All entrances to UC Santa Cruz were blocked Thursday morning by protesters as part of an ongoing demonstration against tuition hikes, and university officials were advising people not to come to campus.
The protest began at 4:30 a.m. when students and other protesters blocked the west entrance to campus.
University officials issued an advisory at 5:30 a.m. recommending that individuals avoid coming to campus.
Posted: March 5, 2015, 2:37 pm
Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo remains in a near-death state, with a plan to infuse short-term cash in limbo and residents yet again appearing reluctant to tax themselves to keep the hospital open.
The board of West Contra Costa Healthcare District, which governs the struggling hospital, had hoped on Wednesday to approve the sale of several real estate properties to the city of San Pablo for $7.5 million in a stop-gap measure to extend the hospital’s survival by a few weeks, possibly longer.
The situation became dire last spring when voters in the district failed to approve a $200 parcel tax, which would have raised $20 million to keep the hospital open.
After the May ballot measure failed, the doors seemed destined to close within months.
Doctors currently has fewer than 30 inpatient beds in use and the staff has dwindled, through layoffs and attrition, from 600 to about 300 employees.
Some say the combination of being a stand-alone public hospital in a low-income area makes it unsustainable.
About 80 percent of its patients are covered by Medi-Cal and Medicare — which doesn’t come near covering the cost of services — and less than 10 percent have private health insurance.
At Wednesday’s meeting, board members said they need to know within days whether San Pablo could give the medical center at least $1.7 million of the $7.5 million sale of a parking lot, two medical office buildings and a condominium owned by the hospital.
“People don’t realize how seriously this is going to affect everyone, not just the people who use this hospital as their safety net,” said Gail Eierweiss of Richmond, a retired UCSF Medical Center financial manager.
In a telephone survey of 600 residents conducted Feb. 23 to March 1 about half the respondents supported the tax, but support at every level failed to reach the two-thirds required to pass.
“If you can’t win a one-sided conversation, that gives you a sense of what a difficult situation you’re in,” said Alex Evans, president of EMC Research, a national market and opinion research firm in Oakland, which conducted the poll.
Officials from Venturata, a venture capital firm, spoke publicly about plans to keep the hospital open but have yet to submit a formal proposal.
Posted: March 5, 2015, 6:14 am
A man involved in a three-car crash on Interstate 580 in Oakland on Wednesday afternoon was rushed to a hospital with a gunshot wound, according to the California Highway Patrol, with blocked lanes causing gridlock through the evening commute.
The Oakland Police Department took over the investigation late in the afternoon and declared the area a crime scene.
A person of interest was detained at the scene and a suspect was at large, Wilkenfeld said, adding it was unclear whether the shot came from a vehicle or somewhere along the highway.
Posted: March 5, 2015, 4:29 am
On Thursday, with her friend in mind, the 55-year-old Sacramento-area woman is scheduled to donate yet again, at the Pacific Campus of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco — this time to someone she doesn’t know, a Benicia man in dire need of a kidney.
The recipient’s sister-in-law, who couldn’t provide a compatible kidney to her brother-in-law, is giving her kidney to a woman from Fresno, whose son couldn’t provide her with a compatible kidney so he’s giving his to a woman from Greenbrae, and on it goes until six strangers have new hope for a healthy life with transplanted kidneys.
Doing the transplants consecutively, like the series in San Francisco, rather than waiting reduces the risk of a donor or recipient developing a medical condition that would disqualify them, or of one of the participants backing out, hospital officials say.
The doctors, who successfully performed a five-way transplant four years ago, said they had trouble mustering enough surgical instruments for this one.
Three transplants are scheduled for Thursday and three on Friday at the Pacific Heights hospital, involving a team of anesthesiologists, physician assistants and nurses led by five surgeons, with an additional 40 people lending support.
“This is huge,” said Steven Katznelson, medical director of the hospital’s Kidney Transplant Program.
Kidney failure occurs when the organ is unable to filter wastes and excess fluid from the blood, allowing dangerous levels of these materials to build up.
The donors and recipients include three parent-and-child pairs, one sibling pair, and one brother- and sister-in-law pair.
The donors and recipients were paired with software called Matchgrid, which uses algorithms to sort through the medical data of thousands of people to find the best matches.
California Pacific Medical Center, an affiliate of Sutter Health Care, conducts more than 200 kidney transplants per year.
The hospital holds a high rate of success, with officials saying 98.4 percent of kidney patients survive for at least one year after the transplant.
Posted: March 5, 2015, 4:24 am
Both lanes of Highway 92 were briefly blocked Wednesday evening near Half Moon Bay after an injury accident, officials said.
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office reported the three-car crash just after 7 p.m. just west of the city limits of Half Moon Bay and said that both lanes of the highway were blocked.
Eastbound traffic from Half Moon Bay was being turned around at Spanish Town, the sheriff’s office said, and drivers were being advised to use alternative routes.
Posted: March 5, 2015, 4:01 am
A couple of Good Samaritans were walking in Paso Nogal Park in Pleasant Hill on Jan. 19 when their Australian shepherd took an interest in a plastic bag in a box near a trash can, said Rick Golphin, deputy director of Contra Costa County Animal Services.
On Wednesday, East Bay Animal Rescue and Refuge hosted a meet-and-greet with the so-called “Garbage Bag Puppies” for potential adopters to get acquainted with the dogs.
The shelter said it had received numerous applications to take home the dogs, but officials still encouraged anyone hoping to take the pups home to fill out an application on their website.
Officials are also still looking for whoever abandoned the dogs and encouraged anyone with information about the former owners to call Contra Costa Animal Services at (925) 335-8300.
Posted: March 5, 2015, 3:17 am
Sunnyvale can ban possession of gun magazines that carry more than 10 cartridges, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, rejecting gun advocates’ claims that enforcement of the measure violates the constitutional right of self-defense.
California law prohibits the manufacture and sale of high-capacity gun magazines but does not forbid the possession of weapons legally purchased elsewhere, leaving that issue up to cities and counties.
Opponents of the Sunnyvale ordinance cited the high court’s statement that the Second Amendment covers weapons “typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,” and noted that millions of Americans own guns with large-capacity magazines.
[...] the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a federal judge’s ruling that allowed the ordinance to take effect, said there was little evidence that the weapons were typically used or needed for self-defense.
Studies have also found that most people who shoot in self-defense fire fewer than 10 shots, and that those who use large-capacity weapons were likely to fire all the bullets they had, increasing the risk of injury to others in the household, Hawkins said.
Posted: March 5, 2015, 1:32 am
San Francisco police were trying Wednesday to get to the bottom of yet another artificial-leg mystery, the second in three days, after a Paralympic runner said his high-tech, blade-style limb had been stolen from his parked car.
Ranjit Steiner, who is trying to qualify for the Paralympics in Brazil next year, told police he discovered Tuesday that thieves had shattered the car window in the Mission District and helped themselves to his artificial right leg along with his laptop computer.
Steiner, 24, who works as a salesman for a company that makes prosthetic limbs, uses the leg for competitive running at City College of San Francisco.
On Monday, San Francisco police said they were looking for the owner of a $7,000 artificial leg that had been found leaning against a tree at Eighth and Market streets.
Artificial-leg maker Michael Plafker of San Francisco agreed that a new one could go for five figures but that a custom-made leg and foot of the kind lost on Market Street was a one-of-a-kind item with limited resale value.
Posted: March 5, 2015, 1:25 am
[...] the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has stepped forward to serve as a clearinghouse for donations and volunteer efforts aimed at public schools, Mayor Ed Lee announced Wednesday.
The partnership, known as UniteSF, highlights an attempt to raise more private money for San Francisco schools and to streamline what to now have been largely uncoordinated donations of money or time by businesses like Zynga, LinkedIn and Microsoft.
The partnership is not unprecedented — Los Angeles has a similar collaboration — but it highlights the growing role of outside entities in supporting public schools.
Chamber President Bob Linscheid said the idea is for the UniteSF umbrella to raise public and private funds, and to develop a plan that matches donations with the schools’ needs.
The initiative has three goals: a high school graduation rate of 100 percent, preparing every graduate for college or a vocational program, and aiming all students toward employment.
“UniteSF is an incredible opportunity” to unite efforts to help city schools, said schools Superintendent Richard Carranza.
Lee said donations like those are key to helping students develop the skills needed for success and dismissed the suggestion that the private sector could end up driving the school district’s policy goals.
Posted: March 5, 2015, 12:03 am
Mayor Ed Lee gave what sounded an awful lot like a preview of his re-election stump speech Wednesday to 900 or so local movers and shakers at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual breakfast.
Caught after the event at the Marriott Marquis hotel, the mayor quickly dismissed any suggestion that he had the November election in mind, saying only that he was talking about things important to him and to the city.
Lee started out by reminding the crowd of business leaders that San Francisco is growing faster than any other major city in the country, arguing that with a 3.8 percent unemployment rate and more than 76,000 jobs created from 2010 and 2013, “we know that our economic policies are working.”
He also noted that that the new jobs aren’t just in high tech, but also in blue-collar sectors like construction and hospitality.
[...] with a higher minimum wage that the mayor described as the most progressive in the country, “even more of our residents will be in a better position to benefit from our city’s success.”
Lee also promised to stop speculators from buying buildings and evicting residents to turn a quick profit and talked about putting a new affordable housing bond on the November ballot.
The mayor talked about plans to ease poverty in the city, but also gave a shout-out to the huge corporations, mega-rich businesspeople and the new, younger philanthropists who are putting up money for many city projects.
[...] the best news for Lee’s re-election effort is that it looks to be more a coronation than a campaign, with nary a whisper of a high-profile opponent jumping in.
In the latest attempt to help save the city’s taxi industry from ride services like Uber and Lyft — and itself — the Municipal Transportation Agency board has approved a series of changes in taxi regulations.
The changes aim to make it easier to attract more people to driving cabs and to make it more convenient and attractive for folks in need of a ride to take a taxi.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday urging San Francisco’s conservative Catholic leader to respect the rights of teachers and administrators.
The measure was in response to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone including morality clauses in a new handbook and proposed changes to the labor contract of teachers at four Bay Area Catholic high schools.
The morality clauses include language against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, contraceptives and artificial insemination.
Roughly a dozen teachers and students from the affected high schools appeared during the public comment period at the meeting to express their opposition to the morality clauses.
[...] in the first formal and public accounting of their overwhelming opposition to the archbishop’s efforts, more than 80 percent of the teachers and staff from the four high schools issued a statement on Tuesday rejecting the archbishop’s proposed language for the faculty handbook.
“We believe the recently proposed handbook language is harmful to our community and creates an atmosphere of mistrust and fear,” according to the statement signed by 355 teachers and staff members.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 11:39 pm
When the South Napa Fault ruptured last summer and shook the historic city of Napa, the earthquake hit the oldest buildings with the heaviest damage, a new review by seismologists reveals.
The Association of Bay Area Governments estimates that a major earthquake on the Hayward Fault could make 155,000 Bay Area buildings uninhabitable, while a major quake on the San Andreas Fault could do the same for 110,000 buildings — and nearly 9 percent of them would be single-family homes.
A report on the USGS survey of Napa’s buildings by Boatwright and his colleagues appeared Tuesday in the journal Seismological Research Letters, which also carried five other scientific analyses of the largest Bay Area quake since the 1989 Loma Prieta temblor.
[...] the zone where they’re located lies above a deep basin of older sediments underlying the Napa Valley that could have amplified the ground shaking and damaged the weaker buildings, Boatwright said.
Among the more common problems that marked the tagged buildings were the shifting or collapse of unreinforced walls — known as “cripple walls” — that are located between the first floors and foundations of older homes, Boatwright said in an e-mail.
The California Earthquake Authority, the state agency that underwrites earthquake insurance, also provides retrofitting information for homeowners and businesses.
The agency’s “Earthquake Brace & Bolt” program now offers homeowners up to $3,000 to cover some costs of retrofitting that can typically run up to $10,000, the agency estimates.
The Earthquake Authority now has $25 million for its program — enough for grants to 5,000 older single-family Bay Area homes, said Janiele Maffei, the structural engineer who heads the program.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 10:56 pm
The long debate over the redesign of Polk Street has finally come to an end, with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board approving a plan that accommodates bicyclists but does not provide a continuous bike lane on the east side of the street.
The board voted 6-0 Tuesday night, after listening to about 70 speakers, to approve a plan drawn up by the MTA staff after more than 50 meetings over the past two years.
Directors failed to support a proposed amendment by Cheryl Brinkman to keep planning for a continuous protected bike lane on the east side of the narrow, busy street.
A relatively flat street by San Francisco standards, Polk Street is a popular business district lined with small stores, restaurants and trendy bars.
While the plan calls for a complete redesign of a 20-block stretch of Polk Street — from McAllister Street to Union Street — the debate focused on the northbound bike lane.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 9:51 pm
A San Francisco woman who went missing Wednesday Feb. 25 was found safe two days later, officials said.
Claudia Gonzales, 37, was reported missing from a care facility in the Mission District. She was considered at risk because she is unable to care for herself, said Officer Grace Gatpandan, a police spokeswoman.
Gonzales was found safe Feb. 27, police said
Kale Williams is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @sfkale
Posted: March 4, 2015, 7:06 pm
San Francisco tech company Zendesk teamed up with the nonprofit Bay Area Video Coalition to start a job training program.
The program is a series of two-day, hands-on courses designed to teach job seekers how to use Zendesk’s cloud customer support software as well as learn customer service best practices and connect to job opportunities.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 6:20 pm
In the high-profile sex discrimination trial that kicked off this week against the prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, attorneys for each side presented dueling viewpoints — one of a boys’ club in which women were unfairly denied their due, the other of a meritocracy pioneering equal opportunity for women in tech.
“Sex discrimination cases typically don’t have a lot of documented evidence,” said Felicia Medina, a San Francisco managing partner at Sanford Heisler Kimpel who has worked on several large gender discrimination cases.
Because discrimination cases frequently amount to a lot of “he said, she said,” workplace appraisals can carry a lot of weight, Medina said.
Plaintiff Ellen Pao is seeking $16 million for back pay and future wages from Kleiner Perkins, alleging the firm blew off her complaints about harassment from a married colleague who she said pressured her into an affair and failed to promote her and other qualified women while at the same time promoting less-qualified men.
Pao, now interim CEO at Reddit, the sprawling online forum, was a junior partner at Kleiner Perkins from 2005 until October 2012, when she was fired after suing over the denial of her promotion to senior partner.
Pao’s attorney, Alan Exelrod, argued that the content of the reviews was instead evidence of sexist attitudes that hindered her promotion.
In one highly cited study from 1996, the sociologist Martha Foschi found that when subjects of both sexes achieved equal levels of performance, women were held to stricter standards.
Last year, linguist Kieran Snyder sought to quantify double standards in the way male and female employees are evaluated at tech companies in particular.
In a major class-action sex discrimination case Medina tried against the pharmaceutical giant Novartis, she said negative performance reviews were, counterintuitively, particularly damaging to the defense’s case.
Laura Sherbin, director of research at the Center for Talent Innovation, said she sat in on a performance review at one tech company where a female employee was labeled “difficult” for being bullish on her own ideas, but a male colleague displaying the same traits was called inspirational and given a glowing assessment.
Posted: March 4, 2015, 6:16 pm