July 10, 2007
Alameda County Waste Management meets with Teamsters Local
Representatives from Waste Management of Alameda County and the
union that represents 500 garbage workers met with a federal mediator
for three hours Monday, but negotiations proved fruitless.
That the talks were unproductive was "the one thing we can
agree on," according to Chuck Mack, the secretary-treasurer
of Teamsters Local 70 in Oakland, which represents the workers.
Waste Management locked out the garbage workers at 5 p.m. on
July 2 after three months of contract talks were unproductive.
Since that time, the company has deployed substitute workers
to provide services to the communities it serves, which are Albany,
Emeryville, Oakland, Hayward, Newark, Livermore, the Castro Valley
Sanitary District, Oro Loma Sanitary District in parts of San
Leandro and San Lorenzo, San Ramon and unincorporated Alameda
Waste Management said no new bargaining dates have been set.
But Mack said mediator Jerry Allen "got a good idea of the
issues today" and he thinks Allen may call both sides back
to the table in the near future.
Waste Management has admitted that garbage has piled up in many
areas because the replacement workers don't know the routes well.
But the company said tonight that collection of most trash is
returning to normal schedules.
Waste Management area vice president alleged in a statement that
the Teamsters have been unwilling to bargain in good faith.
Mack said, "Our members are very strong and committed and
are not willing to cave in to concessions" that he said management
Palo Alto police investigate arson
Arson is to blame for a fire that gutted a two-story building
in Palo Alto on July 1, the Palo Alto Police Department announced
The fire at 310 University Ave. began at about 9:30 p.m. and
took firefighters more than five hours to get under control.
The second level offices were completely gutted and a Subway
sandwich shop and Walgreen's pharmacy on the first floor also
received major damage.
Fire damages are estimated at nearly $8 million, officials said.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives
has aided Palo Alto and Santa Clara County arson investigators
with the investigation.
All agencies involved agree the cause of the fire was arson,
Investigations are ongoing, officials said, and no suspects have
Fifteen-year-old girls arrested for burning kitten alive
Two 15-year-old girls will appear in Juvenile Court today in
connection with the burning of a live kitten in a cage, the Sonoma
County District Attorney's Office said Monday afternoon.
The girls were arrested Friday and charged with killing, maiming
or abusing an animal. The maximum penalty is three years confinement,
District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua said.
Both suspects are being detained in the county's juvenile hall
and the court proceedings are closed to the public, Passalacqua
The kitten was found burned in a cage in the Apple Valley neighborhood
of Santa Rosa on June 20. Witnesses said they saw two girls standing
near the cage.
Five other kittens and an adult cat were collected by an Apple
Valley resident for spay or neutering by the Forgotten Felines
organization but the cats were left outdoors in their cages overnight,
authorities said. The five kittens are still missing.
The male, short hair kitten named Adam received second- and third-
degree burns over most of its body and was being treated at an
animal hospital in Cotati.
Former Berkeley firefighter sentenced for molestation
Former Berkeley firefighter Luis Ponce was sentenced Monday to
63 years to life in state prison for his conviction on 16 felony
counts of molesting two young girls at his home in Grass Valley
in Nevada County.
Ponce, 50, was a paramedic supervisor who worked for the Berkeley
Fire Department for 17 years before resigning in February 2006
after charges were filed against him both in Nevada County and
The charges against Ponce were based on videotapes found in his
home in Grass Valley and in his locker at the Berkeley Fire Department,
which showed him molesting two young girls.
Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Charles O'Rourke said
he sought a term of 135 years to life for Ponce, but Judge Ersel
Edwards sentenced him to a lesser term.
However, O'Rourke said, "I won't complain" about Ponce's
sentence because he thinks it's still unlikely that Ponce will
ever be released from prison since he will have to serve at least
45 years and won't be eligible for parole until he's more than
100 years old.
Lawsuit claims Oakland International Airport violates Proposition
A group that monitors and enforces civil rights laws has filed
a lawsuit alleging that the Port of Oakland engages in illegal
race- and sex-based bias in awarding concession contracts at the
Oakland International Airport.
The suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, claims that
the airport's "concession disadvantaged business enterprise
program" violates state Proposition 209 because it discriminates
and grants preferences in the awarding of retail, duty-free and
food and beverage concessions.
Proposition 209, which was passed by California voters in 1996,
prohibits race- and sex-based preferences or discrimination in
public contracting, employment and education.
The suit was filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation, which describes
itself as the oldest and largest public-interest legal organization
dedicated to limited government, individual rights and property
rights, on behalf of the American Civil Rights Organization.
The two groups say the suit is the first legal action in the
nation challenging an airport concession policy that discriminates
by race or sex.
Sonoma County inmate dies in jail cell
A Sonoma County jail inmate who wanted to be treated by his personal
physician was found dead in his cell at the county jail Monday.
Sonoma County Sheriff's Capt. Dave Edmonds identified the inmate
as Ryan George. Edmonds said George was admitted to Sutter Medical
Center in Santa Rosa on July 1 and was treated, evaluated and
released to the jail two days later.
George, 22, was sentenced for spousal battery to 10 months in
the Sonoma County jail on April 17 and had until May 31 to turn
himself in to the jail.
George's attorney Joseph Stogner said he was to appear in court
Monday morning to try to modify George's sentence so he could
be released early to get treatment. Stogner said George's family
informed him George suffered from sickle cell anemia.
Stogner confirmed George was cleared by Sutter Medical Center
to return to the jail.
Edmonds said the Marin County Sheriff's Office will investigate
George's in custody death.
San Rafael mother not charged for leaving son unattended in
San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said Monday no
charges will be filed against the mother whose 6-year-old son
was driven away in her unattended sport utility vehicle on Friday.
The boy, Petey Peterson, was found safe in the 2004 GMC Yukon
an hour later about 10 blocks from the Marin Day School's daycare
center on Court Street.
The boy's mother left her son in the SUV with the engine running
and the keys in the ignition while she went to pick up her other
child at the daycare center around 2:30 p.m. She returned moments
later to see the Yukon driving down Court Street with her son
still in the back seat.
An Amber Alert was issued and the Yukon was found on Shaver Street
around 3:35 p.m. The Yukon's engine was still running and the
air conditioning was on, police said, and the boy was still strapped
in his booster seat.
Peterson said the driver was a dark-skinned man in a green shirt
and tan pants. He is still at large and police have no further
description of the suspect, Rohrbacher said.
Foster City police find sexual assault suspect in Berkeley
A man arrested in Berkeley early Saturday morning on domestic
violence charges was found to have had an outstanding warrant
stemming from an unrelated sexual assault case in Foster City,
officials said Monday.
The Foster City Police Department believe Ricardo Solis-Montenegro,
36, attacked a 32-year-old woman while she was inline skating
on a pedestrian walkway near Baffin Street in April of 2006.
Police believe the suspect jumped out from bushes along the walkway
and tackled the woman before stating his intent to sexually assault
The woman was able to remove her skates and run from the suspect
without further attack, according to police. Undisclosed physical
evidence led police to believe Solis-Montenegro was the attacker.
Solis-Montenegro is being held in a local jail in Berkeley until
a set of unrelated domestic violence charges are addressed, police
said. He will then be transferred to San Mateo County Jail to
appear in court on the Foster City warrant.
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