- S.F. firefighter dies, 2nd fighting for life (SF Chronicle)
A sudden flash of 1,000-degree heat at a house fire Thursday claimed the life of a veteran San Francisco firefighter who was trapped with his colleagues in the hillside home. Lt. Vincent Perez, 48, died trying to extinguish a fire at the four-story home in Diamond Heights. He was caught in a "flashover" - an unexpected explosion caused when temperatures rise so high the contents of a room spontaneously ignite, Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
- Caltrain board approves $103.8 million budget with no service cuts (San Mateo County Times)
Caltrain's board approved a $103.8 million budget Thursday that doesn't include the draconian service cuts and station closures the agency had warned of earlier in the year. The unanimous vote silences for now the public outcry and doomsday predictions from officials that emerged after Caltrain revealed it was facing a $30.2 million budget gap. The shortfall could have translated into shuttering up to half its stations and eliminating services such as weekend trains, the agency warned.
- Ed Lee plans to pass tree costs to property owner (SF Chronicle)
...Faced with having to close a projected $306 million deficit, the mayor wants to trim $600,000 from the city's cost for street tree care next year. That would amount to a 27 percent decrease from this year's budget of $2.2 million. The mayor's solution: dump responsibility for 23,715 of the 38,559 street trees under the city's jurisdiction. That means more property owners will be on the hook for pruning trees, caring for them when they're sick or damaged, and paying for sidewalk repair caused by root damage - costs that could be substantial.
The cost of parking in downtown San Jose is probably going up, and that worries people like Rick Fleming, general manager of the Flames coffee shop. "It's going to hurt our business,'' said Fleming, whose restaurant is next to the Fourth Street Garage, one of five public garages where rates would rise by 25 and 33 percent. In addition, some free parking on weekends and holidays would now cost money.
California Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday he would likely ask federal judges for more time to reduce the state's prison population by more than 30,000 inmates. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that California's overcrowded prisons violate the constitutional rights of state prisoners, and gave officials two years to slash the number of inmates. The Brown administration has to submit a plan to a three-judge panel by next week, outlining how it intends to move those prisoners out of state facilities. But Brown said Thursday the timelines offered by the high court were unrealistic. "It's going to take more than two years," Brown told reporters Thursday.
Mayor Marie Gilmore has said an investigation will take place into the death of Raymond Zack, who died Memorial Day as police and firefighters watched while he stood in the bay waters off Shoreline Drive. The 52-year-old Zack, who suffered from depression, waded into the water about 11:30 a.m. and a passer-by pulled his body packed into shore about an hour later. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Alameda Hospital.
His family believe he succumbed to hypothermia. "We are absolutely going to do an investigation," Gilmore said. "And we are planning to do it in as transparent a way as possible."
State health officials cited three hospitals in the Bay Area, and nine others statewide, Thursday for violations serious enough to injure or kill patients. The state Department of Public Health hit Kaiser Permanente's San Francisco hospital with a $50,000 fine for leaving an electrode used to monitor a fetus inside the mother after a cesarean section in November 2008, an error that led to infection.
Crime in San Francisco peaks at midnight, whereas the safest time is 5 a.m. Assault and theft are the most common crimes in the city. South of Market, the Tenderloin, the Mission and Civic Center are the most dangerous neighborhoods. And the city's most crime-ridden intersection? No surprise here. It's Sixth and Mission.
California's controller told lawmakers Thursday that he won't pay them if a budget deal isn't reached by midmonth, while Gov. Jerry Brown said talks are at a critical point. Brown's negotiations with Republican lawmakers, though sputtering for months, appear to have picked up in recent weeks, with the rarely met constitutional deadline looming June 15.
Twenty years after Jaycee Lee Dugard was abducted while walking to her school bus stop, the couple who kidnapped and raped her and stole her childhood were sentenced Thursday to prison terms that could keep them behind bars for the rest of their lives. Phillip Garrido, a 60-year-old serial predator, was sentenced to 431 years to life in prison. His 55-year-old wife, Nancy, was sentenced to 36 years to life and cannot be paroled until she is in her 70s.
The state Assembly approved a bill Thursday that would give state regulators the power to reject or modify excessive health insurance premium increases similar to the way auto and homeowner insurance is regulated in California. Lawmakers voted 47-28 to approve the measure after Republican legislators walked off the floor in protest. AB52 now moves to the state Senate.
This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ominous public warning about a rare pneumonia that killed five previously healthy gay men in Los Angeles. A year later in 1982, the real cause of the deaths was discovered — a comprehensive immune system disorder called AIDS — and no one since has forgotten about it.
Giants general manager Brian Sabean on Thursday tore into Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins for his devastating hit on Buster Posey, saying the Giants will have a "long memory" of the play and everyone in the organization will be happy if Cousins is through as a major-league player. In equally strong comments, Cousins' agent, Matt Sosnick, told The Chronicle that the hit was neither dirty nor intentional, and part of the game. He also said the Marlins had to get Major League Baseball security involved because of death threats to Cousins.
...The unveiling of a memorial was a long time coming. But the solemn event in remembrance of the mass murder and suicide led by the cult’s founder, Jim Jones, also highlighted a longstanding conflict between two groups of survivors. The memorial, a series of four granite plaques installed over a grassy slope where hundreds of anonymous bodies were buried years ago, lists the names of the 918 who died in Jonestown — including Jones. Many survivors have taken comfort in the memorial, but others have called it tantamount to memorializing Hitler and have brought a lawsuit to close it down.