San Francisco Bay Area Thursday Morning News Roundup

Reset News Feed's picture

SJ: Officer Opens Fire After Driver In Stolen Car Strikes Him

A police officer shot the driver of a suspected stolen car in San Jose after the car drove forward and struck the officer, a police spokesman said.

Officers found the car in the 1800 block of Almaden Road at about 4:30 p.m. and while trying to talk to the man and woman inside, the woman driving started moving the car back and forth.

She drove forward and struck the officer. Fearing for his life, he shot at the woman, hitting her at least once, police spokesman Officer Albert Morales said.

The woman was taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life threatening. The passenger was also hospitalized for an unknown injury, but was not struck by gunfire, Morales said.

The officer was injured as well when the car struck him but his injuries are not life-threatening, Morales said.

The department's Homicide Unit is investigating the incident, Morales said.

Manager Confident Bay Bridge Bolt Problem Will Be Fixed

A Caltrans official said Wednesday that he's confident a solution will be found soon to cope with the recent discovery of problems with 32 large bolts on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, which is slated to open on Labor Day weekend.

"We hope to reach some conclusions in the very near future and we don't expect a delay to the Bay Bridge opening," toll bridge program manager Tony Anziano told Metropolitan Transportation Commission members at their meeting Wednesday.

Caltrans ordered a total of 288 bolts, also known as rods, to connect the bridge deck to the 10-foot concrete cap that sits on top of the pier just east of the self-anchored suspension span tower.

Manufactured in Ohio, the bolts, which range from 9 to 17 feet in length and are 3 inches in diameter, are part of the seismic protection features on the new span, which will replace the old span that partially collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Anziano said the bolts were installed in 2008 but crews just started tightening a batch of 96 of them immediately below the bridge deck several years ago.

Inspections revealed a problem with 32 bolts that popped out several inches, a one-third failure rate that MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger admitted is "very high."

The 192 remaining bolts, which are further below the deck on the same pier, haven't been tightened yet, MTC spokesman John Goodwin said.

Anziano said access to the batch of 96 bolts just below the deck is virtually impossible because they're in a confined and inaccessible area so he said a design solution that will keep them in place is necessary.

The most likely solution is "some type of exterior collar" that keeps them in place, he said.

Goodwin said if there are problems with the other 192 bolts it will be easier to replace them because they're further down and can be "jacked out."

Heminger said the MTC's initial assessment of the problem is that there is hydrogen in the metal in the bolts, which has made them brittle, and if that proves to be correct then "there clearly was a quality control failure" by the firm that manufactured the bolts.

He said if Caltrans has to order more bolts, it will do a more thorough job of inspecting them this time.

Anziano said it is not unusual for hydrogen embrittlement to occur during the process of manufacturing steel.

SF: City, Business Leaders Break Ground on New Transbay Transit Tower   

San Francisco city and business leaders gathered Wednesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Transbay Transit Tower and the sale of the property to the developers who will build the 60-story building.

The 1,070-foot tower at First and Mission streets in the city's South of Market neighborhood will be the tallest building on the West Coast and seventh-tallest in the U.S. when it is finished in 2016, according to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.

Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, executive director of the TJPA, a collection of Bay Area government agencies collaborating on the project, said the tower "will stand for generations as a model for elegance and functionality."

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the tower will transform the city's skyline and serve as a "critical anchor" for public transit in the Bay Area.

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose city district includes the construction site, said upon completion of the project, the Transbay Transit Tower will serve as the "new center of downtown."

With demolition of the old Transbay Terminal finished, TJPA Wednesday also announced the closing of the sale of the 50,000-square-foot parcel at 101 First St. to Hines and Boston Properties, the firms that will develop the site.

The property, which sold for just under $192 million, will also include a new bus and rail station with a 5.4-acre park on top of it and will include 1.375 million square feet of office space as well as residential and retail space, according to organizers.

"We are dedicated to making this an iconic tower that will stand as a landmark for all who travel to San Francisco and add to its appeal as one of our most sought after 24/7 cities in the U.S. on top of being the technology capital of the world," Boston Properties CEO Mort Zuckerman said.

Updates on construction of the tower and the adjacent transit center is available online at www.transbaycenter.org.

San Mateo: Calgary Man Re-Arrested for Child Porn After Allegedly Flying to SFO to Meet Teen for Sex

A Canadian man who allegedly began an inappropriate online relationship with a San Mateo teenager has been re-arrested on child porn charges in San Diego, one week after being booked and released from the San Mateo County Jail on charges of attempted statutory rape and arranging to have sex with a minor, San Mateo police Sgt. Dave Norris said Wednesday.

Police detectives originally received information from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that Adam Ouellette, 26, a Canadian citizen of Calgary, had allegedly been in an online conversation with a 16-year-old girl. The conversation tipped off detectives that Ouellette might travel the distance to meet the girl in person for sex, Norris said.

Posing as the girl, detectives pursued the conversation, Norris said, which led them to discover that Ouellette had allegedly arranged to fly to San Francisco International Airport with intentions of meeting the girl for sex.

In a multi-agency effort that included teams from the Calgary Police Service and the Southern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation Team who ensured the suspect boarded the plane; teams from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations and the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Airport Division, on March 19, Ouellette was arrested and booked into the San Mateo County Jail.

Upon further investigation, Norris said, his team reviewed evidence and allegedly discovered the presence of child pornography on an electronic device possessed by the suspect.

"At that time as part of the investigation, we obtained a second warrant for his arrest on possession of child pornography and additional charges related to the attempt to travel to meet a minor for sex," Norris said.

The second warrant was served on him on Tuesday at a relative's home in San Diego, where police took him into custody.

Redwood City: Former Water Polo Coach Sentenced to Two Years for Sex Crimes Against Student

Wednesday's two-year prison sentence for a former Aragon High School water polo coach convicted of sexually assaulting one of the girls on his team is a salient example of what happens when a young adult coach is not trained nor supervised around children, an attorney for the victim said Wednesday.

Attorney Robert Allard said that the sentencing of Joshua David Tatro, 25, of El Granada, "highlights the pervasive problem we are having with the lack of training in sex abuse matters and the lack of training we are giving to those who are placed in positions around children."

Tatro collapsed to the floor of a San Mateo County courtroom Wednesday morning when Superior Court Judge Mark Forcum sentenced him to two years in state prison for his crimes, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

He will be transferred this week to San Quentin State Prison to serve his sentence, which also requires Tatro to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Before he was sentenced, Tatro read a brief statement to the court in which he apologized for his conduct.

Upon hearing his punishment, he fell to the floor and was visibly shaken, Wagstaffe said.

In January, Tatro pleaded no contest to one count of sexual penetration of a minor and one count of sending pornographic material with the intent to seduce a minor.

He was arrested June 1, 2012, after a 17-year-old student and water polo player told school officials that Tatro had inappropriately touched her and had sent numerous cellphone pictures of private body parts, prosecutors said.

An additional victim came forward later in June after there was media coverage of Tatro's arrest, according to court documents.

The second alleged victim, also a water polo player, told police Tatro had repeatedly had her over to his home for sleepovers in which sexual encounters allegedly took place, according to the district attorney's office.

Charges involving the second victim were dropped but the original 10 counts were allowed to be considered during sentencing, according to the district attorney's office.

Wednesday, Wagstaffe said, "the court denied probation and said his conduct violated community trust and had a great impact on the victim."

According to Allard, the initial victim in the case is in therapy and has been consistently since the incident occurred.

"She's struggling as most do involved in situations like this and getting justice for her is the first in many steps we now have to take here," he said.

A lawsuit that was filed against the San Mateo Union High School District on Oct. 26, 2012, is currently in litigation, Allard said.

He said he hopes the case will be settled by the end of the year.

The lawsuit alleges that the district was negligent in protecting the high school victim when notified that Tatro was engaging in improper sexual conduct, Allard said.

Governor's Office Unveils Second Installment of 50-Year Delta Plan

The likely environmental effects of a draft plan to build a new water delivery system from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to 25 million Californians while restoring the Delta's habitat were unveiled by Gov. Jerry Brown's administration Wednesday.

The details were revealed in the second installment of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a sweeping 50-year guideline that state water officials say should create a more stable water delivery system from the Delta to the Bay Area, Southern California and the Central Valley while sustaining more than 50 Delta fish, wildlife and plant species.

"At the beginning of the Brown administration, we made a long-term commitment to let science drive the Bay Delta Conservation Plan," California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

"Today, with the public unveiling of the effects analysis, we make that a reality."

The chapters unveiled Wednesday focus on the environmental effects of building a massive, $18 million underground tunnel system designed to move more water from the Delta to other areas of the state.

"This project relies on 40 years of intensive scientific study of the Delta's ecosystem," California Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said.

"It aims to change the way we divert water from the Delta to better protect fish, and it ties water deliveries to the health of the Delta's fish and wildlife populations."

The Department of Water Resources Wednesday focused on the ecological benefits of the proposed plan, which it said would include the restoration, protection or improvement of more than 100,000 acres of habitat, more natural water flow patterns in the Delta and increased food supplies and improved habitats for salmon, smelt and sturgeon.

Water, fish and wildlife officials Wednesday also highlighted the "scientific uncertainty" involved in the 50-year plan and stressed that it is undergoing continued review and fine-tuning.

"Our department will begin to review the science we've been presented," California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham said.

"We're never going to be able to eliminate all uncertainty -- it's just not possible."

Deputies in Arizona Probe Death of Campbell Man Who Fell Off Boat at Lake Havasu

The body of a Campbell man was recovered from a bay in Lake Havasu, Ariz. Wednesday a day after he plunged off of a boat during a Spring Break celebration, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.

Stefan Fowler, 25, was reported missing after falling overboard from a pontoon boat at about 4:50 p.m. Tuesday and failed to resurface, said Trish Carter, spokeswoman for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in Kingman, Ariz.

The accident happened as people ventured on boats on Lake Havasu for parties during Spring Break, which occurs at the resort area throughout March, Carter said.

The boat Fowler was on had driven through a narrow channel under the famous old London Bridge and into part of Thompson Bay that gets congested by other boats during spring celebrations, Carter said.

The area has signs warning boaters to drive slowly and not create wakes that might rock other boats, Carter said.

Fowler, who was not wearing a life jacket, for some reason fell off of the bow of the boat into Thompson Bay and presumably injured himself in the fall, Carter said.

Sheriff's deputies on the shoreline and dive teams from the Lake Havasu Police Department could not locate his body Tuesday and an aerial search also turned up nothing, Carter said.

Mohave County sheriff's waterway deputies started a search Wednesday morning using sonar equipment and found Fowler's body at 10:02 a.m. in Thompson Bay about 300 yards from the Nautical Inn hotel, Carter said.

"It was an accident, but we are continuing the investigation," Carter said.

The sheriff's office obtained a urine sample from the driver of the boat Fowler fell from to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs, Carter said.

An autopsy also will be performed on Fowler's body.

SF: Giants Look Forward to 2013 Season

The defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants outlined a variety of celebrations, promotions and special events for the upcoming season Wednesday at their annual media open house held at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Announcing details for commemorating their second World Series title in three years, Giants President and CEO Larry Baer touched on several aspects of the team's history, last year's victory, and what the organization has planned for the 2013 campaign.

"I'm proud to be accompanied by our twins here," said Baer, gesturing towards the Giants' two Tiffany World Series trophies that were on display.

"As we look into 2013, we've been able to do something that doesn't happen much in professional sports anymore, and that is to bring a team back," said Baer.

"Essentially the core of the team is returning, and that is something I think is important for fans, and significantly important for the team itself."

Showing a series of new television ads, the Giants introduced this year's advertising theme as "Together + Again."

A number of spots revolved around events from the 2012 post-season run, including Pablo Sandoval's three home runs against Justin Verlander in Game one of the World Series, and how fan support purportedly helped power the feat. 

One particularly humorous ad played on Hunter Pence's inspirational pre-game speeches, with a fictional recreation that spoofed John Belushi's famous speech scene from the comedy film "Animal House."

"It's really something that builds upon last year's 'Together' theme, and we feel really blessed that that theme was exemplified in many ways, not the least of which was of course on the field, with the team playing together and battling so much, including in the six elimination games."

Tom McDonald, Giants Senior Vice President of Marketing, added, "We have a great group of players that have very interesting personalities, that all seem to embody the word 'team.'"

"The enthusiasm level of our fans is probably at an all-time high; it's really a very unique connection that has developed between the Giants players and our fans," said McDonald.

Santa Clara: City-Owned Utility That Powers Apple's iCloud Launches Free Outdoor WiFi

After a soft opening today, Santa Clara's electrical utility, home for data centers serving the likes of Apple and Mozilla, now has free outdoor Wi-Fi service throughout the city, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Silicon Valley Power, the city's 117-year-old energy firm, decided to expand its wireless communication system that measures power usage to provide free wireless Internet to residents, said Larry Owens, the utility's manager of customer services.

The expansion, started quietly six days ago to make sure it worked, required a modest investment of about $1 million for 60 fiber communication points plus software and websites, Owens said.

The Wi-Fi system has nearly 600 radio access points in the city that act like wireless routers on lampposts, providing data at a speed of one megabit per second without a login to anyone outside, Owens said.

While the service -- designed for outdoor use -- is currently not fast enough to download videos, users can access it for general online browsing and sending email, Owens said. 

"It's an open system," Owens said. "We can be at a park, at a restaurant outside, at a bus stop, even lounging in your own backyard."

The system permits people using Wi-Fi indoors "to have a similar experience outdoors," Owens said.

The utility itself needed a wireless system to keep tabs on the smart meters that report power usages of residential and business customers and smart grids that send data about power supplies, Owens said.

Silicon Valley Power could also use it down the road for monitoring power charging stations and smart appliances people use in their homes.

"The system allows us to be flexible in the future," Owens said.

"Public access Wi-Fi is a small part of that."

Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area

Mostly cloudy skies and a slight chance of showers are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s, with light winds, becoming up to 10 mph in the afternoon.

Mostly cloudy skies are likely this evening, with a slight chance of showers. Lows are expected to be in the upper 40s, with westerly winds up to 10 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies and a chance of rain are likely Friday morning. Highs are expected to be in the lower to mid 60s, with easterly winds around 5 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