San Francisco Bay Area Friday Morning News Roundup

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Mountian View Police Bust DMT Drug Lab, Seize Guns

Law enforcement officials have arrested three people and expect to arrest more at two Mountain View apartment complexes where police say they have found a drug lab, drugs and guns.

Mountain View police said that police officers from Mountain View and Sunnyvale joined forces with a Los Altos SWAT team, members of the state Department of Justice and the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team to serve search warrants at four apartments in two complexes located at 242 and 228 Bush St.

So far, law enforcement officers had found heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, an assault rifle, shotguns, other weapons and a Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) lab, police said.

Police had arrested three people as of 5 p.m. and expect to make more arrests in the case.

Mountain View police Sgt. Sean Thompson said that to his knowledge, this kind of drug lab was a rare find for police.

"We're still doing research but we believe this will be the third DMT lab busted in state and only the first one busted in the Bay Area," Thompson said. "They're still searching and they'll be out there well into the night."

Police said that authorities will also be working to clear hazardous materials from the DMT lab. DMT is classified as a Schedule I substance by the federal government and is a hallucinogen that naturally occurs in plants and can also be synthesized in a lab.

Fallen CHP Officer To Be Honored At Fundraiser Dinner

A semi-formal fundraiser dinner is set for Friday night in San Ramon to support the family of slain California Highway Patrol Officer Kenyon Youngstrom, who died after an on-duty shooting on Interstate Highway 680 in September.

All proceeds from the dinner Friday night at the Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center in San Ramon at 6:30 p.m., organized by the Contra Costa County Peace Officers' Alliance, will go to Youngstrom's family.

Youngstrom, 37, was shot in the head on Sept. 4 by 36-year-old Christopher Boone Lacy, the driver of a Jeep Wrangler Youngstrom had stopped on Interstate Highway 680 near Alamo for an obstructed license plate.

Youngstrom's CHP beat partner, Officer Tyler Carlton, then shot Lacy multiple times, killing him.

Youngstrom was pronounced dead the next day at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

He is survived his wife Karen, his two sons and two daughters, his parents Jill and Guy Youngstrom, four brothers and a sister.

Karen Youngstrom will attend Friday's dinner, organizer Carolyn Wilson said.

"We want her to see the support from the community," Wilson said. Close friends of the family are expected to attend as well, she said.

The banquet center is hosting the event at no cost to the nonprofit CCCPOA and providing food, beverages, service staff, a photo booth, and dancing for ticket-holding attendees.

Wilson encouraged Bay Area residents to dress up and make it a date night with plenty of meaning, as all money spent will support the Youngstroms directly.

Woman Kidnapped From Business Center Parking Lot Then Abandoned In Oakland Hills

A woman leaving work in Walnut Creek Wednesday night was kidnapped by two men who forced her to withdraw money from various ATMs before abandoning her in the Oakland Hills, Walnut Creek police said.

The 57-year-old woman was abducted as she was leaving her work place at the Shadelands Business Park in Walnut Creek around 7:30 p.m., police said.

She was walking to her car in the business center's empty parking lot when two suspects ran up to her and forced her into her car, tied her up and blindfolded her.

The woman was driven to various locations to get money from ATMs before the suspects drove her to an isolated area in the Oakland Hills, police said.

The suspects left and got away in a smaller, older dark-colored pickup truck, possibly a Toyota, with a loud muffler, police said.

The victim was then able to free herself and call 911.

Oakland police responded and sought medical attention for her, before handing the investigation over to Walnut Creek police.

The suspects were described as two white men in their early 20s.

One stood about 5 feet 11 inches, weighed about 185 pounds with broad shoulders and short dark hair.

He was last seen wearing a light colored T-shirt under a black zip-up collared shirt, and jeans.

The other suspect was about 5 feet 9 inches, with a slight build weighing about 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a mask, a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood on and jeans.

Anyone with information about the kidnapping is asked to call the Walnut Creek Police Department's investigations unit at (925) 943-5868 or (925) 943-5844.

Top Two Candidates In Supes District 7 Race Less Than 100 Votes Apart

The top two candidates are less than 100 votes apart in the race for San Francisco's District 7 supervisor, according to the latest results released Thursday by the city's Department of Elections.

FX Crowley, who has served on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and San Francisco Port Commission, is only 97 votes ahead of Norman Yee, president of the San Francisco Board of Education, elections officials said Thursday afternoon.

After six rounds of ranked-choice voting using the latest vote totals, Crowley has 10,689 votes or 50.23 percent, compared to 10,592 votes and 49.77 percent for Yee.

There are about 72,000 votes citywide that have yet to be counted, including both vote-by-mail and provisional ballots, according to elections officials.

The winner of the race will replace termed-out Supervisor Sean Elsbernd in representing the district in the southwest part of the city that includes the neighborhoods of West Portal and Parkmerced as well as the areas near Twin Peaks, Lake Merced and San Francisco State University.

Michael Garcia, who Elsbernd endorsed to be his successor, finished in third place, according to the latest totals.

The next round of results will be announced at 4 p.m. Friday.

Santa Rosa Driver Held Over For Trial For Road Rage Attempted Murder Of Bicyclist On Golf Course

A Santa Rosa man was held over for trial Thursday morning for the road rage attempted murder of bicyclist he allegedly pursued in his car onto a golf course in August.

After a preliminary hearing in Sonoma County Superior Court, Harry Edward Smith, 82, was ordered to stand trial on charges of attempted murder, hit-and-run, assault with a deadly weapon, making criminal threats and driving on a suspended license.

Toraj Soltani, 47, testified he was sitting upright while riding his bicycle on Pythian Road without his hands on the handlebars to give his back a rest around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 16.

Smith pulled his Toyota sedan along side his bicycle and said, "Get your hands on the handlebars you mother------," Soltani said.

"He said, 'Get out of Oakmont you son of a bitch, you don't belong here.' Then he veered into me and struck my left thigh," Soltani said.

Soltani testified he became angry and punched the passenger side mirror of Smith's Toyota twice with his fist. The Toyota was about 12 inches away, when Smith said, 'You damaged my vehicle. I'm going to get you. I'm going to kill you,' Soltani said.

Smith took out his cell phone and said he was going to call the police, Soltani said.

Soltani said he then rode his bike on the sidewalk and turned left on Oak Leaf Drive but Smith followed him. Soltani said he then rode his bike back to Pythian Road and down the cart path at the Oakmont Golf Course to escape the Toyota.

"I didn't look back. I thought I was safe," Soltani said. 

Soltani said he rode about 100 yards when he heard an engine accelerating before the Toyota struck the rear of his bike.

CSU Considering New Fees To Encourage Student Efficiency 

California State University Chancellor's Office Thursday revealed a proposal to modify the undergraduate fee structure in the hopes of opening up room for more new admissions that the Board of Trustees will review next week.

The proposal would establish new fees for students who have earned more credits than are necessary to graduate, are taking more than 18 credits per semester, or are repeating a course.

CSU officials hope the proposal will result in greater efficiency for students in attaining their undergraduate degree.

If passed, the proposal is estimated to generate $30 million annually, Assistant Vice Chancellor Robert Turnage said.

"Very little will come in fees," Turnage said in a teleconference about the revenue Thursday. "Most of the revenue will come from new students with the regular full-time fees."

Any student with more than 150 units completed, called super seniors, will be charged $372 per unit beyond that point.

There are currently 9,000 super seniors who would be given a one-year grace period to complete their degree, CSU Executive Vice Chancellor Ephraim Smith said.

Students at CSU generally need 120 units to graduate. 

The second fee will be charged to students who take more than 18 units per semester.

Currently, CSU has a two-tier fee system for students, charging a set price for students taking six or fewer units, and another for students taking more than six units.

If the proposal passes, any student with 18 or more units will be charged $182 per unit.

The third fee will be charged to any student who repeats a course.

Any student taking a course over will be charged an additional $91 per course.

These fees are expected to help students graduate on time, and give them a greater incentive to achieve their degree, Assistant Vice Chancellor Eric Forbes said.

Berkeley Development Measure Inches Ahead By One Vote

A ballot measure that would allow more flexibility in the development of large parcels of land in West Berkeley inched ahead by one vote in updated election results released late Thursday.

Measure T, which would amend the West Berkeley Plan and the city's zoning ordinance for areas west of San Pablo Avenue, was narrowly behind on election night and in an update on Wednesday but it's now leading by 16,640 votes to 16,639, leaving the measure in a virtual tie.

The measure had trailed by 26 votes on Wednesday and by 123 votes election night.

The updated results aren't final because the Alameda County Registrar of Voters must still count many more vote-by-mail and provisional ballots countywide, including Berkeley.

Registrar spokesman Guy Ashley said employees will continue counting ballots over the weekend and officials hope to finish counting sometime next week.

Measure T would allow buildings 75 feet high on six large parcels in West Berkeley. However, projects couldn't be built until the City Council adopts rules requiring developers to provide community benefits, such as affordable housing or job training requirements.

Supporters say the measure would create jobs and allow property owners to develop unused lots with the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue to the city to pay for enhanced amenities and services to the community.

But opponents say big new buildings would create an eyesore in the area and force rents to increase, making it less affordable for artists who currently work in the area.

Ancient Mammoth Tooth Unearthed Downtown On Display At Academy Of Sciences

The unique find of an Ice Age Columbian mammoth tooth discovered during construction at San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center in September is now on display at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

The fossil tooth was discovered by crane operator Brandon Valasik buried about 110 feet below street level on Sept. 10 while he was working at the Transbay Transit Center construction project at the downtown site.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which is leading the project, donated the tooth to the California Academy of Sciences on Sept. 20, where the ancient find was cleaned and persevered and added to the research fossil collection.

Academy of Sciences spokesman Andrew Ng said the tooth is part of an Ice Age display case in the Naturalist Center in the museum that will be available for viewing for the next few months. The tooth has been on view since Tuesday.

The mammoth tooth joins a wolf skull, mastodon tooth, saber-tooth cat lower jaw and bison vertebrae already on display, Ng said.

The tooth is an upper left molar of a Columbian mammoth and was found in two pieces. One portion of the tooth is still missing.

Although San Francisco was never covered in ice, during the icy Pleistocene Epoch about 1.8 million to 11,000 years ago, the San Francisco area was a grassy valley where, along with Columbian mammoths, saber-tooth cats, giant sloths, mastodons, elk, tapirs and bison lived.

The closely related woolly mammoth had a furry coat and lived further north.

The tooth is believed to be from an animal that lived between 8,000 and 150,000 years ago and was about 12 to 14 feet tall and weighed between 5 and 10 tons.

The ancient bones were found at the eastern end of the site between Minna and Natoma streets at First Street, which is under construction for the $4 billion transportation project. The first phase of the center is expected to be complete by 2017.

The tooth will be on display 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends at the museum located at 55 Music Concourse Drive.

San Mateo County Changes Supervisor Elections By Passing Measure B

San Mateo County voters have decided to change the way the county elects its Board of Supervisors by approving Measure B, and the measure's supporters believe future elections for county office will be more competitive as a result.

As of Thursday afternoon, Measure B, which changes the mode of selecting individual supervisors from countywide "at-large" elections to five separate "by-district" elections, was passing by a wide margin.

According to preliminary elections returns, Measure B had about 58 percent support with an estimated 70,000 mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted, according to the elections office.

Supervisor Dave Pine, who was a strong advocate for Measure B, said that more localized district elections would likely lower campaign costs and bring in a higher number of more diverse candidates for supervisor.

"It makes it possible for more people to run for supervisor," Pine said. "It reduces barriers."

Pine said the new process of electing supervisors would make it easier for candidates to run grassroots campaigns in their own districts.

"I was thrilled to see it get such strong voter support," he said. 

The next supervisorial election is scheduled to take place in 2014, when District 2 Supervisor Carole Groom and District 3 Supervisor Don Horsley will be up for re-election.

Before Tuesday's passage of Measure B, San Mateo County was the only county in California to have at-large elections for supervisors.

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Report

Thunderstorms, hail and showers are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the mid 50s, with western winds up to 10 mph.

Cloudy skies, thunderstorms, hail and showers are likely tonight, with lows likely to be in the upper 40s. Northwestern winds up to 15 mph are expected in the Bay Area tonight.

Partly cloudy skies are expected Saturday. Sunny skies are likely later in the day, with a slight chance of showers. Highs are expected to be in the mid 50s, with northern winds around 10 mph.

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