Fog City News Briefs
By Lara Moscrip
June 7, 2007
San Francisco police investigating double homicide
San Francisco police are investigating a double homicide that
occurred Wednesday night. Police were called to an apartment in
the 800 block of O'Farrell Street and found a man and a woman
dead, apparently from stab wounds, according to Sgt. Neville Gittens.
Although the cause of death will be officially determined by
the San Francisco medical examiner, it appears that the killings
were caused either by a murder-suicide, or the two people somehow
ended up killing each other, Gittens said. Police were called
to the building around 8 p.m.
An investigation is ongoing, Gittens said.
San Francisco General Hospital bomb threat second in recent
A spokesman for San Francisco General Hospital said that Wednesday's
suspected bomb threat was the second such incident in past weeks
that the hospital has received.
According to Delvecchio Finley, an administrator at the hospital,
today will be business as usual for the hospital and the outpatient
clinic building and administrative office that was affected by
According to San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens, an item
made to look like an explosive device was found on hospital property
Wednesday afternoon, prompting police to block off the area for
Gittens said that members of the bomb unit and the special investigations
unit are continuing their investigation, after having cleared
the area Wednesday evening.
On Wednesday afternoon, the item was found on San Francisco General
Hospital property at 887 Potrero Ave. According to Finley, the
device was found near buildings 80 and 90 on the north end of
the hospital campus.
Police set up roadblocks and prompted the closure of Potrero
Avenue between 20th and 22nd streets.
Finely said that in the past weeks there have been similar threats
made against the hospital. He said that today there will be an
internal meeting with staff to share information on how to deal
with such situations.
Brown to examine De Anza Colege rape case
California Attorney General Jerry Brown will examine the De Anza
College baseball rape case at the request of the Santa Clara County
district attorney who decided to not file charges due to insufficient
Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr is confident
Brown will reach a similar conclusion, according to Santa Clara
County Assistant District Attorney David Tomkins.
Brown was asked by Carr to review the case in a letter sent Friday.
One of the main reasons for the independent review is to back
Carr's controversial decision and to show that what the public
has seen so far is only a partial glimpse of what happened in
the South Buena Vista Avenue house, Tomkins said.
Allegations emerged after a 17-year-old girl claimed to have
been sexually assaulted at a March 4 party in unincorporated San
Jose by members of the De Anza College baseball team.
Carr has defended the decision to not prosecute by saying that
evidence in the media only shows part of the case.
"We had an ethical responsibility not to discuss the case,"
The case went between the Santa Clara County sheriff's office
and the district attorney, who initially turned the case back
to the sheriff for more investigation.
Eight baseball players were suspended due to team policy violations.
On May 21, Carr announced that no charges would be filed due
to "insufficient evidence."
The decision outraged many in the community.
Christian group wins state appeal to use movie theater as
A Christian group won a round in a state appeals court in San
Francisco on Wednesday in its long-running quest to use a former
movie theater in a shopping mall as a church.
The Court of Appeal upheld decisions by the Concord City Council
and a Contra Costa County trial judge to allow the Harvest Church
to use the space in the Park & Shop Center for religious services.
The nondenominational church has owned the property since 1999.
Several individuals and groups challenged the proposed use, arguing
that it conflicted with city plans to emphasize retail and commercial
uses for the shopping center.
But the appeals court said the city's general and redevelopment
plans did not absolutely prohibit non-retail uses. A three-judge
panel said locating the church in the shopping center could aid
the center's development by preventing vacant space and blight.
Justice James Lambden wrote, "The record indicates the City
Council thought it necessary to be somewhat flexible in considering
how to encourage the development of a declining downtown shopping
center under the existing circumstances."
A lawyer for the groups opposing the project was not immediately
available for comment on the ruling, which could be appealed to
the state Supreme Court.
Four years ago, the appeals court in an earlier stage of the
case ruled against the Harvest Church and upheld a 1999 decision
in which the City Council denied a permit for the project.
In Wednesday's ruling, the appeals court said the City Council
was entitled to change its mind and grant the permit in 2004 because
no other viable tenant had been found and there was testimony
the shopping center had declined into some disrepair during the
The court said another difference in the two appeals was that
the church's current proposal no longer includes a meeting and
conference space, which would have caused more traffic.
Drowning death ruled accidental
East Bay Regional Park District police said Wednesday that the
drowning death of 14-year-old Rudy Rodriguez at Roberts Regional
Recreational Area on May 24 appears to have been the result of
an accident, not foul play.
But Park District Police Chief Police Timothy Anderson said in
a statement that the investigation is continuing and, "If
we establish criminal wrongdoing we will certainly take appropriate
However, he said that after conducting "dozens" of
interviews of Park District staff as well as the staff and students
of Bret Harte Middle School, which was having an end-of-school-year
picnic at the park on May 24, "We have not been able to establish
exactly what circumstance led to Rudy being spotted at the bottom
of the swimming pool."
He said, "Based upon the totality of information available
at this time, this appears to be a tragic accident."
Anderson said Park District police know that Rudy had been seen
in or about the pool area both that morning and afternoon but
have been unable to locate an eyewitness "to provide us with
an accounting of why Rudy ended up in the deep end of the pool
or why he became submerged."
Anderson said students in the pool "had been engaging in
so-called horseplay and dunking" throughout the day but no
firsthand witness has come forward to say if such horseplay is
what led to Rudy being submerged.
The chief said investigators believe there may be one or more
students in the group that day "that could provide valuable
insight and may be reluctant to come forward either due to peer
pressure or some other reason."
Police said they have a tip line at 510-690-6521 and ask students
who were present at the 8th grade picnic that day to come forward
if they believe they have information that would be helpful to
Graduating diplomas on hold for Richmond High School seniors
As many as 40 Richmond High School seniors have passed the requirements
to graduate but won't be given diplomas next week and won't be
allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies because they haven't
passed the California High School Exit Exam, according to a youth
Students marched from Richmond High School on Wednesday afternoon
to the West Contra Costa Unified School District School Board
meeting at DeJean Middle School, said Linda Salinas, a Youth Together
Youth Together is an Oakland-based, non-profit organization working
to teach students to advocate for themselves.
Students who have not passed the exam will be asking the school
board to allow them to participate in the graduation ceremony
next Wednesday and to be given a certificate of completion, Salinas
Students will also be asking the school board to recognize that
the CAHSEE has had a disproportionate impact on the Hispanic community,
"The fact is that the Latino community has been devastated
by this exam and they're angry," school board member Charles
Ramsey, however, also said that he would not support a motion
to allow students who haven't passed the CAHSEE to participate
in graduation, saying that graduation "is a ceremony recognizing
students for their achievements."
He also said that a certificate of completion wouldn't do anything
to help students get jobs after they leave high school.
"That piece of paper is meaningless," Ramsey said.
"It has no value to a child."
Salinas said that there are between 35 and 40 Richmond High School
seniors who have completed all of the requirements to graduate
except for the CAHSEE.
According to the May 31 CAHSEE results, 80 students out of the
284 in Richmond High School's 12th grade class have not passed
the exit exam.
San Francisco federal judge reaffirms ruling refusing to dismiss
lawsuit against Chevron
A federal judge in San Francisco has reaffirmed previous rulings
refusing to dismiss a lawsuit against ChevronTexaco Corp. for
alleged human rights abuses during oil development protests in
Nigeria in 1998 and 1999.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled late Tuesday that the
San Ramon-based company could be held liable for the conduct of
its Nigerian subsidiary, Chevron Nigeria Ltd.
Illston reaffirmed two previous rulings issued in 2004 in which
she rejected ChevronTexaco arguments that it was not responsible
for the subsidiary's actions.
Nine Nigerians claim in a 1999 lawsuit that ChevronTexaco is
responsible for deaths and other abuses allegedly carried out
by Nigerian military and police paid by Chevron in two incidents.
Two protesters were killed on an offshore oil platform in 1998
and seven residents of two villages near an oil export facility
were killed in 1999, according to the lawsuit.
Theresa Traber, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said, "Chevron
has repeatedly tried to keep an American jury from scrutinizing
its role in the deaths and destruction our clients suffered at
the hands of its paid security forces."
The attorney said no trial date has been set and Illston has
yet to rule on several other motions by ChevronTexaco that could
eliminate part or all of the lawsuit before a trial.
ChevronTexaco spokesman Charlie Stewart said he could not comment
specifically on the lawsuit but said, "Nigerian militants
took over Chevron Nigeria's offshore barge and drilling platform
and held more than 100 hostages for three days, threatening sea
piracy and violence if Chevron Nigeria did not give them jobs
Stewart said, "Chevron's priority is the safety of its people
and it was perfectly reasonable for Chevron Nigeria to seek assistance
from local authorities to help secure the safety of its innocent
"We continue to believe that the Nigerians should not be
in a U.S. court and have no basis in fact or in law to claim that
their rights were violated when government forces rescued the
hostages," the spokesman said.
Marijuana grow-operation discovered in San Francisco's Bayview
A landlord checking a leak in an apartment in San Francisco's
Bayview District on Tuesday night called police when he discovered
a marijuana growing operation, according to San Francisco police
Sgt. Neville Gittens.
Police arrived at apt. No. 10 in the building at 801 Minnesota
St. at around 8:16 p.m. and discovered numerous marijuana plants,
Police are still not sure who rented the apartment. Preliminary
reports identify the renter only as a Hispanic man between the
ages of 20 and 25, he said.
The San Francisco Police Department Narcotics Division is investigating
Father arrested for allegedly using his teenage children in
Santa Clara County narcotics agents on Wednesday announced the
arrest of a San Jose man who allegedly brought his two teenage
children along on a drug deal and hid methamphetamine in a Strawberry
Francisco Servin Ruiz, 38, was arrested on Tuesday in Los Gatos
during a car stop off of Los Gatos Boulevard after agents from
the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team learned that
a drug deal involving Ruiz was going to take place. Ruiz's 14-year-old
son and 16-year-old stepdaughter were in the car with Ruiz at
the time of his arrest.
Ruiz was found with methamphetamine on his person as well as
an additional amount of the drug stuffed inside the doll found
near his stepdaughter's feet. Agents later found additional methamphetamine
at Ruiz's San Jose home, according to team commander Robert Mecir.
"All told we found approximately two ounces with a street
value of $5,000," Mecir said.
Ruiz is currently being held without bail in Santa Clara County
Jail. The children have been turned over to the county's Child
protective Services office.
San Mateo Union High School District in financial tatters
due to mismanagement
The San Mateo Union High School District is in financial tatters
due to mismanagement by its board of trustees and needs an immediate
overhaul, according to a San Mateo County civil grand jury report
The district serves about 8,300 students in San Mateo, San Bruno,
Burlingame, Foster City, Millbrae and Hillsborough.
Having earlier investigated the district's significant debt and
fiscal management problems in two previous reports, the grand
jury Wednesday concluded that proper oversight of "questionable
financial practices" could have prevented 16 SMUHSD teachers
and 36 staff from being laid off in fall 2006.
"The San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees
neglected its duties, was fiscally irresponsible, and allowed
hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money to be squandered,"
the report stated, adding that academic programs could also now
District officials were not immediately available for comment.
The grand jury made recommendations addressing four areas of
concern: overtime payments and consultant agreements; inaccurate
grant applications to the state that could result in fines and
penalties against the district; improper transfers from the district's
building fund to its general fund; and the approval of debt financing
with excessive interest and fees.
The report called on district officials to "immediately
make positive and significant changes in the District's financial
controls and procedures."
The grand jury's 37-page report can be found online at: http://sanmateocourt.org/grandjury.
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