By Michael Aldax
July 12, 2007
Tensions mount in garbage worker strike
Tempers continued to flare Wednesday in the ongoing impasse between
Waste Management of Alameda County and locked out union garbage
On the same day Waste Management announced it had restored most
weekly collection services to its customers, union leaders and
workers continued picketing outside the company's headquarters
at 172 98th Ave. in Oakland.
To further complicate matters, one worker was allegedly struck
and injured by a Waste Management vehicle entering the south side
of the facility.
Don Crosatto, a leader of Machinists Local Lodge 1546, which
is one of three unions affected by the company's decision to lock
out more than 500 workers beginning on July 2, said a security
vehicle hit Don Welch at least once in an incident about 6:30
Crosatto said the incident occurred on the south side of the
company's property on Adams Avenue in San Leandro, where trucks
are dispatched to pick up garbage.
Crosatto said the security vehicle was a sports utility vehicle
that was closely following a garbage truck that was headed into
the dispatch area.
Galen Munroe of the national office of the International Brotherhood
of Teamsters, another union affected by the lockout, said he was
told that the vehicle hit Welch once and then hit him a second
time, sending him into the street.
Teamsters Local 70 secretary-treasurer Chuck Mack discussed the
incident at a rally Wednesday that was attended by about 200 sanitation
workers outside Waste Management's transfer station on Davis Street
in San Leandro.
Mack alleged that the driver's conduct was "absolutely outrageous"
and accused him of leaving the scene of an accident.
The allegation was the latest drama of what is now a seasoned
impasse between the waste disposal company and its workers.
Members of the San Leandro, Hayward and Berkeley City Councils
joined the workers Wednesday and called on Waste Management to
end the lockout and resume negotiations with its employees.
On Tuesday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously
to urge the same action.
The East Bay communities served by Waste Management 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
The company and union representatives met with a federal mediator
on Monday but didn't make any progress.
Antibacterial soap and plastic bottles declared a threat to
animals and humans
A study released Wednesday says that chemicals found in household
products such as antibacterial soap and plastic bottles are found
in sewage water that's discharged into the San Francisco Bay and
pose a threat to wildlife and humans.
The study was conducted by the Environmental Working Group, a
nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., and with its West Coast
office in Oakland, at the request of the East Bay Municipal Utility
The study says that chemical ingredients are leaching out of
toothpaste, deodorant, canned food liners and vinyl and polycarbonate
plastics but pass through municipal sewage plants virtually untreated.
According to the study, while wastewater treatment is extremely
effective in removing biodegradable food and human waste, as well
as many metals, it was never designed to address this broad spectrum
of unregulated chemical pollution.
The study says advances in wastewater treatment may reduce some
types of pollution, but new chemicals are introduced continuously
into the marketplace.
Inspectors who participated in the study found three types of
chemicals in the San Francisco Bay: phthalates, bisphenol A and
triclosan. All are suspected of interfering with hormone systems
of humans and wildlife.
Speaking at a news conference by the Bay at Crown Memorial State
Beach in Alameda, Bill Walker, a vice president for the Environmental
Working Group, urged consumers to make better choices in the type
of products they buy.
For example, he said consumers should stop using antibacterial
soaps, which frequently contain triclosan, and other products
containing harmful chemicals.
Spaying and neutering law held over in Assembly
A bill that would require spaying and neutering of California's
cats and dogs that was supposed to face a vote Wednesday was held
over due to lack of support.
"Rather than let the bill die there and start from scratch,
we decided to hold it over till January," said Alex Traverso,
spokesman for Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys.
A five-person senate committee was supposed to vote on the bill
Wednesday morning, said Traverso, "We needed three senators
to vote for it, and the support wasn't there."
Bill AB 1634 would require local governments to fine pet owners
who do not spay or neuter their dog or cat. Owners wishing to
breed their animals would be able to pay a fee in order to obtain
Levine proposed the bill in order to curb the euthanasia of about
400,000 animals killed across the state every year.
The bill was amended seven times but still faces opposition from
dog and cat breeders, many of whom breed as a hobby and say they
not have money to pay for a breeding license.
Other animal activists, such as Concerned Dog Owner of California
director Cathie Turner, say mandatory spay and neuter laws are
simply ineffective and may cause public health risks if owners
of unaltered pets fear rapprochement and don't get animals vaccinated
Teenager who set off illegal fireworks in Dolores Park arrested
A teenager was arrested Wednesday for allegedly setting off dangerous
fireworks on July 4 in the area of Dolores Park in the Mission
District, the same area where an errant firework significantly
injured a teenage girl's hand.
The 17-year-old San Francisco resident has not been charged in
the crime against the teenage girl due to insufficient evidence,
according to the San Francisco Police Department.
But the investigation into the maiming of the girl in Dolores
Park led police to believe the juvenile did at least ignite explosive
devices in the area, police said.
The suspect has been charged with four counts of discharging
dangerous fireworks and one count of discharging fireworks, causing
damage around Dolores Park, police said.
Anyone with information regarding the maiming of the victim is
encouraged to call the Special Investigations Division at (415)
Two homicides reported in Oakland
Two homicides were reported in Oakland Wednesday afternoon, according
to Oakland Police Department officials.
The first homicide occurred just after noon Wednesday. A woman
was reportedly found with stab wounds in the 600 block of West
Grand Avenue. She was taken to Highland Hospital, where she later
succumbed to her injuries, according to police.
The second homicide victim was reported at 4:50 p.m. Oakland
police found a dead body in the 2100 block of West Street.
The victim reportedly suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. Police
are unsure whether the wound caused the victim's death or where
the shooting had occurred.
Both homicides are under investigation, police said.
Napa grass fire contained
A grass fire in Napa County that scorched 60 acres along Atlas
Peak Road Wednesday is now 100-percent contained, according to
The fire was contained at around 6 p.m., the dispatcher said.
All structures threatened by the fire were saved, and there were
no injuries, according to the report.
The fire was reported at 2:13 p.m. above the Silverado Country
Club and the Bubbling Well Pet Cemetery east of Napa.
Castro District fire injures three
An adult and two juveniles were injured in a blaze that broke
out in a three-unit flat in San Francisco's Castro District Wednesday.
The fire scorched the top floor of a three-story building at
4680 18th St. and was contained 18 minutes after it was reported
at 7:11 p.m., said San Francisco Fire Lt. Ken Smith.
The condition of the injured parties is unknown, Smith said.
They've been transported to San Francisco General Hospital.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, Smith said.
Man arrested for stealing Gameboy from 8-year-old boy
A man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly swiping a Nintendo
Gameboy from an 8-year-old boy at a downtown Santa Rosa mall.
Santa Rosa Police Department officials say Eric Radford, 18,
of Santa Rosa, forcibly grabbed the game console from a boy waiting
with his mother at a bus stop.
A witness who grew suspicious when she saw the suspect running
from the mall contacted police, officials said.
Upon detaining Radford, Santa Rosa police say they recovered
the Nintendo Gameboy and returned it to the victim.
Radford was arrested and booked into the Sonoma County jail on
robbery charges, police said.
Novato residents arrested for growing pot
Marin County authorities said five people were arrested Wednesday
after 224 marijuana plants were found growing in a residence at
132 Indian Hill Drive in Novato.
Marin County Sheriff's Sgt. Keith Boyd said deputies also found
$9,000 in U.S. currency in the house.
The investigation began two months ago when the Novato Police
Department provided information regarding a tip that high usage
on a PG&E meter was noticed at the residence.
The Marin County Major Crimes Task Force then determined the
residence was vacant and uninhabited but the PG&E meter was
"spinning" at a rate indicating high electricity use,
On Tuesday, task force members saw two vehicles in the driveway
and determined they were registered to owners in San Jose and
Orange County, Boyd said. Detectives noticed the strong smell
of marijuana at the front door and one of the residents allowed
the detectives inside, Boyd said.
Former Sonoma County Sheriff convicted of perjury
A Sonoma County jury Wednesday afternoon convicted former Sonoma
County Sheriff's deputy Marcus Parker of perjury in connection
with twice selling his sports utility vehicle.
Parker, 36, faces up to four years in prison when he is sentenced
Aug. 20. He is free on bail.
Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elliot Daum had already dismissed
vehicle theft, grand theft auto, theft and receiving stolen property
charges against Parker before the jury returned its verdict after
deliberating Wednesday morning. The judge ruled the prosecution
did not present evidence to support those allegations.
The remaining perjury count alleged Parker committed perjury
when he told the California Department of Motor Vehicles he lost
the pink slip to his GMC Yukon when he applied for a duplicate
title to the vehicle in June 2004.
Richmond gang arrested for drug charges
C" street gang that operates in Richmond's Iron Triangle
neighborhood were arrested Wednesday morning after a 10-month
DaNicholas Evans, 24, of Richmond; Robert Williams, 20, of Richmond;
Brandon Thomas, 22, of Oakland; and Nathanial Carter, 22, of Richmond
were named in the indictment. Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan said
the suspects were all arrested shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The arrests follow indictments that were unsealed Wednesday by
a Contra Costa County grand jury, according to the U.S. Department
of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.
All four men face various state drug charges and, if convicted,
could face up to 19 years in prison, according to the DEA.
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