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Morning Splash: Hates Crimes Against Latinos Up In CA; Bay Area Layoffs Continue; New Proposal for Mavericks; Region’s Transit Ridership Up

| August 12, 2011
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The number of hate crimes against Latinos in California spiked by about 47 percent last year after a decade of decline, according to a state report released Thursday.

Reports of violence and vandalism motivated by bias remained steady in number last year, but Latinos were victims in more of these crimes. The state attorney general’s office recorded 119 anti-Latino crimes in 2010, up from 81 in 2009, although the 2009 number was the lowest in at least a decade.

The California Supreme Court agreed Thursday to review the state’s overhaul of redevelopment agencies and blocked their elimination for the time being, leaving a $1.7 billion budget solution in limbo.

Cities and redevelopment agencies sued last month to stop a two-bill package that would have eliminated the agencies unless they agreed to pay more to schools and relieve state costs.

In a remarkable turnaround for transit agencies that have repeatedly slashed services, raised fares and lost state and federal funding, transit ridership is steadily rising throughout the Bay Area. Caltrain ridership was up almost 12 percent and BART almost 8 percent in weekday use in June compared with the same month a year ago. The Valley Transportation Authority saw an increase of more than 7 percent and the ACE commuter train of more than 14 percent, while SamTrans ridership was up 0.4 percent.

The public’s first reaction to San Francisco’s plan for the 34th America’s Cup regatta wasn’t really much of a surprise: Most like the idea of the world-renowned race coming to the city, but they have a few quibbles.

Among the concerns told to the Planning Commission Thursday were worries about the armada of yachts speeding into the bay so fast that they ram seals before dropping untreated sewage near sensitive shorelines, legions of tourists camping out in the front yards of Telegraph Hill to watch the races or the tons of trash that the millions of visitors are expected to leave behind in neighborhoods, parks and shorelines..

A proposal to allow trained and certified volunteers to use jet skis to perform rescues at the famous Mavericks surf break was widely lauded Thursday by officials who oversee a national marine sanctuary — but the proposal comes with a catch.

While many surfers and surf photographers want to be allowed to patrol the towering offshore break using personal watercraft in case somebody is wiped out and needs to be rescued, a senior federal official said the vehicles would need to remain out of the water until after an accident occurs.

A suspected gang member and parolee with a criminal history that includes arrests for grand theft and being a felon in possession of a gun was charged Thursday with murder in the drive-by shooting that killed 3-year-old Carlos Fernando Nava.

Lawrence C. Denard, 26, who could face life in prison, was charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder. Police say he shot at two rival gang members near 65th Avenue and International Boulevard on Monday afternoon but instead hit and killed Carlos, who was in a stroller with his family on the street.

Ed Lee, San Francisco’s interim mayor, became a target of criticism this week when he reneged on his promise not to seek election this fall. But Lee is not the first candidate in the crowded field to go back on his word.

That distinction belongs to former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who quietly abandoned his promise to accept campaign contributions from San Francisco residents only, and to cap them at $200 — far less than the city’s legal limit of $500.

Whether the Bay Area economy is succumbing to the dreaded double-dip recession or struggling to climb out of the first slowdown, the latest statistics show more than 1,000 regional jobs were slashed in July and 428 were slated for elimination so far this month, according to the state Economic Development Department’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act roster.

  • Teen Dies After Falling On Yosemite Hiking Trail (KCBS)
  • A teenage boy has died of head injuries five days after falling on Yosemite National Park’s most popular hiking trail.

    The Stanislaus County coroner said 17-year-old Kao Kue of Fresno died at a Modesto hospital Wednesday night.

    According to park spokeswoman Kari Cobb, the teen was hiking the Mist Trail when he slipped.

    Here’s one sector of the lukewarm California economy that’s cooking: export trade.

    California exports jumped 13 percent in June from a year ago, Los Angeles consultants Beacon Economics said Thursday.

    It marked the 20th straight month that exports have risen. Adjusted for inflation, exports are back at pre-recession levels, said Jock O’Connell, a Sacramento economist who advises Beacon on international trade. Computers and medical equipment have been the big gainers.

    BART took the unusual step of shutting off cell phone service on BART station platforms Thursday night to prevent protestors from using their cell phones to communicate with each other.

    Demonstrators snarled the evening commute July 11, evading police for hours and shutting down several BART stations, as they protested the shooting death of Charles Hill by a BART police officer last month.

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