Bay Area News Briefs
By Mike Aldux
January 15, 2008
Dellums delivers State of the City address
Being mayor of Oakland is more difficult than being the president
of the United States, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said Monday in
a state of the city address that largely focused on the city's
Speaking to an overflow audience of about 1,400 at the Oakland
Marriott Hotel, Dellums said the president "has more resources"
and can escape to the privacy of Camp David on weekends but the
mayor of Oakland "can't escape anywhere."
Dellums, who was elected mayor in 2006 after serving in Congress
for 28 years and working as a lobbyist for eight years, said,
"This is an immediate, in-your-face job and you feel every
death," referring to the city's crime problem, which included
127 homicides last year, Dellums' first year as mayor.
Dellums pointed out that the homicide total was 15 percent less
than 2006, when Oakland had 148 homicides, and was a better result
than the 6 percent increase in homicides nationally.
But he admitted, "You can't take solace when over 100 people
are killed" and "the elephant in the room is public
Dellums said, "People have a right to go about their lives
with a sense of peace, security and safety."
Dellums pledged to do "whatever it takes" to bring
Oakland to its authorized force of 803 police officers.
The city is about 70 officers short of that goal now, but Dellums
was quick to blame former mayor Jerry Brown for that shortfall.
Dellums, who said he wanted "to set the record straight,"
said Brown and other city officials failed to realize that "baby
boomer" police officers would retire around this period and
leave the city with a shortage of officers
Alameda County Sheriff's office investigating cockfighting
Alameda County Sheriff's officials Monday continued an investigation
into a large-scale cockfighting ring discovered near Livermore
at about 1 p.m. Sunday that resulted in seven arrests, according
to the sheriff's office.
Deputies received a call reporting a possible cockfighting ring
in the 4000 block of North Livermore Avenue in unincorporated
Alameda County, officials reported.
Arriving deputies found a cockfight in progress, according to
the sheriff's office. Seven suspects, two from the city of Alameda,
two from the Livermore area, one from San Jose, and one from Las
Vegas, Nev., were arrested and booked into the Santa Rita Jail
in Dublin, officials reported.
Sheriff's officials obtained a search warrant for the property
and during the course of a search conducted Sunday night discovered
more than 300 gamecocks used or intended for use in illegal cockfights,
Officials investigating United Airlines collision
United Airlines, Federal Aviation Administration and National
Transportation Safety Board officials Monday were investigating
why two United Airlines planes backed into each other at San Francisco
International Airport's Terminal 3 Sunday night, officials reported.
At about 7:30 p.m. a United Airlines Boeing 757 collided with
a Canadair Regional Jet owned by SkyWest Airlines and operating
a United Express flight, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
The United Express flight was carrying 54 people to Boise, Idaho,
and the Boeing was not carrying passengers as it was scheduled
for maintenance, United Airlines spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said.
The planes, pushed by aircraft tow tugs, were directed to push
back from their gates by air traffic controllers when, for an
unknown reason, the planes' tails collided, Gregor said.
Both planes reportedly sustained damage to the tails and were
taken out of service for repair work, officials said.
Travis Air Force Base couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning
Vacaville police said Monday afternoon that a Travis Air Force
Base couple found dead in their car Friday afternoon appear to
have accidentally died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Sgt. Bob Denton said an examination of Chad and Jessica Cheswick's
1992 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer at the city's central garage found
three areas in the exhaust system under the vehicle where carbon
monoxide could escape.
Tests performed at the garage found exhaust leaking into the
passenger compartment of the SUV, Denton said. Tests to determine
the amount that could enter the vehicle are being performed, Denton
said. There were no signs the exhaust system was damaged or had
been tampered with, Denton said.
The SUV's gas tank was empty and the key in the ignition was
in the on position, Denton said.
Autopsies on the two, who were in their 20s, were conducted Monday.
The preliminary examination found objective signs of carbon monoxide
exposure to the couple, Denton said. The final cause of death
is pending toxicology tests.
Dental records used to identify body found on Mount Tamalpais
The Marin County coroner's office is using dental records to
identify the body of a woman found on the southeast side of Mount
Tamalpais Sunday afternoon.
The Marin County Sheriff's Office said an autopsy will be conducted
during the next few days.
The body was found at 1:30 p.m. during a training session by
members of the sheriff's office's search and rescue team in a
remote and heavily wooded area near the Slide Gulch Ravine below
the Hoo Koo E Koo fire road and several hundred feet off the Corte
The discovery has lead to speculation the body is that of 25-year-old
Veronica Ruiz, of Mill Valley, the Internal Revenue Service agent
who disappeared while hiking on Mt. Tamalpais on Dec. 3.
Newsom endorses Speier
Former state Sen. Jackie Speier received the endorsement of San
Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom Monday in her quest for a U.S. congressional
seat in November.
Speier, 57, announced Sunday she would seek to fill the District
12 seat that is being relinquished by U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San
Francisco/San Mateo. The district represents a small portion of
southwest San Francisco and much of northern San Mateo County.
"I don't think anyone is more qualified, I don't think anyone
is more experienced," said Newsom at a news conference with
Speier outside West Portal Elementary School, after a brief tour
of the school and a meeting with students.
Newsom stressed the need for advocacy on a federal level for
local improvements to education and health care, as well as energy
independence and environmental concerns.
Speier said her intention was to make San Francisco schools "the
best in the nation," and that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's
current budget proposal would leave less for students.
Border Patrol officer charged with impersonating peace officer
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's office announced Monday
that a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer has been charged
with impersonating a peace officer for allegedly pulling over
a motorist in September 2007 on U.S. Highway 101 in San Jose.
Officer Thomas Murphy, 59, is not a peace officer and is not
authorized to make traffic stops, according to the District Attorney's
Investigators believe that Murphy may have pulled other motorists
over in his 2002 green sport-utility vehicle between October 2006
and September 2007. Anyone with information about Murphy is asked
to call Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Lamont Scott
at (510) 637-5051.
Murphy is currently on administrative leave from the Department
of Homeland Security. He is next scheduled to appear in court
in San Jose on Feb. 25, 2008.
Lofgren endorses Obama
One of Silicon Valley's most prominent female political leaders,
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, Monday endorsed Sen. Barack Obama
Lofgren has represented much of San Jose and other parts of Santa
Clara County in Congress since 1994. While she respects Obama's
major opponent in the Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Hillary
Clinton, she believes it is time for a change.
"We've had either a Clinton or a Bush as president since
1988. It's time for something new,'' Lofgren said.
Lofgren dismissed recent criticism leveled by the Clinton campaign
that Obama's talk about hope is not enough to win the presidential
race in November.
"There are times when you need someone who can inspire the
nation the way that Bobby Kennedy did and the way that Sen. Barack
Obama is,'' Lofgren said.
San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo also endorsed Obama Monday.
Both he and Lofgren appeared at the opening of Obama's San Jose
"It's from places like San Jose that Barack Obama will be
propelled into the White House. We are the place that propels
great ideas,'' Liccardo said.
Obama is scheduled to come to the Bay Area next week for a series
of fundraisers. He will also hold a public event at a location
to be determined later, according to a campaign spokeswoman.
Copyright © 2008 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.