San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday Morning News Roundup

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SF: City Leaders Call for Immigration Reform In Advance of Obama Visit

As President Barack Obama prepares to visit San Francisco today, dozens of Asian and Pacific Islander elected officials and community leaders gathered Tuesday to call on the federal government to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

"We wanted to come together to send a very strong message," Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said. "We need to have strong, direct action," Supervisor Eric Mar said.

"We need to put a stop to the deportations and make sure we keep our families together." Supervisor Norman Yee said he was worried the U.S. was repeating history by detaining thousands of undocumented immigrants, saying his own father was detained for several months at the immigration station at Angel Island decades ago.

"We need to make sure President Obama does the right thing," Yee said.

Community members called on Congress to make reforms to the country's immigration system that will help keep families together and provide a pathway to citizenship and for Obama's administration to stop breaking up families with detainments and deportations.

"This is really the first of many events that will begin to educate people and begin to call on elected officials to do everything that they can" to support reform, said Vincent Pan, executive director of the community group Chinese for Affirmative Action.

Congress could take up immigration legislation soon after a reported recent agreement on the issue between business leaders with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor leaders with AFL-CIO, Pan said.

Obama is arriving in San Francisco today for two fundraising events with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

He will attend two more events in Atherton for the Democratic National Committee on Thursday before departing from the Bay Area.

SF: West Portal Field Office Provides Resources for Residents Affected by Water Main Break

San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee was joined by water department officials and others Tuesday morning for a tour of a field office that opened Tuesday afternoon to help residents affected by a massive water main break in February.

The field office, located at 383 W. Portal Ave., will connect residents to services offered by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the city attorney's office, the Department of Building Inspection and other agencies.

The office, which previously housed a Sylvan Learning Center, is intended to help the residents of 23 homes in the area of Wawona Street and 15th Avenue that were flooded with water when a 16-inch cast-iron water main broke early the morning of Feb. 27. About a dozen cars were also damaged.

"This was not a one-day issue," said Yee, whose district encompasses the neighborhood. "We opened this office to show we care about our residents."

Three homes have since been red-tagged and three others were yellow-tagged, meaning residents can't access certain parts of their homes. 

Late Tuesday morning, a stretch of 15th Avenue was closed to motorists as crews worked on repairs along the street.

Several affected homes had garage and basement doors open with construction crews inside drilling into the ground.

Red-tagged homes appeared to be cleared out with front rooms visibly bare and garage and basements bereft of personal belongings, save for a few cars and appliances.

SFPUC spokesman Tyrone Jue said as many as 20 homes will have their foundations probed in the coming weeks to determine the composition of the soil that was saturated with water.

Ten bores, some as much as deep as 37 feet, have already been drilled along the affected roadways, with results from those probes expected to be released by next week, Jue said.

Based on those results, initial plans for repairs along the water and sewer lines will be determined, with city officials anticipating work continuing through at least the end of June.

Another survey of the soil under the street will be conducted the week of April 22.

Lafayette: Suspect Shot By Police Undergoes Surgery, Still Hospitalized

A knife-wielding man was shot by police in a normally quiet Lafayette neighborhood early Tuesday morning, police said.

Officers responded to a home at 3425 Woodview Drive after police received a 911 hang-up call shortly after 7 a.m.

When they arrived, there was a confrontation in the driveway of the home with a 28-year-old man who lives there and was armed with a knife, police said.

During the confrontation, an officer opened fire and the man was hit, according to police.

He was taken to John Muir Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.

Tuesday afternoon, he was out of surgery but remained hospitalized, police said. There were other people at the home at the time of the shooting but no one else was injured, police said.

The shooting is being investigated by Lafayette police, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office and the district attorney's office, and the officer who fired the gun has been placed on paid administrative leave, as is protocol.

The city of Lafayette contracts with the sheriff's office for law enforcement services.

Santa Cruz: 'Dancing' Sea Lion at UC Santa Cruz Said to Be First Known Non-Human Mammal to Keep Beat

Researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz's marine laboratory have been studying what appears to be the first sea lion that can move its body to the beat of a wide range of music, including oldies and pop hits.

In a study published this week in the American Psychological Association's academic journal, "Journal of Comparative Psychology," UC Santa Cruz psychology graduate student Peter Cook demonstrated that a non-human mammal can bob its head to the rhythm.

That mammal is Ronan, a female sea lion born in the wild in 2008 who was rescued from the San Luis Obispo area in 2009 and brought to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito before she arrived in January 2010 at UC Santa Cruz's Long Marine Laboratory.

Previous studies had shown that "rhythmic entrainment" -- as synching movements to a beat is scientifically labeled -- had been only seen in parrots and other birds that can mimic vocal noises.

"This is kind of a new frontier," Cook said. With Ronan in the Pinniped Cognition and Sensory Systems Laboratory, Cook and his assistant trained her to bob her head to a beat with simple tracks for about three months.

After the training she was able to maintain the beat and then, perhaps more impressively, she showed an ability to keep time to new music.

Cook said extensive testing in many conditions showed repeatedly that Ronan's head movements were not mimicry or a trained behavior.

Her scientist trainers said her favorite track appears to be Earth, Wind & Fire's "Boogie Wonderland."

Cook, who is working with UC Santa Cruz associate professor of psychology Margaret Wilson, hopes to uncover the implications of Ronan's ability.

"We're thinking about other animals you could do this with," he said.

To further the study, more animals would need to be trained and tested to see their beat-keeping ability, he said.

Musical ability has long been associated with solely humans until parrots and similar birds showed, albeit in a limited way, they could mimic sounds and beats.

Two studies were spurred by a 2009 online YouTube video of a cockatoo that appears to be able to dance and move along to the beats in popular music.

"There has been some good work done on birds," Cook said.

"Some of that research is very solid."

Now sea lions may show that complex vocal learning -- as exhibited by birds and humans -- is not necessary for the ability to move to the beat.

Cook contends that the brain mechanisms to keep the beat may be more widespread than humans and birds.

Oakland: Man Injured in Shooting, Crash on Keller Ave. 

A man was critically injured Tuesday in a shooting and crash in the Oakland hills, a police spokesman said.

The incident was reported at 11:57 a.m. in the 5200 block of Keller Avenue. Police Sgt. Arturo Bautista said it appears someone inside one vehicle shot at a man in another vehicle, and that the victim then drove off the roadway and crashed down an embankment.

The victim was bloody when emergency responders found him, and has been taken to a hospital, Bautista said.

The motive for the shooting is not yet clear, and police have not identified a suspect or made any arrests.

Alameda Co.: Second Suspect Arrested For San Leandro BART Station Homicide 

A second suspect has been arrested on a murder charge in connection with the January fatal shooting of an innocent bystander outside the Bay Fair BART station in San Leandro, authorities said Tuesday.

BART police arrested Andre Smith, 18, at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on suspicion of the Jan. 19 shooting of Kenneth Lee Seets, police said.

Smith was already in custody on an unrelated case.

BART police previously announced that 18-year-old Jabrie Bennett was arrested by Oakland police at 8701 Hillside St. in Oakland at 6:28 p.m. on Friday.

Seets, 50, was waiting for a bus outside the station at about noon on Jan. 19, which was a Saturday, when he was struck by gunfire and killed.

A young woman was grazed in the back of her head by a bullet but it didn't penetrate her skull and she was treated and released at a local hospital, authorities said.

Bennett and Smith were scheduled to be arraigned by video at Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Bennett and Smith were both charged Tuesday with murder and assault with a deadly weapon and Bennett also was charged with possession of heroin for sale.

BART police Officer Michael Maes said in a probable cause statement that Bennett opened fire after he had "a brief antagonistic conversation" with Smith outside the Bay Fair station.

Smith had come to the station with a loaded and concealed handgun in his waistband and was accompanied by his juvenile brother and another juvenile, Maes said.

Bennett was with two females and another male about 20 feet away from Smith and Smith's companions, according to the statement.

Smith lifted his jacket, placed his hand on his gun and walked several steps from Bennett but Bennett then removed a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle from his red duffel bag and began shooting at Smith, Maes said.

One of the shots struck Seets, who was seated a few feet from Smith, in the chest, killing him, and another shot grazed a woman who was with Smith, Maes said.

When Oakland police arrested Bennett on Friday, they found him in possession of 13 balloons containing suspected heroin and more than $500 in cash, according to Maes.

Palo Alto: Car Slams Into House, Hits Person on Front Lawn

An elderly man who drove into a pedestrian and a Palo Alto home Tuesday afternoon has been arrested for drunken driving, police said.

The crash was reported at 4:23 p.m. in the 800 block of Boyce Avenue, police Agent Cynthia Kono said.

The car veered off of Boyce Avenue into a home that was scheduled for demolition next week for a remodel, according to the Palo Alto Fire Department.

A man in his 30s from San Francisco was struck in front of the house and rushed to Stanford Hospital's emergency room, officials said.

He suffered moderate injuries and is expected to survive, Kono said.

The driver, a Palo Alto resident in his 70s, stayed at the scene and was later arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and will be booked into San Mateo County Jail, Kono said.

Firefighters are shoring the damaged structure to make it safe for the homeowners to retrieve belongings, fire officials said.

Kono said the north side of the home was mostly destroyed.

SF: Man, Woman Injured in Bayview Shooting This Afternoon

San Francisco police are investigating a shooting in the city's Bayview District Tuesday afternoon that injured a man and a woman, a police spokesman said.

The shooting was reported around noon at West Point and Middle Point roads, police Sgt. Dennis Toomer said.

Officers arrived at the scene and were told that the victim had been taken to a hospital by private vehicle.

Police went to the hospital and found the victim, a 29-year-old San Francisco man who had been shot in the torso, Toomer said.

His wounds are considered life-threatening. They also found a second victim, a 22-year-old woman who was shot in a lower extremity, Toomer said.

Police initially said the second victim was a juvenile girl, but have since clarified she is an adult.

Investigators are looking for a dark-colored vehicle seen leaving the area after the shooting.

Toomer said the Police Department's gang task force is investigating the case.

SJ: Walmart Crash Suspect Has Numerous Arrests Since 2011 for Drugs, Property Destruction

A man suspected of crashing an Oldsmobile into a San Jose Walmart store on Sunday and attacking several people also smashed a car into a convenience store in December and tossed a chair through a window in October, according to court documents.

Haamid Ade Zaid, 33, of Seaside, has had numerous arrests since 2011 for being under the influence of stimulants including methamphetamine and exhibiting what San Jose police reported in Santa Clara Superior Court as "paranoid" and "bizarre" behavior.

Zaid appeared in Superior Court in San Jose Tuesday on charges of being under the influence of drugs and providing false information to a peace officer in Campbell on Feb. 14 when police reported he stood in a roadway "aggressively approaching passing vehicles."

Judge Thomas C. Hastings agreed to Zaid's request through a public defender to postpone the hearing on the two charges, both misdemeanors, to April 9.

Zaid was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, hit and run and other crimes Sunday after San Jose police said he crashed his car into a Walmart store at 777 Story Road and then beat four customers with a metal object.

The district attorney's office has not yet filed charges in the pending Walmart case, but Zaid's arraignment in the proceeding has been set for Thursday at 1:30 p.m., district attorney's spokesman Sean Webby said.

Superior Court records of Zaid's five arrests in the two years before the Walmart rampage show a pattern of erratic conduct and abuse of illegal stimulants, according to police.

SF: Supes Approve Ordinance Requiring Retrofits of Soft-Story Buildings

At least 2,800 buildings in San Francisco that are believed to be the most vulnerable in an earthquake must make seismic retrofits under an ordinance given unanimous initial approval Tuesday by the city's Board of Supervisors.

The ordinance, sponsored by Mayor Ed Lee and several supervisors, will require retrofits of soft-story buildings, ones that are seismically unstable with garages or other large openings on the first floor, were built before 1978, are at least three stories tall and have five or more units.

According to a study commissioned by the city, about 58,000 people and nearly 2,000 businesses reside in those buildings, which are located primarily in the city's Mission, Marina and Richmond districts and Western Addition and North Beach neighborhoods.

Supervisor London Breed said the ordinance will help residents by "making it far less likely that they are injured or displaced" in the event of a large earthquake.

Breed recalled being a high school student during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and seeing many soft-story buildings "basically leaning over to the side" after the quake.

"This legislation is long, long overdue," said Supervisor Scott Wiener.

Wiener said the retrofits "won't be cheap" and will be "a shared sacrifice that we as a city need to make."

But tenants rights groups say that the sacrifice will primarily be made by renters since city rental laws allow landlords to pass 100 percent of seismic retrofit costs onto tenants at an increase of up to 10 percent in annual rent.

"We simply don't think it's fair," said Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.

"Why not split the costs between the owners and tenants? Owners have a lot to gain ... it's an investment essentially."

Board president David Chiu said he is working with the groups on trailing legislation that will simplify the process for tenants to declare a financial hardship and avoid paying the rent increase, which is estimated by the city controller's office to be between $38 and $79 per month.

Shortt said her organization was happy with that compromise.

"We think we can get to an agreement that owners and tenants can be happy with," she said. The ordinance will come in front of the supervisors again for final approval at the board's next meeting.

Fairfield: Parolee Arrested After Fleeing From Police, Tossing Gun

A local parolee was back behind bars Sunday after allegedly tossing a handgun and evading police in Fairfield.

Officers were investigating a report of suspicious people causing a disturbance in an alleyway in the 900 block of Ohio Street around 10:15 a.m. Sunday, according to police.

Police said officers spotted a man on a bicycle who matched the description of one of the people reportedly involved in the disturbance.

Officers attempted to stop the man in the 300 block of Jefferson Street, but he continued to pedal away and ignored commands to stop, police said.

Police chased the man along residential streets to the 700 block of Delaware Street, where he jumped off of the bike and started running. Officers chased the suspect on foot and at one point saw him reach into the front of his waistband and toss a loaded pistol.

The suspect, identified as 22-year-old Fairfield man Kaylyn John Stewart, was apprehended in the 500 block of Webster Street.

Officers recovered the gun and found that the suspect had unexpended .38-caliber bullets in his hand at the time of his arrest.

Police said Stewart is a convicted felon on parole for robbery.

He was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a loaded firearm, evading arrest, resisting arrest and violating his parole. 

Wednesday Morning Bay Area Weather Forecast

Partly cloudy skies with patchy fog are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s.

Mostly cloudy skies are likely this evening, a chance of showers after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.

Showers are likely Thursday morning, with rain likely in the afternoon. Highs are expected to be in the lower 60s.

 

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