Wednesday Morning News Roundup
Transit Agency Implements Changes To Multiple Bus Lines
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced Tuesday that it has implemented a number of changes to bus service in San Francisco.
The most significant changes are to the 10-Townsend line, which travels inbound to Pacific Heights neighborhood and outbound to San Francisco General Hospital, on the west side of the Potrero Hill neighborhood.
On Saturday, the 10-Townsend started operating every 30 minutes from 7:30 p.m. to midnight each day. Before the changes, service stopped at 7:30 p.m.
“I’m proud to have worked closely with the SFMTA on this effort to improve service on the 10-Townsend,” Supervisor Malia Cohen said in a statement.
“This service expansion is an example of how collaboration with the neighbors and the SFMTA can make transit run more effectively throughout the city, and I am excited to be a part of the push to move Muni Forward,” Cohen added.
Muni Forward is an initiative aimed at improving the frequency and reliability of bus service, and the changes to the system are meant to improve bus service throughout the city, according to the SFMTA.
Other changes by the SFMTA include moving the end of the line for the 30-Stockton back to Divisadero and Chestnut streets from Fillmore and Chestnut streets.
The 27-Bryant will take a new route. From Bryant Street, buses will turn left on Sixth Street, right on Folsom Street and left on Fifth Street, before returning to its normal route. The change is meant to avoid freeway congestion.
On the 38-Geary, the SFMTA will start operating regularly scheduled evening service to Fort Miley, rather than by-request service that allowed passengers to dictate where the bus stopped.
On the 9L-San Bruno, the SFMTA has added a new stop on the northbound side of the intersection at Bayshore Boulevard and Visitacion Avenue.
“Our transit system is the backbone of our city’s quality of life and economy and projects like these will help improve service for riders,” Muni director of transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement.
“With Muni Forward, we’re actively making incremental change for a more reliable and safe experience both on transit and for people who walk, ride a bike, drive or take a taxi,” Reiskin said.
Police Chief Retiring After 32 Years Of Service
After 32 years of service, the Pacifica police chief is retiring, effective Thursday, the city manager said Tuesday.
A Salinas native, Jim Tasa was working for a lumber company when he decided to give law enforcement a shot. He said it was almost on a whim that he took the civil service exam.
Since joining the Pacifica Police Department in 1982, Tasa has worked his way up from being a patrolman to traffic officer, narcotics officer, sergeant, captain and finally, police chief. He’s served as chief since 2011, said Pacifica City Manager Lorie Tinfow.
Tasa embarked on a mental health services awareness campaign following the shooting death of a Pacifica man in March who had barricaded himself into his home. It was a turning point for him, Tasa said.
Tasa spent the past six to eight months trying to improve residents’ access to mental health services, he said.
As part of the effort, Tasa said he also trained officers to help inform and connect residents to local mental health services.
Tasa won the department’s Life-Saving Medal during his tenure, he said, for another case involving a woman who was mentally ill. Police had received reports of a woman trying to drown herself in the ocean.
Tasa, along with his partner, dove in with full gear on and pulled her from the water, he said.
Mayor Mary Ann Nihart, a psychiatric nurse at the Department of Veterans Affairs, called Tasa’s work in increasing law enforcement awareness of mental health services “outstanding.”
City Councilman Mike O’Neill commended Tasa for his professionalism and dedication to community policing.
O’Neill said Tasa set a high bar for the next police chief to meet.
Two captains in the department will take turns in that role, with each serving four months to try out for the position. Capt. Joe Spanheimer will serve in the position until Feb. 28, 2015, and Capt. Dan Steidle will then serve from March 1, 2015 until June 30, 2015, Tinfow said.
It’s a strategy Tinfow said worked successfully in her previous role in Walnut Creek. Both captains joined the police department in 1993 and have risen to the rank of captain. Both hold master’s degrees and have participated in a range of special assignments in addition to their regular duties, Tinfow said.
As for Tasa, he said he plans to continue working part time as a consultant or project manager, although not necessarily in law enforcement.
“There are some opportunities out there,” Tasa said. “But, we need to see what might be a good fit.”
Hundreds Gather In Civic Center Plaza Before Giants’ World Series Loss
Before the mood turned somber for San Francisco Giants fans as the team had a disheartening loss in what could have been a World Series-clinching Game 6 on Tuesday night, hundreds of people gathered cheerfully earlier in the day at Civic Center Plaza where the game was being shown on a Jumbotron screen.
Among the youngest in the crowd was a 16-month-old girl perched on her father’s shoulders to see the big screen showing the Giants’ game against the Kansas City Royals.
The toddler’s father, Miguel Rodriguez, said he was born and raised in San Francisco and is a true Giants fan.
Rodriguez said he expected a close game Tuesday night. However, the Giants lost 10-0 thanks to a seven-run second inning by the Royals, setting up a winner-takes-all Game 7 today in Kansas City.
A couple feet from Rodriguez and his family, was San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr, on duty and confiscating alcohol shortly before the game began.
As the police chief dumped the confiscated bottle of Hennessey cognac onto the grass at Civic Center Plaza, he looked up and said, “You can imagine if someone drank this whole thing.”
Police had plans in place for if the Giants won and celebrations got rowdy, as they did in 2012 when San Francisco won the World Series.
Now Giants fans will have to wait today to see if their team can win its third title in five years.
Game 7 is scheduled for 5:07 p.m. and San Francisco city officials have not yet said if that game will also be shown in Civic Center Plaza.
Area Roads Consistently Mediocre For Nearly A Decade
Bay Area roads have been consistently mediocre for nearly a decade, according to data released Tuesday by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
In a survey that graded the 43,000 miles of streets and roads throughout the area, local cities and counties received a grade ranging from 44 to 86 on a 100-point scale.
The area’s three largest cities have been persistently average since 2006. Oakland was graded at 60, San Jose at 62 and San Francisco at 65.
This is not inconsistent with other California metro areas. According to a statewide survey, San Diego, Sacramento and Los Angeles counties all received similar scores.
The area’s worst roads belonged to Larkspur in Marin County and St. Helena in Napa County, which each received a grade of 40, considered poor.
The best score was posted by Brentwood in Contra Costa County with a score of 86 followed closely by Dublin in Alameda County with a score of 85.
Given the budget struggles that state and local governments have faced since 2008, it has been challenging even to prevent infrastructure from deteriorating over the last few years, MTC officials said.
“The clearest example is El Cerrito, which passed a half-cent sales tax in 2008 to finance a very successful citywide street improvement program,” MTC Chairwoman Amy Rein Worth said in a news release.
“Voters in Orinda and Moraga approved similar measures in 2012 and that money is now being put to work,” she said.
El Cerrito’s score improved from 73 in 2011 to 84 in the most recent survey, while Moraga, considered the most improved municipality over the last year, went from 50 last year to 58 this year.
Orinda remains unchanged at 48 but Worth, a member of the Orinda City Council, said, “I expect next year’s report to show the same kind of progress in my city of Orinda.”
Numerous area cities have streets that scored below 60, considered at-risk or poor according to the pavement condition index.
Those cities are Albany, Belmont, Benicia, Berkeley, Calistoga, Cotati, East Palo Alto, Millbrae, Moraga, Orinda, Pacifica, Petaluma, Rio Vista, San Anselmo, San Leandro, Vallejo and unincorporated areas of Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties.
A handful of cities exceeded a score of 80, considered very good. They are Brentwood, Dublin, El Cerrito, Atherton, Belvedere and Foster City.
Accreditation Commission President Testifies That Commission Was Quick To Disaccredit CCSF
The president of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges testified in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon that she did not provide the City College of San Francisco enough time to respond to perceived deficiencies during their accreditation process which threatens to close their doors.
On Tuesday afternoon, on the second day of the trial of a lawsuit filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera against the western regional branch of the ACCJC, the commission’s president Barbara Beno took the stand as a witness.
Herrera filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of the people of California alleging unfair practices including a perceived or actual conflict of interest in the appointment of Commission President Barbara Beno’s husband, Laney College Career and Technical Education Dean Peter Crabtree, to a 2012 committee evaluating CCSF.
Beno said under oath and before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow on Tuesday that she and her husband didn’t speak about the accreditation of CCSF.
Beno said the Department of Education later sent a letter to the commission because they felt having her husband on the review team would appear to the public as a conflict of interest.
On Monday during the first day of the trial, CCSF English professor and faculty union leader Alisa Messer, was called to the stand and said she was shocked to learn after the evaluation that Beno’s husband was on the committee.
Herrera claims the commission violated the state’s Unfair Competition Law by using unfair, biased and illegal procedures when it decided in 2013 to terminate the college’s accreditation.
He is seeking a court order overturning that decision and requiring the Novato-based commission to start a new evaluation process.
The lawsuit also alleges that committee and a follow-up committee in 2013 had too few academic members, as opposed to administrators; that the commission failed to provide the college with due process to respond to its charges; and that it was biased against the college’s mission of “open access” to the community.
Herrera’s team asked Beno, “Subsequent to the time that the commission convened and voted to terminate City College, did it afford City College additional time to respond in writing to the perceived deficiencies before finalizing the termination?”
“No,” Beno said to the judge.
The termination of CCSF’s accreditation was originally due to take effect on July 31, but in January, Karnow issued a preliminary injunction suspending the termination until the completion of trial proceedings.
Karnow is hearing the case without a jury and is expected to issue a written decision sometime after the close of the five-day trial.
The commission in court filings has denied that it was prejudiced or unfair and contended the decision to withdraw the accreditation was “absolutely correct” and was based on “enormous problems facing CCSF.”
The group’s 2013 decision cited alleged problems with financial accountability, institutional governance and compliance with standards for instructional programs and student support services.
Another witness who took the stand Tuesday was David Bergeron, the vice president of secondary education at the Washington D.C.-based educational think tank Center for American Progress.
He said the accreditation process has flaws, but is designed to assure the public that they are getting a quality education.
But he said he believes the accreditation system “leaves broad latitude for accreditors” because of the complexity and the diversity of U.S. institutions.
Two Men Injured In Shooting This Evening, No Arrests
Two men were injured in a shooting in East Palo Alto on Tuesday evening, a police sergeant said.
Officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 2400 block of Illinois Street around 5:35 p.m., police Sgt. Jeff Liu said.
Arriving officers located a 25-year-old Oakland man and 24-year-old San Francisco man both suffering from gunshot wounds, Liu said.
They were both transported to a hospital for injuries not considered life-threatening, according to Liu.
Neither victim was willing to tell officers information on the suspect or suspects, the sergeant said.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call police dispatch at (650) 321-1112. Anonymous tips can be left by voicemail or text to (650) 409-6792 or email at [email protected]
Man Charged In Connection With 2011 Concord Murder Ordered Released From Jail
A 20-year-old Concord man who was initially charged in connection with the murder of a popular young woman in her Concord home in 2011 was ordered released from jail Tuesday after reaching a plea deal with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.
Johnathan Harriel pleaded not guilty in a Martinez courtroom Monday to residential burglary as part of the plea agreement and was sentenced to six years in jail for his role in the killing of 21-year-old Benicia native Shelby Barnes. However, with conduct credits and time served, Harriel was set to be released Tuesday, according to Deputy District Attorney Jason Peck.
The prosecutor said he did not know whether Harriel had been released as of 5 p.m. Tuesday and jail records were not immediately available.
Peck said in an email that Harriel’s sentence stems from the problems prosecutors had proving his involvement beyond a reasonable doubt in Barnes’ killing.
“The other defendants made admissions including describing the role of Harriel, however those statements are not admissible in trial against Harriel,” the prosecutor said in an email. “Likewise, there is forensic evidence linking the other defendants to the crime while Harriel’s DNA and fingerprints were not found on any duct tape or weapons.”
The other two defendants, 25-year-old Donald Waldecker of Richmond and 23-year-old Randi Dees of El Sobrante, have already been convicted in connection with Barnes’ killing.
Waldecker pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and is serving a 25-year jail sentence while Dees pleaded no contest earlier this year to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Barnes’ murder devastated her friends and family and shocked the small town of Benicia, where she spent most of her life.
In 2011, Barnes moved into a home on Glenside Court in Concord that had been owned by her father but was going into foreclosure.
In October 2011, she allowed Waldecker and Dees, who were a couple at the time, to stay in the house with her.
According to prosecutors, Waldecker came up with a plan to steal the deed to the Concord home and carried out the plan on Oct. 24, 2011, tied her up with the help of Dees and Harriel, bludgeoned her and slit her throat.
The defendants were arrested days after the killing and Harriel, then 17, was tried as an adult.
Man Charged In Connection With 2011 Concord Murder Ordered Released From Jail
A prosecutor told jurors Tuesday that they have all the evidence they need to convict a then-teenage boy of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of his 14-year-old high school classmate in Pleasanton 30 years ago.
Prosecutor Stacie Pettigrew said DNA evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Steven Carlson, who was 16 at the time and is now 46, is the person who killed Tina Faelz on April 5, 1984.
Carlson and Faelz, who was stabbed 44 times, both attended Foothill High School in Pleasanton.
Faelz was killed on her way home from school and was found dead in a ditch adjacent to Interstate Highway 680, east of the high school. Carlson lived near the murder scene.
The case remained unsolved for 27 years, but Pettigrew said a 2011 DNA test showed that a small amount of blood that was found on Faelz’s purse hanging on a tree near the murder scene was Carlson’s.
The chances of that blood belonging to someone other than Carlson are only 1 in 5 quadrillion, Pettigrew said.
Carlson, who has a long criminal history including convictions for committing lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 and assault, was arrested and charged with murdering Faelz in August 2011.
Carlson’s lawyer, Annie Beles, told jurors that they should find Carlson not guilty because the evidence in the case is “flimsy” and there are many unanswered questions.
Beles said among those questions are when the DNA evidence was collected, how it was collected, whether it was contaminated and whether it was improperly transferred.
The defense attorney said there are many innocent reasons to explain why Carlson’s DNA wound up on Faelz’s purse because they went to middle school and high school together and “were in the same proximity with one another.”
Beles said the prosecution also lacks other evidence that might connect Carlson to Faelz’s death.
Beles alleged that police and prosecutors are making “a last-ditch shot with this DNA” to convict Carlson but said it’s not enough.
Beles told jurors, “You do no justice to Tina Faelz and her family if you convict the wrong person.
But Pettigrew said “there’s no doubt” that it’s Carlson’s blood that was on Faelz’s purse and the only reasonable conclusion is that it got there when he stabbed her.”
Pettigrew admitted that police were sloppy in the way they handled the blood evidence in the case but she said the DNA that connects Carlson to Faelz’s death is reliable because “sloppy doesn’t equal contamination.”
Supes Approve New Date For Road Tax Ballot Measure And Long-Term Road Report
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to postpone putting a quarter-cent sales tax measure on the March 2015 ballot until June 2015 and reducing the term of the tax from 20 to five years.
The 20-year, quarter-cent sales tax ordinance was passed in August, and its revenue, estimated at $20 million annually, was to be available for all government purposes.
The supervisors also passed a separate ordinance in August to place on the March 2015 ballot an advisory measure directing how the money should be spent.
Since then, county staff received public input suggesting the public’s trust in the government to use funds wisely is low, County Administrator Veronica Ferguson said in a staff report.
She suggested reducing the term of the tax from 20 to five years, postponing the ballot measure until June 2015 and rescinding the advisory measure as a means to gain public trust that the money will be used for road repair and maintenance.
Sixty-one percent of the pavement in the county’s 1,370-mile road network was deemed to be in poor or very poor condition, according to an 18-month survey commissioned by the county.
County officials say without a minimal investment of $20 million a year, the entire road network will continue to decline causing long-term economic costs.
The shorter five-year term for the tax will limit the exposure of spending the tax for undesired uses, Ferguson said.
Postponing the tax ballot measure by three months will allow time to inform the public about the need for the tax and the current plans for its use and accountability, according to Ferguson.
The general, countywide tax measure will need majority approval to pass.
The county’s long-term road plan that was adopted Tuesday calls for an initial focus on 700 miles of the county’s 1,370 miles of paved roads over the next 10 years. The county has improved 150 miles of road in the past three years
The county anticipates receiving $8.7 million and also plans to add another $1 million dedicated to a “Worst First” repair and maintenance program on the significantly deteriorated segments of road.
Ten percent of the county’s share will be spent to enhance transit services.
The board voted 5-0 to approve the long-term road plan and tweak the proposed tax measure.
The Sonoma County Transportation Agency will oversee the tax revenue spending.
Missing Santa Rosa Man Found Dead In Russian River
A Santa Rosa man who went missing last Wednesday was found dead Tuesday afternoon in the Russian River off Sunset Beach in Forestville.
Marvin Jones, 53, was found by Sonoma County search and rescue team volunteers in 6 feet of water and about 20 feet offshore around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Cecile Focha said.
He was dressed in a shirt and shorts and the tattoos on the body matched those described by his family, according to Focha.
Based on the location, description and time frame, deputies on the scene were satisfied with identifying the deceased as Jones, Focha said.
Jones’ locked Toyota Rav4 was found in the parking lot of Sunset Beach. Search and rescue teams from Napa, Marin, San Mateo and Sonoma counties searched the river Tuesday.
Jones’ wallet and personal belongings were found locked inside the SUV, Focha said.
Jones’ wife reported him missing to Santa Rosa police on Friday. The couple had moved to Santa Rosa from Southern California within the last year, Focha said.
Focha said Jones might have been despondent about a relationship.
Police Asking For Public’s Help In Locating Elderly Man
San Francisco police are asking for help in finding an 89-year-old man suffering from asthma.
Foon Chen was last seen at noon Tuesday in the area of Stockton and Jackson streets, according to San Francisco police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy.
He does not have any medication that he needs for his asthma, Shyy said.
Chen is described as an Asian man standing about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs around 120 pounds with black eyes and brown hair, according to police.
He was last seen wearing a blue jacket and green pants, police said.
Chen only speaks Cantonese, but he will respond to his name, according to police.
He has no wallet or identification with him, and he may have a small amount of cash. He frequents the city’s Chinatown neighborhood, uses a walker and is likely to be on foot, police said.
Anyone with information about Chen’s whereabouts is asked to contact the SFPD Operations Center at (415) 553-1071 or his daughter, Yun Chen, at (415) 823-4781 or (415) 776-7086.
Board Of Supes Gives Itself $32k Raise Amidst Opposition From County Workers’ Groups
Despite vocal opposition from numerous county employees’ unions, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday afternoon to give themselves a $32,000 raise.
The board voted 4-1 to pass an ordinance that will boost their pay by about 33 percent and bring their annual salaries from $97,483 to $129,227, with Supervisor Candace Andersen casting the only no vote.
Under the ordinance, each supervisor’s salary will equate to 70 percent of a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge’s pay – following the six other Bay Area counties that also link supervisors’ pay to judicial salaries.
The supervisors who voted for the raise said that while choosing to increase their own salaries is always controversial, the pay hike and linkage to judicial salaries is needed after many years of avoiding the issue and will prevent them from having to set their own salaries in the future.
The board last voted to give itself a raise in 2006, bumping its salary up by 60 percent.
Supervisors Federal Glover, John Gioia, Karen Mitchoff and Mary Piepho, rejected a motion by Andersen to gradually phase in a raise by increasing their salary by 3 to 4 percent each year.
Echoing her sentiments during last week’s meeting, which resulted in another 4-1 vote to move forward with the salary increases, Andersen said Tuesday that the proposed 33 percent increase is too high.
The supervisor’s comments garnered applause and cheers from an audience consisting largely of unionized public employees who said they have taken pay cuts and forgone raises for years.
The board heard from more than a dozen speakers Tuesday afternoon who voiced their opposition to the proposed raise.
Many county workers’ union representatives said that like the board of supervisors, their employees have faced pay cuts in recent years, but have also undergone hiring freezes, furloughs and slashed benefits.
“Many county workers only recently received a 4 percent raise after 10 months of bargaining and four years of sacrifice,” Margaret Hanlon-Gradie, executive director of the Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, AFL-CIO, told the board.
Ken Westerman, president of the county’s Deputy Sheriff’s Association, said at Tuesday’s meeting that the timing for the proposed raise is all wrong, considering that his union has faced years of pay cuts and skimpy increases.
Many who spoke out against the raises cited salary studies comparing their own income to those of other public workers in other Bay Area counties, drawing comparisons to the salary studies used as a basis for the board’s proposed salary hike.
“Pay studies show your county employees, these folks behind me, are being underpaid anywhere from 16 to 38 percent…but you guys are choosing to enrich yourselves before your employees,” said Phil Hu, assistant general manager of Public Employees Union, Local 1.
Responding to those criticisms, Glover told the audience that the board has “vowed to work to get all wages where they should be” but could no longer delay the issue of increasing its own compensation.
The board’s pay raise is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2015 and will cost the county an additional $235,000 annually.
Thief Stole 6 Coach Purses Sunday Evening
Petaluma police said Tuesday they are searching for a man who stole six Coach Signature Collection purses.
Police said video surveillance footage of the store showed a man taking six Coach purses at around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The man reportedly left the store and got into a mid-90s green Buick Skylark with damage on the driver’s side of the car, police said.
Anyone with information about the incident is requested to call Officer Paul Accornero at (707) 778-4597.
Motorcycle Rider Injured In Crash With Bus Monday
A motorcycle rider suffered major injuries Monday afternoon when he collided with the rear of two vehicles, including a school bus, California Highway Patrol officials said Tuesday.
Donald Evans, 50, of Santa Rosa, was riding his 1999 Suzuki Katana motorcycle east on West College Avenue near Dutton Avenue around 3 p.m. Monday, CHP Officer Jon Sloat said.
Evans lost control of the bike while riding between traffic lanes and collided with the left rear of a Honda Accord, then the right rear of a First Student school bus, Sloat said.
Evans was ejected from the motorcycle, suffered major injuries and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. None of the students on the bus were injured, Sloat said.
Evans told the CHP a car might have turned in front of him and the CHP is investigating whether another vehicle caused Evans to lose control, according to Sloat.
Sloat said the CHP does not have a description of that vehicle.
Police Seek Clues About Man Found Dead At Landfill
San Jose police are looking for clues in the death of a 49-year-old male transient whose body was found earlier this month at the Newby Landfill in north San Jose, police said Tuesday.
The remains of Donald Mills were located on Oct. 21 at the landfill at 1601 Dixon Landing Road, where he may have been transported in a dump truck that picked his corpse up from a garbage container possibly elsewhere in San Jose, according to police Sgt. Heather Randol.
Mills was a transient known to frequent homeless shelters in downtown San Jose and near San Carlos Street and Meridian Avenue in the midtown area, Randol said.
He was released from jail on Oct. 18, three days before his body was found, she said.
Police are asking anyone with information about Mills or his whereabouts before Oct. 21 to call the homicide unit at (408) 277-5283. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers tip line at (408) 947-7867.
Activists Allege Constitutional Rights Violated At Santa Rita Jail
Four civil rights activists said Tuesday they are suing Alameda County, its sheriff and several employees at the sheriff’s office, alleging they were sexually harassed, physically abused and kept in inhumane detention facilities at Santa Rita Jail.
A 23-page civil complaint filed Monday in federal court alleges the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs, who are all women, were violated by asking them to disrobe in front of male inmates, kicking a detainee in the back, and detaining them in cells covered in urine, feces, vomit and other bodily fluids.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office denies the allegations.
Plaintiffs Anne Weills, Tova Fry, Alyssa Eisenberg, and Mollie Costello were arrested Feb. 13 on suspicion of trespassing during a peaceful protest at the State Building in Oakland.
Weills, who is married to Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel, was acting as a legal observer and not participating in the protest, but was arrested along with the demonstrators and brought to Santa Rita Jail, located at 5325 Broder Blvd. in Dublin, according to the lawsuit.
Once at the jail, the complaint alleges the women were lined up in a hallway against a wall and asked to strip down to their “bottom layer” in front of 17 to 20 male inmates with full view of the women.
Weills refused, saying she was uncomfortable stripping in front of strange men, according to the complaint.
A sheriff’s deputy yelled at Weills repeatedly, the complaint alleges.
Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said the women are mischaracterizing the incident and said it is common practice to ask inmates to take off their outer garments so they can be patted down and checked for weapons.
Costello, who also protested the treatment, said she was wearing nothing but a lingerie top and bra and deputies removed her shoes, glasses and shirt. Despite asking for her shoes back or some sort of jail slippers, Costello said she was repeatedly denied.
Both Costello and Weills were placed into isolation booths, which the complaint describes as having no bathroom, water, food, phone, or place to sit. There was vomit on the walls and garbage in the corner, Costello said.
The other women were placed in a holding cell where there were feces, urine and blood on the walls and floor with trash piling “knee high,” Costello and Fry said.
Costello was transferred into the holding cell some time after being kept in isolation.
Nelson denied the allegations, saying the cells are cleaned regularly.
Fry said she had been arrested on three other occasions in Michigan, including being held in a federal detention center, but had never seen conditions like those at Santa Rita.
Beyond filthy, Fry and Costello said they were housed with women in need of medical attention who were repeatedly denied that attention. They said they hope the lawsuit is able to reform jail practices.
Over the past two years, Yolanda Huang, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said she has represented more than 50 women who were detained at Santa Rita Jail. The allegations are not new, Huang said.
The plaintiffs are seeking some intervention from the courts to reform practices at the jail, according to the complaint, along with monetary compensation for punitive damages, lawyer’s fees and the cost to pursue the suit.
80-Year-Old Man Arrested In Suspected Murder Of Elderly Woman Inside Home
An 80-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of an elderly woman Saturday morning at a home in a suburban cul-de-sac in east Los Gatos, a police spokesman said Tuesday.
Richard Leonard Stefanik was booked into custody and remains in critical condition from a self-inflicted injury, Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police Sgt. JR Langer said.
Langer declined to comment on the manner of the woman’s death and Stefanik’s injuries and did not release the name of the victim.
At 10:27 a.m. Saturday, Los Gatos police received a call about a suspicious death in a house in the 100 block of Dover Court, about two blocks north of Blossom Hill Road and a quarter-mile south of Los Gatos-Almaden Road, police said.
Inside the residence, officers found the dead body of the elderly woman and Stefanik, who had a serious self-inflicted injury and was transported to a hospital.
No one else was hurt at the home and police are not releasing additional information about the case to allow “the family to have some time to get over the incident,” Langer said.
A neighbor of Stefanik’s, Henry Rodgin, said that he was not at home when the incident happened but heard it had involved gunshots.
Rodgin said Richard Stefanik lived at the home with his wife Lois.
He said that he and the Stefaniks had been neighbors there for the past 30 years but he did not know them well.
“I never knew about any disputes or arguments” at the Stefanik household, Rodgin said.
“They kept to themselves,” Rodgin said. “The kids and grandkids were always over at the house.”
Lesser-Known Mayoral Candidates Blast Influence Of Money In Politics
Overshadowed in a crowded field of candidates for mayor of Oakland, eight human candidates and one canine joined together Tuesday to encourage voters to take a look at everyone running, despite their perceived chances in the rapidly approaching election.
At a news conference in downtown Oakland organized by mayoral candidate and former Occupy Oakland activist Jason “Shake” Anderson, the candidates lamented the lack of attention paid to them by the local news media and more prominent candidates.
The primary difference, they said, between their candidacies and those considered the top candidates is the influence of money.
One candidate, Saied Karamooz, an Iranian-American technology executive, said he is so opposed to the influence of money in politics that he has refused donations of any kind to his campaign.
Another candidate, Peter Liu, said he is a self-made millionaire but spent only $400 on his mayoral campaign, but despite that he is receiving national attention.
Liu said that since he was mocked on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Monday night, he is receiving droves of fan mail and has been trending on Twitter.
Liu, who advocates for arming local business owners and increasing surveillance to combat crime, said his political savvy in getting so much attention with so little money shows he can “teach everyone to be a self-made millionaire.”
Write-in candidate Sam Washington said that despite not being on the ballot, he is one of the most visible candidates, with 14 billboards in Oakland.
A technology and business consultant, Washington charged that there are “odd and strange rules to keep the rest of us from running,” delivering attention to political insiders but not to candidates like himself.
Contractor and community advocate Ken Houston said that the lack of attention to the diverse choices in the mayor’s race is insulting to the people of Oakland.
Electrician and attorney Patrick McCullough charged that the major candidates have “the same mix of ineffective solutions” to problems like crime facing Oakland and lack the leadership to take solutions to their fruition.
McCullough said that leadership in Oakland is top-heavy and that to streamline solutions, he would reduce the amount of administration and upper management in local government.
Community activist Nancy Sidebotham said that despite being involved in Oakland politics since the 1980s and being a former member of the Community Police Advisory Board, her candidacy has received little traction because she does not have the backing of donations and endorsements that more prominent candidates do.
Charles Williams, who called himself “the Chief” because he was a “hardcore Navy chief” during his 40 months in Vietnam, highlighted his tough upbringing and military service, which he said made him an expert in law enforcement.
Perhaps the biggest long-shot for the next Oakland mayor is Einstein the dog, a candidate who endured tear gas and smoke grenades as police evicted the Occupy Oakland encampment in 2011, an experience that made him realize that Quan was not the progressive mayor she made herself out to be, according to Einstein’s owner, who declined to give his name.
While Einstein couldn’t elaborate on his campaign platform himself, he did bark aggressively at the mention of Quan’s name.