Fog City News in Brief
By Lara Moscrip
May 24, 2007
Gwen Chan to step down as SFUSD Superintendent
Citing a desire to spend more time with her family, San Francisco
Unified School District Interim Superintendent Gwen Chan announced
Wednesday that she does not want to be considered in the search
for a permanent schools chief.
"I feel strongly that the district needs long-term leadership,"
said Chan. After working for the school district for 40 years,
and spending 21 years as a widow and single parent, Chan said
she plans to devote her time to her two grown sons and contribute
to the schools in other ways.
Chan, who has led San Francisco's public schools for the past
17 months, explained her decision at an emotional press conference
Wednesday afternoon at Francisco Middle School, where she was
the valedictorian in 1960.
Chan will step down as interim superintendent July 1. Saying
she felt blessed, Chan teared up as her colleagues gave her a
Mayor Gavin Newsom praised Chan for the Partnership for Achievement
she helped develop, which agrees on shared strategies between
the schools and the city.
Calling Chan "a breath of fresh air," the mayor said
he unsuccessfully tried to convince her to apply for the superintendent
"I am immeasurably disappointed by her decision," he
Meanwhile, the search for a superintendent will continue.
Board of Education President Mark Sanchez said the board is "very
close to the point where we can announce a name" of a candidate
Senator Migden under the influence of medication for leukemia
A spokeswoman for state Sen. Carole Migden confirmed that Migden
is taking medication for leukemia and that may have caused her
to become disoriented leading up to an incident in which she struck
a car driven by a woman with her daughter Friday near Fairfield.
The California Highway Patrol said Wednesday afternoon it will
recommend the Solano County District Attorney's Office charge
Migden with an infraction for driving too fast for road conditions
during one of two accidents on Friday.
CHP Sgt. Wulf Corrington said the CHP is still investigating
several witnesses' statements that Migden, D-San Francisco, was
driving recklessly from the Carquinez Bridge to Highway 12 at
Beck Avenue near Fairfield on Friday. She faces possible misdemeanor
charges for reckless driving, Corrington said.
Migden's 2007 Toyota Highlander struck a 2005 Honda injuring
a Vallejo woman and her toddler daughter in the Honda in the crash
near Fairfield, the CHP said. Corrington said Migden was driving
too fast in slowing traffic.
Migden's Highlander also struck a guardrail in the center median
on Interstate Highway 80 near and American Canyon Road Corrington
said. The CHP determined she made an unsafe turning movement but
does not intend to recommend any charges be filed in that incident,
Corrington said Migden did not make any statements at the Beck
Avenue accident scene regarding medications she might have been
taking and no medications were openly visible in her Highlander,
Berkeley City Council votes to dissolve dysfunctional Housing
The Berkeley City Council has voted to dissolve the city's dysfunctional
Housing Authority and bring in a new board and a new staff.
Although the council's action terminated all 22 members of the
Housing Authority's staff, the 14 staff members who are permanent
employees will be transferred to other city jobs, according to
city of Berkeley spokeswoman Mary Kay Clunies-Ross.
The City Council's action Tuesday night comes in the wake of
a report by City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque that says the Housing
Authority paid rent to landlords for 15 people who were dead,
failed to inspect units where substandard conditions exist and
allowed ineligible family members to inherit Section 8 housing
ahead of other people on the waiting list.
The report, which detailed 14 serious problems, also says the
authority's staff didn't conduct mandated criminal background
checks on tenants - in one case failing to detect a registered
sex offender- and failed to verify that units were occupied by
the people who were supposed to be living there.
A separate but related report by City Manager Phil Kamlarz says
the Berkeley Housing Authority has been labeled "troubled"
by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development since
U.S. Coast Guard, marine biologists change tactics with stubborn
The U.S. Coast Guard and marine biologists have changed their
tactics once again in their efforts to herd two injured humpback
whales that have spent nearly two weeks in the Sacramento River
and delta area back to the ocean.
On Wednesday, people banging pipes together underwater aboard
19 boats were able to drive the mother whale and her calf about
four miles downriver, but the animals turned around as they approached
the Rio Vista Bridge, the Coast Guard reported.
Researchers and officials planned to try playing recorded sounds
of killer whales, the humpback whale's natural predator, from
two boats Wednesday afternoon to spur the whales back to the ocean.
Marine biologists will be monitoring the whales' behavior while
the killer whale sounds are being played, the Coast Guard reported.
On Tuesday, Dr. Frances Gulland, principal veterinarian of the
Marine Mammal Center, reported that the whales' wounds appeared
to have worsened and that their skin had changed from smooth and
shiny to irregular and pitted.
The whales' wounds are presumed to be from a run-in with a vessel.
Freshwater from the river can impede their healing process, but
assessing their health is difficult because they mask their injuries
to protect themselves from predators, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard was hoping to get the whales to Antioch Wednesday
where saltwater concentrations begin in the river, according to
the Coast Guard.
Alameda County Sheriff's office announces prosecutors have
decided not to charge their prime suspect in Jennifer Lin murder
Just four days before the 13th anniversary of the day that 14-year-old
Jennifer Lin was murdered at her Castro Valley home, the Alameda
County Sheriff's office announced that prosecutors have decided
not to charge the prime suspect in the case at this time.
Almost exactly a year ago, on May 25, 2006, Sheriff's officials
announced that Sebastian Alexander Shaw, now 39 who is serving
three life sentences in Oregon for murders and other crimes he
committed there, was the sole suspect in the May 27, 1994, killing
of Lin, a straight-A student and talented violist.
But Sgt. Scott Dudek said Wednesday that after several weeks
of reviewing investigators' reports, the Alameda County District
Attorney's "felt a jury, at this time, would not convict
Shaw for the murder."
In a statement, Dudek said, "Although we were disappointed,
we completely agree with their decision not to seek an arrest
warrant on Shaw."
In a phone interview, District Attorney Tom Orloff said he and
several other people in his office reviewed the case but they
feel "there is not enough evidence to prove he (Shaw) did
But Orloff said Shaw is still a suspect, the investigation is
still open and it's possible there will be enough evidence to
charge Shaw in the future.
And because Shaw is serving three life terms, he isn't going
anywhere, Orloff said.
At a news conference on May 25, 2006, Sheriff Greg Ahern said
investigators have considered Shaw a person of interest since
shortly after Lin was killed and came to consider him the sole
suspect by early 2006.
Ahern said investigators focused on Shaw even more after he claimed
in a 1998 interview with Portland, Ore., police that he killed
as many as 10 to 12 people.
However, Ahern said Shaw hasn't confessed to any specific homicides,
including Lin's death.
Female driver dies after being struck by debris from jackknifed
A female driver struck by debris from a jackknifed big-rig Tuesday
afternoon on U.S. Highway 101 in Redwood City died later in the
day after being airlifted to the hospital, California Highway
Patrol spokesman Officer Eric Parsons said Wednesday.
San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault identified the woman
Wednesday as Indira Gagloeva, 37, of Mountain View.
Gagloeva was driving a sport utility vehicle in the fast lane
of northbound U.S. Highway 101 near Woodside Road at about 1 p.m.
when a big-rig on the southbound side lost control and crashed
into and partially over the center divide, scattering concrete
debris, according to the CHP.
Some of the concrete chunks went through Gagloeva's windshield,
striking her in the head, according to Parsons. Gagloeva's 12-year-old
daughter was also in the car and suffered minor injuries.
The big-rig burst into flames, closing both directions of the
Gagloeva was airlifted to Stanford Medical Center. She was pronounced
dead at approximately 4:30 p.m., according to the San Mateo County
The daughter was also hospitalized, but there was no immediate
word Wednesday whether she had been released, Parsons said.
Both the truck driver and a passenger in the truck were uninjured
and escaped before the truck caught fire.
Parsons said Wednesday that the CHP officer investigating the
incident is still talking with witnesses to determine if there
was any negligence on the part of the truck driver. With a fatality,
vehicular manslaughter remains a possible charge, he said.
EU grants Napa Valley vintners status to prevent misuse of
the Napa name
The European Union has formally granted Napa Valley a geographic
indication status that prevents the misuse of the Napa name on
wines produced in or imported to Europe.
Terry Hall, communications director for Napa Valley Vintners,
called the EU's action "a landmark recognition" because
it is the first time a nonmember of the union has been given geographic
indication status. There had been no protocol protecting nonmembers,
"It is a great victory for protecting the Napa name in Europe,
a critical component of Napa Valley Vintners' ongoing efforts
worldwide," Hall said Wednesday.
Napa Valley Vintners petitioned the EU for geographic indication
status in Brussels last summer, Hall said.
"It's all about international trade relations and branding,"
Two winemakers, Clos du Napa in the United Kingdom and Varon
du Napa in Spain, used the Napa name on their wines, Hall said.
Nine other winemakers outside the EU also use the Napa name, he
"Hopefully that will change," he said.
Details of the EU's decision will be announced at a news conference
this afternoon in San Francisco. Jean-Marc Trarieux, Agriculture
Attache-First Secretary Delegation of the European Commission
and members of the Napa Valley Vintners are scheduled to attend.
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