- Oakland police union OKs new deal including officer pension payments (Oakland Tribune)
Officers of the Oakland police union voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new contract with the city, agreeing to pay 9 percent into their pensions in exchange for a promise of no layoffs until 2015, officials announced Thursday. The City Council approved a budget last week closing a $58 million deficit and relying on contributions from five city unions. Far and away, the most contentious issue in negotiations with all five was whether police would be willing to pay into their pensions, as almost all other city employees do.
- Man shot to death by BART officer identified (SF Chronicle)
The man shot to death by a BART police officer at a San Francisco station was identified Thursday as 45-year-old Charles Blair Hill, apparently a transient. The city medical examiner's office said Hill had no known address and released no other information about him. Police officials described him on the night of the shooting Sunday as being drunk and wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and military-style fatigue pants.
- Muni’s Central Subway unnecessary, says civil grand jury (SF Examiner)
Muni’s Central Subway plan ignores major transit corridors, has funding fraught with uncertainties and will add to the agency’s already-strained long-term budget shortfall, a civil grand jury report said. The report, released Thursday after seven months of research and interviews, found major faults in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s plan to extend its underground train service from the Financial District to Chinatown at a cost of $1.6 billion.
Twenty Alameda firefighters are now trained as rescue swimmers and an additional 16 are expected to undergo the training, according to interim fire Chief Mike D'Orazi. The fire department also now owns a 14-foot rescue boat, which is expected to be in service by Sept. 1. Firefighters will be trained on how to operate the boat later this month. The training is expected to last through August.
Two people aboard a small plane were killed Thursday night after the aircraft took off from the Watsonville airport and crashed into an empty administrative office of Watsonville Community Hospital, bursting into flames, authorities said. Just before 7:30 p.m., a single-engine Mooney registered in Santa Cruz took off from Watsonville Municipal Airport and quickly nose-dived into an office of the adjacent hospital, the FAA said. There were no reports of any injuries on the ground.
...Players were visibly shaken after a fan sitting in the left-field bleachers died from injuries suffered in a 20-foot fall during the second inning at Rangers Ballpark. The fan was later identified as Brownwood, Texas, firefighter Shannon Stone by several news sources...Oakland's Conor Jackson lined a foul ball into the left-field corner that ricocheted into fair territory. Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton retrieved the ball and tossed it up to a male fan sitting in the first row behind the out-of-town scoreboard that's built into the left-field wall. The man lunged forward, and as he caught the ball with his bare hands, tumbled over a railing and fell headfirst to the concrete below.
...The odds of finding the missing men alive decline sharply as the days pass. But relatives say the fishermen's outdoor experience and resourcefulness, as well as calm seas and water and air temperatures in the 70s to 80s, give reason to hope they're still alive. "Survivability charts" have been drawn up for each of the missing men, said Coast Guard public affairs specialist Levi Read. These charts calculate survival odds based on a missing person's weight, height, age, sea temperatures, wind, wave height and other factors, said Lt. Mark Orlando, a Coast Guard pilot who has flown rescue missions with C-130s before, although he's not involved in the Baja operation. Read declined to state what the charts reveal.
A New Jersey man who has worked in high-end restaurants in New York City flew to San Francisco on the Fourth of July, walked into a Union Square gallery the next day and stole a Pablo Picasso pencil drawing from the wall, police said Thursday in announcing his arrest. Mark Lugo, 30, who lives in Hoboken, N.J., had Picasso's "Tête de Femme (Head of a Woman)" ready for shipment when San Francisco police arrested him at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at an apartment complex in Napa, where he was visiting friends, police said.
California's death penalty could be repealed by voters under a measure that is backed by two unlikely people: the author of the 1978 ballot initiative that greatly expanded the scope of capital crimes and a former San Quentin warden who oversaw four executions. Both testified Thursday at a legislative hearing on a bill that would ask voters to repeal the death penalty and instead make the maximum penalty life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The sentences of the 714 inmates on Death Row also would be converted to life without parole.
The town of Tiburon has become the first municipality in Marin County to ban smoking in all large apartment complexes. The Tiburon Town Council voted unanimously Wednesday to adopt the new ordinance, which will allow smokers a three-year grace period before the ban takes effect.
Dick Williams, the gruff taskmaster who managed the A's to two World Series championships in the 1970s, died Thursday at a hospital near his Henderson, Nev., home of an aortic aneurysm. Williams, who was 82, managed six major league teams and won 1,571 games in a 21-year career and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. He led three franchises to the World Series -- one of just two managers ever to do it (Bill McKechnie was the other). The championships that he won with Oakland in 1972 and 1973 were the Bay Area's first major professional sports titles.
The former Oakland homicide detective who led the oft-criticized probe of journalist Chauncey Bailey's 2007 slaying sued the city of Oakland for discrimination and retaliation this week in Alameda County Superior Court, even as his federal discrimination lawsuit against the city continues.
An economic report released Thursday provided some good news for grape growers still recovering from a rain-soaked spring. Global wine prices, including local markets on the North Coast, are continuing to strengthen as the economy recovers and consumers sip their way through the surplus of wine, according to the Rabobank Wine Quarterly report.
Negotiations are settled with the city of Oakland for library services for Piedmonters, who do not have a library of their own. The City Council on Monday voted 4-0, with Councilwoman Margaret Fujioka recused because she works for the city of Oakland, to pay Oakland $350,471 for 2010-11 for library services. Originally, Oakland was asking Piedmont to pay nearly double that amount to fall in line with what Oaklanders have to pay for service.