Firefighters Battled Vegetation Fire Near Hwy 101 And Petaluma River

Firefighters battled a grass and brush fire that burned on both sides of Petaluma River near U.S. Highway 101 in Petaluma on Tuesday afternoon, a battalion chief said.

Firefighters responded to reports of a vegetation fire on a field between Cinnabar Road and Highway 101 around 4:30 p.m., Petaluma fire Battalion Chief Russ Rasmussen said.

Arriving fire crews found the fire covered from one-fourth to a half-acre of land between Cinnabar Road and the west side of the river, Rasmussen said.

The fire had also burned an acre on the east side of the river by the freeway, he said.

Firefighters’ equipment blocked southbound lanes of Highway 101 near East Washington Street and resulted in traffic during the evening commute, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Crews made entry to the fire through the end of Graylawn Avenue and from the freeway to bring the blaze under control, according to Rasmussen.

Fire crews cleared the scene at about 7:20 p.m.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and Rasmussen said there is a homeless encampment in the area.

Crews from Cal Fire and Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District also responded to the blaze, Rasmussen said.

No structures were threatened by the fire, he said.

Richmond Woman Sentenced For Role In Killing Of Brother-In-Law

A Richmond woman was sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday for her role in the 2012 fatal shooting of her brother-in-law after a family dispute in a Taco Bell parking lot.

The sentencing hearing for 33-year-old Erika Carrillo in a Martinez courtroom Tuesday afternoon came more than two years after her husband, Ismael Luis Carrillo, shot and killed 38-year-old Javier Campos in Richmond.

Carrillo pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and an enhancement for vicarious use of a firearm after reaching a plea agreement with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

Her husband also took a plea deal and was sentenced earlier this month to 24 years in prison after pleading to voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder as well as gun enhancements.

Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox said the shooting arose from a fight that started the day prior to Campos’s killing.

Ismael Carrillo, known by his middle name “Luis,” and Erika Carrillo had gotten into a violent fight and Carrillo exchanged a series of angry messages with his sister, Campos’s longtime domestic partner, asking if she knew where his wife was.

The spat also included a disagreement over a video game, according to Knox.

Campos told Carrillo he didn’t want to get involved in the sibling dispute, but later agreed to accompany his girlfriend to meet with her brother and his wife in the parking lot of a Taco Bell on Barrett Avenue and 23rd Street.

The encounter quickly led to an argument and Luis Carrillo pulled a handgun from his waistband, with Erika Carrillo shouting, “Shoot him!” according to Knox.

Carrillo shot Campos once, killing him. He then turned the gun on his sister but didn’t pull the trigger, and he and his wife fled the scene.

Police arrested the couple the same day.

City To Upgrade 12 Buses Thanks To Federal Grant

San Francisco will add 12 new buses to its transportation fleet by next spring, thanks to a $9 million grant from the federal government.

The funding will pay for new 60-foot-long buses, the longest that Muni operates, to replace 40-foot buses on the 38-Geary, 14L-Mission Limited, 9-San Bruno and 8X-Bayshore Express lines, according to Kristen Holland, public relations officer with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

“Transportation is a key to success for everyone in this city,” Mayor Ed Lee said, speaking from a podium above the 24th Street Mission BART station Tuesday afternoon as the street bustled with buses, cars and pedestrians behind him.

The money comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s Ladders of Opportunity Initiative, a $100 million fund to support transportation improvements that will allow residents to access economic opportunities and climb into the middle class, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“In too many corners of America, the connections people need to the growing economy are limited,” Foxx said. “If someone depends on the public transit to get to a job, and they miss the bus because it’s too crowded, that may be an opportunity lost.”

With Muni ridership at an all-time high at close to 750,000 people a day, and the city only growing, investing in transit is crucial, Lee said.

“Transportation in San Francisco is the big equalizer,” Lee said.

“On the same bus, there will be a CEO or some Nobel Laureate going to Mission Bay and a restaurant worker or a hotel worker.”

The new buses will be added to large, cross-town routes and routes that connect to BART, Holland said.

“We serve a disproportionate number of low income folks who rely on MUNI,” SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said. “They are impacted by the size and quality of our fleet.

Brown Signs Law Requiring Negotiations For Public Access To Martins Beach

A movement to reopen a popular surfing beach in San Mateo County was given a boost Tuesday when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law requiring the State Lands Commission to negotiate with Martins Beach owner Vinod Khosla to acquire a public access route.

The measure, authored by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, instructs the commission to negotiate with the owner for one year for a public right-of-way or easement.

If no agreement is reached after one year, the law says, the commission “may,” but is not required to, use its existing powers of eminent domain to take over and pay for land for a right-of-way.

The beach, about 5 miles south of Half Moon Bay, has been popular with both surfers and the general public. It was closed to the public in 2010 by Khosla, a venture capitalist and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, who bought the property in 2008 for $37.5 million.

Khosla allowed public access for about two years, but in September 2010 permanently closed a gate on the only road that leads from state Highway 1 to the beach and hired security guards to keep people off the property.

The previous owners had permitted daytime access for much of the year for several decades in exchange for a parking fee ranging from 25 cents to $10.

The law is one of several strategies by access supporters to reopen the beach. Two other initiatives are a pair of lawsuits filed in San Mateo County Superior Court by citizens’ groups.

In a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation, Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach ruled last week that two companies created by Khosla to manage the property must obtain a development permit from the California Coastal Commission before altering public access. She also said Khosla must reopen the beach for the time being.

But an earlier lawsuit filed by a group called Friends of Martins Beach, Superior Court Judge Gerald Buchwald ruled last year Khosla had a private property right established by a Mexican land grant dating back to 1838.

Buchwald said the land-grant right predates and therefore pre-empts a state constitutional provision that requires public access to the frontage shoreline of navigable waters. Friends of Martins Beach is appealing that ruling.

Buchwald said, however, that his decision did not restrict the state’s constitutional right to buy coastal property through eminent domain, or the California Coastal Commission’s right to make real estate development permits subject to a public access requirement.

Lawyers for Khosla’s two Martins Beach management companies were not available for comment on the new law Tuesday.

Last week, following Mallach’s ruling, the companies issued a statement saying they were “considering our options for appealing.”

Marin County Family Violence Prevention Workshop Wednesday

Marin County law enforcement and health agencies are holding a public workshop today on family violence prevention.

The workshop at the Four Points by Sheraton San Rafael hotel will focus on strategies to enforce zero tolerance and end the abuse.

Domestic violence has not only made sports headlines recently but it is the most common of all violent crimes in Marin County, Marin County’s public information officer Brent Ainsworth said.

Between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014, 835 incidents, or about 2.3 a day, were referred to the Marin County District Attorney’s Office by local law enforcement agencies, Ainsworth said.

The actual number of incidents is likely larger because most domestic violence crimes are not reported to law enforcement, Ainsworth said.

Participants in the summit include the Marin County offices of the District Attorney, Public Defender, Probation, Sheriff and Health and Human Services. Kaiser Permanente and the Center for Domestic Peace also will participate.

The Marin County Probation Department was tasked in 2013 with forming a group of local agencies to address all aspects of family violence, Ainsworth said.

“We have worked to understand the role each of us plays in making Marin County a safer place,” Chief Probation Officer Michael Daly said.

Daly said he wants to prevent an increase in domestic violence crimes particularly those involving the county’s elderly residents.

Jeffrey Edleson, Dean and Professor of the School of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley will give the keynote presentation. The summit will include personal testimonies, an overview of domestic violence in Marin County and four breakout discussion sessions.

The summit is from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is open to all for a $25 registration fee. Registration is available online or by calling the

Probation Department at (415) 473-6599.

Supervisor Chiu Introduces Ordinance To Provide Chain Store Employees With Predictable Schedules

A new city ordinance introduced to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday could provide part-time hourly employees working at chain stores in San Francisco with more predictable schedules and incomes.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu announced the legislation Tuesday saying that the ordinance, if enacted, would be the first in the country to require predictable schedules and provide compensation to part-time workers for last-minute schedule changes made by employers.

The legislation is the second part to the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance that passed last year allowing employees to request flexible or predictable working arrangements in order to assist with caregiving responsibilities, according to the city’s Department of Human Resources.

Chiu said the issue of predictable schedules didn’t make it into the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance but said that over the last year a Predictable Scheduling Task Force representing laborers, working families, and employers convened to specifically address the topic.

Chiu said the working group found that “unpredictable schedules and last-minute on-call practices threaten economic security” as well as create work-family conflicts and undermine workers’ well-being.

Chiu said chain stores, defined as employers with 20 or more employees and with at least 11 locations nationwide, have the ability to provide schedules with greater predictability to their employees, but don’t have incentive to do so.

If enacted, the ordinance would require about 1,250 establishments in the city, which make up about 5 percent of the city’s workforce, to provide their workers with schedules two weeks in advance. The employers would also be required to issue predictable pay to workers for any last-minute schedule changes.

Additionally, the ordinance would require large employers to provide part-time workers with equal access to promotions, pay and time-off as full-time employees receive.

The ordinance would impact over 35,000 employees in San Francisco, Chiu said.

According to the city’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, aside from state and federal labor laws, there are only two citywide labor laws that must be followed by all employers in San Francisco: the Minimum Wage Ordinance and the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.

In addition to the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, two citywide labor laws apply to all employers with 20 or more employees: the Health Care Security Ordinance, which requires employers to spend a minimum amount on health care for employees, and the Fair Chance Ordinance, requiring employers to review an individual’s qualifications before inquiring about their arrest and conviction records.

Men Charged With 7 Counts Of Arson For Alameda Fires Sunday

Two arson suspects appeared in an Oakland courtroom Tuesday afternoon accused of setting seven different fires that caused $3 million in damage to Alameda homes and businesses early Sunday morning.

Dozens of supporters packed the courtroom for one of the suspects, 27-year-old Stephen Petersen of Alameda, an animal rights activist and musician who is charged with three of the seven counts of arson. Judge Gregory Syren set his bail at $375,000.

The other suspect was identified as 22-year-old Andrew Gutierrez, a transient, who is accused of setting four of the fires. His bail was set at $620,000.

Both defendants remained in custody and were ordered to return to court this morning.

Petersen was arrested outside a detached garage fire at 2103 San Jose Ave., according to court documents filed by Alameda police Officer Michael Tangataevaha.

He fit the description of a suspect spotted at the scene of two earlier fires and was identified by a witness, Tangataevaha said.

One of the fires he’s accused of setting was a house fire at 1016 Walnut St. that was reported at 2:22 a.m.

The fire caused $300,000 in damage, including damage to a neighboring home, and it took until about 3:14 a.m. for firefighters to get it under control.

He is also accused of setting a garbage container on fire at 1336 Regent St. at about 1 a.m.

Gutierrez is accused of starting the largest of the arson fires that morning, at 1617 Park St., where five businesses and multiple vehicles were found burning when firefighters arrived shortly after 4 a.m., according to the fire department.

The fire caused $2.6 million in damage.

Gutierrez was arrested nearby in the 1500 block of Oak Street just before 5 a.m., Alameda police Officer Brian Clark wrote in a probable cause statement.

He also matched a description provided by a witness and was spotted on video setting fire to a dumpster at 2326 Times Way just before his arrest, Clark said.

Gutierrez is also accused of setting fire to a garbage container at 2260 Encinal St. and a home at 1188 Regent St. that was found burning at 1:39 a.m.

Firefighters controlled that house fire by about 2 a.m. but not before it caused $100,000 in damage to the rear of the house, including damage to one room and the attic, prosecutors said.

Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore wrote a letter to District Attorney Nancy O’Malley asking her to seek the maximum punishment allowed under the law if the two men are convicted.

A total of four people were injured in two separate collisions involving San Francisco Municipal Railway vehicles that was reported within minutes of each other in San Francisco on Tuesday evening, a Muni spokesman said.

The first collision happened at Martin Luther King Jr. and Music Concourse drives at 5:29 p.m., Muni spokesman Paul Rose.

A Muni bus and tour bus had collided into each other and two people suffered minor injuries, a fire department spokeswoman said.

The bus operator was transported to a hospital for a back injury, Rose said.

The spokeswoman did not have further details on the second injury.

The second collision was reported at 5:34 p.m. when a car apparently made a left turn in front of a Muni light-rail vehicle at Mission Bay Boulevard and Third Street, Rose said.

Three people were transported to a hospital and Rose did not know the severity of their injuries.

The collision resulted in southbound T-Third trains to switch back at Third and Channel streets and a bus shuttle was set up for passengers but service has since been restored to normal, according to Muni officials.

Four People Injured In Two Separate Collisions Involving Muni Vehicles

The family of a 35-year-old woman who was run over and killed by a city employee driving on the grass in San Francisco’s Holly Park last September has been issued a settlement by the city of $15.1 million.

Vegar and Isa Svanemyr, the husband and toddler of Christine “Christy” Svanemyr, will receive the settlement as a result of a claim filed in November 2013.

The settlement was approved by the city’s Recreation and Park Commission in July and adopted by the city’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The funds will be paid to the family in three installments.

On the afternoon of Sept. 5, 2013, Christine Svanemyr had been lying on the grass with her daughter and family dog when a Recreation and Park Department truck driven by Thomas Burnoski, 58, went off the path and fatally struck her.

The claim that ultimately resulted in the settlement, alleges that Burnoski initially fled the scene and did not help or call for assistance.

Burnoski was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run. He is out of custody with strict driving restrictions and pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges on Oct. 23, 2013, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Matt Dorsey, a spokesman with the City Attorney’s Office said he hoped the settlement “offers a measure of justice and closure to the victim’s family” and allows the family to avoid “the added costs and heartache of a lawsuit.”

In the wake of Christine Svanemyr’s death, the Rec and Park Department modified its driving policies, including the implementation of a 5 mph speed limit within parks, an increase in use of headlights and other lighting on vehicles, and a reminder to use spotters with vehicles, and if driving solo, plotting out the intended path of travel and advising park patrons.

Rec and Park Department issued a department-wide memo outlining those changes.

Burnoski is no longer employed by the Rec and Park Department.

Christine Svanemyr was ordained as a Zen monk and served as the director of development for New Ventures West, a group of therapeutic practitioners.

Governor Signs ‘Audrie’s Law’ Toughening Juvenile Sex Crime Statutes

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation known as Audrie’s Law reforming juvenile sex crime laws and named after 15-year-old sexual assault victim Audrie Pott, according to a state senator’s spokesman.

The governor’s approval enacts Senate Bill 838, sponsored by State Sen. Jim Beall, D-Campbell, and its language shaped by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, Beall’s spokesman Rodney Foo said.

The law, which had been amended in the Assembly before being passed by the State Legislature in Sacramento and sent to the governor on Aug. 28, was drafted in the memory of Audrie, who hanged herself days after three teen boys sexually assaulted her at a party in Saratoga in 2012.

The boys assaulted her as she lay unconscious from drinking alcohol, then took photos of her partly nude body and distributed them electronically to some students at Saratoga High School where they and Audrie went to school, which humiliated her among her classmates, Foo said.

The three boys were tried in closed juvenile court proceedings in San Jose and sentenced to terms of from 30 to 45 days in juvenile hall for sexual assault, according to Foo.

The new law would give judges the option to allow the public to view proceedings of juveniles being prosecuted on sexual assault charges involving victims who were unconscious or developmentally disabled.

Another provision of the new statute requires that minors convicted of sexual assault on an unconscious or developmentally disabled victim must complete sex offender treatment programs available in their county of residence, Foo said.

Further, the law requires that juveniles convicted of rape, sodomy or oral copulation may no longer have the option of paying a fine or completing community service or a treatment program to get their charges dismissed, according to the spokesman.

Judge Dismisses Charges Against Two Brothers In 1989 Cold Case Murder, Lawyer Blasts D.A.

A judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Tuesday dismissed murder charges against two brothers in a 1989 cold case murder at the request of the district attorney’s office due to an affair by a prosecutor with a lab technician.

Judge Thang Barrett granted a motion by prosecutors to toss their case against David Zimmer, 67, and Robert Zimmer, 70, in the strangulation death of Cathy Zimmer, whose body was found wrapped in a quilt in her car parked at San Jose International Airport on March 10, 1989.

Robert Zimmer, who had been in the county’s Main Jail since his arraignment last February, arrived in court in jail clothing, a long gray beard and gray hair and sat next to Nicole Alvarado, a lawyer filling in for his defense attorney Stephen Defilippis.

Barrett ordered Robert Zimmer released from jail and all pending court hearings for the case vacated. David Zimmer, Cathy’s ex-husband who was in jail from March to May, was not at the brief hearing at the Hall of Justice but was represented by his defense counsel Michael Cardoza.

The Zimmer case had been one of the major homicide cases brought by District Attorney Jeff Rosen’s office this year, one in which Rosen’s cold case office announced in early February it has reopened after a quarter century.

The office released to the news media color photos of the unique, homemade patchwork quilt that 38-year-old Cathy Zimmer was wrapped in, hoping that the news might attract leads for her unsolved case.

Robert Zimmer was arrested soon afterwards and on Feb. 27 arraigned on charges of murdering Cathy Zimmer, based on purported DNA evidence.

Prosecutors then had David Zimmer arraigned on March 10, the 25th
anniversary of the discovery of Cathy’s body by San Jose police.
But in August, Rosen assigned a new prosecutor after Deputy District Attorney Ted Kajani, the prosecutor in the Zimmer case, confessed he had a sexual affair with Amanda Cardenas, the DNA analyst and courtroom witness for the murder case who worked at the county’s Laboratory of Criminalistics.

The case against Robert Zimmer rested mainly on the claim that DNA testing by Cardenas at the county lab located some of his DNA on the button and zipper of the pants Cathy Zimmer was wearing when her body was found.

The proceedings against David Zimmer did not involve DNA and was more circumstantial, including the suggestion he had a motive to kill his estranged wife because he collected about $400,000 in life insurance claims, profited from selling their home in San Jose and had a relationship with another woman at the time of her death.

Assistant District Attorney Marc Buller said that the office would re-evaluate the evidence in the Zimmer case, which involved murder charges from a grand jury indictment against Robert Zimmer based in part on DNA evidence this year and charges from on a separate preliminary hearing before a judge for David Zimmer.

The district attorney’s office is re-evaluating its case against the Zimmers both in light of Kajani’s affair and because he failed to properly provide evidence to the defense, according to Buller.

After the hearing, Cardoza blasted Kajani for bringing a case against David Zimmer that he said lacked credible evidence and even the judge in David Zimmer’s preliminary hearing had remarked was “rather thin.”

The lawyer said that he had only about three weeks ago learned of a box full of police and lab reports and other evidence that prosecutors had not shown to him, some of it “exculpatory” indicating his client was innocent.

The attorney claimed that prosecutors did not find “spit” from 600 hours of wiretaps of phone conversations between the Zimmer brothers and claimed Cardenas used the same swab to try to extract DNA from the zipper and button on Cathy’s pants instead of separate swabs, thus possibly causing DNA there to be transferred.

Cardoza also said that the prosecution made it appear as though David Zimmer had recommended that San Jose police look for Cathy’s car at the airport when an old police report revealed that a different family member had made that suggestion.

Police Arrest Assault Suspect Who Barricaded Himself Inside Apartment

San Jose police on Tuesday arrested a male suspect on suspicion of assaulting two people after he barricaded himself in an apartment and prompted officers to evacuate some nearby residents, police said.

At about 4:01 p.m., police responded to the area of 18 S. 19th St. on a report of a male who brandished a knife, assaulted the two victims and entered the apartment, according to police Officer Albert Morales.

Police evacuated some apartment dwellers and made multiple attempts to convince the suspect to surrender and exit the residence, Morales said.

The suspect, who appeared to be by himself, at first refused to leave the apartment but was finally taken into custody more than an hour later and residents were allowed back into their units, Morales said

The two victims suffered injuries not considered life-threatening, police said.

Police Arrest Assault Suspect Who Barricaded Himself Inside Apartment

A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Tuesday upheld a pioneering Alameda County law that requires prescription drug makers to pay for programs to dispose of expired and unused drugs.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the law is not an unconstitutional obstacle to interstate commerce.

Judge N. Randy Smith wrote that manufacturers challenging the law “provide no evidence that the ordinance will interrupt, or even decrease, the flow of goods into or out of Alameda (County).”

“Without any evidence that the ordinance will affect the interstate flow of goods, we cannot say that the ordinance substantially burdens interstate commerce,” Smith wrote for the court.

The take-back law was enacted by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 2012 and was the first of its kind in the nation.

It requires manufacturers whose drugs are sold in the county to pay for disposal bins where unused medications can be thrown away and later destroyed in medical waste facilities. The program must also include public education.

The law applies to all manufacturers who sell drugs in the county, whether or not they have a local office or factory. The county has estimated that local annual drug sales total $965 million.

The purpose of the law is to protect children and elderly people from accidental ingestion of unused pills and prevent water contamination from drugs that are flushed away or placed in landfills.

The decision could be appealed further to an 11-judge panel of the appeals court or to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are reviewing our legal options and will decide our next steps in consultation with our companies and co-plaintiffs,” said Mit Spears, the general counsel of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA.

The plaintiffs in the case were PhRMA, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, all based in Washington, D.C.

The groups’ lawsuit alleged the law intruded on Congress’s constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce in three ways: by discriminating against out-of-state manufacturers, by controlling interstate commerce and by placing a burden on such commerce.

But the appeals court said the law does not discriminate because “it treats all private companies exactly the same,” whether their places of business are inside or outside the county.

The county contended the program had a minimal effect on interstate commerce when balanced against its benefits to public health, safety and the environment.

The county estimated the startup costs of the program are $1.1 million and annual operating costs are $530,000. The manufacturers estimate the annual costs are $1.2 million.

City Rolling Out Municipal Id-Debit Cards

A small piece of plastic can make a big difference in the lives of marginalized community members.

With that in mind, Richmond city leaders on Tuesday announced the launch of a program to give hybrid debit-ID cards to city residents who lack a valid form of ID or a bank account.

The Richmond City ID card program, modeled after programs in Oakland and New Haven, Connecticut, aims to knock down the barriers faced by the homeless, immigrants, seniors and those re-entering the community after being incarcerated due to their lack of a valid ID or access to banking services.

“We want to make sure that no resident in our city goes without the banking accounts, the leases, the library cards that make every day possible, simply because they lack identification,” Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said during a reception at the Grace Lutheran Church on Barrett Avenue on Tuesday morning.

The MasterCard debit-credit cards also serve as valid identification and include personal identification information and a photo.

Cardholders can load cash onto the cards at Western Union stores and can set up direct deposit with their employers using the cards.

City officials on Tuesday said the city IDs should add a layer of protection that those without a valid ID or bank account now lack, since they are often forced to keep cash in their homes or on their person, making them more vulnerable to robberies.

Data from similar municipal ID card programs in Oakland and New Haven show that cardholders are more likely to report crimes, according to Paule Cruz Takash of SF Global, LLC, the vendor company for the cards.

Cruz Takash and SF Global CEO Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda formed the company as a way to produce city debit-ID cards after years of research at the University of California at Los Angeles’s North American Integration and Development Center.

According to SF Global, the fees associated with its debit-ID cards are much lower than most.

At Tuesday’s reception in Richmond, Hinojosa-Ojeda credited the Richmond community members and city leaders who pushed to bring the ID card program to their city, a process that city officials say began six years ago.

The first cards will be issued starting on 0ct. 15 and cost $15 for adults and $10 for seniors, according to city officials.

Richmond residents can apply for the card at an SF Global office set up at Grace Lutheran Church at 2369 Barrett Ave.

Interested residents can log onto for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Tests Confirm That Most Rods On Bay Bridge Eastern Span Are Safe

Metropolitan Transportation Commission chairman Steve Heminger said Tuesday that he is pleased that final tests confirm that most of the steel rods on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge are safe and don’t need to be replaced.

But Heminger expressed concern that a 2011 investigation that found problems with some of the rods, which secure earthquake shock absorbers to the deck of the eastern span, wasn’t brought to his attention or made public until recently.

In March 2013, about one-third of the initial batch of 96 bolts that were installed in 2008 failed when they were tightened.

However, Caltrans figured out a temporary solution that allowed the new eastern span to open on schedule on Labor Day in 2013 and crews completed a permanent fix in December.

Referring to the 2011 investigation that identified problems with some of the rods, Heminger said, “This strikes me as a pretty big fish that got away” because it might have been possible to fix the problem quicker and less expensively if more people had been told about it right away.

Speaking at a meeting Tuesday of the MTC’s Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee, which oversees Bay Bridge construction, Heminger also said it’s “troubling” that the information wasn’t made available to the committee last year when it was looking into problems with the rods.

A final report on the rod issue that was released at the committee’s meeting Tuesday said that extensive tests of about 2,600 bolts on the new eastern span indicate that they are safe.

Brian Maroney, Caltrans’ chief engineer, said, “This report is great news because we don’t have to remove hundreds of rods.”

But Heminger and Caltrans officials spent part of the meeting addressing another issue that recently emerged with the new eastern span.

Engineers recently discovered that about three dozen of the 424 steel anchor rods at the base of the span’s tower had been sitting in potentially corrosive water although they were supposed to be kept dry.

Bill Casey, Caltran’s construction manager for the new eastern span, said the rods’ exposure to water could be a potential concern if there was long-term corrosion that was not addressed. He said the agency is addressing the issue by testing all of the anchor rods and using dehumidifiers to dry the rods that were exposed to water.

John Fisher, a structural engineer who is a member of the Toll Bridge Program’s seismic peer review panel, said he believes the leaks are mostly caused by rainwater, as opposed to bay water that may have gotten into the rods, so the problem should be easily fixable.

Man Found Dead In West Oakland On Sunday Identified

A man who was found dead next to a gas station in West Oakland on Sunday morning was identified by police Tuesday as 34-year-old Antilles Adams.

Oakland police said Adams’ cause of death hasn’t yet been determined but at this point they don’t believe it was a homicide.

Adams was found unresponsive in the 3400 block of San Pablo Avenue at about 7:15 a.m. Sunday and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Man Killed By Stray Bullet Saturday Night Identified

A man fatally shot in South San Jose on Saturday night has been identified as 24-year-old Richard Watkins, who was apparently struck by a stray bullet meant for his relative, police said Tuesday.

Watkins, a San Jose resident, died in a shooting reported around 9:20 p.m. Saturday in the 100 block of Azucar Avenue, according to San Jose police.

Investigators learned that Watkins’ relative came to visit him and his family. The relative was looking for a place to park on the street when a suspect confronted him and opened fire at his car, police said.

The relative avoided being struck by the gunfire but a stray bullet struck Watkins, who was standing in front of his home and waiting for his relative to park. Watkins was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

The suspect fled on foot and had not been found as of Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Investigators have not determined a motive in the case and said Watkins and his relative did nothing to provoke the shooting and are not part of any criminal street gangs.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact Detective Sgt. Davies or Detective Smith of the Police Department’s homicide unit at (408) 277-5283. People wishing to remain anonymous can also call a
Crime Stoppers tip line at (408) 947-7867.

Police Seek Suspect In Series Of Street Robberies

Santa Clara police are investigating a series of street robberies this month apparently targeting people of Indian descent, police said Tuesday.

The thief selects victims of Indian descent who have visible gold chains around their necks. The suspect either snatches the necklace and flees or brandishes a black handgun and demands the jewelry and a wallet, according to police.

The recent robberies have occurred near Bing Drive at Homestead Road, El Camino Real at Lawrence Expressway and Monroe Street at Los Padres Boulevard, police said.

The suspect in each robbery is described as a black man between 19 and 24 years old who is about 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, police said.

The Police Department is advising people to be cautious while wearing jewelry, especially gold necklaces, to be aware of their surroundings and go to a safe place if they feel unsafe.

Police said people should not fight back against a robber to avoid personal injury and should report any suspicious behavior to police in the area of the recent robberies.

Opponents Vow Repeal Of Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

California became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill prohibiting their use starting next year, the governor’s office announced Tuesday morning.

The ban takes effect for California pharmacies and grocery stores next July and will expand to convenience stores and liquor stores the following year, according to Brown.

“This bill is a step in the right direction — it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

But opponents have vowed to repeal the bill before it can take effect and are gathering signatures for a ballot initiative.

“If this law were allowed to go into effect it would jeopardize thousands of California manufacturing jobs, hurt the environment, and fleece consumers for billions so grocery store shareholders and their union partners can line their pocket,” the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a group of bag manufacturers, said in a statement Tuesday.

Over a third of California had already enacted a plastic bag ban — 127 local governments have passed similar legislation since 2007, including countywide bans San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Cruz counties and municipal bans in more than a dozen Bay Area cities, according to the statewide bill’s sponsor, Californians Against Waste.

“California policy makers spent a great deal of time debating the merits of this issue over the last several months,” Californians Against Waste executive director Mark Murray said.

The bill was introduced last year by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, and passed by the state Assembly and Senate last month.

The new law allows stores to use paper bags, but requires them to be made from recycled paper and stores must charge 10 cents a piece for them.

Stores may also sell reusable grocery bags or compostable bags for at least 10 cents each, but can only sell compostable bags if curbside pickup for compost is available.

The state will provide up to $2 million in loans from CalRecycle to assist businesses in adjusting to the new policies.

Padilla said in a statement Tuesday, “This new law will greatly reduce the flow of billions of single-use plastic bags that litter our communities and harm our environment each year.”

Proponents, including the California Grocers Association, hailed the bill’s passage Tuesday, but opponents gathering signatures for the ballot initiative say that their research shows a majority of Californians oppose the ban.

Two Arrested For Alleged Roles In Double Homicide

Two men have been arrested for their alleged roles in a double homicide in Richmond earlier this month, a police spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Robert Williams, 28, and 44-year-old suspected gang member Aaron Lee Allison, also known as “A1 Steak Sauce,” were taken into custody on suspicion of being accessories in the fatal shootings of 20-year-old Clarence Wallace and 23-year-old Dayton Dailey, Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

The two victims were shot around 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 20, near the intersection of Bissell Avenue and Fourth Street, according to police.

Williams surrendered police five days after the double killing and Allison turned himself in on Sunday, Abetkov said.

Abetkov said neither of the suspects is believed to have pulled the trigger in the killings but that “detectives know they were involved.”

Police are still working to confirm the identities of the shooter or shooters who killed Wallace and Dailey, she said.

Dailey died at the scene and Wallace went to Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center, where he died from his injuries a short time later.

The murders, Richmond’s 11th and 12th so far this year, happened in the same part of Bissell Avenue where suspects fired more than 40 rounds into an apartment building just two days earlier.

No injuries were reported in that shooting and police were unable to locate the suspects who fired the shots.