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John King


FBI seeking submachine gun stolen from agent’s car in East Bay

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 06:49:50 UT

The FBI is missing a submachine gun and a bulletproof vest and is seeking the public’s help to track down the tactical gear. The items were stolen from a special agent’s vehicle on the evening of Jan. 8 or the morning of Jan. 9 in either Concord, Orinda or Lafayette, according to a brief statement released Friday by the FBI’s field office in San Francisco. The FBI is being assisted by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office to “locate and recover items in the interest of public safety,” according to the statement. In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring people who leave guns in unattended vehicles, including law enforcement officers, to lock them in a trunk or in a container that is not left in plain sight.

Redwood City police officer dies at station, on duty

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 03:09:21 UT

Redwood City police officer dies at station, on duty A veteran police officer in Redwood City died Friday while on duty, from natural causes. Later, when he had not reported in and had not responded to calls from other officers, a GPS check revealed that his patrol car was still in the station parking lot. The cause of death was not revealed, but police said it was from natural causes.

Kenneth Cha IDd as SF officer involved in shooting

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 05:50:48 UT

The name of one of the San Francisco police officers involved in the shooting of a mentally ill man during an arrest attempt on Jan. 6 has been released by the department. The shooting occurred on Capitol Avenue in the Ocean View neighborhood when two officers, including Cha, were attempting to arrest Sean Moore, 42, who had allegedly violated a restraining order. Moore yelled profanities at the officers, according to their account, kicked one officer in the face and punched the other even after being sprayed with pepper spray.

Protest forces cancellation of Breitbart editor’s talk at UC Davis

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 05:21:54 UT

A raucous protest at UC Davis Friday evening led to the cancellation of a talk by Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart News senior editor and self-styled provocateur. The planned appearance was scuttled as protestors and ticket holders faced off outside the lecture hall where Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak. Yiannopoulos has sparked protests at a number of college campuses, and boasted to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune after one episode that “All of the very worst people in the world get triggered by the mere mention of my name.” The morning of the now-canceled UC Davis event, an editorial in the California Aggie student newspaper declared Make no mistake: Yiannopoulos is a hateful spectacle, not a conservative political theorist ... we support any members of the community who decide to exercise their freedom of assembly and peacefully protest the event.

2 members of Tower of Power seriously injured by train in Oakland

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 06:46:45 UT

Two members of longtime Oakland rhythm and blues band Tower of Power were hit by a train in Oakland near Jack London Square on Thursday night minutes before a scheduled show at Yoshi’s. Longtime drummer David Garibaldi and bassist Marc Van Wageningen were struck by an Amtrak train passing outside the popular venue shortly before their show that was scheduled for 8 p.m., said Jeremy Westby, a publicist for the group, which has been performing since the late 1960s. A group of four people tried to cross the tracks — while the warning guard arms were still down — toward Yoshi’s after a freight train slowly chugged by, Smith said. [...] the pedestrians didn’t see the Amtrak train traveling about 25 mph from the opposite direction on another track, he said. Both of their scheduled shows at Yoshi’s — an annual affair — were canceled after the accident, said Hal Campos, the club’s general manager. Both men got hit by the train and thrown through the air in opposite directions, he said, based on multiple witness accounts. Witnesses told police that the train’s operator was sounding the horn when the accident occurred, Smith said.

In suit, victim of beating by SF cops alleges ‘oppressive’ behavior

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 04:13:42 UT

During that trial, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer reacted to the attempted cover-up by saying “the worst thing in the world is the prosecution and conviction of an innocent person, or a conviction based on perjured testimony.” The suit also charges that officials at the police department and City Hall with having “tacitly authorized the continuing pattern and practice of misconduct and/or civil rights violations by said officers.” According to the complaint, two police cars suddenly appeared and came “to a sliding and screeching stop in front of the group.” While Buckley testified to a scenario where Simpson was attempting a brisk getaway and apparently had a concealed weapon, Breyer in court described the video as “rebutting nearly everything that the police officer testified to.” The suit requests a jury trial for Simpson and asks for punitive damages as well as medical expenses and other damages for the “excessive and unreasonable” actions by the officers.

No Lucas museum for San Francisco — Los Angeles wins the prize

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 00:47:08 UT

The board of directors of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on Tuesday afternoon announced it chose a site in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park, where it is to join several other cultural facilities and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The museum is conceived as a celebration of storytelling, with examples ranging from vintage works by Norman Rockwell to film props and sketches from such movies as “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” [...] Lee and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have cultivated Lucas at meetings and via the press — each saying his city was the ideal spot for a museum that could start construction quickly and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. Choosing Los Angles over San Francisco was “an extremely difficult decision precisely because of the desirability of both sites and cities,” the museum board of directors said in its statement. The board also praised “Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for their tremendous efforts and engagement,” saying, “We have been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive support we received from both San Francisco and Los Angeles during our selection process.” The island’s developers, who hope to begin construction next year on what eventually could total 8,000 housing units, tweaked their plans to make room for the museum alongside a waterfront park. Lee alluded to the unified effort in his statement, emphasizing, “I am proud that our city came together like never before to deliver a bold vision and thoroughly viable plan for the museum.” “The Museum will be particularly transformative for our young people, especially those who have never experienced or had access to a museum but would be drawn by the collection and its connection to their lives,” it stated. The Exposition Park location “best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship,” the statement said. [...] though water transportation remains integral to Treasure Island’s future, “the ferry can only come at a point in time where it makes economic sense,” said Kofi Bonner, the Northern California president for FivePoint, part of a development team that includes Lennar, Stockbridge and Wilson Meany.

Lucas museum: The long road to Los Angeles

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 01:08:49 UT

George Lucas tells the Presidio Trust, which manages the former Army post at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, that he’d like to build a museum on the site of a former commissary at Crissy Field. The Presidio Trust announces a “request for concept proposals” for the site, now occupied by Sports Basement. The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, with a design modeled on the Palace of Fine Arts, is unveiled. In a statement it praises the Lucas concept but says, “We have significant issues with the proposed building.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago appoints a task force to find a site for the Lucas Museum, the latest step in a courtship that began months before. The design is released for what now is the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art — a mountain-like stone blob quickly likened by critics to Jabba the Hutt. Chicago advocacy group Friends of the Park files suit, saying the proposal violates the city’s Lakefront Plan of 1973 and its ban on private construction. With litigation likely to extend for years, Lucas gives up on his Chicago plans and turns his attention back west — to Treasure Island in San Francisco and Exposition Park in Los Angeles. The Lucas Museum offers a glimpse of its conceptual designs by Yansong for Treasure Island and Exposition Park. Each has a futuristic sheen — the one for Treasure Island looks like a silvery cloud from some angles, a sleek platypus skull from others. January 2017: “After extensive due diligence and deliberation,” the museum’s board of directors says that it has selected the Exposition Park site to build “a global destination that all Angelenos and Californians will be proud to call their own.”

Park Service delays GGNRA dog management plan

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 04:57:53 UT

Instead of signing off on last month’s supposedly final version of a document that has been in the works since 2002, the National Park Service released a statement late Monday saying it will delay any decision on when to implement the plan. The statement comes as the federal agency reviews emails being produced in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from dog owners who don’t want to lose access to trails and beaches where they now can let their pets run free. The emails released so far include sarcastic comments by employees about opponents of the tightened restrictions — such as one staffer’s presumably flippant suggestion that he broke his middle finger “expressing my opinion of out of control off leash dog visitors.” The park service statement that “we are putting on hold ... the publication of the Final Rule on Dog Management” also follows letters asking for a delay on final action until February from three Bay Area congressional members, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). The legislators didn’t mention emails but asked for an extension because, in Pelosi’s words, “a longer waiting period will provide community members with ample time to review the contents of the final rule.”

$350 million bond would start process of fixing SF’s seawall

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 01:51:13 UT

San Francisco voters will be asked to allow $350 million to be spent on a first round of improvements for the city’s crucial but fragile Embarcadero seawall, officials said Monday. Placing a $350 million bond for seawall upgrades on the 2018 ballot is included in the latest version of the city’s 10-year capital plan, which is updated on an annual basis. Since the study was released, City Hall has budgeted $10 million to begin detailed studies of how the seawall might best be upgraded and to find the vulnerable sections that might first need repairs. The studies will also look at whether the project should include making the seawall higher — a proactive but expensive response to projections that the bay’s average tides could climb more than 5 feet in the coming century. The shaky health of the seawall, and the question of what to do with the aged piers along it, led in October to the Embarcadero being placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Lucas museum board deciding soon whether to pursue Treasure Island

Sun, 8 Jan 2017 19:31:17 UT

The Bay Area could soon learn whether billionaire filmmaker George Lucas will try — again — to build a high-profile museum on a prime spot on San Francisco Bay. The board of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is likely to meet by the end of this week to vote on whether to pursue development plans on Treasure Island, across from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or in Los Angeles at Exposition Park near the University of Southern California. San Francisco’s bid for the museum includes an expectation that Lucas would pay roughly $26 million for the 4-acre site, an amount that city officials say is above market value. Whatever the outcome, the vote would be the latest chapter in a saga with almost as many episodes as Lucas’ “Star Wars” series, including an ill-fated quest to build the museum at Crissy Field in the Presidio. Lee argued that a shoreline perch as part of the larger Treasure Island redevelopment would help showcase Lucas’ museum. The cultural center would include an emphasis on educational programs as well as the expansive range of artwork, much of it related to cinema, that Lucas has collected over 40 years. By contrast, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stressed the central location of Exposition Park, where the Lucas museum would replace a pair of parking lots near such attractions as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the California African American Museum. “We’ve got an incredible site that’s the center of the universe, at the crossroads of our mass-transit system, educational institutions, entertainment and arts and sports,” Garcetti said Friday. The unusual competition — each city courting Lucas with visions of an obstacle-free path to opening day — follows failed efforts by the filmmaker not only at Crissy Field but in Chicago. According to Lee, he stayed in touch with Lucas during the Chicago installment of what now is a trilogy. [...] the commission’s staff has indicated that making room for a museum shouldn’t be a problem, although the final decision must be approved by the actual commission.

SF architecture firm named nation’s best

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 00:18:00 UT

The honor from the American Institute of Architects was conferred this week on Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, which has added such buildings to the Bay Area as the North Beach branch library, the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley and a dozen apartment complexes for low-income residents. “The three of us decided we had one career, and we wanted to use it to make positive change,” said Marsha Maytum, who founded the firm with Bill Leddy and Richard Stacy in 2001. In announcing the selection, the AIA praised Leddy Maytum Stacy for its “highly influential work that advances issues of social consciousness and environmental responsibility.” [...] Plaza Apartments provides a calm anchor to one of the city’s toughest blocks, while Cazeneve Apartments includes such ground-floor retailers as a Vietnamese sandwich shop and an upscale chocolatier. Ed Roberts Campus, which houses a variety of organizations focused on the issues of rights and access for people with disabilities, was attacked as overscaled and intrusive even though the Ashby BART Station is across the street. Ed Roberts Campus allowed the firm to push the limits of universal design, where buildings are easy to use no matter what someone’s age, eyesight or physical ability might be. Among its projects on the drawing board are a housing complex for veterans in Mission Bay, the renovation of a large pier at Fort Mason for the graduate center of the San Francisco Art Institute and a middle school in Hillsborough that will use less energy than it produces on-site.

Sea level rise — a common threat, an array of answers

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 03:07:06 UT

Sea level rise — a common threat, an array of answers Both, though, are examples of the Bay Area shoreline at risk from the long-term effects of sea level rise — and reminders that there’s no single way to prepare for what might lie ahead. The correct remedy in some areas of shoreline will involve forms of natural healing, with restored and managed marshes that provide habitat for wildlife and trails for people. [...] when major public investments or large residential communities are at risk, barriers might be needed to keep out water that wants to come in. Projections done in 2012 by the National Research Council, a scientific think tank, suggest that looking ahead to 2100, the “most likely” scenario for bay rise is average tides 36 inches higher than today’s. “We’re in a big transitional period,” said Allison Brooks, executive director of the Bay Area Regional Collaborative, an alliance of four state and regional agencies that play a regulatory role in planning in the nine Bay Area counties. Whatever the precise impacts of sea level rise, the mistake for us would be to treat it as one of those problems to be dealt with someday, down the road. No matter how grim the political climate in Washington, D.C., might be, the design community here and beyond can offer scientifically grounded visions of the future that stir a sense of potential rather than dwelling on apocalyptic what-ifs. “I tell people, ‘Give me an air boat and a box of dynamite, and I’ll restore the marshes,’” said John Bourgeois, driving his Prius across bumpy levees on the south edge of the bay, Silicon Valley’s tech campuses visible through the haze. Bourgeois is executive manager of the California Coastal Conservancy’s South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, which since 2004 has worked to bring 15,100 acres of former marshland back to life. Nearby are the lumpy remnants of a levee, bits of it left in place after it was breached so that salt marsh harvest mice, an endangered species, can scamper to safety during extra-high tides. [...] a levee would be erected at the far edge of tidal flats. Berms added on the inland side allowed marshes to be flooded to create ponds of uniform depth. Within the 10,000-plus unrestored acres that are overseen by the Coastal Conservancy, the next phase of restoration should begin in 2018 — an $11 million rebirth of 730 acres on the shore of Menlo Park owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service known as Ravenswood Ponds. By starting now, the restored tidal marshes should be hardy enough that as sea level rises, the remade wetlands will endure. Today, the former hay fields where a levee was breached are a sleepy rustle of cord grass and pickleweed sliced by blue rivulets of water that swell and contract depending on the tide. Portions of the shoreline, meanwhile, were molded into slowly rising slopes known as horizontal levees, where, if needed, marshes can migrate as sea level rises. A local farmer spread the material and then plowed it into the slope, reducing the acid levels so that native plants someday will sprout. “Going from dry to wet overnight is the easy part,” Meisler said during a visit to Sears Point, where he pointed with relish to a single tuft of cord grass poking above the muck. After T. Jack Foster bought the acreage in 1960, 18 million cubic yards of fill were used to raise future development parcels above sea level and shape lagoons that now hold boat slips for homeowners. To escape that designation, the city expects to spend $70 million to raise existing levees an average of 3 feet — and perhaps millions more to take sea level rise into account. Adding a knee-high wall to the path along the levee’s crest would add to the[...]

4 shoreline stretches show range of challenges to cope

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 21:38:52 UT

4 shoreline stretches show range of challenges to cope With as little as 18 inches of sea level rise, water could spill across Doolittle Drive onto the Oakland International Airport several times a year during extra-high tides. Raise the drive’s low spots. [...] the road is owned by Caltrans, which means the airport might need to protect itself with inland measures while waiting for Caltrans to take action. Add another 2 feet, as is now being considered by the City Council, and no additional treatment for hazard protections should be needed until at least 2050. A good example is near Sears Point, where two large restoration projects involving 1,300 acres were done in 1996 and 2015. Ducks Unlimited and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are planning a similar 4,400-acre effort on nearby Skaggs Island (off map). An example of the ongoing rebirth of the South Bay Salt Ponds is the next installment of the multidecade effort by the California Coastal Conservancy: 730 acres in Menlo Park. (B) will remain as a salt flat that provides nesting areas for western snowy plovers.

A design to watch for California College of the Arts

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 21:00:00 UT

California College of the Arts has selected the Chicago firm Studio Gang, led by Jeanne Gang, to remake the school’s cluster of buildings and properties near Showplace Square. In selecting Gang late Tuesday, the college went with an architect best known for distinctively shaped and textured towers — including a 39-story high-rise with what she calls “migrating bays” that is approved and could begin construction early next year on Folsom Street near the Embarcadero. [...] her academic work is extensive, including an 800-bed residential commons at the University of Chicago described as “stunningly beautiful” in the November issue of Architectural Record. An imaginative approach to landscape architecture will be necessary as well, since green space in the former blue-collar flatland is nonexistent. Gang’s initial focus is likely to be on a 2.4-acre empty lot behind CCA’s main building in San Francisco, a spacious, light-filled former Greyhound Bus facility at 1111 Eighth St. that the college restored in the late 1990s. Beyond the addition of buildings and plazas, CCA seeks to create a learning environment in sync with the fluid technology culture that has emerged in San Francisco and Silicon Valley — while also making the campus feeling like something distinct unto itself. Even with such industrial equipment as ceramic kilns and glass furnaces for students, CCA would like to consume no more energy than it can produce on site. Stephen Beal, president of the college, said there will be a simultaneous effort during the next six months to map out a campus plan, while Studio Gang starts to tackle design possibilities for the empty lot.