San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday Morning News Roundup

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Giants Fans "One-Up" 2010 Victory Celebration; Damage, Vandalize Downtown SF

San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said Monday his department did not anticipate the destructive behavior by Giants fans after the World Series win on Sunday night but said police have plans to ensure nothing similar happens at Wednesday's parade for the team.

A total of 36 people were arrested, 23 for felonies, while dozens of businesses were vandalized and a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus was set on fire in the wake of the Giants' 4-3, extra-inning game on Sunday that completed a four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, Suhr said.

The chief said the revelry started peacefully, but "after the original, understandable celebration comes the almost mystifying belief that some people can just come trash San Francisco."

Suhr said the destructive behavior was "a one-up" on San Francisco's celebration of the Giants' World Series win over the Texas Rangers in 2010 and came as a surprise to authorities. Safety concerns initially prevented firefighters from coming to extinguish multiple bonfires set in the middle of streets in the Mission District. The fires were eventually put out after police escorted the firefighters through the crowds, he said.

Police are still looking for who set the Muni 8X-Bayshore Express bus on fire at Market and Kearny streets, Suhr said. Eight passengers plus the driver were all able to get out safely before the bus was set ablaze, he said. The bus cost $1 million after it was revamped recently, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said. Vandals also sprayed graffiti on storefronts along several blocks of Mission Street. One officer suffered a broken finger in the mayhem while another injured a wrist. Other officers were struck by glass bottles but did not require medical treatment, Suhr said.

 

Man Killed in SF-Mission District Shooting  

A man was fatally shot in San Francisco's Mission District early this morning, according to police. San Francisco police received reports of a shooting near the intersection of 20th Street and South Van Ness Avenue at 12:02 a.m. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced deceased, according to police. No suspects are in custody and the shooting remains under investigation, police said.

 

Union City Woman Convicted of First Degree Murder   

Giselle Esteban was convicted Monday of first-degree murder for the death of nursing student Michelle Le, her former friend and high school classmate, in May 2011.

Jurors deliberated for four and a half days before reaching their verdict against Esteban in a case in which prosecutor Butch Ford said she killed Le in the misguided belief that she was having a romantic relationship with Scott Marasigan, the father of Esteban's 6-year-old daughter, and was interfering with her relationship with Marasigan.

Le, a 26-year-old San Mateo resident who attended Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, disappeared from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward on May 27, 2011. Her body was found in a remote area between Pleasanton and Sunol about four months later.

In his closing argument in Esteban's trial, which began Oct. 1, Ford said Esteban, a 28-year-old Union City woman, had planned Le's murder for months and waited for Le in the hospital's parking lot for about four hours before attacking Le when she walked to her car during a break in her classes.

Esteban's lawyer, Andrea Auer, admitted to jurors that Esteban killed Le but said Esteban should only be convicted of voluntary manslaughter because Le had provoked her and she acted in the heat of passion.

Auer conceded that Esteban had sent dozens of threatening text messages and waited for Le in the Kaiser parking lot and there was some type of confrontation, but she said, "You don't know who started it, what was said and what happened."

However, Ford, who described Esteban as "a sociopath," said Le was "a completely innocent victim in this case" and didn't do anything to provoke Esteban. Esteban, who was dressed in a long-sleeved white shirt and black pants, looked straight ahead and didn't appear to show any emotion when the jury's verdict was announced Monday.

Le's father, Son Le, said afterward, "I know Michelle will rest in peace now that justice has been done. Michelle loved everybody and this is just so sad." Le's brother, Michael Le, said, "I feel a tremendous burden has been lifted by the jury's verdict." Le's cousin, Kristine Dinh, said Le should be remembered for "being so selfless and loving and always helping others."

 

Following 4-Game Sweep, Fans Welcome World Champs Home 

The San Francisco Giants arrived at their home park in San Francisco Monday afternoon to a crowd of hundreds of fans thrilled by their completion of a sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series Sunday.

The Giants players were in the first of six buses arriving at AT&T Park at 4:40 p.m. along with their families, staff, and the team's management.

The fans lined up along Second Street erupted in cheers as the buses turned in to the alleyway and some fans even climbed the gates at the park to try and get a closer look at the players. After getting off the bus, series MVP Pablo Sandoval grabbed the World Series trophy and ran back down the alley parading the trophy in front of the fans.

Sandoval then passed the trophy off to relief pitcher Sergio Romo, who pitched the final outs of Sunday's 10-inning 4-3 victory over the Tigers. Romo followed suit, displaying the trophy proudly to the throngs of supporters.

Outfielder Hunter Pence and starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong also came out to greet the fans with high-fives and handshakes. General Manager Brian Sabean also walked down the alleyway with his family to cheers from the crowd.

Many fans waited at the park for hours Monday for the Giants to return home.

Daniel Mezquito, 22, of Concord even stayed overnight.

Mezquito said Monday afternoon that after leaving work at about 9 p.m. Sunday night, just after ballgame ended, he headed straight to the ballpark and had been there ever since.

Initially, he thought the Giants would be back at 3 or 4 a.m., but when he found out that they weren't going to be back that night, he decided to just stay rather than go home to Concord. Mezquito used to work at AT&T Park as a peanut vendor, he said, and his grandmother and grandfather currently work at the ballpark. As he waited for the team to arrive Monday afternoon, Mezquito was dressed in a 2012 World Series Championship T-shirt and hat, and was holding a watercolor painting of Sandoval and Romo and hoped to have it signed.

"It was emotional for me, it's my passion," he said. "Seeing that (the Giants win a World Series) brings pride to me."

Laurina Marcic, 27, of San Francisco also arrived late last night, but did not stay the night and instead came back at about 10:30 a.m. Monday. Marcic waited for the team Monday afternoon holding a sign that said, "25 guys, one common goal, mission accomplished."

Of Sunday's final out, a strikeout of Tigers heavy-hitter Miguel Cabrera, Marcic said Monday, "It was stressing me out. It definitely wasn't going to be a World Series without some torture."

 

Bay Area Red Cross Volunteers Join Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts 

Seven local members of the American Red Cross have been sent to the East Coast to help in the relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, with more on standby and others taking donations here to help with hurricane relief, Red Cross officials said.

Staff and volunteers from the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and Santa Cruz chapters of the Red Cross have been sent out to the East Coast but many more are waiting for flights to be allowed into the area, Red Cross spokesperson Pooja Prizeei said. Virginia Hart, a staff member with the Bay Area chapter, flew out to Delaware on Saturday and said the people in the shelters have been in high spirits, and that some were with their pets.

"A woman I met yesterday brought her puppy in with her," Hart said. "That was one of the lessons learned after Katrina. People didn't want to leave their pets behind." The Red Cross has been working with the SPCA and local animal shelters to help keep the animals safe during the storm.

The organization has set up 112 shelters in nine states expected to be impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and 230,000 ready-to-eat meals will be delivered once the storm has passed, Hart said.

More than 3,000 people spent the night in a shelter in Dewes, Del., on Sunday night and Hart expects the numbers to climb in the next couple of days.

Many Red Cross workers remain in standby mode, waiting for the storm to pass so they can step in to help afterward, she said. Meanwhile, the Red Cross is conducting blood drives in unaffected states as any blood donation services in Hurricane Sandy's path have been halted by preparations for the storm.

The Red Cross said that 100 blood drive cancellations in 11 East Coast states have resulted in a shortfall of 3,200 blood and platelet donations already.

All blood types are needed, officials said, but especially types O-positive, O-negative, A-negative and B-negative blood.

Upcoming Bay Area blood drives include on Oct. 30 at BrightSource Energy, 1999 Harrison St., Oakland; on Oct. 31 at West Valley College, 14000 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga; on Nov. 1 at the Oakland State Building, 1515 Clay St., Oakland; on Nov. 1 at the California College of the Arts, 5212 Broadway, Oakland; and on Nov. 1 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 220 Elk St., Santa Cruz. 

 

Federal Agents Crack Down After Surge in Counterfeit SF Giants Merchandise

Federal agents in the past week confiscated about 1,200 counterfeit San Francisco Giants T-shirts being sold by illegal street vendors trying to take advantage of the team's World Series run, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials said Monday.

The shirts, which celebrated the Giants' victory in the National League Championship Series, were taken by plainclothes agents who encountered vendors outside AT&T Park and elsewhere in the city, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Anthony Ho said.

Ho said the shirts, which were sold for $20 each, are identifiable as counterfeits because of their poor quality and lack of hologram stickers placed by legitimate manufacturers. Agents also confiscated 109 baseball hats and 69 knit caps, he said.

The announcement of the seizure is part of an effort by the Department of Homeland Security to educate people about the importance of avoiding buying counterfeit products.

"I think the fans are enthused, and I think that's a good thing, but they don't really understand why these things are bad to buy," he said.

Ho said some of the money for the shirts has been tracked back to people with gang ties in Los Angeles. No arrests have been made in connection with the seizures but Ho said investigators are anticipating even more counterfeit shirts after the Giants clinched the World Series over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday night. "The message to vendors is you're out, and we're not even going to give you three strikes," he said.

 

San Jose Students Ask Chamber Head to Live at Minimum Wage; Demand Increase  

Student advocates for a measure to raise the minimum wage in San Jose on Monday asked the head of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce to pay his bills with what employees get for working full time for a week at $8 an hour.

Two college students entered the chamber's main office in downtown San Jose to deliver a letter to Matt Mahood, chamber president and chief executive officer, urging him to use $320 -- earnings from the city's $8 an hour minimum for a 40-hour week -- to meet his weekly personal expenses.

"It's up for them to walk in our shoes," said Elise St. Laurent, sociology major at San Jose State University and president of the Campus Alliance for Economic Justice, which is campaigning for passage of Measure D, to increase the city's legal minimum wage from $8 to $10 an hour.

St. Laurent said that earnings at her minimum wage job do not meet her rent, gas, grocery and other expenses for her and her family, and so she has had to seek public assistance to make ends meet. "A lot of those people taking those jobs -- we are still living in poverty," St. Laurent said.

The $80 a week increase for full-time workers at $10 an hour would go a long way to help the working class poor to pay for necessities, said Brooke Wayne, treasurer of the alliance who helped draft the letter to Mahood.

"That's gas, that's bus fare, that's pairs of shoes, that's a textbook for a college student," Wayne said. "And, they shop locally, so they put it back into the economy."

Hal Silliman, a spokesman for Mahood, could not be reached to comment on the president's reaction to the letter.

The chamber opposed Measure D, which is on the Nov. 6 general election ballot for city residents.

On Oct. 8, the chamber released a research report claiming that if the measure passes, businesses could lose from $88 million to $96 million and lay off 900 to 3,100 workers, with small business and non-profits hurt the most.

Among the opponents of Measure D is San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who complains that it would cost the city $600,000 a year to enforce. Those who endorse the measure, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome and San Jose City Council Members Ash Kaira, Kansen Chu and Xavier Campos, argue that $8 an hour, or $1,380 a month full time, is too low for people to survive in a city where rents average $1,800 per month.

 

Cal Fire Chief Van Wormer Dead After Sudden Collapse    

A battalion chief and 24-year veteran of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection died on Saturday after losing consciousness during an investigation in Santa Cruz County, a state official said Monday.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Rob Van Wormer was pronounced dead at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz at 8 p.m. Saturday, about an hour after he lost consciousness, Cal Fire spokeswoman Angela Bernheisel said.

Van Wormer was stricken while working on an investigation in Santa Cruz County and died despite numerous attempts to revive him, Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire, said in a statement.

"This is a huge loss for Rob's family, his many friends, his Cal Fire family and the fire service as a whole," Pimlott said.

In honor of his passing, flags will be flown at half-staff and Cal Fire personnel will cover their badges in black shrouds until his memorial service, which is still being planned, Bernheisel said.

Van Wormer's brother, Kirk, is a Cal Fire battalion chief for Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties, Bernheisel said. Gov. Jerry Brown Monday expressed sadness at the chief's passing, and ordered flags at the Capitol in Sacramento flown at half-staff. "We extend our deepest condolences to Rob's family, friends and everyone at Cal Fire during this difficult time," Brown said.

 

Oakland Man Given Voluntary Manslaughter for 2010 Shooting

An Oakland man has been convicted of voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting an Antioch man in a scuffle near a taco truck in East Oakland two years ago.

The jury's verdict against 36-year-old Theodore Walter Jones last Wednesday for the death of 23-year-old Dmario Anderson after two days of deliberations represents a compromise between the positions of prosecutor Mas Morimoto, who said Jones could be convicted of first-degree murder, and defense attorney Lauren Williams, who said he should be acquitted.

Morimoto said Monday that the confrontation between the two men began shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2010, when Jones drunkenly bumped into Anderson and his friends as they were placing their order at a taco truck on 44th Avenue and International Boulevard.

He said the accidental encounter led to a confrontation between the two groups that quickly escalated from dirty looks to punches. When Anderson drew a pistol from his waistband, Morimoto said, Jones restrained him in a bear hug but was shot in his leg when the gun discharged. Jones pried the weapon from Anderson, who turned and ran briefly before reaching for his waistband a second time, according to the prosecutor.

Believing that Anderson had another gun, Jones fired six shots, two of which struck Anderson and knocked him to the ground, Morimoto said. While Anderson was down, Jones walked up to him and shot him in the head, according to Morimoto. Anderson was pronounced dead at the scene.

One of Jones' friends drove him to a hospital in Tracy, where he was treated for the gunshot wound. Oakland police found him there and arrested him. Police investigators found a second gun under Anderson's body, but ballistics tests determined that it hadn't been fired at the scene, Morimoto said.

The prosecutor told jurors in his closing argument that they should convict Jones of at least voluntary manslaughter but could also convict him of first- or second-degree murder if they agreed with additional facts in the case.

Morimoto said he believes a murder conviction would have been justified because there was a four-second pause between the first six shots that Jones fired at Anderson and the last shot that hit Anderson in the head. "That was enough time to premeditate and deliberate," Morimoto said.

But Williams told jurors that Jones should be found not guilty of all charges because she believes he acted in self-defense. Jones was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in addition to voluntary manslaughter.

Jones faces up to 11 years in state prison for his manslaughter conviction but that term could be doubled if the same jury finds at a separate phase of the case today that he has a prior juvenile conviction for a violent crime.

 

State Court Ruling: Trial Judges Can Ban Use of Medicinal Marijuana for Those Serving Probation  

A state appeals court ruled in San Francisco Monday that trial judges can ban the use of medical marijuana in some cases as a condition of probation for people convicted of possessing the drug for sale.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld a sentence in which Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Leslie Landau last year prohibited Daniel Leal, 28, of Antioch, from using medical marijuana during his three years of probation.

Leal was sentenced to the probation term as well as to nine months in county jail after being convicted of possessing marijuana for sale in two incidents in Antioch in 2008 and 2009 and carrying a concealed, loaded gun in the first incident.

Leal, who has completed his jail sentence, appealed the probation condition barring him from using medical marijuana. He argued the ban violated his right to use the substance under the state's voter-approved Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which allows patients with a doctor's approval to use marijuana for medical purposes.

Leal, who had approval for marijuana treatment for high blood pressure, contended the probation condition wasn't related to his crimes and that there could have been a way to limit his use of medical marijuana without prohibiting it entirely.

But Justice Anthony Kline, writing for the appeals panel, said the ban on use of the substance was justified by "abundant evidence of need to rehabilitate Leal and protect the public."

"Leal used Compassionate Use Act authorization as a front for illegal sales of marijuana, sales partly carried out with a loaded semiautomatic handgun in a public park occupied by mothers and their young children," Kline wrote.

In the incident on Feb. 29, 2008, Leal threw a loaded handgun into the bushes of Gentrytown Park in Antioch after officers pursued him there. Police found in his pockets 12 plastic sandwich bags containing small amounts of marijuana, a scale and a cell phone that appeared to contain coded marijuana sales messages.

A woman who was in the park at the time testified that he had been "skulking around the bathroom area" and that the encounter with police made her fear for her children's safety. Leal was convicted by a jury of possession of marijuana for sale, three firearms charges and resisting an officer in that incident.

In the second incident, he pleaded no contest to a charge of possessing marijuana for sale after police found him to be carrying four small bags of marijuana, $965 in cash and a cell phone with buyer messages at a hydroponics supply store on Oct. 14, 2009.

 

Tuesday Morning Weather Report

Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the mid 60s. Cloudy skies are expected this evening. Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s. Mostly cloudy skies are likely Wednesday morning. Highs are expected to be in the lower 60s.

 

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