San Francisco Bay Area Thursday Morning News Roundup

Reset News Feed's picture

Regional: Gov. Brown Being Treated for Prostate Cancer

Gov. Jerry Brown's office announced Wednesday that the governor is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

Brown, 74, is continuing with his full work schedule during his treatment for the early stages of localized prostate cancer, according to his office.

His treatment is expected to be complete the week of Jan. 7, 2013.

His oncologist, Dr. Eric Small of the University of California at San Francisco, issued a statement Wednesday about Brown's health.

Small said, "The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects."

He said Brown will be undergoing a short course of conventional radiotherapy.

Brown previously served as California governor from 1975 to 1983.

He was mayor of Oakland from 1999 to 2007, and served as California attorney general before being elected governor again in November 2010.

SF: Cyclist Injured in Collision with Street Sweeping Vehicle in SOMA

A man riding a bicycle collided with a street sweeper vehicle in San Francisco's South of Market district early this morning, according to police.

The bicyclist and street sweeper vehicle collided near the intersection of Sixth and Brannan streets at about 12:30 a.m., according to police.

During the collision, the cyclist became trapped underneath the street sweeper and fire rescue crews had to remove him from beneath the vehicle.

The cyclist was transported to San Francisco General Hospital by ambulance and sustained injuries not considered to be life threatening, police said.

Emeryville: Train Hits Unoccupied Vehicle on Tracks

An Amtrak train traveling from San Jose to Sacramento struck a vehicle on the tracks in Emeryville Wednesday night, according to an Amtrak spokesman.

Emeryville police received a call from a citizen reporting that an Amtrak train at the intersection of Shellmound and 67th streets struck a vehicle at 6:19 p.m.

According to Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm, train 542 had just left the station and was not yet traveling at full speed when it struck a vehicle located on the tracks.

The thirty-five passengers aboard the train at the time of the collision and the train staff were uninjured and transferred to another train at about 7:15 p.m., Kulm said.

Police confirmed that no passengers aboard the train or the driver of the vehicle reported injuries.

Police said the motorist became stuck on the tracks and abandoned the vehicle before the oncoming train collided with the vehicle, police said.

The train was unable to stop in time and struck the unoccupied vehicle, according to Kulm.

The tracks were cleared at 8:26 p.m., Kulm said.

Police are continuing to investigate what caused the vehicle to become stuck on the tracks.

SF: Four Plead Not Guilty in Murder of Man Found Bound, Gagged

Four suspects pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges in connection with the murder of a man who died after he and a woman were found bound and gagged on a street in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley on Sunday.

Montrail Brackens, 21, Vincent Bell, 31, Heather Leach, 24, and Maryann Manalastas, 22, all were arraigned Wednesday afternoon in connection with the death of Stephen Reid, 26, who was found tied up in the middle of the roadway in the 900 block of Brussels Street at about 8:30 p.m.

Sunday. Brackens, Bell and Leach were charged with murder while Manalastas, 22, and Tyler Miller, 19, were charged with conspiracy and being an accessory to the crime after the fact.

Manalastas also faces an assault charge, Assistant District Attorney Harry Dorfman said during Wednesday's arraignment.

Miller has posted bail and was not required to appear in court.

She is to be arraigned on Friday morning, prosecutors said.

A sixth person, Maelene Lintz, 32, had initially been arrested on suspicion of murder but her case has been discharged pending further investigation, district attorney's office spokesman Alex Bastian said.

According to a criminal complaint signed Wednesday by police, Brackens and Bell entered a home at 3733 San Bruno Ave. and assaulted Reid and a woman in her late teens, then bound and gagged them -- stuffing a sock in the woman's mouth -- and put them in a GMC Yukon.

Leach, whose aliases include Krystal Gillespie and "Snow," was also in the Yukon.

At some point, someone shot Reid in the neck and the suspects then dumped the pair on the roadway on Brussels Street, according to the complaint.

A motorist came upon Reid and the woman, who were taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where Reid later died.

The woman's injuries were initially considered life threatening, but she is now expected to survive, police said Wednesday.

According to the complaint, the next day, the suspects were at a home on Pinnacle Court in Hercules where they destroyed evidence in the Yukon by spraying cleaning fluid and removing a bloodstained carpet and foam padding from the vehicle.

Oakland: Federal Judge Approves Plan for OPD Compliance Director

A federal judge Wednesday approved an agreement to have a powerful outside compliance director oversee the Oakland Police Department and its implementation of reforms mandated by the settlement of a 12-year-old civil rights lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of San Francisco signed an order providing for the compliance director and canceled a hearing scheduled for today.

The judge wrote, "The court is hopeful that the appointment of an independent compliance director with significant control over the OPD will succeed -- where city and OPD leaders have failed -- in helping OPD finally achieve compliance" with the 2003 settlement.

The compliance director will have the power to demote or fire the police chief, as well as to set an action plan for carrying out reforms such as reducing incidents of police use of unjustified force and racial profiling and improving investigations of citizen complaints.

The establishment of compliance director is one step short, however, of the more drastic measure of creating a federal receivership to take over the department entirely.

The proposal was agreed to last week by city officials and lawyers for 119 citizens who sued the city in 2000, and was submitted to Henderson for approval.

Before reaching the agreement, lawyers for the plaintiffs had previously asked the judge for a receivership to take partial control of the department because of the slow pace of reform.

Henderson ordered the two sides to submit sealed recommendations for compliance director candidates by Dec. 21 and to try to agree on a recommendation.

But he said the selection of a director "rests solely in the court's discretion" and will not be limited to the recommendations.

Henderson scheduled a status conference for June 6 to discuss progress in compliance with the 2003 settlement.

He warned in the order that if the Police Department fails to make acceptable progress under the compliance director, he will consider remedies that could include imposing fines, expanding the director's powers or establishing a full receivership.

The 2000 lawsuit alleged that four officers known as "the Riders" beat citizens, made false arrests and planted phony evidence between 1996 and 2000.

The settlement reached three years later called for 51 reforms, including increased field supervision of police officers, better training, and improved investigation of citizen complaints.

SJ: Man Suspected of Murdering Sierra LaMar Arraigned on New Kidnapping Charges

Antolin Garcia Torres, charged in the alleged murder and kidnapping of missing Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar, was arraigned Wednesday on three new counts of attempted kidnapping in commission of a carjacking, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Torres, who leaned against a doorway during the brief hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court, waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 60 days of the arraignment, Deputy District Attorney David Boyd said.

Torres, who has yet to enter a plea on any of the charges, answered "Yes, your honor" and "Thank you, your honor" after Santa Clara County Judge Jerome Nadler asked him if he understood he would be giving up his right to a preliminary hearing within 60 days.

Nadler then set a hearing for Feb. 6 when Torres may enter a plea to murder and kidnapping charges related to the disappearance of LaMar, and the three new charges stemming from alleged attacks on three women in Morgan Hill in 2009.

A preliminary hearing on all of the allegations could be set after Torres enters a plea, Boyd said.

Torres, 21, was arrested on May 22 in connection with LaMar's disappearance.

The 15-year-old was last seen March 16 at a bus stop in Morgan Hill and prosecutors charge that Torres kidnapped and killed her and hid her body.

The charges of attempted kidnapping in commission of a carjacking came from alleged attacks on three women on March 19 and 26, 2009, in the parking lots of two Safeway stores in Morgan Hill, according to prosecutors.

After Torres was arrested in the suspected kidnap-murder of LaMar in May, police determined that he resembled the likeness of a sketch made of the suspect based on descriptions from victims in the 2009 attacks, which led to his arrest on those charges.

Torres used to work at a Safeway store on Tennant Avenue where one of the alleged attacks occurred.

The defendant was 17 at the time of three 2009 incidents, but Boyd received permission from a juvenile court judge to charge him as an adult.

Newark: Police Say Murder of 17-Year-Old Was Act of Revenge

Three reputed gang members were charged with murder Wednesday for the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Newark high school student and football star Justice Afoa two years ago in what authorities said was an act of revenge.

Rafael Tovar, 32, of Newark, Daniel Howard, 31, of Fremont, and Daniela Guzman, 19, of Newark, who is Tovar's younger sister, are also charged with conspiracy to commit a crime for the fatal stabbing near the intersection of Cedar Boulevard and Birch Street in Newark at about 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2010.

Afoa was a defensive lineman at Newark Memorial High School and made second team all-league in the Mission Valley Athletic League in the 2009 season.

Newark police spokesman Mike Carroll said Afoa transferred to Bridgepoint Continuation High School in the fall of 2010 but after school he regularly walked to Newark Memorial High School, where he would work out and meet with his friends there.

Carroll said the location where Afoa was killed is only a short distance from the school.

According to a probable cause statement filed in court by Newark police Officer Dan Anderson, the event that sparked the chain of events that led to Afoa's death was when Afoa beat up Tovar at Tovar's home at 12:28 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2010.

Tovar was so badly beaten up by Afoa that he eventually had to be taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley for treatment, Anderson said.

Tovar later learned that Afoa had been bragging about beating him up and Tovar felt "great embarrassment" because he was a member of the Norteno gang and was much older than Afoa, according to Anderson.

On Oct. 30, six weeks after the first incident, Tovar plotted to attack Afoa at a party at 36187 Cedar Blvd. in Newark, Anderson said.

Afoa was assaulted with a beer bottle and a friend of his suffered "numerous severe stab wounds" but no arrests were made because the people involved in the incident were uncooperative with police, according to Anderson.

The officer said that when Afoa visited his friend in the hospital, where he was being treated for his stab wounds, Tovar confronted him and "told him he would get his."

Guzman later admitted that she had set up Afoa to be assaulted at the party in retaliation for the beating of Tovar, her brother, although she refused to disclose who the assailants were, according to Anderson.

Anderson said Tovar also planned to assault Afoa after a football game at Newark Memorial High School on Nov. 5, 2010, but school personnel learned of the incident and took precautions to avoid a disturbance.

Anderson said Tovar eventually admitted that he stabbed Afoa about five times on Dec. 15, 2010, and estimated that Howard also stabbed Afoa about five times.

Woodside: Deputies Tase Suspect in Assaulting Relative with Shovel

A man fled into a neighbor's house from an attack with a shovel by a relative who was later Tased by sheriff's deputies while he was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office first learned of the incident when the alarmed neighbor on Brookwood Road called to report an intruder in the house at 2:05 p.m.

The Woodside man who had fled into the neighbor's house told deputies that his relative, identified as Milo Imrie, 23, of Richmond, a veteran with combat training, had hit him in the back with a shovel near his home in the area of 150 Wildwood Way, sheriff's spokeswoman Rebecca Rosenblatt said.

The man was treated for his injuries at the scene.

The sheriff's office warned residents that the perpetrator could still be in the area with the shovel and was potentially dangerous and they began searching the neighborhood for the attacker.

He was located at about 4:20 p.m. in the 2300 block of Woodside Road but when deputies tried to take him into custody, he resisted, and deputies used a Taser to subdue him, Rosenblatt said.

Imrie was transported to a hospital to be treated for his injures.

No deputies were injured in the confrontation.

Imrie is also undergoing psychiatric evaluation in the hospital but is expected to be booked into jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Rosenblatt said.

Sonoma Co.: State Dep't of Public Health Seeks to Revoke License of Care Unit in Sonoma Developmental Center

The California Department of Public Health said Wednesday it is taking enforcement action against the Sonoma Developmental Center where there were allegations of physical abuse of 12 patients last year.

The CDPH said it is moving to revoke the license of the Sonoma Developmental Center's Intermediate Care Facility that services 290 residents with intellectual disabilities, and decertifying it from participation in the federal Medicaid program.

The population of the Sonoma Developmental Center was 520 in September.

Two surveys at the hospital disclosed several deficient conditions that included client to client abuse, physical abuse of a client by a staff member, a staff member exposing himself and failure to monitor a client who ingested a non-food item, CDPH officials said.

None of them were related to the alleged Tasing and physical abuse of patients by a healthcare provider at the center last year, CDPH officials said.

"The actions we are taking Wednesday are necessary to make sure that the Sonoma Developmental Center improves the quality of care that it is providing to its residents in the Intermediate Care Facility," said state Public Health Officer and CDPH's director, Dr. Ron Chapman.

The Sonoma Developmental Center has been under review by the California Department of Public Health due to non-compliance and incidents that have resulted in harm to patients, the CDPH said in a news release.

The Sonoma Developmental Center may appeal the CDPH's actions and can, under CDPH oversight, continue operations during the appeal, the CDPH said.

The appeal must be filed by Jan. 4. Terri Delgadillo, director of the state Department of Developmental Services, said, "We have removed the Executive Director and the Clinical Director (of the Sonoma Developmental Center) and taken disciplinary action against several employees, including job terminations."

"We will work with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and CDPH to ensure the Sonoma developmental Center's care meets state and federal standards," Delgadillo said.

Regional: 'King Tides' Hitting Bay Area this Week

Over the next three days, Californians can expect higher tides than usual along the coast.

With the arrival of the "King Tides" -- known for being the highest tides of the year -- an initiative is in place to show residents what the shoreline will be like in the future.

People are asked to take photos of the high tides in their communities to build an archive of images on how the shoreline is constantly changing, said Heidi Nutters of the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The initiative began in 2010 as a pilot project in the Bay Area and has escalated into a statewide effort, Nutters said.

Since its inception, California King Tides Initiative has logged more than 500 photos, which can be viewed at www.flickr.com/groups/cakingtides.

"One of the important things to think about is that Wednesday's high tide of the year could become a daily occurrence," Nutters said.

Sea level is expected to rise about one foot by 2050, and up to five feet by 2100 along the California coast, Nutters said. Nutters said the high tides will take place Wednesday through Friday, and range in levels from a couple inches higher to several feet depending on a number of variables.

The highest estimated tide level during the initiative is 10.5 feet, at Coyote Creek in San Jose, according to the California King Tides Initiative website.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated the dates for the shorelines to be at its highest.

Other dates of the initiative throughout the winter include Jan. 9 to 11 and Feb. 7 to 9. One part of the initiative already took place Nov. 13 to 15.

To locate where and when tides will be the highest, visit www.californiakingtides.org/when

Concord: Council Votes to Move Toward Ban on Outdoor Pot Grows

Concord's City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to move toward a citywide ban on outdoor marijuana cultivation.

City staff are now set to draft an ordinance along the lines of a Moraga law that completely bars outdoor marijuana grows in Concord, City Attorney Mark Coon said Wednesday.

Coon said a draft of the proposed ordinance should come before the city's planning commission next month.

Staff also presented the council with alternatives that would allow some outdoor marijuana cultivation with limitations, such as an ordinance found in Elk Grove.

But Coon recommended that the council follow an ordinance similar to Moraga's, which he said does not infringe on the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers, since medical marijuana may still be grown indoors.

"They can buy medical marijuana from one of the many nearby cities that has a medical marijuana dispensary," he said. "We don't believe we are cutting off avenues for medical marijuana patients and caregivers to obtain the medical marijuana they need."

Concord banned medical marijuana dispensaries in 2005.

The council's vote Tuesday came after numerous local residents voiced their own opinions both for and against a ban on outdoor marijuana grows.

The issue has been debated among city leaders and residents in recent months after one resident complained to the council that her neighbor's backyard medical marijuana grow was giving off an offensive odor.

Other major concerns include the possibility of outdoor marijuana plots drawing thieves and acting as an enticement for children in the community, Coon said.

On the other hand, some residents who use medical marijuana for themselves or for clients worried Tuesday that an outdoor growing ban could limit their access to the drug.

SF: Medical Examiner Found No Evidence of Trauma on Woman Found Dead in 1983, But She May Have Been Suffocated

A top official with the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office testified Wednesday in Superior Court that an autopsy preformed on a woman allegedly murdered in 1983 reported no signs trauma but he admitted someone could have suffocated her to death.

Dr. Joseph O'Hara, the lead examiner of the county coroner's office, said during a pre-trial hearing for accused murderer Christopher Holland that an autopsy done on the body of Tara Marowski in 1983 revealed no evidence of traumatic injury or sexual assault.

It was the second day of witness testimony in a preliminary examination to determine if there is sufficient evidence to try Holland in the 29-year-old former cold case, reopened by the district attorney's office last year following results of DNA tests that prosecutors allege link Holland to the murder.

On April 23, 1983, Marowski, 21, of San Jose, was found lying nude in the backseat of her car parked by a street in an unincorporated area just outside the Campbell city limits five days after she was seen leaving with two men from the now-closed New Cork Cocktail Lounge at 1422 Saratoga Ave.

Howard DeSart, a retired lieutenant with the sheriff's department who investigated Marowski's death in 1983, said in testimony for the prosecution Wednesday that some clothing had been piled on top of her unclad body and that her bra and t-shirt had been pulled up around her neck.

O'Hara, called as the first defense witness by public defender Michael Ogul, reviewed the findings of an autopsy performed on Marowski by the late Dr. Angelo Ozoa, who in 1983 was a pathologist for the county coroner's office and later served as its chief medical examiner.

Ozoa reported finding no signs of strangulation, such as hemorrhaging, no injuries, sperm cells or other indications of sexual abuse on the body and described Marowski's demise as a "non-traumatic death," O'Hara said.

Ogul asked O'Hara that since Marowski had been using "upper" drugs such as cocaine and "crank," a form of methamphetamine used in the 1980s, in the days prior to her death, if it was possible she may have died from a sudden cardiac arrest from intoxication.

O'Hara replied that Marowski's cocaine use may have caused her to suffer a spasm in her coronary artery, shutting down her heart and resulting in immediate death.

He also concurred with Ogul's suggestion that she could have died from a cardiac arrhythmia, an unexpected fatal heart attack suffered each year by thousands of people under age 40. 

Alameda Co.: New Haven Unified Wins More than $29 Million in Federal Funding

An East Bay school district on Tuesday was named as one of just 16 winners nationwide in a competition for federal funding for innovative education programs.

The New Haven Unified School District, which includes schools in Union City and south Hayward, will receive more than $29 million in funding in the next four-plus years from the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top District competition, district officials said.

The competition, which follows the 2009 Race to the Top contest that pushed statewide education reform, encourages localized plans to improve student achievement via technology and enhanced school services.

New Haven's application for the federal funds was ranked second in the nation and the district is the only one in the Bay Area -- and just one of three statewide -- that is receiving the money.

"This is a tremendous validation of the work that we've been doing in New Haven for the past few years, and every teacher, classified employee and administrator in the district should be proud of all they've done to make this possible," Superintendent Kari McVeigh said in a statement.

With the funds, the district plans to hire literacy, assessment and match coaches for all of its schools to engage in personalized learning.

Among other uses, the district will also expand online courses for high school students, create smaller class sizes for high school English learners and buy computer tablets for every sixth- through 12th-grader.

The competition attracted 372 applicants from around the country, with winners receiving awards ranging from $10 million to $40 million, depending on the number of students served.

"Districts have been hungry to drive reform at the local level, and now these winners can empower their school leaders to pursue innovative ideas where they have the greatest impact: in the classroom," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.

SF: Group Unveils Online Petition Asking Mirkarimi to Step Down as Sheriff

An online petition was unveiled Wednesday by a group asking San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to resign from office following his conviction earlier this year.

The website www.rossresign.org was launched by Citizens for an Accountable Sheriff, a group headed by Andrea Shorter, a member of the city's Commission on the Status of Women.

Organizers are seeking 50,000 signatures on the petition from people "who are disappointed and do not feel he should be our sheriff at this time," Shorter said.

Mirkarimi pleaded guilty in March to misdemeanor false imprisonment for a New Year's Eve incident in which he grabbed his wife's arm during an argument, causing a bruise.

Mayor Ed Lee suspended the sheriff on official misconduct charges, but only seven members of the Board of Supervisors voted to uphold the charges, two short of the number necessary to permanently remove him from office.

Shorter said her group, which includes victims of domestic violence and other community members, is asking Mirkarimi to resign so that a costly recall effort can be avoided.

Organizers of a recall would have to collect signatures from 10 percent of the city's electorate to place the proposal in front of voters.

Shorter said costs of organizing such an effort have been estimated at a couple of million dollars.

A spokesperson for the sheriff was not immediately available this afternoon, but Mirkarimi has repeatedly said he plans to continue serving in office.

Shorter said she eventually plans to present the petition directly to Mirkarimi. "Our hope is through this grassroots, citizen-driven campaign, we will finally compel him to do the right thing ... that is to step down as sheriff," she said.

SF Bay Area Morning Weather Forecast

Partly cloudy skies are likely in the Bay Area this morning, with highs expected to be in the mid 50s and northern winds up to 15 mph.

Cloudy skies are likely tonight. Lows are expected to be in the mid 40s, with light winds.

Mostly cloudy skies and a chance of showers are likely on Friday.

Highs are expected to be in the mid 50s, with winds up to 10 mph.

 

Check out some of our most popular blogs:

     We Built a Stronger SF Economy on Smart Government Investments

     The BART That Could Have Been

     Run For Your Life! (For Fun)

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

 

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