San Francisco Wednesday News Roundup

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SFMTA, Transit Workers Union Reach Tentative Agreement

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has reached a tentative agreement with its transit operators' union, an SFMTA spokesman said Tuesday. 

The agreement comes after three months of bargaining between the SFMTA and Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, and would save the agency a minimum of $21.3 million over the course of the three-year contract, SFMTA spokesman Charlie Goodyear said.

The proposal still needs to be approved by the members of the union, which represents the roughly 2,200 operators of Muni's buses and light-rail vehicles, as well as by the SFMTA board. Officials with the union were not immediately available Tuesday afternoon to comment on the agreement.

Among the provisions in the proposal are a pay freeze for the operators, the ability for the agency to hire about 200 part-time workers, and several changes to work rules, including overtime and discipline procedures, Goodyear said. 

The two sides have been meeting since March, but "in the last six weeks the tempo had accelerated," with several bargaining meetings a week, he said.

The talks were not without their contentious moments. In April, the union voted to authorize a strike in case the negotiations broke down, and is also seeking to overturn Proposition G, which was approved by the city's voters last November.

The proposition changed parts of the city charter that ensured that Muni drivers would have the second-highest operator salaries in the country, and it requires that contracts be negotiated through collective bargaining and binding arbitration, similar to other city employees.

But Goodyear said the tentative agreement reached by the two sides is "a very positive development, and one that could potentially pave the way to wider resolution of outstanding issues."

Members of TWU Local 250-A are expected to begin voting on the proposal next week.

Oakland Teen Convicted of Murder at Metreon

A teen was convicted of second-degree murder Tuesday afternoon for the 2007 fatal shooting of another teen at San Francisco's Metreon complex.

Christopher Canon was 15 when he shot 18-year-old Michael Price Jr., of Oakland, at the Metreon at Fourth and Mission streets on Nov. 11, 2007. He was arrested nearby after the shooting, and was charged as an adult.

Canon, a San Francisco resident who is now 19, was upset that Price wasn't moving quickly enough down an escalator outside a video arcade at the complex, prosecutors said.

Canon's attorney, David Simerly, said Price was the attacker, and that Canon shot him in self-defense.

A mistrial was declared in the case last November when a San Francisco Superior Court jury deadlocked on whether Canon should be convicted of first- or second-degree murder.

Prosecutors retried the case with a new jury, and after two days of deliberations, the jury declined to convict Canon of first-degree murder, but found him guilty of second-degree murder with an enhancement for the use of a firearm. 

The foreman of the jury, who did not want to be named, said outside of court, "We did feel for sure that they had the right person," but "we had a problem with whether or not it fully met the standard of first-degree murder."

Canon faces a sentence of 40 years to life in state prison for the charges.

Simerly called the result of the case "appalling."

He said security footage from the building shows that Price was the aggressor and that Canon was backing up when he fired four shots at him.

Simerly also criticized the stiff sentence for someone who was so young at the time of the shooting.

"It's nauseating that we have a country that subjects a 15-year-old to that," he said. "They do not perceive situations the way adults do."

Canon will return to court to be sentenced on July 8.

2 Children Fall From Window in Bayview

A boy and a girl fell from the second-story window of a home in San Francisco's Bayview District Tuesday afternoon, a San Francisco fire dispatcher said.

A 5-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl fell from the window in the 2600 block of Newhall Street just before 3:30 p.m., the dispatcher said.

The children were taken to San Francisco General Hospital, according to the dispatcher.

They were said to be awake and alert when firefighters arrived, the dispatcher said.

The dispatcher did not have details on how the children fell or their conditions.

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