San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday Morning News Roundup

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Martinez: Supes Approve Plan to Shutter Two Fire Stations

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a plan to shutter two fire stations as the local fire district struggles to close a massive budget gap.

The board voted to close Contra Costa Fire Protection District Station 87, located at 800 W. Leland Road in Pittsburg, in July, and another unnamed station in January as part of the district's ongoing service reduction and fire station closure plan.

Fire Chief Daryl Louder said the upcoming station closures should save the district about $3.3 million.

The planned closures will follow the shutdown of fire stations in Lafayette, Martinez and Walnut Creek and the drastic service reduction at Clayton's lone fire station.

Like those stations, the Pittsburg outpost was selected for closure based on a mix of factors including the station's typical call volume and the ability of neighboring stations to absorb those calls.

Fire Chief Daryl Louder reviewed what led up to the closures.

He noted that the district gets most of its revenue from local property tax assessments, which were hit hard by the Great Recession, according to Louder.

In addition, the district's required contributions to health care and pension plans have soared in recent years.

Measure Q, a parcel tax measure meant to raise enough taxes to cover the budget gap, failed to receive the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass in November's election.

That left the district with a $17 million budget deficit and few other options to fix its finances, the chief said.

Even before the two additional fire stations close this year, Louder and other fire officials said, the district's fire crews are already stretched too thin.

"I have serious doubts about our ability to provide protection for our community and I have serious concerns about our personnel operating out there," the chief told the board Tuesday afternoon.

SJ: Former Gilroy School Board Member Charged With Stealing Campaign Money, Perjury

A man who served on three school boards and was accused of defrauding a charity last year has been charged in San Jose with embezzling about $3,000 from his 2010 school board campaign in Gilroy, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Francisco Dominguez, 51, was arrested last week and has since been charged with grand theft and three counts of perjury for misusing campaign money and filing false state disclosure forms, Deputy District Attorney John Chase said.

Dominguez, who was released on $50,000 bail last week, is also being prosecuted for charges filed last year, alleging he stole tens of thousands of dollars from a nonprofit organization from 2008 to 2010 and an engineering firm in 2011, Chase said.

The new charges are based on about $3,000 in campaign funds Dominguez allegedly spent on non-political expenses during his 2010 campaign for the Gilroy Unified School District's board of education, Chase said.

Dominguez charged $1,000 in campaign donation funds for purchases at restaurants and cafes in Southern California, transferred $1,700 to his personal account and withdrew $300 in cash, Chase said.

The funds represented about half of the contributions donors made to his campaign, which led to his election to the board in 2010, Chase said.

State law considers money in campaign accounts to be held in trust and spending it for personal purposes is illegal, with $950 and over considered a felony, Chase said.

Prosecutors maintain that Dominguez spent the funds while conducting his campaign and misrepresented his expenses on three Form 460 state disclosure filings that he signed under penalty of perjury.

Chase said that Dominguez allegedly used his campaign coffers to cover personal things including a smog inspection fee and concession items at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

If convicted of the four felony charges related to the campaign account, Dominguez could be sentenced to up to six years and eight months in jail.

Last October, the district attorney's office filed charges alleging Dominguez double-billed the South County Collaborative, a charity focusing on preventing youths from taking drugs. While in charge of bookkeeping for the charity from 2008 to 2010, Dominguez allegedly wrote checks to himself and embezzled $52,000, prosecutors said.

SF: Supes Approve Buffer Zones Outside City's Reproductive Clinics

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday gave unanimous initial approval to legislation that will create a 25-foot buffer zone around entrances to reproductive health clinics in the city that are often targeted by anti-abortion activists.

The legislation, authored by Supervisor David Campos, alters existing city law that created an 8-foot "bubble" around patients entering or leaving the clinics, including a Planned Parenthood clinic on Valencia Street that has reported constant harassment from the activists.

Campos said the previous ordinance was harder to enforce and that the new law preventing protests within 25 feet of the entrances would better ensure the safety of patients.

"A number of individuals have stepped over the line, harassing and intimidating women," he said.

Campos thanked many patients and Planned Parenthood employees who came to a board committee hearing last month to tell stories of harassment.

Several anti-abortion activists also attended the April 18 hearing and denied harassing patients.

Campos said the legislation strikes the right balance between the activists' free speech rights and the rights of the patients to be free from harassment.

"Too many jurisdictions in this country have eroded the right of women to choose," Campos said.

"It is time in San Francisco to do the right thing and set a new trend for the rest of the country."

The legislation will come in front of the board at its next meeting to be given final approval. 

Oakland: Slain Teen Was Looking Forward to Prom

A Castlemont High School senior who was fatally shot in front of his East Oakland home near the school Sunday night was set to graduate in six weeks and was looking forward to going to his prom on Saturday, the school's principal said Tuesday.

Olajuwon Clayborn, 17, had "worked hard to graduate" thanks to strong encouragement from his mother, Castlemont principal John Lynch said.

Clayborn played on Castlemont's basketball team and "worked hard on the court and off the court in the classroom," Lynch said.

Clayborn was his mother's youngest child and she emphasized to him how important it was to his future that he graduate, Lynch said.

She had just met with school personnel on Friday to make sure that he was on track to graduate and to make sure he would finish up his senior projects on time, he said.

In addition, Clayborn's mother had bought him clothes for his senior prom and a cap and gown for his graduation ceremony, Lynch said.

Clayborn's death consequently has been "crushing" for her, he said.

Oakland police said the shooting occurred in the 8600 block of Dowling Street at about 10 p.m. Sunday.

They said a second male was also shot but is expected to survive.

Lynch said Clayborn's home is only half a block away from Castlemont, which is located at 8601 MacArthur Blvd.

Grief counselors have been available at the school to help them cope with Clayborn's death, he said.

Oakland school district spokesman Troy Flint said staff members at Castlemont described him as "extremely well-liked and a popular and beloved student."

Flint said Clayborn previously attended Berkeley High School and transferred to Castlemont at the beginning of the current school year last August.

Sonoma Co: Suspect Arrested at Hotel for Alleged Human Trafficking

A Sacramento man was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking in Sonoma County on Sunday, according to sheriff's deputies.

Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies arrested Nathan Earl Lee, 45, after responding to a hotel at the south end of Santa Rosa.

Officers responded to a report of two females refusing to pay a taxi driver for a fare. Upon arrival, deputies contacted the two females who were found inside a hotel room with Lee.

One of the females asked a deputy for help getting away from Lee.

She told deputies she was being physically assaulted, held against her will and forced to work as a prostitute by Lee.

Deputies said one of the females had visible scars.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office Domestic Violence Sexual Assault detectives responded and conducted further investigation.

They determined that Lee had convinced one of the females to travel to different cities throughout the state and forced her to work as a prostitute.

One of the females was determined to be from out of state and the other from outside the country, deputies said. Verity and Crossing the Jordan Foundation provided services to both female victims, according to deputies.

Lee was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, pimping, pandering a person for prostitution, false imprisonment, torture, mayhem and threatening crime with intent to terrorize.

Lee was booked into Sonoma County Jail on a $1.1 million bail.

Anyone with further information should contact sheriff's deputies at (707) 565-8290.

SF: Outgoing UC President Yudof Says he is Optimistic Despite Challenges Facing University

Outgoing University of California President Mark Yudof, while saying he is optimistic, told a San Francisco audience Tuesday that the university faces several challenges, and funding isn't the only one.

Yudof, 68, has been at the helm of what he called "the greatest public university system in the world" since 2008.

He plans to step down in August to teach law at UC Berkeley. The UC president oversees 10 campuses from a central office in Oakland.

The system operates under a federal principle, Yudof said, in which individual campuses have autonomy in certain areas such as the hiring of faculty and coaches.

Yudof spoke at a noon meeting of the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco.

Asked by PPIC chief executive Mark Baldassare to describe the biggest challenges facing the university, Yudof answered, "There are many," but put state funding cuts at the top of the list.

Funding reductions during the state's budget crisis have been a "significant disinvestment in high education," Yudof said.

"I could write just 'look for money'" in a hypothetical note of advice to his successor, Yudof joked.

Other challenges, Yudof said, are increasing the graduation rate, increasing accountability, and reaching out to low-income students.

Yudof said he is proud of the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan initiated during his tenure.

The program guarantees financial aid to students whose families have an income of less than $80,000.

Asked to predict what UC education will be like 10 years from now, Yudof said he expected greater use of online courses.

"Faculty and students will be more comfortable with it and it will be of higher quality," he said.

But there will always be a need for students to be on campus and interact in person with teachers and other students, Yudof said.

The president said there may be changes in the structure of some degrees.

For example, an alternative to a two-year master's program in business administration might be a one-year certificate in a particular area of finance, Yudof said.

In addition, "I can see the concept of a major changing," Yudof said.

All in all, Yudof said, "I think people will get the education they want and need" from the university a decade from now.

Walnut Creek: Taxi Crashes Into House, Driver Suffers Minor Injuries

A taxi driver veered off of a roadway and into an unoccupied house in Walnut Creek Tuesday afternoon, according to a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District dispatcher.

The crash was reported around 12:45 p.m. in the 1200 block of Claiborne Drive, the fire dispatcher said.

The cab driver was taken to a hospital to be treated for what appeared to be minor injuries, according to the dispatcher. No one was inside the home at the time, which sustained major damage in the crash, he said.

Oakland: Youth Commission Raises Questions About City's Efforts to Stop Children Being Sold for Sex

The Oakland Youth Commission highlighted that Oakland is a hub for sexually exploited youth who get coerced into prostitution on city streets at a packed meeting at City Hall Monday night.

At the 5 p.m. meeting in the City Council chambers, the commission -- comprised of appointed Oakland high school students -- called for various city agencies to step up early intervention and prevention efforts to help children who are involved in sex trafficking.

The commission cited the average age of exploited children as 13 to 15 years old, with some entering the sex industry as young as 11, according to data from the program H.E.A.T. Watch, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office's Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit, which prosecutes human traffickers.

According to the district attorney's office, there were about 200 known cases of children being sold for sex in the county in 2012.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan lauded the commission for taking on the issue of commercially sexually exploited children and delving into what persuades mostly young girls into the practice.

"We need to start looking at them not as criminals but as victims," Quan said about the girls who are pimped out to men, known as johns.

Quan outlined efforts made within the city in the past decade, including alternatives to being arrested after being taken in for prostitution; opening safe houses to protect the girls from returning to their pimps; and offering transitional programming for foster care youth.

A majority of children in the sex business come from the foster care system, according to Oakland-based nonprofit MISSSEY, or Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth.

Other factors that often lead to teen prostitution are previous sexual abuse, rape and other trauma.

Quan, along with other speakers throughout the meeting, reiterated the cooperation of city agencies to stop the sale of children for sex, which she considers a modern-day form of slavery.

"The real key is for all of us to work together to give young people -- particularly young girls -- alternatives...to be successful and live on their own," the mayor said.

Benicia: Citizen's Report Leads to Arrests in Sexual Assault, Theft

One of two men who were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing credit cards and other items from two vehicles also was arrested for allegedly molesting an underage girl, a Benicia police lieutenant said.

Robert Gregory West, 19, of Benicia, is suspected of sexually assaulting the girl between October 2012 and February of this year, Lt. Frank Hartig said.

He was the focus since April of an investigation by the Benicia Police Department's Youth Services Bureau, Hartig said.

Police found West after a resident in the 900 block of West L Street reported two suspicious males walking into a nearby apartment complex around 6:20 a.m. Tuesday, Hartig said.

The two males dropped items as they fled when police arrived. West was caught by Cpl. Mark Menesini after a brief chase in the 900 block of Military West, Hartig said.

He was found in possession of a glass narcotic-smoking pipe, Hartig said.

The other theft suspect, Ryan David Dees, a 23-year-old transient, was found minutes later near the intersection of West K and West Ninth streets, Hartig said.

Dees was on felony probation for burglary in Solano County. Police recovered stolen credit cards, a GPS device and other personal items that were discarded by the fleeing suspects, Hartig said.

The items were stolen from two unlocked vehicles in the 1100 block of West L Street and the 1100 block of West 13th Street, Hartig said.

Both West and Dees admitted their involvement in the thefts, Hartig said.

West and Dees were arrested for grand theft, possession of stolen property and criminal conspiracy, Hartig said.

Dees was also arrested for violation of probation, while West also was arrested for possession of narcotic paraphernalia, continuous child sexual molestation, oral copulation, child molestation of a victim under age 14, sexual battery and unlawful sex with a minor three or more years younger than the suspect, Hartig said.

Both men were booked into the Solano County Jail.

Bay Area Wednesday Morning Weather Forecast

Mostly cloudy skies are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the 50s to mid 60s, with winds up to 20 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely tonight. Lows are likely to be near 50, with westerly winds up to 30 mph and gusts up to 45 mph.

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected Thursday morning. Highs are likely to be in the 50s to mid 60s, with westerly winds up to 30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph in the afternoon.

 

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