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Morning Splash: Possible BART Protest; 2 Men Charged in iPhone Case; East Bay Foreclosures Down; Safeway and Signature Gatherers at War

| August 11, 2011
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Bay Area Rapid Transit officials are warning riders about a second protest condemning a man’s fatal shooting by transit officers.

BART is alerting passengers on its Web site that protesters may disrupt service as early as Thursday in response to the shooting death of Charles Hill in San Francisco on July 3.

Three San Francisco train stations were briefly closed during rush hour on July 11 as an estimated 100 protesters chanted and held doors open to keep trains from leaving. No arrests were reported.

Two men allegedly involved in the sale of a prototype of the iPhone 4 left behind in a Redwood City bar have been charged with misdemeanors, but Gizmodo, the tech blog that purchased it and beat Apple to the punch in unveiling it, won’t be prosecuted, authorities said Wednesday.

Brian Hogan, 22, of Redwood City and Sage Wallower, 28, of Emeryville were each charged with misappropriation of lost property. Wallower, who allegedly negotiated the sale of the phone, was also charged with possession of stolen property. All the charges are misdemeanors, said San Mateo County Assistant District Attorney Morley Pitt.

Fewer Bay Area homeowners entered foreclosure in July than a year ago, but the improvement is not a sign that the housing crisis is slowing.

Instead, it’s primarily due to an increase in both short sales and the number of homeowners being placed in loan-modification programs, said Daren Blomquist, manager of communications and marketing for www.RealtyTrac.com, which released a report on the foreclosure market Thursday..

Environmental groups say they plan to raise red flags about environmental impacts of the America’s Cup sailing event during a hearing Thursday at San Francisco City Hall.

The San Francisco Planning Commission will give the public an opportunity to comment on a draft environmental impact report published by the city last month regarding the regatta. Comments can also be submitted in writing.

As a memorial for a slain 3-year-old boy in Oakland continued to grow Wednesday night, police confirmed that one person linked to the drive-by shooting of the toddler is in custody.

Police said they are still working round the clock on the investigation into the drive-by slaying that took place early Monday afternoon near a Little Caesars pizza restaurant at 6447 International Blvd.

The gang-related incident left 3-year-old Carlos Nava dead and two men hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds

  • S.F. apartment rent rises as vacancy rates fall (San Francisco Chronicle)

    Driving the demand is a new wave of tech workers at the city’s rapidly growing social media and technology companies.

    “We’re seeing a new demographic entering the housing market – Generation Y,” said Sarah Bridge, owner of RealFacts, a Novato firm that tracks the apartment market. “Their preference is to live in the heart of a vital, thriving community like San Francisco. They want to be where the action is, and they don’t mind being in a small studio apartment as long as it’s well-located.”

    San Francisco has always been a city of renters. Only about a third of its residents are homeowners – half the national homeownership rate. Post-housing crash, with mortgages difficult to get and ample evidence of how quickly home values can slide, people are more inclined than before to rent. The national homeownership rate, which peaked at 69 percent in 2004 during the housing boom, is now down to 66 percent.

    Marin County will develop a plan to deal with four state parks due to close in the next year, perhaps including creative ideas involving businesses, organizations and individuals as sponsors.

    At the same time, parks staff was told by county supervisors to think about appropriate criteria that might be used to limit “commercialization” of parkland.

    Samuel P. Taylor, China Camp​, Olompali and Tomales Bay state parks are among 70 across California to be closed beginning next month due to state budget cuts, and officials are scrambling to figure out how to keep them open — or at least secure and maintained when they close.

    A war is heating up between Safeway and paid petition signature gatherers who congregate outside the grocery stores.

    Safeway says the signature gatherers don’t abide by their corporate policies, block entrances and harass customers, and so has started a crackdown that, in some instances, includes seeking court injunctions against the worst offenders.

    Signature gatherers counter that Safeway is disrupting their free-speech rights. About two dozen political petition signature gatherers protested the crackdown Wednesday outside Safeway’s corporate headquarters in Pleasanton.

    The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday will present a plan to federal officials that could provide for a voluntary Jet Ski patrol for the safety of surfers at the famous Mavericks break.

    Privately operated Jet Skis are prohibited at Mavericks, which lies within the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

    However, personal watercrafts that are used by a public agency to protect public safety or property are allowable, marine sanctuary spokeswoman Mary Jane Schramm said.

    A California law that imposes an annual wildfire fee on rural residents may have an unintended consequence — sapping the state fire agency of money it needs to fight wildland blazes, officials said Wednesday.

    Concerns about the $150-a-year fee, which is contained in the state budget Gov. Jerry Brown signed earlier this summer, were raised Wednesday by the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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