<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News - San Francisco]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/localen-usTue, 26 Sep 2017 02:26:33 -0700Tue, 26 Sep 2017 02:26:33 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[SF Officials Set Up Cooling Centers Ahead of Midweek Heat]]>Mon, 25 Sep 2017 23:04:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Heat-Generic-Photo.jpg

High temperatures expected this week in San Francisco have prompted city officials to announce places residents can go to stay cool, department of emergency management officials said Monday.

Temperatures in the city may reach the low to mid-90s on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, creating the possibility that residents could get heat illnesses.

The chance of illness is greatest among older adults, children and people who are sick. Pets are also susceptible to extreme heat.

Emergency management officials suggest that residents check on neighbors, family members and friends.

Three people died of what were believed to be heat-related illnesses in the most recent heat wave in San Francisco over the Labor Day weekend.

The following six libraries in San Francisco have air conditioning and will be open all three days:

  • The main library at 100 Larkin St. will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • The Chinatown branch at 1135 Powell St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • The Mission Bay library at 960 Fourth St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday.
  • The North Beach library at 850 Columbus Ave. will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday.
  • The Potrero branch at 1616 20th St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.
  • The Glen Park branch at 2825 Diamond St. will be open on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m. and on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Additionally, three buildings operated by non-profits will also serve as cooling centers, which include:

  • The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco at 3200 California St. will be open from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday.
  • The George W. Davis Senior Center at 1751 Carroll Ave. will be open Tuesday though Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The Salvation Army Chinatown Corps Community Center at 1450 Powell St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days.

"We're still working to identify more," department of emergency management spokesman Francis Zamora said.

In addition to the cooling centers, six pools will be open to the public for free from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

The pools are Martin Luther King Jr. Pool at Third Street and Armstrong Avenue; the North Beach pool at 651 Lombard St.; Coffman Pool at 1701 Visitation Ave.; Hamilton Pool at Geary Boulevard and Steiner St.; Mission Community Pool at 101 Linda St. and Garfield Pool at 26th and Harrison streets.

Other places where residents and visitors can stay cool include movie theaters, churches and shopping malls.

<![CDATA[Thousands Dress Up, Flock to Folsom Street Fair in SF]]>Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:10:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/folsom+fair-0924.jpg

Roughly 400,000 fetish enthusiasts filled the streets of San Francisco on Sunday for the annual Folsom Street Fair in the city's SoMa neighborhood.

It's purpotedly the world's largest fetish event and featured people dressed in all sorts of costumes.

The event also included live music, food and 200 booths showcasing fetish gear and toys.

Streets in the area were expected to be closed until 10 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dead Following Standoff, Officer-Involved Shooting in SF]]>Sun, 24 Sep 2017 21:02:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-24-17_SFPD_OIS.jpg

A man died Sunday following an officer-involved shooting in San Francisco that initially began as a standoff situation inside an apartment, according to police.

The man's wife and two children were inside the apartment during the more than three-hour-long ordeal, but they were eventually rescued, San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said.

Officers first received calls around 11:35 p.m. on Saturday about a domestic violence situation in an apartment in the area of Salmon Street and Pacific Avenue, Andraychak said.

Officers heard yelling coming from the apartment and then heart at least one gunshot minutes later, Andraychak said.

Negotiators were called in and proceeded to work with the man for more than three hours, according to Andraychak. Just after negotiations stopped at 2:50 a.m., officers heard another gunshot.

"Out of concern for the safety of the hostages, the tactical team made entry to the apartment and an officer-involved shooting occurred," Andraychak said.

The woman and children were rescued and taken out of the apartment before being treated by paramedics, Andraychak said. The man was transported to a hospital and later pronounced dead.

An investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Holding Daughter’s Hand Randomly Assaulted in SF]]>Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:28:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfpd-generic-san-francisco-police.jpg

A woman who was holding her daughter's hand while waiting to cross the street was attacked by a random assailant on Wednesday in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, according to police.

San Francisco police Officer Robert Rueca said the woman didn't provoke the suspect into striking her, nor did she speak to him before the assault occurred. The suspect ran from the scene in the 1000 block of Market Street.

"The suspect just began assaulting the victim," Rueca said.

According to Rueca, the victim was taken to the hospital and the child, described as a toddler, was uninjured and picked up by an adult family member.

Rueca said the suspect has been identified as a black man, but a further description wasn't available. He said officers are investigating the case and working on retrieving surveillance footage from the area of the assault to better identify the suspect.

Anyone with information about the assault is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department's tip line at (415) 575-4444.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SF Giants to Expand Protective Netting at AT&T Park]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 22:54:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giants-record.jpg

Add the San Francisco Giants to the growing list of Major League Baseball teams improving fan safety at games.

The team will add more netting to the field-level seats at AT&T Park to protect fans from foul balls and loose bats, Giants officials confirmed late Friday.

Three other teams (Cincinatti Reds, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners) on Thursday pledged to make a similar move.

The decision comes after a foul ball traveling 105 mph hit a young girl at Yankee Stadium in New York this week. She was seriously hurt, but her injuries are not life-threatening.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was first to report the Giants' decision to add more netting. The Giants are expected to make an announcement next week.

Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Sen. Sanders Boosts Health Care Plan in Bay Area]]>Sat, 23 Sep 2017 21:09:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bernie-Sanders-EM.jpg

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders visited San Francisco Friday to boost a health care plan he says will end a national crisis.

"Today we stand together in saying that in this great country health care is a right, not a privilege!" Sanders said to a crowd cheering him at Yerba Buena Gardens.

California nurses collectively cheered for Sanders' bill delivering universal healthcare, drawing upon experiences they have had with patients inside their hospital walls.

"They have insurance, but because of the high deductibles and high premiums, they're putting off care," said Catherine Kennedy, a member of the California Nurses Association Board of Directors. "So when they come to our hospitals they're sicker. People are dying, and they're suffering."

As developments on Friday cast doubt on Republicans' ability to pull off an Obamacare repeal, there is also no reason to believe a single-payer system will gain traction in Washington, either.

"What he didn't do is say what it is going to cost, or how it is going to be paid for," said Sally Pipes, CEO of San Francisco-based free market think tank Pacific Research Institute.

Pipes frets Sanders' plan will not only run a tab of trillions through heavy taxation, but also might mirror problems faced by other single-payer countries.

"It is really a total government takeover and as with any single-payer system, such as Canada's where I'm from, there would be long waiting lists for care, care would be rationed, and there would be lack of access to the latest treatment and technologies."

As it stands right now, all sides agree an exorbitant sum of money goes to paying for American health care.

Healthcare was not Sanders' only issue during his Bay Area visit After his speech he moved over to San Francisco City College to applaud their new tuition-free program, calling it a model others should follow.

Photo Credit: John Minchillo/AP]]>
<![CDATA[$900K Worth of Jewelry Stolen in SF Auto Burglary: Police]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 16:01:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/0922-SFJewelry2.JPG

Police are asking for the public's help in locating $900,000 worth of antique jewelry stolen during an auto burglary in San Francisco.

The burglary was reported at 12 noon on Aug. 12 in the parking lot of Ocean Beach, near the Great Highway and Balboa Street, police said. The jewelry was inside two tote bags removed from the rear cargo area of a 2016 black Cadillac Escalade. Police said its rear driver's side window was shattered during the crime.

The unique jewelry pieces are a 18K yellow gold tassel necklace, cushion cut diamond earrings (approximately four carats each), 18K yellow gold cuff bracelet and a diamond and pearl tassel necklace.

A 2000 blue Acura TL was seen speeding from the area and is may be tied to the auto burglary, according to police.

Anyone with information on the auto burglary and/or the whereabouts of the jewelry pieces is encouraged to contact the San Francisco Police Department tip line at 415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the message with TIP411. Callers can remain anonymous.

<![CDATA[Community Mourns Loss of SF Grocer Killed in Hit-and-Run]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:32:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Community_Mourns_Loss_of_SF_Grocer_Killed_in_Hit-and-Run.jpg

Konstantinos "Gus" Vardakastanis, 56, a popular San Francisco grocer, was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run crash early Friday morning in San Francisco, the coroner's office said.

The collision was first reported at 2:17 a.m. at the intersection of Jerrold Avenue and Toland Street, according to the San Francisco Police Department. Vardakastanis was struck when crossing the road and died at the scene, police said.

"I am truly saddened by the death of Gus Vardakastanis, a beloved member of the Haight-Ashbury community and owner of the Haight Street Market," said London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

She continued: "My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the employees of the markets he owned throughout the city. He kept his prices affordable and was very committed to hiring locally, including those who needed a second chance. Gus was loved and he will be truly missed."

Vardakastanis and his family owned three stores, the Haight Street Market, Noriega Produce and Gus's Community Market, all in San Francisco, according to Michael Janis.

"We're all in mourning," said Janis, an employee at San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market. "He was a very important part of the fabric of the market and of the whole food community in San Francisco."

On Friday, customers, vendors and employees stopped by the victim's stores to pay their respects to Vardakastanis, who immigrated to the United States from Greece. 

"Everyone knew who he was," said customer Marcus Stoesz. "He seemed to take care of everyone ... He just kind of seemed to love this place and love every place that he owned."

The Police Department's Traffic Investigation Unit is investigating the collision. They're looking for a silver sedan with damage to the front end and windshield, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department's tip line at 415-575-4444.

<![CDATA[Shipping Containers Knocked Off Port of Oakland, Into Bay]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:55:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9222017-portofoakland.jpg

Crews on Friday removed shipping containers from the San Francisco Bay where they landed after plunging off the Port of Oakland.

Divers went underwater Friday and attached cables to haul the containers out of the water and back onto the port. Officials said they were empty.

An investigation is ongoing into how the containers were knocked into the water in the first place.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Cable Cars Taken Off San Francisco's California Street For Week-Long Upgrades]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:19:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Cable_Car_Get_Upgrades.jpg

Cable cars to be shut down during renovations. Anser Hassan reports.]]>
<![CDATA[World Famous Cable Cars Taken off SF Street For a Week]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:20:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/cable+car+generic.jpg

Some of San Francisco’s iconic cable cars will get an upgrade, starting Friday.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority said cable cars that run up and down California Street will be taken out of service for a week for maintenance work. Instead, buses will run their routes.

The cable moves underground, but a gear box powers the motor that not only keeps the vehicle’s wheels turning but also the cables moving. It's essential to the operation, officials say.

The gear boxes currently in use, however, are more than 30 years old so the SFMTA had new gear boxes custom-built for nearly $3 million.

Part of what they are trying to do is take advantage of modern technology to improve the system, without losing the cable cars’ historic charm.

The new gear boxes have special sensors that monitor vibration and noise, which will help engineers detect minor issues before they become major problems.

"We are trying to be predictive in out maintenance and replacing it before the entire thing fails,” said If it fails, the cable stops. You have service interruption (or) possibly an incident where someone can get hurt.”

People visiting San Francisco needn’t fret, though. The other cable car lines will still be up and running so they will be able to get their Instagram and Snapchat worthy footage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Three Injured in Two-Alarm Fire at San Francisco High-Rise]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:08:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-22-17-HIGH+RISE+FIRE+IN+SF.jpg

Three people were rescued from a two-alarm building fire in San Francisco early Friday, but a cat is still missing, officials said.

The city's Fire Department spokesman tweeted just before 6 a.m. that people should avoid the area of 125 Cambon Drive in Parkmerced.

Flames broke out in a housing unit on the seventh floor of the 13-story building. 

Officials said one person was severely hurt, while two others were moderately wounded. One of the people with less severe injuries was treated at the scene and released.

The fire department evacuated the sixth, seventh and eighth floors of the building, and the rest of the building was asked to shelter in place. Residents have since been allowed to return home, except for those who live in the unit where the fire sparked.

The blaze has been doused, but its cause remains under investigation.

Further details were not immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Uber to Lose Its License to Operate in London]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:08:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-lyft-icons.jpg

Uber's license to operate in London won't be renewed because its practices endanger public safety and security, the local regulator said Friday, in a blow to a company already facing big questions over its corporate culture.

Transport for London says the company, whose app is used by 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers in London, isn't "fit and proper" to hold a license to operate a private-hire vehicle service.

"TfL considers that Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications," the regulator said in a statement.

Uber was first licensed to operate in the city in 2012 and will see its current license expire on Sept. 30. The company said it plans to appeal the regulator's decision, and can continue to operate until the appeals process is exhausted.

For its part, Uber accused the city of caving in to special interests "who want to restrict consumer choice."

"Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the U.K.," the company said. "This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers."

Uber, founded in 2010 in San Francisco, has often faced opposition as it expanded. Taxi drivers complain that Uber drivers don't have to comply with the same licensing standards, giving the ride-hailing service an unfair advantage and placing the public at risk.

The company, which provides a smartphone application that connects passengers with drivers who work as independent contractors, argues it isn't a traditional transportation company.

In its decision, Transport for London singled out Uber's approach to reporting serious criminal offenses and how it conducts background checks on drivers. TfL also took issue with Uber's explanation of software that could be used to block regulators from gaining full access to the app and "prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he supported the decision, saying any operator of taxi services in the city "needs to play by the rules."

"Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security," he said. "I fully support TfL's decision — it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners' safety and security."

Police in London accused Uber last month of not reporting a sexual assault by a driver on a passenger, allowing the driver to strike again. Metropolitan Police Inspector Neil Billany suggested in a letter that the company was putting concerns for its reputation over public safety.

At the time, Uber said it was surprised by the letter and that it had a good working relationship with the police.

But the company has been dogged by questions on its workplace culture. In July, former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned following criticism of his management style. Some 20 people, including some managers, were fired in June amid allegations of sexual harassment and bullying.

Its aggressive corporate culture has resulted in litigation around the world. John Colley, a strategy professor at Warwick Business School, said poor values ultimately bring companies down. Uber is now effectively banned from France, Spain and Belgium, and it is facing litigation and investigations around the world, he said.

"There is a very long list of businesses who have suffered for failing to uphold the level of values necessary," Colley said. "Until Uber gets this message then it will suffer lost trade as a result of its deteriorating reputation."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Jenny Kane/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[$900K Worth of Jewelry Stolen in SF Auto Burglary]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 15:56:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/0922-SFJewelry1.JPGPolice are searching for nearly $1 million worth of antique jewelry stolen during an auto burglary in San Francisco.

Photo Credit: SFPD]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Police Officer Arrested on Misdemeanor Charges]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:55:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0921-2017-Babbs.jpg

A San Francisco police officer was arrested Thursday and charged with using false vehicle registration stickers and filing a false police report, according to police.

Officer Joel Babbs came under investigation in June after the police department's Internal Affairs Division was notified of a vehicle code violation.

The investigation found that a false police report was filed regarding the violation by the officer, police said.

An arrest warrant was then issued after the district attorney's office reviewed the case, and Babbs was arrested today on charges of misdemeanor false registration tabs and misdemeanor filing a false police report.

Babbs has been reassigned to a position that does not involve public contact, police said.

Photo Credit: SFPD]]>
<![CDATA[Crimes Increasing in SF's Popular Tourist Attractions]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 18:24:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFPD_Fights_Lombard_Street_Crime_Surge__Report.jpg

San Francisco is seeing a surge in property crime in some of the city's most scenic areas. And it is all happening despite efforts to put more police officers on the streets to combat crime.

The city's central police district, which includes Lombard Street, Fisherman's Wharf and Telegraph Hill, is an area the San Francisco Police Department has doubled foot patrol since April. But car break-ins are up sizeably even with the added attention.

Police say car break-ins are up 24 percent in the central district since they beefed up patrols this spring. The district is a well-trafficked area that includes eight of the 10 most visited sites in the city.

"We're definitely concerned. We're definitely listening to our communities," SFPD Officer Robert Rueca said. "And we want to stop crime altogether."

San Francisco supervisors Norman Yee and Hillary Ronen are spearheading legislation to designate a specific unit in every police district to focus solely on property crime and to make rental cars less of a target for criminals. The proposed legislation would require rental car companies to downsize the bar codes plastered on windows.

"Supervisor Ronen and I just said, 'Enough is enough.' Let's push this through. It's time to relook and support the police department as much as possible with this," Yee said.

Yee and Ronen have co-sponsored the legislation, which he said has taken on greater importance after a police officer's weapon was recently strolen from his car and used in a murder.

New data also shows there have been 3,000 more car break-ins reported in San Francisco in the first seven months of this year when compared to the previous year, according to Yee.

Yee and Ronen's legislation will be up for a vote in the next few weeks.

<![CDATA[Ex-Employee Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit vs. SF Startup]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:17:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sofi+lawsuit-0921.jpg

Legal trouble and image problems continue the grow at one of the Bay Area's fastest growing startups, Social Finance, or SoFi.

The company's co-founder and CEO Mike Cagney abruptly resigned last week amid accusations of questionable business practices and out of control sexual behavior.

On Thursday, a former employee who described the company as a "frat house," filed a lawsuit.

The former employee, Yulia Zamora, spoke publicly about the lawsuit, saying she's determined to "speak up" for herself and many other women in a similar work situation.

Zamora, an underwriter at SoFi from 2015 to 2016, said Cagney created a "frat house" environment that was "out of control," with drinking parties and sexual harassment, including such behavior from her own supervisor.

"Just the things he told me really surprised me," Zamora said. "It blew me out of the water. Like, 'Is he really saying these things to me?'"

Zamora said her supervisor once told her at a party that he "wanted to do sexy things with me."

She said it was happening with other employees.

Zamora's attorney, Robert Ottinger, also represents another former SoFi employee, a male office manager who expressed concern about sexual harassment incidents.

"Normally, a company would say, 'Thank you for letting us know that; we're going to fix it.' Instead, they fired Mr. Charles," Ottinger said. "So it really shows that they're not concerned about fixing the problem. They want to hide it."

Zamora said she was afraid at first to speak up.

"I was terrified," she said. "I mean I'm still scared to do it, even today. I feel like it's the right thing to do. Perhaps speaking out will enable other people to also speak out about their experiences."

<![CDATA[Fresh Fish Return to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:28:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4-13-17-fathers-ashes-sf-stolen.jpg

Fresh fish are returning to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf.

Starting this weekend, San Francisco will allow fishermen to sell dabs, sole and rockfish from their boats at the popular tourist spot as part of a one-year pilot program.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Thursday that San Francisco banned such sales in 2000 but reversed its policy on Sept. 12 after a campaign by fishermen looking to increase their income.

The port is allowing only whole, gutted fish to be sold at a limited part of the harbor and only by San Francisco fishermen, comparing the program to a farmers' market for fish.

Some seafood purveyors who already sell filleted fish at the Wharf expressed concerns about the program, saying non-refrigerated fish is more vulnerable to contamination.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Nest Labs Adds Doorbell That Can Recognize Familiar Faces]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:24:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/163*120/Nest-google-0920.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — Home device maker Nest Labs is adding Google’s facial recognition technology to a camera-equipped doorbell and rolling out a security system in an attempt to end its history of losses.

The products announced Wednesday expand upon the internet-connected thermostats, smoke detectors and stand-alone security cameras that Nest has been selling since its inception six years ago.

Although Nest has been among the early leaders in the effort to make home appliances as intelligent as people’s smartphones, it hasn’t been able to make money to the frustration of its corporate parent, Alphabet. In an attempt to shake things up, Alphabet brought in cable industry veteran Marwan Fawaz to replace Nest founder Tony Fadell as CEO after Fadell stepped down 15 months ago.

Nest had been supplementing its existing product line with slightly different choices until Wednesday’s move into entirely new categories.

The Hello doorbell comes with a built-in video camera and speakers that will make it seem like it can recognize and talk to people.

The doorbell will draw upon Google’s facial recognition technology so it can warn a home’s occupants when a stranger approaches. Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion in 2014 and then spun it off after it hatched Alphabet as its parent company.

Nest is now lumped into a group of risky companies venturing into new areas of technology that have collectively lost $10.6 billion during the past three-and-half years alone. Alphabet hasn’t disclosed how much Nest has contributed to it the losses in its “Other Bets” segment

Nest isn’t announcing a price for its new doorbell until it hits the market sometime during the first three months of next year.

Google’s facial recognition technology is coming to the doorbell a few months after Nest introduced a more sophisticated indoor security camera featuring the same tool. Nest also announced Wednesday that the same facial recognition tools will be deployed on an outdoor security camera that will cost $349.

Apple is implanting a different form of facial recognition into its $1,000 iPhone X to unlock the device, telegraphing a future where cameras increasingly are going to be able to identify people within its lens’ range. The new phone will be released in November.

Nest’s usage of facial recognition hasn’t yet sparked privacy concerns because it doesn’t tap into Google’s vast database of photos to automatically recognize people. Instead, a user of the Nest camera or doorbell must manually tag and name people before the device recognizes someone.

The Nest home security system is being billed as a simpler and more convenient way to protect a home than the alarms and other kinds of sensors that have long been sold by other vendors. Nest’s “Secure” system will sell for $499 for its basic toolkit of devices.

<![CDATA['We're Going to Get Better': Officials on Heatwave Response]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:21:53 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ambulance-generic-ambulance-stock2.jpg

San Francisco public health officials admitted at a hearing Wednesday that they could have done a better job handling the city’s record Labor Day heat wave.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin summoned the officials to answer for the city’s handling of the crisis that left three people dead. NBC Bay Area reported last week that the city’s own timeline of the first day of the record heat shows that officials failed to implement key parts of an extreme heat response plan drawn up in 2006.

Peskin questioned Barbara Garcia, the city’s public health department director, about what happened on Friday, Sept. 1.

“We know it’s too hot and we know that there’s steps that we should be taking,” Peskin said, “I guess asking why did this stuff happen on Saturday and not Friday?”

The city’s extreme heat plan predicted an overload of 911 calls and called for designated air conditioned cooling centers as well as coordinated outreach to the city’s most vulnerable residents. But that did not occur until the day after the city set an all-time heat record of 106 degrees, Peskin said in pressing Garcia for an explanation.

“Again, like you said, we’re going to get better at that,” Garcia said, adding that the National Weather Service did not even predict the record temperatures that actually occurred and claims it was slow to issue an extreme heat warning. “I think we were all surprised by the heat and how fast it started heating up,’’ she told Peskin, who summoned a forecaster with the National Weather Service to appear at the hearing.

“You are always all more than welcome to blame the weather guy -- That’s what we are here for,” said Brian Garcia of the weather service. He said the agency got the 94 degree high forecast wrong because of a slight eastern shift in the dome of high pressure over the area. Then, he said, the typical afternoon breeze failed to materialize.

“Forecasting an all-time record high is next to impossible,” he said. “It’s a very challenging thing to do -- they are all time record highs for a reason.”

But Peskin was not ready to put the blame for what he considers the city’s bungled response on the weatherman, given the apparent failure to execute the city’s extreme heat response plan.

“Our heat response plan very clearly told us that even if we were only going to get to 94 and we didn’t make to 106,’’ the supervisor told his colleagues, “there’s a whole bunch of things that we should have started doing Thursday night and Friday morning pursuant to our plan-- which is not the National Weather Service’s fault.”

<![CDATA[San Francisco Sues Oil Companies Over Climate Change]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 12:13:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1-15-17_Waves.jpg

San Francisco is suing five of the world's largest oil and gas companies for the costs of sea walls and other infrastructure needed to protect against climate change.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in California court accuses the companies of ignoring warnings that fossil fuels would cause catastrophic global warming and mounting campaigns to discredit climate change science. It says the companies have created a public nuisance. The neighboring city of Oakland filed a separate, but similar suit.

The five companies include Chevron, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips. Chevron said in a statement that it welcomes serious attempts to address climate change, but these suits do not do that.

ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips did not immediately comment.

At least two other California counties and one city have filed similar suits.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SFPD Search For Suspects in 'Senseless' SoMa Homicide]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 23:47:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/17-140+Tateo+2.png

Police and family members on Wednesday asked the public for help in identifying three persons of interest in the killing of Carlo Tateo, an Oakland teacher who was shot in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood in June, after he told two men to stop harassing women he was with.

Tateo, 31, was out with a group of friends around 2 a.m. on June 18 when he was shot in the 1500 block of Folsom Street, in an area near the Holy Cow and Calle 11 nightclubs, according to police.

Cmdr. Greg McEachern said two men in the area began to harass some women in the group, and Tateo asked them to stop. That's when one of the men pulled out a gun and shot Tateo.

McEachern said police do not believe Tateo knew the men. There was no attempted robbery before the shooting and there does not appear to have been any other response or interaction before one of the suspects opened fire.

"Every homicide is tragic, but this homicide is senseless," McEachern said.

Police have released surveillance video showing three people of interest — two men and a woman — in the area near the shooting. One of the men has facial hair who is wearing a watch cap and dark colored jacket, while another has long dreads and is wearing a brightly colored jacket and ball cap.

Police are hoping to learn whether other members of the public might have encountered the men or been harassed by them as they passed through the busy nightclub area.

Tateo was a physical education teacher at Skyline High School in Oakland, his alma mater, and was set to become the offensive coordinator for the school's football team this fall. He leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter, Lesieli, who was present at Wednesday's news conference along with her mother, Leiana Pahulu.

His uncle Don Apperson said today that Tateo worked at a center in East Oakland helping troubled teens "get their lives together."

"Carlo was a great kid, his life was about helping young kids in trouble," Apperson said.

Sonja Tateo, Carlo's mother, said she was more focused on trying to "hold my family together" than on what happened the night of the shooting, but urged anyone in the public with information to come forward.

"We don't want this to happen to another family," Sonja Tateo said.

She continued: "Carlo was deeply loved in the Oakland community. He was a mentor to teens in the community, he had a large circle of friends, he has lots of family that love him. We just want this resolved so that the community is a little more safe than it is right now."

The surveillance video can be seen online.

Anyone with information on the persons of interest seen in the video is asked to call police at (415) 575-4444 or to text a tip to TIP411 and start the message with "SFPD." Tips can be made anonymously.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Police Department
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<![CDATA[Facebook Adds SF's 181 Fremont Tower as Office Space]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:47:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/facebook-logo-tag.jpg

To increase physical presence in the Bay Area, Facebook has signed a lease for the entire office portion of the 181 Fremont luxury tower in San Francisco.

The 436,000 square feet addition to the social media network will be San Francisco’s largest lease in the last three years, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

The chief investment officer of landlord Jay Paul Co., Matt Lituchy, confirmed Facebooks lease, according to the San Francisco Business Times. Sources claim the asking rent was approximately $80 per square foot.

It is expected that employees from Facebook’s Instagram unit will be the first to move into the luxurious San Francisco skyscraper. The office space can house between 2,000 and 3,000 employees.

“While Instagram’s HQ will remain in Menlo Park on Facebook’s campus, a small team from Instagram will be moving to San Francisco in early 2018,” said Facebook spokesman, Jamil Walker, in an interview with San Francisco Business Times. “With this lease, we’ve obtained the space we need at 181 Fremont to support our growth.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Caltrain Fares and Parking Rates to Increase in October]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:51:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_caltrain.jpg

Caltrain fares and parking rates are going up starting next month.

On Oct. 1, riders will pay an additional 25 cents per zone and 8-ride tickets will no longer be available for sale and will only be honored through the end of October, according to Caltrain.

Monthly parking passes are also more expensive, increasing from $55 to $82.50 because it will be based on 15 days a month rather than 10. The monthly permits for October go on sale today.

Caltrain officials said daily parking fees are not changing.

Starting in October, Caltrain is also changing its weekday timetables in an aim to increase operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. The updated timetables can be found online.

Caltrain's board of directors approved the fare and parking fee hikes last month.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fire in SF Injures Three, Including One Critically]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:59:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFHouseFire.JPG

A fire early Wednesday morning at a home in San Francisco's Excelsior District has injured three people and displaced three others, according to fire officials.

The fire was reported at a two-story home at 376 Harvard St. at 1:55 a.m. San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Jonathan Baxter said Engine 43 arrived to find a fully engulfed second story of the home.

Baxter said a 17-year-old boy who suffered moderate injuries escaped the blaze and told fire crews who arrived at the scene his parents were inside. The boy gave fire crews specific directions of where to find them in the house, according to Baxter.

Fire crews then entered the home and extricated a man and woman. Baxter said the man who was extracted suffered critical injuries and the woman who was taken out of the home by firefighters suffered moderate injuries. All three were transported to a hospital, where the man remains in critical condition, Baxter said.

Three other adults were displaced in the fire, but Baxter couldn't confirm whether they were home at the time of the blaze, which was extinguished at 2:12 a.m.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Chase Launched in Central Valley Ends in SF]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:02:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFChase.JPG

A lengthy pursuit that started in the Central Valley finally came to an end in San Francisco early Wednesday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The chase was believed to have been initiated by the San Joaquin Sheriff's Department near Tracy sometime Tuesday night before it crossed several Bay Area counties and ended in the city by the bay when officers deployed a spike strip to stop the suspect, according to CHP Sgt. David Fawson.

The suspect was wanted for stealing a car and possibly for a robbery, Fawson said.

No one was injured during the pursuit, according to Fawson.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[500 SF Buildings Miss Deadline for Seismic Improvements]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:51:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/SF-skyline-10.jpg

Experts say that a major earthquake is expected to hit the Bay Area within the next 30 years, but the question remains: Are Bay Area buildings prepared?

The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection is requiring property owners to “seismically strengthen vulnerable buildings” that could increase danger during an earthquake and in their Friday deadline for the “Tier 3” permit nearly 500 buildings did not comply.

“We will post a placard on their building saying this building is not in compliance and earthquake safe. They will also receive a notice of violation,” said Director of San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection, Tom Hui.

In order to qualify for these permits, the department requires buildings to go through a screening process and inspection to undergo a “seismic retrofit.”

Hui says the department does not want to charge a penalty, but property owners who fail to comply will eventually receive a final notice and will be referred to a city attorney.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SF Board Seeks to Curb Break-ins With New Rental Car Rules]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:02:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+rental+cars-0919.jpg

With auto break-ins on the rise, San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday introduced new legislation intended to step up enforcement efforts and approved two ordinances seeking to reduce thefts from rental cars.

The board's actions come at a time when the city's problems with auto burglaries have been made painfully clear by two recent gun thefts from law enforcement officers who left their weapons in parked cars.

One of those guns, stolen from a San Francisco police officer last month, was used just days later in a fatal shooting in the city's Mission District. The other gun, a duty weapon stolen Sunday from the trunk of a rental car where it had been left by a sheriff's deputy, has not yet been located.

The thefts are part of a growing problem. Police reported earlier this month that auto burglaries were up by 28 percent citywide for the period from January to July this year compared to last year, with the Mission

District seeing the largest jump of 182 percent.

In response, Supervisors Norman Yee and Hillary Ronen introduced legislation Tuesday calling for the police department to devote at least one officer at each station to property crimes such as auto break-ins and bicycle thefts.

Yee introduced similar legislation last year, only to have it vetoed by Mayor Ed Lee.

Ronen said she approached Yee about reviving the legislation after learning of the recent gun thefts. She said her constituents often tell her their cars get broken into several times a year, and that they often do not bother to report the incidents to police.

"Needing to fix a three or four hundred dollar window on a regular basis is devastating to many families that are barely hanging on in San Francisco as it is," Ronen said, noting that the expense almost served as a sort of "tax" on residents.

Yee described the law enforcement gun thefts as "infuriating."

"Despite assurances that all efforts were being made to address the growing issue of car break-ins, home break-ins and bike thefts, the problem has only gotten worse," Yee said. "We cannot stand idly by as policy makers hoping this problem will go away."

The board also unanimously approved two pieces of legislation Tuesday focused on rental cars, which are reportedly targeted by thieves who know tourists are less likely to report theft and more likely to carry valuables on their person.

Legislation from Yee would prohibit rental car companies from placing visible barcodes and advertisements on vehicles that can mark them clearly as rentals.

Another piece of legislation by Board President London Breed would require rental car companies to warn customers about car burglaries and advise them to remove valuables and lock their car doors.

Breed said the city had found that just adding signage in the Alamo Square area warning people about auto burglaries had helped to reduce the number of break-ins in the area.

"When people come to San Francisco and rent a car, we don't want them to go away with these terrible experiences," Breed said. "If we make sure folks know what is going on, it won't stop the car break-ins but it's a step to reducing them."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Passengers Arriving at SFO From Mexico City Shaken, Relieved]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:47:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfo-mexico-0919.jpg

Can you imagine being in a jet on an airport runway or on top of a tall building when a powerful earthquake hits? It happened Tuesday to dozens of people heading out of Mexico City to the Bay Area.

The first passengers who made it back to the Bay Area after the deadly 7.1 magnitude temblor in Mexico said they’re just happy to be alive.

Gislady Skaggs and her husband were anxious to leave after landing at San Francisco International Airport on Tuesday night, fully aware of all the death and destruction she and other passengers left behind in Mexico City.

"I opened the window, and all the planes on the runway were just bouncing," she said about the scene at Mexico City International Airport.

Passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 718 got bounced around by the earthquake before the plane left the ground.

"We were still boarding, and suddenly the plane started shaking," Francisco Gabino said. "And I never experienced an earthquake."

One passenger quickly started recording, thinking there was a collision on the runway.

"A lot of movement, things started falling, people started screaming, crying," the passenger said. "It was scary."

The passengers deboarded the plane and had to wait in the airport for two hours.

"In the airport, everything was closed. No food, no nothing," passenger Modesta Arias said.

It was a homecoming for those passengers at SFO and an uncertain pilgrimage for others who were trying to get a flight back home to Mexico City Tuesday night.

"We don’t really know what’s going on inside the buildings, which is pretty concerning," said Ignacio Hurtado.

On Wednesday, more people who survived the earthquake arrived at SFO, worried about their home and the people they left behind. Mexico City resident Carla Keyla was still checking her phone to see the latest pictures.

"I was in my job, wondering what was happening," she said. "Everything was collapsed, no communication, the internet fell down."

And while everyone at the airport was glad to leave the quake behind, some, like Keyla, were worried about more shaking.

"I was on the roof garden of a building, and it was huge, the worst," she said. "Of course, I'm glad to be here, but also remember, we have faults, the San Andreas Fault!"

A couple of people at SFO said some of their family members did not take the flight to the Bay Area and instead decided to stay home to help clean up.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Lead Design Engineer For Troubled Millennium Subpoenaed]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:53:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Millennium_Tower_Enduring_Earthquake_Safety_Questioned.jpg

The lead design engineer of the now sinking and tilting Millennium Tower will face a subpoena to testify about the building’s troubles next month before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

The board voted Tuesday to summon Derrick Roorda to answer questions as part of a series of hearings about what led the 58-story building to sink some 17 inches. Roorda wrote a letter back in 2009 that vouched for the building after city building inspectors expressed concerns about the sinking issue.

“The engineer of record on the project has a lot of questions to answer,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who has led the series of hearings on the project. “Hopefully, he has answers that heretofore no one has been able to answer.”

Roorda, reached by NBC Bay Area on Tuesday, declined to comment.

While homeowners at the building welcomed Roorda’s testimony, they got some bad news in their legal battle with the developer. Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow ruled earlier this month that nearly all of the homeowners’ allegations were simply too vague. But Karnow gave homeowners “leave to amend” their claims to be more specific.

Homeowners lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, in a statement, downplayed the negative impact of Karnow’s ruling.

“The HOA intends to hold all responsible parties accountable for the serious damage they caused to the Millennium Tower,” he said. “The court has asked for clarification on certain claims, and the HOA will provide the requested clarifications promptly.”

But Jerry Dodson, a lawyer who lives in the building and is monitoring the case, is concerned that the judge’s dismissal of many fraud, breach of contract and negligence claims could pose a significant legal hurdle.

“Given what’s in the order, I have my doubts, but other attorneys may have a different take of it,” Dodson said. “I wouldn’t want to be conclusive one way or another at this point -- I do know the order threw out the bulk of the complaint.”

As for Roorda’s testimony – slated for as early as next month – Dodson said he looks forward to getting answers from the engineer whose assurances led the city to start issuing certificates of occupancy back in 2009.

“He was certifying it," Dodson said, “so he is a person who should be called in and held accountable.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SF Sheriff’s Deputy Loses Job After Service Gun Stolen]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 20:15:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf-sheriff-emblem.jpg

A San Francisco sheriff's deputy whose unsecured service revolver was stolen in a car burglary no longer works for the department, officials said.

The still unidentified deputy had held his position for less than a year and was still on probation when his gun was stolen from a rental car parked in the Potrero Hill neighborhood on Sunday, the SF Gate reported.

The deputy, who was off-duty at the time of the crime, had stored his department-issued 9mm Glock 17 in the vehicle's trunk.

Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said the deputy reported the theft to the San Francisco Police Department around 6:30 p.m.

"Preliminary information indicates the firearm was stored in violation of our policy," Hennessy said. "Our department policy mandates that a firearm stored in a vehicle be stored in a metal or composite lockbox that is affixed to the interior of the vehicle and out of public view."

The weapon has not been recovered. The department has opened an investigation into the theft and Hennessey said she is taking the matter "extremely seriously" and reminding staff about it once again. 

Guns stolen from law enforcement have been used in several fatal shootings in recent years.

San Francisco police reported last week that a gun stolen from an officer's personal vehicle on Aug. 12 was used in an alleged crime spree over the next several days, including the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Abel Enrique Esquivel Jr., on Aug. 15 in the city's Mission District.

Three people have been arrested in connection with that shooting, which allegedly occurred during a robbery.

A gun stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management agent was also used in the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in July 2015 in San Francisco. Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate, 54, is expected to stand trial on a murder charge in that case later this fall.

And in Oakland, 27-year-old Antonio Ramos was shot and killed on Sept. 29, 2015, with a gun that had been stolen from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent's car weeks earlier. Police arrested 20-year-old Marquise Holloway in connection with the shooting on Nov. 20.

In response to those and other incidents, a state law was signed last year requiring that law enforcement officers store guns in a locked trunk or safe box if they are kept in a vehicle. Civilians were already required to store their weapons securely but law enforcement had previously been exempt.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors also passed an ordinance in February 2016 requiring all weapons left in vehicles to be secured in a locked trunk or lock box, for both civilians and law enforcement.

Former San Francisco Supervisor Dave Campos said he could not believe the news of yet another car break-in involving a law enforcement officer. 

"You would think that a police officer, a deputy sheriff, anyone who’s involved in law enforcement would actually try to set the example for the rest of the public, and it’s actually the opposite," he said. 

Campos authored legislation for private citizens to secure their weapons in cars. He said he was assured that law enforcement agencies had their own, air-tight standards.

"What’s happening in the last two cases here in San Francisco is that you have members of the law enforcement community — the police department and now the sheriff — that are clearly violating the letter and the spirit of what we’re trying to do," he said.

However, Tony Ribera, who teaches the law enforcement leadership program at the University of San Francisco, believes Hennessy "is to be commended for having a comprehensive (weapons storage) policy in place."

The former San Francisco police chief said officers and deputies need to be more vigilant in following the rules, but also feels the city isn't doing its due diligence to a problem that lies at the core of such crimes. 

Nearly 18,000 cars have been burglarized across the city through the end of July. That's a 28 percent jump from the same time frame in 2016, officials said.

“I think we have a big problem with vehicle break-ins," Ribera said, and the thefts of service weapons is "symptomatic of that problem, and it’s something that we’re all aware of.”

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[SF Leaders Vote Unanimously to Rename Justin Herman Plaza]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:53:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Justin_Herman_Plaza_Renaming.jpg

San Francisco city leaders on Tuesday voted unanimously to rename Justin Herman Plaza, but they have yet to decide on a new official name.

A resolution, introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, calls for the Recreation and Park Commission to rename the plaza Embarcadero Plaza until a new name can be agreed upon.

For years, critics have been demanding the name change. Justin Herman led the city's redevelopment agency in the 1960s, during which he oversaw an urban renewal program that displaced thousands of people.

Board of Supervisors President London Breed, who grew up in the Western Addition, said she had experienced what it was like to live in a community "that was literally destroyed by the San Francisco redevelopment agency."

His name was a really negative one in the community," Breed said of Herman.

Breed noted that a budget analyst's report found that renaming the plaza would only cost around $5,400 to change the signs.

Peskin said the Recreation and Park Commission is expected to take up the issue at its October meeting.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Health Officials Respond to Hepatitis A Outbreak]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 19:54:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Many_Tourists_Unaware_of_SD_s_Hepatitis_A_Outbreak.jpg

Health officials in San Francisco are ramping up vaccinations in response to hepatitis A outbreaks in Southern California.

San Diego's deadly hepatitis outbreak is spreading. The infection has been reported in Los Angeles and in the Bay Area, with 69 cases reported in Santa Cruz County. On Tuesday morning, officials in LA reported 10 cases of the exact same strain.

In all three places the outbreaks start out concentrated in homeless encampments. Hepatitis A is commonly transmitted from the human waste of an infected person to the mouth of the disease's next victim. At homeless camps where there are no available bathrooms, the disease is finding a foothold.

At a San Francisco homeless camp near Cesar Chavez and Highway 101, Caltrans and California Highway Patrol crews clean up human waste and drug needles twice a week.

"It's not an area where you would want to be walking around," said Vu Williams with the CHP. "It's not an area where you would want to be walking around."

Campers tell NBC Bay Area they are using bleach to wash the sidewalks.

In San Diego, crews are washing streets with bleach. They are setting up portable hand washing stations, with 421 cases and 16 deaths. The county wants every food service worker at every restaurant vaccinated for hepatitis A.

Meanwhile, tourists are avoiding the downtown area for fear of being exposed.

Public health nurse Kate Shuton is vaccinating homeless people at a shelter in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood. Staffers are also lining up.

The health department started ramping up their vaccinations in response to the San Diego outbreak, but the numbers being vaccinated are still small compared to the number of homeless on the street.

Shuton said hepatitis A is easy to combat if your vaccinated and easy to contract if you're exposed.

Public health officials in the Bay Area are relying on vaccinations and said they do not have the resources to provide toilets and hand-washing stations in the streets. While there are no official numbers provided Tuesday, there's no question there are many more homeless people that have not been vaccinated than those who have.

<![CDATA[Appeals Court Blocks San Francisco Warning Law For Soda Ads]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:07:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-151960676Soda12215.jpg

A federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked a San Francisco law requiring a health warning on soda ads, saying the measure was misleading and would suppress free speech.

A unanimous, three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the 2015 ordinance from going into effect until a lawsuit filed by the American Beverage Association and other groups is resolved.

The ordinance requires a warning on ads for soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages that appear on buses, billboards and structures in the city.

The label would read: "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay."

Ninth Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta said the warning is "not purely factual" and "unduly burdens and chills protected commercial speech."

She cited U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidance that says added sugars can be part of a healthy diet when not consumed in excess.

The warning was approved around the same time that several cities, including San Francisco, passed taxes on sweetened drinks to try to reduce consumption.

Soda makers say such taxes could raise the costs of other groceries, not just drinks, and have not been shown to change people's behavior or reduce obesity.

John Cote, a spokesman for the San Francisco City Attorney's Office, said officials were analyzing the ruling and evaluating all of their options.

"San Francisco remains committed to being a leader when it comes to protecting the health of our residents, especially our children," he said.

The American Beverage Association said in a statement that the 9th Circuit affirmed its position.

"America's beverage companies believe there are better ways to help people reduce their sugar consumption," it said.

In the ruling, Ikuta also said the city's warning was misleading because it was required only on beverage ads and not on ads for other products with equal or more added sugar.

Additionally, the requirement that the warning cover 20 percent of ad space would overwhelm other elements of the ad, Ikuta said.

The ruling overturned a lower court decision denying the American Beverage Association's request for a preliminary injunction against the law.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sanders to Promote Medicare for All at SF Nurses Convention]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:07:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-846586392.jpg

Sen. Bernie Sanders will be at a Friday nurses convention in San Francisco to promote his newly-unveiled Medicare For All Act of 2017.

Sanders, a Democratic senator from Vermont and former presidential candidate, will be joined by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom at the 2017 Convention of the California Nurses Association. He is expected to address the crowd at 1 p.m. at Yerba Buena Gardens at 750 Howard St. in San Francisco.

“We are enormously proud of Sen. Sanders for his sponsorship of S. 1804 and want to welcome all the activists and supporters who have worked so long with Sen. Sanders and nurses’ fight in our common fight for healthcare for all and social justice,”  RoseAnn DeMoro, the association's executive director, said in a news release.

Medicare For All is Sanders' plan to offer federally run health insurance. He believes handing the government a dominant role in insuring Americans is a crucial step in guaranteeing health care for all.

Census Bureau data recently showed the proportion of people lacking policies falling to 8.8 percent last year under "Obamacare," the lowest level ever recorded, but Sanders called it an "international disgrace" that not all Americans have coverage.

The waning desire of GOP lawmakers to revive their failed effort to scrap Obama's law contrasted with growing, though wary, Democratic support for Sanders' bill. It has attracted 16 co-sponsors, one-third of all Senate Democrats, though most are from safely Democratic states.

Sanders' plan, however, is going nowhere in the current GOP-controlled Congress.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Plan Hopes to Deter Thieves From Hitting Rental Cars in SF]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:45:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SF_Leaders_Mull_Option_to_Deter_Thieves_From_Hitting_Rental.jpg

San Francisco leaders will vote on a plan to make rental cars less vulnerable to thieves. Supervisors are considering two proposals. One calls for rental car companies to remove barcode stickers and other obvious advertising from their vehicles. The other requires rental car companies to educate tourists on taking their valuables with them. Police say car break-ins are especially prevalent in tourist spots]]>
<![CDATA[Apartment Owners in SF Miss Permit Deadline: Report]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:35:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Apartment_Owners_in_SF_Miss_Permit_Deadline__Report.jpg

Nearly 500 San Francisco apartment buildings are now reportedly not in compliance with the city's earthquake safety laws. The San Francisco Chronicle reported the owners of 484 so-called "soft story buildings" missed Friday's deadline to apply for seismic retrofit work permits. That retrofit work is required by city law. Inspectors say each building will now be tagged with violation notices. Owners will then have 30 days to respond.]]>
<![CDATA[Free BART Rides Up for Grabs]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:48:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Free_Bart_Rides_Up_for_Grabs.jpg

Ride BART for free. It's a new promotion to increase weekend ridership. Over the past two years there's been a decrease of passengers on Saturdays and Sundays, which costs BART about $15 million dollars. BART has handed out 25,000 tickets for free weekend rides. The tickets are being randomly given out at stations so may the odds be ever in your favor.]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Freeway Traffic Continues to Worsen: MTC]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 06:04:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Traffic+Generic2.jpg

No surprise for Bay Area commuters: traffic is getting worse.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission found that weekday traffic congestion across the region jumped 80 percent between 2010 and 2016. Back in 2010, commuters on average spent 1.9 minutes daily driving at freeway speeds below 35 mph. Fast forward six years and that number climbed to 3.5 minutes per commuter, marking the fourth-straight year that the statistic has increased.

The top three busiest roadways in the Bay Area did not change between 2015 and 2016, according to the MTC, but significant shifts were recorded on several other freeway segments.

Here is the top 10 list for Bay Area freeway locations with the worst delays in 2016:

1. Northbound Highway 101/Eastbound Interstate 80 from San Francisco to Treasure Island during the evening commute hours (No. 1 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

2. Westbound Interstate 80 from Highway 4 through Berkeley and across the Bay Bridge at all times of day (No. 2 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

3. Southbound Highway 101 from Mountain View to San Jose during the evening commute hours (No. 3 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

4. Northbound Interstate 680 from Fremont to Sunol during the evening commute hours (No. 6 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

5. Northbound Interstate 880 from Fremont to Hayward during the evening commute hours (No. 8 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

6. Soutbound Interstate 280 from Cupertino to San Jose during the evening commute hours (No. 12 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

7. Eastbound Interstate 80 from Oakland to Berkeley during the evening commute hours (No. 4 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

8. Northbound Interstate 680 from San Ramon to Concord during the evening commute hours (No. 11 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

9. Eastbound Highway 24 from Oakland to Walnut Creek during the evening commute hours (No. 10 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

10. Eastbound Highway 4 from Martinez to Concord during the evening commute hours (No. 16 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Struck, Killed on Eastbound Interstate 80 in SF]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:34:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-19-17_SF_Fatal.jpg

A person walking on eastbound Interstate 80 just west of the Fourth Street off-ramp in San Francisco was struck and killed in a traffic collision early Tuesday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP officer Jake Johnson said authorities initially received a call about a person running in and out of lanes on the freeway. A short time later authorities received another call about a car colliding with the pedestrian.

The pedestrian ended up on top of a grey Porsche and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Johnson.

CHP officer Damian Cistaro said a Sig-alert was issued at 3:56 a.m. as the 1, 2 and 3 lanes were closed as police investigated the collision. All lanes were reopened at 4:38 a.m.

No further information was available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SF Leaders Consider Proposal to Close Twin Peaks at Night]]>Mon, 18 Sep 2017 23:59:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Suspects_Accused_of_Twin_Peaks_Photographer_Shooter.jpg

The most stunning nighttime view of San Francisco may soon be off-limits as city leaders on Monday night considered a proposal to close Twin Peaks daily from dusk until dawn.

Police officials say it's a matter of safety over sightseeing as crime as spiked at the popular vista point. But, as expected, some don't like the plan.

A group of friends at Twin Peaks on Monday said they couldn't imagine the spectacular overlook being shut down.

"More security, yeah, that would be great because this is so beautiful," said Megan Allbritten of Oakland. "You can't just close it off. This is something for everybody to see, straight up."

Jed De La Santos, of South San Francisco, agreed.

"There's not that much crime happening here because there's cops happening here all the time I wait," he said. "Why close it?"

But San Francisco police have seen more than the views up there at night. Capt. John Sanford aggravated assaults and noise complaints are common.

"It's a lot of these incidents that have occurred after these particular hours," Sanford said.

Supervisor Norman Yee has proposed gates at both entrances that lead up to Twin Peaks to keep vehicles out of here from dusk until dawn.

"If you put it down half a mile, most kids, most people that are going to do bad things are not gonna walk up the hill," he said.

In July, a robbery turned into a fatal shooting at Twin Peaks. Last year, two people were shot. And then there are crimes the public doesn't hear much about.

"Including partying, which is one thing, drinking and so forth. But that leads into fights, which has happened quite a bit up there," Sanford said.

Dramatic increases in police patrols and recently installed security cameras have deterred crime, police said. But one neighbor said it's still not enough.

"Something has to be done because the people who are up there after 11, parking, it's a problem," said Jody Yeary.

Yee said he has a lot of support from other members of the board, and he believes the city can get the gates up by the end of the year.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area file]]>
<![CDATA[BART: Surveillance Video Shows Attempted Robbery With Note]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 05:51:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BART+robbery-0918.jpg

Surveillance video supports an Oakland woman's report last week that a would-be robber handed her a threatening note, according to BART police.

The woman, Julie Dragland, said she boarded a train in Daly City and was heading home to Dublin when a person in dark clothing climbed onto the train in downtown San Francisco and thrust a note at her. She said she faked a seizure to thwart the would-be robbery. 

The note read: “There are 2 guns pointed at you now. If you want to live, hand back your wallet + phone NOW + do not turn around and be descreet [sic]. Do not turn around until after you have left Civic Center + you will live.”

BART police Deputy Chief Lance Haight said Monday video from the train shows the suspect was seated behind the victim, who was sitting alone. The suspect, who was also alone, is then seen reaching over the victim’s shoulder, which is when the suspect may have dropped the note, Haight said.


Dragland immediately pretended she was having a seizure. In response, the alleged suspect disembarked at the Powell Street BART station.

There is no indication from the video the suspect was armed with any weapons.

The victim said she was shaken up and will no longer sit on a BART seat with its back to other chairs behind it. Dragland, however, won’t let the frightening encounter stop her from riding BART trains altogether.

Dragland doesn’t plan to press charges if the suspect is caught.

BART is investigating the alleged crime and poring over surveillance footage. Although there were roughly 15 people in the BART train car, no one else reported the incident, police say.

Photo Credit: BART PD
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<![CDATA[Deputy's Gun Stolen in San Francisco Car Burglary: Sheriff]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:12:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf-sheriff-emblem.jpg

A San Francisco sheriff's deputy's gun was stolen from a parked rental car Sunday, sheriff's officials said Monday.

Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said the deputy, who was off-duty at the time of the theft, reported the department-issued weapon stolen to the San Francisco Police Department around 6:30 p.m.

The gun was apparently stored in the trunk of a rental car parked in San Francisco.

"Preliminary information indicates the firearm was stored in violation of our policy," Hennessy said. "Our department policy mandates that a firearm stored in a vehicle be stored in a metal or composite lockbox that is affixed to the interior of the vehicle and out of public view."

The department has opened an investigation into the theft and Hennessey said she was taking the matter "extremely seriously."

The weapon has not been recovered.

Guns stolen from law enforcement have been used in several fatal shootings in recent years.

San Francisco police reported last week that a gun stolen from an officer's personal vehicle on Aug. 12 was used in an alleged crime spree over the next several days, including the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Abel Enrique Esquivel Jr., on Aug. 15 in the city's Mission District.

Three people have been arrested in connection with that shooting, which allegedly occurred during a robbery.

A gun stolen from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management agent was also used in the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in July 2015 in San Francisco. Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate, 54, is expected to stand trial on a murder charge in that case later this fall.

And in Oakland, 27-year-old Antonio Ramos was shot and killed on Sept. 29, 2015, with a gun that had been stolen from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent's car weeks earlier. Police arrested 20-year-old Marquise Holloway in connection with the shooting on Nov. 20.

In response to those and other incidents, a state law was signed last year requiring that law enforcement officers store guns in a locked trunk or safe box if they are kept in a vehicle. Civilians were already required to store their weapons securely but law enforcement had previously been exempt.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors also passed an ordinance in February 2016 requiring all weapons left in vehicles to be secured in a locked trunk or lock box, for both civilians and law enforcement.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[BART Rider Fakes Seizure Upon Being Handed Menacing Note]]>Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:12:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bartnoteonblue.jpg

An Oakland woman on Friday pretended to have a seizure after someone approached her on a BART train and handed her a threatening note, attempting to rob her.

Julie Dragland said she boarded a train in Daly City and was heading home to Dublin when a person in dark clothing climbed onto the train in downtown San Francisco and thrust a note at her.

It read: “There are 2 guns pointed at you now. If you want to live hand back your wallet + phone NOW + do not turn around and be descreet. Do not turn around until after you have left Civic Center + you will live.”

Dragland immediately faked a seizure. In response, the alleged suspect disembarked at the Powell Street BART station.

The victim said she was shaken up and will no longer sit on a BART seat with its back to other chairs behind it. Dragland, however, won’t let the frightening encounter stop her from riding BART trains altogether.

Dragland doesn’t plan to press charges if the suspect is caught.

BART is investigating the alleged crime and poring over surveillance footage. Although there were roughly 15 people in the BART train car, no one else reported the incident, police say.

Photo Credit: Julie Dragland
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<![CDATA[New Robin Williams Meadow Celebrates Storied Comedian]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 18:07:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DJ9gvLTV4AAg7pM.jpg

Robin Williams Meadow is now a reality.

The Sharon Meadow portion of Golden Gate Park was renamed Sunday in honor of the legendary and beloved Bay Area comedian. The tribute was announced at San Francisco's 37th annual Comedy Day.

Supporters said Williams, who died in 2014, often sponsored the event to help support young comics. Other times, he headlined the show or performed as a guest.

The idea to rename Sharon Meadow came to Will and Debi Durst soon after their friend's death. As organizers of Comedy Day, they raised $100,000 for new signs and updated brochures, according to the Mercury News

During his 30-plus-year career, the actor warmed hearts with performances in hits like “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Aladdin” and “Good Will Hunting.”

After his passing, the public learned that Williams had struggled with Lewy Body Dementia. The disease causes hallucinations and other symptoms similar to Parkinson’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Photo Credit: Jodi Hernandez/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Police Patrol Car Hits Woman Pedestrian in San Francisco]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 18:20:26 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfpd+ax-0916.jpg

A San Francisco police patrol vehicle struck and injured a pedestrian Sunday morning, according to a police spokesperson.

The incident occurred at 23rd Avenue and Judah Street in the city's Outer Sunset neighborhood.

The female victim was taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, police said.

No further details were available.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Caltrans Demolishes Part of Old Bay Bridge Foundation]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 18:18:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bay+bridge+implosion+3-0916.jpg

Caltrans demolished one of the marine foundations of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge's old eastern span Saturday morning, Caltrans officials said.

Traffic breaks were expected anytime between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., when the implosions were planned to take place, according to Caltrans. The implosions took place underwater.

It was the second of this fall's six scheduled implosions for the demolition of the remaining 11 marine foundations of the original east span of the bridge. Pier E6 was scheduled for removal Sunday.

Caltrans said it plans to finish the work by the second weekend in November. The agency began demolishing the old eastern span in September 2013 after the new eastern span opened to traffic.

Pier E3, which was the largest pier and the closest to Yerba Buena and Treasure islands, was removed in 2015 and piers E4 and E5 were removed in 2016.

Piers 7 and 8, which are to the east of the piers that were previously removed, were removed Sept. 2. The remaining piers will be removed every other weekend through the second week in November, Caltrans officials said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Popular Hello Kitty Truck Coming Back to Bay Area ]]>Fri, 15 Sep 2017 21:28:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Hello-Kitty-Cafe-Eater.jpg

The Hello Kitty Cafe truck — a bright pink Mercedes van adorned with flowers and the feline Sanrio mascot — will be making several stops in the Bay Area in the next few weeks. 

According to its event page, the Instagram-famous truck is slated to appear in the following locations: 

    • Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 
    • Santana Row in San Jose at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23
    • Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30.
    The truck will stay in each scheduled location until 8 p.m., or when supplies sell out.  

    The Hello Kitty truck tours different cities selling — you guessed it — Hello Kitty gear and sweet treats, including T-shirts, coffee mugs and undoubtedly cloying macarons and doughnuts. 

    Wherever it goes, a bounty of Instagram posts are sure to follow. Since making its debut at the annual Hello Kitty Con, a (surprisingly real) convention devoted to all things Hello Kitty, the truck and its retail items have attracted a rabid following on social media. 

    In Walnut Creek last Saturday, more than 900 people turned out to get some of the coveted limited-edition goodies. Despite 90 degree weather, some people waited more than four hours to get to the top of the line.

    Watch the video above to see some highlights from the last event. 

    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hello Kitty Cafe Truck
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[ICE Confirms SF Murder Suspect Was Being Monitored]]>Fri, 15 Sep 2017 18:57:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/120110+ice+generic.jpg

    Another suspect among the trio charged with carrying out a murder with a San Francisco police officer’s stolen gun was believed not to be in the country legally, immigration authorities announced late Friday.

    Earlier Friday, U.S. immigration officials confirmed a report by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit that one of the men accused in the Aug. 15 murder, 18-year-old Erick Garcia-Pineda, was facing deportation and had been under GPS monitoring since April. The tracking information confirms he was at the scene of the slaying and other crimes, sources said.

    Later Friday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced separately that 24-year-old Jesus Perez-Araujo, also held in the slaying of 23-year-old Abel Enrique Esquivel, Jr., had been jailed in May and that immigration officials had lodged a detainer on him.

    Perez-Araujo was arrested for marijuana sales charges and misdemeanor possession of brass knuckles. That weapons case is a misdemeanor and is still pending, prosecutors say.

    The retainer against Perez-Araujo was not honored, immigration officials said. He apparently did not meet the felony history required by the city administrative code established to determine when such holds could be honored under the city’s sanctuary city policy.

    Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, in a statement, said any failure to honor its holds “undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission.”

    That news came as NBC Bay Area had reported Thursday that Garcia-Pineda had been in ICE custody since he turned 18 in December 2016. In April, a judge ordered that he be released with a GPS tracking bracelet.

    According to the agency’s statement, Garcia-Pineda was “released with the requirement that he wear a GPS monitoring bracelet and report to ICE in-person on a regular basis.”

    Based on the tracking information, it appeared “Garcia-Pineda was complying with terms of his release until August when he failed to appear for his scheduled appointment with ICE.”

    Authorities say that on June 18, he was stopped for driving without a vehicle registration and arrested, but the case was not pursued.

    But on the night of Aug. 11, a .38 caliber revolver off-duty weapon and was taken from a San Francisco police officer’s car parked out front of his San Francisco home.

    The officer maintains that he did not know it was stolen because there was no sign of a break-in, police union officials have said. Court documents show, however, that a speed loader, jacket and holster were taken from his car at the time the gun was stolen.

    ICE spokesman James Schwab could not say whether the gun theft – and subsequent homicide – occurred before or after Garcia-Pineda failed to check in with ICE officials.

    But he acknowledged the agency could have picked him up for failing to check in. Schwab stressed agents have many such cases and ICE has to prioritize among them.

    Meanwhile, sources have told NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit that the data from that tracking device confirms that Garcia-Pineda was at the scene of the slaying, two other shootings and a total of five robberies.

    Garcia-Pineda was arrested on Aug. 18 in connection with one of them that occurred in the hours after the homicide. He was arrested for assault, firing into an occupied dwelling and receiving stolen property, but no charges were filed pending further investigation. It is not clear whether immigration officials asked that he be held in that case, but his monitoring bracelet was cut off by deputies as of Aug. 19, Schwab said. It is standard to remove such trackers because they pose an inmate safety risk, officials say.

    That removal triggered a tamper alert and a failed effort to locate Garcia-Pineda, Schwab said. His attorney said he would report, but he never did.

    Only after his release did police seize the stolen revolver during a search warrant and tied it to the officer.

    Meanwhile, Garcia-Pineda was arrested again in September on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Federal officials said they sought a detainer that he be held on their behalf at the jail in that incident. He was again released, however, as prosecutors did not pursue the case.

    “Despite the detainer, local authorities released him back into the community without providing any notification to ICE,” federal authorities said of that incident.

    San Francisco sheriff’s spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said Friday that Garcia-Pineda “didn’t fit the profile” for being held under the sanctuary city provisions of the city administrative code.

    She did not comment as to why, but the code specifies a court order or a history of serious and violent felonies be established for an ICE detainer be honored.

    At a court appearance on Thursday, Garcia-Pineda, Perez-Araujo, and Daniel Cruz, 18, all from San Francisco, denied a long list of charges.

    The stolen gun murder case comes after a state law as enacted last year. It requires all weapons must be locked in a frame mounted box or secured inside the trunk of any unattended car.

    Police Chief William Scott acknowledged late Thursday that police “have to investigate the circumstances of how the officer’s gun was stolen and that’s an internal investigation that’s ongoing, but the loss of life is really a tragedy.”

    Police Union President Martin Halloran has said that the officer – identified in court records as Marvin Cabuntala -- was “devastated” by the news his gun had been used in a slaying and was cooperating fully with the investigation.

    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Mayor Ed Lee Pleas for Help in Solving Transgender Homicide]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 17:57:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bubbles-09101.jpg

    In the wake of the shooting death of LGBTQ activist Anthony "Bubbles" Torres, San Francisco's mayor and police force are asking the public for help in investigating what they define as a homicide.

    "The San Francisco Police Department is working vigorously to solve the homicide case of Anthony 'Bubbles' Torres," said Mayor Ed Lee in a statement. "We are asking the community to cooperate with the police so we can bring Bubbles' killer to justice."

    "We will expend all efforts necessary to support the investigation of this crime," Lee said.

    Torres, 44, was shot shortly before 3 a.m. Sept. 9 in the area of Myrtle and Larkin streets, according to police. Torres was a popular LGBTQ activist, disc jockey and gender-nonconforming performer.

    "While initial reports do not indicate that the killing was motivated by hate, we are nonetheless shocked and saddened that one of San Francisco's most colorful activists has been lost to violence," Lee said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Greinke Outduels Bumgarner as D'backs Blank Giants]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 21:29:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/207*120/Giants-Diamondbacks-0916171.jpg


    Zack Greinke pitched eight innings of two-hit ball and Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0 on Saturday night. 

    The Diamondbacks reduced their Magic Number for clinching a playoff berth to six as they won for the 20th time in 25 games and for the ninth straight time on the road. 

    The Giants have dropped four straight, seven of their last eight and 15 of their last 20. They will need to win at least half of their remaining 12 games to avoid their second 100-loss season in franchise history. 

    Greinke (17-6) struck out eight and gave up one walk as he moved into a three-way tie for the major league lead in victories with Clayton Kershaw and Zach Davies. 

    Goldschmidt homered with two outs in the top of the first with David Peralta aboard on a leadoff single. His 34th homer came on the first pitch he saw Madison Bumgarner (3-9), a 92-mph fastball the Giants ace left over the middle of the plate. Goldschmidt drove the ball well into the bleachers in left center field, a shot estimated at 438 feet by Statcast. 

    Bumgarner struck out six and allowed two runs, seven hits and a walk in seven innings. He lost his fifth straight decision and is winless in last seven starts. 

    The Giants got just one man in scoring position, when Mac Williamson went to second on shortstop Kristopher Negron's two-base throwing error. 

    Greinke was 2 for 3 with two doubles. 

    Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth for his 38th save.

    ORLANDO'S 80th:

    The Giants celebrated Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda's 80th birthday on Saturday with an on-field ceremony and a video tribute. Fellow Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry were on hand. 


    The Giants will exercise their 2018 club option for LHP Matt Moore. The 2013 All-Star has struggled this year, going 5-14 with a 5.39 ERA. 


    Diamondbacks: OF J.D. Martinez was back in the lineup after missing Friday's game with neck stiffness. Manager Torey Lovullo said Martinez, one of the hottest hitters in the majors this month, started experiencing discomfort on Wednesday night but played the next day and hit a home run against Colorado. Martinez was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts on Saturday. 

    Giants: RF Hunter Pence is day to day with back spasms he developed after diving for a fly ball in Friday's game, manager Bruce Bochy said. Pence was out of the starting lineup on Saturday and is questionable for Sunday's game. He expects to have the three-time All-Star back in the lineup after a day off on Monday. . OF Gorkys Hernandez is day to day with a left wrist sprain. Hernandez is doubtful for Sunday's game too, Bochy said.

    UP NEXT:

    Diamondbacks: RHP Taijuan Walker (9-7, 3.32 ERA) will pitch Sunday's series finale. Walker is 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA over his last four starts and is 2-0 with a 0.55 ERA in his last three road starts. He's 3-1 with a 3.26 ERA in five career starts against the Giants. 

    Giants: RHP Chris Stratton is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA over his last five starts. He's 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two career starts against the Diamondbacks.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Transit Agencies Boost Security After London Attack]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 21:11:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DJxzaJeVoAAwFVX.jpg

    Bay Area transit agencies are stepping up security efforts Friday, hours after an improvised bomb exploded on a London subway, triggering a stampede and injuring at least 22 people.

    BART officials said in a statement that riders will encounter an "increased uniformed presence in our core area" of downtown San Francisco and Oakland. People were also asked to be the agency's "eyes and ears by being extra vigilant" and reporting anything unusual.

    "If something looks out of place, doesn't look normal, if somebody is out there and doesn't look normal in an area they shouldn't be, let us know," said BART Police Department Chief, Ed Alvarez. 

    The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency plans to rely on its police department resources and fare inspectors to add an extra layer of security in busy areas like the subway. 

    Meanwhile, Caltrain told NBC Bay Area that although the agency doesn't have a concrete plan to boost security, transit police officers are "very diligent about patrolling our rail corridor on a daily basis."

    Photo Credit: SF BART via Twitter]]>
    <![CDATA[Super Sweet Museum of Ice Cream to Open in SF]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 21:10:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/SF-Ice-Cream-Museum10.jpgThe super photogenic pop-up Museum of Ice Cream is opening in San Francisco on September 17.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images for Museum of Ice Cream]]>
    <![CDATA[Appeals Court Taking Foie Gras Off the Menu in California]]>Fri, 15 Sep 2017 19:02:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/foie-gras-1234.jpg

    A federal appeals court reinstated California’s ban on foie gras Friday, finding that a state law preventing sales of the luxury liver pate made by force-feeding ducks and geese was not pre-empted by federal authority to regulate poultry products.

    The ban was passed more than a decade ago after proponents said the process of fattening the livers of the birds was cruel and inhumane. The law took effect in 2011, but was blocked by a court in 2015, delighting chefs who wanted to serve the delicacy and leading to protests by animal rights groups. 

    While the unanimous decision by three judges won’t immediately take effect, giving farmers and a restaurant time to seek further review, animal activists celebrated.

    “The champagne corks are popping,” said David Perle of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “PETA has protested against this practice for years, showing videos of geese being force-fed that no one but the most callous chefs could stomach and revealing that foie gras is torture on toast.” 

    State lawmakers voted in 2004 to bar California farmers from force-feeding birds with a tube, which is how foie gras (fwah-GRAH’), is produced. That part of the law, phased in over seven years, was not challenged. 

    But foie gras farmers in Canada and New York and Hot’s Kitchen in Hermosa Beach targeted a second part of the law that banned foie gras produced out of state from being served in restaurants or sold in markets. 

    They argued successfully in the lower court that state law was superseded by the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act. That law prevents states from imposing labeling, packaging or ingredient requirements different from federal standards. 

    The main question was whether the state was banning an ingredient or a process. 

    “It is not the livers that are force-fed, it is the birds,” Judge Jacqueline Nguyen of the appeals court wrote. “The difference between foie gras produced with force-fed birds and foie gras produced with non-force-fed birds is not one of ingredient. Rather, the difference is in the treatment of the birds while alive.” 

    A lawyer for the farmers and Hot’s Kitchen said the fight was far from over. 

    “The ruling is disappointing, the reasoning is flawed,” attorney Michael Tenenbaum said. “Federal law is supreme when it comes to poultry products, whether it’s foie gras or frozen chicken breasts.” 

    When he won in U.S. District Court two years ago, Tenenbaum sent a press release saying that chef Sean Chaney was shouting “let the foie gras start flowing” from the rooftop of Hot’s. 

    Chaney said he plans to continue serving the rich treat until ordered to stop by a court and said the ruling was merely “a little speed bump.” 

    While the popularity has waned since they were allowed to first serve it after the lower court ruling, there are still popular selections on a special menu customers must request, Chaney said. 

    Among the offerings are “Lego my foie,” a waffle with a dollop of pate and maple syrup and a burger topped with the spread. 

    He plans to put foie gras back on his main menu this fall despite the ruling. 

    Tenenbaum said he would seek a review from a full panel of the 9th Circuit and press on to the Supreme Court if necessary. 

    If the appeals court rejects a review, the ruling will take effect after the case is returned to the lower court, where Tenenbaum can raise other issues. 

    David Levine, an expert in federal court procedure at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, said it’s a longshot that the ban won’t go into effect. 

    “It’s probably the end of the road, but not tomorrow,” Levine said.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Shots Fired Report Shuts Down Part of Market Street in SF]]>Thu, 14 Sep 2017 18:45:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/SFPD+activity-0914.jpg

    Part of Market Street in San Francisco was shut down temporarily Thursday afternoon because of a shooting investigation in which two people were detained, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

    No injuries were reported.

    San Francisco police responded shortly after 3 p.m. to the 1000 block of Market Street between Sixth and Seventh streets on reports of shots fired. They asked people to avoid the area.

    Municipal Railway service in the area was temporarily affected, police said.

    No other information was immediately available.

    Photo Credit: @duffy0/Twitter]]>
    <![CDATA[Suspect in Stolen Police Gun Murder Was Being Tracked By ICE]]>Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:06:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+homicide-0914.jpg

    NBC Bay Area has learned that one of the three men charged with carrying out a murder with a police officer's off-duty revolver was wearing an electronic monitor issued by United States immigration officials.

    Data from that monitor confirms that the 18-year-old suspect was at the murder scene at the time of the slaying.

    Erick Garcia-Pineda entered a not guilty plea Thursday to a litany of charges, including allegations that he murdered 23-year-old Abel Ezquivel on the street in the San Francisco's Mission District early in the morning of Aug. 15. Two other defendants also denied the allegations, which include an allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery, which would trigger a term of life in prison without parole.

    NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit has learned that Garcia-Pineda is an undocumented immigrant and was wearing an ICE-issued electronic monitoring bracelet at the time of the slaying. Immigration officials did not immediately respond to NBC Bay Area's requests for comment.

    It is not clear why. Sources tell NBC Bay Area Garcia-Pineda was claiming asylum in the United States -- claiming he was being hounded by MS-13 gang members.

    Following the homicide, Garcia-Pineda was later arrested for unrelated battery charges in another alleged attack. That's when San Francisco Sheriff's deputies removed the electronic bracelet and kept it as evidence. The sheriff's office declined to comment about what may have occurred, other than to say that such bracelets are not always identifiable and it is standard practice to remove them as an inmate safety precaution.

    Prosecutors did not file charges for the alleged battery, pending further investigation. But during the investigation police seized a gun, that they ultimately determined was registered to an SFPD officer and had likely been stolen.

    According to a statement by the San Francisco police union, the decorated officer did not realize his gun was taken as there was no sign of a break-in of his car.

    NBC Bay Area has learned a holster, clothing and other valuables were taken from the vehicle at the same time: the night of Aug. 11.

    The murder of Ezquivel happened four days later.

    They also began using data from the tracking bracelet to attempt link Garcia-Pineda to several crimes.

    On Thursday, Garcia-Pineda and two other defendants pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, along with charges linked to five robberies and two other shootings.

    Friends of Esquivel were still trying to come to grips with his killing. Lariza Dugan Quadra said Esquivel had recently started working with youth at the Central American Recourse Center in the Mission District.

    "It’s been a very painful process, not only for his family of course, but also as an organization he was profoundly affiliated with," she said.

    Asked if the officer should be disciplined, police Chief William Scott said an internal investigation is in its earliest stages.

    "Well, we have to investigate," he said. "I mean it would be very, very irresponsible and premature for me to say what’s going to happen with the officer until we have the facts."

    NBC Bay Area's Sergio Quintana contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Ignored 'Extreme Heat' Plan During Record Heat Wave]]>Wed, 13 Sep 2017 23:47:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+heat+calls-0904.jpg

    The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has been examining what led to the near complete 911 meltdown San Francisco experienced in the Labor Day heat wave.

    Further investigation reveals the city ignored its own decade-old plan on how to deal with such a crisis.

    San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin said the city has a "heat plan" officials drew up after a major heat wave back in 2006.

    "As far as I can tell, little or any of this was implemented, even though the city had ample warning," Peskin said.

    The Extreme Heat Response Plan includes a map showing red areas where vulnerable elderly residents would be hit hardest. The plan also predicts an "overload of the 911 system" as heat victims call for help. Further, the plan outlines how the city should set up air conditioned cooling centers.

    But the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit has obtained a timeline of the city's response to the recent record heat wave, and it shows officials either failed or were slow to act on warnings that temperatures could soar to record levels.

    At first, public health officials refused to set up the cooling centers outlined in plan.

    On the Friday when the city set a new all-time high of 106 degrees, residents were simply told to find a shady park or air-conditioned theater. That advice came as the predicted 911 overload came true.

    While one ambulance company added four rigs, city officials did not initially call for outside help. As a result, between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., the peak of the heat, the city had no available ambulances for 19 calls. Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. the backlog swelled to 36.

    Finally, after 5 p.m., a citywide operations command post was opened, and mutual aid was called in.

    Three elderly people died in the heat. At least one more death is still under investigation.

    As for the cooling centers, the city timeline shows that they were not authorized until late Friday night.

    "What did happen, happened a little too little, too late, after the city had already passed 106 degrees at 10 o'clock at night, was when they were sending out information about cooling centers for Saturday," Peskin said. "It just boggles the mind."

    Public health officials have defended the ctiy's mutual aid response as an "orderly" process.

    Peskin has now sent letters to various officials summoning them to a hearing next Wednesday.

    A spokeswoman for the city public health department defended its handling of the heat wave, saying, "Years of planning and preparation paid off as our emergency plans worked like they were intended during this rapidly evolving event."

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Gun Used in Homicide Was Stolen From Cop's Vehicle: SFPD]]>Wed, 13 Sep 2017 23:58:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfpd-generic-san-francisco-police.jpg

    San Francisco police officials said a gun used in a gang-related homicide was stolen from a police officer's vehicle.

    Three suspects in the deadly shooting reported in August were arrested this week, police said. The suspects have been identified as Erick Garcia Pineda, 18, Jesus Perez-Araujo, 24, and Daniel Cruz, 18. All three men are San Francisco residents.

    On Aug. 15, police responded to a reported shooting at an apartment on the 3200 block of 26th Street in San Francisco's Mission District. When officers arrived they found 23-year-old Enrique Esquivel Jr. suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. He was transported to a hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

    During the investigation, police discovered the weapon used in the homicide was a personal firearm registered to a San Francisco Police officer that was stolen from his personal vehicle on Aug. 12.

    Police officials said the department is conducting an internal investigation into the circumstance of the theft of the firearm.

    Martine Halloran, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, provided the following statement on Wednesday:

    "A few weeks ago, a vehicle belonging to an SFPD officer was burglarized and the officer's personal firearm was stolen, unbeknownst to him. There were no visible signs of the burglary, and the officer did not realize that the vehicle had been broken into, nor that the firearm had been stolen. Days after the burglary, that firearm was used in a gang-related homicide. The officer, a highly-decorated veteran, is devastated. He is working with the Department to fully comply with its investigation into this case."

    Former San Francisco Supervisor David Campos wrote the city's secured weapons law last year with this very type of tragedy in mind.

    "The idea was to make sure that every person in the city, every San Franciscan, knows if they have a responsibility if they have a gun and they leave it in a vehicle, it has to be secured," Campos said.

    NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit has found that between 2010 and 2015, 412 guns were stolen in San Francisco. Campos wrote the gun control law partly in response the July 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle at Pier 14. She was killed with a gun stolen from a federal officer's vehicle.

    "If anything, there's an expectation that police officer's would be held to a higher standard," Campos said.

    All three suspects have been booked into San Francisco County jail. Investigators also said Pineda, Perez-Araujo and Cruz are tied to several robberies that occurred in the Mission District between Aug. 13-15.

    Pineda was booked on charges of homicide, multiple counts of robbery, conspiracy, burglary and attempted murder. Perez-Araujo was booked on multiple counts of robbery, burglary and conspiracy. Cruz was booked on homicide, conspiracy, robbery and possession of stolen property charges.

    Police are not releasing the suspects' booking photos at this time.

    NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Tree Topples Onto Parked Cars in SF, 1 Person Rescued: SFFD]]>Wed, 13 Sep 2017 18:29:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+tree-0913.jpg

    Fire crews on Wednesday responded to a fallen section of a tree on some parked cars in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

    A section of a large tree toppled at Clement and 38th Avenue a little before 3:30 p.m., and there was one man trapped inside a vehicle, a fire official said.

    Firefighters at the scene said the man appeared to be OK. They were able to extricate him by about 3:55 p.m. No injuries were reported.

    No further details were available.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Lawsuits Filed Against UPS Following Shooting at SF Facility]]>Tue, 12 Sep 2017 14:25:34 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SF-UPS-shooting.jpg

    Nine lawsuits have been filed against United Parcel Service following a shooting in June that left three people dead at the company's San Francisco facility.

    The lawsuits were filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court, and include two wrongful-death lawsuits filed by the families of Benson Louis and Mike Lefiti. Louis and Lefiti are two of three UPS drivers killed in the workplace shooting. Wayne Chan was the other driver killed in the shooting.

    Two workers who were injured in the shooting have also filed lawsuits.

    On June 14, police said UPS employee Jimmy Lam opened fire during a morning meeting of UPS drivers at a company warehouse in San Francisco before the drivers went out on deliveries. Lam and the victims worked out of the warehouse.

    The violence ended when Lam turned the gun on himself and took his own life as workers ran from the packing facility and police closed in, police have said.

    UPS, security company Universal Protection Service and property owner Valacal Company are defendants in all lawsuits.

    No other information was immediately available.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Eric Risberg/AP]]>
    <![CDATA[Lightning Strikes Put San Francisco Neighborhood on Edge]]>Tue, 12 Sep 2017 18:37:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/09-12-2017-sf-lightning.jpg

    San Francisco got a lightning storm late Monday and one strike zapped a power pole in the Parkside neighborhood, setting the tranformer on fire. Sam Brock reports.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Shooting Hurts Man, Triggers Car Collision in San Francisco]]>Tue, 12 Sep 2017 12:23:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-12-17-SF-SHOOTING.jpg

    A shooting and a car collision rattled nerves Tuesday morning near San Francisco’s bustling Union Square.

    Gunfire erupted around 6:30 a.m. and a car, inside which the alleged shooting victim was traveling, sideswiped another vehicle, on the 700 block of O’Farrell Street, witnesses told NBC Bay Area.

    John Mullen said he saw a car with its "front end and back end smashed." A woman was yelling, "He's shot, he's shot, he's shot," he recalled.

    Another witness said the victim’s car ended up causing a crash with three other cars.

    "They pulled out a gentleman" who "seemed unconscious," said Elliot Urbina. The man was taken to a hospital, but Urbina said he "couldn't tell what was going on."

    Police cleared the vehicles around 9 a.m. and reopened the busy street.

    The victim’s condition is not known at this time. No other injuries were reported.

    No suspect information has been provided yet.

    Further information was not available.

    Check back for updates. 

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SFPD Academy Holds Annual Training on Use of Force]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 19:36:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0911-2017-ForceTraining.jpg

    When should police pull the trigger and when should they back off?

    That's the crux of the training officers receive in a simulation room of the San Francisco Police Academy. On Monday, members of the media were invited by SFPD to participate in the annual drill in hopes of countering the coverage police usually get when it comes to using force.

    The simulation room features a screen and computer projector loaded with many scenarios. Training used to be shoot or don't shoot, but now SFPD wants to project the message now is going well beyond just two choices.

    Officers are trained to hide behind cover, create distance between themselves and a suspect, and rather than bark command they are trained to listen and response when they can with less-than-lethal force.

    In addition, officers are trained with a baton, pepper spray and lastly a firearm.

    Missing are the Tasers police have been trying to get for years. SFPD Commander Peter Walsh said some of the push back is the belief Tasers will allow officers to forget their de-escalation tactics.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>
    <![CDATA[Offensive Signs at San Francisco State Dorms Spark Debate]]>Tue, 12 Sep 2017 00:32:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfsu+signs-0911.jpg

    A debate is brewing at San Francisco State University over messages popping up on windows of residence halls that some considered vulgar and offensive.

    While the vast majority of the so-called Post-it notes art is harmless, expressing sentiments about pizza, music or social media, some are sexually explicit, and that is troubling to students and faculty.

    Some students have complained about signs that are sexually suggestive or scream out sexual acts or highlight vulgar terms.

    "I was thinking I can’t bring my mom back here because she’s going to see all these windows and all the graphic pictures that they’ve drawn," said first-year student Lucy Garcete.

    University officials said they’re listening to complaints and talking to students who post them, but so far, no rules have been broken. The administration said as deplorable as the messages might be, they don’t break the terms of the students' leases or the law.

    "There is nothing punishable here," said Mary Ann Begley, dean of students. "We simply are having educational conversations. It is really important to us to make sure that we are responding but that the students understand ultimately that it is their choice and their decision at this time."

    Begley said so far she’s received two complaints, one from a student and one from an employee.

    "I think it does tend to cross the line when you get into more sexually charged things," said Lauren Taylor, a fourth-year student at SFSU.

    First-year student Matt MacGugan had a different take.

    "I think it’s more to catch attention than anything," he said. "I don’t think anyone means to be offensive by it. It’s just kind of an eye-grabber, and like, it’s a competition for which one is the funniest, I guess."

    The SFSU administration said it welcomes comment on the issue and doesn’t want there to be a "hostile environment" for anyone.

    Some faculty members said that’s exactly what it does create. They don’t want to see it, and they’re concerned it violates the student code of conduct.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Gets Front-Row Seats to Lightning Show]]>Wed, 13 Sep 2017 16:31:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*228/9-12-17-lightning-bay+area.jpgDozens of lightning strikes lit up the Bay Area skies late Monday

    Photo Credit: Rohan Kalra ]]>
    <![CDATA[Transgender DJ Fatally Shot Outside Club in SF]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:11:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bubbles-09101.jpg

    A beloved transgender disc jockey was shot and killed outside a club in San Francisco's Tenderloin district early Saturday morning, and the suspect is still at-large, according to the victim's attorney and friends.

    The 30-year-old victim, identified as Anthony Torres, aka Bubbles, was the victim of a hate crime, according to his attorney, Jim Reilly, who described Torres as an activist and artist.

    San Francisco detectives were investigating the homicide that occurred about 2:50 a.m. in the area of Larkin and Myrtle streets, police said. Officers arrived at the scene and found Torres suffering from one gunshot wound. He was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead, police said.

    "This is a disgrace, it's a hate crime, and it will not stand," Reilly said.

    A makeshift memorial for Torres emerged Sunday at the intersection where the shooting occurred, and a vigil was held later in the evening. At sunset, friends started playing one of Bubbles' favorite Donna Summer songs. And they danced.

    "Bubbles loved house music, Bubbles loved dancing, Bubbles loved making art, Bubbles loved all sorts of people," friend Charlotte Kaufman said. "He lived in the Tenderloin; the Tenderloin knew him extremely well."

    People in the neighborhood said Torres would often play music in the street and give away snow cones and cotton candy.

    Police did not provide any suspect information or possible motives. They also were not calling it a hate crime. 

    Reilly said a gunman came out of the New Century Club, got into some sort of altercation with Torres and then shot him. The suspect then ran from the scene, he said. Reilly said there were several witnesses who saw the shooting.

    Friends said they were planning a going-away party in a few days for Torres. He was about to leave San Francisco for Berlin.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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    <![CDATA[New Use of Force Training for SFPD Officers]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 11:53:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFPD_Use_of_Force_Training.jpg

    San Francisco police officers will undergo training on new use of force policies. The department's use-of-force came into question after several deadly interactions between officers and suspects, including the shooting death of Mario Woods in 2015. That's when the Department of Justice started reviewing SFPD and eventually made 272 recommendations on improving its use of force policies.]]>
    <![CDATA[Jury Selection Expected to Begin in Kate Steinle Murder Case]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 12:01:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jury_Selction_to_Begin_in_Kate_Steilnle_Case.jpg

    Jury selection is expected to begin in the Kate Steinle murder case. Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate is expected back in court later today. He's charged with shooting and killing Steinle at a San Francisco Pier. Last week, the federal agent whose stolen gun was used in the shooting testified in a pre-trial hearing. The judge decided what questions can and cannot be asked of the agent during the trial.]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Remembers 9/11 Victims 16 Years Later]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:05:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-11-17_SFFD_Salute.jpg

    Monday marks the 16th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the deadliest such attacks on American soil.

    Residents and emergency personnel across the Bay Area on Monday are taking time out of their days to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost.

    In the East Bay, a somber mood was felt as people paid their respects to those who died after United Airlines Flight 93, which was bound for San Francisco, crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The passengers on that flight — several with Bay Area ties — are known for fighting back against the hijackers, who were believed to have plans to fly the plane into the U.S. Capitol.

    Across the bay, firefighters in San Francisco gathered at Station 7 and the other 43 stations across the city by the bay just after sunrise to pay their respects to fellow first responders and civilians during a bell-ringing ceremony. Fire crews also lowered the American flag to half-staff and read the names of the 343 New York City firefighters killed trying to save others from the World Trade Center.

    Even as the years pass by, Lt. Jonathan Baxter with the San Francisco Fire Department noted that the annual ceremonies must not be forgotten.

    "It's a very important reminder that you can't just teach, you have to show, and if we take this lightly and we don't remember it, I think that would send a negative message to not only our community but most importantly our youth," he said.

    In San Jose, firefighters at Station 1 held a moment of silence followed by the ringing of a bell to mark the moment when the North Tower of the World Trade Center was struck by the first hijacked airplane.

    Other 9/11 memorial events were scheduled in Alameda at the USS Hornet at 10 a.m. and in Danville at 5:30 p.m. at Oak Hill Park.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Veteran SF Firefighter Dies at Station After Morning Call]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 23:19:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/terry+smerdel-0910.jpg

    A veteran San Francisco firefighter died Sunday after returning from an early morning fire alarm call, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

    Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel, a 26-year veteran of the department, was found unresponsive by coworkers in his office, Chief Joanne Hayes-White said in a news release. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

    "It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel, who passed away this morning while working a shift at Battalion 1," Hayes-White said. "Battalion Chief Smerdel has been a valued member of our Department since October 15, 1991, and has been assigned to Battalion 9 since January 2017. Terry worked in a variety of assignments and was a long-time member of Station 17. ... He was a devoted family man; great husband, father, grandfather and brother. He will be greatly missed by his Fire Department family."

    Mayor Ed Lee also released a statement about Smerdel's unexpected passing.

    "A dedicated veteran of the department, Terry put the safety of our city and our residents above his own day in and day out," Lee said. "Not only was Terry a committed professional, he was a family man and beloved by all those who knew him."

    The cause of Smerdel's death is unknown.

    As a mark of respect, San Francisco Fire Department flags will be lowered to half-staff until further notice, Hayes-White said. Details regarding services are pending.

    Photo Credit: San Francisco FD]]>
    <![CDATA[Brief Heat Spell Brings Hot Weather Back to Bay Area]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 23:25:34 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

    A brief heat spell is expected to blanket most of the Bay Area with warm to sizzling temperatures Sunday.

    Inland valleys are forecasted to creep above the 100-degree threshold, according to weather officials. Temperatures around the bay are expected to check in around the high 80s in the East Bay to low 90s along the Peninsula and in the South Bay. San Francisco is expected to hover around an unusual 85 degrees.

    For those seeking relief, Half Moon Bay appears to be the coolest spot around. The coastal city is expected to max out around 75 degrees. 

    The sweltering conditions did not prompt any heat advisories or warnings for the Bay Area's nine counties, according to the National Weather Service.

    The brief spell of hot temperatures comes one week after a lengthy heat wave set temperature records across the region, including an all-time high of 106 degrees in downtown San Francisco.

    The latest round of heat is expected to dissipate by the start of the workweek, but portions of the Bay Area won't escape unusual weather right away. The South Bay could see isolated shower and thunder chances on Monday and Tuesday, according to the NWS.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
    <![CDATA[Dr. Amos Brown Honored for 40 Years of Service in SF]]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 23:38:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-8-17_Brown.jpg

    Dr. Amos Brown, who has steered the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco for 40 years and been a prominent civil rights activist, was honored by well-known dignitaries Friday night.

    Former President Bill Clinton, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, current California Gov. Jerry Brown and Rev. Jesse Jackson were all in attendance to celebrate Dr. Brown and his wife for their four decades of service to the community.

    "What they did here for 40 years embodies what America ought to be doing all day, every day," Clinton said.

    Clinton continued to praise Dr. Brown for lifting up the masses and bringing all types of people together, something that Clinton suggests global leaders should do more often this day and age.

    "Why are we doing this 'us and them' deal when we ought to be all us and figuring out how we can work together," the former president said. "That's the legacy of this church."

    A humble Dr. Brown was not necessarily impressed by the distinguished guests. He said the message shared was the most impressive aspect of the evening.

    "We have common core values that we've all embraced on the behalf of the common good of all people," he said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Bridge Demolition Closes Part of I-80 Near Vacaville]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 15:54:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/road-closed-generic-getty.jpg

    State transportation officials are warning of likely travel delays when a section of Interstate 80 in Northern California is closed overnight to allow for demolition of a bridge.

    Caltrans says the key route between San Francisco and Sacramento will see closures just east of Vacaville from late Saturday through Sunday morning.

    Detour signs will be posted, and the California Highway Patrol will help direct drivers.

    Crews will demolish the Midway Road Bridge.

    A replacement bridge is expected to be completed by spring 2018.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Getty Image, File]]>
    <![CDATA[Title IX Changes on Sexual Assault Draws Negative Criticism]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 14:59:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DeVos1.jpg

    The Trump administration’s announcement to scale back Title IX requirements on college campuses on Thursday has stirred a lot of negative criticism from University institutions.

    At a sexual assault training session at the University of California, San Francisco, District Attorney George Gascon said this change in the system would raise the burden of proof for universities punishing accused assaulters, making it even more difficult for victims.

    “We know that what it used to be before really wasn’t working. We know that the survivors of assault were being singled out, they were often continuously harassed if they came forward,” said Gascon.

    During the announcement on Thursday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the Obama-era Title IX guidance on campus sexual assault “failed too many students” and explained that the departments current approach would be replaced “with a workable, effective and fair system.” According to DeVos, her department will be launching “a transparent notice-and-comment process to incorporate the insights of all parties in developing a better way.”

    Universities like UC Berkeley and Stanford have already started protesting this new change and have even generated lawsuits.

    “Changes to the Title IX policy announced today signals that the Trump administration aims to undo six years’ worth of federal enforcements to strengthen sexual violence protections on college campuses,” said UC President, Janet Napolitano. “This is extremely troubling.”

    Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP (File)]]>
    <![CDATA[Feds Probe Uber's Tracking of Lyft Drivers: AP Sources]]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 13:34:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-lyft-icons.jpg

    The Justice Department in Manhattan is investigating whether Uber illegally used software to track drivers for Lyft, its main ride-hailing competitor, to gain an advantage in attracting and recruiting drivers, according to two people familiar with the probe.

    The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York's Southern District want to know if use of the software, which created fake customer accounts, broke any federal laws, said the people, who didn't want to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

    An Uber spokeswoman said Friday it is cooperating in the probe and that use of the software has been discontinued. The U.S. Attorney's Office would not comment on the case.

    The investigation adds to mounting legal problems for Uber, including allegations of corporate espionage involving autonomous vehicle technology and at least one other federal investigation into use of software to thwart local government efforts to monitor its operations. Earlier this year, Uber's board ousted co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick in a move to fix cultural problems within the company. Last month it replaced him with former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who has inherited the legal troubles.

    The latest probe apparently centers on software known inside Uber as "Hell." A federal class-action lawsuit filed by a Lyft driver in San Francisco alleges that Uber developed the "spyware" that allowed it to pose as Lyft customers and gain access to its computer systems. The software let Uber access the location of up to eight Lyft drivers at one time and get their unique Lyft identification number. Uber then used that number to track the drivers' locations, the lawsuit alleged.

    Uber then matched the Lyft drivers' identities with Uber internal records to find drivers working for both services, and gave those drivers incentives to work mainly for Uber "thereby reducing the supply of Lyft drivers, which resulted in increased wait times for Lyft customers and diminished earnings for Lyft drivers," the lawsuit stated.

    The lawsuit, which Uber said was recently dismissed, alleged that the practice violated the federal Wiretap Act. No dismissal paperwork is listed in federal court records, and attorneys for the plaintiff, Michael Gonzales, could not be reached Friday.

    Uber attorneys, in a legal response to the lawsuit, said that Gonzales is alleging only that Uber used "commonly available software" to collect data that would be accessible to anyone using the Lyft app. "The communications were therefore 'readily available to the general public' and the Wiretap Act does not apply," the Uber lawyers wrote.

    News of the investigation was reported earlier Friday by The Wall Street Journal.

    Uber's other legal problems include a lawsuit filed by Waymo, the autonomous car unit spun off from Google, alleging that Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer, stole trade secrets before departing in January 2016 to found a robotic vehicle startup that Uber acquired seven months later.

    The lawsuit maintains that Uber then transplanted the property into its own fleet of self-driving vehicles — a charge that Uber has adamantly denied. A federal judge overseeing the case has referred it to the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco for possible criminal investigation.

    Uber also is under federal investigation over allegations that it used phony software to prevent city officials from looking into whether the company was following local regulations. Local officials in Portland, Oregon, and Philadelphia confirmed that they were told by federal authorities of the investigation.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: AP (File)]]>
    <![CDATA[Visiting Muir Woods Will Require Reservation in 2018]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 19:24:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/Muir-Woods-National-Monument.jpg

    Visiting Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley is about to get a little harder.

    Large crowds and overwhelming traffic have led officials to start capping visitors in 2018. Anyone hoping to visit the popular destination will now be required to have a reservation to park a vehicle or ride a shuttle bus into the park.

    The only way to avoid having to make a reservation in advance is by hiking your way in.

    The new system expects the daily parking reservations to vary based on the season – approximately 500 spaces in the low season and 900 in the peak. The park is also expecting an estimated 100,000 shuttle reservations per year, the SF Gate reports.

    Although reservations will not be implemented until next year, park officials are hoping to spread the news so people can become aware of how to plan their visits.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Loose Panel on Exterior of SF Hilton Prompts Street Closures]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 23:58:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+hilton-0907.jpg

    Firefighters in San Francisco responded to the Hilton Hotel at Union Square on Thursday evening for a hazard on the exterior of the building, according to the city's fire department.

    About 6 p.m., a piece of loose siding on the 18th floor of the hotel's Tower 2 prompted authorities to shut down Taylor Street between O'Farrell and Ellis streets for a couple of hours. The panel was seen flapping in the wind, and as a precaution, police and fire officials cleared the roadways and walkways below.

    The panel was removed about 8 p.m. when a worker went up in a window washing lift and pulled it down.

    Fire officials said a construction crew was seen working on the building earlier Thursday. When fire crews initialy arrived on the scene, they rendered the area safe.

    It was later determined the loose panel was not part of the construction work.

    The Hilton corporate office released the following statement about the incident:

    "The Hilton San Francisco Union Square earlier this evening had a small piece of its Tower 2 exterior paneling dislodge. As a safety precaution traffic at the corner of O’Farrell and Taylor streets was shut down until the panel could be retrieved. As the safety and security of its guests, team members and neighbors are of paramount importance to the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, the hotel is cooperating fully with local authorities to determine the cause of the incident."

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Steve Earle to Perform at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival]]>Tue, 12 Sep 2017 09:28:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Blue-grass-festival-set-list.jpg

    San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is set to have a group of special performances at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival from Grammy award winning musicians Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller and Lucinda Williams on Oct. 8.

    The artists are scheduled to perform at the festival as a part of Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees, an eight-city tour produced by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) to raise awareness and funds to help refugees receive educational opportunities.

    “Education is a life-saving intervention for refugees,” said Executive Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, David Robinson. "With Lampedusa, we hope people are inspired by the music and are compelled to get involved.”

    According to JRS, funds from the tour will help refugees “heal, learn and thrive.”

    Hardly Strictly Bluegrass runs from Oct. 6-8.

    Lampedusa 2017 is scheduled in the following eight cities:

    • Oct. 3: Seattle, WA, The Moore Theatre
    • Oct. 4: Portland, OR, The Aladdin Theatre
    • Oct. 8: San Francisco, CA, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 
    • Oct. 10: Los Angeles, CA, The Wiltern Theatre
    • Oct. 12: Tucson, AZ, Fox Tucson Theatre
    • Oct. 13: Albuquerque, NM, The KiMo Theatre
    • Oct. 14: El Paso, TX, Abraham Chavez Theatre
    • Oct. 15: Dallas, TX, The Majestic Theatre

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[DMV Self-Service Kiosks Available at Bay Area Supermarkets]]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 23:50:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB-DMV+PURGATORY.jpg

    The California DMV will now be expanding a pilot program for self-service terminals that will be available at some local supermarkets in the Bay Area.

    For now, the kiosks can be used to renew vehicle registrations or file for planned non-operation status without waiting in line. The self-service terminals will allow people to receive their registration cards and sticker while also accepting multiple payments.

    To find a self-service kiosk near you, take a look at the DMV’s interactive map.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Cheerleader Thrown Through Window Not Guilty in Stabbing]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 15:01:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Open+Window+Generic.jpg

    A former San Francisco State University cheerleader thrown into a glass window of a high-rise dorm was acquitted of several felony charges after a jury determined he stabbed his attacker in self-defense.

    San Francisco's public defender said Friday that jurors found 21-year-old Victor Perez not guilty of multiple felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and assault causing great bodily injury.

    Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof said Perez was at a 2016 party when a wrestler tackled the cheerleader, launching them both into a plate glass window.

    Perez was bloody and covered in broken glass when he reached for a pocket knife with a 1-inch blade to fend off the wrestler that witnesses said was still pummeling him.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
    <![CDATA[Bill Nye the Science Guy is Coming to the Castro Theater ]]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 21:04:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/bill-nye-the-science-guy.jpg

    Bill. Bill. Bill. Bill.

    Bill Nye the Science is making his way to the Castro Theatre this Sunday!

    That’s right science fans, Nye is scheduled for what is being described as an “unforgettable afternoon to read and sign his new book” in San Francisco Sunday, Sept. 10.

    The beloved staple of children’s science education will be sharing his recently published book, Everything at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd. Nye will also be joined by Bay Area Science Festival director, Kishore Hari, who specializes in producing innovative live science events.

    Fans can purchase tickets online for $20 or pay $45 ticket for both a seat and Nye’s new book – which he’ll be able to sign during the event.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images for National Park Service]]>
    <![CDATA[Barricaded Man Prompts Shelter in Place in San Francisco]]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 18:15:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NBC+Bay+Area+Breaking+News+Image31.png

    A barricaded man in San Francisco has prompted a shelter in place order on Friday, police said. 

    The incident is taking place on Cabrillo Street, between 36th and 37th Avenue, according to police. 

    Police received calls of a man on the roof but he has since made his way into a residence, police said.  

    Officials believe the suspect to be alone, but it is still unknown if he is armed. 

    No other details were immediately available.

    <![CDATA[Floridians Head to Bay Area to Wait Out Hurricane Irma]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 00:03:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6A+FLORIDA+AIRPORT+CHAOS+VO+-+00002925.jpg

    Thousands of people fled Florida before Hurricane Irma slammed into the state, and some chose the Bay Area as their escape.

    At San Francisco International Airport early Friday, travelers — among the lucky few who were able to escape considering the number of flights out of South Florida that have been canceled — described a chaotic scene at Miami International Airport.

    "The news was very scary, and also the people create a situation of like we were in a war," Pilar Capa, who spent the last day searching for a flight out of Miami, said after landing in San Francisco. "I mean, people fighting for water, lines for gas, no money."

    Since Thursday, Gustavo De la Vega had been trying desperately to escape the imminent danger in South Florida. He and his wife were settled on a flight out of the area when the cancellation was announced. The couple was forced to get off the plane and wait with the rest of the evacuees seeking safety.

    "It was insane," De la Vega said. "A lot of people sleeping in the gates because they were supposed to travel in the early morning."

    De la Vega and his wife caught a break several hours later when they nabbed two seats on a flight bound for the Bay Area. 

    "I got an angel," De la Vega said. "But for me it was really sad to see some people that doesn't get it, that doesn't have any place to stay so they move to a shelter or something like that because Irma's going to hit hard."

    When the plane's wheels lifted off the ground, De la Vega admittedly said it was an overwhelming experience.

    "Big boys also cry, so I just start to cry as a baby when we took off," he said.

    De la Vega, who is now staying with his sister in Oakland, was glued to his social media accounts Saturday, keeping tabs on loved ones back in South Florida.

    "I'm following some friends that decided to stay in Miami...in areas that the evacuation was not mandatory," he said. "They are showing some videos, and it's a windy time there."

    Diana Cortes spent Friday fighting to fly her 98-year-old father and mother out of South Florida.

    "I found this ticket for like 200-plus dollars American and I was like 'Oh my God, I’m going get this now,'" she said.

    Cortes was worried that a lack of power and air conditioning would plague her parents after the hurricane passed, but she managed to get them safely to the West Coast.

    Many of those who landed in San Francisco on Friday said they are confident that their homes will withstand Irma, but they are concerned about the possibility of lengthy power outages and fixing damaged infastructure.

    "[The hurricane] will change the whole scape of Florida for sure," South Florida resident Josh Mattui said.

    One woman told NBC Bay Area that she decided to come to San Francisco to stay with her son and his wife. She lived through Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and is afraid of what Irma, which has re-strengthened from a Category 4 storm to Category 5 storm, will do to her home in Palmetto Bay.

    NBC Bay Area's Ian Cull contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Gay Men's Chorus Focused on Ramping Up Tour Security]]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 00:03:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/196*120/GettyImages-682750978.jpg

    San Francisco's Gay Men's Chorus is about to embark on a journey through some of the most conservative pockets of the United States.

    The group is a month out form a trip they say will take the "public conversation to a higher plane" than what we have seen. After what happened in Charlottesville, the chorus is ramping up their security and raising more money for the costly trip.

    The Lavender Pen Tour will feature performances from a San Francisco institution all over the southern United States, but the performance might be the least prominent part of what they are hoping to accomplish.

    "We'rre going to listen. I think so much about this trip that's going to beneficial for our membership is to go to these places to see how our community lives in these particular areas where they don't have supportive governments," said Tom Paulino, the co-chair for the Lavender Pen Tour.

    Tour organizers want to break from a Bay Area bubble and permeate areas of the country coping with discrimination.

    "When the chorus first started 40 years ago, we didn't have gay marriage," said Steve Huffines, the choir's board chair. "No one envisioned that it would ever be possible, much less legal nationwide."

    To preserve those rights the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus is taking on risk. The group is calling on supporters to donate to double the security for their trip.

    "We're going to do everything we can do to keep everyone who's going on the tour as safe as possible," Huffines said. "And a significant change to that happened when we saw what happened in Charlottesville."

    The group's tour will also take them to Jackson, Mississippi and Birmingham, Alabama. Members will be able to meet people in person at churches, performance halls and auditoriums while on tour.

    University of San Francisco professor Kimberly Richman, who specializes in the sociology of law, said years of data supports this kind of outreach.

    "We've seen time and time again in research and in experience that the best way to win someone over to support your rights is by simply letting them get to know you as a person," Richman said.

    The trip will cost north of $1 million and is called the Lavender Pen Tour because of the pen Harvey Milk gave Mayor George Moscone to sign one of the first LGBT protection laws in the country.

    If interested in donating, visit SFGMC.org.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Lyft Takes on Uber, Plans to Test Driverless Cars]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 23:30:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-lyft-0605.jpg

    Ride sharing took another step towards going autonomous, as Lyft announced its plans to test driverless cars in the Bay Area.

    For now, the company is not giving out much in the way of specifics, saying that it will test its cars soon and in several local cities.

    Lyft’s rival Uber got into trouble late last year when it started to test driverless cars in San Francisco. Uber did not apply for the required DMV permits, and the autonomous testing was shortly shut down.

    Lyft admits it doesn’t have the permit yet either, but it may have an ace in the hole: Drive.ai, its partner in the endeavor.

    Drive.ai, a Mountain View company makes technology like sensors and software for driverless cars, has the necessary permits. If the cars are technically theirs, Lyft should be in the clear.

    We’ll update the story when we learn more about where and when the Bay Area autonomous testing will take place.

    Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman

    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File photos]]>
    <![CDATA[Suspicious Device Prompts Shelter in Place in San Francisco]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 08:16:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfpd-generic-san-francisco-police.jpg

    The discovery of a suspicious device early Thursday prompted San Francisco police to briefly issue a shelter in place near Potrero Hill. 

    The city's Department of Emergency Management on Twitter asked people to avoid the area of Arkansas Street between 16th and 17th streets. Citizens were also urged to stay indoors and away from windows.

    Police said the device was found around 7 a.m. and a bomb squad responded to check out the device. The incident was resolved around 8:30 a.m. and the scene cleared, but people were warned of residual delays.

    Further details were not immediately available.

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Flower Interruption Artist Unveils 'Summer of Rage' Exhibit]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 19:53:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FLOWER_1__Bali_Indonesia.jpgKnown for her psychedelic and cheery exhibitions, Flower Interruption artist Megan Wilson just unveiled another exhibit she is hoping will stir a different reaction from onlookers.

    Photo Credit: Megan Wilson]]>
    <![CDATA[Heat Wave Causes 3 Deaths Each in SF, San Mateo County]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:16:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/196*120/heat24.jpg

    San Francisco officials on Wednesday confirmed three probable heat-related deaths in the city last weekend when temperatures reached triple-digit highs.

    The chief medical examiner said the three elderly people all lived independently and died inside their places of residence. An investigation showed no calls for medical assistance from any of the three individuals.

    The deaths add to a growing list of questions about how prepared the city was for the heat. On Monday, NBC Bay Area learned that San Francisco's emergency operations were caught off guard by the number of 911 calls, which nearly doubled because of the heat. The city activated its mutual aid system, and surrounding counties helped out.

    Supervisor Aaron Peskin was already planning to hold a hearing to find out why more ambulances weren't scheduled. He said the city has a heat wave plan but he isn't sure it was implemented well, and lives were lost.

    "The fact that we were not able to put protocols in place and prevent that from happening, whether city officials are checking on elderly folks or the city is issuing a warning to neighbors, I sadly feel San Francisco was caught flat footed," Peskin said.

    Peskin said he recieved more warnings from city officials about the Patriot Prayer rally last month than he did about the now deadly heat wave.

    Another three heat-related deaths were reported in San Mateo County, officials said Thursday.

    A 90-year-old Pacifica man and a 79-year-old Daly City man died of heat stroke in their homes on Saturday.

    The next day, a 95-year-old Millbrae woman also died of heat stroke after being taken to a hospital in South San Francisco for treatment.

    The elderly are among the most vulnerable to heat stroke, and residents are encouraged to check frequently on friends, family and neighbors during heat waves.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Mayors Request Donations for Hurricane Harvey Victims]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 14:36:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mayors-ask-for-donations.jpg

    Mayors from California's biggest cities, including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, are asking residents across the state to consider donating funds to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

    On Wednesday morning, Mayors Sam Liccardo of San Jose, Ed Lee of San Francisco, Libby Schaaf of Oakland, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Kevin Faulconer of San Diego, Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento and Robert Garcia of Long Beach, issued an appeal to the residents of their cities.

    In a statement Wednesday, the mayors said, "Today, we have launched a new relief fund - Californians Helping Texans - Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund - that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods."

    Donations can be made online at www.CA4TX.org and will be processed, without any fees, by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Funds will be directed to local relief efforts in Texas in collaboration with the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

    "We stand in solidarity with the people of Texas and encourage all Californians to support the relief effort in any way they can," the mayors said in a statement.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Delta Soccer Match in Miami Postponed; Hurricane Irma]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 15:15:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Generic-Soccer-balls.jpg

    A professional soccer match between the San Francisco Deltas and Miami FC that was scheduled for this Saturday at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco has been postponed because of Hurricane Irma headed toward Florida.

    Deltas team officials said Wednesday that the match was delayed so Miami's players, coaches and staff can be with their families as dangerous weather conditions are expected there this weekend.

    "In any situation like this, our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our players, coaches, staff members, fans, and their families," said Rishi Sehgal, interim commissioner for the North American Soccer League.

    "We hope that everyone is able to stay safe during this difficult time," Sehgal said in a statement.

    All tickets that have been issued for the match will be honored for the rescheduled date if it is taking place at Kezar Stadium. Once the new date is set by the league, new tickets will be issued.

    Deltas team officials said that if the game is relocated to another stadium, they will follow up regarding next steps for ticketholders.

    Anyone with questions can send an email to tickets@sfdeltas.com.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Reaches $400K Settlement With Immigration Consultant]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 16:29:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_court_gavel_generic_law.jpg

    A San Francisco immigration consulting and tax preparation firm has agreed to pay $400,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the city attorney's office alleging it defrauded clients, officials said today.

    City Attorney Dennis Herrera first filed the lawsuit against Lacayo & Associates and its principals, Leonard and Ada Lacayo, last August.

    The lawsuit alleged that the firm represented Leonard Lacayo, a notary public, as an attorney and immigration consultant and collected large fees from clients for little or no work.

    In some cases, Lacayo failed to submit applications or had applications rejected due to inadequate preparation, placing some clients at risk of deportation, according to the city attorney's office.

    In addition to the $400,000 payment to cover restitution to clients and the city's attorneys fees, the settlement also calls for the Lacayos to shut down any immigration-related services, remove any references to those services on their social media and advertising, post signs in their office stating they are not attorneys and return all original documents to clients as requested.

    The City Attorney's Office created a hotline number for victims of the Lacayos after filing the lawsuit, which has received around 170 calls over the past year.

    "I am grateful for the numerous brave victims who came to our office and shared their experiences with Lacayo & Associates," said Herrera.

    "Their courage allowed us to develop a compelling case, and we could not have reached such a strong settlement without their cooperation."

    <![CDATA[Key Evidence in Kate Steinle Murder Trial Challenged]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 19:11:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/steinle+trial-0906.jpg

    The murder trial for the man accused of killing Kate Steinle is set to start in a matter of weeks, but on Wednesday there were serious questions in court about key evidence and whether it will make it to trial.

    The weapon fired on San Francisco's Pier 14 in July 2015, killing 32-year-old Steinle, may prove to be the focal point of the criminal trial of the shooter.

    But any comments made by defendant Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate about that weapon during police interrogation could come off the record, according to defense attorneys.

    "We intend to call witnesses that are court-certified interpreters as to what was on that video," said Matt Gonzalez, attorney with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. "So it’s not over yet."

    The defense is arguing Garcia-Zarate wasn’t properly informed of his constitutional right to remain silent or seek counsel. An exchange with the San Francisco police officer who translated the Miranda warning was shown in court Wednesday.

    Defense attorneys asked, "Would you agree that if you said, ‘You have a right to wait for silence’ that wouldn’t be a correct admonition?

    "This is why we we're told over and over (by instructors) to read the Miranda cards verbatim," Gonzalez said. "Because it’s important."

    Assistant district attorney Alex Bastian provided context.

    "The arguments in court are made for a reason, and the judge will be the ultimate arbiter based on the facts and based on the law," Bastian said.

    What transpired after the Miranda rights were read also could play a pivotal role in the judge’s decision. In court, the officer acknowledged Garcia-Zarate said multiple times, "I don’t want to talk to you; I’m done."

    "If a person communicates to a police officer they do not want to subject themselves to questioning about a crime, that triggers a right to remain silent," said Francisco Ugarte of the Public Defender’s Office.

    Prosecutors may argue it’s about meaning and, for someone who’s already been arrested multiple times, that Garcia-Zarate understood what was asked of him.

    The judge's decision could come as soon as Monday when court is back in session.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Gathering to Remember Man Who Invented Television]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 19:21:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0906-2017-PhiloFarnsworth.jpg

    The family and devotees of Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of electronic television, will gather at the site of his San Francisco laboratory on Thursday to mark the 90th anniversary of his first successful demonstration of his new invention.

    The 11 a.m. gathering will take place at 202 Green Street, at the original building where Farnsworth’s laboratory was once located.

    “We’re just going to give this guy Philo Farnsworth a little bit of recognition,” said Phil Savernick, a Los Angeles TV producer who collects Farnsworth artifacts, “90 years to the day that he changed the world.”

    Farnsworth was 21 years old on September 7, 1927 when his camera tube “image dissector” successfully transmitted an image of a straight line to a receiver in another room of his San Francisco laboratory.

    Farnsworth said he came up with the idea of transmitting an image of lines while harrowing plow lines in field in Idaho as a teenager. He was fourteen when he drew a version of his camera tube — an image that was later successfully used as proof of his discovery in a patent legal dispute with RCA.

    “The important part of Philo Farnsworth’s story,” Savernick said, “is he came up with the idea for television when he was fourteen.”

    Farnsworth’s story was somewhat buried by layers of history. In a bitter twist, his television patent expired before full-scale television production began — denying him a cut of the massive profits television would generate. It was a detail that haunted him.

    “I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me, ‘boy you should be one of the wealthiest people in the world,’” said Farnsworth’s grandson, Philo Krishna Farnsworth. “The truth is we’re not. We grew up with little or no money.”

    Krishna Farnsworth said the family has endeavored to trumpet the achievements of the elder Farnsworth, who went on to hold more than 300 other patents including ones for infra-red night vision devices and a baby incubator.

    “So we’re talking about nearly a 40-year career of inventions,” Krishna Farnsworth said.

    The building which once housed Farnsworth’s laboratory sits near San Francisco’s Embarcadero, where the majority of the Bay Area’s broadcast stations are located. A tech company now occupies the office space where Farnsworth and a small staff performed their experiments.

    Savernick said he plans to bring Farnsworth’s original log book listing the day television was born to the anniversary gathering. He’ll also bring an original camera tube and other Farnsworth memorabilia.

    “The real purpose of doing this,” Savernick said, “is so some 14 year old who has a crazy idea might look at this and go ‘whoa, maybe it isn’t so crazy.’”

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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    <![CDATA[Federal Agent to Testify in Kate Steinle Murder Case]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:02:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Federal_Agent_to_Testify_in_Kate_Steinle_Murder_Case.jpg

    The federal agent whose stolen gun was used in the shooting that killed Kate Steinle will testify in a pre-trial hearing. On Tuesday, the judge presiding over the case made several important rulings. Among them the judge decided what questions lawyers can and cannot ask the agent. Steinle was shot on San Franciso's Pier 14 two years ago. Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate is accused of killing Steinle with that agent's gun.]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Board Reaffirms Support for Flavored Tobacco Ban]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 16:09:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Flavored_Tobacco_Debate_in_San_Francisco.jpg

    San Francisco residents will be asked to vote on a recently approved ban on flavored tobacco after the Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to reject a bid to have it repealed.

    The board voted unanimously today to reaffirm its support for the ban on all flavored tobacco products after a tobacco-industry funded group submitted enough signatures in early August to put a measure seeking to repeal it on the ballot.

    The measure is backed by a committee called Let's Be Real San Francisco, which includes the Arab American Grocers Association, a number of vaping outlets and the National Association of Tobacco Outlets.

    Funded almost entirely by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the committee was able to collect almost $700,000 in contributions and collect just under 20,000 valid signatures in barely a month after the ordinance was signed in early July.

    The group has argued that the issue is one of freedom of choice for adult consumers and that the measure will harm corner stores and other small retailers who sell tobacco products.

    Supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced the measure, called R.J. Reynolds a "notorious killer."

    "A company that kills people is bankrolling a campaign they claim is about freedom of choice," she said. "Their campaign is about protecting profits."

    Proponents for the ban argue that flavored tobacco products are heavily marketed to youth, minorities and the LGBTQ community. Flavored tobaccos can help hook new smokers by masking the harsh flavors of tobacco, encourage deeper inhalation and are considered harder to quit, according to statements from the University of California at San Francisco.

    Tobacco-related cancers are the leading cause of cancer deaths in San Francisco for both men and women, and they cost the city around $380 million per year in direct healthcare costs and lost productivity, according to city officials.

    The ballot measure seeking to repeal the ban will now be set either for a special election at a date yet to be determined or will go on the ballot at the next regularly scheduled city election in June 2018. The ban will remain on hold until the election.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Victim Shot in San Francisco's Richmond District: Police]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 15:06:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-6-17-richmond-shooting.jpg

    A victim suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot in San Francisco's Richmond District, according to police.

    An attempted robbery preceded the shooting, which occurred just before 1 a.m. in the area of California Street and 22nd Avenue, police said.

    The victim may have been getting off a Muni bus when two men approached asking for a cigarrette, according to police. When the victim said no, one of the men reached into his hoodie pocket in a that frightened the victimed, leading him to pepper the two men. According to police, the victim was running away, from the suspects before getting shot.

    Police said they have yet to locate the suspect or suspects. 

    At least five shootings have occurred in the Richmond District over the past year, according to crime statistics. None of them were deadly.

    Anyone with information regarding the latest shooting is asked to contact the San Francisco Police Department.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Board Considers Rescinding Sale of Presidio Terrace]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 15:53:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+street+sale-0807.jpg

    The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing in November on whether to rescind the controversial sale of a private street.

    Presidio Terrace, a small, highly-affluent private street on the edge of the Presidio, was owned by the homeowner's association until 2015.

    However, possibly due to an incorrect mailing address, the association failed to pay its property taxes and the property was auctioned off by the city for $90,000 in 2015.

    It was bought by a San Jose couple, Tina Lam and Michael Cheng, but property owners only learned of the sale recently, when they were contacted by the new street's owner.

    The homeowners association has since filed a lawsuit challenging the sale and is asking the Board of Supervisors to rescind it.

    Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents the district that includes Presidio Terrace, today said the board should "get to the bottom of what happened," including whether property owners were properly notified.

    "I want to make sure we have all the facts," he said. "I want to understand what we can do better and put forward legislation to close any loopholes."

    The hearing is scheduled for Nov. 28 at 3 p.m.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Airbnb Launches New Host Registration System]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 16:21:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Airbnb_Admits_Its_Customer_Service_Needs_Improvement.jpg

    Following a lawsuit settlement reached with San Francisco earlier this year, the short-term rental company Airbnb launched a new registration system Wednesday that will require local hosts to prove they have registered with the city.

    The company, along with other short-term rental services, in May agreed to require hosts to input a city registration number when listing properties, and provide a monthly list of all San Francisco listings so that city officials can verify registrations.

    The settlement also included an agreement to make it easier for hosts to register by letting them do so right on the sites, in response to company concerns that the city's requirements were too onerous.

    "The new registration system provides the City of San Francisco with the tools it needs to enforce its short-term rental laws, while providing our hosts an easy way to register," Airbnb officials said in a statement. "We look forward to working closely with city officials in the coming months to fully implement the registration system and to ensure it has time to work for our host community."

    A 2015 city law requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city, obtain a business license and observe limits on the number of days a unit can be rented.

    City ordinances also prohibit multiple listings by the same host, require that hosts be permanent residents in the unit they are renting out and prohibit the use of affordable units with income restrictions for short-term rentals.

    However, city officials had struggled to enforce the laws, with many hosts choosing not to register.

    <![CDATA[Protesters Rally in SF Against Trump's DACA Decision]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 23:42:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+daca+protest-0905.jpg

    The Trump administration's decision to end a key Obama-era protection for young immigrants sparked multiple protests Tuesday at San Francisco's City Hall and at the federal building.

    At the City Hall rally, recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program spoke publicly about the personal impact of Tuesday's announcement.

    Community organizer Diana Flores was brought across the U.S.-Mexico border when she was 4 years old. For the past four years, she’s been working to help low-income families, addressing "the housing crisis and the impacts of displacement for black residents and brown residents of San Francisco," she said.

    Flores found a place to live in Oakland so she wouldn’t be taking a space from the people she was serving.

    "As a single person looking for housing, it’s so much easier than a family of four looking for housing," she said. "So I wanted to take myself out of that equation."

    Another DACA recipient, Gerardo Gomez, is a senior at San Francisco State and is planning to apply for law school. His living and working in San Francisco really does have a lot to do with his ability to survive. And he said there's more to DACA than work permits and school.

    "What often doesn’t get talked about is the many other aspects of our lives that is affected through those work permits," said Gomez, whose parents brought him from Guerero, Mexico, to Palmdale when he was 3 years old.

    Gomez moved to San Francisco to go to college and will graduate in December with a degree in political science. He's also HIV positive and is taking meds provided by Healthy San Francisco. He said if he loses his job and can’t work, he’ll have to move.

    "And if I move, I will not qualify for city health insurance," he said, adding that he’ll never be able to afford the $3,000 a month that his meds would cost him without the Healthy San Francisco coverage.

    Inside City Hall, Mayor Ed Lee said the nation made a promise to Flores, Gomez and the other 800,000 DACA recipients that they would be protected if they stepped out of the shadows.

    "Today, the federal administration has broken that promise and turned their back on these young people," Lee said. "These individuals have only known our country as their home."

    Republican National Committee leader Harmeet Dhillon said the president's decision to end DACA will allow Congress to do its job, and maybe create an opportunity for compromise.

    "For example, a compromise could look like people in Congress on a bipartisan basis saying President Trump, you get your funding for your wall, and you legalize these people, and that’s it," Dhillon said.

    Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) replied to that compromise idea with a statement that he would not give Republicans a pass to be a slight racist on Monday so that they could be fully racist on Tuesday.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Closure of Sub-Acute Unit at SF Hospital Displaces Patients]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 20:04:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/SamBrock-subacute.jpg

    Sept. 11 update: A small group of patients at St. Luke's hospital will continue to receive care even after parts of the hospital shuts down. The California Pacific Medical Center announced they will transfer the patients currently at St. Luke's sub-acute unit to alternate facilities after it closes at the end of October.

    Original story:

    Family members of patients currently at St. Luke’s hospital gathered outside of San Francisco's City Hall Tuesday asking officials not to close down the sub-acute care unit that will leave many patients with nowhere to go in the city.

    St. Luke's is the only hospital in the city to offer the intensive skilled nursing care needed for patients who require specialized treatment. Approximately 24 families currently at St. Luke’s are still trying to figure what to do when their sons, daughters and husbands are relocated to places like Sacramento and San Jose.

    “I would say my husband, if he doesn’t see me every day – or almost every day – he’ll just die. And I know it. He will die,” said Lenata Anderson whose husband receives medical care at St. Luke’s.

    Sutter Health, a parent company of St. Luke’s, said in a statement that the closure of the sub-acute unit was a part of a larger deal with the city of San Francisco.

    A new campus off Cesar Chavez is slated to open in 2019 and will continue to serve the community, but the highly skilled nursing beds will no longer be available after October 31st.

    Patients and nurses are voicing their disapproval and questioning whether Sutter Health is living up to its slogan, ‘We Plus You.’

    Photo Credit: Sam Brock
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Flavored Tobacco Debate in San Francisco]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 08:31:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Flavored_Tobacco_Debate_in_San_Francisco.jpg

    San Francisco supervisors are expected to tackle new questions about their recently approved tobacco ban. In June, supervisors unanimously approved a flavored tobacco ban. Since then, opponents have reportedly gathered enough signatures to bring that issue to voters. The San Francisco Chronicle reported the board will have to either repeal the ordinance or put it on the June ballot - bringing big-tobacco into the battle. Anti-tobacco supporters plan to hold a rally Tuesday.]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Taxi Company Tries Crowdfunding to Stay in Businesses]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 08:29:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/San_Francisco_Taxi_Company_Tries_Crowdfunding_to_Stay_in_Bus.jpg

    A worker-owned San Francisco taxi company is trying to raise money to stay in business. Green Cab has launched a crowdfunding push on GoFundMe. Drivers say ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have been bad for their business. The company is the city's only worker-owned co-op cab company.]]>
    <![CDATA[Plan To Rename SFO Terminal Could Move Forward]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 08:57:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Plan_To_Rename_SFO_Terminal_After_Harvey_Milk_Could_Move_For.jpg

    A plan to rename Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport could take a step forward. The San Francisco Airport Commission is set to discuss and possibly take action at a meeting Tuesday morning. There's a push to rename the terminal after Harvey Milk. A plan to honor Milk at the airport failed back in 2013.]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Politicians Denounce DACA Decision]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 00:00:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-841023822.png

    The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young undocumented immigrants to stay and work in the United States, is "being rescinded," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday.

    The decision to do away with DACA drew scathing criticism from some Bay Area politicians. 

    "President Trump’s decision to end DACA is a deeply shameful act of political cowardice and a despicable assault on innocent young people in communities across America," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "Deporting DREAMers means destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of patriotic young people, costing the economy billions and betraying the fundamental values of the American Dream."

    Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents the East Bay, took to Twitter, writing, "Ending #DACA is cruel and heartless. Congress must act now to protect #DREAMers and pass comprehensive reform once and for all."

    DACA has given approximately 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, also referred to as "dreamers," the opportunity to stay in the country and work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits. The state with the highest amount of DACA recipients benefiting from the program is California, according to data analyzed by the Pew Research Center.

    The government will stop processing new applications under the Obama-era program, but the Trump administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered.

    California Sen. Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, joined Pelosi and Lee in condemning the decision, arguing that President Trump is "going after immigrant children."

    "Ending DACA is a disaster that will only serve to tear families apart and stoke fear and distrust in our immigrant communities," part of Wiener's statement read. "Trump’s odious immigration policies expose him for what he is – a divisive, destructive nativist with no concern for the well-being of the people who live in this country."

    San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also blasted the announcement, but vowed to support DACA recipients in San Jose.

    "The Attorney General's announcement of the Trump Administration's rescission of DACA abandons 800,000 of America's hardest-working, most patriotic residents," a portion of the mayor's statement read. "Punting the issue to Congress, without any affirmative leadership to enact a legislative solution, amounts to a cowardly cop-out, placing the futures of these young women and men in serious jeopardy."

    Aside from taking to social media or issuing written statements, a number of Bay Area politicians addressed the DACA decision at Tuesday news conferences.

    In the South Bay, Santa Clara County leaders scolded President Trump for showing a cold heart to DACA recipients.

    "I, like many here, are not surprised that the President of the United States took the moral compass of his country and once again threw it to the ground," Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said.

    Fellow supervisor Dave Cortese added that the county will consider legal action against the federal government as well as continue to fight for the roughly 24,000 DACA recipients in the region.

    "I urge every 'dreamer' out there affected by today's decision to remain resilient and hopeful," Cortese said. "That's the American way. That's the Silicon Valley way. And that's absolutely the Santa Clara County way. And we will not go down without a fight."

    A slew of South Bay leaders gathered a short time later and pledged their continued support for those impacted by DACA while recipients of the program themselves spoke out about the program's benefits during a rally outside the Martin Luther King Library in San Jose.

    In San Francisco, immigrant, civil rights and faith groups gathered at an 11 a.m. news conference at city hall to "condemn the President's cruel and unjust decision." Later in the day, Mayor Ed Lee criticized the Trump administration's decision, saying that they "turned their backs on these young people."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[SF's Ocean Beach Trashed After Labor Day Weekend]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 23:56:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ocean+beach-0904.jpg

    The droves of people who visited Ocean Beach in San Francisco over the holiday weekend certainly left their mark -- in the form of trash.

    Garbage cans were overflowing, and trash could be seen strewn across the sand and parking lot at the popular beach.

    Visitor Jessica Feeney was worried about what 2-year-old Violet might find.

    "There's trash all around," she said. "I had the feeling: Should she be walking in the sand? Is there gonna be broken glass? People don't clean up what they bring in. It's such a shame."

    Record temperatures attracted big crowds to Ocean Beach starting on Friday and continuing through Labor Day. Park rangers said they spent their mornings picking up garbage, and maintenance crews made extra trash pickups. But there's still a lot to clean up.

    Carlie Kennedy and her family came from Sacramento to cool off. She was disappointed to see the beach trashed but relieved to see some people picking up.

    "There were people walking around with trash bags," Kennedy said. "Nice to see; don't see that all the time."

    A beach cleanup hosted by the Surfrider Foundation is scheduled at Ocean Beach on Sept. 16.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Service Driver Arrested on Suspicion of Child Pornography]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 15:59:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SF-Child-Porn-Driver.jpg

    A 25-year-old man who works for several ride-hailing service companies was arrested in San Francisco last week on suspicion of uploading and trading child pornography online, police said.

    Esam Abualshaar, a San Francisco resident, was arrested after investigators with the San Francisco Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit served a search warrant on Aug. 29 at a home in the 200 block of Summit Street in the city's Oceanview neighborhood.

    Investigators found numerous devices belonging to Abualshaar there that had hundreds of child pornography videos and images on them, according to police.

    Abualshaar arrived home during the search and was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of possession of child pornography, possession of child pornography involving sadomasochism, and three counts of distribution of child pornography, police said.

    Anyone who may have been a victim of Abualshaar's or had any suspicious contact with him is asked to call the Police Department's special victims unit at (415) 558-5500.

    Photo Credit: San Francisco Police Department]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Celebrates Key Milestone In Moscone Center Expansion]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 13:54:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/moscone+center.JPG

    San Francisco city officials celebrated a key milestone in a massive project at Moscone Convention Center that is expected to expand the center's space by 21 percent.

    The newly completed second phase of the $551 million project included the expansion of Moscone North and South, which have been closed since April.

    When finished, the Moscone Expansion Project is expected to increase the convention center's space from 1.2 million square feet to 1.5 million square feet. The expanded facility will include more than 80 flexible meeting rooms, a 50,000 square foot ballroom and more than 500,000 square feet of exhibition space and outdoor terraces.

    In addition, the area around the center will see wider sidewalks, new open-air plazas, improved landscaping and four new public art pieces.

    The building has been designed for LEED Platinum certification, with a zero-emission electric grid and solar panels that are expected to generate nearly 20 percent of its energy needs.

    The convention center is a major economic engine for the city. Of the 25.2 million visitors to San Francisco in 2016, 35 percent came here for conventions and meetings, city officials said.

    "With tourism being the top industry of San Francisco, we need to ensure that our travelers and convention-goers can enjoy state-of-the-art amenities and cutting-edge resources," Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement. "The

    Moscone expansion project will make our convention center an even more attractive and innovative site for our visitors."

    While the two buildings have reopened, work will continue through the fall of 2018. The final phase will include two pedestrian bridges over Howard Street and pedestrian safety improvements, as well as the second half of the Moscone South building and Moscone North extension.

    The convention center will remain open during construction.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Woman Robbed and Pushed While Holding Infant in SoMa]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 10:59:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfpd-generic-san-francisco-police.jpg

    A 31-year-old woman was robbed and pushed to the ground while holding her infant daughter in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood on Sunday morning, police said today.

    The attack was reported at about 9:10 a.m. Sunday in the area of Seventh and Natoma streets.

    The victim was on her phone while holding her daughter when a man walked up, stole her phone and pushed the woman to the ground, according to police.

    The infant escaped harm but the mother was injured, although she is expected to survive, police said.

    The suspect, believed to be a man in his 20s, fled and remains at large today.

    Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Police Department's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Emergency Services Caught Off Guard By Record Heat]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 21:22:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sf+heat+calls-0904.jpg

    The severity of the weekend heat wave caught San Francisco emergency crews off guard, and officials were forced to make a rare call out for mutual aid, NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit has learned.

    San Francisco's 911 received roughly double the number of calls for help it normally does, officials said. And in a rare move Saturday, the unit had to ask for assistance from other public and private ambulance services outside the city, activating its "mutual aid" system.

    Supervisor Aaron Peskin said the city simply did not sufficiently prepare for the surge of calls to take heat victims to local hospitals.

    "San Francisco's emergency management apparatus was caught flatfooted," Peskin said. "They had clear warnings the day before, all through the day. They did not activate the emergency operations center until 6 o'clock on Friday night. It's quite alarming; it's cause for concern."

    Hospitals in the city were inundated with heat-related emergencies as the high temperature hit a record 106 degrees on Friday and 102 Saturday.

    San Francisco fire officials declined to comment, but the public health department said in a statement the call for mutual aid Friday followed what she called an "orderly process."

    "Our emergency response system was proactive in monitoring call volumes and took immediate steps to respond as those volumes rose," public health spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said.

    Fortunately, other Bay Area counties had planned ahead and were able to pitch in and bail out San Francisco.

    San Mateo County's head of emergency medical services, Nancy Lapolla, said her agency had eight extra ambulances on top of its normal complement of 16, including two sent from Yolo County, where more people are better equipped with air conditioning to deal with the heat.

    Lapolla said her area was so prepared that it had resources to spare, even as it handled 100 more calls during the heatwave.

    "In fact, at one point in time, the system calmed down, so they were able to relieve that unit to go to San Francisco," Lapolla said.

    Kelly Coleman, coordinator for the region's emergency medical services agency, said San Francisco was the only jurisdiction to call mutual aid across the 16-county area he oversees. Coleman sent the city two strike teams, a total of 10 ambulances, including a team from Solano County.

    "We ended up sending a whole bunch of ambulances to San Francisco because their system was just surging way, way, way above normal," Coleman said.

    The system worked just as it should, Coleman said. But Peskin wants to hold a hearing about the city's response.

    "In a city that is earthquake prone, that has tsunami warnings, the fact that we were not ready is quite alarming," he said. "I'm going to hold hearings on it and make sure this never happens again." 

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Pets From Storm-Ravaged Texas Transported to Bay Area]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 19:08:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0904-2017-HarveyAnimals.jpg

    Nearly 70 rescue animals touched down in the Bay Area after several organizations pitched in to help transport them out of storm-ravaged areas of Texas.

    The mission started with a phone call to one of the rescue organizations with a couple offering up their plane. Soon after, several groups linked together and flew out to Texas Sunday morning. The group's trip is now being called a "lifeline" to dozens of animals.

    "I've got friends who were displaced from the Hurricane in Houston and this was our little way from the Bay Area to be able to help," said Kelly Marston, who is fostering a dog.

    The outpouring of support at the Milo Foundation was almost deafening.

    Nearly 100 people came to the rescue organization in Richmond late Sunday, many of them foster families prepared to give the dogs immediate refuge.

    All of the animals brought in during the first wave Sunday were either sheltered or surrendered during the Hurricane, meaning they are not looking to reunite with a Texas family.

    In total, four rescue organizations pitched in on the mission.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Patrol Special Program Nearing End in San Francisco]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 19:34:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0904-2017-PatrolSpecial.jpg

    A recent court decision in San Francisco went largely unnoticed, but the result may signal the end of a crime-fighting force which has been part of the city since the Gold Rush days -- even before the San Francisco Police Department.

    For 160 years, the Patrol Special have been walking their beats in San Francisco, an auxiliary force overseen by the police department. They look like regular police officers. They are armed and they have the power to apprehend, but not to arrest.

    Perhaps the most important distinction is that they are not paid by the city, but by the business and neighborhood groups who are willing to spend for what they consider an extra layer of protection. Their clients, the Castro Community Benefit District among them, believe the Patrol Special group make the streets safer.

    "It's the same people here all the time and they know who the characters are," said Andrea Aiello with the Castro Benefit District.

    If the Patrol Special provide that kind of service, which is essentially free to the city, why is their survival very much in doubt? And why is so little help coming from City Hall?

    Once number in the hundreds, only a dozen of them are left to patrol their beats, geographical areas that under the city charter are owned by the Patrol Special themselves.

    So what has changed?

    "You've got the entire police force doing 10-B. And it's nobody's interest to help the Patrol Specials anymore," said Daniel Bakondi, attorney for Patrol Special.

    10-B is a police department program which has made regular San Francisco police officers available for the kind of work that used to be the domain of the Patrol Specials.

    An example would be regular police officers stationed outside Apple Stores. The officers are off duty, which means they are working overtime.

    But the city is not footing the bill. Apple is.

    10-B provides substantial financial incentive for the city -- the Patrol Special do not.

    So it came as a surprise that during a July meeting, the police commission did approve, and by unanimous vote no less, a new assistant Patrol Special named Cody Clements.

    Clements is the first applicant approved by the commission in four years. But the commission, which did not respond to NBC Bay Area requests for an interview, denies it is deliberately dragging out the process.

    A federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit by the Patrol Special. As a result, the city is under no obligation to preserve the force, nor will they be compensated for work lost to the 10-B program.

    Patrol Special Officer Alan Baynard has spent his life protecting the communities who hire him, but he and his colleagues are getting old now and they need reinforcements.

    "I think the city is very determined to get rid of us," Baynard said. "I don't know if there would be a lot of people jumping up and down saying this is a good program.

    The Patrol Special continue to walk their beats night after night, hoping for any signal their work is valued by city leaders.

    "We have no idea what public officials are thinking," Bakondi said. "Nobody's talking about this. Not one peep from anybody."

    The Patrol Special's days appear to be numbered, even as property crimes continue to plague the city.

    Despite a police force down 300 officers and without the resources to keep up, there is clearly no lifeline coming from City Hall.

    Unless public demand saves the day, it will not be long before one might hear the question, "Where's a Patrol Special when you need one?"

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Politicians Slam Expectation of DACA Withdrawal]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 19:50:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DefendDACA.jpg

    The possibility that protections could come to an end for young immigrants in the United States triggered sharp responses from Bay Area politicians.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee lashed out at President Donald Trump on Monday after they heard the commander in chief is expected to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program — but with a six-month delay, sources told NBC News.

    DACA has given approximately 800,000 young undocumented immigrants the opportunity to stay in the country and work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits.

    If President Trump follows through, Congress is expected to use the six-month delay window to decide whether it wants to address the status of the legislation, sources told the Associated Press. 

    Pelosi issued a statement Monday urging leaders of Congress to protect those directly benefiting from the program.

    "President Trump’s decision to end DACA should break the hearts and offend the morals of all who believe in justice and human dignity," part of her statement read. "This cruel act of political cowardice deals a stunning blow to the bright young DREAMers and to everyone who cherishes the American Dream."

    Lee, in a statement issued Monday, said that doing away with DACA would "continue to divide our community and tear families apart."

    "This is an entire generation of young people — approximately 800,000 people — who have only known America as their home," part of his statement read. "They are hard-working individuals and diligent students who only aspire to achieve their dreams of educational excellence and economic prosperity. Their families fled to America from war-torn countries and dire economic straits because they saw this country as a place of refuge and hope. To punish them for seeking a better life is unconscionably cruel."

    Prior to Monday, Feinstein took to Twitter and pledged her support for DACA on multiple occasions.

    "There are more #DACA recipients in California than in any other state," one of her tweets read. "We stand with them. We have their backs. #HereToStay"

    Dave Cortese, the president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, said agencies are already gearing up to assist the county's estimated 20,000 Dreamers.

    "One of the things we'll be prepared to do tomorrow and every day after that is put local resources into helping people who are Dreamers, who are impacted by this decision," Cortese said.

    Kevin Gaytan is part of a group of Dreamers graduating from a special county government internship program Tuesday. He said no matter what, he won't hide in the shadows.

    "Understanding that we have a platform in which we have solid allies is definitely reassuring, to make sure we continue to fight," Gaytan said.

    NBC Bay Area's Robert Handa and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Busy Weekend at Ocean Beach Leads to Multiple Water Rescues]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 08:20:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Multiple_Rescues_at_San_Franciscos_Ocean_Beach.jpg

    More than 20 water rescues were conducted at San Francisco's Ocean Beach over the weekend, according to officials. Ocean Beach lifeguards are reminding folks that swimming is not recommended at the beach due to the high volume of rip currents.]]>
    <![CDATA[Heat Wave, Smoke Trigger Unique Bay Area Sunsets]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 12:02:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/UGCSunset3_1.jpg

    Photo Credit: hyper_kuiper via Instagram]]>
    <![CDATA[Spare the Air Alert in Effect as Smoke Chokes Bay Area]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 06:08:28 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BayAreaSmoke.jpg

    The brutal heat wave that gripped the Bay Area over the weekend is on its way out, but air quality will continue to be an issue of concern Monday.

    Smoke pouring in from Northern California wildfires coupled with lingering warm temperatures prompted Bay Area officials to declare a fifth-consecutive Spare the Air Alert for Labor Day.

    The Bay Area Air Quality Management District encourages residents to limit their outdoor activities, recirculate air in their homes and cars, keep windows and doors closed, and head to cooling centers in order to stay away from the smoke-filled air.

    Elderly people, children and those with respiratory issues are the most likely to be impacted by the unhealthy air.

    Hazy skies filled with smoke will likely stick around through the end of the Labor Day weekend, according to officials.

    After multiple days above 100 degrees, several Bay Area cities on Monday are not expected to exceed the triple-digit threshold, according to the National Weather Service. Livermore is forecasted to top out at 94 degrees, San Jose should reach 87 degrees, Oakland is pinned in for a high of 82 degrees and San Francisco should max out at 76 degrees.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Heat Wave Weakens Slightly; 100s Still Expected Inland]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 00:13:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/072617+heat+generic+hot+weather+generic.jpg

    The sizzling heat wave that has toasted the Bay Area for multiple days receded ever so slightly Sunday and was expected to die down even more Monday, bringing much needed relief to some cities not accustomed to the scorching temperatures.

    An excessive heat warning expired at 9 p.m. Sunday for the inland valleys and coastal mountain ranges, according to the National Weather Service. That same warning has been downgraded to a heat advisory for the coast and immediate areas surrounding the San Francisco Bay.

    Inland areas are expected to peak anywhere from the high 90s to 108 degrees, according to the NWS. Areas along the bay should fluctuate between 85 and 95 degrees while coastal spots will welcome temperatures in the 80s.

    The hot weather coupled with smoke lingering over the region has prompted officials to declare Spare the Air Alerts for Sunday and Monday, marking a streak a five-consecutive days with such an alert in place.

    The heat also was putting a strain on the power grid statewide. In the Bay Area, more than 2,500 PG&E customers were without power as of Sunday evening: 1,614 in the East Bay (mostly Oakland), 1,593 in the South Bay (mostly San Jose), 320 on the Peninsula (mostly Foster City) and 100 in the North Bay. There were no reported outages in San Francisco.

    Weather officials are reminding people to properly prepare for the hot weather to both prevent wildfires and heat-related illnesses. Folks should limit outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the day, drink plenty of water and hang out in air conditioned areas. Pet owners should also keep a watchful eye on their companions, making sure their animal friends have adequate water and access to cool locations.

    Bay Area residents are also asked to limit pollution-causing activities, such as driving and mowing the lawn. Those who are sensitive to unhealthy air are also encouraged to stay indoors.

    Hazy skies filled with smoke will likely linger throughout the Labor Day weekend, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

    Those wishing to beat the heat can visit a slew of cooling centers scattered across the Bay Area or take a trip to the coast where temperatures were significantly cooler than Saturday. Officials warn beachgoers to never swim alone and to be mindful of rip currents. 

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Hottest Temperatures Ever Recorded in the Bay Area]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 07:01:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

    As the Bay Area bakes during this Labor Day weekend heat wave, San Franciscans can say they lived through the hottest day ever recorded in the city by the bay.

    The only other spot to set a new all-time high temperature was Moffett Field (106 degrees on Friday), according to the National Weather Service. Several other cities came close to eclipsing all-time highs, but they checked in just short.

    In case you're curious, here's a list of the hottest ever temperatures recorded in some major Bay Area cities, according to the NWS.


    All-Time Record High: 112 degrees | July 11, 1913

    San Rafael

    All-Time Record High: 110 degrees | June 15, 1961


    All-Time Record High: 113 degrees | June 14, 1961

    Downtown San Francisco

    All-Time Record High: 106 degrees | Sept. 1, 2017

    San Francisco Airport

    All-Time Record High: 104 degrees | Sept. 1, 2017

    Oakland Airport

    All-Time Record High: 104 degrees | June 14, 1961


    All-Time Record High: 107 degrees | Sept. 15, 1971


    All-Time Record High: 115 degrees | Sept. 3, 1950

    Moffett Field

    All-Time Record High: 106 degrees | Sept. 1, 2017

    San Jose

    All-Time Record High: 109 degrees | June 14, 2000


    All-Time Record High: 115 degrees | June 15, 1972

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
    <![CDATA[Cooling Off: Bay Area Battles Scorching Heat Wave]]>Sun, 03 Sep 2017 12:39:30 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/UGC2_1.png

    Photo Credit: Laurie Miller]]>
    <![CDATA[BART Awarded Nearly $9 Million for Security Projects]]>Sun, 03 Sep 2017 09:19:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BART+thefts-0424-2017.jpg

    BART officials will be getting nearly $9 million for two security projects meant to protect the system against potential threats, according to an announcement Friday.

    BART was awarded $8,798,769 for projects to protect the Transbay Tube and for a Critical Asset Patrol Team that protects the Critical Asset Corridor, which is a passageway connecting San Francisco and Oakland.

    The corridor contains critical infrastructure as well as the passengers traveling at predictable times in the Transbay Tube.

    A total of $7.5 million will be spread among projects to protect the tube while the eight-member patrol team will receive $1,298,769.

    The money was awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following a competitive selection process.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Several Bay Area Cities Set Temperature Records for Sept. 2]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 17:46:53 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/07-29-2015-heat-sun-weather-generic-1.JPG

    No cities in the immediate Bay Area broke all-time high temperature records Saturday, but a host of spots set records for Sept. 2.

    Below is a complete breakdown of areas that recorded new high temperatures for Sept. 2, according to the National Weather Service:

    Calistoga: 112 degrees (previous high of 104 degrees in 1998)

    Healdsburg: 111 degrees (previous high of 110 degrees in 1950)

    Santa Rosa: 110 degrees (previous high of 107 degrees in 1955)

    Kentfield: 106 degrees (previous high of 104 degrees in 1955)

    Half Moon Bay: 83 degrees (previous high of 76 in 2009)

    San Rafael: 105 degrees (previous high of 101 degrees in 1955)

    San Francisco: 102 degrees (previous high of 94 degrees in 1991)

    San Francisco Airport: 104 degrees (previous high of 93 degrees in 1950)

    Oakland Airport: 101 degrees (previous high of 97 degrees in 1950)

    Moffett Field: 106 degrees (previous high of 93 degrees in 2002)

    San Jose: 107 degrees (previous high of 102 degrees in 1950)

    Gilroy: 112 degrees (previous high of 104 degrees in 2002)

    Santa Cruz: 107 degrees (previous high of 93 degrees in 2009)

    Two of those spots — Calistoga and Gilroy — also witnessed temperatures high enough to break all-time highs for the month of September, according to the NWS.

    Moffett Field (106 degrees) and the San Francisco Airport (104 degrees) came close to once again setting all-time records, but they both tied marks set Friday.

    Outside of the Bay Area, Salinas set an all-time high mark of 107 degrees, breaking a record previously set in 1971, according to the NWS. King City sizzled at 115 degrees, breaking an all-time high temperature mark of 113 set in 1955.

    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
    <![CDATA[Russia Vacates Shuttered Posts After Joint Walkthrough]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 14:11:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-841287394.png

    The United States seized control Saturday of three Russian diplomatic posts in the U.S. after confirming the Russians had complied with the Trump administration's order to get out within two days, officials said.

    As the Kremlin cried foul, accusing Washington of bullying tactics, the U.S. disputed Moscow's claims that American officials had threatened to "break down the entrance door" to one of the facilities, and that the FBI was "clearing the premises." Not true, said a senior State Department official, adding that U.S. officials had joined Russian Embassy personnel for walkthroughs of the three buildings.

    "These inspections were carried out to secure and protect the facilities and to confirm the Russian government had vacated the premises," the official said in a statement emailed Saturday to reporters by the State Department on condition the official not be named.

    Russia has been incensed by the move to shutter Russia's consulate in San Francisco and trade offices in Washington and New York, actions the U.S. took in retaliation for Moscow's decision last month to force the U.S. to cut its diplomatic personnel in Russia to 455. Moscow has accused the U.S. of violating international law by shuttering the facilities, a charge the U.S. disputes.

    On Saturday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the U.S. deputy chief of mission in Moscow, Anthony Godfrey, to deliver a formal protest note calling the purported trade office search an "unprecedented aggressive action."

    The Foreign Ministry also posted video on Facebook that it said showed FBI agents inspecting the consulate general building in San Francisco. In the video, a man in a tie knocks on several numbered doors and enters what appears to be apartment units, taking a quick glance inside before declaring everything in order.

    There was no additional comment from the U.S. about whether the FBI was involved in the inspections. The State Department declined to answer additional questions about whether the premises might be searched for intelligence-gathering purposes now that the Russians have left.

    A day earlier, black smoke was seen billowing from the chimney at the consulate as the Russians rushed to meet the Saturday deadline, and workers could be seen hauling boxes out of the stately building.

    The U.S. did appear to bow to one Russian complaint— that they were given a mere 48 hours to vacate homes used by diplomats and their families. Softening the original order, the U.S. said it had made "separate arrangements" to give families "sufficient time" to pack their belongings and vacate apartments on the consulate grounds.

    In the meantime, the State Department will control all access to the properties, along with the responsibility for securing and maintaining them, the official said.

    The closures on both U.S. coasts mark perhaps the most drastic diplomatic measure by the United States against Russia since 1986, near the end of the Cold War, when the nuclear-armed powers expelled dozens of each other's diplomats.

    And it comes amid some of the broadest strains in their relationship ever since. The two countries have clashed over the wars in Ukraine and Syria, but most significantly over American allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election to boost President Donald Trump's chances of victory. Investigations continue into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Caltrans Demolishes Old Bay Bridge's Concrete Foundations]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 12:03:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB+GIF+BB+EXPLOSION_24651654.gif

    The Bay Area on Saturday got one step closer to saying a final goodbye to the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

    Caltrans crews demolished two of 13 remaining concrete foundations as part of its ongoing project to completely remove the bridge and its fixtures from the water.

    The Saturday blasts mark the first in a series of scheduled demolition projects to take place through mid-November, according to Caltrans. The implosions will continue every other weekend for six weekends.

    The scheduled November completion date is one year ahead of schedule, according to Caltrans. The agency said that feat will save taxpayers $10 million.

    "Significant environmental monitoring" was undertaken before, during and after the blasts, according to Caltrans. Officials said the explosions will have "brief impacts" on water quality and indicated that previous studies showed that the blasts "showed minimal impacts to marine mammals and fish." 

    Caltrans added that the window between September and November is a time in which the least amount of animals are cruising around the bay.

    Vehicle and pedestrian access to the Bay Bridge was temporarily blocked during Saturday's blasts.

    Photo Credit: Caltrans]]>
    <![CDATA[Blistering Temperatures Prompt Excessive Heat Warnings]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 10:16:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sun-shot.jpg

    A sweltering heat wave once again reared its head Saturday as blistering temperatures roasted the Bay Area.

    An excessive heat warning for the entire region is in effect until 9 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. That warning will continue for inland areas until 9 p.m. Monday.

    Several inland areas soared well above the 100-degree mark Saturday, with some locations such as Livermore peaking at 108 degrees, according to weather officials. San Francisco maxxed out at 102 degrees, marking just the third time since 1874 that the city by the bay has witnessed back-to-back days over 100 degrees. Elsewhere, Oakland reached 99 degrees while San Jose topped out at 107 degrees.

    The hot weather prompted a number of cities across the Bay Area, including usually cool San Francisco, to open cooling centers for those looking for heat relief.

    Folks across the toasty East Bay and Tri-Valley made a beeline for watering holes or movie theaters in hopes of beating the heat.

    "The threater, it's going to be cool," Leo Robles of Tracy said. "It's always cool. Out here it's like really burning hot, and it's early in the morning. It shouldn't be like this."

    Others in the East Bay flocked to cooling centers to hydrate and stay out of the sizzling sun.

    Weather officials are reminding people to properly prepare for the hot weather to both prevent wildfires and heat-related illnesses. Folks should limit outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the day, drink plenty of water and hang out in air conditioned areas. Pet owners should also keep a watchful eye on their companions, making sure their animal friends have adequate water and access to cool locations.

    Aside from impacting people's health, the scorching temperatures also forced BART to slow down its trains, triggering major systemwide delays.

    Due the hot temperatures and low humidity, a Red Flag Warning remains in effect for coastal mountains and East Bay foothills until 9 p.m. Saturday. People are strongly encouraged to not burn outdoors due to the high risk of potentially sparking a wildfire.

    Smoke pouring in from wildfires across Northern California coupled with forecasted high temperatures has prompted officials to declare Spare the Air Alerts for Saturday and Sunday. The moves mark the 12th and 13th Spare the Air Alert days of 2017.

    Bay Area residents are asked to limit pollution-causing activities, such as driving and mowing the lawn. Those who are sensitive to unhealthy air are also encouraged to stay indoors.

    Hazy skies filled with smoke will likely linger throughout the Labor Day weekend, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

    Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Continues to Sizzle With Triple-Digit Temperatures]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 17:49:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Dolores-park-bay-Area-heat.jpg

    For a city typically covered in fog during the summer months, San Francisco on Saturday continued to break temperature records during the second day of a Bay Area heat wave.

    Saturday's high of 102 degrees was good enough to register as the hottest Sept. 2 in history, according to the National Weather Service.

    Weather officials also reported that San Francisco’s high minimum temperature was 69 degrees on Saturday, a record that hasn’t been touched since 1941.

    The city by the bay already notched an all-time record high temperature of 106 degrees Friday, according to the NWS. The last time temperatures were that high in San Francisco was on June 14, 2000 at 103 degrees.

    The triple-digit weather is keeping most San Francisco residents indoors and few others huddled under shaded areas at Dolores Park.

    For those hoping to beat the heat, Recreation and Parks Department swimming pools will be open and free to the public Saturday.

    Here is a list of cooling centers available in San Francisco Labor Day weekend: 

    • San Francisco: Recreation and Parks Department swimming pools will be open and free to the public Saturday: King Pool, 5701 3rd Street; Sava Pool, 19th Ave & Wawona Street; North Beach, 651 Lombard Avenue; Coffman Pool, 1701 Visitation Avenue; Hamilton Pool, Geary Avenue and Steiner Street; Garfield Pool, 26th Street and Harrison Street; Colling Centers: Main library, 100 Larkin Street; Mission Bay, 960 Fourth Street; North Beach, 850 Columbus Avenue; Portero Hill, 1616 20th Street; Chinatown, 1135 Powell Street; Glen Park, 2825 Diamond Street; The Salavation Army, 1156 Valencia Street; 260 Fourth Street; 1450 Powell Street; Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California Street

    Photo Credit: Sergio Quintana/ NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[It's a Hot One: AT&T Park Shatters Record]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 21:45:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-614067290_594_screen.jpg

    SAN FRANCISCO — The roof was closed at Chase Field over the weekend, which saved the Giants and Diamondbacks from playing a couple of games in 110-degree weather. There was no way to escape Friday night's heat wave.

    The temperature during the 7:14 first pitch at AT&T Park was 93 degrees, shattering the record for a night game at the ballpark. The previous high was 84 degrees for a Giants-Brewers night game on Sept. 12, 2003.

    The game was just the fifth in the ballpark's 18-season history to be played in temperatures at or above 90 degrees, per research done by Elias, Dan Peterson, and Darin Stephens. The previous four were all day games:

    June 14, 2000: Giants vs. Brewers -- 97 degrees

    May 15, 2008: Giants vs. Astros -- 95 degrees

    Sept. 4, 2004: Giants vs. Diamondbacks -- 90 degrees

    Sept. 13, 2003: Giants vs. Brewers -- 90 degrees

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[San Francisco Soars to All-Time Record High of 106 Degrees]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 23:47:34 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

    A blistering heat wave bearing down on the Bay Area Friday broke an all-time temperature record in San Francisco, which joined a host of other cities across the region in etching new high temperature marks in the history books.

    Downtown San Francisco sizzled at 106 degrees during the mid-afternoon hours, according to the National Weather Service, breaking a previous all-time high of 103 degrees set on June 14, 2000. For the sake of comparison, the 106 degree mark was just 10 degrees cooler than Death Valley, the hottest spot in the nation on Friday.

    "What I miss is the fog now to cool off," Paul Tse of San Francisco said.

    Another all-time record-breaking temperature was recorded nearby at the San Francisco International Airport, according to the NWS. The airport peaked at 104 degrees, overtaking a previous high of 103 set on Sept. 14, 1971.

    South in Mountain View, Moffett Field soared to 106 degrees, tying an all-time record high of 106 degrees established in 2000, according to the NWS.

    Aside from the all-time record-breakers, a number of spots recorded new high temperatures for Sept. 1:

    Calistoga: 110 degrees (previous high of 105 degrees in 1988)

    Healdsburg: 111 degrees (previous high of 108 degrees in 1950)

    Santa Rosa: 110 degrees (previous high of 105 degrees in 1950)

    Kentfield: 107 degrees (previous high of 103 degrees in 1955)

    San Rafael: 109 degrees (previous high of 103 degrees in 1955)

    Richmond: 102 degrees (previous high of 93 degrees in 1955)

    Oakland Airport: 101 degrees (previous high of 99 degrees in 1952)

    Livermore: 109 degrees (previous high of 109 degrees in 1952)

    San Jose: 108 degrees (previous high of 101 degrees in 1950)

    Gilroy: 107 degrees (previous high of 102 degrees in 1976)

    Santa Cruz: 105 degrees (previous high of 102 degrees in 1955)

    Salinas: 103 degrees (previous high of 91 degrees in 2010)

    Salinas Airport: 105 degrees (previous high of 96 degrees in 1952)

    Some of those spots — Santa Rosa, Kentfield, San Franicsco, the San Francisco Airport, the Oakland Airport, Moffett Field, San Jose and Salinas Airport — also witnessed temperatures high enough to break all-time highs for the month of September, according to the NWS.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated the year in which the all-time high temperature mark in San Francisco was set.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Launches Strategy to Support Workers in 'Gig Economy']]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 16:02:39 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sanfrancsicofinancial.jpg

    San Francisco has launched a strategy supporting freelancers and the self-employed in response to the "gig economy" labor market that focuses contract and freelance work, city officials said.

    The Gig Economy Strategy was developed by the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development, its Department of Technology and Supervisor Mark Farrell in partnership with Samaschool, a local nonprofit, according to city officials.

    The strategy was created to support freelancers and contract workers by laying out the requirements to operate in San Francisco, providing workforce resources and helping freelancers build financial security.

    "As the use of online platforms for employment grows, San Francisco is leading the way nationally in helping individuals navigate the gig economy, while also connecting freelancers to educational and employment services," Todd Rufo, the director of the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

    The strategy includes a gig economy starter kit on San Francisco's online business portal addressing issues such as permits needed to become a freelancer, professional communications including contracts and work bids and customer service.

    In-person assistance with the starter kit and related online training is available at the San Francisco Main Public Library and at the Western Addition and Visitacion Valley libraries.

    Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
    <![CDATA[Black Smoke Seen Pouring From Russian Consulate in SF]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 18:01:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/090117-russian-consulate-smoke.jpg

    Acrid, black smoke was seen pouring from a chimney at the Russian consulate in San Francisco Friday, a day after the Trump administration ordered its closure amid escalating tensions between the United States and Russia.

    Firefighters who arrived at the scene were turned away by consulate officials who came from inside the building.

    An Associated Press reporter heard people who came from inside the building tell firefighters that there was no problem and that consulate staff were burning unidentified items in a fireplace.

    Mindy Talamadge, a spokeswoman from the San Francisco Fire Department, said the department received a call about the smoke and sent a crew to investigate but determined the smoke was coming from the chimney.

    "They had a fire going in their fireplace," she said.

    Talmadge said she did not know what they were burning on a day when normally cool San Francisco temperatures had already climbed to 95 degrees by noon.

    "It was not unintentional. They were burning something in their fireplace,'' she said.

    The consulate's workers are hurrying to shut Russia's oldest consulate in the U.S. ahead of a Saturday deadline.

    The order for Russia to vacate the consulate and an official diplomatic residence in San Francisco—home to a longstanding community of Russian emigres and technology workers—escalated an already tense diplomatic standoff between Washington and Moscow.

    Friday morning, a handful of people with business at the embassy were allowed into the building. A day earlier, Russian citizens said they were able to pick up and renew their passports if they had preexisting appointments. Consular officials did not comment as they got into cars with diplomatic plates.

    Those without appointments were already being turned away.

    Yuri Alexandrovski, a U.S.-Russian dual citizen who works in the tech industry, said he had hoped to renew his passport to go to the World Cup next year in Russia, but was not allowed because he did not have an appointment.

    "It seemed like I was asking questions they didn't have answers for,'' said Alexandrovski. "I'm assuming I will have to fly to Seattle to get that done.''

    The State Department also ordered Russia to close trade missions housed in satellite offices in Washington and New York. By next week, Russia will have just three consulates in the U.S.—in Washington, D.C., Seattle and Houston—the same number that the U.S. has in Russia, department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

    The closures on both U.S. coasts marked perhaps the most drastic diplomatic measure by the United States against Russia since 1986, when the nuclear-armed powers expelled dozens of each other's diplomats.

    American counterintelligence officials have long kept a watchful eye on Russia's outpost in San Francisco, concerned that people posted to the consulate as diplomats were engaged in espionage.

    Neighbors said they often wondered what type of equipment was housed in sheds on the roof of the consulate, which has a clear line of sight to maritime movement throughout the bay.

    Last December, the U.S. kicked out several Russians diplomats in San Francisco in response to allegations that Russia interfered in the presidential election. This time, the State Department did not expel any of the consulate's staff from the United States. In addition to Consul Sergey Petrov, the consulate's website showed 13 other Russian officials working at the San Francisco post.

    Russia has a long history in the San Francisco Bay Area, where there are three Russian cathedrals marking the different facets of the Orthodox church.

    The Bay Area has more than 75,000 Russian-speaking residents, with as many as 300,000 Russian speakers in the greater Sacramento, California, area about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.

    Shops that cater to the city's large community of Russian emigres line the streets near the consulate. It sits a few blocks from the Presidio, which used to be a U.S. military fort and the headquarters of the Sixth U.S. Army before it was inactivated.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Woman, 81, Pushed Off Muni Platform in San Francisco]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 19:59:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-1-17-BAYVIEW-MUGSHOT.jpg

    A San Francisco woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of shoving an 81-year-old woman off a Muni platform — allegedly on account of her ethnicity — prompting her to fall onto the road and slam her head on the pavement, police said.

    Officers from the city's Bayview police station went to 3rd Street and Palou Avenue around 8:20 a.m. upon receiving reports of the incident. There, they found an elderly woman sitting with a napkin pressed to her head to stem the bleeding, police said.

    Witnesses told police officers about the victim being pushed and injured as well as the direction in which the suspect, later identified as Jacqueline Miller, had run.

    A Bayview patrol officer noticed a woman who described Miller's description and detained her at 3rd Street and Quesada Avenue. A witness and the victim, who was treated at a hospital for a non-life threatening injury, positively identified the 51-year-old suspect, police said.

    Miller was booked into the San Francisco County Jail. She was charged with aggravated assault and elder abuse, both felonies. The woman was also slapped with a hate crime enhancement upon admitting that she attacked the victim because of her ethnicity, although it remains unclear what that is.

    An investigation is ongoing, according to police.

    People with information about the case are asked to call the San Francisco Tip Line at 415-575-4444 or text a tip TIP411 and begin the message with "SFPD."

    Photo Credit: San Francisco Police Department]]>
    <![CDATA[Heat Wave Peaks, Straining Bay Area Power Grid]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 18:06:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-76412145.jpg

    The Bay Area is in the throes of extremely hot weather.

    Temperatures on Friday soared to dangerous levels and will continue to do so through at least Monday, with most of the inland valley bracing for triple-digit temperatures.

    Excessive heat warnings are in effect from 11 a.m. Friday till 9 p.m. Monday in many places around the Bay Area. The National Weather Service has also issued a heat advisory from 11 a.m. Friday through 9 p.m. Saturday.

    The blistering heat set an all-time high temperature record in downtown San Francisco, according to the National Weather Service, and also set daily records in several cities across the region. Santa Rosa maxxed out at 110 degrees, Richmond topped out at 102, San Jose peaked at 108 and Santa Cruz soared to 105. 

    The California Independent System Operator issued a flex alert from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to avoid power disruptions.

    According to PG&E, people may have been inclined to blast their A/Cs when the temperatures began to climb Thursday. The strain on the power grid could prompt some power outages in the Bay Area Friday, but PG&E was prepared with backup transformers, a spokesperson said. 

    Meanwhile, a red flag fire warning — the highest alert — was in effect Friday for the North and East Bay hills and Santa Cruz mountains because of hot, dry and windy conditions, according to the National Weather Service.

    The alert is in effect until 8 a.m. Saturday, weather service officials said. When red flag warnings are in effect, all residents are urged to use extreme caution because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire.

    Weather service officials cautioned residents not to mow or trim dry grass, to be sure there is 100 feet of space around structures that is clear of combustible materials, also known as defensible space, and to clear dead weeds and vegetation. Also, people should never pull over their vehicles in dry grass, according to the weather service.

    Berkeley's acting fire chief Dave Brannigan had additional suggestions specific to the Berkeley hills. Because of the danger of a rapidly spreading wildfire, Berkeley residents alongside the East Bay hills were encouraged to park in their driveways or garages, making as much space as possible in the narrow streets for emergency vehicles.

    Residents are asked to use extreme caution operating barbeques and power equipment. Fireworks are completely forbidden in the city and surrounding areas, Brannigan noted.

    Brian Kaminski, a doctor at ValleyCare Livermore Urgent Care, said he is worried that a lot of people will end up in the emergency room amid sweltering temperatures. The biggest concern is for children under 4 years of age and adults over 65, he said.

    School children across the Livermore area spent recess indoors amid the sweltering temperatures, marking the first time the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District has ever taken such a drastic move because of blistering conditions. 

    "Throughout the district, we are keeping kids and staff indoors," district spokesperson Philomena Rambo said. "We're not doing physical activity classes outside. We've canceled athletic practices."

    Heat-related health problems can start subtly with cramps and fatigue, but progress to heat exhaustion, with sweating, headaches, weakness and nausea. Mayo Clinic advises moving out of the heat, drinking cold water and using a spray or sponge to cool down. 

    The worst condition is heat stroke, which can bring on a fever, rapid pulse and breathing, seizures and a complete shut down of the body. Patients could find relief if ice packs are placed on their necks and if their bodies are covered in cool sheets. Treatment also includes using a fan while misting with cool water. People are also encouraged to call 911 for help, Mayo Clinic suggests. 

    To that end, schools away from Livermore took numerous precautions to keep students safe during the heat wave, including calling off track practices or asking athletes to run in the early morning hours. Some districts also provided ice and bottled water at all their schools, while others installed A/C units or were scrambling to find portable ones.

    The heat wave didn't stop Gunderson and Pioneer high schools from kicking off a scheduled varsity football contest, but the players did take additional water breaks. The junior varsity teams were supposed to square off Friday afternoon, but the forecasted highs moved the matchup to Thursday evening.

    "It's probably a good thing," Jason Simpson, a former San Jose State University running back said. "Right around that 3 o'clock kickoff time tends to be a little bit difficult. Later in the evening definitely helps a little bit more. As a player, water is your best friend."

    At Stanford University, the women's soccer team braved 106 degrees at 4 p.m. to play in its match against Georgetown University. 

    "As a parent, you're not only concerned for your player but everybody else on the field," Stanford soccer parent Florence Cook said. "But obviously they took water breaks and they showed the appropriate level of concern for the players."

    A round of golf was virtually off the table in the East Bay because of the uncomfortable heat. The Buchanan Fields Golf Course in Concord was lifeless in the middle of the afternoon as the temperature sizzled at 108 degrees. 

    In nearby Walnut Creek, the temperature was comparable, but it couldn't keep one happy couple from tying the knot. Christian and Amanda Sendaydiego said their vows under the 108 degree heat.

    Spare the Air alerts were issued in the Bay Area for Thursday, Friday and Saturday because hot temperatures, light wind and vehicle exhaust were expected to combine to create unhealthy smog levels, regional air quality officials said.

    The consecutive alerts, the 10th, 11th and 12th issued so far for smog in 2017, were because of particularly unhealthy ozone levels expected in the South Bay and East Bay, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

    "Extreme heat starting late this week is expected to cause unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area likely through the Labor Day weekend," district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement, noting that the currently burning wildfires will also impact air quality.

    Officials recommend carpooling, taking public district or working from home if possible to limit smog levels in the area.

    "We need to change how we get around and stop driving alone to reduce our pollution levels and protect our health," Broadbent said.

    Bay Area residents are also advised to only exercise in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower. 

    PG&E says it is in emergency response mode, preparing to respond to power outages, with replacement transformers and other equipment at the ready.

    "We have extra crews and equipment, and resources are ready to go, ready to be deployed," PG&E spokesman Paul Doherty said. "This is probably the largest heat event since 2006."

    List of cooling centers around the Bay Area:

    • Benicia: Public Library, 150 E. L St.; Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
    • Campbell: Community Center, 1 W. Campbell Ave., Room E-44; Thursday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday.
    • Cupertino: Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N Stelling Road, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.
    • Livermore: Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Los Gatos: Los Gatos Library, 100 Villa Ave., Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday (Labor Day).
    • Milpitas: Community Center, 457 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Barbara Lee Senior Center, 40 N. Milpitas Blvd., Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sports Center, 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday–Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Morgan Hill: Centennial Recreation Center, 171 W. Edmundson Ave., Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Open Labor Day holiday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey St., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Mountain View: Mountain View Public Library, 585 Franklin St., Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. CLOSED Monday (Labor Day)
    • Napa: Las Flores Community Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Senior Center, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., This Friday, Sept. 1, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • San Jose: For a list of community center locations in the city of San Jose, visit the city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services web page.​
    • Santa Clara: Central Park Library, 2635 Homesteads Road, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; City Hall Cafeteria, 1500 Warburton Ave., Monday - Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; closed Saturday and Sunday; Community Recreation Center, 969 Kiely Blvd., Monday - Thursday, 8 am to 8 pm; Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; Saturday 9 am to noon; closed Sunday; Northside Branch Library, 695 Moreland Way, Monday - Tuesday, 11 am to 8 pm; Wednesday - Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm; closed Sunday; Senior Center, 1303 Fremont St., Monday - Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm; Friday, 7 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 9 am to noon; closed Sunday​; check website for updates.
    • Santa Clara County: County libraries located in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Campbell, Cupertino, and Milpitas; check website for hours and locations.
    • Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126
      Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126.

    Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

    • Drink plenty of liquids
    • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
    • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
    • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
    • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
    • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
    • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
    • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
    • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas
    • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
    • Rest in shady areas

    Additional tips for people who work outdoors:

    • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
    • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
    • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
    • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
    • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.

    Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

    • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
    • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
    • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

    Infants and Children:

    • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
    • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
    • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
    • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.


    • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked or open.
    • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
    • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
    • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Hot Weather Conditions Cause Major BART Delays ]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 12:39:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Podria_cambiar_horario_de_apertura_del_sistema_BART.jpg

    Hot weather conditions across the Bay Area Saturday caused major BART train delays.

    BART passengers should expect 10- to 20-minute travel time increases on every trip in the system for the duration of the heat wave currently ravaging the Bay Area, a BART spokesman said.

    Train speeds are being reduced in targeted parts of the system as a precautionary measure to give train operators more time to react to any observed abnormal rail conditions, spokesman Taylor Huckaby said.

    This is because, though it's unlikely, the extreme temperatures forecast for the next several days could cause the rails to move, Huckaby said.

    BART rail is heat-treated before it is installed, which allows for thermal expansion and contraction of the rail in the Bay Area's widely varying temperatures.

    However, when temperature variations reach extreme levels, the thermal forces exerted on the rail increase, making rail movement possible, though unlikely, Huckaby said.

    The trains that will actually run slower are the ones on outdoor tracks, and the slowdowns will be in effect between noon and 8 p.m. However, "whenever there are that many trains that are slowing down, it can affect all the trains in the system," he said.

    BART anticipates these reduced speeds will be in effect at least through Sunday, though the final decision will be based on weather forecasts and track conditions in the system.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Drug Smuggling Suspect Nabbed at SFO After 30 Years at Large]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 19:56:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black2.jpg

    U.S. officials say the leader of a California drug smuggling ring in the 1980s who was on the run for almost 30 years was brought from Australia to face charges.

    The U.S. Marshals Service says 72-year-old Peyton Eidson, who lived in Queensland, Australia, was escorted by Australian officials and taken into custody Thursday at San Francisco International Airport.

    Frank Conroy, supervisory deputy marshal for Northern California, said he doubted Eidson had an attorney.

    Eidson was indicted in 1988 for importing tons of high-grade marijuana throughout the 1980s.

    Authorities say Eidson had a false passport and lived abroad for decades. He was arrested in Australia in 2011 but had fought deportation.

    Officials say two of his associates tried to fake their own deaths by sinking a fishing boat in the 1990s.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    <![CDATA[SFPD to Shift Tactics in Fight Against Property Crimes]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 23:52:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfpd+patrols-0831.jpg

    San Francisco police said Thursday they are shifting tactics in their fight to reduce vehicle burglaries and other property crimes by increasing foot patrols and seeking to prevent more crimes before they happen.

    Police Chief William Scott said the department will increase staffing at all district stations starting this Saturday and nearly double the number of officers assigned to foot and bike patrols, which currently stands at less than 100.

    To make the change, the department will be redeploying officers from other areas, including the patrol bureau task force, a citywide unit created in 2015 that has targeted serial vehicle burglars and thefts. The unit will be shut down, and its officers, who have made 228 arrests, will be redeployed to district stations.

    The department's narcotics task force will also shrink.

    Scott said the department will continue to make arrests and use plainclothes officers to conduct sting operations and target serial thieves.

    The increased uniformed presence is expected to help prevent vehicle burglaries, which have increased 28 percent citywide over the past year, from happening in the first place.

    "We believe foot beats are a visible deterrent to crime," Scott said. "We really intend to get in front of crime as much as we can to really prevent crime on the front end."

    The strategy of increased visibility has already paid off in some areas, Scott noted.

    Police stepped up patrols in the Twin Peaks lookout area after a July 16 fatal shooting and saw auto burglaries drop from an average of 44 a month to only one between July 17 and Aug. 16, Scott said.

    In the Dolores Park area, where residents have been rattled by incidents including an apparent gang-related triple shooting in broad daylight earlier this month, an increased uniformed presence has met with a positive response.

    "In policing, the fear of crime is just as bad as crime itself," Scott said. "If people don't feel safe, we're not doing our job."

    The exact increase in patrol staffing will vary from one district to another, based on the need. The Mission District, for example, will see its staffing nearly quadruple because that area has had one of the largest increases in vehicle burglaries. Vehicle burglaries have increased 182 percent there over the past year, from 601 to 1,693.

    Other districts, such as Central, Park and Taraval, will see their staffing double or nearly double.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Smoke From Northern California Fires Drifting Into Bay Area]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 20:57:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/smoke-0831.jpg

    Bay Area residents who think they're smelling smoke are probably right. Smoke from fires elsewhere in California and Oregon drifted into the Bay Area on Thursday, air quality officials said.

    Fires in Nevada and Butte counties are generating smoke that's moving into the Bay Area. Also, smoke from Northern California and Oregon fires is coming down the coast and entering the area through the Golden Gate, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

    "We expect the smoke to last through Saturday and potentially through the weekend," air district spokeswoman Kristine Roselius said.

    Some parts of the Bay Area appear to be experiencing more smoke than others. Marin County is experiencing heavy drift smoke from the Northern California fires, and residents will smell smoke, the Marin County Sheriff's Office tweeted.

    The Napa County Office of Emergency Services and the Lafayette Police Department both said there are no fires in either area, and the smoke residents are smelling is from the Northern California fires.

    San Mateo County is also experiencing quite a bit of drift smoke from fires in Northern California and Oregon, county officials said.

    Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, scratchy throats and irritated sinuses. It can trigger wheezing in people with asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, air quality officials said.

    Bay Area residents are advised to limit outdoor activities to avoid unnecessary exposure if they smell smoke, and set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside, air quality officials said.

    Residents can also reduce exposure to smoky air by staying inside with windows and doors closed, if possible, according to the air district. Those who cannot do so should seek out cooling centers in their respective areas.

    It's also a good idea to stay tuned to local media for changes in smoke or weather conditions, air quality officials said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Heat Advisory Across Bay Area as Triple-Digit Temps Loom]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 23:56:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/heat+wave-0831.jpg

    The dog days of summer are upon us. 

    Temperatures across the Bay Area are expected to soar to dangerous levels through at least Monday, with most of the inland valley bracing for triple-digit temperatures.

    Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories will be in effect from Thursday afternoon through Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service. A red flag warning will also be issued between 9 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Saturday due to hot and dry conditions and northerly wind gusts. 

    On Friday, forecasters expect Fairfield to reach 112 degrees Fahrenheit, Concord 113, San Jose 101, Santa Cruz 91, Half Moon Bay 86 and San Francisco 84 . At 115 degrees, Livermore will tie its all-time record that was set in 1950, the National Weather Service said.

    The California Independent System Operator has issued a flex alert from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to avoid power disruptions.

    Brian Kaminski, a doctor at ValleyCare Livermore Urgent Care, said he is worried that a lot of people will end up in the emergency room amid sweltering temperatures.

    The biggest concern is for children under 4 years of age and adults over 65, he said. Heat-related health problems can start subtly with cramps and fatigue, but progress to heat exhaustion, with copious amounts of sweating, headaches and nausea. The worst condition is heat stroke, which can bring on seizures and a complete shut down of the body, he said.

    Schools in the Bay Area are also taking numerous precautions to keep students safe during this heat wave, including calling off track practices or asking athletes to run in the early morning hours. Some districts will also provide ice and bottled water at all their schools, while others have installed A/C units or are scrambling to find portable ones.

    Meanwhile, Spare the Air alerts have been issued in the Bay Area for Thursday and Friday because hot temperatures, light wind and vehicle exhaust are expected to combine to create unhealthy smog levels, regional air quality officials said.

    The alerts, the 10th and 11th issued so far for smog in 2017, are because of particularly unhealthy ozone levels expected in the South Bay and East Bay, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

    "Extreme heat starting late this week is expected to cause unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area likely through the Labor Day weekend," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

    Officials recommend carpooling, taking public district or working from home if possible to limit smog levels in the area.

    "We need to change how we get around and stop driving alone to reduce our pollution levels and protect our health," Broadbent said.

    Bay Area residents are also advised to only exercise in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

    PG&E says it is in emergency response mode, preparing to respond to power outages, with replacement transformers and other equipment at the ready.

    "We have extra crews and equipment, and resources are ready to go, ready to be deployed," PG&E spokesman Paul Doherty said. "This is probably the largest heat event since 2006."

    List of cooling centers around the Bay Area:

    • Benicia: Public Library, 150 E. L St.; Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
    • Campbell: Community Center, 1 W. Campbell Ave., Room E-44; Thursday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday.
    • Cupertino: Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N Stelling Road, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.
    • Livermore: Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Los Gatos: Los Gatos Library, 100 Villa Ave., Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday (Labor Day).
    • Milpitas: Community Center, 457 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Barbara Lee Senior Center, 40 N. Milpitas Blvd., Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sports Center, 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday–Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Morgan Hill: Centennial Recreation Center, 171 W. Edmundson Ave., Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Open Labor Day holiday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey St., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Mountain View: Mountain View Public Library, 585 Franklin St., Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. CLOSED Monday (Labor Day)
    • Napa: Las Flores Community Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Senior Center, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., This Friday, Sept. 1, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • San Jose: For a list of community center locations in the city of San Jose, visit the city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services web page.​
    • Santa Clara: Central Park Library, 2635 Homesteads Road, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; City Hall Cafeteria, 1500 Warburton Ave., Monday - Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; closed Saturday and Sunday; Community Recreation Center, 969 Kiely Blvd., Monday - Thursday, 8 am to 8 pm; Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; Saturday 9 am to noon; closed Sunday; Northside Branch Library, 695 Moreland Way, Monday - Tuesday, 11 am to 8 pm; Wednesday - Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm; closed Sunday; Senior Center, 1303 Fremont St., Monday - Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm; Friday, 7 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 9 am to noon; closed Sunday​; check website for updates.
    • Santa Clara County: County libraries located in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Campbell, Cupertino, and Milpitas; check website for hours and locations.
    • Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126
      Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126.

    Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

    • Drink plenty of liquids
    • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
    • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
    • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
    • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
    • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
    • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
    • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
    • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas
    • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
    • Rest in shady areas

    Additional tips for people who work outdoors:

    • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
    • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
    • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
    • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
    • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.

    Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

    • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
    • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
    • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

    Infants and Children:

    • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
    • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
    • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
    • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.


    • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked or open.
    • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
    • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
    • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Fare Evasion Drops as BART Police Target Hot Spots]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 06:47:37 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-3301422.jpg

    BART police are cracking down on crime, following a months-long uptick in crime and growing concerns among riders.

    Although there was another report of fare evasion at a Hayward BART station on Wednesday night, the transit agency says that the number of incidents in May and June is down 20 percent in comparison to February and March.

    Citations are also down nearly 30 percent in the same time frame and field interviews have dropped an estimated 20 percent.

    BART officials say their new practice of deploying officers to so-called hot spots where assaults and robberies were rampant is helping curb crimes.

    To that end, BART is also in the process of hiring new officers. The agency hopes to fill 40 available positions in the next year-and-a-half.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Comic Con Brings Geeky Fun Labor Day Weekend]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 19:57:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Comic-con22.jpg

    Comic Con is coming to San Francisco’s Moscone Center this Labor Day weekend and the events are jam packed with comic books, cosplay and several celebrity appearances.

    The three day convention will host celebrities such as Peter Capaldi from “Dr. Who,” Sean Astin from “Lord of the Rings,” Nichelle Nicholas from “Star Trek,” Summer Glau from "River Tam in Firefly," Cary Elwes from the “Princess Bride,” and many more. 

    Besides geeking out over your favorite on-screen characters, visitors will also find costume contests, a cosplay parade, comic artists, comic retailers and even kid-friendly activities.

    The convention runs from Friday – Sunday, Sept. 1-3; ticket prices range between $30-$80 for adults and kids under the age of 12 can get in for free.

    <![CDATA[Boaters Rescued Near Alcatraz Island]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 20:23:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0830-2017-BayWolf.jpg

    A couple of boaters owe a thank you to their fellow Bay sailors after a water rescue.

    The boat two men were sailing on Tuesday night ended up on the rocks at Alcatraz Island. One of the men ended up in the water, with the other clinging to the rocks.

    An emergency call went out and a nearby charter boat, called the Bay Wolf, responded. Crews on the charter boat rescued one man and directed the Coast Guard to the other man.

    The Bay Wolf captain said he only did what he hopes any other boater on the Bay would do: Help when a call comes in.

    No injuries were reported.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Suspicious Package Prompts Shelter in Place in SF]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 14:37:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/0830-2017-SFPD-Suspicious.jpg

    The Powell Street BART station has reopened after a suspicious package found Wednesday afternoon prompted a station closure and a shelter in place order for the surrounding neighborhood.

    No other information was immediately available.

    Photo Credit: SFPD
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Vehicle Plows Into, Injures 8 Pedestrians in San Francisco]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 12:01:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-30-17-SF-FATAL.JPG

    A driver mistakenly ran a red light in San Francisco on Wednesday, plowing into eight pedestrians, another car and a parking meter, police said.

    The victims, of whom two or three are minors, sustained non-life threatening injuries in the crash around 9 a.m. near Ocean and Miramar avenues. 

    Six were taken to a hospital, while two declined transport, according to police.

    The female driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with investigators. The collision was unintentional, police said, and the woman has not been arrested.

    Check back for updates.

    Photo Credit: Christie Smith/NBC Bay Area ]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Braces For Record High Temperatures]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:19:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/188*120/GettyImages-71476967.jpg

    Enjoy the last vestiges of cool weather because a brutal heat wave is making a beeline for the Bay Area.

    Temperatures are expected to rise between 10 and 15 degrees on Thursday. They will soar to even more dangerous levels Friday, with most of the inland valley experiencing triple-digit temperatures. The coming days could be the hottest so far this summer.

    An excessive heat watch will be in effect from Thursday afternoon through Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service. A red flag warning will also be issued between 9 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Saturday due to hot and dry conditions and northerly wind gusts. 

    Forecasters expect Fairfield to reach 112 degrees Fahrenheit, Concord 113, San Jose 101, Santa Cruz 91, Half Moon Bay 86 and San Francisco 84 . At 115 degrees, Livermore will tie its all-time record that was set in 1950, the National Weather Service said.

    A developing tropical system near Baja, California may transport some subtropical moisture into Southern California on Tuesday and Wednesday. It remains unclear whether the storm will affect the Bay Area.

    Meanwhile, a Spare the Air alert has been issued in the Bay Area for Thursday because hot temperatures, light wind and vehicle exhaust are expected to combine to create unhealthy smog levels, regional air quality officials said.

    The alert, the 10th issued so far for smog in 2017, is because of particularly unhealthy ozone levels expected in the South Bay and East Bay, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

    "Extreme heat starting late this week is expected to cause unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area likely through the Labor Day weekend," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

    Officials recommend carpooling, taking public district or working from home if possible to limit smog levels in the area.

    "We need to change how we get around and stop driving alone to reduce our pollution levels and protect our health," Broadbent said.

    Bay Area residents are also advised to only exercise in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

    List of cooling centers around the Bay Area:

    • Benicia: Public Library, 150 E. L St.; Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
    • Campbell: Community Center, 1 W. Campbell Ave., Room E-44; Thursday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday.
    • Cupertino: Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N Stelling Road, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday
    • Livermore: Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Los Gatos: Los Gatos Library, 100 Villa Ave., Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday (Labor Day)
    • Milpitas: Community Center, 457 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Barbara Lee Senior Center, 40 N. Milpitas Blvd., Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sports Center, 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday–Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Morgan Hill: Centennial Recreation Center, 171 W. Edmundson Ave., Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Open Labor Day holiday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey St., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Mountain View: Mountain View Public Library, 585 Franklin St., Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. CLOSED Monday (Labor Day)
    • Napa: Las Flores Community Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Senior Center, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., This Friday, Sept. 1, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • San Jose: For a list of community center locations in the city of San Jose, visit the city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services web page.​
    • Santa Clara (check website for updates): Central Park Library, 2635 Homesteads Road, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; City Hall Cafeteria, 1500 Warburton Ave., Monday - Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; closed Saturday and Sunday; Community Recreation Center, 969 Kiely Blvd., Monday - Thursday, 8 am to 8 pm; Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; Saturday 9 am to noon; closed Sunday; Northside Branch Library, 695 Moreland Way, Monday - Tuesday, 11 am to 8 pm; Wednesday - Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm; closed Sunday; Senior Center, 1303 Fremont St., Monday - Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm; Friday, 7 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 9 am to noon; closed Sunday​
    • Santa Clara County: County libraries located in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Campbell, Cupertino, and Milpitas; check website for hours and locations.
    • Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126
      Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126

    Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

    • Drink plenty of liquids
    • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
    • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
    • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
    • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
    • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
    • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
    • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
    • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas
    • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
    • Rest in shady areas

    Additional tips for people who work outdoors:

    • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
    • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
    • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
    • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
    • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.

    Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

    • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
    • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
    • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

    Infants and Children:

    • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
    • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
    • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
    • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.


    • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked or open.
    • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
    • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
    • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Protest Planned For Golden Gate Bridge Appears to Be Hoax]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 11:01:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-543435346.jpg

    An anti-Marxist protest planned for Wednesday morning that was supposedly going to involve the blocking of traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge appears to be a hoax.

    A Facebook post by the newly created group Conservative Rustles, as well as an email sent to several Bay Area media outlets, announced a planned 9 a.m. rally.

    The organizer, purporting to be a 32-year-old San Francisco native named John Walters Monroe, said the group would block traffic "until the city of San Francisco agrees that 'Antifa' is a terrorist organization," referring to "anti-fascist" activists who have counter-protested at many right-wing rallies.

    But Golden Gate Bridge spokeswoman Priya Clemens said that as of shortly after 9:30 a.m., no protesters or counter-protesters had showed up at the bridge.

    "All clear! No one's shown up to protest or counter protest. Just Bridge Patrol, CHP and media out here," Clemens wrote in an email.

    The Facebook event page created for the protest had zero people indicating they were interested in the march or planning to attend, but bridge patrol and California Highway Patrol officers nevertheless planned ahead in case anyone showed up.

    Wednesday's event — or lack thereof — follows actions in San Francisco and Berkeley on Saturday and Sunday by right-wing groups.

    The San Francisco action Saturday organized by the conservative group Patriot Prayer was initially going to be a large rally at Crissy Field but also turned out to be much ado about nothing after being canceled Friday.

    A subsequent news conference planned for Alamo Square on Saturday was also canceled at the last minute. The right-wing actions prompted large-scale counter-protests throughout San Francisco, including a "Peace, Love and Understanding" rally in Civic Center Plaza.

    Sunday's event in Berkeley was mostly peaceful but had incidents of violence and police ended up making 13 arrests for offenses including assault, battery, resisting arrest, conspiracy, disturbing the peace, and being drunk in public.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Feinstein Reflects on President Trump's Response to Harvey]]>Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:08:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/feinstein-0829.jpg

    U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is criticizing President Donald Trump's decision to pardon a controversial Arizona sheriff, calling it "a stupid thing to do," and hopes seeing Harvey's destruction in Texas on Tuesday will change his focus.

    "I think Texas takes the place of the wall," Feinstein said. "I think Americans would much rather contribute their money to the rehabilitation of Texas ... rather than another wall on our border." 

    The San Francisco Democrat was asked about the pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio during a lecture at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

    Feinstein said Trump's pardon sent a message to police departments around the United States "that racial profiling is OK."

    The friendly conversation touched on many subjects, but the 84-year-old did not say whether she'll seek re-election next year.

    She drew boos, however, when she said Trump will likely serve out the rest of his term.

    Photo Credit: Jean Elle/NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Data Scientist Creates Real-Time Map for Harvey Relief]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 19:49:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rescue+map-0829.jpg

    A San Francisco woman, working with collaborators she found on Twitter, has set up a database and mapping application for coordinating Hurricane Harvey rescue and relief efforts in real time.

    "I have helped with other open-mapping relief efforts in the past, and went on Twitter Friday morning to see if anyone was active," Jessica Decker said Tuesday.

    That's how she connected with Danny McGlashing, of Boston.

    Together they set up a website with a live Rescue Map, which had been used to coordinate more than 450 rescues as of Tuesday, and a relief map where users can find resources, aid, shelter and volunteer opportunities.

    "Thousands of panicked people were tweeting for help as the water rose, and 911 calls got stalled or resulted in hours-long delays," Decker said. "We just couldn't let those go by."

    "It became apparent there was no organized project to plug into, yet, and plenty of people on Twitter looking for one," Decker said. "So we mobilized to build it ourselves, and are still here five days later."

    Decker and McGlashing joined forces with a second group called Harvey Rescue, scraping Twitter for rescue requests appearing on Twitter in real time, and the information

    On the ground in Texas, #HarveyRELIEF is being used by the Cajun Navy and other rescuers, according to Decker.

    The website makes use of Fulcrum, a platform for crowd sourcing data collection, and Tableau, a data visualization platform - both of which have provided thorough technical support for the #HarveyRELIEF effort, Decker said.

    They're asking anyone currently stuck on their rooftops in need of a water rescue to use the hashtag #HarveySOS.

    Since #HarveyRelief went online Friday morning, more than 500 people have gotten involved, and that number continues to grow. Anyone interested in more information on how to help can find it at harveyrelief.handiworks.co.

    <![CDATA[SF's Pioneer Monument Ignites Controversy, Push For Removal]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 12:01:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Monument_Controversy_Ignites_in_San_Francisco.jpg

    A San Francisco statue that depicts a Native American fallen in defeat and is accused of being racist has prompted the formation of a Facebook group, demanding its removal.

    The Pioneer Monument stands between the Main Branch of the San Francisco Library and the Asian Art Museum, according to SFist. In part of the 800-ton sculpture, which is known as "Early Days," a Spanish cowboy and a missionary are standing over a prostrate Native American.

    The depiction has sparked an Oct. 2 event called "Bring down the "Pioneer" Statue in Downtown SF! NOW!" 

    Organizers posed a series of questions on the event's Facebook page: "Who is done with these white supremacist colonization states? Who is tired of seeing Natives depicted as savage, less than, not here anymore or unworthy of being human? Who wants to get rid of this white supremist statue right here in SF?"

    They have urged people to gather at San Francisco City Hall from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2 because the issue of tearing down Pioneer Monument is on an Arts Commission's meeting agenda. 

    As of Tuesday, nearly 125 people have said they will attend, while 857 more have expressed interest.

    Leading up to the meeting, supporters have been asked to call and email members of the Arts Commission, urging them to cover the statue with a tarp and take it down, organizers wrote. People are also encouraged to attend next month's meeting and speak their minds about the need to remove Pioneer Monument.

    A Change.org petition that declares "It's Time to Take Down San Francisco's Monument to White Supremacy!" has garnered 707 signatures of its goal of 1,000.

    San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes Pioneer Monument, has said she supports the push to have the statue taken down.

    "I support the removal and will be supporting the community process already underway," Kim wrote in a statement, SFist reported.

    Iesha Killip, an American Indian who resides in Haight-Ashbury, told the San Francisco Chronicle: "Why is the Indian on the ground? We're warriors. We stand. It shows pure hatred to my people."

    <![CDATA[Flower Interruption Artist Creates 10,000th Flower ]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 11:24:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/thumbnail61.jpg

    Whether she's painting in the rice fields of Indonesia or the bustling streets of San Francisco, Megan Wilson's Flower Interruption project has a way of opening up conversations wherever she goes. And the 10,000th flower was no different.

    "This final, 10,000th flower is dedicated to Candy," Wilson said. "She's one of the residents in the neighborhood who comes by, says 'hello' and has a really beautiful spirit." 

    The artist painted the tribute magenta, blue and black at the resident's request, one of many she's received during the last four months stationed outside of the Asian Art Museum, which is featuring a Flower Power exhibition until Oct. 1. 

    "People love stopping and checking in, especially people who are passing by weekly," Wilson said. "It has been really great to get to know the community."

    Her brightly colored exhibit leaks out from the museum walls and onto the sidewalk, where the flowers decorate people's daily commute through the heavy-traffic block.

    "I really was hoping to create something that people would come upon, and it would be a complete surprise — unexpected — and just bring a smile to people’s faces," Wilson said. 

    She will also be hosting a public flower interruption event on Sept. 24 at the museum, where people can stop by for a flower or to participate. Her larger-than-life murals at the museum are one of many she's created over the past 15 years, as she aims to interrupt people's daily lives for a moment bursting of color.

    "I love that flowers represent and symbolize gifts," Wilson said. "They symbolize rituals. They symbolize generosity and love and peace, and that's some of what I'm hoping to give to people that pass by."

    The artist has gained attention for her paintings' psychedelic colors and designs through the years, but she has had a particularly busy summer with the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love in full bloom.

    She plans to unveil her next exhibit this weekend at the Artists' Television Access, which she hopes will start a different conversation about where the city has come since the infamous summer.

    For more information on the upcoming exhibit, visit the artist's website here.

    Photo Credit: Rebecca Greenway]]>
    <![CDATA[Californians Asked to Conserve Energy Amid Flex Alert]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 19:17:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

    Californians are encouraged to conserve energy between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday as a heat wave continues to swelter the state.

    The Flex Alert, which was issued by the California Independent System Operator Corporation, asks residents to turn off all lights not in use, avoid using large appliances and set air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher during that seven-hour span.

    Flex Alerts are issued when the power grid "is under stress because of generation or transmission outages, or from persistent hot temperatures," according to the ISO.

    Residents can learn more about conserving energy by visiting flexalert.org.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
    <![CDATA[SFO Flights to Houston Canceled, Leaving Travelers Stranded]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 23:42:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfo+houston-0828.jpg

    With Houston's two major airports closed due to flooding, travelers at San Francisco International Airport on Monday were scrambling for options.

    No commercial flights were going in or out of Houston as many people at SFO were trying to get home. Some were content to wait for the airports to reopen. Others were flying to other Texas airports and hoping to drive the rest of the way.

    Some travelers such as Linda Ellender knew flood waters were surrounding her home Monday.

    "I'm worried about my dogs," Ellender said, adding that she's relying on loved ones until she can get home. "If we walk home and find everything as we left it, I'll be so happy."

    Trying to get home after a vacation, the Smiths decided to rebook on a flight to Austin. Their home is surrounded by road closures and rising water, they said. But they plan to try to drive in.

    "We'll get into Austin at 6, drive to Houston and swim home," they joked.

    Others were rerouting to Dallas. Allison Montnaye said her house is dry, but she is eager to get home and help friends and neighbors who are underwater.

    "We can't wait to get home and help," Montnaye said. "It's frustrating; we want to get home and help."

    There was no official word on when the Houston airports are expected to reopen.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Bridge Officials Could Save Old Foundation Piers]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 09:15:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bay_Bridge_Officials_Could_Save_Old_Foundation_Piers.jpg

    Bay Bridge officials will consider saving some of the foundation piers from the old span. Crews have been demolishing those piers since 2015. Those leftover foundations could be used to create public spaces. Officials are looking at saving one near Treasure Island and four near Oakland.]]>
    <![CDATA[Child Porn Suspect Released After Judge Reduces Bail to Zero]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 19:44:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gavel-generic-stock_prgenerica.jpg

    A suspected would-be child molester was released from jail Friday without having to post bail, according to court documents obtained by NBC Bay Area.

    Jose Olivares-Parada, 38, was arrested Aug. 21 on suspicion of sending pornography to and arranging a meeting with a minor when he showed up to meet with who he thought was a 14-year-old girl at AT&T Park, court records show.

    Olivares-Parada actually had been corresponding with a police officer.

    Two days after his arrest, bail was set at $60,000, but two days after that, Judge Joseph Quinn reduced bail to nothing and released Olivares-Parada on his own recognizance, with the instructions that he was not to chat on websites nor visit locations where minors are likely to be, other than AT&T Park, where he works.

    Child advocate Mark Klaas, whose daughter Polly Klaas was murdered by a sexual predator, vehemently disagreed with the judge's decision.

    "You know, giving this guy the ability to walk is a terribly irresponsible thing to do under the circumstances," Klaas said.

    A spokeswoman for the Public Defender's Office said Olivares-Parada doesn’t have a criminal history.

    A spokesman for the District Attorney's Office said the prosecutor objected to the judge's decision to release Olivares-Parada on his own recognizance, but in the court record, there was no mention of such an objection.

    Olivares-Parada is due back in court in October.

    <![CDATA[Bay Area Human Banners Celebrate Love, Denounce Hate]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 18:25:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/OceanBeachHeart.jpg

    While demonstrators flocked to San Francisco and Berkeley over the weekend to counter planned right-wing rallies, thousands of others converged at San Francisco and in Walnut Creek to spread messages of love and unity.

    Draped in red and pink, toes in the sand at Ocean Beach, an estimated 1,000 people on Saturday crammed together to form a giant heart with an American flag unfurled in the middle, according to organizers. Hours earlier, a similar-sized crowd gathered in the East Bay to spell out the words "END HATE!"

    "Nobody said that the revolution couldn't be fun," longtime human banner organizer Brad Newsham said following the two feats. "I've tried to create events that I would like to come to with no speeches, just people being people and dropping everything else. I hope to bring people together."

    Newsham teamed up with Gabriella Musacchia from Together We Will and Renee McKenna from the San Francisco Women's March to orchestrate the creation of the banner at Ocean Beach. The simple goal was to assemble people from all walks of life in a family-friendly and peaceful manner.

    "It's fun to have this other element of the human banner," Newsham said. "Each little human pixel coming together to create a beautiful work of art, that's what I'm trying to accomplish."

    Attendees also joined in unison to belt out tunes such as "God Bless America" and "This Land is Your Land" as well as raise money for Life After Hate, a nonprofit organization that "transitions people away from extremist lifestyles."

    "It was very moving," Musacchia said. "It was very touching to see people come together against hate."

    Before the heart came to life in San Francisco, just about 1,000 people spelled out the anti-hate message in Walnut Creek. Members of the city council and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier were among the many human pixels featured in the photo captured from above, according to Newsham.

    For the past 10 years, Newsham has spearheaded 17 human banner-related events in the Bay Area and even in Washington D.C. One of the more recent exhibitions came in February when he and others spelled "RESIST!!" on Ocean Beach.

    Photo Credit: Joseph Fletcher
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Arraignment Delayed in SFPD Officer's Child Porn Case]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 11:25:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Arraignment_Delayed_for_SFPD_Officer_Accused_in_Child_Porn_C.jpg

    The arraignment for suspended San Francisco Police Officer Joshua Enea was delayed Monday. Enea was arrested in July after investigators discovered child pornography on his computer. Pete Suratos reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[SFPD Officer Faces Child Porn Charges]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 08:36:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SFPD_Officer_Faces_Child_Porn_Charges.jpg

    The veteran San Francisco police officer facing child porn charges is expected in court Monday. Joshua Enea, 37, is expected to be arraigned in Martinez. Investigators said they found child pornography on the officer's home computer. Enea has been suspended from the San Francisco Police Department.]]>
    <![CDATA[Excessive Temps Inland as Heat Continues to Blanket Bay Area]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 20:14:53 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

    Sweltering temperatures will once again blanket several cities across the Bay Area Monday as a heat wave continues to beat down on the region.

    The hot weather, which has prompted an excessive heat warning for inland valleys and coastal mountains, a heat advisory for cities hugging the San Francisco Bay, and a third-consecutive Spare the Air alert across the Bay Area, has firefighters on high alert.

    Expected highs on Monday are expected to top out around 105 to near 110 degrees in the East Bay valleys, according to the National Weather Service. North Bay locations such as Santa Rosa and Napa will also see high temperatures in the triple digits. 

    In the South Bay, San Jose is expected to reach 96 degrees while Morgan Hill should jump over 100 degrees.

    Closer to the bay, cities such as Oakland and Palo Alto will hover between the high-80s to low-90s. Temperatures in San Francisco will reach the high-70s in some neighborhoods away from the coast.

    For those seeking relief, Half Moon Bay appears to be the coolest Bay Area location with only a forecasted high of 68 degrees.

    Firefighters were already out in full force Sunday battling a fire just south of Livermore near Mines Road. The blaze has torched 44 acres and was 40 percent contained as of Monday at 7 a.m., according to Cal Fire.

    Another fire also cropped up in Petaluma on Sunday. The blaze scorched about 18 degrees near Bodega Avenue and Nosecchi Road before fire crews were able to gain the upper hand, according to Cal Fire. The fire was 85 percent contained as of Monday morning.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Police Investigate Homicide in Excelsior Neighborhood]]>Sun, 27 Aug 2017 23:52:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/SFPD3.JPG

    San Francisco police were investigating a homicide late Sunday in the city's Excelsior neighborhood.

    Officers responded to a report of an aggravated assault at Lisbon and France streets, and upon arriving at the scene, they located an injured man, police said. The victim was transported to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

    A suspect, a man in his 30s, was detained, police said. The victim and suspect knew each other, they said.

    The nature of the victim's injuries was not provided.

    No further information was available.

    Police said it's ongoing investigation in the early stages. Anyone with information is asked to contact the SFPD Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.

    Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Uber Selects Expedia CEO to be Its New Chief: Sources]]>Sun, 27 Aug 2017 23:54:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-file.jpg

    Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been named Uber's top executive, taking the difficult job of mending the dysfunctional ride-hailing giant and turning it from money-losing behemoth to a profitable company.

    San Francisco-based Uber's fractured eight-member board voted to hire Khosrowshahi late Sunday, capping three days of meetings and the withdrawal of once-top candidate Jeffery Immelt, former CEO and still chairman of General Electric, two people briefed on the decision said. They didn't want to be identified because the decision had not been officially announced as of Sunday night.

    Khosrowshahi has been CEO of Expedia since August of 2015. The online booking site is one of the largest travel agencies in the world.

    He'll replace ousted CEO Travis Kalanick and faces the difficult task of changing Uber's culture that has included sexual harassment and allegations of deceit and corporate espionage. Uber also is losing millions every quarter as it continues to expand and invest in self-driving cars.

    The company currently is being run by a 14-person group of managers and is without multiple top executive positions that will be filled by Khosrowshahi.

    Khosrowshahi has served as a member of Expedia's board since it was spun off from IAC/InterActiveCorp. two years ago. An engineer who trained at Brown University, Khosrowshahi helped to expand IAC's travel brands which were combined into Expedia, the company's website says. He also serves on the boards of Fanatics Inc. and The New York Times Co.

    He immediately will face troubles on many fronts, including having to deal with multiple board factions that had once pushed Immelt and Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman. Several factions of the board are suing each other.

    Whitman, an investor in Uber, denied multiple times publicly that she was interested in the job. Although she spoke to some board members remotely Friday night, they could not guarantee an end to their infighting or that Kalanick would not become board chairman, said another person with knowledge of the board discussions. That person also didn't want to be identified because board discussions are supposed to be private.

    Khosrowshahi also must bring together a messy culture that an outside law firm found was rampant with sexual harassment and bullying of employees. He also must deal with driver discontent, although Uber already has started to fix that by allowing riders to tip drivers through its app.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: File Photo]]>
    <![CDATA[Power Outage Affects Thousands in San Francisco: PG&E]]>Sun, 27 Aug 2017 19:49:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/power_lines_generic1.jpg

    PG&E workers on Sunday restored power to about 8,300 customers who lost it earlier in the day in San Francisco, a PG&E spokesman said.

    An underground equipment failure on Carl Street caused the outage at 2:46 p.m., affecting customers in the Sunset, Haight Ashbury, Richmond and Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights neighborhoods, according to spokesman J.D. Guidi and San Francisco emergency managers.

    As of 6:05 p.m. Sunday, 277 customers were still without power, and there was no estimate for when power to those customers would be restored.

    Guidi said multiple PG&E workers are working to restore power to those customers.

    Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
    <![CDATA[BART Police Report Spate of Thefts at Stations Saturday]]>Sun, 27 Aug 2017 09:32:44 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2bart-generic.jpg

    Several thefts occurred Saturday at BART stations throughout the Bay Area, according to police.

    At 8:04 a.m., a victim reported that her iPhone 6 Plus was stolen from her at the Embarcadero station in San Francisco. The suspect, who was described as a man between 25 and 30 years old with dark skin and wearing all black clothing, fled toward Market and Spear streets, police said.

    At 10:40 a.m., a police officer at the Hayward station spotted a theft suspect running and pursued him. The suspect threw down a stolen phone, which was recovered, and continued to flee, police said.

    The suspect was described as a black male in his teens, 5 feet 5 inches tall with a thin build, wearing a puffy jacket and dark pants. He remains at large, police said.

    At 3:32 p.m., a victim at the Coliseum station reported that a suspect stole their wallet and cellphone on a train.

    According to police, the suspect was described as a black man with curly hair and he was sweating profusely. He was wearing a black jacket, possibly leather, and a black shirt. He remains at large, police said.

    Another victim reported at 6:01 p.m. that $90 was stolen from her purse while she was on the Fremont-bound train between 19th Street and MacArthur Boulevard. She did not see the suspect take the money from her purse, police said.

    At the Pittsburg/Bay Point station, a victim reported at 8:25 p.m. that her cellphone was stolen while she was walking through the station's parking lot.

    The suspect, who is at large, was described as a black woman, late teens to early 20s, wearing a dark shirt and a backpack. She was last seen running toward Bailey Road, police said.

    Police also reported that two vehicles were stolen at stations on Saturday. A 1999 Ford was reported stolen from the Pleasant Hill station and a 1996 Toyota Camry was reported stolen from the Richmond station police said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Dangerous Bay Area Heat Brings Advisories, Warnings]]>Sun, 27 Aug 2017 23:12:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

    Spare the Air alerts were issued for Sunday and Monday in the Bay Area because of an excessive amount of smog expected in the region, air quality officials said.

    A high-pressure system over the region, triple-digit temperatures, light winds and smoke from Oregon wildfires are expected to contribute to unhealthy ozone levels in the South and East Bay regions, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management district.

    There is no free transit Monday, and there is no wood-burning ban in place, air quality officials said.

    The alerts are the eighth and ninth such alerts in 2017.

    "Hot temperatures and tailpipe exhaust from Bay Area traffic are expected to cause unhealthy air quality this weekend," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

    During Spare the Air days, air quality officials advise people to limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day and to take public transit or carpool instead of driving alone.

    A forecast for high temperatures in the San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay areas has also prompted the National Weather Service to issue excessive heat warnings for some areas.

    A warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Monday for the Santa Lucia Mountains, the East Bay Hills and Diablo Range, and interior Monterey County, including Pinnacles National Park and the southern Salinas Valley.

    Weather officials said high temperatures of 98 to 112 degrees are expected Sunday and Monday. Lows will mostly be in the 60s and 70s but may not get below the low 80s in the hills.

    Another warning goes into effect at 11 a.m. Sunday and ends at 9 p.m. Monday for the North Bay Mountains and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

    Highs will reach 95 to 105 degrees both days. Lows will mostly be in the 60s in the valleys and 70s to lower 80s in the hills.

    A third warning has been issued for the inland valleys of the East Bay. At 5:05 p.m. Sunday, weather officials upgraded a heat advisory for the area to an excessive heat warning, which went into effect at 11 a.m. Sunday and ends at 9 p.m. Monday.

    An excessive heat warning means heat illnesses are likely because of the hot temperatures.

    Weather officials suggest residents and visitors drink plenty of fluids, stay in air conditioning, stay out of the sun and check in on relatives and neighbors.

    Pets and livestock may require extra care during the heat. Also,the heat increases the risk of human-sourced wildfires, according to weather officials.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
    <![CDATA[Thousands March Against Hate in San Francisco ]]>Sat, 26 Aug 2017 13:20:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-839604462.jpg

    A planned right-wing rally in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge that was downgraded to a news conference at Alamo Square Park fizzled further on Saturday, after San Francisco police swarmed the park and city workers erected a fence around it.

    Joey Gibson, an organizer for the group Patriot Prayer, took to Facebook Saturday, issuing an apology to people who shelled out money on plane and train tickets to the Bay Area as well as those who drove 16 hours to get here.

    "Today's been a crazy day," he said on Facebook Live. "Basically everywhere we go, the police, the city, they want to shut it down."

    Gibson indicated that he planned to do an indoor news conference at 2 p.m., but left the exact location unknown. He also said he would "pop up at random spots in the city to talk with any citizens of SF."

    He eventually spoke in Pacifica with a handful of supporters, but was forced to end the news conference abruptly upon hearing that members of the anti-fascist movement were heading to the Peninsula.

    San Francisco leaders and police had repeatedly voiced concerns that Patriot Prayer would draw angry counter-protesters and spark violence in the area known as the cradle of the free speech movement. 

    Marches and rallies did indeed crop up across the city by the bay Saturday, but only one person was arrested for public intoxication and no injuries were reported, San Francisco Police Chief William "Bill" Scott said during a news conference alongside Mayor Ed Lee, who said he was "extremely proud" of those who peacefully took to the streets and spoke out against hate.

    "They marched all throughout the city with that basic theme that we're going to resist hate, we're going to make sure our city is safe," Lee said. "They marched for each other. They yelled and screamed for each other. They made sure that the themes of love and compassion dominated over hate speech and inciting violence."

    Gibson vehemently denied his group was looking for trouble and declared that Patriot Prayer had been unfairly labeled as being racist. In fact, he said, its members had received anonymous threats on social media and feared civic leaders and law enforcement officials would fail to protect them.

    "My hope is to be able to talk to normal citizens without all the extremists," Gibson, who identifies as Japanese American, said at the news conference.

    Other speakers included African Americans, a Latino and a Samoan American. Several said they support Donald Trump and want to join with moderates to promote understanding and free speech.

    "We have to wake up," Patriot Prayer supporter Will Johnson said. "This fighting is not going to get us anywhere. We have bigger issues coming to America, and we're fighting for over nothing." 

    The pivots by the group didn't deter more than 1,000 left-wing counter-protesters from descending on Alamo Square park, where they suspected right-wing supporters still might show up.

    The neighborhood was inundated with counter-protesters whose resounding message could be summed up in one sign: "Goodnight alt-right."

    Police closed the park early in the day and looked on in riot gear as the demonstrators gathered around its perimeter waving signs condemning white supremacists and chanting, "Whose streets? Our streets!" Some held signs that read, "Fascists not welcome. No to white supremacy," "Stop racist police" and "No hate! No KKK! No Nazis in the USA!"

    NBC Bay Area's SkyRanger captured footage of people, with what appeared to be feather headdresses, dancing in the streets, while others seemed to take inspiration from the nursery rhyme, "Ring a Ring o' Roses," and moved around in a circle before marching to Mission and 24th streets. En route, they even conducted a "die-in" in the middle of the street.

    A crowd, also in the hundreds, packed a "Come Together Rally" at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro, under a slew of rainbow flags that flapped in the wind.

    "The outpouring of love, you could almost feel it physically," San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy said. "In the Castro, I could. It was like this wave just hit me of love, not hate. That's what San Francisco is all about."

    Those in the Castro joined others from the Dolores Park area to march toward Civic Center, where thousands gathered for a "Peace, Love & Understanding" rally. The event featured live performances by Michael Franti, Malo, Momma's Boys and more.

    "San Francisco as a whole, we are a liberal city and this is not a place for hate or any sort of bigotry of any kind," Bianca Harris said. "I think it's a really powerful message that we're sending to people who come here to try to spew messages of hate that it's just not welcome in this city."

    Earlier in the week, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee raised concerns that Patriot Prayer would attract hate speech and potential violence. U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a fellow Democrat who represents San Francisco, called the planned rally a "white supremacist" event.

    Gibson said his group disavows racism, white nationalism and hatred, and insisted his gathering would have been peaceful. "It wasn't an easy decision," he said about nixing the Crissy Field rally and said that although some people were disappointed in his decision, it was the only way to prevent a "huge riot." 

    When working with the National Park Service on a permit application, Gibson said he initially believed that all rally attendees would be "shipped" into Crissy Field. It wasn't until later that the U.S. Park Police said he would only be able to enter with 50 or so people, who he considered "tight-knit."

    "Everyone else would have to be stuck outside, 50 yards away, mingling amongst Antifa, communists or whoever … extreme left liberals, and then we would have to get wrist bands and get our people to go through the crowd to find supporters to bring them back in," Gibson said. "The whole point of the rally was to bring in people who wanted to get to know us not to just do a speech to our supporters … At that point, I finally was like it's just not right, it's not going to happen."

    Neither the National Park Service nor U.S. Park Police have confirmed this information.

    Gibson said Saturday in a phone interview that he felt like San Francisco's Democratic leaders had shut him down.

    "They're definitely doing a great job of trying to make sure my message doesn't come out," he said.

    On Facebook Live, Gibson encouraged supporters to ask "corrupt career politicians," including Mayor Ed Lee and Sen. Nancy Pelosi, whether they support Antifa. Patriot Prayer is being vilified in the media, he said, but no one is asking questions of the "alt-left."

    Gibson was joined on Facebook by Kyle "Based Stickman" Chapman, who was arrested during a violent "March 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley in May.

    "Whether or not there's violence at these events lies in the hands of the mayor, the police chief and the people that are tasked with security," he said.

    Chapman also accused the media of portraying them "as bigots, white supremacists and Nazis," which has "incited hatred among the locals here in San Francisco against us." 

    He urged others who support their movement to "push back against this narrative" and fight what Chapman deemed is "systemic oppression" on the part of Bay Area politicians.

    The Bay Area is considered the birthplace of the free speech movement, and police in San Francisco have traditionally given demonstrators a wide berth.

    Student activism was born during the 1960s free-speech movement at Berkeley, when thousands of students at the university mobilized to demand that the school drop its ban on political activism.

    However, the deadly confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12 during a rally of white supremacists led San Francisco police and civil leaders to rethink their response to protests.

    When Gibson canceled the Golden Gate rally on Friday, he said his followers would instead attend an anti-Marxist rally on Sunday in nearby Berkeley. But a short time later, the organizer of that rally called it off.

    Organizer Amber Cummings said in a lengthy statement issued via Facebook that she had "grave concerns for the safety of the people attending my event."

    Cummings said the event was planned "to speak out against the political violence happening to people who do not agree" with left-wing ideology, and that the meaning was being lost as rhetoric around the rally escalated.

    The left-wing group By Any Means Necessary, which has been involved in violent confrontations, had vowed to shut down the Berkeley rally at Civic Center Park.

    Asked Saturday whether he had any plans to go to Berkeley, Gibson said he would "analyze the situation."

    Berkeley police were planning for a number of contingencies, police spokeswoman Jenn Coats said in an email.

    The city has banned a long list of items from the park, including baseball bats, dogs and skate boards. People at the park are also not allowed to cover their faces with scarves or bandanas.

    Associated Press writers Janie Har and Haven Daley contributed to this report. NBC Bay Area's Thom Jensen, Christie Smith and Sergio Quintana also contributed to this report.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Canceled Patriot Prayer Rally Leads to Protests in SF]]>Sun, 27 Aug 2017 15:00:36 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Castro-Neal-Waters.JPGAfter the controversial Patriot Prayer rally was cancelled, the streets of San Francisco became the hub of multiple anti-hate protests.

    Photo Credit: Neal Waters]]>
    <![CDATA[RAW: Counter-Protesters Flock to Alamo Square Park to Oppose Patriot Prayer]]>Sat, 26 Aug 2017 15:01:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8262017-sfrally-ringarose.jpg

    Alamo Square Park was originally meant to be the site of a Saturday news conference by right-wing group, Patriot Prayer, but the San Francisco neighborhood was instead inundated with hundreds of counter-protesters.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[RAW: Thousands in San Francisco March Against Hatred, Racism, 'Alt-Right']]>Sat, 26 Aug 2017 15:01:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8262017-SFPARADE.jpg

    Counter-protesters on Saturday marched to Mission and 24th streets, forcing road closures and bringing traffic to a standstill. Some performed a "lie-in" in the middle of the roadway, amid a heavy San Francisco police presence.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[RAW: Teeming Crowd Protests Hate in San Francisco's Castro District]]>Sat, 26 Aug 2017 14:48:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8262017-sfcastrorally.jpg

    Under a rainbow flag that flapped in the wind, hundreds gathered at Market and Castro streets to stand up against hatred, racism, fascism and the "alt-right" movement.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Inflatable Trump Chicken Set to Troll Alt-Right Rally in SF]]>Fri, 25 Aug 2017 00:02:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trump+chicken-0824.jpg

    The inflatable Trump chicken is set to re-emerge in San Francisco on Saturday, as a group is planning to float the puffed-up fowl with wavy orange hair on the bay in response to an alt-right rally in the city.

    The chicken being used Saturday is 33 feet tall, organizers Danelle Morton and Anne Preutt said. The pair said they hope to "photobomb" the alt-right activists trying to get glamorous shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

    Mostly, they hope to send a message of tolerance.

    "We live our lives alongside all different kinds of people every day and see the humanity in all," the pair said.

    The Trump chicken made its debut in April when it took a perch in front of San Francisco City Hall during the Tax March, where thousands conducted a peaceful protest demanding President Donald Trump release his tax returns.

    There were 33 Trump chickens made for that march and rally. They ranged in size from 6 feet tall to 33 feet tall.

    More recently, a Trump chicken was spotted at the president's Reno rally Wednesday.

    Morton and Preutt on Thursday raised more than $9,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to pay for a vessel, crew and other expenses related to their Trump chicken cruise.

    Photo Credit: Jean Elle/NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[New Michael Mina Test Kitchen Features Mexican Soul Food]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2017 16:01:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/Huitlasquites.JPGMichael Mina Test Kitchen's new concept Mi Almita is a collaboration between Michael Mina and Houston chef Hugo Ortega.

    Photo Credit: Tamara Palmer]]>
    <![CDATA[SF Neighborhood on Edge After Cameras Capture Violent Attack]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2017 20:17:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8242017-sf-attack1.jpg

    A woman walking down a Portola district street earlier this month was grabbed, flung to the ground and struck – and the entire, seemingly random, attack was captured on surveillance cameras.

    The disturbing video, which has a date stamp of Aug. 10, shows a man blindsiding the victim in broad daylight, wrestling her to the ground on Sweeny Street and running away.

    Two different cameras show the unprovoked assault and apparent robbery as the suspect appears to take something from the woman’s hand. As she struggles to get up, he doubles back, hits her in the face and races off in the same direction from which he came.

    People who live in the area were shocked and said they were trying to wrap their heads around the violent attack.

    "Oh my God, horrible! That is just horrific. And yet, the audacity of that man to just push her down and come back and hit her again!" said Rose Orellana, who lives near the crime scene. 

    A woman, identified only as Paige, who lives in the area said she was shocked by the footage.

    “I think I would call 911 right away and just yell,” she said.

    Paige said she too was recently accosted by a man who tried to spit in her face.

    “At that point I said, I’m going to take Uber if it’s going to be late,” she said, “or I’m going to have a stun gun and a mace.”

    Orellana agreed.

    “It’s scary, because I walk this block all the time. I walk with my kids, I walk with my parents, and now it seems like you can’t walk by yourself,” she said.

    The owners of the security cameras told NBC Bay Area that they’ve shared the images with police.

    The San Francisco Police Department remains tight-lipped about the incident, saying only that there is an “active and ongoing” investigation.

    The neighborhood association is concerned about an uptick in crime. So, too, is Supervisor Hillary Ronen, whose Chief of Staff Carolyn Goossen said that 40 percent of the district is Chinese-speaking, and Asians are being disproportionately affected by the lawlessness.

    Police would not corroborate that, but did confirm that the assault victim is Asian.

    Photo Credit: Handout]]>
    <![CDATA[San Francisco Boosts Security Ahead of Crissy Field Rally]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2017 23:59:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N11A+SF+PARKS+GUN+BAN+VO+-+00000000.jpg

    The National Park Service on Wednesday issued a First Amendment permit and paved the way for a right-wing rally at Crissy Field on Saturday, drawing the ire of San Francisco leaders

    A group called Patriot Prayer is holding a "Freedom Rally San Francisco" from 2 to 5 p.m. According to the group's permit application, the rally will feature live music, need a sound system and a generator, and be free to the public. Organizers are expected to begin setting up around 11 a.m. and finish tearing down by 6 p.m.

    As of Wednesday, just under 400 people plan to attend the rally, while more than 1,000 are interested, according to a Facebook event page. Dozens of counter-protests, with clowns, dancing and sheetcake, are also being organized around San Francisco. 

    At a news conference Wednesday, the city's Mayor Ed Lee said, "I remain deeply disappointed and opposed to the issuance of this permit."

    Although Crissy Field is federal land and lies outside the city's jurisdiction, Lee said, "We are responsible and feel responsible for everyone's public safety, particularly residents of San Francisco."

    Lee also urged residents and visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area to "not dignify people who are coming in here under the guise of 'patriot' and 'prayer' words to really preach violence and hatred, and incite violence. Avoid going to Crissy Field and engaging with members of Patriot Prayer because that is precisely what they wish us to do."

    Instead, counter-protesters have been invited to City Hall at 12 p.m. Friday. Elected leaders and "people from all walks of life" will give speeches and enjoy performances at a "Unite Against Hate" rally, according to London Breed, president of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors.

    "All of this is because we, as a city, have chosen to unite against hate, to push for love, to push for inclusiveness," Breed said. "We will not let this rally tear us apart. We will not let this rally destroy our city."

    She also urged media organizations to "not waste time" giving groups like Patriot Prayer "the attention they don't deserve" and yet thrive on.

    Instead, Breed said: "Let's show the country how San Francisco does it. We bring people together, we push for peace, we push for love. I want to see more images of that nature in our media."

    For its part, Patriot Prayer, which has been described as an "alt-right" group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, offers a dramatically different description of Saturday's event.

    Organizer Joey Gibson told NBC Bay Area that he wasn't surprised by the permit's issuance. In fact, he had expected the rally to be approved because freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment.

    "We’ll have different messages but the main thing is unity and peace, love … (and) free speech," he said.

    On the event's Facebook page, Gibson added: "Love and Peace is the only way to heal this country- so we ask that you do not use hate against us with the intent of fighting hate. We are here to spread a message of love."

    He also stressed that extremists, neo-Nazis, communists, white nationalists, and members of Antifa and the Klu Klux Klan are not welcome. 

    "This is an opportunity for moderate americans to come in with opposing views. We will not allow the extremists to tear apart this country," he wrote on Facebook.

    Scheduled speakers include Gibson; Amber Cummings, who is organizing an anti-Marxism rally in Berkeley on Sunday; and Kyle "Based Stickman" Chapman, a right-wing figure associated with violent protests in Berkeley that took place in March and April. Placerville-based band Good Ol' Boys is expected to perform, according to Facebook.

    In response, criminal defense lawyers Tony Serra and Curt Briggs announced that they will join a number of colleagues at San Francisco's Pier 5 Law Offices and provide pro bono legal services for people who are charged in connection with protesting the Patriot Prayer rally.

    "Racism is vile," Briggs said in a statement. "Should a counter-demonstrator be charged with a violent crime against a Neo-Nazi or White Supremacist at the Patriot Prayer event, lawyers at our office will represent that person regardless of their ability to pay for our services."

    They also issued a call to action to other attorneys who may be interested in offering their services.

    Senator Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday joined the ranks of California leaders who condemned the National Park Service's move.

    "As we ponder where and by whom the ill-conceived decision to approve this permit in a national park was made, we must all pray it does not become an invitation to incite violence," she said in a statement.

    Assemblyman David Chiu echoed the same sentiment.

    "The First Amendment does not protect the right to incite violence, so it’s deeply unfortunate that the National Park Service is allowing a rally in San Francisco on Saturday that well-known hate groups will attend," he wrote in a statement. "These racist radicals have a history of violence and do not represent the values of San Francisco, California, or the United States."

    As the right-wing rally dominates headlines, Lyft has partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center, to send safety alerts to help protect its drivers, 66 percent of whom belong to minority groups. In an email, the ride-sharing company urged its drivers to "report incidents of hateful intimidation and harassment."

    Acting General Superintendent Cicely Muldoon, however, defended the choice made by the National Park Service.

    "The National Park Service has a long and proud tradition of being the site of peaceful expressions of people’s views under the First Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees everyone the right to gather together and express their opinions non-violently," she wrote. "We cannot deny a permit to anyone planning to exercise their First Amendment rights based on their political stance or beliefs."

    However, law enforcement agencies are on alert, following violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 16. 

    To that end, the San Francisco Police Department collaborated with Golden Gate National Recreation Area officials and the United States Park Police to create a public safety plan.

    To start, the park has been divided into two zones: one closed to cars and bikes and the other to everyone.

    Police have identified and banned 26 potential safety hazards. They also plan to set up check points, and screening people before they enter the part of the Crissy Field where the protest will be held.

    A large number of police officers will be stationed not only around the rally, but also across the city, according to Police Chief Bill Scott. 

    "We insisted on the highest level of safety," Lee said, adding that the security boost is "on our dime."

    With barricades going up and preparations in full swing on Thursday, some counter-protesters say their plans will include demonstrations on the bay itself.

    "I don't want to do battle on land with these people," said Ren Volpe. "I want to protest peacefully and I want to ruin their photo (opportunity)."

    Protesters and counter-protesters alike have legal rights, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in a statement.

    "Attending a protest doesn’t mean you give up your right to due process. In fact, this right is at the core of our national values," he said. "We want to make Bay Area residents leave these actions with both their safety and civil rights intact."

    People who work in Adachi's office will don safety vests so they are easily identifiable at Saturday's rally in Crissy Field. As legal observers, they will "document and record" law enforcement officers' behavior toward demonstrators "from use of force to denying access to public areas," according to Adachi.

    Meanwhile, visitors and San Francisco residents have been warned of traffic congestion and delays, detours and road closures.

    The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District is shutting down parking lots on the south end of the iconic bridge between 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday. The Bridge and Round House cafes and the Golden Gate Bridge welcome center will also be closed, officials said.

    Between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, only tour buses will be allowed access to the vista point located on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

    "This is the first time we've closed the south end of the visitor amenity for a free speech activity, especially on a neighboring piece of property," said bridge district spokeswoman Priya David Clemens.

    Pedestrians and bicyclists can access the bridge's sidewalks, but the National Park Service will close all routes through Crissy Field. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will not run Muni buses to Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday.

    The bridge district issued a statement, which reads in part: "Please note there is NO access to the First Amendment event from the Golden Gate Bridge by vehicle, walking, or bicycle. All roads to the event are closed from this location. The only access to the event is through the Marina Gate."

    Portions of the Presidio and many businesses within the park will also be closed on Saturday. Although that is the busiest day of the week for many shop owners dotting Old Mason Street, they welcomed the news Wednesday, saying public safety comes first.

    "Saturdays are typically our busiest days! We have a lot of birthday parties. It’s a busy season with kids going back to school," said Shoshanna Moody, general manager of House of Air, an indoor trampoline park. "But, really, we just care about customer safety. So we’re glad that they have a plan to keep everyone safe and shut the businesses down."

    Rocky Lobos, a sales manager at bike store, Roaring Mouse Cycles, was stunned that Patriot Prayer had received the necessary permit.

    "It was a surprise that it was granted, and we were hoping that last minute they would just cancel it, knowing that for safety reasons ... because there’s a lot of children, a lot of families, a lot of tourists," he said. 

    Others, however, believe that the San Francisco Police Department is up for the challenge.

    "You don’t like intolerant people coming to your neighborhood, obviously," said Alex Dempsey. "And certainly, I applaud anyone who stands up to them. But (the First Amendment) is fundamental to our country."

    Taking safety into their own hands, business owners also plan to bar windows and remove high-value inventory over the weekend.

    Patriot Prayer may have been given a permit, but it comes with several conditions, each one in place to protect the public, according to police.

    Here is a list of items that are prohibited at Crissy Field Saturday:

    • Aerosols / pressurized canisters
    • Ammunition
    • Animals other than working service animals
    • Backpacks and bags exceeding the size restriction of 18" by 13" by 7"
    • Balloons
    • BBQ grills (propane tanks with any open flame)
    • Bicycles
    • Coolers
    • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
    • Explosives
    • Firearms (including licensed concealed carry firearms)
    • Gas Masks
    • Glass, thermal or metal containers
    • Helmets
    • Laser pointers
    • Liquids (other than water in factory-sealed, clear plastic bottles)
    • Mace / pepper spray
    • Packages
    • Pop up tents or canopies
    • Selfie sticks
    • Shields
    • Signs exceeding the size restriction of 24" by 36"; Signs will only be allowed if made of foam core, cardboard or paper
    • Structures
    • Supports for signs and placards including sticks of any material
    • Toy or replica guns or weapons of any kind
    • Wagons or carts that can be pulled
    • Weapons of any kind
    NBC Bay Area's Sam Brock and Christie Smith contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Gun Restriction Law Introduced in Response to SF Rally]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 11:56:32 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N11A+SF+PARKS+GUN+BAN+VO+-+00000000.jpg

    Mere days before a planned right-wing rally comes to San Francisco, a city supervisor is calling for stricter gun laws.

    Supervisor Mark Farrell is pushing for a law that would prohibit people from carrying firearms in public areas, including Crissy Field, where a hotly debated Patriot Prayer rally is expected Saturday.

    As things stand, Crissy Field is federal land and falls under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service so people with a valid Concealed Weapons Permit are lawfully able to carry a handgun onto the property.

    Farrell, however, points out that federal law defers to state and local law, which prohibit the open carrying of firearms in California.

    It’s at the discretion of the National Park Service to enforce these laws so Farrell is calling on the agency to arrest people who attend Saturday’s rally and violate laws.

    With reports of armed militias potentially attending the controversial rally, Farrell admits that he’s being forced to push for a law he’d never imagined would be necessary in San Francisco.

    “We never thought we’d need to have this quite frankly, never thought an incident like this would happen,” he said. “But we want to make sure we’re clear going forward that San Francisco has a very strong law … restricting carrying firearms in certain places.”

    Farrell will not be able to even discuss the proposed legislation until the Board of Supervisors is back from recess next week.

    Joey Gibson, the organizer of Patriot Prayer, posted a video on Facebook, claiming that National Park Service officials told him the rally will be gated off from counter-protesters. People coming to Crissy Field can also expect to be searched, he said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[BART Issues Citations Amid Fare Evasion Crackdown]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 07:11:58 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BART+thefts-0424-2017.jpg

    BART police officers handed out 36 citations Tuesday during a fare evasion crackdown at multiple stations across its system, according to the transportation agency.

    The citations, which represent BART's $3 million effort to stop people from cheating their way out of fares, were written at stations in San Francisco, Richmond and Fremont between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to BART.

    An estimated 22,000 people each year cheat the fare system, costing the transportation agency around $25 million annually, according to BART. 

    Fare evasion citations cost perpetrators $250, according to BART.

    In addition to Tuesday's crackdown, officers also arrested four people on unrelated warrants and crimes, according to BART.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Monument Controversy Ignites in San Francisco]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 09:53:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Monument_Controversy_Ignites_in_San_Francisco.jpg

    There is a call to remove a monument in San Francisco at Civic Center Plaza. The 800-ton sculpture, which depicts the settlement of California, depicts a Native American fallen in defeat. San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim said she supports the push to have the statue taken down.]]>
    <![CDATA[Uber Plans to Sell Former Sears Store Building in Oakland]]>Fri, 25 Aug 2017 17:23:23 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/UBER35.jpg

    San Francisco-based ride-sharing firm Uber confirmed Friday that it plans to sell the former Sears department store building in Oakland where it once planned to place up to 3,000 employees.

    "As we look to strengthen our financial position so we can better serve riders and drivers for the long term, we're exploring several options for Uptown Station, including a sale," Uber said in an email, referring to the property at 1955 Broadway.

    "We remain committed to serving Oakland and our broader hometown Bay Area community," the statement read.

    The company stressed that it remains committed to supporting Oakland, noting that it has donated $70,000 to help ensure every graduate of Oakland Unified School District can attend college and has given away nearly

    $30,000 in free rides to a variety of Oakland organizations through its Community Credits Program.

    Uber said it is making a broad effort to cut its losses so it can become a profitable company and it wants to keep all its employees together in one place instead of having employees spread across three or four offices.

    The company has said that it plans to consolidate many of its local employees in a new headquarters building in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood.

    Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was excited in September 2015 when Uber announced that it had purchased the former Sears building, saying, "Uber is an innovative, game-changing company and its move to Oakland is game-changing for us."

    Schaaf said the company's expansion to Oakland makes the city the "hottest new center for urban innovation in America."

    Schaaf declined to make a direct comment today on Uber's plans to sell the building and instead issued a statement about other companies that are moving to her city.

    Schaaf said, "In the last two years, major companies like Oracle, WeWorks, Blue Shield and now Delta Dental have moved into Oakland."

    The mayor said, "There are few locations in the region which offer such an array of social, economic and transportation benefits as Uptown Station (the 1955 Broadway site). I look forward to working with the lucky buyer who hopefully will share Oakland's values of diversity, inclusion and equity."

    Orson Aguilar, the president of the Greenlining Institute, an Oakland nonprofit that co-founded a "No Uber Oakland" campaign, said in a statement that it started the campaign "because we worried Uber could have negative effects on a city already struggling with gentrification, and because we never saw evidence that Uber had any real commitment to Oakland, despite occasional pleasant rhetoric."

    "Clearly, that second part at least was right," Aquilar said. "Still, we never gave up hope that Uber would sit down and work with the Oakland community to create something that would be good both for the company and for Oaklanders. Uber, sadly, never had any interest in a real partnership with Oakland," he said.

    Aguilar added, "We hope going forward that city leaders will be more wary of large corporations coming into our town, and will push big businesses -- including whoever buys this building from Uber - to help build an Oakland that's diverse and affordable for working families, nonprofits and the arts community."

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[RV Crash Blocks Toll Booth Lanes at Golden Gate Bridge]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 06:00:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-23-17_GGB_RV_Crash.jpg

    An RV crashed into the toll booth area of the Golden Gate Bridge late Tuesday, prompting the closure of multiple lanes of traffic into the Wednesday morning hours, according to officials.

    The crash occurred around 9 p.m., and California Highway Patrol officials issued a travel advisory because some toll booth lanes were closed.

    As of 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, lanes three and five remain closed, officials said. Lane three is typically closed at that time. Lane five is the lane impacted by the crash.

    It is unclear what prompted the crash, and an investigation is ongoing, according to officials. The driver did suffer a leg injury.

    CHP officials warn that the incident could prompt delays during the Wednesday morning commute.

    A similar RV crash occurred at the Golden Gate Bridge at the beginning of August. The door of an RV was ripped off when the vehicle became stuck in a toll booth, but no one was seriously injured.

    Plans are in place to eventually redesign and replace the toll plaza. 

    Bay City News contributed to this report.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Real Estate Money Laundering Investigation in the Bay Area]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 09:55:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Real_Estate_Money_Laundering_Investigation_in_the_Bay_Area.jpg

    Federal regulators are expanding their search into who is buying luxury real estate in certain parts of the country, and the search includes Bay Area counties. Investigators believe some of the purchases were used as money laundering schemes. Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Los Angeles and San Diego counties have properties that are under investigation. Regulators are also looking at properties in New York City and Miami.]]>
    <![CDATA[2 Financial District Banks Robbed in Minutes of Each Other]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 11:49:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sanfrancsicofinancial.jpg

    Two banks just blocks apart were robbed within minutes of each other in San Francisco's Financial District Tuesday afternoon, police said.

    The first robbery occurred around 1 p.m. at a bank in the 200 block of California Street, where a man in his 50s walked in and demanded money.

    A teller handed him money and he left the bank on foot.

    Only minutes later, at 1:06 p.m., a robbery was reported at a bank in the first block of California Street, where a man described as being between 60 and 70 entered the bank and demanded money.

    A teller again handed the man money and he fled.

    No injuries were reported in either robbery, and no arrests have been reported. Police have not indicated whether the two robberies are thought to be connected.

    Photo Credit: Josh Keppel]]>
    <![CDATA[RV Crashes at Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza, Lanes Blocked]]>Tue, 22 Aug 2017 21:49:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chp-generic-night.jpg

    A large RV crashed at Lane 5 of the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza late Tuesday night, according to the California Highway Patrol.

    The driver of the RV suffered a leg injury in the crash that occurred about 9: 15 p.m., the CHP said, but no other injuries were reported.

    Lanes 4, 5 and 6 were blocked, and the vehicle has been moved off the roadway to the west lot, the CHP said.

    The cause of the crash is being investigated.

    No further details were available.

    Photo Credit: NBC file]]>
    <![CDATA[Lawsuit Claims 20 Lived in Laundromat Basement 'Death Trap']]>Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:51:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gavel-generic-stock_prgenerica.jpg

    San Francisco's city attorney is suing the owner and occupant of a building where he says 20 people were living in squalid, unsafe conditions in the basement of a commercial laundromat.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reported the lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses the owner and master tenant of the building in the city's Mission neighborhood of violating fire, electrical, plumbing and other municipal code violations.

    Fire officials called the building a death trap and called the fire code violations egregious.

    Firefighters discovered the occupants when they responded to a call on Christmas Day last year, the newspaper reported. Inside they found exposed wiring, leaky pipes, one functioning shower, a rat and cockroach infestation and illegally partitioned rooms.

    The lawsuit says tenants were being charged between $300 and $900 each.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    <![CDATA[3.0-Magnitude Quake Strikes Off San Francisco Coast: USGS]]>Tue, 22 Aug 2017 08:05:49 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Earthquake82117.JPG

    A 3.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of San Francisco Tuesday morning, according to the United States Geological Survey.

    Officials originally reported that the shaking measured up to a magnitude 3.2 quake. 

    The quake hit at 6:36 a.m. nearly seven miles south-southwest of Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, according to the USGS.

    Some people took to social media to report they felt shaking in places such as San Francisco and Pacifica. One person noted that the earthquake was "short and sweet" while someone else reported feeling a jolt before a couple seconds of rattling.

    The San Francisco Fire Department said they did not receive any calls about the earthquake immediately after it struck.

    Photo Credit: USGS]]>
    <![CDATA[Pelosi Commemorates Women's Equality Day]]>Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:27:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB-Pelosi-Lee-Speier2.jpg

    In celebration of Women's Equality Day, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other female leaders held a press conference Tuesday to launch their economic agenda that promises better jobs, wages and future for women on in San Francisco. 

    The press conference focused on sharing the stories of women and the importance of recognizing their struggle for equal pay, guaranteed paid family leave and affordable childcare.

     “As we all know, when women succeed America succeeds,” said Pelosi.

    According to Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who were both in attendance, “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future” is focused on the importance of prioritizing women in the economy.  

    "We're interested in better jobs, we're interested in steady jobs. We're interested in better wages, we're interested in stable economy. We're interested in a better future, and yes we're interested in a secure future," said Speier. "And that is something we do not have under this presidency." 

    The goal of the campaign is to help both women and men by creating good paying jobs to make it easier for families to suceed. 

    <![CDATA[Counter 'Alt-Right' Protests Expected in Bay Area]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB+Crissy-FIeld.jpg

    A permit has yet to be issued by the National Parks Department for the proposed Patriot Prayer rally at San Francisco’s Crissy Field this Saturday, but even if the event is canceled, dozens of counterprotests are expected all over the Bay Area.

    Congresswoman Jackie Speier believes the reason a permit has not been issued is because officials haven’t determined if the event could pose a threat to the local community.

    “I’m certain that they’ll make a decision within the next 24 hours that will make it convenient for those who want to protest and those who want to participate,” said Speier after a Women’s Equality Day press conference.

    Until the National Parks Department determines whether or not to grant a permit, the Human Rights Commission has already begun to schedule a series of community events to help inspire a conversation on the issues of equality.

    The events focus on educating participants on the historical context of movements against white supremacy in the Bay Area as well as the local impact of racism.

    “We’re really hoping that folks will stay united, come together in love and avoid putting themselves in a situation where they may be provoked,” said executive director of the Human Rights Commission, Sheryl Evans Davis.

    Here are the upcoming events hosted by the Human Rights Commision: 

    • Civil Rights Movements in San Francisco - Wednesday, August 23 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. at 25 Van Ness Avenue, 8th Floor in the large conference room
    • The Impact of Trauma & Racism: A conversation led by Dr. Denise Boston - Wednesday, August 30, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. at 25 Van Ness Avenue, 8th Floor in the large conference room

    Much like the Boston protests last weekend, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, hopes that Bay Area counter protesters will behave with the same.

    “I would hope that if people turn out, we have followed the example of Boston,” said Pelosi after a Women’s Equality Day press conference. “Where the silence was deafening, it spoke louder than any of the comments that any of us could make.”

    Golden Gate Park headquarters have yet to respond to requests for more information on the issue.

    The Patriots Prayer rally is billed as "a day of freedom, spirituality, unity, peace, and patriotism." Organizer Joey Gibson promises a diverse group of speakers and condemns the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    Check out this list of upcoming events:

    <![CDATA[SF to Oppose Patriot Prayer Rally With 'Dog Poop,' Dance]]>Thu, 24 Aug 2017 16:02:12 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/GettyImages-81969339.jpg

    The National Park Service on Wednesday granted a permit for a hotly-debated rally at Crissy Field this weekend.

    Right-wing group, Patriot Prayer, last week applied for a permit to host "Freedom Rally San Francisco" on Saturday.

    Despite criticism from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Superintendent London Breed, the National Park Service said, "We cannot deny a permit to anyone planning to exercise their First Amendment rights based on their political stance or beliefs."

    Wary of whether the rally will draw white nationalists and invite violence, San Franciscans have made it known that racism and hatred are unwelcome in their hometown.

    And the City by the Bay isn't stopping there. Residents have begun organizing counter-protests with unusual themes. 

    Up first is "Leave your dog poop on Crissy Field" from 12 p.m. Aug. 25 through 10 a.m. Aug. 26. 

    Organizers wrote on Facebook that the idea behind the event is to "leave a gift for our Alt-Right friends."

    They continued: "Take your dog to Crissy Field and let them do their business and be sure not to clean it up! Watch out for landmines, friends! We can get together Sunday and clean up the mess and hug each other!"

    San Francisco artist Tuffy Tuffington, who has two dogs, came up with the curious way to protest the Crissy Field rally, without needing direct conflict. 

    "I was walking around and had this idea of people marching around in fields of poop," Tuffington said. "I thought that would be a nice form of civil disobedience and a way to not actually be there when they’re there."

    He didn't know it would generate the interest it has, but is committed to making a stink — both literally and figuratively. So far, 525 people have demonstrated interest in this gathering, which has piqued the interest of nearly 3,000 more.

    "I really intended for it to be a joke for my friends and I didn’t realize I made it public," Tuffington said. "A few hours later, there was 500 people interested."

    Other counter-protesters, in true San Francisco style, are encouraging people to dance as "an alternative to hate, confrontation and aggression."

    The "SF LovedUp Mobile Dance Counter-Rally" will last from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 26 at Marina Green Park. Attendees will not interrupt the white supremacist rally, but will dress in their "amazing colorful fabulous best" and "groove to cheesy, party pop dance athems," organizers wrote on Facebook. 

    More than 1,000 people have said they will be at the event and nearly 6,000 more are interested.

    Meanwhile, Stop the Violence, Galeria de la Raza, Queer Nation-San Francisco, Castro Community on Patrol, Unafraid, and a slew of other community organizations have teamed up with the Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer for what is described on Facebook as "San Francisco Peacefully Unites Against White Nationalists."

    Organizers have issued a special invite to "all drag performers and sparkly freaks" to counter "violent behaviors" from 12 to 5 p.m. Aug. 26. 

    They wrote: "Believing hate groups are coming to San Francisco to bait folk into helping them recruit others to their cause and to instigate violent behaviors so lawsuits can fund their hate work, we are uniting with diverse advocates and leaders around San Francisco who are urging safety, peace, and events that will help preserve the fragile diversity of Crissy Field."

    However, this peaceful gathering will not occur at Crissy Field. It will be held at Civic Center, and roughy 2,300 people have signed up to attend and another 6,200 have expressed interest.

    Supporters are also encouraged to attend a march for equality called "Come Together" at Harvey Milk Plaza between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. 

    As Saturday's controversial rally nears, a growing number of unique protests are coming out of the woodwork.

    "Sheetcake Picnic - Protest Alternative" invites people to Hellman Hollow at Golden Gate Park to — you guessed it — eat cake between 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday.

    "I'm a left handed, Jewish homosexual. I don't always love labels, but I do love myself. And in these times of tension, that's something to celebrate," the event's organizer, Simon Betsadel, wrote on Facebook.

    Instead of adding to hateful rhetoric at Crissy Field, Betsadel has invited people to lay on blankets, listen to music, and enjoy food and each others' presence.

    By way of extravagence, "sparkles and eye makeup" are suggested, but attendees are free to "just do whatever gives you joy," he wrote.

    Betsadel urged: "Let's think about everything we have that makes us diverse, fabulous, and totally unique." 

    At the same time, Resistence SF is hosting "Calling All Clowns: Fascism is no laughing matter" from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Crissy Field Beach.

    The gathering is a call to action for "anti-racist, anti-fascist clowns" to "mercilessly ridicule any neo-nazis, white supremacists, or alt right trolls who dare show their face in San Francisco," according to its Facebook page.

    The group's Facebook page also advertises an event simply called "Resist SF" between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Crissy Field Beach. 

    Organizers wrote: "Racism is evil. It must be eradicated from the face of the earth. We will not let facist, racist, morally bankrupt degenerates invade our beautiful city and spew hate. The time for passive tolerance is over. It's time to stand our ground. Its time to stand up."

    Stressing the importance of relaying to protesters that there is no room for bigotry and hate in San Franciso, Resist SF cautioned: "We are not advocating violence or physical conflicts. We are advocating (participants) -- young, old, brave, bold; show up in force, create signs and disrupt the agenda of the unwelcomed hate groups.

    "One voice. One people. One love. United we will stand."

    It appears that San Franciscans also refuse to rob children of the opportunity to stand up for their home.

    "The Cutest Lil Counter Protest" is billed as a peaceful, family-friendly protest.

    The goal is to "smother hate with as much love and cuteness as possible," starting at 11 a.m. at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, according to Facebook.

    A so-called "Cuties Parade" will start at 11:30 a.m. and end with a group photo in front of the de Young Summer of Love wall. Donations for the Southern Poverty Law Center will also be accepted.

    An organization called Brown Lives Matter is hosting an "Anti-Racist Rally," which will start at 490 Marina Boulevard at 9 a.m. Saturday. 

    The effort has picked up the attention of more than 300 people and aims to directly oppose Patriot Prayer's protest at Crissy Field. 

    The Human Rights Commission has also spent days brainstorming on non-violent responses to the controversial free speech rally. To that end, the organization is setting up Help Against Hate stations across San Francisco and holding a peace festival, empowerment conference, community conversations and more.

    A full list can be found here:

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[More Whales Dying From Boat Strikes Than First Thought ]]>Tue, 22 Aug 2017 08:28:15 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/More_Whales_Die_From_Crashing_into_Ships.jpg

    New research says more whales die after being hit by ships than first thought. Researchers say that from 2006 to 2016, 83 whales died off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington, but only 36 washed up on shore. Researchers say the dead whales often sink. Ship collisions are a leading cause of whale deaths.]]>
    <![CDATA[Doctors Treating People Who Viewed Eclipse With Naked Eye]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 23:40:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/eye+damage-0821.jpg

    The eclipse is over, but for some it may be having lasting, unwanted effects.

    Eye doctors are hearing from patients who didn't use the required solar viewing glasses while checking out the show in the sky Monday. And experts warned that sneaking a peek with the naked eye can cause permanent damage.

    Millions of people across the U.S. watched daylight fade as the moon blocked the sun Monday. While most watched the celestial show with special viewing glasses, some took a chance without protection. Even President Donald Trump sneaked a glimpse before putting his solar glasses on.

    "The natural reaction is to look up," said Dr. Vincent Penza of City Optometry, who added that he sees patients complaining of discomfort or vision issues after every eclipse. "If you're having light sensitivity, watery eyes, still have after-image like a flash bulb, then you should call someone."

    In San Francisco, three people went to City Optometry after looking at the eclipse. Penza said the most common problem, sunburned cornea, is treatable. But a person's retina can suffer permanent damage if it is exposed to too much sunlight. It's called solar retinopathy.

    "When you look at the sun now, it's uncomfortable, can't stare at it very long," Penza said. "When it's an eclipse, there's less of that, and the retina doesn't have pain receptors."

    Solar retinopathy can cause blurry vision or vision loss, Penza said. Some symptoms can take as long as 12 hours to appear. Medical professionals advise those who are experiencing any type of vision issues after viewing the eclipse to get their eyes checked thoroughly.

    Penza said he wouldn't be surprised if he hears from additional eclipse watchers Tuesday.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Seven People Displaced in San Francisco House Fire]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:32:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P+SF+FIRE+AMBULANCE+SEX+VO+-+00001715.jpg

    At least seven people were displaced Monday night after a fire broke out at a home in San Francisco's Merced Heights neighborhood, according to fire officials.

    The blaze occurred at 614-608 Garfield St., fire officials said on social media at 7:50 p.m.

    Firefighters were able to quickly contain the fire. No injures were reported.

    The displaced residents, all adults, are being assisted by the American Red Cross as well as city services, according to fire officials.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Traffic Stops for the Solar Eclipse]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 23:58:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Solar+Eclipse+Asia.jpg

    Bay Area traffic briefly came to a stop Monday to witness the solar eclipse, as millions across the United States halted the start of the workweek to see the moon briefly take away the spotlight from the sun.

    For the first time in nearly 40 years, a solar eclipse was visible in the United States, sending astronomy enthusiasts and curious onlookers into a tizzy of astronomical excitement that was brewing for weeks, months and even years.

    The Bay Area was not in the path of totality this go around, but folks in the region were able catch portions of the eclipse between 9:01 a.m and 11:37 a.m. with the peak of the eclipse occurring around 10:16 a.m. Roughly 75 percent of the sun was hidden by the moon at that time.

    CHP Contra Costa tweeted out a picture of cars parked on the side of a freeway, with people getting out to snap a photo of the sun.

    "We truly hope everybody enjoyed their solar eclipse today which was barely visible due to our micro climate herein our Bay Area. But hopefully you were at your home, on a mountaintop, or in a safe location and not one of these people behaving badly. Can you say "Unsafe stop along the freeway for a non-emergency reason," CHP wrote on Facebook. "Wow is all we can say. How many tickets would you have written?!"

    Droves of people gathered at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View to soak in the spectacle.

    Claire Dulsky, a youngster from San Carlos, had her protective glasses handy as she took a peek at the partial eclipse crossing over the sky.

    "I see like a bite out of the sun," she said, staring upward. "It's like a divet in the sun."

    Fellow onlooker Angela Wu of Los Altos noticed a similar site.

    "I'm seeing some cheese getting bitten by somebody," she laughed.

    In the coming weeks, scientists will be able to see how the atmosphere reacted to the solar eclipse, thanks to satellites, test balloons and other monitoring devices sent up by NASA and other agencies. 

    Here are some facts about Monday's eclipse:

    What is a solar eclipse?

    According to NASA, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves in front of the sun, creating a barrier between the two orbs. The eclipse this year lasted no more than three minutes in its totality. Along with being able to see the sun completely covered, viewers were exposed to a partial eclipse as well. That phenomenon displays the moon’s movements as it blocks out the sun. 

    Where could the solar eclipse be seen?

    The total eclipse in America was visible in 14 different states, according to NASA. Although California wass omitted from this list (The last occurrence in California was 128 years ago), those wishing to experience the event travelled to Oregon. Other states where the complete solar eclipse could be seen were Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana. The last location to be passed through was South Carolina.

    People who reached some of the gatherings needed special glasses to view the solar eclipse. Only when the moon was completely covering the sun could spectators remove their glasses.

    If looking to grab memorabilia of the event, the US Postal Service has released a stamp set of the total solar eclipse. The exclusive sheet holds 16 individual stamps that reveal the moon when a finger is placed on the image of the eclipse, heating up the stamp. The original photograph will reappear once the stamp has cooled. The reverse side holds the path of the eclipse across the United States. 

    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
    <![CDATA[Solar Eclipse Brings Near Darkness to Bay Area]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:39:19 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/170819-Solar-Eclipse-NASA-AMES-11.jpgA rare solar eclipse crossed over the Bay Area on Monday, leaving droves of people staring at the sky hoping to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon.

    Photo Credit: Jennifer Gonzalez/NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Old Bay Bridge Foundations to Be Blasted Starting Next Month]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 07:17:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BayBridgeFinalTruss.png

    More vestiges of the old San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge are set to disappear.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reports that transportation officials will announce on Monday that they plan to demolish thirteen concrete islands that once held up the bridge's old east span.

    Crews will blast the foundations over six weekends beginning in September and ending in November. The Chronicle says wildlife in San Francisco Bay such as the Pacific harbor seal and California sea lion are not as prevalent during those months.

    Transportation officials plan to spare another five of the old bridge's foundations. Those may someday be turned into public spaces.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: Caltrans]]>
    <![CDATA[Suspect Arrested After Waving Knife at BART Station]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 07:40:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-24-2017-bart-train.jpg

    A male suspect was arrested in San Francisco after he waved a knife at four female victims and threatened to hurt them late Saturday night at BART's Richmond station, police said Sunday.

    At 11:48 p.m., the four victims were on the platform at Richmond station when the suspect made sexual advances toward them.

    Police said the victims turned the suspect down. The suspect then waved a knife at them and threatened them.

    Police said they found the suspect at BART's Embarcadero station in San Francisco and arrested him on suspicion of brandishing a knife and making criminal threats.

    Police said no one was injured.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area file]]>
    <![CDATA[Regular SF Muni Subway Service to Resume Monday]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 07:17:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Muni_Subway_Service_Shuts_Down_for_New_Light_Rail.jpg

    Regular Muni service will resume Monday between Montgomery and West Portal stations following the testing of five new light-rail vehicles, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials said.

    The last tests were to be completed Sunday. During the testing, the subway stations between Montgomery and West Portal were closed on weekends and early on weeknights.

    The tests on the five new trains were needed before putting them into service.

    SFMTA officials said they are expecting to put the five trains into service later this year.

    The new trains will have more reliable passenger doors, an enhanced braking system and provide better visibility for operators.

    SFMTA officials said they will replace Muni's fleet of 151 trains and add 64 trains to the system in phases over the next 10 years.

    <![CDATA[SF Mayor's Pingpong Event Unites City, Chinatown Community]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:24:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lee+pingpong-0820.jpg

    The game of pingpong helped thaw relations between the United States and China more than 40 years ago. And today, it's still being used as way to bring people together in San Francisco's Chinatown.

    Mayor Ed Lee held his seventh annual Chinatown Ping Pong Festival and Tournament on Sunday and even showed off some of his table tennis skills.

    More than 400 people registered to compete in the event at Portsmouth Square.

    Lee said table tennis is a great way to bring the community together.

    "I enjoy working with our consul general and creating the sister city relationships, the friendship cities," Lee said. "We're still an international city, and pingpong still is a great diplomatic communication."

    Lee also joked that everyone wanted a shot at him in the tournament, and he welcomed all competitors.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[The New York Times Receives Criticism After Boba Guys Piece]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 20:22:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-150575086.jpg

    With the San Francisco company Boba Guys gaining a following on both coastlines, fans are justifiably protective of the beloved Boba tea spot. This became even more prevalent when The New York Times posted an article about the popular drink.

    When first published, the piece was titled, “The Blobs in Your Tea? They’re Supposed to Be There.” It focused on the drink’s creation, highlighting the new Boba Guys location that opened up in New York City. From there, similar phrases continued throughout the article, describing the drink as “exotic” and something that is “embraced throughout the Far East.”

    It did not take long for criticism to arise.

    One Twitter user highlighted and posted screenshots of the offensive phrases, racking up over 400 likes. Anna Hezel, Senior Editor of the online magazine Taste, also pointed out the newspaper's culture-specific wording in her own satirical posts. Hezel targeted the normalcy of crushed avocados on toast, cheese stuffed pizza crust and the “blobs in Spaghetti” within American society.

    The newspaper took notice of their readers' comments. One follower, Bo Hee Kim, shared his take and The New York Times published Kim’s comment in their apology statement: “It highlights otherness rather than uniqueness, defines familiarity through a nondiverse lens, and for me evokes the unpleasant feelings of being the kid in a nondiverse neighborhood bringing ‘weird’ lunches to school.”

    The New York Times' Business Editor Ellen Pollock shared the organization’s remorse over the language and perspective the article used. The original piece has since been edited, removing the offensive phrases and titles.

    Boba Guys’ co-founder Andrew Chau spoke to Eater San Francisco regarding the issue, noting that, “When people say the wrong s---, you gotta call them on it. But if they own up to it, you gotta make peace with their apology, too.”

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Labor Market Strongest in SF, San Mateo, Marin Counties]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 09:15:07 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/now-hiring1.jpg

    The labor market in the San Francisco Bay Area is the strongest in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.

    The unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in San Francisco, 3.2 percent in San Mateo County and 3.4 percent in Marin County.

    The unemployment rate in Santa Clara and Napa counties was also below 4 percent while in Alameda and Contra Costa counties the rates were 4.3 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

    The labor market was the weakest in Solano County where the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Demonstrators in San Francisco Denounce White Supremacy]]>Sat, 19 Aug 2017 20:14:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-19-17_SF_Rally.jpg

    Demonstrators gathered in San Francisco on Saturday to rebuke white supremacy and request a name change at Justin Herman Plaza.

    The event comes on the heels of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and just one week before a San Francisco rally that is expected to draw "alt-right" figures and counter-protesters at Crissy Field.

    Many of those in attendance on Saturday chose to fight back against racist rhetoric cropping up across the country.

    "We are here to answer the call by the movement for black lives, for anti- racists," Jennifer Raviv with Showing Up for Racial Justice — San Francisco said. "Especially white folks, it's time to show up and say we reject white supremacist terror."

    The group flashed a number of signs ranging from "White Supremacy Sucks!" to "Make America HUMAN Again!" while stationed at Justin Herman Plaza, which they want to be renamed. Herman, a former city official, is accused of pushing African American people out of their homes.

    "Justin Herman should not be venerated in this city," Raviv said.
    "He has a history of displacing and creating discriminatory housing policies."

    One week from Saturday, a right-wing rally planned at Crissy Field is slated to take place, but a permit for the event is still under review. Politicians have previously condemned the event.

    "A lot of people are afraid and anxious for incredibly good reasons after we saw what happened in Charlottesville," Kate Schatz, an attendee at Saturday's event at Justin Herman Plaza, said.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Mocking ‘Adopt-a-Nazi’ Fundraiser Nets $60K Ahead of Rally]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 13:12:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-634446200.jpg

    In a single day, the Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco picked up nearly $25,000 worth of support for its unconventional opposition of a right-wing rally proposed for next weekend at Crissy Field. 

    A GoFundMe campaign titled "Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really)" aims to protest Patriot Prayer's Freedom Rally San Francisco by raising money for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit activist group that tracks civil rights, hate crimes and combats extremist groups. 

    The idea came from Cody Harris, a boardmember of the JBASF, which, according to a news release represents "500 attorneys and businesspersons of different races, backgrounds, and ethnicities" in the Bay Area.

    Harris told NBC Bay Area that he was inspired by the story of Wunsiedel, a small German town that in 2014 "decided to combat an annual neo-Nazi march through town by donating money to an anti-extremist group for every marcher."

    The parade descended on the town to honor prominent Nazi politician Rudolf Hess, who was sentenced to life in prison at the Nuremberg trials for helping plan World War II. He died in 1987 and was buried in Wunsiedel until authorities removed his remains. 

    Similarly, on the cusp of Aug. 26's rally, the JBASF is asking people to donate a penny, a dime, a quarter, a dollar or whatever they can afford to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    To Bay Area leaders, the Patriot Prayer event appears to be a harbinger of white supremacist hatred that erupted into a deadly riot last Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. However, its leader Joey Gibson denies being an "alt-right" or white nationalist group and insists that Patriot Prayer supports "freedom, and love, and peace.”

    Harris, like many others, isn't buying it.

    "These extremist groups are spoiling for a fight," he told NBC Bay Area. "They are basically trolls – they want a reaction, they want violence in the streets. It serves their purposes. Decent Americans cannot respond like that, tempting as it may be. We instead must channel our anguish and anger towards something positive. This campaign is an easy way to do that."

    The campaign, which was trending on Saturday, has gone viral. The initial goal amount was $10,000, but 895 people poured in nearly $60,000 in just two days, prompting Harris to bump the target up to $75,000. 

    Other than aiming to "raise a pile of money" for the Southern Poverty Law Center, Harris is hoping that Bay Area residents will "feel empowered to stand up against hateful and extremist agitation in a peaceful and productive way."

    According to Harris, the group of lawyers upholds the Constitution and First Amendment, which affords even Nazis the right to speak their minds. 

    However, lawyers are also tasked with defending "civil liberties, equal protection, and due process," he pointed out.

    Harris recalled being "repulsed" by the violent rally in Virginia that attracted white supremacists, neo-Nazis and members of the Klu Klux Klan, and claimed three lives. In response, Harris reaffirmed his commitment to protecting the law. 

    "White nationalists may feel emboldened, but they will never prevail," he said. "There are far more decent people dedicated to this country’s founding creed than there are white nationalists.

    "The key is to respond to them firmly and non-violently, starving them of the oxygen their ugly fire needs to spread."

    NBC Bay Area has reached out to Patriot Prayer for a comment and is awaiting a reply. 

    Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
    <![CDATA[Bay Area Faith Leaders March Against White Supremacy]]>Fri, 18 Aug 2017 23:09:43 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0818-2017-FaithMarch.jpg

    Bay Area faith leaders marched through San Francisco's Mission District unified against white supremacy displayed in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    "The violence and hate of these white supremacy groups will not stop us from praising and thanking God for the beautiful diversity of our people," Father Richard Smith of St. John's said during the rally.

    A crowd of about 100 gathered at 16th and Mission streets, embracing diversity and rejecting a planned "Patriot Prayer" rally at Crissy Field next weekend. Some are concerned there will be counter protests and violence.

    Faith groups are organizing alternative events in hopes of preventing conflict.

    "Show you're not going to be complacent to racism and the white supremacy message they are trying to provide to the country," San Francisco-resident Gladys Vilchez said.

    The National Park Service initially gave conditional approval to the permit for the Patriot Prayer event, but it is now taking a second look at the application. NPS said it will make a final decision next week.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Defense in Kate Steinle Case Requests Unusual Change in Case]]>Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:44:39 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Defense_in_Kate_Steinle_Case_Requests_Unusual_Change_in_Case.jpg

    A critical new development in a case drawing national attention. The defense team representing the man accused of killing Kate Steinle is asking the judge to make an unusual change to the case. Sam Brock reports.]]>
    <![CDATA[Park Officials to Review Warning Signs on Ocean Beach]]>Fri, 18 Aug 2017 23:52:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/0818-2017-BeachDangers.jpg

    More than a million people visit San Francisco’s Ocean Beach every year but few of them realize just how dangerous the waters can be. Four people died in the waters at Ocean Beach last year. Two of the victims were teenage boys from Vallejo who were just wading near the shore.

    “I think this is one of the most dangerous beaches in America,” said Kim Chambers, a world famous ocean swimmer who does freestyles daily San Francisco Bay

    A couple of years ago, Chambers swam 30 miles from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge through shark-infested waters.

    “You wouldn’t get me dipping my toe in the water here today,” she said, eyeing Ocean Beach on a warm day in July. “This is not a swimming beach.”

    That’s a message the National Park Service – the agency in charge of Ocean Beach – echoed in a news conference earlier this summer.

    But some people argue the message is murky. Swimming is allowed at Ocean Beach, and although signs posted up and down beach warn of rip currents and drownings, they don’t explicitly state that people shouldn’t be swimming.

    That could now be changing. In just the past month, prompted by inquiries from NBC Bay area, federal officials committed to taking a closer look at the signs to determine if the language is strong enough.

    Retired San Francisco Police Officer Henry Kirk walks the beach every day, and he’s convinced officials have to do more to stop unsuspecting people from getting swept out to sea.

    “Too many lives are being lost,” he said. Pointing to the warnings signs, he added, “It is because it doesn’t say ‘no swimming.’”

    As a former cop, he knows that when an adult puts a child in danger, he or she can be charged under Child Endangerment laws. But on the beach, he sees people allowing their toddlers to play in the surf all the time.

    The rip currents at Ocean Beach are deceptive. Huge amounts of sand from an ancient river delta migrate along the ocean floor, constantly forming deep troughs. A spot that seems like easy wading one day, can haul swimmers straight out to sea the next.

    Once they’re out in the open ocean, swimmers can get hit by yet another current moving southward. It’s like a freight train, fueled by billions of gallons of Sacramento River water rushing out of the Golden Gate.

    And if that isn’t enough, frigid water in the low 50’s can bring on hypothermia in minutes. As body temperature drops, the heart and other organs can’t work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can kill.

    Since 1997, at least 11 people died at San Francisco beaches that are patrolled by the National Park Service. Nearly 430 people have been rescued. This data comes from the United States Lifesaving Association, which tracks beach deaths and rescues across the country. While it is unclear how many of the incidents occurred at Ocean Beach, the consensus among officials is that Ocean Beach is the most treacherous of San Francisco’s beaches.

    There are no lifeguards watching from guard towers. Instead, there are National Park Service Beach Patrol Rangers: two pickup trucks with two rescue swimmers in each. They warn people who are wading too far away from shore to be careful. Rangers issued some 2,500 warnings to would-be swimmers last year.

    “It’s hard to fence off the world from people at every dangerous turn,” said Doug Armstrong, supervisor of the Ocean Rescue Unit.

    “I think just warning people of the dangers is appropriate,” he added.

    When asked at what point the National Park Service should step in and say people shouldn’t be swimming at Ocean Beach, Armstrong directed questions to federal officials who make those decisions.

    Questions from the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit may be prompting a change. On Thursday, the National Park Service’s local “sign committee” discussed clarifying the message on the signs. The proposed text change would advise people not to swim, surf or wade in the water, and would let people know they are entering at their own risk.

    But if you look at some tourist guides to San Francisco, which is where many visitors learn about Ocean Beach, many won’t tell you it’s deadly. Some don’t mention Ocean Beach at all, while others have warnings like, “casual swimmers beware,” or “it can get chilly.”

    Howard Picket, Chief Marketing Officer for San Francisco Travel, the most prominent marketing organization for the city, says his group’s messaging is fair and balanced and doesn’t put anyone at risk.

    “We want people to come to the city and be safe,” he said, “and that’s the context of how we want all our messaging.”

    San Francisco Travel’s website warns of cold water that can be hazardous and says “extreme caution is advised” – but the message stops short of stating that Ocean Beach is not a swimming beach.

    When asked if the language should be stronger Pickett said, “If somebody felt like we ought to be more strenuous in our messaging, obviously we would do that, but right now we haven’t had those types of dialogues. No one has come to us and said absolutely tell people they should not swim in Ocean Beach.”

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

    Follow Liz Wagner on Facebook and Twitter.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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    <![CDATA[FAA Changes San Francisco Landing Rules After Close Call]]>Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:36:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-17-2017-air-canada.jpg

    Federal officials have issued new rules for nighttime landings and control-tower staffing at San Francisco International Airport after an Air Canada jet nearly struck planes on the ground last month.

    The new procedures will apply when a runway parallel to a plane's designated runway is closed, as it was on July 7, possibly contributing to the Air Canada pilots' confusion.

    When an adjacent runway is shut down at night, air traffic controllers will no longer let pilots make so-called visual approaches to land. Instead, they must use instrument landing systems or satellite-based systems to line up for the correct runway.

    Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said Thursday that the agency also will require two controllers in the airport tower during busy late-night periods. Only one controller was working during the Air Canada incident.

    The FAA is making changes after two Air Canada pilots mistakenly lined up a jet to land on a taxiway, sort of a side road that four other planes were using to reach the runway.

    The Air Canada pilots were cleared to land on runway 28-right. A parallel runway, 28-left, was closed and its lights were turned off.

    Instead of landing on the runway, the Airbus A320 flew over the taxiway for about a quarter-mile, dipping as low as 59 feet above the ground - barely higher than the tails of the other planes, which were filled with hundreds of passengers ready to take off.

    The Air Canada pilots aborted their landing just in time to avoid disaster. They circled around and eventually landed safely.

    Runway 28-left has since reopened, but runways are routinely closed overnight for maintenance work, said airport spokesman Doug Yakel.

    The incident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. It said the pilots told investigators that they didn't recall seeing planes on the taxiway ``but that something did not look right to them.''

    Air Canada declined to comment and would not say whether the pilots were still flying for the airline.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
    <![CDATA[Tech Companies Banishing Extremists After Charlottesville]]>Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:49:10 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/techcologos_1200x675.jpg

    It took bloodshed in Charlottesville to get tech companies to do what civil rights groups have been calling for for years: take a firmer stand against accounts used to promote hate and violence.

    In the wake of the deadly clash at a white-nationalist rally last weekend in Virginia, major companies such as Google, Facebook and PayPal are banishing a growing cadre of extremist groups and individuals for violating service terms.

    What took so long? For one thing, tech companies have long seen themselves as bastions of free expression.

    But the Charlottesville rally seemed to have a sobering effect. It showed how easily technology can be used to organize and finance such events, and how extreme views online can translate into violence offline.

    "There is a difference between freedom of speech and what happened in Charlottesville," said Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, an online racial justice group. The battle of ideas is "different than people who show up with guns to terrorize communities."


    Tech companies are in a bind. On one hand, they want to be open to as many people as possible so they can show them ads or provide rides, apartments or financial services. On the other hand, some of these users turn out to be white supremacists, terrorists or child molesters.

    Keegan Hankes, analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center's intelligence project, said his group has been trying for more than a year to get Facebook and PayPal to shut down these accounts. Even now, he said, the two companies are taking action only in the most extreme cases.

    "They have policies against violence, racism, harassment," said Hankes, whose center monitors hate groups and extremism. "The problem is that there has been no enforcement."

    Case in point: The neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer has been around since 2013. But it wasn't effectively kicked off the internet until it mocked the woman killed while protesting the white nationalists in Charlottesville.


    PayPal said groups that advocate racist views have no place on its service, but added that there is a "fine line" when it comes to balancing freedom of expression with taking a stand against violent extremism.

    Other companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google struggle with the same balancing act. The fine line is constantly moving and being tested.

    Ahead of the rally, Airbnb barred housing rentals to people it believed were traveling to participate. Before and after Charlottesville, PayPal cut off payments to groups that promote hate and violence. GoDaddy and Google yanked the domain name for Daily Stormer following the rally. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are removing known hate groups from their services, and the music streaming service Spotify dropped what it considers hate bands.

    "Companies are trying to figure out what the right thing is to do and how to do it," said Steve Jones, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who focuses on communication technology. What happens from here is "partly going to depend on the individual leadership at these companies and company culture — and probably resources, too."


    While traditional brands such as Tiki had no way of knowing that their torches were being bought for the rally, tech companies have tools to identify and ban people with extremist views.

    That's thanks to the troves of data they store on people and to their ability to easily switch off access to users. Airbnb users can link to social media profiles, and the company said it used its existing background checks and "input from the community" to identify users who didn't align with its standards.

    Yet these services also allow for anonymity, which makes their jobs more difficult. Banned people can sign up again with a different email address, something they can easily obtain anonymously.

    Facebook spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja said hate groups also know the site's policies and try to keep things just benign enough to ensure they are not in violation.

    For instance, the event page for the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville looked fairly innocuous. Budhraja said there was nothing on the page that would suggest it was created by a hate organization. It has since been removed.

    Facebook's technology is designed to automatically flag posts that are on the absolute extreme and clearly violate the company's policies. They are sometimes removed before users can even see them. What Facebook can't leave to automation are posts, events and groups in that ever-growing gray area.


    The First Amendment offers hate groups a lot of speech protection, but it applies only to government and public settings. A private company is typically free to set its own standards.

    Christopher Cantwell, a self-described white nationalist who has been labeled an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, said he was banned from Facebook, Instagram and PayPal because the companies are trying to silence him for his views.

    "Everybody is going through extraordinary lengths to make sure we are not heard," Cantwell told The Associated Press .

    Even Cloudflare, a security company that prides itself on providing services regardless of their content, terminated Daily Stormer on Wednesday. This appears to be the site's final blow.

    Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin said in an email to the AP that these private companies are "de factor monopolies and oligopolies" and should be regulated as "critical infrastructure."

    The Daily Stormer and other banned groups could move to darker corners of the web, where extreme views are welcome. But this won't help with recruitment and won't allow them to disseminate their views as broadly as they could on Facebook or Twitter.

    "These are the platforms everyone is using," Hankes said. "They don't want to be pushed to the margins because they want influence."

    Because of that, the industry's efforts might just be a game of whack-a-mole, with extremist views returning, perhaps in different guises, once public outrage dies down.

    Associated Press Writers Michael Casey in Concord, New Hampshire, and Michael Kunzelman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, contributed to this report.

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: AP]]>
    <![CDATA[New Salesforce Tower Fuels Concerns Over SF's Changing Face]]>Thu, 17 Aug 2017 09:20:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-17-17-SALESFORCE-TOWER1.jpg

    More than 60 stories above the ground, construction workers climb makeshift stairs and cross narrow steel planks to put the finishing touches on Salesforce Tower, now San Francisco's tallest building.

    The $1.1 billion skyscraper has already changed the city's skyline, dwarfing old favorites like Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid. Unlike in New York or Chicago, the new 1,070-foot high-rise is a gargantuan presence in San Francisco.

    But Salesforce Tower and a massive adjoining transit center also embody a larger transition in this liberal West Coast city — one that pits the technology industry against San Francisco's charming neighborhoods.

    Tech giant Salesforce.com, which provides online software for business, bought the naming rights to the 61-story steel and concrete building, adding to concerns that the tech economy is steamrolling through the city.

    "All the tech and people the industry is bringing in . you can work two jobs and barely make a living for your rent and other costs," said Saul Ramirez, 25, who commutes over an hour daily to his San Francisco restaurant job from San Pablo after high rent pushed him from the city.

    Salesforce Tower is City Hall's golden child, but the edifice has had to defend itself from the start. Former mayor and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has said she's annoyed the skyscraper soars far above the downtown height limits she pushed for in the 1970s and '80s.

    Salesforce Tower is more than 200 feet taller than the Transamerica Pyramid, which previously was San Francisco's tallest building.

    "A lot of people think that the city's defining characteristics are the hills, the water and the blue skies," said John King, urban design critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Salesforce will occupy more than half of the building's square footage, while consulting and investment powerhouses like Bain & Company, CBRE and Accenture will lease a portion of the remaining space. When the connecting Salesforce Transit Center opens, developers estimate the bus, train and promised high-speed rail station will serve 100,000 passengers on an average weekday.

    "Cities evolve and change and grow everywhere in the world," said Boston Properties senior project manager Mirjam Link, noting the corporate high-rise will house up to 6,000 employees after construction wraps up in October.

    Fred Werner, lead instructor of the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco, said he loves both the city's natural landscape and its skyline. San Francisco still has many areas with strict height limits, and concentrating growth in urban centers is the best way to accommodate an influx of people, Werner said.

    Kate Borden, a 17-year San Francisco resident, has become a fan as she's watched the tower go up from her apartment window.

    "It actually ends up reflecting the sunset, and I think it's really beautiful," said Borden, 37.

    Salesforce Tower and Los Angeles' Wilshire Grand Center are competing for the title of "tallest building west of Chicago," a designation the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has yet to award. The 1,100-foot (335-meter) Los Angeles high-rise wins by sheer height, but some argue its 295-foot (90-meter) decorative spire shouldn't count.

    The top of Salesforce Tower has generated controversy of its own, with nine unoccupied floors set aside as canvas for LED artist Jim Campbell to display low-resolution images captured throughout the day by cameras placed around the city.

    The electronic art display will be like a "carnival in the sky," said San Francisco Planning Commissioner Kathrin Moore, who believes the art makes the high-rise look like a children's playground.

    Link believes criticism of the building will wane once the lights go on.

    "Everybody will love the tower," Link said. "The art is amazing."

    Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>