Top 10 Bay Area News Stories of 2012

The top ten best Bay Area news stories range from a sheriff in trouble with the law to a Giants World Series victory

It's good to look back over the year to remember what stories captivated audiences and made bold headlines.

NBC Bay Area has put together a list of ten stories, in chronological order, which were significant to the Bay Area, and had compelling video and images, as well.

These news picks are in addition to the original, investigative pieces that NBC Bay Area has produced as well.

     All those investigative pieces can be found here.

Here's our look back over 2012:


It was a New Year's Eve fight that turned San Francisco's political world upside down. Former supervisor-turned-sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was accused by his wife, Eliana Lopez, of domestic abuse. The telenovela star cried to a neighbor and provided a widely seen video of the bruise on her arm. Mirkarimi ended up pleading guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment charge but ended up being able to keep his job. After a year of drama, there are still some calling for Mirkarimi's ouster. Here is some video of that bruise.


Sierra Lamar, a 16-year-old from Morgan Hill, was snatched March 16 on her way to school. Her body has still not been found. In May, Antolin Garcia Torres was arrested for her kidnap and murder, and is now in custody on three additional attempted kidnapping charges stemming from 2009. Sierra's story captivated the Bay Area and beyond. A small band of volunteers has not missed a weekend searching for working out of a voluteer city set up out of a local school. The case has also been featured on "America's Most Wanted." Here is a video of a preview of that show.

On April 2, gunman One Goh killed seven people and injured three at Oikos University, a Korean Christian nursing school. The 43-year-old Goh was a former student at the school who was angry at the administration for asking him to leave the school because of his disciplinary problems. He told a KPIX reporter that he was sorry for what he had done. Goh awaits trial on multiple murder charges. Here is team coverage on the day of the shooting.

On April 19, the 49ers football team broke ground in Santa Clara to build a modern state-of-the-art football stadium. The high tech and ultra-green facility is expected to cost $1.2 billion, be completed by 2014, and replace the aging stadium in San Francisco's Candlestick Park. Here is some raw video of the topping off ceremony at the stadium.

Summer Olympics. The Bay Area produced many athletes for the London Games, including Cal swimming champ Dana Vollmer who took gold and San Jose State's Judoka, Marti Malloy, who brought home a bronze medal. Here is Malloy taking to NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai after her win.

A massive fire broke out at the Chevron refinery on Aug. 6 in Richmond. Gas prices spiked, investigations were launched and about 5,000 people have filed suit against the company alleging the refinery – with a history of at least 19 fires, spills and explosions since 1989 – forced thousands of people to seek hospital treatment for respiratory problems after a toxic plume from the refinery endangered public health. Chevron is also accused of delaying public health warnings around the refinery after the explosion. Here is raw video from the day of the fire.

Far away in Benghazi, the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in a terrorist attack along with three other embassy members on September 11. The ambassador, Chris Stevens, was a Bay Area resident, who went to Piedmont High School, as well as the University of California Hastings College of the Law and UC Berkeley. There is still political fallout from his death, with blame being assigned to the State Department for not realizing the terrorist dangers there. Here is an exclusive interview by NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez with Stevens' mother, Mary Stevens and her husband, Robert Commanday, who both live in Oakland's Montclair neighborhood.

The San Francisco Giants had a magical season culminating in the team's World Series win on Oct. 28. The season included Buster Posey winning Most Valuable Player and Matt Cain pitching a perfect game. Here is a video of the highlights of the Giants Victory celebration in San Francisco.

America's Cup yachters practiced their boating skills throughout the summer in San Francisco, and on Oct. 16, an $8-million catamaran used by Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA capsized. No one was hurt, but the capsize set the crew back a bit. Here is raw video of the boat capsizing.


There was a presidential election, where a divided country ended up re-electing Barack Obama for four more years. But there were plenty of state issues with local implications, and Bay Area races that were significant, too. Gov. Jerry Brown's Prop. 30  passed, much to the delight of schools which stand to benefit from the taxes. Veteran Fremont-based Congressman Pete Stark was ousted from his seat after 40 years in office. In Oakland, longtime city councilman Ignacio De La Fuente also lost. A controversial Richmond soda tax lost, but re-ignited the issue of sugary drinks to the national table. Here is is video of Brown voting on Nov. 6 in Oakland.


This story - and more importantly - the exclusive video obtained by NBC Bay Area reporter Jodi Hernandez deserve a shout out. The case has been dubbed the "dirty cop" case of Contra Costa County, where members of the CNET team were charged in an embarrassing federal corruption case of cops stealing drugs from evidence and selling it for profit. This undercover video was shot by the informant at the center of the East Bay drug case.

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