SF News

26 CCSF Protesters Arrested Outside Mayor's Office

More than two-dozen City College of San Francisco students and advocates were arrested at City Hall late Tuesday night after calling on the mayor to support the embattled school in its fight to maintain accreditation.

A total of 26 people were detained and cited for trespassing and unlawful assembly outside the mayor's office at City Hall at about 11:50 p.m. Tuesday, sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Fahey said.

Organizer Eric Blanc said his group has tried to meet with Mayor Ed Lee for a month but has been rebuffed, so the group decided to gather outside Lee's office for a sit-in after a large rally in support of the 85,000-student school earlier Tuesday.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced last month that City College would lose its accreditation at the end of July 2014.

The school is appealing the decision and is hoping that by working to address some of the problems cited by the commission it can maintain its accreditation.

However, the U.S. Department of Education last week issued a letter finding fault with the ACCJC's processes for evaluating City College, citing vague instructions for compliance, a lack of faculty members on evaluation teams and other issues.

Blanc said the group takes issue with the mayor's support of City College special trustee Robert Agrella, who was appointed by last month by California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris to oversee the school's efforts to stay open.

Blanc said the student group opposes Agrella, who has unilateral control to make changes to the school and is refusing to cite the Department of Education's letter as part of City College's appeal of the ACCJC's decision to revoke its accreditation.

He said, "We need the mayor to throw his weight in support of City College and he's throwing it against it right now."

Christine Falvey, a spokeswoman for Lee, said this morning, "The mayor realizes that these are difficult times for the college and its students, but the best way we can support students is to focus on true reforms that will keep the college open and on a path to long-term success."

Fahey, of the sheriff's department, said a large group from the rally came into City Hall at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

They were given an order to disperse shortly before midnight, but 26 people refused.

Those protesters were cited and then released outside of City Hall early this morning, she said.

The group has posted pictures of the sit-in on its website at www.saveccsf.org.

 

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Local CA National Guard Troops Helping Fight Wildfires Statewide

Today more than 7,000 firefighters, several California National Guard helicopters and two C-130 cargo planes are battling a dozen major wildfires in the state, which have charred a total of nearly 100,000 acres, a Cal Fire spokesman said.

In the past two days, as many as 150 new wildfires have been sparked by lightning, keeping firefighters scrambling to put out hot spots, Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

A red flag warning is in effect through Thursday for most of the foothills and mountains of Northern California because of the possibility of more lightning and gusty winds, state fire officials said.

The unusually active fire season has forced Cal Fire to augment its resources with personnel from the California National Guard, in a mutual aid relationship that spans decades.

Cal Fire trains several dozen National Guard pilots each year to aid in air suppression.

"The National Guard has excellent pilots that we train to help us fight fires from the air," Berlant said. "We use specialized air equipment -- a cargo plane that we put in a modular fire tank to drop fire retardant, much like an air tanker."

The National Guard pilots are trained in how to effectively drop water and fire retardant and how to safely fly over a fire, he said.

This year has seen one of the most active fire seasons since 2008, due in part to a lack of rain combined with high temperatures that did not allow the light spring rain to soak into the dry ground.

This is also the earliest fire season Cal Fire has seen in decades, Berlant contends.

From Jan. 1 through this past Saturday, Cal Fire recorded 4,700 wildfires statewide.

During roughly the same time in 2012, from Jan. 1 to Aug. 1, Cal Fire recorded just over 3,400 wildfires, Berlant said.

He added that the average number for that seven-month period is about 3,300.

The Swedes Fire in Butte County, southeast of Oroville, is expected to be fully contained by Thursday.

The fire has burned nearly 2,500 acres and was 90 percent contained as of this morning.

The Burney Lightning Series in Shasta County near Fall River Mills is 80 percent contained, Berlant said.

Firefighters were battling seven fires spanning 190 acres.

Cal Fire is assisting the U.S. Forest Service with 10 additional fires burning on federal land.

Among the largest are the American Fire, burning 15,738 acres in Placer County, and the Rim Fire in Tuolumne County northeast of Groveland.

The Rim Fire was only 5 percent contained as of this morning, and National Guard crews were leaving Moffett Field today to battle the fire from above, Berlant confirmed.

More than 16,000 acres have burned.

And Berlant pointed out that the fire season is only just beginning.

"While fire season ends when we see a good wetting rain for a significant period, usually in late October or early November -- unfortunately the end is usually the worst," Berlant said.

The largest and most damaging fires typically burn toward the end of the season, when conditions are driest, he said.

Berlant said 94 percent of wildfires are accidentally or negligently caused by humans, so they are preventable.

He advises California residents to be extra careful outdoors, especially when using weed whackers, lawn mowers or having campfires.

"We are very busy with Mother Nature-driven fires, so it is important for residents and visitors to do their part in preventing fires," he said.

 

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Bank On Van Ness Avenue Robbed Tuesday Evening

A man robbed a bank along San Francisco's busy Van Ness Avenue on Tuesday evening, police said today.

The robbery was reported at 5:11 p.m. in the 2700 block of Van Ness, between Greenwich and Lombard streets.

The man, believed to be in his 30s, came into the bank and handed a teller a note demanding money, according to police.

He was given an undisclosed amount of cash and then fled through the rear bank doors.

He had not been found as of this morning, police said.

No one was 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 with "SFPD" in the message.

 

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Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Joseph Naso Found Guilty Of Murdering Four Women

A Marin County jury has found Joseph Naso guilty of killing four women in the Bay Area and Yuba County between 1977 and 1994.

After about five and a half hours of deliberations, the jury convicted Naso of four counts of first-degree murder, as well as the special circumstance of committing multiple murders, which makes him eligible for the death penalty.

Naso, 79, did not visibly react when the verdict was read at about 2:20 p.m.

He represented himself in the trial, which began in mid-June, with the help of an advisory counsel.

The jury convicted him of killing Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland, and Carmen Colon, a 22-year-old East Bay resident.

Roggasch was found dead off of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard west of Fairfax on Jan. 11, 1977.

Colon's body was found near Carquinez Scenic Drive in Port Costa in Contra Costa County on Aug. 15, 1978.

Naso, a former commercial photographer, was also found guilty of the murders of Pamela Parsons, 38, and Tracy Tafoya, 31, whose bodies were found in Yuba County in September 1993 and August 1994, respectively.

All four women are believed to have worked as prostitutes.

Deputy District Attorney Rosemary Slote told jurors in her closing argument that Naso picked the women up in his car, then later strangled them and disposed of their bodies.

Naso's DNA was found in semen collected from the pantyhose Roggasch was wearing when her body was found, prosecutors said.

Evidence against him included a handwritten list that prosecutors allege refers to at least seven women, including the four victims, and contains some of the locations where their bodies were found.

A separate penalty phase of the trial will begin Sept. 4 to determine whether Naso will face capital punishment.

Deputy District Attorney Dori Ahana said Tuesday that prosecutors are seeking to present evidence during the penalty phase about a fifth murder for which Naso hasn't been charged.

She would not say which murder, but during the trial prosecutor Rosemary Slote said one of the entries on Naso's handwritten list, "girl in Woodland, Nevada County," could refer to a woman named Renee Shapiro.

Shapiro, an avid Bob Dylan fan, changed her name to "Sara Dylan," and was last seen at a Dylan concert in Hawaii in April 1992, according to prosecutors.

A skull found in Nevada County in 1998 is believed to be that of Shapiro, and a passport and driver's license with the name "Sara Dylan" were found in Naso's safe deposit box at a bank in Reno, prosecutors said.

During the trial, the prosecution presented 70 witnesses, and Naso called seven to the stand.

After the jury had left the courtroom Tuesday, Naso addressed Judge Andrew Sweet, saying it seemed to him that the jurors seemed uninterested in the details of the case during the trial.

He said he didn't see them taking a lot of notes and said it appeared to him that they just wanted to "get it over with and go home."

Sweet asked Naso to clarify what he wanted from the court.

Naso replied, "I'm making a motion to call a mistrial."

Sweet immediately denied the motion, saying he did not see any evidence of juror misconduct, and called Naso's concerns "inventive paranoia about what happened in the jury room."

He told Naso that he could make another motion for a mistrial in writing in the future if he desired.

Dublin Grass Fire Contained, Caused By Smoke Grenade During Military Training

Firefighters contained a grass fire that burned about 170 acres near the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin Tuesday afternoon, a U.S. Army spokeswoman said.

The fire burned in the southeastern area of the U.S. Army Reserve Parks Reserve Forces Training Area began around 1:40 p.m. and was contained by 4:30 p.m., spokeswoman Susan Clizbe said.

A smoke grenade used during an outdoor military training sparked the fire, she said.

The area is north of Interstate Highway 580 and east of Interstate Highway 680.

No structures were affected and no injuries had been reported, she said.

The Camp Parks Fire Department responded to the fire, along with the Alameda County Fire Department and Cal Fire, she said.

Driving On New Bay Bridge Will Be A Better Experience

In addition to being safer during earthquakes, drivers will have a better overall experience when they drive across the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge when it opens in two weeks, a bridge spokesman said Tuesday.

Andrew Gordon said, "It will be a very different experience for drivers" because traffic flow will improve, curves will be more subtle and graceful and eastbound drivers will have great views of the Port of Oakland and the East Bay hills.

In fact, Gordon said the views will be so good that bridge officials are warning drivers to keep their eyes on the road and "keep the gawking for their passengers."

That's because the new span will have parallel side-by-side decks, in contrast to the current bridge, which has an eastbound lower deck and a westbound upper deck, Gordon said.

"Driving will feel more wide open," he said.

The new span will have five lanes in each direction, as the current span does, but there also will be two shoulders in each direction, which means that stalls and accidents won't clog the bridge as often as they currently do, Gordon said.

In addition, maintenance work on the bridge can be done without closing lanes, he said.

The main reason transportation officials have been building the new $6.4 billion span is that it will be seismically safer than the existing span, which opened in 1936 and had a deck collapse in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Transportation officials have been planning for a long time to open the new span on Sept. 3 but that opening date was thrown in doubt in March when it was discovered that a significant number of 96 bolts that secure earthquake shock absorbers known as shear keys to the deck of the bridge failed when they were tightened on a pier east of Yerba Buena Island.

The long-term solution to fixing the broken bolts is to cover them with an exterior saddle and cable system that is encased in concrete but that work isn't expected to be completed until mid-December, Gordon said.

However, last week transportation officials approved a short-term fix that involved inserting large steel plates, known as shims, into each of four bearings, enhancing their ability to safely distribute energy during an earthquake.

That work was completed over the weekend, Gordon said. The entire Bay Bridge will be closed in both directions from 8 p.m. on Aug. 28 to 5 a.m. on Sept. 3, the day after Labor Day, to complete additional work that must be completed before the new span can be opened to the driving public.

But Gordon said "none of the work will be challenging" and the work will be much less complicated than when the Bay Bridge was closed for construction work during previous Labor Day weekend closures in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

The work over Labor Day weekend primarily will involve paving, striping lanes and erecting barrier rails, Gordon said.

He said most of the work on the new eastern span will be on its eastern side, which is at the Oakland touchdown and the toll plaza, and its western side, which at the Yerba Buena Island transition structure and the Yerba Buena Island Tunnel.

In addition, maintenance work will be performed on the western span, such as replacing lighting fixtures, cleaning and painting cables and repairing finger joints, Gordon said.

Describing the attitude of workers as they're putting the finishing touches on the new span, he said, "There's nervous energy but everyone is confident it will be done."

Danville Police Identify Woman Critically Injured In Suspected DUI Crash

Police have identified a woman who was critically injured when a suspected drunken driver in Danville struck her on Monday night.

Police said 53-year-old Danville resident Diana Gregory was walking near Camino Tassajara and Tassajara Lane at about 9 p.m. when a driver heading east on Camino Tassajara struck her, police said.

Gregory was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek with life-threatening injuries.

She remained hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday afternoon.

Police said the driver, 50-year-old Samuel Herrick of Danville, was arrested on suspicion of DUI causing injury and was booked into county jail in Martinez, where he is being held on $50,000 bail.

The victim wasn't carrying any ID at the time of the collision, and police were initially unable to identify her.

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call Danville police immediately at (925) 314-3700.

City Attorney Vows Lawsuit Against Nevada Over 'Patient Busing'

Allegations that a Nevada state psychiatric hospital improperly sent hundreds of mental health patients to California cities by bus have prompted San Francisco's city attorney Tuesday to vow to sue the state to recover costs to the city for the patients' medical care.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera Tuesday sent a letter to Nevada state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto informing her of his intent to file a lawsuit over the alleged "patient dumping" by the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas.

Herrera wrote in the letter that his office has found nearly 500 patients were bused from the Nevada hospital to various California cities since April 2008, including 24 to San Francisco.

Of those 24, 20 required emergency medical care within a short time after their arrival, according to the city attorney.

Herrera wrote that San Francisco has spent nearly $500,000 on medical care and housing for those patients, all of whom were homeless and suffering from mental illnesses.

He wrote that the busing practices were "inhumane and unacceptable," noting that they were allegedly transported without escorts, without adequate medication or food and without arrangements for someone to receive them at their destination.

Along with recouping costs to the city, Herrera wrote that he also plans to secure a court injunction barring Nevada officials from continuing to transfer patients into California without prior arrangements for their care.

"It's my hope that our investigation and possible class action will send a strong message to public health facilities nationwide that there is a price to pay for such inhumane treatment in the future," Herrera said in a statement.

After Herrera sent initial inquiries about the case to Nevada state officials in April, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a statement saying "disciplinary actions have been taken and a corrective plan of action was put in place" at the hospital.

The changes would "provide additional oversight to ensure that discharge and transportation policies are followed correctly," Sandoval said.

Charge Dismissed For Man Accused Of Murdering Father In Oakland

A murder charge has been dismissed against a man who was accused of fatally stabbing his 71-year-old father in East Oakland three years ago.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta dismissed the charge against Kristien Tabora, 31, at a brief hearing on Monday after Deputy District Attorney Colleen McMahon said there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute him for the death of Edward Tabora, his father.

Edward Tabora, who had lived in San Francisco, was found stabbed to death at an apartment at 10415 Graffian St. in Oakland at 11:08 a.m. on March 21, 2010.

Kristien Tabora, who police said has a history of mental illness, had been arrested the previous day, March 20, 2010, in connection with a robbery of a store in the 2000 block of Market Street in San Francisco.

San Francisco police said Tabora had a history with their department and apparently stole a pack of cigarettes at knifepoint.

Tabora was armed with two knives when he was arrested for his father's murder, according to a probable cause statement filed by Oakland police.

In March 2010 Oakland police didn't identify Tabora as a suspect or a person of interest in the death of his father but he eventually was charged with murder on Sept. 15, 2010.

The police statement said Simmah Tabora, Edward Tabora's daughter and Kristien Tabora's sister, reported both of them missing to San Francisco police on March 19, 2010.

She told San Francisco police that she hadn't heard from her father in three days and that was unusual because normally they would make contact daily, according to the report.

Edward Tabora was found dead two days after the missing persons report was filed when San Francisco police asked Oakland police to conduct a security check at the Graffian Street apartment.

The criminal complaint that was filed against Kristien Tabora said it is believed that his father died sometime between March 15, 2010, and March 19, 2010, but it didn't list a specific date.

According to the probable cause statement, Oakland police investigators learned that Edward and Kristien Tabora were temporarily living together at the Graffian Street location.

Investigators also learned that Kristien Tabora "had a history of mental illness as well as documented physical abuse reports where he was accused of assaulting his father," the statement said.

In an incident in October 2009, Tabora was shot by San Francisco police officers while attempting to slash his own throat with a knife, according to the statement.

Interviews with witnesses and family members eventually helped police develop enough evidence to charge Kristien Tabora with murdering his father, the statement said.

The criminal complaint against Tabora accused him of murder, using a knife to kill his father and of having a prior felony conviction in 2001 for having a concealed firearm in a vehicle in San Francisco.

Alameda County District Attorney spokeswoman Teresa Drenick and Tabora's attorney, Alameda County Assistant Public Defender Graciela Estrada, couldn't be reached for comment on Tabora's case.

CCSF Submits Request For Review Of Decision To Revoke Accreditation

City College of San Francisco officials on Monday submitted a formal request for review of a regional panel's decision to revoke the school's accreditation, but the request made no mention of recent criticism of the accreditors by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced last month that City College's accreditation would end in July 2014 unless changes are made to the school's governance structure and finances.

However, last week the Department of Education issued a letter finding fault with the ACCJC's accrediting process for City College, citing vague instructions for compliance, a lack of faculty members on evaluation teams and a possible conflict of interest between the commission's president and her husband, who was on an evaluation team.

Yet City College special trustee Robert Agrella said Tuesday that he decided not to include the federal criticism of the ACCJC in the school's request for review because he did not want City College to take an adversarial role against the commission.

"By doing that we would be attacking the commission," Agrella said. "That's a call I made and we're sticking with it."

Agrella, who was appointed last month by California Community Colleges chancellor Brice Harris to oversee City College's fight to maintain accreditation, expanded on his decision in an open letter posted on the school's website on Monday.

Agrella wrote, "I strongly believe that the best path to maintaining CCSF's accreditation is to follow the Commission's rules, regulations, and directions and to continue to show substantial progress toward meeting the eligibility requirements and standards."

He wrote, "If our review document joins the attack on the Commission, I believe that the review and appeals process will be unsuccessful. If this is the case, I also believe our timeframe for meeting the standards may be significantly shortened."

Agrella said Tuesday that rather than have their timeframe shortened, his hope is that the 85,000-student school will be able to show enough progress that the commission could extend its accreditation deadline past its current date of July 31, 2014.

"I wouldn't have taken this on if I didn't truly think we would maintain our accreditation," he said.

City College's faculty union last week called on the ACCJC to reverse its decision to revoke the school's accreditation in light of the Department of Education letter, but Agrella said that was highly unlikely.

Agrella, who spoke to reporters Tuesday at a panel convened in San Francisco by the group New America Media, said City College is continuing to address the commission's recommendations during the review process.

If the decision to revoke accreditation is upheld, the school plans to appeal.

Agrella said changes being made include redefining the roles of department chairs and deans and making sure the school maintains financial stability by placing at least 5 percent of its general fund in reserves.

"We want to put the pedal to the metal and work as hard as we possibly can," he said.

District Attorney's Neighborhood Courts Expanding To Evening Hours

San Francisco's district attorney announced Tuesday that his neighborhood courts initiative is expanding to offer hearings during the evening hours.

District Attorney George Gascon launched the neighborhood courts initiative two years ago to seek restorative rather than punitive solutions to certain low-level, nonviolent crimes in the city.

There are 10 neighborhood courts across the city that heard more than 700 cases in 2012, according to the district attorney's office.

The cases cost an average of about $850 to resolve, compared to more than $1,500 in the criminal justice system, and often take only a couple weeks to be heard, rather than several months in a regular court, according to the district attorney's office.

In the neighborhood courts, overseen by prosecutors, a panel of trained volunteer adjudicators handle cases like vandalism, disorderly conduct or minor thefts, with resolutions often involving agreements for community service or work with the victim.

The evening hours will start in the Southern District, with the possibility of expanding to other neighborhoods if there is a demand there as well, district attorney's office spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman said.

The monthly night courts will begin from 6-8 p.m. this Thursday at the Eucharist church located at 285 Main St.

Men Featured In Taiwanese Film Start Motorcycle Trip With Americans From San Jose To Los Angeles

Nine men from Taiwan men ranging in age from 76 to 89 who once drove 730 miles in 13 days caught motorcycle rides Tuesday with American drivers in San Jose to start a three-day highway trip to Los Angeles.

The men, who starred in the award-winning documentary "Go Grandriders," hitched rides with members of the BMW Club of Northern California after a ceremonial send off attended by about 100 people outside the County Government Center in San Jose.

Hung-Tao Chang, 76, of Taiwan, who appeared in the movie, got on one of the BMW cycles outside the building on West Hedding Street in place of his wife, Ying-Mei, 78, the female of the Grandriders group who was unable to make the trip.

"I am very excited, it's a wonderful occasion," said Chang, adding that thanks to the box office success of "Go Grandriders" in Taiwan, "I'm famous now. I have a lot fans."

The Grandriders are the rage in Taiwan and Hong Kong, where the film, released this year, became the most popular documentary ever produced in Taiwan, said Deborah Yang, Santa Clara-based spokeswoman for CNEX Foundation Limited, of Taiwan, that is promoting the movie.

The men were among the 17 original Grandriders -- now mostly well into their 80s and the eldest 95 and confined to a wheelchair -- shown in the film, Yang said.

The movie chronicles their 730-mile ride in motor scooters around Taiwan over 13 days in 2007, Yang said.

They did it despite their ages to show it is "never too late to pursue one's dreams," Yang said.

The road trip will take three days, with stops and hotel stays in Monterey, San Luis Obispo and ending at the University of California, Los Angeles, according to Ed Perry, a former Santa Clara County assistant sheriff who is helping spearhead the journey.

Perry, 57, whose wife is from Taiwan, watched the movie earlier this year and heard that the Grandriders' sponsor, the Hondao Senior Citizens Foundation, wanted to send the seniors on a group ride in California.

He convinced the BMW organization and its president Z. Ortiz, to provide the motorcycles and drivers for them, he said.

The riders will spend most of the drive headed south on state Highway 1 down the coast of California and then switch back to 101 on the way to Los Angeles, Perry said.

The Taiwanese men could not qualify for driver's licenses in California and so each was assigned a member of the BMW club to drive them during the trip, Yang said.

At noon, with the Grandriders in place behind the American drivers astride the BMW cycles, they and several volunteers riding solo rumbled down Hedding to First Street on the way to U.S. Highway 101.

On Aug. 3, "Go Grandriders" won the best documentary award at the 36th Asian American International Film Festival in New York, according to focustaiwan.tw.

Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning, with a slight chance of drizzle.

Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 60s, 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 mid 50s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph.

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

Highs are expected to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

 

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Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning, with a slight chance of drizzle.

Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 60s, 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 mid 50s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph.

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

Highs are expected to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

 

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Two Dirty DUI Victims Testify At Trial Of Arresting Officer

Two victims of so-called "dirty DUI" arrests testified at the trial of the arresting officer in federal court in San Francisco Tuesday that they were plied with wine at a Danville bar on the night of the incidents.

"He kept ordering flights of wine," said witness Mitchell Katz, referring to a man he knew only as "Benny," who was present at a 2011 meeting at The Vine, a wine-tasting bar, that was supposedly for the purpose of discussing a future television program.

Katz, the owner of a Livermore winery, and Verizon technology strategist Hasan Aksu, of Martinez, were called to the stand by prosecutors at the trial of former Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriff Stephen Tanabe.

Tanabe, 50, of Alamo, is facing federal charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion for his alleged role in the drunken driving arrests of Katz, Aksu and a third man in late 2010 and early 2011.

Prosecutors allege the arrests were part of a scheme by former private investigator Christopher Butler to get husbands in divorce cases drunk and then arrested for driving under the influence.

The men were husbands or ex-husbands of female clients of Butler's who were seeking to gain an advantage in divorce or custody disputes.

The arrests were dubbed dirty DUIs.

Butler, who is expected to be a key prosecution witness against Tanabe, pleaded guilty last year to an array of charges including drug offenses, conspiracy and civil rights violations.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

He and former Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team Commander Norman Wielsch were chief figures in a police corruption scandal that included their sale of drugs Wielsch stole from CNET evidence lockers, phony arrests, extortion and Butler's orchestration of dirty DUI arrests and wiretapping of clients' husbands' cars.

Tanabe is accused only in connection with three DUI arrests.

He faces one count of conspiracy to deprive others of his honest services; three counts of wire fraud related to text messages he and Butler exchanged before the arrests; and three counts of extortion for allegedly receiving cocaine and a Glock gun from Butler in payment.

His trial in the court of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer began Monday and is expected to last about two weeks.

Defense attorney Tim Pori told the jury during his opening statement Monday that the arrests were within Tanabe's duties and there was no proof he received cocaine and a gun in payment.

Tanabe, assigned to work as a Danville police officer, arrested Katz as he drove away from the bar on Jan. 14, 2011.

Tanabe arrested Aksu on Jan. 9.

He asked another officer to arrest Lane Bauldry outside a different Danville bar on Nov. 2, 2010, because Tanabe was off duty that night, according to prosecutors.

On the stand, Katz and Aksu gave similar accounts of how they were allegedly enticed to drink at the bar.

Aksu said a man who used the name John Brownell invited him to come to the bar for an interview for a magazine article about successful European-born businessmen in the East Bay.

Katz said "John Brownell" told him he was a producer for the A&E Network who wanted to talk about a possible television program comparing Livermore and Napa wineries.

The man turned out to be Carl Marino, an actor who was a top Butler aide.

Both men were told that the meeting had to be at the Danville bar and had to be on a weekend evening.

Both said attractive women later joined them at their table.

Both said that either "John" or the man known as "Benny" ordered them several flights of wine, with each flight made up of three one-ounce glasses of different wines for tasting.

Katz said that after being arrested, handcuffed and taken to the Danville police station, he began to suspect he was the victim of a scheme and voiced his suspicions to an officer there.

"I told him I felt it was set up," Katz said.

Butler and Wielsch were arrested a month later, and DUI charges against Katz and Aksu were never pursued.

The trial resumes in Breyer's Federal Building courtroom on Thursday after a one-day break.

Thus far, Tanabe is the only defendant in the police corruption cases to go to trial. In addition to Butler, Wielsch and former San Ramon police officer Louis Lombardi pleaded guilty to various charges.

They were sentenced to 14 years and three years in prison respectively.

One other defendant, San Ramon divorce attorney Mary Nolan, is awaiting trial on charges that she conspired with Butler to place secret listening devices in her clients' husbands' cars.

Katz, Aksu and Bauldry all have filed civil lawsuits in federal court against Tanabe, Butler and Contra Costa County over their arrests.

Those lawsuits have been put on hold until Tanabe's trial is completed.

 

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City Attorney Vows Lawsuit Against Nevada Over 'Patient Busing'

Allegations that a Nevada state psychiatric hospital improperly sent hundreds of mental health patients to California cities by bus have prompted San Francisco's city attorney today to vow to sue the state to recover costs to the city for the patients' medical care.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sent a letter to Nevada state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto informing her of his intent to file a lawsuit over the alleged "patient dumping" by the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas.

Herrera wrote in the letter that his office has found nearly 500 patients were bused from the Nevada hospital to various California cities since April 2008, including 24 to San Francisco.

Of those 24, 20 required emergency medical care within a short time after their arrival, according to the city attorney.

Herrera wrote that San Francisco has spent nearly $500,000 on medical care and housing for those patients, all of whom were homeless and suffering from mental illnesses.

He wrote that the busing practices were "inhumane and unacceptable," noting that they were allegedly transported without escorts, without adequate medication or food and without arrangements for someone to receive them at their destination.

Along with recouping costs to the city, Herrera wrote that he also plans to secure a court injunction barring Nevada officials from continuing to transfer patients into California without prior arrangements for their care.

"It's my hope that our investigation and possible class action will send a strong message to public health facilities nationwide that there is a price to pay for such inhumane treatment in the future," Herrera said in a statement.

After Herrera sent initial inquiries about the case to Nevada state officials in April, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a statement saying "disciplinary actions have been taken and a corrective plan of action was put in place" at the hospital.

The changes would "provide additional oversight to ensure that discharge and transportation policies are followed correctly," Sandoval said.

 

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Driving On New Bay Bridge Will Be A Better Experience

In addition to being safer during earthquakes, drivers will have a better overall experience when they drive across the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge when it opens in two weeks, a bridge spokesman said today.

Andrew Gordon said, "It will be a very different experience for drivers" because traffic flow will improve, curves will be more subtle and graceful and eastbound drivers will have great views of the Port of Oakland and the East Bay hills.

In fact, Gordon said the views will be so good that bridge officials are warning drivers to keep their eyes on the road and "keep the gawking for their passengers."

That's because the new span will have parallel side-by-side decks, in contrast to the current bridge, which has an eastbound lower deck and a westbound upper deck, Gordon said.

"Driving will feel more wide open," he said.

The new span will have five lanes in each direction, as the current span does, but there also will be two shoulders in each direction, which means that stalls and accidents won't clog the bridge as often as they currently do, Gordon said.

In addition, maintenance work on the bridge can be done without closing lanes, he said.

The main reason transportation officials have been building the new $6.4 billion span is that it will be seismically safer than the existing span, which opened in 1936 and had a deck collapse in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Transportation officials have been planning for a long time to open the new span on Sept. 3 but that opening date was thrown in doubt in March when it was discovered that a significant number of 96 bolts that secure earthquake shock absorbers known as shear keys to the deck of the bridge failed when they were tightened on a pier east of Yerba Buena Island.

The long-term solution to fixing the broken bolts is to cover them with an exterior saddle and cable system that is encased in concrete but that work isn't expected to be completed until mid-December, Gordon said.

However, last week transportation officials approved a short-term fix that involved inserting large steel plates, known as shims, into each of four bearings, enhancing their ability to safely distribute energy during an earthquake.

That work was completed over the weekend, Gordon said.

The entire Bay Bridge will be closed in both directions from 8 p.m. on Aug. 28 to 5 a.m. on Sept. 3, the day after Labor Day, to complete additional work that must be completed before the new span can be opened to the driving public.

But Gordon said "none of the work will be challenging" and the work will be much less complicated than when the Bay Bridge was closed for construction work during previous Labor Day weekend closures in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

The work over Labor Day weekend primarily will involve paving, striping lanes and erecting barrier rails, Gordon said.

He said most of the work on the new eastern span will be on its eastern side, which is at the Oakland touchdown and the toll plaza, and its western side, which at the Yerba Buena Island transition structure and the Yerba Buena Island Tunnel.

In addition, maintenance work will be performed on the western span, such as replacing lighting fixtures, cleaning and painting cables and repairing finger joints, Gordon said.

Describing the attitude of workers as they're putting the finishing touches on the new span, he said, "There's nervous energy but everyone is confident it will be done."

 

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CCSF Submits Request For Review Of Decision To Revoke Accreditation

City College of San Francisco officials on Monday submitted a formal request for review of a regional panel's decision to revoke the school's accreditation, but the request made no mention of recent criticism of the accreditors by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced last month that City College's accreditation would end in July 2014 unless changes are made to the school's governance structure and finances.

However, last week the Department of Education issued a letter finding fault with the ACCJC's accrediting process for City College, citing vague instructions for compliance, a lack of faculty members on evaluation teams and a possible conflict of interest between the commission's president and her husband, who was on an evaluation team.

Yet City College special trustee Robert Agrella said today that he decided not to include the federal criticism of the ACCJC in the school's request for review because he did not want City College to take an adversarial role against the commission.

"By doing that we would be attacking the commission," Agrella said. "That's a call I made and we're sticking with it."

Agrella, who was appointed last month by California Community Colleges chancellor Brice Harris to oversee City College's fight to maintain accreditation, expanded on his decision in an open letter posted on the school's website on Monday.

Agrella wrote, "I strongly believe that the best path to maintaining CCSF's accreditation is to follow the Commission's rules, regulations, and directions and to continue to show substantial progress toward meeting the eligibility requirements and standards."

He wrote, "If our review document joins the attack on the Commission, I believe that the review and appeals process will be unsuccessful. If this is the case, I also believe our timeframe for meeting the standards may be significantly shortened."

Agrella said today that rather than have their timeframe shortened, his hope is that the 85,000-student school will be able to show enough progress that the commission could extend its accreditation deadline past its current date of July 31, 2014.

"I wouldn't have taken this on if I didn't truly think we would maintain our accreditation," he said.

City College's faculty union last week called on the ACCJC to reverse its decision to revoke the school's accreditation in light of the Department of Education letter, but Agrella said that was highly unlikely.

Agrella, who spoke to reporters today at a panel convened in San Francisco by the group New America Media, said City College is continuing to address the commission's recommendations during the review process.

If the decision to revoke accreditation is upheld, the school plans to appeal.

Agrella said changes being made include redefining the roles of department chairs and deans and making sure the school maintains financial stability by placing at least 5 percent of its general fund in reserves.

"We want to put the pedal to the metal and work as hard as we possibly can," he said.

The appointment of a special trustee temporarily removed any power from City College's board of trustees, and Agrella said he does "not see a board coming back into the institution for some time to come," with him or another special trustee likely overseeing the school for "several years."

Agrella said City College also has to add details to a report outlining the school's plans in the event that its accreditation is indeed revoked next year and the school has to close.

Among the options the school is looking at would be to lease space in its buildings to neighboring institutions to allow City College students to transfer there without having to commute to other destinations around the Bay Area, he said.

"It's simply not possible to say every student at City College can just get in a car and go to another institution," he said.

Meanwhile, City College students are holding a march and rally starting at 4 p.m. today to demand that Mayor Ed Lee help save the school from losing its accreditation.

The march, which begins at 4 p.m., will end at City Hall.

 

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Bay Area Men Identified As Victims In Butte County Plane Crash

Two Bay Area men have been identified as the victims in a fiery plane crash near Chico last week, according to the Butte County Sheriff-Coroner's Office.

Alamo resident Matthew Moody, 26, and 54-year-old Frederick Lewis of Fairfield were identified through dental records as the two occupants of the two-seat aircraft that crashed and burst into flames in a remote canyon east of state Highway 99, according to sheriff's officials.

Crews responded to reports of the crash around 11:35 a.m. on Aug. 12 and found the plane badly damaged by the crash and fire, according to the sheriff's office.

The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said the pair were doing contract work for the utility and were surveying the unincorporated area at the time of the crash.

The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, he said.

 

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Events In SF, Oakland To Mark Anniversary Of March On Washington

Events are planned in San Francisco and Oakland this evening to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

The University of San Francisco is hosting an event at 6 p.m. today and will honor Clarence Benjamin Jones, a former speechwriter, attorney and adviser to King, who gave the famous speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963.

Jones is USF's first diversity scholar and was given an honorary doctoral degree by the school in 2011.

He has taught the undergraduate course "From Slavery to Obama" on campus since the fall of 2012.

Mayor Ed Lee will attend the event, as well as Joseph Marshall Jr., a city police commissioner and executive director of the nonprofit Omega Boys Club.

The event will take place at USF's McLaren Conference Center at 2130 Fulton St. and is open to the public.

Also at 6 p.m. today, a rally will be held at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland to kick off a statewide bus tour in the week leading up to the anniversary of the March on Washington.

The rally is being spearheaded by the group Oakland Community Organizations, which works with congregations and schools throughout the city.

The group will send off riders on the bus tour to educate the public on how certain policies disproportionately affect people of color.

The tour, which will end in Los Angeles on Saturday, is in solidarity with a national bus tour also taking place in advance of the 50th anniversary.

 

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Tuesday Midday News Roundup

Great White Sighting At Stinson Beach Prompts Five-Day Swim Ban In Marin

A great white shark was spotted near Stinson Beach on Monday afternoon, prompting a five-day ban on swimming and surfing there, a National Park Service spokeswoman said.

The shark, estimated to be between 10 and 15 feet long, was seen multiple times in the water near the northern part of the beach, spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said.

There was one reported sighting around 1:30 p.m., and a lifeguard then spotted the shark along the surf line around 3 p.m., she said.

The shark was seen not far from the spot on the beach where a baby fin whale was found Monday morning, Picavet said.

The whale died later that morning.

"There is reason to believe that the whale was an attractant for shark, bringing it closer to shore," she said.

There have been reports that the shark may have attacked a seal in the water off the beach, but Picavet said she could not confirm that.

The swimming and surfing ban went into effect on Monday, but people are still allowed to walk on the beach, she said.

Red Flag Warning Extended, More Lightning Expected Today

The National Weather Service has extended a red-flag warning for parts of the Bay Area, as more lightning is expected to strike this afternoon and later into the evening, a forecaster said.

The warning will be in effect for the East Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains through midnight, forecaster Steve Anderson said.

The weather service has recorded over 15,000 lighting strikes in and around the Bay Area since Monday at noon, he said.

Ninety percent of those strikes were reported about 100 miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean, Anderson said.

The lighting is caused by a low-pressure system that is hovering in the area, he said.

"This is the typical weather that Phoenix and other desert areas experience, without the heat," Anderson said. "The low pressure will spin off through today and slowly start moving northeast Wednesday afternoon," he said.

Santa Rosa Supervisor Efren Carrillo Apologizes, Admits Alcoholism

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo made a lengthy public apology this morning at the first supervisors' meeting he has attended since he entered an alcohol treatment program after his arrest for prowling outside a woman's apartment last month.

Carrillo, 32, who represents the 5th District that includes southwest Santa Rosa and western Sonoma County, also admitted that he suffers from alcoholism.

"To each and all whom I have hurt, I apologize. Could I give up everything I own to turn back the clock on the early morning of July 13 for a just a few moments? Of course I would. But I cannot not turn back time," Carrillo said. "Instead, I have spent the last five weeks on an effort to turn back a disease I have had for some time, and have denied and disregarded to the detriment of others and myself," he said. 

"I never faced the reality that my alcoholism was a disease, a disorder of serious magnitude, and that to face it would take a lifetime of hard work," Carrillo said. "I regret that it took the absurdity of my behavior in July to end any question about the depth of my problem," he said.

At about 3:40 a.m. on July 13, a woman who lives near Stony Point Road and West Third Street in Santa Rosa called 911 to report that someone had tried to enter her bedroom through a window.

She then called police again and said a man had knocked on her front door and identified himself as a neighbor, then ran away.

Officers responded and arrested Carrillo -- who was wearing only socks and underwear and carrying a cellphone -- on suspicion of prowling and burglary, police said.

Police said the screen on the bedroom window had been torn enough so that someone could reach in and try to open the window.

The woman said she was awakened by the sound of blinds moving.

At the time of the incident, Carrillo lived nearby in the 300 block of Brockhurst Drive, but he said this morning that he has moved to a new home in order to avoid causing the woman any further discomfort.

The state Attorney General's Office is investigating the case, and a decision on possible charges is expected by Carrillo's next hearing, which is scheduled for Aug. 30 in Sonoma County Superior Court.

Carrillo said he is now in an outpatient treatment program offered by Kaiser Permanente.

"This is a robust eight-week program designed to address chemical dependency," he said.

He said he was never under the influence of alcohol while performing his duties as supervisor, and that his alcoholism "manifested itself in binge drinking."

"There is no one to blame but myself, and I take full responsibility for my situation. I do hope that people will recognize that I am taking serious steps to conquer what is a serious and sometimes deadly disease," Carrillo said.

Board members made no comments after Carrillo read his statement.

San Jose Man Dies After Triple-Shooting At Vietnamese Restaurant

One of three men who were shot at a Vietnamese restaurant in San Jose on Monday night died early this morning, a police spokesman said.

The shooting happened around 10 p.m. at the Hoang Hon Bar and Restaurant at 2852 Alum Rock Ave.

The three men were all taken to hospitals, and one was pronounced dead at about 2 a.m. today, San Jose police Officer Albert Morales said.

Morales said the shooting "appears to be a random act at this time," and does not seem to be gang-related.

The two other victims' injuries are not considered life-threatening, Morales said.

Investigators are still working to determine the circumstances of the shooting, according to police.

No arrests have been made in the case.

San Jose Swearing-In Ceremony Tonight For Supervisor Cindy Chavez

Cindy Chavez, the newly elected member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, will be sworn in this evening at a ceremony at the county government center.

Chavez, who has already attended her first board meeting, will take her oath of office during the 6 p.m. ceremony in board chambers at 70 W. Hedding St., a county spokeswoman said.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, is among those expected to attend, according to county spokeswoman Gwen Mitchell.

A reception will follow at 6:30 p.m., Mitchell said.

Chavez defeated rival Teresa Alvarado in a July 30 special runoff election to represent District 2 and serve out the term of former Supervisor George Shirakawa, who resigned in March.

She will to serve as chair of the Children, Seniors and Families Committee and vice chair of the Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee.

Fremont Big-Rig Crash Sends Driver To Hospital With Serious Injuries

A driver was seriously injured this morning when a big-rig traveling east on Auto Mall Parkway in Fremont jumped the center median and struck a westbound vehicle, a police sergeant said.

The female driver of the car that was hit was transported to a local trauma center for treatment.

The big-rig's driver suffered only minor injuries, according to police.

Fremont police received multiple 911 calls reporting a crash on westbound Auto Mall Parkway shortly after 5:15 a.m., police Sgt. Jeff Swadener said.

The westbound lanes were closed between Fremont and Grimmer boulevards, Swadener said.

Motorists traveling on southbound Interstate Highway 680 connecting to Interstate Highway 880 were advised stay on the freeway and avoid the area.

Tour Bus Driver Pleads No Contest To DUI Charges

A man accused of driving a double-decker tour bus while drunk in San Francisco last month has pleaded no contest to DUI charges, a prosecutor said today.

Leon Maynard, 60, of San Bruno, pleaded no contest on Monday to a charge of driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, district attorney's office spokesman Alex Bastian said.

Maynard was arrested near Stockton and Post streets at about 1:15 p.m. on July 5 while driving a San Francisco Deluxe Sightseeing tour bus, prosecutors said.

His blood-alcohol content at the time of the arrest was 0.21 percent, and he was also cited for an open container infraction, prosecutors said.

Maynard was sentenced to three years' probation, ordered to spend six days in the sheriff's work alternative program, participate for six months in a first offender program and will have his commercial driver's license suspended for a year, Bastian said.

SFMTA Adds More Crossing Guards to Patrol Safety Around Schools

Monday was the first day of school not only for many San Francisco students, but also for many new crossing guards.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has added 45 new guards to its School Crossing Guard Program.

"Our school crossing guards have proven to be effective and proactive measures that ensure the safety of our children and create a positive presence in the community," SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin said in a statement.

The program now has 195 personnel to patrol safety around public and private schools in the city.

The new staff will help the agency improve safety citywide.

"Having more school crossing guards on our streets will help make our streets more safe for our youngest pedestrians, and will help more parents join the growing numbers of San Francisco families choosing to walk, bike or take transit to school safely," Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement.

18-Year-Old Driver Arrested After Fleeing Scene Of Crash That Injured Passenger

An 18-year-old driver was arrested Monday after fleeing the scene of a rollover crash that seriously injured a passenger in his car, police said.

Officers responded to reports of a rollover in the 400 block of Cabot Road at about 3:15 p.m., South San Francisco police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the driver of a Toyota 4Runner -- later identified as Juan Antonio Garcia, of South San Francisco -- was attempting to make a U-turn when his vehicle flipped over, McPhillips said.

Witnesses saw Garcia running away from the scene with two of his three passengers, MchPhillips said.

Arriving officers found the third passenger, a man in his 20s, still inside the vehicle, McPhillips said.

He had suffered major head trauma and was taken to a hospital.

Garcia and the two other passengers were found hiding in some bushes near the Bay, McPhillips said.

Garcia was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and run and driving without a license.

He was booked into San Mateo County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Pittsburg Mom Beaten, Kids Unharmed During Home Invasion Robbery

A woman was beaten as her two young children were sleeping in another room during a home invasion robbery in Pittsburg on Monday night, police said today.

Around 10 p.m., two male intruders forced their way into a home in the 1100 block of Bending Willow Way through a second-story window, police Lt. Ron Raman said.

Police said the suspects demanded money from the 35-year-old woman, whose children, ages 6 and 3, slept nearby.

The woman complied with the suspects' demands but at one point pushed a "panic button" on her alarm system.

That prompted a struggle with the suspects during which they hit her several times in the face and upper body, Raman said.

The victim called 911 after the suspects fled through the front door.

She was taken to a hospital and treated for bruising to her face and arm.

Police said the suspects kept the hoods of their sweatshirts over their faces during the home invasion to conceal their identities.

They did not appear to have any weapons.

According to police, a silver SUV similar to a Chevrolet was seen in the area at the time of the robbery.

Both suspects remain at large, and anyone with information about them is asked to call Pittsburg police (925) 646-2441.

Danville Police Trying To Identify Pedestrian Critically Injured By Suspected DUI Driver

Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a woman who was critically injured when she was hit by a suspected drunken driver in Danville on Monday night.

The woman was walking near Camino Tassajara and Tassajara Lane at about 9 p.m. when a driver heading east on Camino Tassajara struck her, police said.

The victim was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek with life-threatening injuries.

Police said the driver, 50-year-old Samuel Herrick of Danville, was arrested on suspicion of DUI causing injury and was booked into county jail in Martinez.

The victim wasn't carrying any ID at the time of the collision, and police been unable to identify her. She is described as a white woman in her 50s or early 60s who is roughly 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 105 pounds, Danville police Sgt. Scott Dickerson said.

She was wearing khaki shorts and a gray T-shirt at the time of the collision.

Dickerson said this morning that police have not received any information about the woman's identity, nor any missing-person reports, and plan to analyze the victim's fingerprints in the hopes of learning her name.

Anyone with information about the victim's identity or the collision is asked to call Danville police immediately at (925) 314-3700.

Orinda Fire Prompts Reminder About Red Flag Warning

Crews put out a fire that burned an outbuilding and some vegetation in Orinda on Monday and threatened to spread to a nearby home, Moraga-Orinda fire district officials said today.

Neighbors on Muth Drive called the fire district around 1:20 p.m. to report a blaze that was burning an outbuilding and deck and had spread to adjacent brush, Interim Fire Chief Stephen Healy said.

Crews were able to bring the fire under control in less than 15 minutes and no homes were damaged, Healy said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Healy said staffing had been beefed up because of the red flag warning currently in effect, allowing crews to respond more quickly and aggressively to the fire.

Fire officials are reminding residents not to mow any vegetation while the fire warning is in effect, and that any open flame can spark a large fire.

 

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Red Flag Warning Extended, More Lightning Expected Today

The National Weather Service has extended a red-flag warning for parts of the Bay Area, as more lightning is expected to strike this afternoon and later into the evening, a forecaster said.

The warning will be in effect for the East Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains through midnight, forecaster Steve Anderson said.

The weather service has recorded over 15,000 lighting strikes in and around the Bay Area since Monday at noon, he said.

Ninety percent of those strikes were reported about 100 miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean, Anderson said.

The lighting is caused by a low-pressure system that is hovering in the area, he said.

"This is the typical weather that Phoenix and other desert areas experience, without the heat," Anderson said. "The low pressure will spin off through today and slowly start moving northeast Wednesday afternoon," he said.

 

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18-Year-Old Driver Arrested After Fleeing Scene Of Crash That Injured Passenger

An 18-year-old driver was arrested Monday after fleeing the scene of a rollover crash that seriously injured a passenger in his car, police said.

Officers responded to reports of a rollover in the 400 block of Cabot Road at about 3:15 p.m., South San Francisco police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the driver of a Toyota 4Runner -- later identified as Juan Antonio Garcia, of South San Francisco -- was attempting to make a U-turn when his vehicle flipped over, McPhillips said.

Witnesses saw Garcia running away from the scene with two of his three passengers, MchPhillips said.

Arriving officers found the third passenger, a man in his 20s, still inside the vehicle, McPhillips said.

He had suffered major head trauma and was taken to a hospital.

Garcia and the two other passengers were found hiding in some bushes near the Bay, McPhillips said.

Garcia was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and run and driving without a license.

He was booked into San Mateo County Jail on $50,000 bail.

 

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Tour Bus Driver Pleads No Contest To DUI Charges

A man accused of driving a double-decker tour bus while drunk in San Francisco last month has pleaded no contest to DUI charges, a prosecutor said today.

Leon Maynard, 60, of San Bruno, pleaded no contest on Monday to a charge of driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, district attorney's office spokesman Alex Bastian said.

Maynard was arrested near Stockton and Post streets at about 1:15 p.m. on July 5 while driving a San Francisco Deluxe Sightseeing tour bus, prosecutors said.

His blood-alcohol content at the time of the arrest was 0.21 percent, and he was also cited for an open container infraction, prosecutors said.

Maynard was sentenced to three years' probation, ordered to spend six days in the sheriff's work alternative program, participate for six months in a first offender program and will have his commercial driver's license suspended for a year, Bastian said.

 

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Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Two Survivors Describe Moments Leading Up To Deadly Limo Fire In Redwood City

Two of four women who survived a deadly limousine fire in May described in statements released Monday the final tense moments before five women perished after the vehicle came to a halt on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge.

Amalia Loyola, 48, of San Leandro, told investigators the bridal shower group had just opened a bottle of Champagne when she felt the vehicle hit a bump, then saw black smoke coming from beneath her feet Loyola, seated in the rear of the passenger compartment, told everyone about the smoke and moved up past the bride-to-be's presents to the front of the limo to join three other passengers.

She then immediately saw flames burst out in the rear next where the other five women sat.

"Nobody followed me after," Loyola said of the five women. "They were just sitting there. I don't know if they passed out or what. But the thing is nobody followed me. I was the only one that moved. They were just sitting there."

Mary Guardiano, 42, of Alameda, had saved herself after squeezing through the burning limo's narrow privacy partition when she ran over and opened both rear doors to free the others trapped inside.

But "flames shot out of the doorway and she was unable to go inside to grab anyone," reported a California Highway Patrol officer who took her statement. "She said she stepped back and the doors shut automatically. She said the (limo) driver just stood with his cellphone."

The women's statements were released Monday with the announcement by authorities that the limousine fire was caused by a mechanical problem and that no criminal charges would be filed in connection with the tragedy.

The announcement was made by the CHP, the San Mateo County coroner's and district attorney's offices and other agencies at a news conference Monday afternoon at the CHP's Redwood City office.

The limousine, driven by Orville Brown, 46, had a failure of its rear air suspension system, causing the vehicle's driveshaft to shift and make contact with the floorboard.

The metal-to-metal friction generated heat that sparked the fire, according to a report released by the CHP.

"The overall nature of this tragedy was not something that was foreseeable," CHP Cmdr. Mike Maskarich said.

Investigators determined that Brown was not on his cellphone when the fire started, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe said his office looked into manslaughter, criminal negligence or other possible charges before determining that no charges would be filed against the driver or TownCar SF, the company that owned and operated the limo.

"Some tragedies are crimes and some are not. This tragedy was not," Wagstaffe said.

Investigators also learned that the limo, a Ford Lincoln produced in 1998 that had more than 200,000 miles on it at the time of the fire, had been reported stolen on Sept. 9, 2004, and found days later stripped of parts.

The vehicle was repaired in Southern California for about $14,000 by a now-closed business but it was not clear how much of it had been refurbished compared to its original state, the CHP reported.

Oakland Police Identify Suspect In Telegraph Avenue Shooting Saturday 

Oakland police have identified a suspect Monday who allegedly shot at several witnesses to a car burglary downtown on Saturday afternoon.

Police arrested 20-year-old Demetrius Lashun Ward Monday morning, according to court records.

Police said that Ward allegedly broke into a car in the 1700 block of Telegraph Avenue at about 4 p.m., stole items and ran away.

Several witnesses chased after him and recovered the stolen property.

But Ward allegedly came back on a bicycle minutes later and opened fire, wounding two women and two men before he fled again.

All four victims suffered gunshot wounds that are not considered life-threatening, according to police.

Police said Ward is facing charges of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, a count of second degree auto burglary and violation of probation.

Ward is being held without bail and scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday afternoon, according to court records.

Oakland Blues Singer Seeks $5M In Damages For Attack At Music Festival 

The city of Hayward and the Bay Area Blues Society are partially responsible for a woman's attack on blues singer Lester Chambers after he dedicated a song to Trayvon Martin at blues festival last month, Chambers' attorney alleged Monday.

Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, who represents Chambers, a 73-year-old Petaluma man, said the blues society should have done a better job of providing security at the Hayward Russell City Blues Festival on July 13 and the city should have done a better job of supervising the event.

Dinalynn Potter, a 43-year-old woman from Barstow, has been charged with felony assault and felony elder abuse for allegedly attacking Chambers after he announced he would sing Curtis Mayfield's song "People Get Ready" in honor of Martin, a 17-year-old black youth who was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida last year.

Chambers dedicated the song several hours before jurors in Zimmerman's trial acquitted him of all charges.

Burris said he's filing a $5 million claim on Chambers' behalf against the city of Hayward and a lawsuit against Potter and the blues society seeking an identical amount.

The lawsuit alleges that Potter rushed the stage after Chambers said he would sing the song, throwing herself on him, punching him repeatedly with her fists, calling him names and "making derogatory slurs implicating his race."

Chambers is black and Potter is white.

The suit also alleges that security personnel whose services were retained for the concert were on a smoking break when the attack occurred.

Speaking at a news conference in his office, Burris said security personnel should have been paying more attention because "it was a highly volatile time" because of the jury's deliberations in Zimmerman's case and many police agencies were on high alert.

Chambers said Potter's attack was "totally unexpected" and left him "in total shock" because he had dedicated the song as a goodwill gesture of "peace, love, joy and a desire to make a change" and he didn't condone any violence.

Chambers said he suffered bruises, cuts and other injuries to his ribs, hands and face and has been forced to postpone a tour he was planning to promote a CD he's in the process of completing.

He said, "It's still a nightmare and I'm shaking all the time" and he's had difficulty sleeping.

Hayward City Attorney Michael Lawson said he has no comment on the claim because the city just received it.

He said the city has 45 days to process the claim.

Bay Area Blues Society officials couldn't be reached for comment.

Burris said, "There's no doubt this was a hate crime" and he believes the Alameda County District Attorney's Office should have charged Potter with a hate crime in addition to assault and elder abuse.

District attorney's office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick didn't comment directly on the decision not to charge Potter with a hate crime, saying only that, "We charged that which we felt appropriate to charge based upon all of the evidence reviewed."

Antioch Police Arrest Suspect In Fatal Stabbing At Gas Station

Police have arrested a suspect in a fatal stabbing at a gas station in Antioch on Saturday night.

A 34-year-old man from Antioch was arrested for allegedly stabbing another man at a Chevron gas station at 3201 Delta Fair Blvd., Sgt. Tony Morefield said Monday.

At about 7:40 p.m. Saturday, the victim was found by police suffering from several stab wounds.

He was taken to a hospital where he died, according to police.

The victim has been identified by the Contra Costa County coroner's office as 49-year-old Antioch resident Kann Cendejaf.

The suspect was found at the scene, taken to the Police Department for questioning and was arrested the same night, Morefield said.

Police are not yet releasing the name of the suspect, pending a review of the case by the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.

Anyone with information about the stabbing is asked to call Antioch police at (925) 779-6894.

Trial Begins For Former Sheriff's Deputy Accused In Dirty DUI Case

A prosecutor told a federal jury in San Francisco Monday that a former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy metaphorically "sold his badge" when he allegedly arranged so-called "dirty DUI" arrests for a private investigator.

Monday was the first day of trial for Stephen Tanabe, 50, of Alamo, on seven federal charges related to his role in the drunken driving arrests of three husbands of clients of former investigator Christopher Butler in Danville in late 2010 and early 2011.

Tanabe allegedly received cocaine and an expensive Glock gun from Butler in exchange for the arrests, which were intended to strengthen the wives' positions in divorce and custody cases and which came after employees of Butler enticed the men to get drunk.

"To put it more bluntly, he sold his badge," Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Kearney told the jury during his opening statement in the court of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer.

"In selling his badge, he let loose intoxicated drivers on the street of Danville, a town he was sworn to protect," Kearney said. "He violated his duty to provide honest services," the prosecutor charged.

Butler's driving-under-the-influence operations were part of a wide-ranging Contra Costa County police corruption scandal centered on Butler and former drug squad commander Norman Wielsch.

Both Butler, who is slated to be a key prosecution witness against Tanabe, and Wielsch have pleaded guilty to an array of charges including drug offenses, conspiracy and civil rights violations.

Butler was sentenced to eight years in prison and Wielsch, the former commander of the now-disbanded Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, was sentenced to 14 years.

Among other crimes, Butler admitted to staging drunken driving arrests and extorting protection money from employees of an illegal massage parlor that he and Wielsch founded.

Both men admitted to selling marijuana and methamphetamine that Wielsch stole from CNET evidence lockers; conducting phony stings in which they stole property and cash from prostitutes who were rivals of the massage parlor employees; and staging a phony arrest of a teenager whose mother wanted him to stop selling drugs.

Tanabe's trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Defense attorney Tim Pori told the jury during his opening statement that he plans to attack the credibility of Butler and other prosecution witnesses, including Carl Marino, a top Butler aide.

"The evidence will show this case is based on lies, lies, and more lies," Pori said.

"These are people who built their careers on lies, deception and destroying people," the defense attorney said.

"Chris Butler is a masterful manipulator and one of his favorite things to do was to frame people," said Pori, who charged that Butler will be seeking to aid prosecutors when on the stand in a bid to have his prison term reduced.

Pori said he didn't dispute that Tanabe participated in the three arrests, but said officers in the low-crime town had performance objectives that included making DUI arrests, and said it was normal for them to wait outside bars to watch for intoxicated drivers.

He said the alleged cocaine payment was never found and that while a Glock gun was found in Tanabe's home, there was no proof he received it in exchange for the arrests.

Pori said Butler admitted to staging a total of 12 dirty DUI arrests in various Bay Area locations, and contended Butler didn't need to pay Tanabe because he didn't pay the officers in the other cities.

Jury Begins Deliberations At Joseph Naso Trial

Jurors began deliberations Monday afternoon after hearing evidence for two months in Marin County Superior Court at former commercial photographer Joseph Naso's trial for allegedly killing four prostitutes.

The prosecution presented 70 witnesses and Naso called seven witnesses to the stand.

He is charged with strangling the women whose bodies were found off the side of rural roads in Marin, Contra Costa and Yuba counties between 1977 and 1994.

Deputy District Attorney Rosemary Slote told the jury in her closing argument Naso picked up the women in his car, took them home, strangled them and dumped their bodies.

The prosecution presented DNA evidence it claims links Naso to the murders of Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland and Carmen Colon, 22, an East Bay resident.

Roggasch's body was found on Jan. 11, 1977, near Fairfax in Marin County and Colon's body was discovered off Carquinez Scenic Drive near Port Costa in Contra Costa County.

The other victims are Yuba County residents Pamela Parsons, 38, of Linda, and Tracy Tafoya, 31.

Parsons's body was found on Sept. 19, 1993, in Yuba County and Tafoya's body was found in Yuba County on Aug. 14, 1994.

Naso, 79, of Reno, has been representing himself.

During his five-hour closing argument on Friday and Monday, Naso asked the jury to ignore the prosecution's attempt to "mislead" them with illegal circumstantial evidence and "inflame" them with photographs of the women's bodies.

Naso told the jury if they disregard the prosecution's "tattletales" about his alleged past sexual offenses, they will be convinced he is not guilty of all four murders.

Naso said he had no motive to kill anyone because he had a good family life and was involved in community service.

He admitted he picked up Parsons hitchhiking and photographed her but said he didn't kill her.

Regarding the prosecution's contention that his DNA was found in some semen in the pantyhose Roggasch was wearing inside out when her body was found, Naso said that would only prove he might have had sex with her.

"But I don't remember," he said.

Naso's wife Judith's DNA also was found in a pair of pantyhose that was wrapped around Roggash's neck, according to the prosecution.

The prosecution also introduced diaries Naso kept that purportedly give accounts of women he raped in several cities between 1950 and 1970, and a handwritten list the prosecution believes refers to at least seven women, including the four murder victims, and where he dumped their bodies.

Naso said his "date diaries," and the list do not contain the names of the alleged victims or time and place of any murders or alleged sexual assaults.

"I'm not on trial for sexual assault," he told the jury several times during his closing statement.

"This case is about murder not about events and activities that have never been charged as crimes," Naso said.

Rather than refuting what Slote said the prosecution proved, Naso told the jury what was not proved.

"The prosecution can't prove I am capable of lifting over 30 pounds due to a bad back and torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder and a fracture in my left elbow," Naso told the jury.

"The prosecution can't prove I'm capable of killing four people and transporting them long distances and dumping their bodies," he said.

Oakland Death Of Father, Daughter Ruled Murder-Suicide 

The death of a father and daughter at an Oakland home early Monday morning has been ruled a murder-suicide by investigators, a police spokeswoman said.

The father was identified as 88-year-old William Roberts, who fatally shot his 57-year-old daughter Marian and then killed himself, Oakland police Officer Johnna Watson said.

They were found by officers who responded at 4:32 a.m. to the home in the 4100 block of Fruitvale Avenue, Watson said.

No other information about the case was immediately available Monday afternoon from police.

Oakland Protesting Truckers Block Port Terminals

A protest by as many as 120 truckers forced some terminals at the Port of Oakland to close temporarily Monday but Oakland police are working to try to keep all the terminals operational, a port spokeswoman said.

All but one of the five terminals at the port were able to conduct at least some type of operation Monday morning but the situation was "fluid" and sometimes terminals were closed and sometimes they were open, according to port spokeswoman Marilyn Sandifur.

At one point all the terminals were blocked by protesting truckers who blocked their gates, but Oakland police later came to the scene to make sure that trucks can get in and out of all the terminals, Sandifur said.

She described the protesters as "a group of truckers" but said she didn't know the reason for the protest.

Sandifur said there wasn't any protest activity during the lunch hour.

Sandifur estimated that about 100 to 120 truckers participated at the peak of the protest.

She said that's a small percentage of the total of 6,800 registered truckers who do business at the port.

Man, Woman Shot In Visitacion Valley

A man and a woman were shot Monday afternoon in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley neighborhood, according to police.

Officers responded to the corner of Sunnydale Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard at 4:58 p.m.

They found a man in his 40s and a woman suffering gunshot wounds and both were taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

The man's injuries are considered life-threatening and the woman's are not, police said.

Police are looking for a suspect, a man between 20 and 25 years old who fled in a burgundy sedan, according to police.

Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning, with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected this evening with patchy fog and a slight chance of thunderstorms after midnight.

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

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Wednesday morning, with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Highs are expected to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

 

 

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Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning, with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected this evening with patchy fog and a slight chance of thunderstorms after midnight.

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

Cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Wednesday morning, with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs are expected to be in the 50s to upper 60s, 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

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SFMTA Adds More Crossing Guards to Patrol Safety Around Schools

Monday was the first day of school not only for many San Francisco students, but also for many new crossing guards.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has added 45 new guards to its School Crossing Guard Program.

"Our school crossing guards have proven to be effective and proactive measures that ensure the safety of our children and create a positive presence in the community, SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin said in a statement.

The program now has 195 personnel to patrol safety around public and private schools in the city.

The new staff will help the agency's improve pedestrian and school area safety citywide in addition to supervising intersections of concern.

"Having more school crossing guards on our streets will help make our streets more safe for our youngest pedestrians, and will help more parents join the growing numbers of San Francisco families choosing to walk, bike or take transit to school safely," Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement.

 

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Berkeley Rescuers Looking For Owner Of Dog Found Stranded In SF Bay

A free-spirited pooch found stranded in the middle of the San Francisco Bay Monday afternoon is in the loving care of her Berkeley rescuers while the search for her owner continues.

The dog was paddling in the water near Angel Island when Adam Cohen, of Berkeley, on his small boat he takes to commute into San Francisco, saw four windsurfers with their sails down, Cohen's wife Lisa Grodin said today.

"They did a heroic thing out there," Grodin said today from her family's Berkeley hills home. "Everyone who was out there took a risk trying to make sure the dog got saved."

The surfers were attempting to put the struggling dog onto their boards and when Cohen arrived it was determined getting her onboard was the most immediate and efficient plan.

Grodin said her husband said that the dog was tired as he brought her to shore.

He then called Grodin and told her, "Hey looks like we have a visitor."

The professional violinist who works at Berkeley's Crowden Music Center said she prepared towels and hot water bottles and that it took nearly two hours for the young dog to warm up.

Eventually the dog pushed through her watery ordeal and Cohen and Grodin said the young dog that seems to be less than a year old didn't look abused and was in good health.

She has a collar but no tags, Grodin said.

The dog appears to be a brown-haired Italian mastiff and is taking well to her temporary home with Grodin, Cohen and their two sons.

"She's amazing, somebody has taken some care of her," she said.

The family hopes to find the dog's owner and understand how the puppy ended up in the middle of the bay.

"I'm really quickly falling for her and it's only been a couple days," she said. "I would be hard-pressed to part with her."

She said the playful pup is adjusting to her new surroundings, including the family's dog, and that the large puppy already follows Grodin everywhere.

She said the dog is somewhat trained and that it's "really clear that she's used to looking at somebody for direction."

"She's very chummy," Grodin said. "This dog is really adorable. She's completely irresistible."

Grodin has been staying at home with the dog that the family has dubbed "Richard Parker" after the tiger in Yann Martel novel, "The Life of Pi" that similarly was stranded in the ocean.

A self-described dog person, Grodin said taking care of the dog has been a joy and she's honored to be part of the rescue effort.

She cannot fathom how the dog ended up in the water.

She listed possible scenarios including someone abandoning her, the dog somehow swimming from land, or falling off a boat.

As of Wednesday afternoon no one had claimed the puppy, however according to staff at the Berkeley Dog and Cat Hospital there have been at least two inquiries about adopting her.

A steady stream of visitors have come to visit Richard Parker at the Grodin-Cohen home, including two of the windsurfers that initially spotted the dog.

One brought his daughter to see the puppy, Grodin said.

Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society and dog and cat hospital officials are working with the family to get the word out about the rescued dog and trying to locate the owner.

If finding the owner proves impossible, the dog may go up for adoption.

"If we feel like we can part with her, we want to make sure she has a loving home," Grodin said.

Anyone with information about the dog's owner is asked to contact the hospital at (510) 848-5041.

 

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Bicyclist Hits Pedestrian In Golden Gate Park

A bicyclist hit a pedestrian in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park this morning, sending both to the hospital, a police spokeswoman said.

The collision was reported at 10:39 a.m. on John F. Kennedy Drive near the Conservatory of Flowers.

Neither the bicyclist nor the pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries, police spokeswoman Officer Tracy Turner said.

Police have not yet released additional details on the incident.

 

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