<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Thu, 02 Oct 2014 02:16:49 -0700 Thu, 02 Oct 2014 02:16:49 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[SJFD Response Times Not Meeting County Requirements: Report]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 23:28:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-19-2014-sjfd-fire-truck.jpg

A new report given to the San Jose City Council shows the fire department’s medical emergency response times are still below standards.

Those times breach the SJFD’s contract with Santa Clara County to respond to medical calls. The contract requires firefighters to respond to those calls in less than eight minutes, 90 percent of the time.

The report shows the standard was met in just three out of the past 12 months. A third party audit states the only months above 90 percent were April, June, and July.

"They clearly haven't been able to solve the problem," County Supervisor Dave Cortese said.

County Supervisor and San Jose Mayoral Candidate Dave Cortese says the problem has continued for two years. In February, the Board of Supervisors voted to withhold money from the department until it met the standard for three consecutive months.

"I think the board had no choice but to hold that money back as an incentive for San Jose to get their act together," Cortese said.

"The citizens of San Jose are calling 9-1-1 and no one is responding (anywhere) in a timely manner or not at all," said Jose Guerrero, Vice President of IAFF Local 230 Firefighters.

Guerrero says low staffing levels and shuttered fire stations are to blame. He says until the city pays competitive wages to keep firefighters, it won't happen.

"It's very difficult to comply with response times when we don't have the boots on the ground that we need," he said.

The county has continued to withhold funding after these new numbers were released. Cortese says that could change if they think it would help.

"I'm confident the board will want to take another look at it based on this report and figure out what kind of next steps we need to take," Cortese said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Restraining Order Bans Trustee from Sunnyvale School]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 23:44:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1001-ChrisStampolis.jpg

A Santa Clara County School Board member has been served a temporary restraining order after being accused of threatening a Sunnyvale middle school principal.

The restraining order calls for trustee Chris Stampolis to stay from his son's school, Peterson Middle School in Sunnyvale. The school's principal, Susan Harris, called police and reported feeling threatened by the board member more than once.

Parents in response attended Wednesday night's board meeting and called for Stampolis to step down.

"I don't think he's representing the best interest of all students in our community," parent Leslie Kloes said. "And if he can't change his ways I'd like to see him step down."

People familiar with the case said Stampolis threatened Harris after she reminded him of campus security procedures he must follow for pick-up times.

Images from the school's security camera shows Stampolis appearing to make a motion to simulate shooting a gun on campus.

Kloes, who has a student at Peterson Middle School, said the accusations are alarming.

"We're supposed to be about teaching and learning and keeping kids safe," she said. "Not dealing with a board member not following rules. If anything, they should be held to a higher standard."

Stampolis denied the claims of threatening Harris and points to report from an investigator that concludes he treats everyone fairly.

"Absolutely not," Stampolis said when asked if harassed Harris. "If you look at her allegations, all of the photos that she submitted don't have her in them. They've only got me."

The restraining order is not the first time Stampolis has been at the center of controversy. In 2003, a student who spoke negatively about the district at a meeting later accused the board member of harassment.

Parents later urged Stampolis to step down -- a call parents repeated Wednesday night.

A district spokesperson said they are waiting for the legal process to wrap up before discussing any action.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Berkeley Free Speech Movement Part 2]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 20:50:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1001-FreeSpeech.jpg NBC Bay Area Diane Dwyer provides the second segment of a four-part series on the Berkeley Free Speech Movement.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Win, Advance to NLDS]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 23:29:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/171*120/456490100_8.jpg

The San Francisco Giants have advanced to the National League Division Series after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 in the Wild Card elimination game.

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner was dominant, pitching a complete game shutout and striking out 10 batters.

San Franciso's offense was led by Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt. Crawford smacked a grand slam in the fourth inning to give the Giants its first runs on the board. Belt knocked in three runs on two hits.

The Giants will now face No. 1 seed Washington Nationals in the NLDS. Game 1 of the NLDS between the Giants and Nationals is scheduled for Friday.

Visit NBC Bay Area's San Francisco Giants page for more coverage.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Single Incident Puts Big Strain on SJPD]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 23:57:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SJPD-BARRICADE-STAFFING-PKG---00000801.jpg

Some San Jose Police Department officers are making a worried plea after one small emergency put a strain on an overworked department.

It was a 911 call that sent SJPD officers scrambling: a man barricaded inside a home. As this was happening Tuesday, other 911 calls got a delayed response.

The department has fewer than 900 active officers, so when a suspect barricaded himself inside an apartment complex, officers called it the “perfect storm” because it came at the same time as a shift change and required units from all over the city to help. Some police officers told NBC Bay Area numerous other emergency calls, including six downtown, got a delayed response.

“A major incident like this, that essentially wipes out our entire police force, will back up calls for hours and hours and sometimes all day,” said Officer James Gonzales, board member of the San Jose Police Officers' Association.

SJPD officials dispute that assertion and say it did not "wipe out" the force and point out about 33 calls came in during a two-hour period, but no high-priority calls were put off. Officials also said no calls were ignored, but acknowledge the incident put a strain on the force.

“There were 20 officers that were dedicated to this one incident,” SJPD spokesman Albert Morales said. “That’s a significant amount of officers for one situation. It leaves certain parts of the city without police services or limited police services."

The two candidates for mayor of San Jose, speaking to NBC Bay Area ahead of a debate scheduled for Wednesday night, said they know situations like Tuesday’s put staffing right at the top of the debate.

“When you have a major incident in this city, the real question is whether or not there’s enough police officers to cover the neighborhoods and the immediate crisis incident,” candidate Dave Cortese said. “And we think not.”

"I think we all recognize there’s a lot of fear in this city,” candidate Sam Liccardo said. “Residents want solutions, and that’s why I’ve been focused on solutions that can really keep us safer. But it’s important that we focus on the solutions and not the fear-mongering.”

The number of San Jose police officers has dropped by several hundred over the past five years, mainly after a bitter pension fight with the city.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Clara Co. Looks to Alleviate Traffic Congestion]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:03:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-25-2014-generic-traffic-generic.jpg

Santa Clara County is looking into easing traffic congestion at known troubled spots and intersections with a new traffic study.

Plans for the proposed study is scheduled to be discussed by officials at a public meeting Wednesday night.

The study calls for experts to review traffic patterns and consider ways to ease congestion by widening roads and adding turn lanes. Other options include possibly adding bike lanes and sidewalks in some areas.

One of the heavily congested areas in the county is along Page Mill Road and Interstate 280 in Palo Alto. People who work in the area are skeptical anything can be done to help alleviate traffic.

"I'm not sure if widening is going to work," Palo Alto-resident Lisa Eermard said. "But something has to change."

Jaime Rodriguez, Palo Alto's chief transportation official, said 130,000 cars travel a day on Page Mill Road.

"The county is looking at alternatives to help us manage transportation demands in the future," Rodriguez said.

The county's traffic study is expected to be completed next year.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Clear Dry Brush, Invasive Trees in East Bay Hills]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:38:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/eucalyptus.jpg

Fire danger is high in many parts of the East Bay as an October heatwave rolls in. Humidity is low, temperatures are up, and that adds plenty of fire-ready fuel to the mix.

Residents are on alert in the fire-prone East Bay Hills, where a certain species of trees is making the threat even greater.

Caltrans crews have been busy trying to clear the brush and weeds in the hillside along Highway 24 in Oakland, as the expected heatwave inches in, putting folks who live in the fire prone East Bay Hills on edge. The trees that blanket the area couldn't be more flammable: thousands of non-native, oil-laden eucalyptus trees could act like fire torches if ignited.

“It's very dry conditions and wind,” UC Berkeley’s Sal Genito said. “Those things, together with an errant cigarette butt, could cause this to go up like a tinderbox.”

The university owns about 1,000 acres in the hills, Genito said. They and others have been waiting for years for FEMA to release funds to remove the invasive trees, but the money hasn't materialized.

Those who lost homes in the 1991 firestorm know all too well how fire-friendly the eucalyptus are.

“In the firestorm, the eucalyptus trees were sending their flaming seed pods over the top of my car as I was trying to evacuate the community,” long-time resident Gordon Piper said. “I don't want other people to go through what I went through when I lost my home.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Hazmat Team Investigates South Bay Fish Deaths]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:36:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SJ-DEAD-FISH-RAW-DAMIAN---00002417.jpg

What is killing the fish? That's the question scientists have set out to answer after the discovery of dead fish in San Jose's Guadalupe River.

NBC Bay Area’s Damian Trujillo joined the scientists as they looked for clues.

At first, the Valley Water District brought out the hazmat team to see what was killing the fish, but it turns out it may have been the drought and last week’s rain that is killing them.

The river water has become murky since last week’s storm. Fish still swim downstream on the Guadalupe, but there are also plenty of dead fish visible on a dry riverbed: carp, largemouth bass and a native fish called Sacramento suckers.

After NBC Bay Area called the Valley Water District, the agency brought out a team of experts to see what is causing the deaths. After studying the riverbed, Biologist Jae Abel said he's been seeing this quite a bit, and he blames the drought.

“As the water table drops, all those pools will shrink,” Abel said, pointing at the dead fish.

Abel said last week's storm might have also contributed to the deaths. That's when temporary pools formed on the Guadalupe from street runoff water, which sometimes contains contaminants.

"That can stir fish up too, and move around, and then they get stuck as the creek went back down to its intermittent condition,” Abel said.

The water district said there might be a day when the Guadalupe runs dry downstream as well. But Abel feels it might not be wise to relocate the remaining fish because there is nowhere to put them.

Abel said it might be a case where city leaders have no choice but to simply let nature take its course.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SFFD Battalion Chiefs Turn Up Heat on Hayes-White]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:22:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chief-hayes-white1.jpg

Another boot has dropped in the San Francisco Fire Department’s leadership struggle.

San Francisco’s mayor received another letter expressing no confidence in San Francisco’s embattled fire chief on Wednesday. This time it’s from the department’s battalion chiefs.

Last week, the rank-and-file of the San Francisco Fire Department sent an unprecedented letter to Mayor Ed Lee in which they informed him they’ve lost confidence in Chief Joanne Hayes-White’s leadership.

With Wednesday’s letter, the battalion chiefs have joined the chorus calling for the chief’s resignation, echoing the rank-and-file’s “crisis of confidence.” They say the state of the fire department has become untenable and immediate action is necessary.

“We’re at a crisis point,” said Bryan Rubenstein, president of the San Francisco Fire Chiefs' Association. “We have real issues that need to be dealt with in the very short term.”

The initial complaint from the rank-and-file focused on the department’s slow response time on ambulance calls, but Rubenstein says it’s far more widespread, and much of it has to do with the believe that Chief Hayes-White doesn’t push hard enough on budget issues.

“We in the San Francisco Fire Chiefs Association have seen how the police department’s been able to go and get more recruit classes, while we’re also understaffed,” Rubenstein said. “We weren’t able to accomplish the same thing.”

Mayor Lee once again expressed support for his fire chief, but not quite as much as he did last week.

“The commission has the authority to work with me on making a change,” Lee said. “We recognize that, but we’re not there yet. We’re actually assessing what everybody’s opinions are and making sure that we have facts in front of us and not just opinions.”

Chief Hayes-White’s office issued a statement Wednesday suggesting that the chiefs’ association’s letter might be in response to disciplinary actions she has taken to “professionalize” the department, adding that not all of the battalion chiefs were represented by the letter.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Underground Comics Publisher Launches Kickstarter Campaign]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:44:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RonWeirdo.jpg

It’s a bit of a challenge to hold a serious conversation with a life-sized Bruce Lee figure poised with nunchucks looming overhead. Or a vintage sideshow banner advertising a woman with no head. Or a stuffed two-headed calf jutting out from the wall.

But even with the peculiar scenery, the concerns on publisher Ron Turner’s mind cut through with a stark and depressing portrait of the publishing industry.

“Right now, because the publishing industry has changed so much, we’re trying to figure out how we can continue,” Turner said.

As the founder of San Francisco’s iconic Last Gasp publishing house, Turner has weathered 45 years of ups and downs, lawsuits, bans, and upturned noses at some of the risqué and controversial books he likes to peddle.

“The thing we want to do is bring really oddball and necessary books to people,” said Turner, flanked by hundreds of odd items in his personal art gallery, just steps from Last Gasp’s book warehouse in San Francisco’s South of Market.

Turner originally launched the company to publish an ecology-themed comic and then found success publishing artists like R. Crumb. The company carved out a niche publishing underground comics, emerging artists and off-the-beaten-path topics. Turner plucked a book from a warehouse shelf and examined its cover. “Cannabis fantasy coloring book,” he read with a bemused glee.

But Turner isn’t smiling over the state of his industry. He estimated that of the 20,000 bookstores that once carried Last Gasp titles like “Freaks, Geeks and Strange Girls,” only about 5,000 are still in business. So now Turner is taking the unusual step of launching a Kickstarter campaign to try and fund the company’s fall run of books.

Turner said the company needs to raise $75,000 to put out a series of new titles by artists like Camille Rose Garcia. So far, the company has raised more than $20,000 with two weeks left in the campaign.

Turner sees it more as an advance, than a handout.

“So now we’re thinking the best way is to get people who really like what we do to kick in their money first and help support the print runs of what we do," he said.

Turner said if the fundraiser falls short of its goal, Last Gasp won’t close its doors, but will delay the release of the new books.

The struggles of Last Gasp are the norm as the publishing industry has taken a decade-long beating from electronic book downloads and tablet-based readers.

“I’m beginning to think pretty soon the only things that won’t be digitized and given away for free is food and cars," said long-time Last Gasp employee Jon Longhi.

Turner has even turned to selling-off some of his original art to help keep the company going.

“In a way it’s desperate because the way the book industry has gone,” Turner said of the campaign. “I still have passion for the books we publish and the artists we represent.”



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Construction Continues at Apple's "Spaceship" Campus]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:05:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0-APPLE-SPACE-SHIP-CONSTRUCTION-CHOPPER---13353327.jpg

NBC Bay Area’s chopper flew over the site of Apple’s new Cupertino headquarters Wednesday, and it looks like construction on the so-called “spaceship” campus is humming right along.

New walls and scaffolding have popped up since a drone gave us an aerial view last month. Crews appeared to be working on what will eventually become the building’s basement, which is supposed to contain enough space to park nearly 2,400 vehicles.

The Campus 2 construction site one mile from the official Apple headquarters is private property, making it difficult for curious neighborhood residents and hardcore Appleheads on the ground to catch a glimpse of the progress made so far.

Workers broke ground on the 2.8-million-square-foot building back in November 2013. Apple has said construction is expected to be completed in 2016.

When it’s complete, Campus 2 will be home to more than 12,000 employees.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[NL Wild Card: Giants vs. Pirates]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:52:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/170*120/456490080_8.jpg Photo highlights from the National League Wild Card elimination game between the San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Most Killed By SFPD Had Mental Illness]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:04:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_generic_police_tape_police_lights_fishtown1.jpg

San Francisco police officers are not case workers or psychologists. The people they are often called to respond to could use one.

Mentally ill people make up "more than half" of the people shot and killed by police, according to a KQED investigation.

Two recent fatal shootings of a citizen by police, 34-year old Errol Chang and 18-year old Yanira Serrano-Garcia, both involved mental breakdowns, the radio station reported.

According to a review of 51 officer-involved shootings in San Francisco, 58 percent -- or 11 out of 19 -- involved a person whose mental illness led to the fatal standoff, KQED reported.

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<![CDATA[Teacher Accused of Slapping Student Faces Lawsuit]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:35:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/patterson-elementary.jpg

A Bay Area family is suing a teacher for allegedly slapping their third grader in the face.

Danny Rivera Jr. says his 9-year-old son, a student at Patterson Elementary School in Fremont, asked his teacher Frederick Berg a question during a math test back in April. That's when Rivera claims Berg slapped his son's face twice.

Berg says he only patted the child on the face.

Berg was put on administrative leave but was later allowed to return to work after an investigation by the school system.

Rivera says he's not happy with the way administrators handled the situation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Apologizes to LGBT Groups]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:40:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/drag-city-hall.jpg

Less than two weeks after a group of Bay Area drag queens met with Facebook to protest how the social networking giant had suspended their accounts for not using "real names," Facebook's chief product officer Chris Cox apologized for their ordeal, promising change.

And Mark Zuckerberg "liked" it.

“I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbors, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we've put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks,” Cox said Wednesday in a post on his own Facebook page.

“In the two weeks since the real-name policy issues surfaced, we've had the chance to hear from many of you in these communities and understand the policy more clearly as you experience it,” he added. “We've also come to understand how painful this has been. We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we're going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were.”

Mark Snyder, a spokesperson for the Transgender Law Center who met with Facebook Wednesday over the real names policy dispute, called the meeting productive. "We are excited to continue working with them on solutions so we can all be our authentic selves online," he said. Local drag queens have turned a protest rally initially scheduled for San Francsico City Hall Thursday into a victory celebration.

Bay Area queer performance art group The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and its supporters first met with Facebook on Sept. 19 after some users received messages saying their account had been “temporarily suspended” because it looks like “you’re not using your real name.”

Facebook's stance is that the "real names" policy is designed to "keep the community safe."

But Bay Area drag queens called the policy discriminatory, saying that by requiring performers to use their legal names, Facebook may be compromising their safety and making them vulnerable to attack.

The group said it would mobilize against Facebook if the social networking giant didn’t address its concerns.

“Facebook is discriminating by basically not allowing a large part of the community access to a public forum because of this policy,” said Lil Miss Hot Mess, who reluctantly had to identify herself as Harris Davis on her Facebook page.

Heklina, a 47-year-old drag queen from San Francisco, said she would boycott Facebook if she could, but “it’s too ingrained in our everyday lives.”

A growing coalition of people who support the Bay Area drag queens — including artists, immigrants, domestic violence survivors, activists and members of the transgender community — delivered a letter to Facebook at Wednesday's meeting, requesting that Facebook update its policy to allow everyone to be their "authentic selves online," end the requirement to show ID and make it easier for users to appeal account suspension.

“Many people need to use a chosen name in order to feel safe or to be able to express their authentic identity online,” the letter said. “While drag queens have experienced a rash of reports of being in violation of the 'real name' policy, many others remain at risk of being reported.”

In his post, Cox explained that it all started when an individual on Facebook decided to report several hundred of these accounts as fake. The reports were among the several hundred thousand fake name reports Facebook processes every week, 99 percent of whom he said are "bad actors doing bad things," including impersonation, bullying, trolling, domestic violence, scams and hate speech.

"So we didn't notice the pattern,” Cox wrote.

Cox wrote that Facebook's "authentic name" policy was put in place to act as a safeguard against impersonators: “Everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life.”

“For Sister Roma, that's Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that's Lil Miss Hot Mess," he added. "Part of what's been so difficult about this conversation is that we support both of these individuals, and so many others affected by this, completely and utterly in how they use Facebook."

Cox said Facebook is working on building better tools for “authenticating the Sister Romas of the world."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Clara County Launches Human Trafficking Task Force]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:38:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/santa-clara-sheriff-badge-star.jpg A new human trafficking task force aims to give victims a way out and make sure criminals end up behind bars. Stephanie Chuang reports.]]> <![CDATA[Sheriff: Burglar Rips Off Home with Toddler in Tow]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:30:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tot-n-robber.jpg

Santa Cruz Sheriff's deputies are searching for a man suspected of driving home a drunk man and then burglarizing the residence, with a young toddler, probably his daughter, in tow.

Sgt. Kelly Kent dubbed the beanie-clad burglar the "'Bad' Samaritan." Much of the suspect's actions were captured on home surveillance video positioned outside the victim's front door. The young, dark-haired girl was caught on video, too.

At one point, the suspect grabs the girl's hand and heaves her up onto his hip to put her out of the way as he is seen carrying out flat-screen TVs, furniture and other items from the home in a calm, methodical manner.

The 66-year-old victim and the suspect first met about 6:40 p.m. on Sept. 21, according to police. That's when the man told deputies he was intoxicated while walking to his home in the 2000 block of East Cliff Drive and needed a ride home so he could "sleep it off," Kent said.

He flagged down passing cars and was picked up near Sunny Cove Drive by the suspect, who was driving a 90's model dark-colored imported vehicle. Next to the driver was a toddler, who Kent said is most likely the suspect's daughter.

When they got to the man's home, the suspect helped the victim back into his house and waited inside until the man fell asleep.

Over a period of four hours, the driver, accompanied by the young girl, took two big-screen televisions, various pieces of furniture, a laptop computer, golf clubs, two men's suits, and a tuxedo, according to Kent. The video shows much of the robbery occurring. At times, he wipes fingerprints off the doors with his white T-shirt.

The suspect is described as approximately 20 years of age, wearing black shoes, white socks, black shorts, a white T-shirt, and a black beanie with multi-colored stripes. The girl has dark hair past her shoulders and was wearing light clothing.

The sheriff's office wants anyone with any information regarding the identity of the suspect or the toddler call the Sheriff's Office dispatch at (831) 471-1121.



Photo Credit: Screen grab from surveillance video/Santa Cruz County Sheriff
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<![CDATA[San Jose Office Rents Rising Faster Than Anywhere Else in U.S.]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:52:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/gutted+cubicle+walls+-+grey+carpet.jpg

Rents are rising faster in San Jose than anywhere else in the nation.

The asking price for office space in Silicon Valley's hub went up 6.7 percent over the past year, according to Bloomberg. That growth is close to triple the national average, and well above Dallas and San Francisco, where rents rose 5.2 and 5.1 percent, respectively.

The tech industry, of course, rules everything around us in the Bay Area, while Texas is enjoying its own boom in the energy industry, the website noted.

Property researcher Reis Inc. crunched the numbers, and noted that Houston and New York City are also above of the national curve, though behind San Jose.

Tech firms are buying up property throughout the area, with Box taking up new space in Redwood City, Google buying up even more of Mountain View, and Apple continuing to lay the groundwork for its spaceship campus in Cupertino.

And it has to be the right type of office space, as there's plenty of supply going untapped by the demand: the national vacancy rate is 16.8 percent, while over ten million square feet of new office space is added every year.

Meanwhile, demands for office space in San Francisco is at a level unseen since 1999, the height of dot-com boom 1.0.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

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<![CDATA[Field Hockey Woes Could Land UC Berkeley In Lawsuit]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:56:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/field+hockey_generic.jpg

The field hockey team is homeless.

And that means that UC Berkeley could be dealing with a lawsuit soon.

Cal's field hockey program is playing all of its games on the road and is practicing twice a week -- across the Bay at Stanford University, no less -- while its facility undergoes construction.

The team used to practice and play on a field near Memorial Stadium. 

That breaks a promise from the university, who said they'd get an on-campus practice field this year.

And worse, their old field at Maxwell Family Field will be converted into a practice field for the football team next year, meaning road games for all of 2015 as well, according to Bay Area News Group.

That's a raw deal, according to a group of players who are now exploring filing a Title IX lawsuit against the school, the news agency reported.

Equal Rights Advocates, a San Francisco law firm that "specializes in fighting for women's rights," has been hired by three team members who say that the practice situation is screwing up their academic schedules and delaying graduation.

It appears only the field hockey team, which is women's-only, is on the road. Other teams temporarily displaced, like diving, have been promised permanent homes on the UC Berkeley campus.

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<![CDATA[Techmanity Brings Tech Stars to San Jose]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:42:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2014-10-01-jared-leto.jpg

Technology, humanity, Weezer and Jared Leto.

Just some of the attractions coming to Silicon Valley Wednesday and Thursday, hoping to kick-start the fall tech conference season with a bang.

Techmanity, a first of its kind conference, will feature in-depth talks with, among others, Leto, the "Dallas Buyers Club" actor and tech investor, and Gavin Newsom,  the lieutenant governor of California and author of "Citizenville."

[MORE] Techmanity agenda and speakers

There will, of course, also be concerts, featuring Weezer and Thievery Corporation. One of the goals of Technmanity is to prove that the South Bay is deserving of tech conference love as much as San Francisco.

[LIVE STREAM] Watch the Techmanity live stream here or in the video player above during available daytime sessions

The whole thing kicks off Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m., and runs through Thursday afternoon. For purposes of disclosure, I'll be interviewing Lt. Gov. Newsom Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

If you're looking to talk tech, network, hear music, and find out what Jared Leto is investing in next, check it out.

Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Police: Robbers Targeting Women of Asian Indian Descent]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:36:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SUNNYVALE-CHAIN-SNATCHINGS-VO---00001908.jpg

Another string of gold-chain strong-arm robberies has hit Silicon Valley – this time in Santa Clara – where a suspect has been ripping off jewelry from the necks of women of Asian Indian Descent, sometimes taking their wallets too, before running off.

Santa Clara police this week said there were "multiple" robberies in September near Bing Drive at Homestead Road, El Camino Real at Lawrence Expressway and Monroe Street at Los Padres Boulevard. The victims were predominantly women from India, who traditionally wear gold jewelry in their daily affairs, usually bought for them on their wedding day.

Similar robberies have occurred in Fremont and Sunnyvale, two other cities with lots of residents from the Indian subcontinent. Police have not said whether they believe the sprees are related. Some suspect descriptions in the cities where the crimes have been reported have been similar. Other descriptions have showed a variation in height, age and ethnicity. Santa Clara and Sunnyvale police agencies are now working together, on the assumption that at least some of the crimes may be related.

Gold on Wednesday was selling for $1,217 an ounce.

“Thankfully, nobody has been hurt,” Santa Clara Police Chief Michael J. Sellers said in a statement, noting “it is a very traumatic experience for the victims.”

In August 2013, at least 10 women of Asian Indian descent in Sunnyvale had necklaces snatched from their necks over a span of a few months. At least three were in the city's Ponderosa Park. In that case, the suspect was described as an African-American man, about 30 to 40 years old and standing 6 feet tall. Last month, Sunnyvale police said there were 15 more chain-snatch robberies reported since May.

In October 2013, Fremont police were looking for a white or Hispanic man in his early 20s and close faded sides, along with a Latina woman about 17 to 25 years old, who allegedly ripped the gold necklace off a 70-year-old woman shopping at Wal-Mart.

In Santa Clara, the suspect in each case was described as a man police believe is about 19 to 24 years old and stands between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall. Sometimes, witnesses said, he pulled out a black handgun.

NBC Bay Area's Bob Redell contributed this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

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<![CDATA[Forest Areas Reopen, King Fire 94% Contained]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 07:47:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/kingfire.jpg

More than two weeks after a destructive wildfire scorched the wooded areas and a dozen homes near Sacramento, the U.S Forest Service reopened some wilderness areas that were closed because of the King Fire in Sierra Nevada foothills.

Also on Wednesday, Cal Fire reported the fire, which has now scored 97,000 acres in the Pollock Pines region was 94 percent contained. Full containment is expected on Saturday.

Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree said the the Rubicon Trail, Wrights Lake and Desolation Wilderness are among the recreation areas that have opened. She plans to open more of the Eldorado National Forest soon.

“Although fire crews have nearly contained the King Fire, it is still active, and there are a lot of firefighting resources still in the area,” Crabtree said in a statement.  “I intend to open more of the Forest to the public as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Some road and other recreation areas still remain closed. The fire was reported on Sept. 13 at 4:30 p.m.

A Santa Cruz area man charged with starting the fire, 37-year-old Wayne Allen Huntsman, was charged with arson. Prosecutors have not made public what evidence they have against him.

Huntsman has pleaded not guilty. A call to the public defender's office has gone unreturned.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cal Fire/US Forest Service Facebook page]]>
<![CDATA[60,000 Oakland Kids to Get Free Flu Vaccines]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 07:09:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Walmart+Flu+Shot+012214.jpg

Oakland started its largest flu vaccination program for students on Wednesday.

According to the Oakland Tribune, the Alameda County health department will target 60,000 elementary schools students with free vaccines at 130 schools.

The Alameda County Health Department said most flu vaccines will be the nasal spray because it's more effective than shots.

The department has targeted pre-kindergarten through fifth-graders because they are major spreaders of the flu.

The department hopes to expand the vaccination program to other parts of the country.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Police Substation Opens After 4 Years of Construction]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:10:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sjpd16.jpg

Four years after construction began, all signs show that the South San Jose Police Substation is now open.

Lights are on and cars are buzzing in and out of the 107,000-square-foot station on Great Oaks Boulevard, which boasted a ribbon-cutting ceremony in 2010, but where progress lacked on building it because of budget woes and police staffing shortfalls. Still, there won't be regular officers working there, but community service officers who handle lower-level calls.

Johnny Khamis, councilman for District 10, told the Mercury News in June, said that getting funding for the substation within his district has been a chief concern since he took office last year.

The councilman has brought the issue to council many times since he took his seat, writing a budget memo for this past fiscal year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[920 Chickens Killed in Break-In at Foster Farms: Police]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:44:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/AP500744556968.jpg

Hundreds of chickens were killed after burglars broke into a Foster Farms facility in Caruthers, California, investigators said.

Fresno County police said the unknown suspects in the Sept. 20 break-in pulled back part of the facility's fence, entered a chicken shed, then slaughtered the animals with a golf club or other blunt object.

Foster Farms said the 920 chickens killed were worth about $5,000. Foster Farms is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible.

"The perpetrator committed an unconscionable act of animal cruelty,'' the company said in a statement. "This appears to be a random act of violence. It is the express policy of Foster Farms to treat its birds humanely and with compassion. Any intentional act to the contrary is unacceptable.''

Nothing was stolen from the facility, police said. Caruthers is about 17 miles southwest of Fresno.

The nonprofit Animal Defense League offered a $5,000 reward Wednesday for any information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.

"While the chickens were slated for eventual slaughter at the factory farming facility, animal cruelty in the state of California is a serious criminal offense," ADL said in a statement.

Caruthers is about 17 miles southwest of Fresno. Anyone with any information relating to the massacre of the chickens should contact Deputy Chris Curtice at the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office at 559-600-3111.



Photo Credit: FILE-AP]]>
<![CDATA[Minority Students Held Back in Math: Report]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 23:46:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/classroom5.jpg

Minority students in some San Mateo and Santa Clara County school districts were asked to repeat Algebra 1 when they entered high school even though the students passed the class in 8th grade, according to a report.

A report funded by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation says that math misplacement was done with minority students in a disproportionate number over white students.

"It happens because some teachers have a bias toward kids of color, particularly Latino and African American kids," said Emmett Carson, Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO.

Congressional Black Caucus members believe the study shows some school districts are holding a significant number of minority students back from achieving higher education.

"We want to take a step back, look at policies that are working and begin to figure out do we actually introduce legislation to impact the state as a whole," said Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles.

Mitchell attended a town hall meeting Tuesday night in East Palo Alto.

Sang Hoon Lee also attended the meeting and shared his story of how he was a victim of math misplacement to a panel of California legislators.

"I really think I got lumped into the low income, low economic status boat," she said.

Lee, a son of immigrants from Korea, was forced to take Algebra 1 in high school back in Philadelphia even though he passed the course in the 8th grade.

"The fact that it happened to me really shows how pervasive it is through communities," Lee said.

Caucus members said they will hold more town hall meetings throughout California to discuss math misplacement.

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<![CDATA[A's Can't Hold Lead, Eliminated from Playoffs]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:58:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/456429104_8.jpg

The Oakland Athletics have been knocked out of the MLB postseason after losing a nail-biting Wild Card elimination game 9-8 to the Kansas City Royals in extra innings.

The A's were unable to hold a 7-3 lead when the Royals scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th and sent the game into extras with another run in the bottom of the 9th. Oakland had another chance to seal a victory after taking an 8-7 lead in the 12th, but was unable to stop the Royals from coming back and walking off with the win.

The Royals will now face No. 1 seed Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS.

Game 1 of the ALDS between the Royals and Angels is scheduled for Thursday.

Visit NBC Bay Area's Oakland Athletics page for more coverage.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Berkeley Free Speech Movement Part 1]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 05:32:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-08-2014-berkeley-campus.jpg NBC Bay Area's Diane Dwyer reports in the first of a four-part series on the Free Speech Movement.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Rash of Burglaries, Break-Ins Hit Palo Alto]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:28:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0930-2014-PaloAltoBurglar.jpg

Palo Alto police are investigating a rash of home burglaries in the area.

In the last month, police report 15 break-ins in the area south of the Oregon Expressway and Mountain View.

"Usually they'll go through an open or unlocked side gate," Sgt. Brian Phillip said. "(The burglars) approach houses that have open doors or windows."

Phillip said last Wednesday a man was seen leaving a home on the 3000 block of Cowper Street. A neighbor saw the man getting into a tan sedan with stolen goods in the middle of the day when no one was home.

"If you have an alarm, we want you to use it," Phillip said.

Investigators said they are not sure if the same man is responsible for 14 other burglaries in the same neighborhood reported in September.

"I'm kind of sad that it's happening," resident Tony Malizia said.

Malizia in response to the burglaries has purchased locks for his side gate.

"It's too bad people will now be less friendly and more cautious with who is walking around," he said.

The recent string of burglaries have happened when no one was home, police said. Neighbors are hoping an arrest is made before that changes.

Police report burglaries in Palo Alto are slightly down when compared to last year, but the recent spike is a reason for concern.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Woman's Throat Slashed in San Francisco Attack]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 07:54:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0930-2014-EarinaJones.jpg

A woman who had her throat slashed during an attack in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood has been placed in a medically-induced coma.

Earina Jones was at a friend's house early Friday morning when she was attacked with a broken glass bottle, which splintered and sliced deep into her neck.

"It was just so deep it was almost to the bone -- the way he cut her," said Sandra Jones, the victim's mother.

San Francisco police arrested Tanrance Joe Owens at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder. Owens, 30, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious injuries.

Sandra Jones said her 25-year-old daughter was watching over her friend's son Friday morning when the boy's father, Owens, came into the house. A neighbor also reported hearing yelling.

"She said the next thing she knew Earina was coming out of the house and blood was just gushing all over the place," Sandra Jones said. "And there was a Tanqueray bottle that he had busted upside her head."

Sandra Jones said she had heard from a victim advocate that the man arrested was only being charged with assault.

"That's not acceptable," she said.

The mother also heard her daughter had been raped, thought police and prosecutors say they have no evidence of that at this time.

"We have no indication of that at this time," San Francisco Police Sgt. Monica MacDonald said. "However, because of the seriousness of the injuries, we have not been able to interview the victim."

A victim's advocate who contacted Sandra Jones had planned a protest Tuesday night at San Francisco's Hall of Justice on the belief that Earina Jones was raped and that the attacker was only charged with assault. The protest was later canceled by organizers.

"I'm going to push and do whatever I have to do to get justice for my daughter," Sandra Jones said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Steel From Old Bay Bridge to Be Recycled Into Art]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:24:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bay-bridge-arrt.jpg

Some of the steel being dismantled from the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge will be refashioned into art.

The Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee on Tuesday approved spending $2.2 million to salvage at least 300 tons of steel from the 10,000-foot-long structure to be used to create public art projects.

The Oakland Museum of California will administer the program and will start accepting proposals for art pieces that help highlight the history of the bridge, said Lori Fogarty, the museum’s executive director.

The plan called for spending twice as much on the artistic recycling project, but the amount was cut due to maintenance and repair issues with the new bridge.



Photo Credit: Jodi Hernandez]]>
<![CDATA[BART to Try Out More Late-Night Buses]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:18:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-185201292.jpg

Getting home to the East Bay after a late night in San Francisco might soon get easier.

BART, which shuts down train service at 12:26 a.m., will roll out some late-night bus service on Saturdays and Sundays beginning as early as December, according to reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle has word of BART's plan to try expanding the Bay Area's "skeletal overnight transbay bus service" for a year.

The buses would run to "central Contra Costa County" from the city and also add buses going to Richmond and to Fremont, the newspaper reported.

Right now, there's just one bus, the AC Transit "All Nighter," which runs "infrequently" from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

BART needs to shut down train service so that tracks can be worked upon. There is no plan at this time for all-night trains.

Buses would run from as far away as the 24th and Mission station to points east, the newspaper reported.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[AL Wild Card: A's vs. Royals]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 22:18:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/167*120/456419486_8.jpg Photo highlights from the American League Wild Card postseason matchup between the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Hosting Wild Card Game Rally, Viewing Party]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:10:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/456296586.jpg

The San Francisco Giants may be in Pittsburgh for their winner-take-all Wild Card Game, but fans will still be rooting for the orange and black at AT&T Park Wednesday night.

The Giants have announced the team will be hosting a Wild Card Wednesday Rally and viewing party at 4 p.m. at AT&T Park. Mascot Lou Seal and Giants alumni will be at the event to cheer the Giants on, the team said on its website.

After the rally, fans will be able to watch the Wild Card Game on the big screen.

Parking will be available in Giants Lot A, where fans can pay $8 at the meter after 3 p.m., team spokeswoman Shana Daum said.

Game time is scheduled for 5:07 p.m. against the Pirates, as Giants ace Madison Bumgarner will take on Edinson Volquez. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Silicon Valley Income Gap Widens Even More]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:50:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_silicon_valley_california.jpg

Silicon Valley's rich are indeed getting richer. Everyone else -- not so much.

Palo Alto Online notes a recent study shows that 29 percent of Silicon Valley households reported income of $150,000 or greater -- "an increase five times greater than the increase of total households overall," according to the study conducted by the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies.

Previous surveys showed only 26 percent of San Mateo County households had such robust earnings.

High-earners who were already doing well are doing even better. Meanwhile, wages for "low and middle-skilled workers are relatively stagnant," the survey noted.

The study crunched numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey, the website reported.

Silicon Valley's housing prices are also outpacing income increases, the website reported. Average rent is now $2,100 for a one-bedroom apartment, and fewer than half of first-time homebuyers can hope to afford a home at the median price.

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