FRIDAY MORNING NEWS ROUNDUP
Giants Advance To Third World Series In Five Years
The San Francisco Giants advanced to the World Series Thursday following a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals capped off by a three-run game-winning home run in the ninth inning by left fielder Travis Ishikawa.
The Giants won the National League Championship Series 4-games-to-1 and will face the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, San Francisco’s third in five years.
The Giants previously won the title in 2010 and 2012.
Pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who started the series finale Thursday at AT&T Park, was named the NLCS most valuable player following the game.
Californians Hold Safety Drills On Eve Of Loma Prieta Anniversary
With the 25th anniversary of the destructive Loma Prieta earthquake today, local, state and federal agencies are reminding Bay Area residents at numerous local events how to stay prepared.
Nature gave the region its own reminder early on Aug. 24 when a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck near American Canyon, damaging hundreds of buildings and injuring 209 people.
It was the largest quake in the area since the one that struck shortly after 5 p.m. on Oct. 17, 1989. The 6.9-magnitude earthquake killed 63 people, injured thousands more and necessitated extensive rebuilding, including on Interstate Highway 880 in Oakland and the eastern span of the Bay Bridge.
The greatest risk of injury during a quake is from falling objects. For that reason, the most common advice during an earthquake is to “drop, cover and hold on.”
The expression refers to getting underneath a sturdy piece of furniture like a table to protect from falling objects and to hold onto it in case it moves across the floor in the course of the shaking.
To practice “drop, cover and hold on,” as many as 10 million Californians participated in the “Great California Shakeout” Thursday on the eve of the Loma Prieta anniversary.
Drills were held statewide at 10:16 a.m. all over the Bay Area.
San Leandro Man Arrested In Child Groping Incidents
San Leandro police said Thursday they have arrested a 20-year-old San Leandro man who allegedly inappropriately touched young girls at Walmart and Target stores earlier this week.
The suspect, whose identity has not yet been released, was identified after police released video footage on Wednesday taken at the Bayfair Center Target store during the incidents, which occurred Monday evening.
The girls targeted by the suspect were 6 and 9 years old, according to police. In each case, the suspect inappropriately touched a young girl at the store and then fled.
Police said an off-duty Berkeley community service officer who had seen the video footage recognized the suspect Thursday morning at a 7-Eleven store in the 15100 block of Hesperian Blvd.
The man was dressed in a black dress shirt and black slacks, similar to the outfit seen on the suspect in the surveillance footage.
The officer took cell phone photos of the man and his car and called police, but when they arrived, he was gone.
Detectives were able to use the information, however, to identify the suspect and located him working at a Peninsula parking garage. They found him there with 20 to 30 other employees all dressed in similar clothing, but were able to identify and question him.
He was arrested on suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts on children under the age of 14, police said.
Police said the man has lived in San Leandro for the past six months, and previously lived in Southern California. Detectives are in contact with law enforcement in other communities to determine whether he has been connected with other crimes.
No Golden Gate Transit Bus Strike Friday, Tentative Agreement Reached
Thirteen labor unions and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District reached a tentative contract agreement Thursday afternoon, avoiding a strike Friday that would gave affected Golden Gate Transit bus service between the North Bay and San Francisco.
Details of the new agreement are not yet being disclosed and each of the 13 unions in the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition will vote on the tentative pact over the next few weeks, coalition co-chair Alex Tonisson said.
“It’s possible the agreement could be rejected, negotiations would continue and there could be a strike. Each union negotiates side table issues and individual unions could strike, but that’s unlikely,” Tonisson said.
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District spokeswoman Priya David Clemens confirmed a tentative agreement was reached but did not disclose any details.
“The agreement will be presented to the district’s board for approval on Friday, Oct. 24. At that point, the details of the agreement will be made available to interested parties,” Clemens said.
Clemens said the district reached out to Gov. Jerry Brown last week for help when negotiations seemed stalled and that district officials are thankful for his help.
The issues that stood in the way of a contract agreement varied from union to union but involved wages, compensation for training and a proposed high-deductible health care insurance plan, among others.
Tonisson claimed the district has projected a surplus of roughly $138 million over the next five years, while Clemens said the district actually has a $33 million deficit.
The strike that was scheduled by mechanics, service workers and dispatchers Friday would have been the third one-day strike involving members of the labor coalition.
Police Seeking Additional Witnesses To Brutal Assault At Levi’s Stadium
Santa Clara police are asking for more witnesses to come forward following a brutal fistfight earlier this month inside a crowded restroom at Levi’s Stadium that left one victim paralyzed, a police spokesman said Thursday.
The fight took place at about 1:20 p.m. on Oct. 5 during a San Francisco 49ers game at the stadium in Santa Clara, when brothers Dario and Amador Rebollero allegedly assaulted two men in a bathroom, police Lt. Kurt Clarke said.
Both victims, who are not being identified, were transported to a hospital. One was released but the other remains there in serious condition and partially paralyzed 11 days after the altercation, according to Clarke.
Police are looking for “additional witnesses to step forward in this case,” Clarke said.
The men were assaulted in the restroom in the presence of about 50 witnesses, at least one of whom videotaped the fight while it happened, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
On Oct. 8, the Robellero brothers were each charged in Superior Court in San Jose with felony assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury in what Deputy District Attorney Deborah Hernandez described as an “unprovoked, vicious attack.”
Amador Robellero was charged with an additional count of felony assault producing paralysis.
The Robellero brothers are set to return to court for a plea hearing on Oct. 30. A judge set bail for Amador at $350,000 and $75,000 for Dario.
Environmental Group Settles With Air District Over Chevron Project Litigation
A California environmental group has settled with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District months after it sued the district over permits for Chevron’s $1 billion refinery modernization project in Richmond.
Communities for a Better Environment announced Thursday that it had resolved litigation against the air district after district officials agreed to fully review an environmental impact report for Chevron’s modernization project certified by the Richmond City Council in July.
The group initially filed suit against the district because it claimed that the district renewed an earlier permit for the modernization project before waiting for the city to vote on the environmental impact report. Courts rejected permits for the refinery plan in 2009 and 2010 after CBE and other environmental organizations sued and alleged that the environmental impact report did not adequately explain the project’s effects on the community.
In July, the City Council approved a new EIR for the project that included greater restrictions on air emissions from the modernization project and a smaller-scale expansion.
In a statement released Thursday, CBE attorney Roger Lin said, “This is a significant victory for the community: the opportunity to get emissions cuts using available modern technology. Rubber-stamping the permit without a proper environmental review simply did not allow that.”
Air district spokesman Ralph Borrmann said the agreement “commits us to do what we would be doing anyway,” and that it “acted appropriately by waiting for the City of Richmond to issues their EIR before deciding whether to reissue a permit” for Chevron’s project.
Teen Reaches Plea Deal For Setting Another Teen’s Skirt On Fire On Bus
A 17-year-old boy pleaded no contest Thursday morning to setting another teen’s skirt on fire on an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit bus last year and faces seven years in prison, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
Richard Thomas was prosecuted as an adult for the attack on 19-year-old Luke “Sasha” Fleischman on Nov. 4, 2013.
Fleischman, a student at the time at Maybeck High School in Berkeley, doesn’t identify as male or female.
The teen suffered second- and third-degree burns after Thomas, who was 16 at the time, used a lighter to set the skirt Fleischman was wearing on fire as Fleischman slept on the bus traveling near MacArthur Boulevard and Ardley Avenue in Oakland at about 5:20 p.m.
Fleishman spent three weeks recovering at the burn unit at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.
While some called the attack a hate crime, Thomas’s defense attorney William DuBois characterized it as a prank that got out of control, saying the defendant was “mortified” when Fleischman became engulfed in flames.
The district attorney’s office charged Thomas with aggravated mayhem and assault, but Thursday he pleaded no contest to only the felony assault charge with an enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury.
Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 14 and, according to the plea deal, will be sentenced to seven years in state prison. With good conduct in prison, he could be eligible for a modified sentence on his 18th birthday, according to prosecutors.
Fleischman’s family was kept apprised of the negotiations for Thomas’s plea deal, prosecutors said.
Kids Win Right To Play On Soccer Field At Mission Playground
San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department decided Thursday to stop granting permits for adults to play at a soccer field in the city’s Mission District following a recent showdown caught on video between a group of tech workers and children already playing there.
The video taken on Aug. 18 at Mission Playground has drawn the public’s attention to who gets priority in city parks — children or those who can pay to play — and brought out a couple hundred people to the steps of City Hall Thursday morning.
A group of adolescent soccer players, along with Supervisor David Campos and other members of the community, addressed the crowd prior to a Recreation and Park Commission meeting Thursday.
The gathering comes after a dispute that was caught on video and posted on YouTube with the title “Mission Playground is Not For Sale” and has garnered nearly 400,000 online views.
The video shows children who were playing soccer when a group of men in Dropbox T-shirts arrived at the field waiting to play.
Some of the adults tried to kick the kids off the field, but the kids refused to leave and offered to let the adults play with them instead.
The adults continued to debate the issue and asked the kids to leave.
As a result of the Aug. 18 confrontation, effective immediately permits will no longer be issued to adults for nighttime use of Mission Playground, which has a newly renovated synthetic turf soccer field and lights, the Rec and Park Department announced in a statement.
Youth league permits will still be available until 7 p.m. everyday and the field will remain open for play from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, according to the department.
Santa Rosa Man Shot During Home Invasion Robbery
A Santa Rosa resident was shot Thursday afternoon during an apparent home invasion robbery targeting marijuana kept in the house, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies and paramedics responded to the home in the 1000 block of Merced Avenue, in unincorporated southwest Santa Rosa, shortly before 2:30 p.m. after a man called 911 reporting a shooting.
They found an injured man with a gunshot wound in the house.
Witnesses saw two suspects running from the house after shots were heard and fleeing in a light blue or gray SUV, possibly a Nissan, sheriff’s office officials said.
The witnesses said the men were wearing clothing displaying the letters FBI, and deputies later found items in a nearby ditch that support the notion that the suspects were wearing police-type clothing.
The suspects were described as Hispanic male adults, and both were armed with semi-automatic handguns.
It was not clear if anything was actually taken from the house during the robbery, but investigators believe the suspects may have intended to steal marijuana.
The victim was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery for his injuries.
Wright Charter and Elementary Schools were locked down during the search for the suspects.
Nurses March In Oakland To Demand Greater Safety For Treating Ebola
Kaiser Permanente nurses marched Thursday morning in downtown Oakland to call for increased resources and training to treat Ebola patients.
Zenei Cortez, co-president of the California Nurses Association, said nurses are asking for the same kind of safety and training provided to hazardous materials workers who treat Ebola infected homes.
Following recent reports of nurses who became infected with ebola after treating a patient, nurses are asking for hands-on interactive training in how to handle possible Ebola cases, rather than the classroom training Kaiser is currently offering, Cortez said. They want to learn how to safely put on and take off gear, and the protocol to properly dispose of contaminated gear.
And if a hospital gets a patient, nurses want enough staff to be present to monitor the nurses to keep them safe, Cortez said.
Cortez said nurses chose to march Thursday to Kaiser’s regional office at 1950 Franklin St. because they were “outraged” that Kaiser responded by saying it would have to consider the economic impact of the nurses’ demands before providing the resources.
“It was a spontaneous event,” she said.
Close to 550 people marched before the union went into labor contract negotiations with the company at the Oakland Marriott Hotel at 11th and Broadway, Oakland, Cortez said.
Kaiser officials had not made a decision on the nurses’ demands as of Thursday afternoon, but issued a statement saying that they had updated infectious disease protocols in mid-August, and that the personal protective equipment provided staff meets or exceeds standards set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
“We share our nurses’ concern, along with all of our care provider’s and staff who work in our facilities, that the necessary steps are taken to protect their colleagues and our patients from infection with Ebola virus,” said the statement from Gay Westfall, senior vice president for human resources, Kaiser Permanente Northern California.
Chico State Student Fatally Struck By Train Identified As Clayton Native
A university student who died Monday after being struck by a train has been identified as a Clayton resident, California State University at Chico officials said Thursday.
Samantha Lewis, a student at the university, was walking alone on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks at around 5:19 a.m. on Monday when a train approached, officials said.
The conductor of a southbound train saw her and blew the train’s horns and applied the brakes, university officials said, but Lewis did not move from the tracks.
Chico police said they did not suspect foul play. Lewis, 20, arrived at Chico state in the fall of 2012 and was majoring in nutrition and food science, according to school officials. She was also a member of the school’s a capella choir.
University officials said Lewis is survived by her parents, two sisters and a brother. Information about memorial services is forthcoming.
Teatro Zinzanni Planning Return To Waterfront
A cultural attraction that left San Francisco nearly three years ago because of the America’s Cup yacht race may be reopening soon along the city’s waterfront.
Teatro ZinZanni, a dinner theatre and circus formerly housed at Piers 27-29, was one of about 80 tenants forced to move from San Francisco’s waterfront when the city was chosen to host the 2013 America’s Cup regatta and a new cruise ship terminal was tabbed for the site.
The company had planned to move to the foot of Broadway at The Embarcadero in 2012, but financing the new endeavor proved infeasible without incorporating more revenue sources into the development.
Teatro ZinZanni plans to do that at its currently proposed site, Seawall Lot 324, by incorporating a hotel, artists’ residence and café with the construction of the theatre.
On Tuesday, Teatro ZinZanni founder Norman Langill told the San Francisco Port Commission his company is working with a developer to bring
Teatro ZinZanni’s “magical mirrored” tent back to San Francisco.
Before the company can re-open, it will need to demonstrate it has shared its plans with the San Francisco community, the first step to reopen the theater. After that, the company will have to request a sole source waiver to enter into exclusive negotiations with the port.
The Board of Supervisors must approve the waiver and no date has been set for such a hearing, Dunn-Martin said.
With height limits of new buildings on the waterfront under increased scrutiny recently by residents, Dunn-Martin said Teatro ZinZanni made it clear to the Port Commission its new development will be built within current limits.
Parking Officers Describe Abuse By Public, Demand Safer Work Environments
Dozens of San Francisco parking control officers and their supporters gathered together Thursday outside the district attorney’s office at the Hall of Justice to demand safer working conditions and tougher consequences for those who attack city employees.
Carlos Rivera, a spokesman for SEIU Local 1021 said there has been a rise in violent attacks against city workers. He pointed to two felony charges filed last month, one in which a parking control officer was hit in the head by a driver and another in which one traveled on the hood of a driver’s car for about a mile.
David Canham, the union’s field representative, sent a letter to Gascon last week urging his office to provide “safe, healthful work environments” for city employees and security to all of its citizens.
He contends that the district attorney’s office has allowed the situation to “spiral out of control” and has “failed to sufficiently prosecute violations.”
Chief Assistant District Attorney Sharon Woo responded to the union’s concerns earlier this week.
Woo said that in both recent cases involving parking control officers, prosecutors charged each defendant with felony offenses.
She assured the union that her office would “continue to treat law enforcement victim cases with the gravity and seriousness warranted.”
Castillo said the district attorney needs to send a message to the public that assault on parking and traffic enforcement officers is no different from assault on a police officer, or Gascón himself.