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John King


Student group must pay needed fees for ‘Free Speech Week,’ UC officials say

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 04:26:43 UT

The student group seeking to hold a four-day series of conservative speakers and provocateurs at UC Berkeley has failed to pay required deposits, university officials said Saturday. Although the Berkeley Patriot student organization turned in a contract late Friday afternoon, after missing two earlier deadlines, it did not include money to rent the facilities, according to a campus spokesman. “At the very last minute they signed the contract, but the contract made clear they would also provide payment,” said Dan Mogulof, who heads UC Berkeley’s communications office. That did not occur. This doesn’t necessarily scuttle the event.

AIDS Grove dedicates new section to hemophiliacs killed by the disease

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 22:17:58 UT

There’s a new place of solace within the National AIDS Memorial Grove: a memorial circle devoted to victims of the disease who were hemophiliacs. About 300 people attended a ceremony Saturday morning in Golden Gate Park to dedicate the space, which has several benches inscribed with the names of victims, most of whom died between 1983 and the mid-’90s. Shrubs were planted along the circle and then family members read the names of victims, each name accompanied by the ringing of a Tibetan bell. The victims had been infected in the early 1980s by the injection of blood-clotting products for hemophiliacs that were contaminated by plasma tainted with HIV.

Teams selected in competition to remake Castro’s Harvey Milk Plaza

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 01:11:04 UT

Three local design teams are finalists in a competition that could lead to a makeover of San Francisco’s busy but barren Harvey Milk Plaza. The plaza runs alongside the Muni station at Market and Castro streets, a major point of entry to the Castro District. It holds the giant rainbow flag that has been a visual landmark of the internationally known gay neighborhood since 1997. But it’s also a sunken space out of sight of Castro Street, a passageway where few people linger. The nonprofit Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza this year put $160,000 into a design competition that seeks to change that dynamic along with the landscape.

10 teams selected to map Bay Area’s response to rising sea levels

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 00:00:00 UT

With sea level rise expected to become a pressing threat here within decades, 10 design teams have been selected to map how the Bay Area can respond. Each team will receive up to $250,000 for its work, which begins this week and will conclude in May with adaptation strategies for 10 distinct locations along the edge of the bay. There’s no guarantee they will be built — but the high-visibility competition could make it easier to attract large-scale grants and funding. “We want a balance between innovative designs and things that can be done,” said Amanda Brown-Stevens, managing director of the program, called Resilient by Design.

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