San Francisco Bay Area Friday Midday News Roundup

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Oakland Amber Alert Canceled, Police Say Abduction Was False

An Amber Alert issued early this morning was canceled after investigators determined that a child abduction reported in East Oakland did not happen, police said.

Police determined that a child was not taken, as was reported by a mother in an incident that began at about 12:30 a.m. in the area of 94th Avenue and Holly Street.

The mother said 56-year-old Kim Tolfree, the child's father, allegedly struck her with a firearm and rammed her vehicle with his, police said.

Tolfree then allegedly fled with the couple's 18-month-old daughter and an Amber Alert was issued at about 4:30 a.m.

However, Tolfree was later taken into custody and police determined the report was false. Police did not immediately say if the mother would face charges for filing the false report.

Mayor Ed Lee Places Super Bowl Bet Against Baltimore Mayor

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is making one of his biggest bets yet on the 49ers when the team takes on the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl this Sunday, city officials said.

Lee has agreed on a friendly wager with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on the outcome of the big game in New Orleans.

As part of the bet, the winning mayor will host the losing mayor to take part in a day of service with local programs from AmeriCorps, a federal community service agency.

In addition to serving the community, the mayors are putting hometown seafood on the table.

The losing mayor will visit a local crab market while wearing the jersey of the winning team and crack open the local crustacean -- either a Dungeness crab in San Francisco or a blue crab in Baltimore.

While the two mayors go head-to-head, the coaches of the Super Bowl-bound teams are facing a sibling rivalry with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh taking on his older brother John.

Some are calling the match-up the "Har-bowl," but no matter how much competition will be on the field, both mayors are urging city residents to keep celebrations respectful and safe back at home.

Showing his support for the 49ers, Lee has declared this week "Red and Gold Week," encouraging local businesses and fans to show off their hometown pride.

During the team's playoff run, city buildings have been emanating a red and gold glow, including Coit Tower and City Hall, where the 49ers flag is also waving from the mayor's balcony.

This is the sixth time the 49ers have played in the Super Bowl, but is their first appearance since 1995.

Kickoff on Sunday is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PST.

SF, Baltimore Libraries Place Friendly Wager On Super Bowl

The Super Bowl on Sunday between San Francisco and Baltimore is extending to a battle of the books between the two cities' libraries, officials announced Thursday.

The San Francisco Public Library announced a friendly wager with the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore over the 49ers-Ravens game in New Orleans.

If the 49ers win, the CEO of Baltimore's library will have to recite the George Sterling poem "The Cool, Grey City of Love" in Baltimore's Central Library Main Hall while wearing a 49ers jersey.

But if the Ravens win, San Francisco City Librarian Luis Herrera will have to recite Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" in the atrium of the Main Library while wearing a Ravens jersey.

The losing city's effort will also be videotaped and posted on YouTube, officials said.

"As a huge sports fan, I am thrilled to support our football team while spotlighting two great library systems and two great literary cities," Herrera said in a statement.

California Academy of Sciences Takes On Baltimore's National Aquarium In 'Super Fish Bowl'

The California Academy of Sciences is taking on the National Aquarium in Baltimore in the days leading up to the 49ers-Ravens Super Bowl showdown on Sunday, museum officials said.

The two aquariums are participating in the Super Fish Bowl and using social media to get fans involved in the friendly duel.

Using the hashtag #SuperFishBowl to follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, both aquariums are asking fans to like animal photos from the competing institutions.

On game day, the aquarium from the winning city will receive $1 from the defeated team's aquarium for each "like" on their Super Fish Bowl photo, museum officials said.

The winning donation will be made to either the National Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Program or the California Academy of Sciences' Coral Conservation program.

No matter which aquarium proves victorious, the donated money will go toward animal care and conservation efforts, officials said.

The friendly competition will kick off today with divers at each aquarium wearing their home team jerseys during daily dive presentations at their respective coral reef exhibits.

In San Francisco, a diver at the Philippine Coral Reef exhibit at the aquarium located at the Academy of Sciences at 55 Music Concourse Drive in Golden Gate Park will wear SCUBA gear with a red-and-gold jersey at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The diver will have an underwater microphone and will be able to answer reef-related questions from visitors, museum officials said.

Meanwhile in Baltimore, the opposing team in the Super Fish Bowl will have a diver don the Ravens' purple jersey at the National Aquarium's Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit.

More information about participating in the online competition can be found at

Inmate Dies At Contra Costa County Jail After Suffering Medical Problem

An inmate at the Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez died this morning after suffering an apparent medical problem, a sheriff's spokesman said.

Around 4:10 a.m., an inmate notified a sheriff's deputy that his cellmate was unresponsive, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

Jail medical staff and deputies responded immediately and began life-saving measures on the inmate, a 46-year-old Pittsburg man.

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District crews arrived at the jail and continued to try to save the man, but he was pronounced dead at 4:27 a.m. Lee said the man had "several existing medical conditions."

His name is being withheld until relatives are notified.

The sheriff's office and Contra Costa County District Attorney's  Office are investigating the man's death, following county protocol after in-custody deaths.

Two Santa Clara County Homeless Men Died From Flu In January

Authorities confirmed this week that two Santa Clara County men died from influenza in January, county public health officials said today.

The deaths were both of homeless men under the age of 65, according to the county's Public Health Department.

Health officials previously said that a 98-year-old woman in the county also died in January from the flu and pneumonia.

County health officials planned to hold a news conference in San Jose this afternoon to discuss the deaths and ways to ward off the influenza virus.

Two San Jose Women Assaulted, Chased After Catching Thieves Breaking Into Car

Two women were chased from their San Jose home and assaulted after they encountered thieves breaking into their car early this morning, police said.

The victims were at their home in the 400 block of Mahoney Drive around 1:45 a.m. when they heard someone breaking into their car, San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.

When they yelled at the suspect to stop, he chased them into the house and allegedly punched one of the women in the face.

Both victims fled the house and the suspect and another male suspect chased them, Dwyer said. One suspect allegedly assaulted one of the women before the victims were able to flee to a neighbor's house.

The suspects then went back to the house and allegedly stole multiple items before fleeing the scene on foot, Dwyer said. Both remain at large.

One victim was treated at a hospital for minor injuries, he said.

Salinas Man Allegedly Harasses 11-Year-Old Girl On Greyhound Bus

A 70-year-old Salinas man was arrested today after he allegedly harassed an 11-year-old girl riding on a Greyhound bus with her family, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

The incident occurred on board a Greyhound bus on its way from Los Angeles to San Jose, sheriff's Sgt. Jose Cardoza said.

The suspect, 70-year-old Maximiliano Aguirre, and victim were both riding on the bus when Aguirre allegedly annoyed and harassed the girl.

The girl's family immediately notified the Greyhound driver, who pulled the bus over and called 911, Cardoza said.

Aguirre was detained this morning while deputies interviewed the victim and other witnesses, and charges are forthcoming, Cardoza said.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call (408) 808-4500 or leave an anonymous tip at (408) 808-4431.

Marina District Gas Station Robbed Thursday Night

A gas station was robbed in San Francisco's Marina District on Thursday night, police said today.

The robbery was reported at about 8:15 p.m. in the 2400 block of Lombard Street.

A 31-year-old employee was behind the register at the station when a suspect came in and demanded that he open the register, according to police.

The victim opened the register and the suspect took cash from it, then ran to a van that drove away toward Divisadero Street with two other people in it, police said.

The suspects, described as men between 25 and 40 years old, had not been found as of this morning, according to police.

No weapon was seen during the robbery and the employee was not injured.

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

Tractor Crashes Into Pole In Bayview District, Sends Driver To Hospital

A tractor hit a utility pole this morning, knocking down wires in San Francisco's Bayview District, a fire department spokeswoman said.

The tractor driver lost control and hit the pole on Griffith Street between Ingerson and Jamestown avenues around 9:40 a.m., fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

The driver was taken to the hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, she said.

The driver was the only person involved in the crash, she said.

Fair Housing Of Marin Reaches Settlement With Property Managers

The Fair Housing Authority of Marin has settled race discrimination complaints it filed against six rental properties in Benicia, Vallejo and Richmond.

The settlements were reached between June and November 2012 with the four housing management companies that owned 2,350 rental units at the six properties, Fair Housing of Marin's staff attorney Jessica Tankersley Sparks said this morning.

The two race discrimination audits Fair Housing of Marin conducted in Solano County and in Richmond revealed the housing providers consistently offered white people better terms and more attractive conditions than to blacks.

Whites were offered lower security deposits, lower or non-existent minimum income requirements, increased availability, more flexible lease terms and more information about amenities and encouragement to apply for housing than African-Americans.

Fair Housing of Marin filed administrative complaints with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The $38,000 the four housing management companies will pay to Fair Housing of Marin under the settlement will provide free counseling, enforcement, mediation, and legal or administrative referrals to people who experience housing discrimination.

Sparks said Fair Housing of Marin audits property managers for discrimination in Northern California and provides direct client services in Sonoma and Marin counties.

Other audits are pending and may be completed by this summer, Sparks said.

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