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John King


Pedestrian struck, killed by car in SF’s Parkside district

Wed, 8 Nov 2017 01:07:48 UT

A pedestrian was struck and killed by an automobile on Tuesday evening in San Francisco’s Parkside district, the San Francisco Police Department reported. The crash occurred around 8:10 p.m., when a man was hit by a vehicle on Sloat Boulevard near 36th Avenue. Police and medical crews responded and the victim, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene. The collision is being investigated, and the motorist was being interviewed. John King is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:

SF architecture firm chosen to redesign Castro’s Harvey Milk Plaza

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 19:00:00 UT

The San Francisco office of architecture firm Perkins Eastman has been selected to redesign Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro after a competition that attracted 33 entries. The firm would recast the neighborhood’s Muni subway station with a tiered amphitheater that at its summit forms a glass portal to the entrance. Tall sculptural candles would be a symbolic reference to the pained march after San Francisco’s first openly gay supervisor was shot and killed at City Hall in 1978. “Perkins Eastman had a big creative idea that we feel has the potential to have an iconic presence and become a destination,” said Andrea Aiello, president of Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza.

Zigzagging tower would top Oakland skyline

Sat, 28 Oct 2017 20:14:41 UT

Oakland’s skyline could get a new tallest tower — one that seems to split in two — if a downtown development team gets its way. Plans were filed Friday for a proposed tower at 13th and Harrison streets that would rise 460 feet and hold 36 floors of residential and commercial space on the edge of Oakland’s Chinatown. The tower also would attract attention because of its unusual shape — one where the eastern half of the tall slab tilts 15 feet to the south, while the western half leans 15 feet to the north. “We’re trying for one tower that seems like two” from some angles, said Mark Donahue of Lowney Architecture, the firm that designed the proposed high-rise.

Smoky trailer fire in San Jose foothills causes little damage

Sat, 28 Oct 2017 03:31:29 UT

A trailer caught fire Friday afternoon in the backyard of a home in the San Jose foothills, causing little damage but sending melodramatic plumes of thick, black smoke into the air. Firefighters initially responded to calls of a grass fire about 4:25 p.m. on the 2300 block of Pleasant Acres Drive. Upon arrival, they found a trailer that was “burning heavily,” said Capt. Daniel Vega of the San Jose Fire Department. And not just the trailer: according to Vega, the property was cluttered with old cars and debris. The accumulation made it difficult for firefighters to move through the site.

UC Berkeley student newspaper removes criticized cartoon

Sat, 28 Oct 2017 02:13:30 UT

The independent student newspaper at UC Berkeley has removed an editorial cartoon from its website that critics including UC Berkeley’s chancellor called anti-semitic. The depiction of attorney Alan Dershowitz that gave him distorted features and showed him stamping on a Palestinian person, “should not have been published, and we sincerely apologize that it was,” Daily Californian editor-in-chief Karim Doumar wrote in a blog entry posted on the paper’s website on Friday. The cartoon, which appeared in the paper on Oct. 13, “hearkened to clearly anti-Semitic tropes,” Doumar wrote. Because of that, it has been taken off the website.

SF officers won’t be charged in 4 cases involving deaths

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 04:10:27 UT

No criminal charges will be filed against police in four San Francisco cases where people died either in officer-involved shootings or while in custody, according to the city’s district attorney’s office. The cases include a May confrontation on Market Street and a 2015 chase on Van Ness Avenue. In each case, investigators for District Attorney George Gascón recommended that criminal charges were not warranted. The most controversial case involved Alice Brown, 24, who on March 17, 2015, was approached by police at a gas station at Van Ness Avenue and Pine Street.

California Supreme Court refuses to hear Martins Beach appeal

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:55:20 UT

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that said billionaire Vinod Khosla must allow public access to Martins Beach in San Mateo County. That beach, a perennially popular destination for day-trippers who would pay to park there and enjoy the Pacific shoreline, was purchased by Khosla in 2008. He erected “Beach closed, keep out” signs a year later, and legal battles commenced. Khosla, who made his fortune as a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has 90 days to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As Wine Country fires slow, firefighters take a more strategic tack

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:32:33 UT

As wildfires flared to life throughout Northern California last week, firefighters had little time to do anything other than to race to get people out of danger. The scene is less urgent now — still potentially lethal, but one where firefighters can ponder strategies to contain the danger and allow people to return to their homes. In some areas, this means sending in bulldozers to create “containment lines” to stop the fire’s spread. In others, it means positioning nimble crews of firefighters so that they can — in an instant — be deployed to put out spot fires with each shift of the wind.

Wine Country fire claims life of couple who loved to help others

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 04:45:15 UT

Roy Howard Bowman, 87, and Irma Elsie Bowman, 88, were the type of people who settled into their community and did good without making a fuss. “Anybody who needed a second chance, the Bowmans were their advocate,” said Felice Lechuga-Armadillo, who first met the couple when she was a child at the Assembly of God church in Ukiah. “Anyone who needed help, they stepped forward — but quietly.” The Bowmans were among the victims of the fires that ravaged remote Redwood Valley in Mendocino County early Monday. They were found in the burned remnants of their home on Fisher Lake Drive, where they had lived for as long as anyone could remember. Mr. Bowman served in the U.S.

McCarty’s Bar becomes friendly Mendocino County refuge for evacuated community

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 05:47:16 UT

REDWOOD VALLEY, Mendocino County — On a typical evening, McCarty’s Bar in this small community north of Ukiah could be doing anything from serving a handful of regular customers to hosting a reggae concert or ’80s night. But on Thursday, the watering hole served another function: informal evacuation center for people displaced by the Mendocino County fires, with donations pouring in from locals. “It’s bringing people together through tragedy,” said bartender Crystal Maples, who opened the doors at 2:30 a.m. Monday after sprinting away from the flames that had erupted in Potter Valley.

Geyserville enjoys reprieve from flames — for now

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 22:18:51 UT

Smoke still cloaked the ridges east of Geyserville in northern Sonoma County Thursday, but there was something else in the air: the welcome smell of grapes on the vine. The Pocket Fire that had burned more than 8,000 acres since Monday morning, prompting evacuation orders for much of Geyserville, was now the backdrop for a crisp fall day with blue skies overhead. In the cluster of shops and eateries at the center of town, there was a communal sigh of relief — for the moment. “I feel better today,” said Dino Bugica, owner of Diavola Pizzeria, located in the historic Geyserville Odd Fellows Hall.

Second annual Bay Day celebrates the region’s vital resource

Wed, 4 Oct 2017 20:53:51 UT

If anything unites residents of this far-flung region, it’s the beguiling body of water that touches all nine Bay Area counties, and that’s what the second annual Bay Day aims to celebrate. There will be an REI-hosted “beach party” on Angel Island, and family-friendly activities at Jack London Square in Oakland. Or boat rides and walking tours at the Port of Redwood City. But the list of events — many of which are free — extends from there, along the shores from Alviso to San Pablo Bay. There’s even a 7:30 a.m. swim from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park.

‘Designing​ ​San​ ​Francisco,’ by​ ​Alison​ ​Isenberg

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 21:07:16 UT

Summer of Love hype aside, much of San Francisco’s recent history seems impossibly remote. That’s why there’s an exotic feel to “Designing San Francisco: Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay,” Alison Isenberg’s exploration of how the northeast corner of the city changed — and resisted change — in the 1960s. As the thorough title suggests, this is an academic book, full of methodical prose and half-page paragraphs. Some of its conclusions reach too far to grasp an overarching theme.

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.