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John King


SF hospital starts umbilical cord blood donation effort

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 03:25:41 UT

New parents in San Francisco can now donate their infant’s umbilical cord blood for use in transplants or medical research. Usable blood is sent to the Cleveland Cord Blood Center in Ohio, where it is stored and placed in a registry that is available free for public use and can be drawn on by doctors in the United States and 17 other countries. Doctors use it as an alternative for bone marrow transplants in treating cancer patients. The state Legislature voted in 2010 to increase birth certificate fees by $2 as a way to fund a statewide effort, the Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program, which is managed by UC Davis.

Salesforce gets naming rights to new SF transit center

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:10:09 UT

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority board voted Thursday to let Salesforce put its name on the transit center opening next year in downtown San Francisco, but balked at letting the software firm control when the rooftop park is open or closed. The 25-year, $110 million sponsorship agreement will change the name of the facility to the Salesforce Transit Center and place the company’s name or logo on as many as 177 signs throughout the structure, including digital kiosks and way-finding pylons. “Unfortunately, we are in a situation where we have to rely on naming rights,” said board member Ed Reiskin, director of the Municipal Transportation Agency. Though the board members present praised authority staff for the financial side of the deal with Salesforce, Jane Kim objected to a clause in the agreement stating that the rooftop park’s closing hours could be changed only with written permission from the San Francisco-based tech firm. A compromise was arranged to vote to approve the sponsorship agreement — but with the stipulation that the language would be revised so that Salesforce doesn’t have veto power if there’s a desire to extend park hours in future years.

Fireworks overcome SF’s fog to brighten sky, spirits for Fourth

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 05:52:02 UT

San Francisco marked the Fourth of July in classic (local) summer fashion — with cold fog and stiff winds but double-barreled fireworks nonetheless. The chilly, overcast evening didn’t keep people from spending their holiday on the waterfront. By 7:30, the lawn at Aquatic Park was comfortably full with families, couples and groups of friends who showed up early to stake out space. Many were tourists who decided to make the fireworks — and the gathering fog — part of their itineraries. “I looked it up, saw fireworks on the bay, and we thought it would be fun,” said Sarah Franz, who had arrived Monday from the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her brother, Jonathan. On a bench nearby, the Gama family of Riverside was huddled tight after polishing off a takeout pizza for warmth. [...] the Fourth of July is more than fireworks, and crowds across the Bay Area gathered Tuesday for music, picnics and parades. In Redwood City, the view from Melissa Magallón’s pink beach chair showed a crowd of thousands gathered for the city’s annual Fourth of July parade, which featured college marching bands, unicycle riders and local businesses puttering down Arguello Street in flatbed trucks. Nearby on Broadway, a classic car exhibit featured gleaming Chevrolet Impalas, boxy Plymouths and Mustangs with their hoods open to expose exquisite vintage engines. Melissa, 6, wore patriotic colors to celebrate the occasion: a puffy red and blue bow and flip-flop sandals with red straps, revealing her red-and-blue polished toenails. By 11 a.m. she was clinging to her mother, Maribel Magallón, and craning her neck to see the dancing tree mascot from Stanford University. “The chile pepper, that’s kind of new,” she said, pointing to a truck blasting cumbia music, with a large sign advertising the Redwood City Salsa Festival in September.

Antioch police seek man who shot and killed gas station cashier

Wed, 5 Jul 2017 00:02:39 UT

A cashier at an Antioch gas station was shot and killed Monday evening in an incident that also involved an officer firing shots. Antioch police did not return several calls on Tuesday regarding the crime, but the victim was identified as Jawad Ataie, 57, by workers at the Valero station at Hillside Avenue and East 18th Street. According to a GoFundMe page set up by the family on Tuesday, Ataie was on duty when a gunman pistol-whipped him and then shot him in the back, twice.

Woman shot to death in San Jose remains unidentified

Tue, 4 Jul 2017 23:15:00 UT

Officers responding to reports of loud bangs inside a home found the victim dead at the scene. There was no update on the status of the investigation since Monday evening, according to a police spokesperson. The shooting took place in a residential neighborhood two blocks south of the university.

Driver sought after fatal crash in San Jose

Tue, 4 Jul 2017 22:21:05 UT

Driver sought after fatal crash in San Jose A passenger was killed and the driver fled the scene after a fatal car crash Monday evening in San Jose. The incident occurred at 10:40 p.m. when a 2010 Toyota Corolla heading south on Highway 85 swung onto the carpool flyover lane to Highway 101 “at an undetermined speed,” according to the California Highway Patrol.

Gerson Bakar, developer behind SFMOMA and Mission Bay, dies

Sat, 17 Jun 2017 19:14:07 UT

Levi’s Plaza is his best-known project, a still-alluring blend of handsome brick buildings and naturalistic public space. [...] Mr. Bakar also was a catalyst in the development of the Mission Bay neighborhood and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s move to Third Street — two projects that have altered the map of San Francisco. “Gerson was unassuming — he didn’t want the attention,” said former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan, who was backed by Mr. Bakar in his successful 1991 mayoral campaign. Philip Gerson Bakar was born in Petaluma on March 12, 1928, the grandson of Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe and the son of a chicken farmer. For college he headed to UC Berkeley, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a passion for real estate. An early success was Woodlake, a garden apartment community in San Mateo designed in part by now-renowned landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. With Halprin as the landscape architect, and a sensitive mix of low-slung masonry buildings amid a privately maintained oasis of willow trees, fountains, hillocks and an artificial creek, Levi’s Plaza felt as though it had been there all along. In the case of SFMOMA, Mr. Bakar was the board member who in the 1980s led the hunt for land where the private institution could build a permanent home. “Gerson’s legacy at SFMOMA is nothing short of profound,” Neal Benezra, the museum’s director, said last week in a statement. “The time frame of getting the property put together and getting it built was a time in the real estate market where everything went to the dogs,” Mr. Bakar said.

John King's impression from atop the Salesforce Tower

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 18:49:19 UT

The strangest thing about John King's visit this month to the wide-open summit of Salesforce Tower? No wind. He said he could have brought a picnic lunch and worked on my tan.

Construction of Transbay Transit Center running late

Thu, 11 May 2017 23:00:31 UT

Progress on the complicated project has bogged down in recent months and is now seven weeks behind schedule of the targeted “substantial completion” date of Dec. 22, construction manager Ron Alameida told the board of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority on Thursday. “We are now seeing some slippages and challenges,” primarily because of slower-than-expected installation of the huge structure’s engineering and mechanical systems, Alameida said. The challenge includes the complexity of crossing off details in a quarter-mile structure that will include everything from bus operations to a skylit entry hall and a 5.4-acre rooftop park. Transbay directors took the construction update in stride, while Alameida made the point that a year or so ago — there was no public mention at the time — the completion date had slipped by several months. There’s also still no firm budget or date for when construction might begin on the second phase of the transit center, which would serve commuter trains from the Peninsula and, possibly, high-speed rail service from Southern California.

Piedmont police investigate possible child abduction attempt

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 00:21:29 UT

Piedmont police say there may have been an attempted abduction of a child Thursday near Havens Elementary School. The incident occurred just after 3 p.m., when an 8-year-old walking home was approached at the corner of Vista and Bonita avenues. A black vehicle pulled up and the driver said, “Get in my car. I have something important to show you,” according to the child. When the child refused, the car drove off toward Oakland Avenue. Anyone with information is asked to call police at (510) 420-3000. John King is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @johnkingsfchron

BART makes first arrest in teen takeover robbery as police declare ‘emergency’

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:21:14 UT

BART makes first arrest in teen takeover robbery as police declare ‘emergency’ BART investigators have made their first arrest in connection with last Saturday evening’s takeover robbery by dozens of juveniles who mobbed a train at Coliseum Station in Oakland, officials said Friday. “More warrants for multiple identified suspects on the way,” BART said in a tweet announcing the initial arrest. In the mob robbery, BART said, at least 40 juveniles jumped the fare gates and rushed aboard at least two cars of a Dublin-bound train at Coliseum Station shortly before 9:30 p.m. Some members of the group held doors open, stalling the train, while others ran through cars and some robbed and assaulted passengers. By the time BART police arrived, five minutes after the initial call for help from the station, the youths had already scattered.

Crime was up on BART even before Saturday’s attack

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 05:36:38 UT

Crime was up on BART by more than 20 percent this year — most of it involving the theft of cell phones and other electronic devices — even before a group of youths swarmed a train Saturday, according to the transit system’s interim police chief. The increase of approximately 22 percent from the same time last year comes despite a drop so far in 2017 in car break-ins, as well as automobile and bicycle thefts, said interim Chief of Police Jeffrey Jennings. The spike had stirred extra police patrols at some stations before at least 40 juveniles and young adults rushed aboard multiple cars of a Dublin-bound train at the Coliseum station and robbed passengers Saturday night. Since March 11, there have been extra patrols, and 19 people aged 12 to 21 have been arrested on robbery charges, Jennings said. Several suspects have now been identified — in part because at least one of the cars that was stormed had a working video camera. Mostly, though, directors emphasized their concern for the victims, as well as the station staff members who are powerless in such situations to do anything except call for help. Coincidentally, an item that was on the agenda involved the strategies by which BART staff hopes to cut down on the growing problem of fare evasion, which is estimated to cost the system somewhere between $15 and $25 million. Another change would include giving police officers and new inspectors the ability to move through stations or cars and require passengers to show they have a valid ticket for their ride. Judging by the discussion after the presentation, BART directors are more comfortable with raising obstacles to hopping the gates than demanding proof of payment. Others said fare evasion is a too-obvious symbol of recent problems in the system, from frequent delays in service to the common sight of people panhandling on cars.

Homeless center planned for Mission district spurs debate

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:23:51 UT

An often raucous neighborhood meeting Monday evening in the Mission district drove one point loudly home — homelessness continues to be San Francisco’s most emotionally charged civic issue. Most people who got seats seemed to support the plan being discussed, a temporary “navigation center” intended to move people out of the ramshackle tent colonies that line many neighborhood sidewalks. “We resent that our desire to have safe streets is maligned ... we’ve got to do something about the crime,” said Kausar Wildman, a 22-year resident, referring to bike thefts and drug use associated with some people in tents. “People are getting incredibly frustrated and worried about stepping over human waste in front of their doors, and discarded needles” and being accosted by people with mental problems, Ronen said in her opening remarks. [...] she and other city officials made the case that the navigation center would help to reduce the number of tents in view and, ultimately, people on the streets. The advantage of such a center over a typical shelter, said one staffer with the city’s department of homelessness, is that residents have a month where they’re within safe and supervised conditions. In addition to beds, the centers have case workers on hand to assess people’s needs and to try to find them housing or social services, from mental help to job training. “People inside the navigation centers are away from the trauma of the streets,” said Jason Albertson, a clinical social worker with the Department of Homelessness. After an hour of public comments — alternating between supporters and opponents, each having their own separate line — Ronen thanked the crowd but voiced frustration of her own. There were other shouts, and then supporters started clapping and chanting “build the navigation center!”

2nd conductor accused of pocketing cable car fares in SF

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 04:46:21 UT

A second cable car conductor has been arrested on charges of pocketing the popular system’s $7 fares rather than turning them in. David Reyes of San Francisco, 55, was arrested Wednesday evening by police officers and charged with embezzlement and theft of public monies, according to a statement released by the police. The investigations began two months ago when officials at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency notified the police that there were suspicious discrepancies in the fare receipts being reported by some conductors.

5 heroin deaths reported in Santa Rosa over the past 10 days

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:12:11 UT

The surge in drug-related fatalities was being publicized “to warn the public of this disturbing trend,” according to a statement released Tuesday by the county Sheriff’s Office. The victims were not identified, and the final causes of the deaths has not been officially determined. John King is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.