Sunday, December 22, 2013
San Francisco transit, union leaders reach deal
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit officials and labor union leaders announced a new deal early Saturday, saying the final unresolved issue in their ongoing dispute has been resolved.
The transit system and its two largest unions have been involved in months-long negotiations that stalled recently over paid medical leave time for employees.
BART officials and labor leaders had approved a deal in October after six months of negotiations and two strikes that caused problems for hundreds of thousands of people who ride the nation's fifth-largest commuter rail system.
That deal fell apart last month when BART officials said the provision giving workers six weeks of paid annual leave to care for sick family members had been mistakenly included in the contract.
BART General Manager Grace Crunican said in a statement early Saturday that she will recommend the company's board of directors approve the new agreement as soon as possible.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant said early Saturday that a deal had been reached, but she would not elaborate on the details until union members have had a chance to see the agreement. She said the deal had been reached after overnight negotiations.
Service Employees International Union Local 1021 BART chapter President John Arantes said in a statement on his union's website that it was a "fair resolution that would close months of drawn out contract talks." He did not elaborate. The union office was closed early Saturday, and The Associated Press could not immediately reach an official for comment.
Both unions are expected to bring the matter to their members for a vote.
The BART statement says the contract dispute was resolved with solutions that either are administrative or can be covered within the transit system's existing budget.
California police seek teens who shot teacher
(Information in the following story is from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com)
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Police are searching for four teenage boys they say shot and injured a teacher who fought back during an attempted robbery at a central California high school.
The Fresno Bee reports that Steven Guerrero was shot twice Thursday in a classroom at Edison High in Fresno. He teaches athletic training part time.
The newspaper reported Friday that the teacher was in fair condition. A hospital said Saturday that Guerrero was no longer listed as a patient.
Deputy Police Chief Pat Farmer says the armed teens entered an unlocked classroom and demanded a laptop computer.
The teacher allowed them to take it but fought back when one of the teens struck him with a 25-pound free weight.
Farmer says Guerrero knocked a handgun away, but a suspect got it first and shot him.
Pa. pastor defrocked over gay wedding offered job
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A United Methodist pastor from central Pennsylvania who was defrocked after officiating his son's gay wedding has been invited by a California Methodist bishop to serve in her region.
Frank Schaefer says he is deciding whether to accept the offer from Bishop Minerva G. Carcano (car-CAHN'-yo) to join the California-Pacific Annual Conference. The region includes California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands.
Carcano does not have the authority to restore his credentials but he says he would have the same rights.
Schaefer on Friday appealed the decision of the church's regional Board of Ordained Ministry to defrock him.
A church jury suspended him for 30 days last month and told him to decide whether he would uphold the church's Book of Discipline or resign. Schaefer refused to surrender his credentials.
Police say suspect in deadly LA shooting had PTSD
(Information in the following story is from: KABC-TV, http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police say a blood-covered man who was tackled and arrested after a deadly apartment shooting is an Iraq war veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Thirty-two-year-old Ricardo Tapia was arrested Friday night after police were sent to a Reseda apartment complex by reports that a man had opened fire in several directions.
KABC-TV says the apartment manager was critically injured and her husband was killed.
Police say they found Tapia unarmed but shirtless and covered in blood. They say he charged officers and it took several to subdue him. He remains jailed.
Police say that Tapia suffers from PTSD as a result of multiple Middle East deployments.
There's no word on a motive for the attack but some witnesses say they saw him shouting incoherently.
Southern CA teacher charged with molesting 13 boys
TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man has been indicted on charges that he molested 13 boys he came into contact with at an El Segundo school and in Plumas and Orange counties.
The Torrance Daily Breeze reports 28-year-old Jeffrey Simonek of Torrance has been in custody since being arrested Nov. 26, shortly after being indicted. He is being held on $20 million bail.
Court papers show police opened an investigation in August 2012 after someone alleged two boys were sexually assaulted in Simonek's fifth-grade classroom at Center Street School.
Investigators said Simonek was also suspected of similar crimes against boys at a Northern California summer camp.
Police said Simonek taught and volunteered at several other schools and camps in Los Angeles and Orange counties and sometimes babysat for parents.
War veteran suspected of killing 1 Calif. shooting
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police say a gunman suspected of killing a man and critically wounding a woman in the San Fernando Valley is an Iraq war veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Officer Norma Eisenman said Saturday that 32-year-old Ricardo Javier Tapia has shown irrational behavior following multiple deployments to the Middle East.
He was arrested Friday night after firing in several directions from a Reseda apartment complex, striking two people.
KABC-TV reports that when officers arrived, Tapia was covered in blood and charged at them with his hands up. He was tackled and subdued with a stun gun.
A witness, Erik Correa, told the station he heard the suspect ranting about Hitler, President Obama and terrorists.
Tapia was being held on $1 million bail.
Ex-S. Cal councilman jailed after misusing funds
(Information in the following story is from: The Sun, http://www.sbsun.com)
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A former San Bernardino city councilman who misused more than $74,000 in campaign donations has been sentenced to 90 days in jail.
The San Bernardino Sun says Chas Kelley was sentenced Friday. He got credit for a day served and can serve the rest on weekends under a work-release program.
Prosecutors say Kelley filed false campaign statements from 2006 to 2012 to conceal his use of campaign funds to pay personal expenses.
Kelley pleaded guilty in October to felony perjury. The plea deal required him to resign from the City Council seat he held for a decade. He's ineligible for future office.
Kelley also was fined about $280.
His attorney, Greg Kassel, says Kelley is remorseful.
GARAGE SALE PORN
Child porn found on Calif. garage sale computer
(Information in the following story is from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California man who gave away a broken computer at a garage sale has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison after child pornography was found on the discarded device.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the person who got the computer from 34-year-old Amado Hernandez of Chico repaired the machine and then contacted authorities after seeing what had been left behind on its hard drive.
The FBI later examined the computer and found 450 sexually explicit photographs and 250 videos of children.
Agents arrested Hernandez almost three years ago on a cruise ship in San Diego where he was working and found pornographic images of children on the laptop he had with him, the Bee says.
Hernandez pleaded guilty last year to one count of receiving child pornography. He was sentenced Friday.
LA STATION-HOMELESS BAN
Homeless people banned from LA's Union Station
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The homeless are being pushed out of Union Station under a program that limits seats in the Los Angeles train station to ticketed passengers.
The Los Angeles Times reports the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority began the crackdown Dec. 9 as the agency embarks on a major renovation of the structure.
About 135 homeless people were staying in the terminal per night last summer.
Ken Pratt, who oversees property management of the station, said passengers were complaining of transients occupying bathrooms, sprawling across seats and panhandling.
He said the MTA tried closing the station in the wee hours for thorough cleaning but bedbugs, scabies and other unsanitary conditions persisted.
Critics said move blocks public access to the building, and pushes people with nowhere else to go out into the cold.
MALIBU HIGH-TOXIC CLEANUP
Malibu High to clean rooms amid cancer concerns
(Information in the following story is from: Santa Monica Daily Press , http://www.smdp.com/)
MALIBU, Calif. (AP) — Malibu High School buildings will be cleaned and tested during the winter holiday break after a cancer-causing chemical was found in some rooms.
The Santa Monica Daily Press says dust in some rooms will be cleaned and air samples taken to ensure their safety before classes resume next month.
In October, students from 11 classrooms were switched to other rooms after complaints of health problems by some staff and parents, including three diagnosed with cancer.
Later testing found elevated levels of cancer-causing PCBs in some windowsill caulking. The district said it's not an immediate threat but a cleanup is planned.
The main concern is that particles of deteriorating caulking could get into the air. The winter cleanup is designed to deal with that before the shuttered rooms can reopen.
Young Mexican team takes hoop dreams to S. Calif.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A team of Mexican basketball players dubbed the "barefoot giants of the mountains" have come face to face with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 7- to 11-year-olds from the impoverished Oaxaca (wuh-HAH'-kah) area got to greet the pros on Friday during the young team's first Southern California tour.
The boys are so poor they usually play barefoot at home. They recently won an international tournament where they got their nickname.
In California, they'll visit Disneyland and the beach and play various church and recreational teams during their visit. They arrived Tuesday and will leave after Christmas.
The boys are smaller than their U.S. rivals but one player says by working harder and surer, they can reach their dreams.
SFPD ramps up security for last Candlestick game
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco police are ramping up security for the last 49ers game at Candlestick Park.
Police Chief Greg Suhr told KGO-TV fans can expect 50 percent more officers at Monday's game than a regular night game. He said police expect fans to be exuberant as they bid farewell to the stadium, but they won't tolerate rowdiness or drunken behavior. He said fans trying to steal a piece of the stadium as a memento will be arrested.
The Niners, which began playing at The Stick in 1971, will face Atlanta in its last game there. The team will move into its new stadium in Santa Clara next year.