San Francisco Bay Area Thursday Morning News Roundup

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Oakland: Chinese Funding WIll Jumpstart Stalled Development Project

Funding from a Chinese real estate developer and investor will finally kickstart a long-stalled $1.5 billion development project on a 65-acre waterfront property south of Jack London Square in Oakland, Mayor Jean Quan said Wednesday.

The Signature Development Group, which is based in Oakland, obtained development rights to the former industrial site in 2001 and the Oakland City Council approved the development in 2006 despite opposition from community and environmental groups.

But the project stalled after several groups filed lawsuits seeking to stop it and the subsequent collapse of the housing market.

Quan said she believes the project will be an economic boon to Oakland because it ultimately will create 3,100 residential units, about 200,000 square feet of retail and commercial space and a marina with up to 200 boat slips.

Quan said it's estimated that 10,000 jobs will be created during the lengthy construction process and she said the project also calls for more than 30 acres to be set aside for waterfront parks and open space.

"We're starting to see more aggressive investments in the U.S. by the Chinese and we're hoping we'll have more Chinese investments in Oakland in the future," Quan said.

Quan, who is Chinese-American and is the first Asian-American mayor of a major American city, said she has been working to develop contacts with Chinese investors and was able to introduce the Signature Development Group to Zarsion Holdings Group, which is based in Beijing.

"To get investors from China you need to develop relationships," Quan said.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who backed the project when he was Oakland's mayor, announced the agreement at a ceremony in Beijing Wednesday with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke and high-ranking Chinese government and business officials.

"This massive influx of Chinese investment will put thousands of Californians to work and dramatically improve Oakland's waterfront," Brown said in a statement released by his office.

He said, "This project is just one example of what's possible when business leaders in two of the world's most dynamic regions connect."

Regional: Authorities Identify Man Who Escaped Pursuit, Search in North Bay Last Friday

Law enforcement officials Wednesday are searching across several counties for a 42-year-old man who is wanted for multiple crimes, including stealing a car and leading authorities on a pursuit through the North Bay last Friday.

Dimitri Storm has been identified as the suspect who stole a GMC Acadia in Windsor on Friday and was tracked by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies to Petaluma, where the deputies tried to contact him.

Storm allegedly threatened the deputies, who tried to subdue him with a Taser but were unsuccessful.

He then fled in the SUV into the Woodacre area of Marin County and was not found despite an hours-long search.

A photo lineup shown to the deputies led to Storm being identified as the suspect, sheriff's Sgt. Michael Raasch said.

Evidence found inside a backpack in Woodacre during the search also linked Storm to crimes in Ben Lomond in Santa Cruz County, Raasch said.

Santa Cruz County sheriff's officials said crimes allegedly committed by Storm in their jurisdiction include auto burglaries in Ben Lomond between March 31 and April 2, as well as a recent robbery in the 3800 block of Chardonnay Road.

He is known to steal license plates and change the plates on a vehicle he has stolen, and may be targeting empty vacation rental houses for other crimes, according to sheriff's officials.

Storm also has recently shaved and may have changed his appearance, sheriff's officials said.

Santa Cruz County sheriff's officials have released photos of Storm and are asking anyone with information about his whereabouts or any of the cases to call the sheriff's office at (831) 471-1121.

San Mateo Co.: Coastside Fire District Directors Recalled in Special Election, Pro-Cal Fire Directors Voted In

Based on preliminary ballot returns, three fire district board members in San Mateo County were recalled in a special election Tuesday.

Coastside Fire Protection District board members Michael Alifano, Gary Riddell and Douglas Mackintosh were recalled after 63.4 percent, 63.7, and 63.2 percent voted in favor of their removal from office, respectively, county Elections Manager David Tom said.

The three of five board members had voted last year to end the district's contract for fire services with Cal Fire, after citing a failure by the state agency to fulfill the terms of its agreement.

In its place, the majority of the board decided to switch to a stand-alone fire district with no state support after the Cal Fire contract expires July 1, 2013.

Cal Fire has been providing Coastside fire services after the board voted in 2007 to contract with the state agency.

If a stand-alone Coastside fire department were to return a local fire chief would be hired, along with local staff trained to respond to the emergencies unique to San Mateo County coast, such as water and cliff rescues.

The three directors claimed that Cal Fire was not primarily focused on the San Mateo County communities, and had priorities elsewhere as a state agency, according to anti-recall campaign materials.

A grassroots campaign effort to maintain Cal Fire services resulted in Tuesday's recall election after more than 3,000 county residents signed a petition last June.

Voters on Tuesday also chose successors to replace the three recalled directors: private investigator Karen Anderson, pilot J.B. Cockrell and retired scientist Harvey Rarback.

Preliminary results showed each earned a majority vote.

The three replacement directors, along with a fourth candidate, ran together vowing to re-instate the Cal Fire contract.

Pleasant Hill: Man Gets Zapped With Stun Gun, Arrested After Fight With Fellow BART Passenger

A man was arrested on a BART train Wednesday morning after a scuffle with a fellow passenger over a seat ended with another passenger zapping him with a stun gun, police said.

BART police were dispatched to the train at the Pleasant Hill station around 7:50 a.m. after receiving reports of an altercation between two passengers in a San Francisco-bound train, Lt. John Sandoval said.

Officers learned that a 30-year-old man, identified as Zachary McCabe, had been taking up two seats on the train.

When a 62-year-old man on the train asked him to move, McCabe allegedly became aggressive with him.

A female passenger nearby intervened, using a stun gun to subdue the suspect, Sandoval said.

Officers arrived on the scene and transported McCabe to a hospital to be treated for injuries not considered life-threatening.

He was arrested on suspicion of battery on a transit passenger and booked into county jail in Martinez.

While BART police encourage passengers to report suspicious activity, "we don't recommend using stun guns on people," Sandoval said.

Anyone with further information about Wednesday morning's incident is asked to call BART police detectives at (510) 464-7040.

SF: Name of Man Crushed to Death Atop Elevator Released; Family Still Sought

A month after a transient was crushed to death in a grisly incident on top of a San Francisco train station elevator, the medical examiner's office has released the man's name and are asking for the public's help in finding his family.

The man has been identified as 42-year-old David Thomas, according to Dr. Amy Hart, San Francisco's chief medical examiner.

Thomas was found dead on the night of March 10 in an elevator shaft at the Montgomery BART and Municipal Railway station.

A man riding the elevator from the Municipal Railway level up to the concourse level at about 9:35 p.m. that night heard a crunching sound and a man yelping before the elevator stopped.

Fire crews responded, found Thomas in the elevator shaft and pronounced him dead at the scene.

Hart said that medical examiner's investigators have not determined where the man lived or found his next-of-kin to notify them of his death.

"We would certainly appreciate the public's efforts, if they're able to provide any information," she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call chief investigator Thomas McDonald at (415) 553-1695.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said Wednesday that the agency is not able to release the results of their investigation into the death until after receiving a final report from the medical examiner.

However, Trost had said the day after the incident that some personal items, including bedding, were found on top of the elevator car.

BART officials have confirmed that the ventilation entry to the elevator shaft was secure and that to get through the emergency hatch, someone would need a boost.

Trost had said investigators were looking at surveillance footage to try to determine how Thomas got into the shaft space.

Contra Costa Co.: Alleged Gang Members Charged in 2008 Pittsburgh Murder

Two alleged gang members have been charged with murder in connection with the 2008 killing of an acquaintance in Pittsburg, a Contra Costa County prosecutor said Wednesday.

Prosecutors filed murder charges this week against 34-year-old Derrick Harper and 38-year-old Joseph Bradshaw for the fatal shooting of Antioch man Jesse Saucedo, 35, on Aug. 14, 2008, according to Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox.

Both were also charged with gang enhancements and the special circumstances allegation that the killing took place during the course of a robbery.

Knox said Harper allegedly fired the shots that killed Saucedo.

Both men have histories of alleged violent crimes, and Bradshaw is currently serving a 10-year state prison sentence in connection with a robbery conviction, Knox said.

She said Pittsburg police detectives' diligence in continuing the investigation into the nearly five-year-old murder led to the charges.

"They were so dedicated to the investigation and bringing justice for Jesse Saucedo," the prosecutor said.

Harper is scheduled to appear in court in Martinez on April 17.

Regional: Oyster Farm and Citizens' Group Sue Coastal Commission in Marin County Superior Court

The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. and a citizens' group have filed two similar but separate lawsuits in Marin County Superior Court to challenge recent California Coastal Commission orders that would require the oyster farm to curtail its activities.

The two lawsuits, both filed on Friday, are not part of a federal case in which the farm at Point Reyes National Seashore is challenging a decision by U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar to close it.

In the federal case, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is due to hear arguments in San Francisco on May 14 on the company's appeal of Salazar's decision to deny it a permit extension and thereby enable the site to return to wilderness.

The court has allowed the farm to continue operating during the appeal.

One of the Superior Court lawsuits was filed by the Marin County-based Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture and Phyllis Faber, an alliance member who is a former Coastal Commission member.

The second was filed soon afterwards by the oyster company.

Both suits allege the orders issued by the commission on Feb. 7 "would effectively shut down the farm," even if it wins its federal case, through expensive requirements for removal of certain equipment and changes in its operations.

"The effect of the operational constraints, cultivation restrictions and other work immediately required would be so financially onerous on the family-owned farm as to cause it to cease operations," both lawsuits say.

Zachary Walton, a lawyer for the alliance, said Superior Court Judge Lynn Duryee Wednesday morning scheduled a July 9 hearing on the alliance's request for a ruling overturning the commission orders.

Walton said he was not aware of any request by the oyster farm for a similar hearing, but noted that the farm could seek to participate in the July 9 session either as a so-called "real party in interest" in the alliance lawsuit or in connection with its own lawsuit.

Richard Idell, a lawyer who filed the oyster company's Superior Court lawsuit, was out of town and not available for comment Wednesday.

Amy Trainer, the executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, said, "This corporation has made millions of dollars cultivating shellfish in our public waters without any coastal permits, yet thinks the coastal protection rules of California somehow do not apply to it."

The committee has participated in the federal case by filing friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Salazar's decision.

Richmond: 19-Year-Old Man Murdered While Taking Jogging Test, Vigil Planned Tonight

A 19-year-old man was killed and two other men were injured when a gunman opened fire on a group of people jogging as part of a test to join the RichmondBUILD job training program in Richmond Tuesday morning, police said.

Dimarea Young, 19, was identified by the Contra Costa County coroner's office Wednesday as the man killed when a gunman exited a car and shot him.

Two other men who were also taking part in the agility test are in stable condition after being shot in the leg, according to police.

Police were notified of the shooting by multiple 911 calls and the city's ShotSpotter system and responded to the 300 block of South 28th Street around 11:10 a.m., police Detective Nicole Abetkov said.

Young was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after police arrived. His Facebook profile page lists him as an El Cerrito High School graduate.

Young's father and other community members planned to hold a vigil at the scene of the shooting Wednesday evening to honor the teen and to call for an end to the recurrent violence plaguing Richmond, said Antwon Cloird, a local anti-violence leader.

"Enough is enough, we need peace in Richmond so we can bring jobs and resources to our people," he said.

Young's killing comes after a spate of brazen, daytime killings over the past week that have left six other people injured.

RichmondBUILD is a public-private partnership to teach low-income participants construction skills and place them in jobs, and Young's father had enlisted him and his brother to apply for a spot in the program, according to Sal Vaca, director of the city's employment and training department, which oversees RichmondBUILD.

Vaca said he did not know Young, but said the father and sons were all participating in the agility test Tuesday morning as part of the program's orientation when gunfire erupted, he said.

Vaca said the shooting is the first violence to touch the program in its six-year history.

"The program was first put in place to help our city reduce violence. We do know a number of individuals in the program have had a history with the justice system," he said.

RichmondBUILD is halting its activities for the week as staff members meet to discuss ways to protect themselves and program participants.

Grief counselors are also available to staff members this week in the wake of Tuesday's deadly shooting, Vaca said.

SF: Man Attacked At Strip Club After Slapping Phone Away From Dancer

A man was injured early Wednesday morning when he was attacked by more than a dozen men after slapping a phone away from a dancer at a strip club in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, police said.

The attack was reported at 3:09 a.m. at a club in the 700 block of O'Farrell Street.

The 47-year-old man was talking with a stripper when they got into an argument.

The woman had a phone in her hand and the man slapped it away from her, which made her scream, according to police.

The scream prompted about 15 men to show up and begin punching the man, who also had his wallet taken from him, police said. The attackers then left and have not been found.

The man who was beaten suffered scratches to his face but declined medical treatment, according to police.

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

Concord: Woman Attacked By Roommate With Hatchet

A woman was arrested Wednesday after allegedly hitting her Concord roommate in the hand with a hatchet, a police lieutenant said.

Concord police responded to the 800 block of Grenola Drive at 3:23 p.m. after receiving reports of an argument between two roommates, Lt. Darrell Graham said.

They found a victim, a 46-year-old woman, bleeding from the hand and found evidence that her roommate had attacked her with a hatchet.

Police found the woman's roommate nearby, identified as 48-year-old Tracey Neal, and arrested her on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Graham said.

The injured woman was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek with a minor to moderate injury to her hand, Graham said. Neal was booked into county jail.

Bay Area Thursday Morning Weather Forecast

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

Mostly clear skies are likely this evening. Lows are expected to be in the upper 40s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

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


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