<![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 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:02:29 -0700 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:02:29 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Marc Andreessen: "The Skeptics Are Wrong All The Time"]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:04:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/900921.jpg

Believe in tech.

You just might end up an Andreessen.

Being an optimist and believing in the potential of Silicon Valley has served Marc Andreessen well, the Netscape founder and current big-time investor told New York Magazine in a recent interview.

"If you bet on the side of the optimists, generally you're right," he told the magazine. "The skeptics are wrong all the time."

That might not agree with some of the "bubble" talk that's escaped the lips of Peter Thiel and others.

And if the bubble were to burst? It's actually "better" to build a company during an economic downturn, he says, as there's less money funding "marginal companies," he said.

Doubt is something tech has dealt with from the beginning, Andreessen added. "With every single thing that anybody here has ever done, there's always been people saying, 'That sucks. That'll never work. That's stupid.'"

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Outcome of San Jose's Mayoral Race Remains in the Air]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:50:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sam-dave-split.jpg NBC Bay Area Political Analyst examines the latest on the San Jose mayoral race and shows why it's such a mystery.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Domestic Violence Offenders Barred From SFPD Ranks]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:45:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/SFPD3.JPG

New rules barring anyone convicted of a domestic violence offense from serving as a San Francisco police officer have gone into effect, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

Some key San Francisco law enforcement officers have had brushes with domestic violence in different ways.

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment following an argument with his wife in which he grabbed her arm, and San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr was demoted for not immediately filing a police report after a woman, a friend, told him that she'd been badly abused.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Audit Shows Why SJFD Unable to Meet Response-Time Goals]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:05:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1020-2014-SJFD.jpg

A draft report of an audit on the San Jose Fire Department sheds light on why crews are failing to meet overall response time goals to medical emergencies.

NBC Bay Area has obtained a copy of the confidential draft audit, launched by Santa Clara County after the fire department did not meet response time standards for more than a year-and-a-half.

The San Jose Fire Department is in a five-year contract with the county to provide first responder services to 911 emergency medical calls. The department agreed to at least 90 percent of calls would be responded to in under eight minutes.

The county decided to stop paying the department earlier this year after calculating emergency crews failed to meet response times from September 2012 to February 2014.

A county audit was launched after NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit revealed response time failures were even worse than numbers released publicly.

The audit shows many firefighters complain about "basic tools." In the midst of Silicon Valley, firefighters said mobile data computers on fire trucks that suggest routes to calls are "slow" and "antiquated." In addition, many stations still use old paper maps and rely on hand-drawn index cards.

Joel Phelan, president for the San Jose firefighters union, said it is frustrating for crews to look at a piece of paper that's not up to date.

The audit also indicates San Jose's police staffing shortage often slows down responses, especially when a crime scene needs to be cleared before medical personnel can proceed.

Phelan said he is glad the audit is being done because "it will shed some light on our deficiencies."

"We've known our situation is archaic," he said. "Yet we've been unable to take steps to update our mapping system."

Officials said a final audit may be presented to the county and city after the upcoming election.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Alix Tichelman Lawyer: "She Did What She Was Asked"]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:56:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TICHELMAN-IN-COURT-VO---00003028.jpg

Lawyers for Alix Tichelman, the high-end escort accused of injecting a Google executive with a deadly dose of heroin, said at a hearing Monday their client "did what she was asked."

“My client Alix didn’t do anything to Mr. Hayes that he didn’t want to happen to him,” defense attorney Larry Biggam said. “She did what she was asked. Consensual adults involved in mutual drug usage. It went wrong but it wasn’t intended.”

The 26-year-old was in court in Santa Cruz Monday morning for a procedural hearing. In July, she pleaded not guilty to felony manslaughter and other charges related to the death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes. Prosecutors say surveillance video shows Tichelman injecting Hayes with heroin on his yacht in Santa Cruz and then watching as he died.

Defense attorneys said Monday Tichelman had also injected herself, clouding her judgment.  Biggam, said after the hearing that his client didn't call for help because she panicked.

Hayes died Nov. 23, 2013, and Tichelman was arrested eight months later on July 4.

Tichelman's attorney previously said she has no motive to kill because Hayes was a consistent customer.

Monday morning’s hearing was quick, but Tichelman’s defense used the occasion to hammer at the allegations.

Also still in question is the Georgia man associated with Tichelman, who also died of a drug overdose. Santa Cruz and Georgia police are looking to see if they can add murder charges to Tichelman’s file.

Tichelman’s lawyers want police to release the entire video captured on the yacht the day Hayes died. Right now, they say, they only have access to 20 minutes of the video. The video shows Hayes death was an “accidental overdose,” Biggam said.

Police, however, say computers seized at Tichelman’s home show she was on line doing research on legal defense strategies. Police say that shows she had been trying to hide something.

As it stands now, Tichelman could face a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Tichelman is facing eight charges in Santa Cruz County – including manslaughter, prostitution, destroying evidence and several related to administering and possessing heroin – in Hayes' overdose death. The father of five, who worked for Google at the time of his death, previously held positions at Sun Microsystems and Apple.

Another procedural hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Berkeley Mulls Law Banning Landlords From Pet Restrictions]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:20:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dog-rapture-generic.jpg

Berkeley's city council is considering a first-of-its-kind law barring landlords from restricting pets.

Under the proposed law, tenants would be required to disclose whether they have a pet before signing the lease. Supporters argue that would improve transparency between tenants and landlords.

Tenants would still be fully responsible for property damage.

Councilmembers will bring up the plan for the first time Tuesday.

Landlords aren’t too happy about the proposal, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “The status quo doesn’t need fixing,” the president of the Berkeley Property Owners Association told the newspaper.

The proposal could go to a committee.

Photo Credit: Amanda Cole]]>
<![CDATA[First Televised Interview With Bill and Nadia Lockyer]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:13:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/2014-10-20_17-02-14.jpg

At one point, not too many years ago, Nadia Lockyer seemed to have it all. She sat on the Santa Ana School Board, married Democratic powerhouse Bill Lockyer, ran for and won a seat on the Alameda Board of Supervisors, and she started a family.

Her name was bandied about for all sorts of statewide positions. Then came a meth addiction, infidelity, a divorce petition, rehab and a relapse. Her rise and fall was meteoric and it was very public.

Two years sober, Nadia has a perspective that only time and therapy can provide. In their first televised interview together, Nadia and Bill look forward to their future as a family, ever mindful of how fast it almost came apart.

"One hit can take you down. One hit. And it was that quick for me. I thank God that it was short-lived, but that it was one hit and it was fast, and it was hard. The sad reality is, is that the circumstances under which I did use an illegal substance were with a gentleman – or not a gentleman, that’s the last word I’d use to describe him – an individual that took our circumstances for granted and threatened me every single day after that first hit. It became a very difficult situation to get out of,” she said. "The shame and the guilt almost made me feel like I deserved to fall."

You can watch the full interview in the video player at the top of this page.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[2015 Amgen Tour of California Host Cities Announced]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:45:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AMGEN_RACE_HEAT_web_1200x675_258122819579.jpg

The largest professional cycling event in the United States is returning next year for its 10th anniversary, but this time only one Bay Area city will be on the route.

The Amgen Tour of California begins May 10, 2015, in Sacramento. Stage 2 will take racers to Nevada City in the Sierra Foothills, then Lodi, before heading to San Jose.

Next year's race marks the first time in four years the East Bay and Mount Diablo won't have a major role in the event.

It also marks the expansion of the women's race to a four-day event.

"We had the women do their finals last year around the downtown,” the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Steve Hammond said. “It was one of the most exciting aspects of the entire day."

The men's race concludes in Pasadena on May 17.

More information about the race is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

<![CDATA[Ebola Scare Prompts SJ School District to Take Precautions]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:25:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P-EBOLA-LOCAL-LATEST-PKG---00004421.jpg

Schools in the South Bay are stepping up infection control efforts just in case a student is diagnosed with the Ebola virus.

The San Jose Unified School District, which has 32,000 students, is taking the same infection-control precautions it has always relied on to deal with the flu, whooping cough and the entero virus. School officials said concerns about Ebola have prompted the district to step up efforts.

"If they come in for anything even a skinned knee we will check their temperature," Melinda Landau, a registered nurse who works at the school district.

The district is also identifying rooms to isolate sick students should the Santa Clara County Public Health Department require that like it did in 2010 to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus.

Students have also been instructed to hand wash with warm water and soap. The district also is reminding parents to do their part.

"The big message for parents is keep them home," Landau said. "We know there are many times parents have to work and want to send their sick kids to school, but if they have a temperature they need to keep them home."

<![CDATA[Civil Rights Attorney Burris Talks Ferguson]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:57:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/20141020_170059.jpg

Mention the name John Burris and police departments across the country... shudder.

For five decades,  most of them here in the Bay Area, he has been the proud guardian of civil rights and the first phone call for those claiming police brutality or misconduct. The cases he's worked on almost always find a national stage: Rodney King, Oscar Grant, even Tupac Shakur.

So it's not surprising that this attorney, the one many call the Johnnie Cochran of Oakland, has some thoughts on the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri and the ongoing unrest. 

"The reaction by the community was not surprising to me, having been involved in the Oscar Grant case, and I know how communities can react if they’re given a certain set of facts. In this case, you had facts that a young man was unarmed, 18 years old, and he had his hands up," Burris told The Mix. "That will cause any community to go in an uproar." 

You can watch the full interview in the video player at the top of this page.

Photo Credit: The Mix / NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Microsoft CEO Says He Was Wrong in Comment About Women and Technology]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:36:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Satya-Nadella-CEO-Microsoft.jpg It was the comment made at a conference about women in the technology heard around the world. Scott Budman reports.]]> <![CDATA[500 Lbs. of Meth Seized in Calif.-Mexican Cartel Bust: AG]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:48:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P-FBI-CARTEL-RAID-PKG---00001611.jpg

A total of 22 people were arrested and 500 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $18 million was seized in a drug trafficking ring linked to Mexico's Sinaloa Federation drug cartel, law enforcement officials announced on Monday.

The takedown, named Operation Road Trip, represents the culmination of several related investigations that have resulted in 67 arrests and the seizure of 1,109 pounds of methamphetamine valued at $40 million, as well as $1.82 million in cash, over the past six years.

“We will do whatever is necessary with our federal and local partners to dismantle these violent, insidious organizations,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said at a news conference in Contra Costa County on Monday.

She was flanked by representatives from the FBI, the California Department of Justice and Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson, who said the bust was the "largest both in terms of drugs and the cash seized that we know of in the history of Contra Costa County."

Operation Road Trip is the merger of two long-term investigations led by the West Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team Task Force, the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force and other local, state, and federal partners.

During the Operation Road Trip investigation, the task forces discovered that methamphetamine from Mexico was being delivered to the Nitro gang, based in Southern California, Harris' office said. The Nitro gang would make regular “road trips” to Contra Costa County in order to distribute to other drug trafficking groups, including the Urtiz gang based in Northern California, authorities said.

In May of 2011, the state Department of Justice, the FBI and others announced the conclusion of the first of the two long-term investigations, named Operation Red Reach. This operation, a two-year coordinated sweep led by West-NET, shut down a network of local and transnational gangs, including a Nortenos gang in western Contra Costa County. The case resulted in the seizure of 135 pounds of methamphetamine, 26 illegal firearms, approximately $150,000 and federal and state convictions of 26 people. Information and intelligence gained from this operation led to the identification of the Urtiz gang.

West-NET’s subsequent investigation, named Operation Crystal Lens, revealed that the Urtiz gang's methamphetamine was being supplied by the Southern California-based Nitro gang, which was also separately under investigation by LA;s task force, Harris' office said.

Transnational criminal organizations have made California the single biggest point of entry for methamphetamine into the United States, with 70 percent entering through the San Diego Port of Entry.

Earlier this month, Harris announced that the California Department of Justice will create a new anti-methamphetamine team of Special Agents based in Los Angeles funded by a $1 million federal grant.

NBC Bay Area Jodi Hernandez contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Is Bloom Energy Greenwashing the Public?]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:03:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BLOOM+THUMB.png

Bloom Energy has garnered international attention for creating technology that turns fuel into electricity. The Silicon Valley company’s energy servers, called Bloom boxes, produce on-site power and aim to operate as a cleaner source of energy than the traditional power grid.

Dozens of blue chip corporations such as Coca Cola, Walmart and Google have installed Bloom boxes at facilities across the country, hoping to lower their carbon footprints and save money on energy costs. But claims by critics, information from public agencies and a data analysis by NBC Bay Area News show that the Bloom boxes may not be performing as well as promised, sparking questions about how green Bloom’s technology really is.

Sunnyvale-based Bloom Energy splashed onto the national scene in 2010 when CEO K.R. Sridhar granted a rare interview to the news program 60 Minutes and showed off the Bloom boxes at one of eBay’s local campuses.

“I watched the launch on 60 Minutes and it just made me think, wow these guys are claiming a lot,” said Lindsay Leveen, a former Genentech scientist.

Leveen is the author of a book on fuel cells and an outspoken critic of Bloom, which he has written about extensively on his blog. Leveen wonders if the public is being “greenwashed,” or made to believe that Bloom’s technology is more environmentally friendly than it actually is. He says this question is especially important because Bloom’s private technology benefits from a lot of public money.

“I like the word boondoggle,” Leveen said. “You add an ‘l’ and ‘m’ and you have bloomdoggle.” 

If you are a Pacific Gas & Electric customer, each month a portion of your energy bill goes to the state’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). The program is administered by the California Public Utilities Commission, and it’s designed to fund innovation in clean energy. When customers purchase Bloom boxes, which cost about $800,000, they are eligible to receive a rebate from the state.

Since 2007, those rebates for installing the boxes have added up to $230 million. SGIP began 14 years ago, and although Bloom has participated in the program for just seven years, the company has benefited from the lion’s share of the funds. According to state data, 23.6 percent of the incentives—nearly a quarter—have benefited Bloom Energy. In addition to state incentives, the company has also benefited from at least $150 million in federal funds in the last two years.

But how green is Bloom’s technology? One way to define greenness is to determine how much pollution—in this case, greenhouse gases—a certain technology emits. A greenhouse gas emission factor is a measurement of pounds of carbon dioxide, or CO2, emitted per megawatt hour of electricity generated. 

The carbon emission rate of the traditional power grid is somewhere between 959 and 1,083 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, according to government regulators. Bloom advertises on its website that Bloom boxes are significantly cleaner, operating with a carbon emission rate of 773.

“That is poppycock,” Leveen said. “That is just dreamy. It’s not that low a number.”

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit analyzed performance data provided to the state of Delaware for Bloom boxes that power 22,000 homes in the state. Delaware is home to the largest installation of Bloom fuel cells in the nation, where the technology has been in operation for more than two years.

According to the most recent data available, Bloom boxes have achieved the 773 emission rate just three months out of a 24 month period. The average emission rate is 823.

The company declined numerous requests to discuss their carbon emission rate in an on-camera interview, but in a conference call Bloom representatives said the 773 figure is achieved when the boxes are brand new, noting that CO2 emissions increase as the boxes age. 

“If the thing emits more carbon dioxide than they say it does then this is greenwashing,” Leveen said.

Bloom has nearly 60 customers, many of which are headquartered in Silicon Valley and across the Bay Area. The SAP Center in San Jose was the first sports and entertainment center in the world to install Bloom technology in August 2012. Rich Sotelo, the vice president of building operations at the SAP Center said the company’s $4.8 million investment into Bloom boxes will be paid back in power savings over the next five years. 

“We think it’s a proven technology,” Sotelo said.

Bloom also counts Verizon and Kaiser Permanente among its happy customers. The health care corporation installed Bloom boxes two years ago at seven of its locations in Southern California.

“We are in the process of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and that’s important for Kaiser because [green technology] helps reduce the health effects of climate change,” said Kathy Gerwig, vice president of environmental stewardship at Kaiser.

Santa Clara County is one of a handful of public agencies that have recently started to operate Bloom boxes. The technology was fully implemented in June at four county buildings, including the main jail complex in San Jose. Dave Snow, the county’s deputy director of facilities, said he is pleased with the performance of the Bloom boxes so far. Snow also said the county expects to save $7 million over the next 20 years in energy costs.

But the Investigative Unit discovered inconsistencies in some of the numbers Bloom provided to Santa Clara County. A press release on Bloom’s website said that the Bloom boxes would save the county “nearly five million pounds of CO2 each year”—that’s the equivalent of taking 500 cars off the road annually. But after NBC Bay Area began asking questions, the county cut the carbon savings in half, using a more conservative method to calculate CO2 savings.

 “We as a county stand behind 2.5 million pounds,” Snow said. “I couldn’t speak for Bloom.”

Leveen argues that Bloom Energy has a pattern of overpromising and under-delivering. In fact, regulators at the CPUC, the agency that oversees the SGIP program, wrote in an email that the company’s early model Bloom boxes—the ES-5000—“did not perform as well as Bloom anticipated.” Information provided by the CPUC shows that those boxes had an emission rate of between 893 and 955, which is much closer to what the traditional power grid already emits.

“I don’t think its greenwashing but I do think there’s an onus on the company to explain the difference,” said Dan Kammen, an energy and climate expert.

Kammen founded the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab at the University of California at Berkeley, and his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Kammen said if Bloom is not achieving its advertised emission rate in the real world, the company should explain why.

“If you are receiving public money or private investor money you need to own up to your bottom line,” Kammen said. “You do have a responsibility to explain that difference. It’s not being irresponsible—it’s being an ambassador for an emerging technology.” 

But what is being done about it? Last year the Federal Trade Commission sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein after she asked the agency to investigate Leveen’s claims that Bloom Energy is greenwashing the public. The FTC wrote “Greenwashing—that is, making false or unsubstantiated environmental benefit claims—may constitute an unfair or deceptive act.” The commission said it cannot comment on the complaint against Bloom Energy. 

“Everyone wants to believe that its green and it’s great,” Leveen said. “And it’s probably good technology, but it’s just not as good as they claim.” 

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit email theunit@nbcbayarea.com or call 888-996-TIPS. 

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<![CDATA[Son Strangles Father, Bludgeons Him With Sledgehammer: Police]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:34:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_handcuffs11.jpg

A 33-year-old son was arrested on a homicide charge after Santa Rosa police say he strangled his father, and then bludgeoned him with a sledgehammer.

Angelo Michael Lancaster, aka, Kartar Khalsa, was booked into the Sonoma County Jail in connection with the homicide and burglary. It was not immediately clear if Lancaster was being represented by an attorney.

Sgt. David Linscomb said his father, Simran Khalsa, 64, was found dead in an upstairs bedroom in the 600 block of Wright Street on Sunday about 11:20 p.m. after a cousin who lives in the house called police to say his uncle was being attacked with a sledgehammer.

Officers found Simran Khalsa had suffered severe injuries to his head. Linscomb said the son had broken a glass front door, carrying the sledgehammer, and used it after some "short verbal exchange" with his father, which has not been fully explained. Linscomb only said it was over "family matters."

Linscomb said Lancaster was "apparently angry with his father over an earlier dispute." But he added that the two had recently reconciled after being estranged. Simran Khalsa had converted to Sikhism and gave his son a Sikh name, although the son preferred to be called "Angelo," Linscomb said.

The son was arrested in the backyard, hiding behind a tree.

This was the second homicide in Santa Rosa this year, Linscomb said. It was also the second high-profile parent killing in the Bay Area this month.

On Oct. 7, Joseph Badiali of Hayward, a 20-year-old UC Santa Cruz student, was charged for fatally stabbing his 57-year-old mother to death with a pair of scissors.

<![CDATA[For 3rd Time in October, Rain Falls in SF, Bay Area]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:27:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/daly-city-rain.jpg

Sprinkles began falling in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area Monday morning, the third time it's rained in October.

More light showers fell throughout the Bay Area on Monday afternoon, with the bulk of the moisture hitting north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

NBC Bay Area meteorologist Christina Loren said that the precipitation is great news, not only for drought-parched California, but for the ski resorts in Tahoe desperate for snow.

Highs are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s with southwesterly winds of up to 20 mph.

More rain is expected on Friday.

A separate Pacific Storm in the Gulf of Alaska had surfers and beach goers in Santa Cruz receiving word of 11 to 13 foot sneaker waves. The huge breakers drew dozens of expert surfers to the water.

Earl Hidayetoglu said he wasn’t prepared for the surf.

“I don’t want to use the obvious pun, but you can get between a rock and a hard place like I was,” Hidayetoglu said.

Hidayetoglu said he lost his board, and while he was trying to fight the powerful rip currents to get back to shore, a kayaker paddled over to help.  “The Pacific isn’t something to mess with,” he said.

NBC Bay Area's Michelle Roberts contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Kris Vera-Phillips
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<![CDATA[87-Year-Old Man Killed in Car Accident Near SF Zoo]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:27:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic1.jpg

An 87-year-old man was fatally struck by a car near the San Francisco Zoo Monday morning has been identified as Louis Van Velzen, police said.

The collision was reported at 6:57 a.m. near Sloat Boulevard and 43rd Avenue. Velzen's daughter, who only wanted to give her name as "Louisa," said it's a very dangerous intersection, adding that her father had been trying to catch a bus at the time. She said her father was 87, though police had originally said he was 75,

Police said the lighting was difficult because it was dawn.

Police said the driver - a teacher's aide at Washington High School - stayed at the scene and cooperated. She also didn't appear to have been speeding and was "quite shaken up," police said.

Police said Velzen, a San Francisco resident, did not appear to be in the crosswalk and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Louisa said she hopes more people will "drive carefully."

<![CDATA[Willow Glen Window Smasher Strikes Again]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:01:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/willowglen3.jpg

Someone has been shattering windows in San Jose’s upscale Willow Glen neighborhood for the last few months.

DiModa Salon was the most recent hit. The windows were smashed over the weekend. On Monday, the salon had its windows boarded up.

BevMo was hit about two months ago, as was the Baskin & Robbins, and Starbucks.

Two San Jose police officers on the beat told NBC Bay Area the property damage is, unfortunately, low priority because it appears to be vandalism only – no merchandise has been stolen, and no victims have been hurt.

Photo Credit: Damian Trujillo]]>
<![CDATA[Another Victim Comes Forward in Case of Palo Alto Flasher]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:09:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/palo_alto_indecent_sketches.jpg

It appears there is another victim in the case of the Palo Alto flasher.

After seeing a news report of the indecent exposure incidents, a couple came forward and said something similar happened to their daughter.

The 13-year-old was walking her dog east of Palo Alto High School in August when she saw a man touching himself in a car and looking at her. She kept walking, and he showed up again doing the same thing.

A man exposed himself to a 10-year-old and 14-year-old girl in separate incidents earlier this month.

The suspect description is similar for all three of those cases.

However, there is a different sketch of a man who exposed himself to a woman riding her bike earlier this month.

Police think there might be two different flashers.

Photo Credit: Palo Alto Police]]>
<![CDATA[California Gas Prices Continue to Decrease: Report]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 23:59:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/arco_gas_prices_cheap.jpg

Bay Area drivers know all too well the pain at the pump, as California typically has the highest prices in the country for gasoline.

But lately, it has been a different story.

Customers at the Arco station on Capitol Expressway and Center Road said Sunday night they could not believe that the price for gasoline was only $3.17 per gallon there.

"Gas, $3.17, you can’t beat it," driver Julia Ramirez said. "We’ve been in in line for like 10 minutes already. But it’s worth it.”

Customers in Mill Valley saw even lower prices--$3.15 a gallon on Redwood Highway.

Since the beginning of the month, gas prices have dropped 15 cents a gallon. Going back to the end of June, the decrease is about 50 cents a gallon.

“The real reason gas prices are falling right now at really steep rates than we've seen in years is due to the free fall in crude oil prices,” AAA spokesman Michael Green said.

A barrel of crude was about $85 a few days ago, compared to $120 a barrel when summer began.

Analysts said global demand is slowing, while production has maintained, leading to too much supply.

A bigger drop could be in store in the coming weeks, perhaps another 20 cents a gallon for consumers.

If this trend continues, could Californians be seeing a “two” at the beginning of their gas prices?

“That’s just a flashback. That’s just straight up a flashback," driver Michael Encinas said. "That’s just like trying to remember like when it was $1 or something.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Aldon Smith Could Have Suspension Reduced: Report]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:02:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_aldon_smith.jpg

A report out Sunday night said San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith could have his nine-game suspension reduced.

South Bay 49ers fans watched the game against the Denver Broncos Sunday night at the San Jose Bar & Grill--and saw the team could have used him.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the league may reduce his suspension by a game or two due to good behavior. If it is reduced two games, the suspension would be over.

As it stands, he would come back for the game on Nov. 16.

The NFL suspended him last August for violating conduct and substance abuse policies.

But according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said he has no knowledge of any suspension reduction.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Buried by Broncos' Scoring Avalanche]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:57:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ManningRecTD.jpg

It was still early in the second quarter Sunday night in Denver when the Broncos, already up 14-3, were driving for another touchdown.

“Wow,” said analyst Cris Collinsworth on the NBC TV coverage. “We’re in Colorado, and this has the feel of an avalanche.

He was right.

The Broncos then scored on Peyton Manning’s third touchdown pass of the night – the 509th of his career, breaking Brett Favre’s NFL record – and Denver had a 21-3 lead en route to a Rocky Mountain massacre.

The Broncos won, 42-17 , to break San Francisco’s three-game winning streak and drop San Francisco back to 4-3.

On this night on a nationally televised stage, the 49ers defense was no match for Manning’s mastery. Playing without linebackers Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith and missing defensive backs Chris Culliver and Jimmie Ward, Manning and his excellent receiving corps had a field day. It was the most points allowed by the 49ers defense since Jim Harbaugh became head coach.

Before being relieved after three quarters, Manning was 22-of-26 for 318 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. Eight of those throws went to Demaryius Thomas, who caught eight passes for 171 yards and two scores. The Broncos running game, too, slashed one of the NFL’s best rush defenses.

This was an across-the-board wipeout.

From the start, the 49ers offense couldn’t generate any consistency, meaning Manning and Co. kept getting the ball back quickly, then adding points.

The Niners went three-and-out on their first possession, had a drive stall before missing a field goal and went three-and-out again before finally getting a Phil Dawson field goal when a long drive from their own 13 stalled at the Broncos’ 4. That’s when the Broncos drove for their third score on Manning’s record-breaking TD pass.

In addition to the 49ers’ bad night on both sides of the ball, San Francisco lost cornerback Chris Cook (hamstring) and center Daniel Kilgore. Kilgore had to be carted off the field – so his loss could be long-term.

Fortunately, the beatdown in Denver only counts as one loss. In the NFC West, the 49ers are still in the hunt (behind the 5-1 Cardinals and ahead of the 3-3 Seahawks) and now have a bye week to get a bit healthier and regroup before their next game on Sunday, Nov. 2 against the visiting Rams.

As former NFL scout and ESPN analyst Matt Williamson tweeted late in the game, “Brutal night for the #49ers, but like I said on Friday’s Podcast: Just stay alive and make your run in December when it matters most.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Caltrans Suspends Bay Bridge Repair Project]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:30:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bay_bridge_plates_repair.jpg

The California Department of Transportation has suspended a two-month repair project on the Bay Bridge because it caused significant traffic delays on Friday, according to Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus.

The expansion joint replacement project on the western span of the Bay Bridge required installation of steel plates on the deck, Haus said. Wear-and-tear cracks were found along the span.

But the project snarled traffic, especially near the toll plaza.

"I live in Oakland, and when I got to about past Telegraph exit, it was just like brake lights stopped," commuter Kendyl Ryan said.

Ryan knew the drive would take more than an hour, so she ditched her car and jumped on BART. On Sunday, she heard the plates were suddenly gone.

"Amazing, yes tomorrow is going to be a lot better then I was preparing for an hour and a half, 2 hour commute tomorrow but it sounds like that won't happen," Ryan said.

Haus said during the suspension, Caltrans will look at ways to ease the impact on traffic.

"We decided to suspend the project and to get together tomorrow morning, the whole project team, and look at all of our options, see if we can come up with some way of doing this project that isn’t quite as disruptive," Haus said.

The project was scheduled to go for 60 days and was to be completed by the end of December.

Caltrans activated changeable message boards Friday to alert drivers of the project, and officials were advising motorists to expect some delays for the duration of the project and to allow for additional travel time.

Some said despite the bridge signs, they needed more notice.

"If somebody had to come across, just slam on their brakes, they need some warning about that," commuter Jason Brown said.

At least for the short term, commuters will not have to worry about plates on the roadway, until the project resumes.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Kansas City Royals Fans: "We Just Want Them to Win"]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:19:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/royalsfans.JPG

Meet the Johnsons — possibly the bravest people in San Francisco right now.

Ron and Kimberly Johnson, who live in Lafayette but are supporting the Kansas City Royals, decided to dress up in Royals gear and pose for TV crews and passers-by in front of AT&T Park in San Francisco Saturday.

They brought their three children along as well, who held a "KC Loyal" sign. "Our kids made the sign at school," Kimberly Johnson said smiling.

When asked what kind of reaction they were getting from San Francisco Giants fans walking by them, Ron Johnson said: "People have been mostly civil, except this one guy who got kinda angry."

The last time the Royals were in a World Series was in 1985, when they won the championship. Giants fans are going to extreme lengths to show support for their team — which won two of the last four World Series — with at least two local radio stations pulling Lorde's "Royals" from their playlist. Turns out, Lorde herself was inspired by an old photo of Royals third baseman and Hall of Famer George Brett, which prompted her to write the song.

As for what could have possibly motivated the Johnsons to do something like this — just a few days before the Giants face off against the Royals for Game 1 of the World Series — Ron said it was "our way to show support for our team."

"I've been a Royals fan for a long time and idolized George Brett as a kid," he said.

"We just want them to win," his wife chimed in. "And we'd really really love to get some tickets to the game."

<![CDATA[17th Congressional District Race Intensifies]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:06:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1004-2014-Debate.jpg The 17th Congressional District race between democrats Mike Honda and Ro Khanna intensified this past week when both candidates released positive poll results. Can both be right? Can both be wrong? NBC Bay Area’s political analyst Larry Gerston is here to sort out the details. Let’s begin with the results — what are they saying?

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Giants World Series Tickets Start at Around $550 on StubHub]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:11:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457329374_8.jpg

San Francisco Giants fans wanting to attend World Series games at AT&T Park will have to pay a pretty penny to see the game -- even just to stand and watch.

Ticket prices on StubHub for Game 3 in San Francisco, as of Saturday night, were starting at $550, just for standing room only. For fans wanting to sit down, the cheapest seats were going for about $700.

The most expensive Game 3 seat costs about $27,500 in the Premium Field Club section.

And for those wanting to buy parking passes for Game 3 on StubHub, the cheapest rate is $222, as of Sunday morning.

For those trying to buy tickets on the Giants' official web site, it says, "There is limited or no ticket availability left for this game. Click the Buy link below to continue to search for tickets."

The average ticket prices for World Series games in Kansas City are even higher, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here's another option:

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Have Hope, But No Victories]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:34:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/StepfanTayy.jpg

After watching his Raiders almost topple the Chargers last week, new head coach Tony Sparano went into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with hope.

“If those guys can give me that kind of effort going forward here, this thing is going to turn,” he said.

Well, not this week.

The Raiders lost again, this time by a 24-13 score to visiting Arizona, dropping to 0-6 this season, their 12th consecutive loss. And, after Jacksonville’s victory over Cleveland earlier Sunday, the Raiders now rank as the NFL’s only winless team.

The Raiders spotted Arizona a 14-0 lead, and it proved too much to overcome.

With just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, down by just eight points, the Raiders still had a chance to get the ball back if they could make a third-down stop. But on a third-and-8 from their own 41, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer hit a wide-open John Brown for 22 yards to the Raiders’ 37. Then, just over three minutes left, the Cardinals converted another third-and-8, with Palmer hitting Andre Ellington for 10 yards.

The Cardinals held onto the ball long enough tack on a 41-yard field goal to increase their lead to 24-13 and lock up the game with just 33 seconds remaining.

As the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur noted, the Raiders had come in dead last in the NFL in third-down defense, with successful stops just 51 percent of the time. Those two conversions by Arizona made them successful on 9-of-14 Sunday. With the game still in reach, the defense didn’t get the job done when it needed to.

After the Cardinals built their 14-0 lead, Oakland came back to make it a game on a short touchdown run by Darren McFadden and two Sebastian Janikowski field goals.

For the second straight game, rookie quarterback Derek Carr showed promise, completed 16-of-28 for 173 yards, including a 55-yard completion to a streaking Brice Butler. But Oakland couldn’t come up with key third-down conversions on the drives that ended in field goals, and the defense couldn’t contain Palmer (22-of-31 for 253 yards and two TDs), or the 1-2 running back duo of Ellington and Stepfan Taylor (128 yards rushing).

As the hopeful Sparano had said before the game, “this thing is a marathon.” He knows it may take time. But, he said, “We’re going to get it right.”

Until then, the 0-6 Raiders are now in the lead for the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft. But, opportunity awaits.

Next Sunday, the Raiders travel to face the Browns – who lost to the Jaguars this week.

If there’s a winnable game on the schedule, this is it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Earthquakes Fans Say Goodbye to Buck Shaw Stadium]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 01:04:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj_earthquakes_final_game.jpg

Over 10,000 San Jose Earthquakes fans packed Buck Shaw Stadium to capacity for the professional soccer team’s final home game on the Santa Clara University campus.

The Earthquakes marked the end of seven seasons at Buck Shaw Stadium with a 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Die-hard fans, calling themselves the Casbah, held a funeral, complete with tombstones and a corpse. But they're ready for a fresh start.

"We’re in last place, you know. And there’s no way but up," Earthquakes fan Luis Cuellar said. "And I was just thinking without death, there’s no resurrection. So that gave me the idea for a funeral.”

The Earthquake’s new stadium near San Jose International Airport is expected to be finished in March and can seat almost double their last home. It opens just a few months after Levi’s Stadium debuted as the San Francisco 49ers' new venue.

The Earthquakes and 49ers join the long-time established San Jose Sharks as making the South Bay a sports destination with appealing stands.

“Silicon Valley has a lot of wealth and innovation and ideas," Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said. "I think the active lifestyle that sports has I think is a good connection with what people do in Silicon Valley.”

Lily Mae’s restaurant has already seen a boost in customers because of the 49ers' new stadium.

Adding the Earthquake’s new place will just extend the flow of big-spending sports fans another few months after football season.

“We’re like ‘Come on. Come on!’ So we can offer you all these drinks," Lily Mae's owner Rhonda Manning said. "We got a great Kool-Aid mimosa. We’re ready to go!”

Just this week, the Earthquakes fired their coach after an awful 2014 season. So, this is truly new beginnings for the team.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Body Found Offshore Near Pier 50 in San Francisco]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 10:05:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Maritol669.JPG

Port officials in San Francisco made a startling discovery Saturday morning.

A decomposed body surfaced offshore near Pier 50, as port officials were removing pieces of dry dock when the body floated up from underneath.

Officials said they think the body might be that of a kayaker who capsized and went missing off Pier 80 in 2011.

His body was never recovered.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Rape Charges Dropped Against UC Berkeley Student]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 10:57:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_agresion_sexual_berkeley.jpg

Rape charges have been dropped against a UC Berkeley student after reports of sexual assaults on campus last month.

Twenty-year-old Eugene Quillin had been charged with one count of rape by use of drugs. But after further investigation and an interview with the alleged victim, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office told the Bay Area News Group no sexual assault occurred on Sept. 27.

Quillin's arrest followed three separate reports of sexual assaults that occurred that same weekend at the UC Berkeley campus.

Police said Quillin is not a suspect in any of them.

Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO 48]]>
<![CDATA[Hotel Occupancy, Prices Near Levi's Stadium Up: Santa Clara]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 18:38:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-29-2014-levis-stadium-sign.jpg

Levi’s Stadium is not only putting fans in the seats, but it is also putting a lot of people into Santa Clara hotels.

The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce said hotels near the stadium averaged 85 percent occupancy over the last few months. And for the first time ever, the hotels averaged $200 per night.

"I've talked to people at the hotels that are coming as far as the East Coast to see some of these games, and Canada," Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve Van Dorn said.

There are several developments in the works in the area, including plans from former 49er quarterback Joe Montana to build a new hotel.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>