farm's permit to operate in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

In its ruling, the panel stated that the oyster company had "failed to raise a serious question about the Secretary's decision," and that the owners of the company had entered into the lease knowing that it was not likely to be renewed.

The owners, Kevin Lunny and his wife Nancy, bought the business from Johnson Oyster Co. in 2004, taking over the remaining years of a unique 40-year permit that allowed the farm to operate in a national seashore.

"Drakes Bay purchased the oyster farm with full disclosure, knowing that the reservation of use and occupancy was set to expire in 2012," Tuesday's ruling reads.

The Lunnys issued a statement Tuesday condemning the court's decision, and vowed to keep fighting to stay in operation.

"The 9th Circuit's decision to deny this injunction is a step backwards, not only for Drakes Bay but also for Marin County, proponents of sustainable agriculture and farmers around the country," owner Kevin Lunny said.

"Our attorneys are now reviewing all of our options before we announce our plans for moving forward," he said.

Salazar's Nov. 29 decision to let the permit expire paved the way for the 1,000-acre swath of submerged estuary where Drakes Bay Oyster Company operates to return to wilderness.

Allowing the lease to expire "would result in long-term beneficial impacts to the estero's natural environment," Salazar wrote in his decision.

A spokesperson for the Interior Department was not immediately available to comment Tuesday, but some environmentalists hailed the ruling.

"The court ruling affirms that our national parks will be safe from privatization schemes, and that special places like Drakes Estero will rise above attempts to hijack Americans' wilderness," said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.

Bay Area Weather Update

 Sunny skies are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are likely to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

Clear skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight. Lows are likely to be in the upper 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. Gusts up to 35 mph are likely in the evening.

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Thursday morning, becoming sunny later in the day. Highs are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

 

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America's Cup Mural To Be Dedicated To Sailor Who Died In May

A mural of America's Cup sailing boats in San Francisco is being dedicated today to a sailor who died during a practice run for the regatta earlier this year.
Family members of Andrew "Bart" Simpson plan to attend the dedication ceremony for the mural, which was painted by students from the Academy of Art University on the side of a building at 150 Hayes St. near Polk Street, school spokeswoman Susan Toland said.
Simpson, a British sailor with the Sweden-based team Artemis Racing, died after the team's boat capsized on the Bay on May 9.
Painting on the America's Cup mural began in January and finished in late May, Toland said. She said a line of text was added to the mural in honor of Simpson after his death.
The dedication ceremony has waited until now "out of deference to the family" of Simpson, Toland said.
The 116-by-50-foot artwork of America's Cup boats racing on the Bay was created by 18 students in a mural class in the Academy of Art University's School of Fine Art, according to Toland.
She said the students researched the boats for accuracy in the mural and completed the painting on the side of the school's Hayes Street building by the end of the semester.
Today's ceremony, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., will include America's Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay, members of the Artemis Racing team, the Academy of Art students and Simpson's family.
Racing in the America's Cup Finals between Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand begins on the Bay this Saturday.
 

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Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Sunny skies are expected in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are likely to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.


 

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Thursday morning, becoming sunny later in the day. Highs are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

Clear skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight. Lows are likely to be in the upper 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. Gusts up to 35 mph are likely in the evening. Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Thursday morning, becoming sunny later in the day. Highs are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

 

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Jury Convicts Former Contra Costa Sheriff's Deputy In 'Dirty DUI' Case

A federal jury this afternoon found a former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion for aiding a former private investigator in arranging so-called "dirty DUI" arrests in Danville.

Stephen Tanabe, 50, of Alamo, was found guilty in federal court in San Francisco of one count of conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud and two counts of extortion.

He was acquitted of one charge of extortion.

The jury was comprised of four women and eight men.

The charges stem from his role in helping former private investigator Christopher Butler, 52, of Concord, set up the arrests of three men in stings in Danville between November 2010 and January 2011.

The men, who were husbands of Butler's female clients in divorce and child custody cases, were allegedly enticed by employees associated with Butler to become intoxicated at Danville bars and then arrested after Butler alerted Tanabe that the drunken men were driving away.

Tanabe stood trial for three such arrests.

The jury found Tanabe guilty of extortion for receiving a Glock gun worth roughly $600 from Butler in exchange for making arrests.

Defense attorney Tim Pori said the jury acquitted him of the second extortion charge, which stemmed from allegations that Butler also gave him $200 worth of cocaine as payment for the "dirty DUIs."

The wire fraud charges stem from text messages he and Butler exchanged the evenings of the setups.

Butler and former Contra Costa County narcotics squad commander Norman Wielsch were the ringleaders of a larger corruption scheme that included stealing drugs seized as evidence and extorting protection payments from workers at a massage business they set up.

Last year, Butler was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to seven charges including illegal wiretapping and conspiring to sell methamphetamine and marijuana Wielsch had stolen from evidence lockers.

As part of his plea deal, he agreed to testify against Tanabe.

Wielsch pleaded guilty in 2012 to five charges, including conspiracy to distribute marijuana and methamphetamine, and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Tanabe is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 11.

He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

He is out on bail, Pori said.

 

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Appeals Court Declines To Halt Closure Of Drakes Bay Oyster Company

A federal appeals court in San Francisco today declined to block the closure of a popular oyster farm in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2-1 decision today upheld a lower court ruling in February denying a preliminary injunction that would have allowed the farm to stay in business until a full trial was held on a lawsuit filed by the company.

The suit was filed last December, just days after U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar announced that he had decided not to renew the oyster farm's permit to operate in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

In its ruling, the panel stated that the oyster company had "failed to raise a serious question about the Secretary's decision," and that the owners of the company had entered into the lease knowing that it was not likely to be renewed.

The owners, Kevin Lunny and his wife Nancy, bought the business from Johnson Oyster Co. in 2004, taking over the remaining years of a unique 40-year permit that allowed the farm to operate in a national seashore.

"Drakes Bay purchased the oyster farm with full disclosure, knowing that the reservation of use and occupancy was set to expire in 2012," today's ruling reads.

The Lunnys issued a statement today condemning the court's decision, and vowed to keep fighting to stay in operation.

"The 9th Circuit's decision to deny this injunction is a step backwards, not only for Drakes Bay but also for Marin County, proponents of sustainable agriculture and farmers around the country," owner Kevin Lunny said.

"Our attorneys are now reviewing all of our options before we announce our plans for moving forward," he said.

Salazar's Nov. 29 decision to let the permit expire paved the way for the 1,000-acre swath of submerged estuary where Drakes Bay Oyster Company operates to return to wilderness.

Allowing the lease to expire "would result in long-term beneficial impacts to the estero's natural environment," Salazar wrote in his decision.

A spokesperson for the Interior Department was not immediately available to comment today, but some environmentalists hailed the ruling.

"The court ruling affirms that our national parks will be safe from privatization schemes, and that special places like Drakes Estero will rise above attempts to hijack Americans' wilderness," said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.

 

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Man Arrested For Attempted Murder After Alleged Assault On Pregnant Wife

A South San Francisco man was arrested Monday on suspicion of assaulting his pregnant wife, a police spokesman said today.

Ashley Scott, 33, was arrested after police were called to the couple's home in the 400 block of Avalon Drive at about 2:45 p.m., San Francisco police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said.

Police believe Scott and his 31-year-old wife were arguing when Scott grabbed her and started to choke her, according to McPhillips.

The victim, who was allegedly holding the couple's 14-month-old baby at the time, was able to free herself and call police, he said.

Paramedics treated the woman at the scene for minor injuries.

Scott was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and was booked into San Mateo County Jail without bail, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said.

He was scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday afternoon, she said.

Anyone with information about the case was asked to contact South San Francisco police at (650) 877-8900.

 

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Tuesday Midday News Roundup

First Morning Commute On Bay Bridge's New Eastern Span Goes Smoothly

The Bay Bridge is back open with a brand-new, seismically safe eastern span, and the California Highway Patrol is reporting that things went smoothly during this morning's commute.

No collisions were reported, despite many motorists craning their necks to gaze up at the new white tower as they passed beneath the cascade of cables streaming down to the deck.

While many people are taking photos and videos to document their first trips across the span, CHP Officer Sam Morgan recommends that drivers keep their eyes on the road and passengers keep their arms inside cars while acting as videographers.

Another option is to walk out onto the new pedestrian path and take photos or video from there, Morgan said.

He said one motorist illegally pulled over near Yerba Buena Island in a Caltrans-only area to take pictures of the bridge's old eastern span this morning, Morgan said.

The man was given a verbal warning and told to keep moving.

Morgan said there was also a DUI arrest on the bridge near the toll plaza in the eastbound direction around 2 a.m.

Other than that, he said no problems were reported.

Jennifer Capps, a data analyst who crossed the bridge into San Francisco from the East Bay this morning as part of her commute, said the new span is "cleaner" than the old span.

Jim Morrisroe, CEO of San Francisco-based Piston Cloud Computing, tweeted "The new Bay Bridge was pleasant today! But, I'm not sure I got my full $6.4 billion worth yet."

The Golden State Warriors tweeted "Congrats to all involved in the opening the new span of the #BayBridge We're obviously big fans."

Dozens Partake In First Bike Ride On Bay Bridge's New Span

Hours after Bay Area drivers made their way across the Bay Bridge's new eastern span for the first time on Monday night, dozens of people pedaled and walked on the span's newly opened bike and pedestrian path this morning.

Oakland city leaders and transit officials were on hand to dedicate the path to late Oakland city planner and longtime bicycle advocate Alexander Zuckermann, for whom the bike path is named.

A green-and-white sign bearing his name was unveiled at the entrance to the path in Oakland as cars whizzed past on the parallel roadway.

Oakland city staffers, Caltrans employees and dozens of Bay Area biking enthusiasts watched a performance by a lion dancing and martial arts group and heard from East Bay mayors Jean Quan, Amy Worth, and Kurt Brinkman, from Oakland, Orinda and Emeryville, respectively.

The speakers touted the importance of the bike accessibility.

Alamo resident Suzie Telles, who was among the cyclists who participated in the inaugural ride, said, "I never thought I'd see this happen."

The bike and pedestrian path opened to the public at about 11:30 a.m.

Funeral Today For Danville Teen Killed In Crash Last Week In Contra Costa County

A funeral will be held in San Ramon this afternoon for Danville teenager Robert Orlando, who was killed in a crash last week on the eve of the first day of school.

The funeral mass, which is open to the public, will begin at 3:30 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc Parish at 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd.

Orlando, who was a day shy of entering his senior year at San Ramon Valley High School, was riding with a friend in a car driven by a third teen on their way back from a fishing trip when the crash happened at about 8:50 p.m. on Aug. 26.

The car was heading north on El Capitan Drive near Claridge Drive in Danville when it went off of the roadway and struck a tree, police said.

Robert was taken to San Ramon Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

His two friends, both 17, were taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

The driver suffered broken ribs and the other passenger had a broken leg, police said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but police said drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors, police said.

Orlando is survived by his parents and two brothers.

One of his brothers arranged for donations to be made in his honor to Fairfield-based nonprofit Kids Day of Fishing, the organization's founder Michael Johns said.

The organization puts together outdoor activities and fishing events for special-needs and underprivileged children.

A fishing derby will be held in Fairfield in Orlando's honor sometime in April 2014, Johns said.

He said several donations have come in this past week in honor of the Danville teenager.

An online memory board and a physical board that will be taken to various events has his name on them, Johns said.

Johns said Orlando's grandfather contacted the organization about donating Robert's fishing gear to needy children.

Johns said the grandfather called Orlando an avid fisherman.

Donations can be made online at http://www.kidsdayoffishing.org.

The family has also asked that messages, photos or videos of Robert be sent to weloverobert2013@gmail.com.

Supervisor Wiener To Request Hearing On Streetlights

A San Francisco supervisor today plans to call for a hearing on broken streetlights in the city.

Supervisor Scott Wiener plans to make the request at this afternoon's Board of Supervisors meeting after holding a previous hearing on the subject in June 2012.

San Francisco's approximately 45,000 streetlights often suffer from burnouts and other failures and are frequently not repaired promptly, according to Wiener's office.

Around 6,000 burnouts are reported each year, according to his office.

About 26,000 of the lights are maintained by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the rest are overseen by PG&E.

Wiener also plans to call on the two utilities to develop a more pedestrian-friendly streetlight system.

"Most San Francisco streetlights are high above the ground and focused on streets, not sidewalks," Wiener said in a statement. "As a result, many blocks with streetlights nevertheless have dark sidewalks."

The hearing requested by Wiener will take place before the board's land use and economic development committee, likely by the end of this month or in October, according to Wiener's office.

Today's board meeting is the first since the supervisors' annual August recess.

Symphony Kicking Off 102nd With Opening Night Gala

The San Francisco Symphony is celebrating the start of its 102nd season tonight with an opening night gala at Davies Symphony Hall.

The event, which will benefit the symphony's youth music education programs, begins at 5 p.m. with a cocktail reception at a tented pavilion near the symphony hall at 201 Van Ness Ave., as well as another reception across the street at City Hall.

There will then be a wine reception at 7 p.m. in the lobby of the symphony hall, followed by the start of the gala concert performance at 8 p.m.

Soprano Audra McDonald will be singing highlights from the American Songbook.

The symphony will also be hosting after-parties in the tented pavilion, located at the corner of Grove and Franklin streets.

Tickets for the concert start at $295 and are still available through the symphony's website at www.sfsymphony.org.

One Killed In Big-Rig Crash On Hwy 12 This Morning In Suisun City

One person was killed in a big-rig crash on westbound state Highway 12 in Suisun City early this morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Mid-morning, officers were still at the scene of the crash, which occurred when one big-rig rear-ended another on Highway 12 near Emperor Drive, CHP Sgt. Jason Hekker said.

The crash was reported shortly after 5 a.m., a Suisun City police dispatcher said.

All lanes of westbound Highway 12 in Suisun City are closed between Walters Road and Emperor Drive, according to Suisun City police.

One of the trucks involved in the crash had a Producers Dairy logo, Hekker said.

Authorities are estimating that the westbound lanes will be cleared around noon, Hekker said.

Man Fatally Shot Near BART Station Monday Night In Richmond

A man was shot and killed near the Richmond BART station on Monday night, a police sergeant said.

A BART police officer notified Richmond police at about 10:10 p.m. that he had heard a shot and that someone told him a man had been hit by gunfire, Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

Richmond officers responded and found a man down near 19th Street and Nevin Avenue, just east of the BART station, with a gunshot wound to his torso, Abetkov said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Abetkov said the shooter might have fled on a bicycle.

BART surveillance footage is being reviewed to see if the shooting was captured on video, she said.

The victim's name is being held until family members have been notified, Abetkov said.

Elderly Residents Flee 1-Alarm House Fire In Newark

Two elderly adults escaped a fire at their Newark home early this morning, an Alameda County fire battalion chief said.

The one-alarm fire was reported at 12:37 a.m. at a one-story house at 6065 Rockrose Drive near Mowry Avenue, Alameda County fire Battalion Chief Terrence Carey said.

The two residents awoke to the sound of their smoke detector going off and got out of the home on their own, he said.

There was heavy smoke coming from the attic and flames coming from the main part of the residence when firefighters arrived, according to Carey.

"A working smoke detector saved their lives, I truly believe that," Carey said.

The fire was under control within 20 minutes and was knocked down at 1:07 a.m., according to Carey.

The fire began to threaten a home on the backside of the residence, but was knocked down before it spread to the neighboring home, Carey said.

Carey said the house was a complete loss and the two residents have been displaced.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Three Armed Men Rob Pair In Parked Car

Two men in a parked car were robbed at gunpoint in South San Francisco on Sunday night, a police spokesman said.

The victims had just entered their vehicle in a parking lot at Aspen and Linden avenues at 10:30 p.m. when three men with black semi-automatic handguns approached the car, South San Francisco police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said.

The men spoke Spanish and ordered the victims to hand over their property, McPhillips said.

No one was injured, and the suspects fled on foot.

The three suspects were described as Hispanic males and each wore a black hoodie, a black ski mask and black pants, according to police.

One suspect stood about 6 feet tall, had a thin build and weighed about 180 pounds.

The second was also around 6 feet tall, with a stocky build, and weighed around 250 pounds.

The third man was around 5 feet 10 inches tall with an average build.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call South San Francisco police at (650) 877-8900.

 

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First Morning Commute On Bay Bridge's New Eastern Span Goes Smoothly

The Bay Bridge is back open with a brand-new, seismically safe eastern span, and the California Highway Patrol is reporting that things went smoothly during this morning's commute.

No collisions were reported, despite many motorists craning their necks to gaze up at the new white tower as they passed beneath the cascade of cables streaming down to the deck.

While many people are taking photos and videos to document their first trips across the span, CHP Officer Sam Morgan recommends that drivers keep their eyes on the road and passengers keep their arms inside cars while acting as videographers.

Another option is to walk out onto the new pedestrian path and take photos or video from there, Morgan said.

He said one motorist illegally pulled over near Yerba Buena Island in a Caltrans-only area to take pictures of the bridge's old eastern span this morning, Morgan said.

The man was given a verbal warning and told to keep moving.

Morgan said there was also a DUI arrest on the bridge near the toll plaza in the eastbound direction around 2 a.m.

Other than that, he said no problems were reported.

Jennifer Capps, a data analyst who crossed the bridge into San Francisco from the East Bay this morning as part of her commute, said the new span is "cleaner" than the old span.

Jim Morrisroe, CEO of San Francisco-based Piston Cloud Computing, tweeted "The new Bay Bridge was pleasant today! But, I'm not sure I got my full $6.4 billion worth yet."

The Golden State Warriors tweeted "Congrats to all involved in the opening the new span of the #BayBridge We're obviously big fans."

The new span's bicycle and pedestrian walkway is set to open around midday today.

 

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Three Armed Men Rob Pair In Parked Car

Two men in a parked car were robbed at gunpoint in South San Francisco on Sunday night, a police spokesman said.

The victims had just entered their vehicle in a parking lot at Aspen and Linden avenues at 10:30 p.m. when three men with black semi-automatic handguns approached the car, South San Francisco police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said.

The men spoke Spanish and ordered the victims to hand over their property, McPhillips said.

No one was injured, and the suspects fled on foot.

The three suspects were described as Hispanic males and each wore a black hoodie, a black ski mask and black pants, according to police.

One suspect stood about 6 feet tall, had a thin build and weighed about 180 pounds.

The second was also around 6 feet tall, with a stocky build, and weighed around 250 pounds.

The third man was around 5 feet 10 inches tall with an average build.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call South San Francisco police at (650) 877-8900.

 

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Supervisor Wiener To Request Hearing On Streetlights

A San Francisco supervisor today plans to call for a hearing on broken streetlights in the city.

Supervisor Scott Wiener plans to make the request at this afternoon's Board of Supervisors meeting after holding a previous hearing on the subject in June 2012.

San Francisco's approximately 45,000 streetlights often suffer from burnouts and other failures and are frequently not repaired promptly, according to Wiener's office.

Around 6,000 burnouts are reported each year, according to his office.

About 26,000 of the lights are maintained by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the rest are overseen by PG&E.

Wiener also plans to call on the two utilities to develop a more pedestrian-friendly streetlight system.

"Most San Francisco streetlights are high above the ground and focused on streets, not sidewalks," Wiener said in a statement. "As a result, many blocks with streetlights nevertheless have dark sidewalks."

The hearing requested by Wiener will take place before the board's land use and economic development committee, likely by the end of this month or in October, according to Wiener's office.

Today's board meeting is the first since the supervisors' annual August recess.

 

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Symphony Kicking Off 102nd With Opening Night Gala

The San Francisco Symphony is celebrating the start of its 102nd season tonight with an opening night gala at Davies Symphony Hall.

The event, which will benefit the symphony's youth music education programs, begins at 5 p.m. with a cocktail reception at a tented pavilion near the symphony hall at 201 Van Ness Ave., as well as another reception across the street at City Hall.

There will then be a wine reception at 7 p.m. in the lobby of the symphony hall, followed by the start of the gala concert performance at 8 p.m.

Soprano Audra McDonald will be singing highlights from the American Songbook.

The symphony will also be hosting after-parties in the tented pavilion, located at the corner of Grove and Franklin streets.

Tickets for the concert start at $295 and are still available through the symphony's website at www.sfsymphony.org.

 

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Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Bay Bridge Reopened Monday Night, Earlier Than Expected

The Bay Bridge, complete with a newly-constructed eastern span, opened hours earlier than scheduled Monday night, transit officials said. 

The bridge had been closed since last Wednesday while construction crews finalized work on the new eastern span connecting Oakland to Yerba Buena Island.

The bridge was scheduled to be reopened by 5 a.m. today but the work was finished faster than anticipated, Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said Monday.

Dougherty made the announcement at a celebration held in Oakland Monday afternoon for the new span, a self-anchored suspension bridge that is replacing an old cantilever bridge that opened more than 75 years ago.

Politicians, Transit Officials Celebrate Imminent Opening Of Bay Bridge

Elected leaders and transit officials Monday held a ceremony in Oakland to celebrate the imminent opening of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

The ceremony, attended by hundreds of invited guests near the bridge's toll plaza, comes just hours before the anticipated opening of the new self-anchored suspension span connecting Oakland to Yerba Buena Island.

A larger public celebration of the bridge was scrapped after broken anchor bolts on the new span left the opening date in limbo.

A temporary fix was eventually devised and the bridge was shut down last Wednesday to begin the final preparations to open the new span.

The bridge will reopened shortly after 10 p.m. Monday.

Several speakers at Monday's ceremony remarked upon the lengthy process of getting the new span designed and built after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake collapsed part of the upper deck of the old cantilever bridge, which opened in 1936.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission executive director Steve Heminger cited the many challenges faced during the project, some with technical issues like the broken bolts and others involving political battles over the span's design that led to escalating costs.

The bridge is opening "at long last," Heminger said. "This truly is a landmark event."

State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said legislators "will review and learn from our mistakes" to ensure that similar delays and cost overruns do not happen on other large infrastructure projects in the state.

Other speakers chose to highlight the beauty of the bridge, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who said the new span "serves as a monument to creativity and ingenuity," while state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, said it will serve as "a gorgeous piece of public art" in the Bay Area.

Many gave praise to the workers who helped construct the new span and said it was fitting that the bridge was opening on Labor Day.

The keynote speech was given by Gavin Newsom, the state's lieutenant governor and the former mayor of San Francisco.

Newsom said the wait will be worth it for the beautiful new bridge.

"God's delays are not God's denials," Newsom said.

Newsom was given the honor of cutting a ceremonial chain in front of the toll plaza, then joined other officials and guests in 1930s-era vehicles for an inaugural procession across the bridge.

More information about the new bridge can be found online at baybridgeinfo.org.

People can also find out if the bridge has reopened by calling 511 or visiting 511.org.

New Bay Bridge Built Only After Bickering And Long Delays

The opening of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge Monday night marks the end of a lengthy process that began shortly after a section of the old span collapsed in the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, killing one person and forcing it to be closed for a month.

Elected leaders and transportation officials realized soon after the temblor on Oct. 17, 1989, that the span needed to be retrofitted or replaced so the bridge would be safe during an earthquake, but squabbling over the design and route for a new span delayed work for many years.

"The story is ending well but the road to get here was far too long and far too winding," said Metropolitan Transportation Commission executive director Steve Heminger, who has been involved in the $6.4 billion project to build the new span almost from the beginning because he was its project manager.

Former Alameda County Supervisor Mary King, who chaired the MTC panel that selected the design for the bridge, said the fact that it took so long to build the new span "is one of the great public process failures."

In fact, King said the long delay in building the span even though it was an important public safety project "takes some of the glow" off of her happiness that it is finally open to the driving public.

"I was hoping it would be successful and stand for a long time as a symbol for the region," King said.

She said, "It was a great idea but sometimes the best-laid plans go awry."

Caltrans chief engineer Brian Maroney said after the Northridge earthquake in 1994, which damaged freeways in the Los Angeles area, engineers were told to begin planning for a new eastern span of the Bay Bridge but there were delays "for all sorts of reasons."

Maroney said, "Some of us were frustrated by that. I'll never totally understand it. We were competing against time."

Heminger said, "There was not just an engineering debate, there was a political debate."

He said, "We have a natural ability to argue about just about anything and we proceeded to do just that."

Heminger said the first decision that had to be made was whether to retrofit the existing span or build a completely new span.

He said Caltrans' initial strategy was to retrofit the existing bridge but they decided to only retrofit the western span because that section was in better shape, as suspension bridges are more flexible.

Retrofitting was not a good strategy for the eastern span because it was "so much work and expense" and there were questions about how much of lifespan it had left, Heminger said.

The next question was picking a design.

After much debate, the MTC voted on June 24, 1998, to approve a single-tower bridge with an iconic self-anchored suspension span, the longest such structure in the world at a length of 2,047 feet.

Transportation officials estimated at that time that it would cost $1.5 billion to build the span and it could be opened to traffic by late 2003 or early 2004.

King recalled that "there were a lot of opinions" and "intense discussions" about the best design.

King said that in her role as committee chair, "I would try to herd the cats to try to get a unanimous decision."

She nearly succeeded on the single-tower design, which the committee approved by an 11-1 vote, with Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris casting the lone "no" vote and two members abstaining.

Harris called the design "a bridge to the past, not the future" and "a highway on stilts" and threatened to file suit to stop it.

Police Search For Male Driver In Hit And Run Accident That Killed Two Women

San Jose police are looking for the male driver of a Mercedes-Benz who fled the scene of a crash that killed two women Monday morning just east of Mineta San Jose International Airport, spokeswoman said.

Police are attempting to find out if the driver of the 2004 silver Mercedes was the registered owner of the car, police Sgt. Heather Randol said.

The driver could be charged with felony hit and run for leaving the scene of the accident that critically injured and killed the two women, Randol said.

The accident happened when the Mercedes broadsided the victims' car, a 2012 Toyota Yaris compact, at a high rate of speed, Randol said.

The airbags in the Toyota deployed but because the car was hit on the side at such a high speed the bags could not cushion the impact, Randol said.

Police responded at 3:18 a.m. to a 911 call from a person who reported the accident in the area of Skyport Drive and North First Street in a business district a few blocks east of the airport, Randol said.

The impact of the accident sent both cars turning around and so far investigators are not yet certain which direction either car was going, Randol said.

The Toyota was so badly damaged that police at first could verify its make and model, Randol said.

By the time police and emergency responders arrived, the single male occupant of the Mercedes had fled on foot, Randol said.

Both women were still inside the Toyota.

The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver, who was extricated from the car by firefighters, died later at a hospital, Randol said.

Investigators are reviewing skid marks made by both cars to try and determine what led to the accident, Randol said.

The identities of the victims are not being released until next of kin are notified, Randol said.

Police are going to interview the person who made the emergency call to see if they can obtain a description of the suspect, Randol said.

The driver of the Mercedes was likely injured in the crash, Randol said.

Rim Fire In Yosemite Area Now 60 Percent Contained, 4,500 Homes Still Threatened

The Rim Fire that has blackened more than 228,000 acres in Stanislaus National Forest is now 60 percent contained but about 4,500 residences remain threatened, Cal Fire officials reported Monday morning.

Firefighters made great progress Sunday night in limiting the spread of the Rim Fire near and in Yosemite National Park, according to officials from Cal Fire, one of the agencies working on the blaze.

The Rim Fire, located within Tuolumne County northeast of Groveland, has burned 228,670 acres, evacuations are in effect and 4,500 homes remain under threat from the flames, Cal Fire officials said.

The fire has affected an area of 357 square miles and though 60 percent contained it is the fourth largest wildfire in California history, Cal Fire officials said.

Cal Fire and local fire agencies are assisting the U.S. Forest Service in fighting the Rim Fire.

About 7,500 firefighters are battling the Rim Fire and six other wildfires in Butte, Tulare, Siskiyou, Humboldt, San Bernardino and Fresno counties, officials said.

Much of Northern California will experience a trend toward cooler temperatures and some rainfall but increased humidity and light winds in Southern California will increase the threat of fires for the next several days, officials said.

Richmond Police Seek Second Suspect In Armed Robbery, Carjacking After Standoff

Richmond police are searching Monday morning for a second suspect in a robbery and carjacking near Contra Costa College after arresting a suspect who had stayed inside a home for nearly five hours, a police spokeswoman said.

The suspect in custody was arrested at about 7:15 a.m. on suspicion of armed robbery and carjacking after the victim identified him, police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

Police also recovered a firearm from inside the victim's car, a late model Toyota Camry, Abetkov said.

Officers are still looking for a potential second suspect based on the victim's report, Abetkov said.

At around midnight Sunday, Richmond police received a phone call from a hysterical woman who said she had just been robbed and carjacked on Shane Drive near Birmingham Avenue about two blocks east of the college, Abetkov said.

The victim said while on her way to her car, at least one suspect robbed her at gunpoint of some personal items before driving away in her car, Abetkov said.

After officers went to meet the victim, police received calls about a vehicle that had crashed into a street sign a few blocks away in the 3000 block of Shane, Abetkov said.

Witnesses told police that a person had exited the car and fled into one of two nearby residences, Abetkov said.

Officers went to the first residence and did not find the suspect but no one answered the door or the phone at the second residence, Abetkov said.

Police then surrounded the second home and notified SWAT officers at about 2:30 a.m., Abetkov said.

SWAT officers arrived, looking for a suspect considered armed and dangerous, and set up a perimeter at about 4:30 a.m., Abetkov said.

Officers remained outside until the suspect, described as a black male, ran out past the perimeter at about 7:15 a.m., Abetkov said.

Police eventually captured him a few blocks away after a brief search, Abetkov said.

The suspect, who is not being identified, apparently knew the people in the residence where he fled, Abetkov said.

Mill Valley Man Arrested For Auto Theft In Novato

Police in Novato arrested a man for allegedly stealing a pickup truck Sunday morning.

Officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle at the Shell gas station, at 1390 S. Novato Blvd., at about 9 a.m., police said.

The victim had told police he left the keys to his Ford pickup truck inside it when he went into the store, according to police.

When the victim exited the store, the truck was gone, and a customer had told the victim the truck had been taken and let him know which way it went, police said.

Officers in the area found the truck on southbound U.S. Highway 101 and stopped it just north of the Ignacio Boulevard off-ramp, police said.

Dale Curtis Gaines, 56, of Mill Valley, was subsequently arrested for auto theft and was booked into the Marin County Jail.

Sonoma County Woman Threatening 'Suicide By Cop' Tasered In Santa Rosa Home

A woman who had locked herself in a room and threatened to kill herself or force police to kill her was Tasered and taken into custody in the Roseland area of Santa Rosa Saturday, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies were called to the 1600 block of Dutton Avenue at 3:45 p.m. when the woman's roommate called police to say the 26-year-old had locked herself in her bedroom and was threatening "suicide by cop," sheriff's officials said.

The roommate also said that the woman had overdosed on pills, might cut her wrists and said she had a gun and would force officers to shoot her, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies arrived and found the woman in her bedroom and used a Taser that struck her abdomen and left hand to subdue her.

She was arrested for resisting attempts to take her into custody, sheriff's officials said.

She was identified as Judy Adell of Santa Rosa and was determined to be in good physical health at a hospital but was kept in custody to evaluate her mental health.

Adell was not injured and did not have a gun, sheriff's officials said.

Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Partly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning with sunny skies later in the day.

Highs are likely to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph in the afternoon.

Partly cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight.

Lows are likely to be in the upper 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Wednesday morning, becoming sunny later in the day.

Highs are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

 

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Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Partly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning with sunny skies later in the day.

Highs are likely to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph in the afternoon.

Partly cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight.

Lows are likely to be in the upper 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Wednesday morning, becoming sunny later in the day.

Highs are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

Check out some of our most popular blogs:

     We Built a Stronger SF Economy on Smart Government Investments

     The BART That Could Have Been

     Run For Your Life! (For Fun)

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

 

Drivers Line Up To Be The First Cars Over The New Bay Bridge

Drivers lined up to the entrances of the Bay Bridge Monday night to get a glimpse of the newly-constructed eastern span after word came out that it would open hours earlier than scheduled, transit officials said.

The bridge had been closed since last Wednesday while construction crews finalized work on the new eastern span connecting Oakland to Yerba Buena Island.

The bridge was scheduled to be reopened by 5 a.m. Tuesday but the work was finished faster than anticipated and it reopened shortly after 10 p.m. on Monday.

Motorists packed the parking lot of a 76 gas station off the Powell Street exit of Interstate Highway 80 in Emeryville in anticipation of the bridge's opening.

Antioch resident Douglas White, 48, said he was headed to work in San Francisco for the postal service and was going to take the San Mateo bridge but changed his mind when he heard the bridge was to open between 9 and 10 p.m.

While still excited to see the bridge, White was disappointed that the bridge didn't open until after 10 p.m., despite the announcement.

"I just want to go to work," he said.

Two teenagers with their family coming home from visiting relatives in Chico stayed up past their bedtime on a school night for a chance to see the new span.

The family changed their route when they heard about the bridge opening and waited more than 40 minutes to cross it, Rebecca Douglass said.

"They may be tired but I figure he'll remember it," Douglass said while gesturing toward 14-year-old Griffen Dempsey and his brother Kylan.

Once the bridge opened drivers flooded onto it, with many passengers and even drivers, despite warnings from the California Highway Patrol, holding their cellphones out of their windows to snap a picture of the Bay Area's newest landmark.

 

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Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning.
Highs are likely to be in the 60s to lower 70s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.
Mostly clear skies are expected this evening, becoming mostly cloudy with patchy fog after midnight.
Lows are likely to be in the upper 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.
Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Saturday morning.
Highs are expected to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.
 

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Check out some of our most popular blogs:
     We Built a Stronger SF Economy on Smart Government Investments


     The BART That Could Have Been


     Run For Your Life! (For Fun)


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


 

Fast-Food Workers Walk Off the Job at Dozens of East Bay Restaurants

Workers are walking off the job today at about 30 East Bay fast-food restaurants from Richmond to Fremont as part of a national movement aimed at boosting their pay and benefits, an organizer said.

Beth Trimarco, of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, said the local action is part of a coordinated effort occurring at fast-food restaurants in about 60 cities across the country.

Trimarco said the movement started as a grassroots movement earlier this summer and is now supported by various community groups and religious leaders.

She said most fast-food workers in California only make the minimum wage of $8 an hour and have to make difficult choices between paying for food, rent or child care.

Today's action is calling for workers to be paid at least $15 an hour, to have better benefits and regular schedules, and to have the right to form a union without retaliation, among other demands, Trimarco said.

"We want to lift families out of poverty, and increasing workers' pay will send more money right back into local communities," Trimarco said.

The fast-food restaurants being targeted include McDonald's, KFC, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell and Jack in the Box.

Trimarco said that in some cases, workers are trying to shut down the restaurants where they work.

She said at action at the McDonald's at 2520 East 12th St. in Oakland this morning didn't completely shut down the restaurant but slowed its business, partly because potential customers were deterred from going to the drive-through lane.

Trimarco said there will be other actions at the KFC at 470 Lake Park Ave. in Oakland at 11 a.m. and at the McDonald's at 640 Hegenberger Road at 4:30 p.m. today.

She said she expects hundreds of people to participate in those events.

 

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