Gov. Newsom signs several laws to protect animal welfare

(BCN) — Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday signed several measures that he says will advance animal welfare in the state, his office announced.

Senate Bill 879, also known as the PET Act (Prohibiting Extraneous Testing) was put forth by Senator Scott Wiener (D-SF) and aims to end “unnecessary” toxicological testing on dogs and cats.

SB 879 prohibits toxicity testing on dogs and cats for pesticides, chemical substances and other products, which proponents say does not always advance scientific research on toxicity in humans. Testing for products intended for use in dogs or cats are excluded from the new law, including medical treatment testing.

“Animal testing that has no scientific value and causes terrible pain and suffering is inhumane, unnecessary and cruel,” said Wiener in a statement released by his office. The bill was praised by Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the U.S.

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Newsom also signed Assembly Bill 1648, which requires kennel owners to create a natural disaster evacuation plan in order to get a permit to operate. It’s now also officially “theft” to steal or take someone’s companion animal after Assembly Bill 1290 was signed by Newsom, as well.

Finally, Newsom signed Senate Bill 774 which facilitates emotional support dog certification processes for unhoused people and Assembly Bill 2723 which expands microchip registration requirements for dogs and cats in an effort to better aid in the return of lost pets and deter theft.

Copyright © 2022 Bay City News, Inc.

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/gov-newsom-signs-several-laws-to-protect-animal-welfare/

San Francisco welcomes wave of new tourists

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — It was a busy week in San Francisco. From Dreamforce to Portola, a huge number of people traveled to the city.

The influx of tourism started last week with the start of Dreamforce. The conference, parties and expos brought in around 40,000 people from out of town.

“That was a good shot in the arm for us and it’s not just the concert promoters or event producers, it’s all the other jobs that come along with it. Whether their florists, or linen companies, or rental equipment companies,” said Rodney Fong, President & CEO San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Tourists continued to flood into the city throughout the weekend for both the Folsom Street Fair in SOMA, and the Portola Music Festival at Pier 80.

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“Places such as the Hilton in Park 55, which are the biggest hotel entity outside of Las Vegas west of the Mississippi were fully occupied. That’s about 3,000 hotel rooms collectively,” said Alex Bastian, President & CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco.

The guests booking those hotel rooms were also spending money and making restaurant reservations. The restaurants also experienced a week of large parties, something that hasn’t happened often during the pandemic.

“Six to eight people. We actually had a lot of restaurants buyouts at Epic early in the week where the Salesforce group just took over the whole place,” said Pete Sittnick, Managing Partner Water Bar and Epic Steak.

Sittnick said the weekend numbers were solid, but nothing too out of the ordinary. He said the crowds from Portola and Folsom seemed to stick to the neighborhoods where the events took place.

Sittnick is hoping the tourism boost he did see last week is a sign of what’s to come. “Looking forward to a holiday season this year that we think is going to be quite busy,” said Pete Sittnick, Managing Partner Water Bar and Epic Steak.

Other than the holiday season, another big event coming up that the tourism industry will be paying attention to is Fleet Week. That runs from October 3-11.

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/san-francisco-welcomes-wave-of-new-tourists/

47 Alameda County deputies deemed psychologically unfit for duty

DUBLIN, Calif. (KRON) — A staggering number of Alameda County deputies were ordered to turn in their service weapons and stripped of their authority as law enforcers on Friday, according to a letter written by Sheriff Gregory Ahern.

A recent internal audit focused on deputies’ prior background checks and found that 47 deputies were designated as “Not Suited” for duty by their psychological examinations.

A deputy anonymously provided KRON4 with a copy of the letter on Monday.

The internal audit combed through every deputy’s background check and psychological evaluation from the past six years.

For years, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office hired candidates even after they were declared “Not Suited” in their psychological exams, according to the letter. The Sheriff’s Office realized its error after a glaring spotlight was cast on one of its deputies, Deputy Devin Williams Jr.

“As a result of this audit, it was learned that the result of your Psychological Examination was listed by the psychologist who performed your evaluation as ‘Not Suited,'” Ahern wrote in the letter to deputies.

Williams is charged with murdering his girlfriend, Maria Tran, and her husband on September 7. The night of the double homicide, Williams worked a shift at the county jail, drove to Maria and Benison Tran’s home, broke into the house, and shot the couple using his service weapon, according to investigators. Williams triggered a 12-hour manhunt before he turned himself in to police.

On the same day that Williams was arrested, Lt. Ray Kelly said the Sheriff’s Office was going to take a close look at its hiring procedures and whether any red flags were missed. “When we hired him a year ago, there were no indications that he would be capable of committing a double murder,” Kelly said.

The internal audit reached far beyond Williams — every deputy’s hiring process was scrutinized.

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“We looked into the files. We began to see that the rules had changed. The scores that we thought were passing (state standards) were just below passing, and as a result of that, the people that we employed would not qualify with their psychological exams to be peace officers,” Kelly said.

Now, 47 deputies will be restricted to desk duties until they are re-tested with psychological exams and pass.

Sheriff Ahern wrote in his letter to deputies, “The Sheriff’s Office intends to schedule you another Psychological Examination. You will retain your pay and benefits and will still work, but in the meantime, our legal counsel has informed our Office that you will not be authorized to carry a firearm and you cannot make arrests based upon probable cause, issue traffic citations, or perform any function reserved for peace officers.”

Ahern ended his letter writing, “Our intention is to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We also intend to have you return to full duty status once you obtain a ‘Suitable’ finding.”

Meanwhile, investigators are retracing Williams’ life to unravel what went wrong in Williams’ life and mind that drove him to kill two people. “There is no excuse for this. It’s not rational. He is a coward. He’s cold-hearted. This thing has rocked our Dublin community and the Sheriff’s Office,” Kelly told KRON4.

Williams, 24, of Stockton, remains locked in Santa Rita Jail with no bail.

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/47-alameda-county-deputies-deemed-psychologically-unfit-for-duty/

Convicted felon arrested in Santa Rosa with guns and ski masks

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) — A Santa Rosa man was arrested Sunday night while in possession of guns and ski masks, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook. The arrestee, 47-year-old Cesar Garcia of Santa Rosa, is a convicted felon.

SCSO said Garcia was pulled over after a deputy saw him run a red right light at the intersection of Santa Rosa Avenue and Yolanda Avenue. A records check on Garcia revealed that he was on pre-trial release.

Police searched Garcia’s car and found suspected fentanyl, suspected methamphetamine, a glass pipe, an unregistered and loaded pistol, an unregistered and unloaded shotgun, and two black ski masks.

Garcia was arrested without incident. He is being held in jail on a $55,000 bond after he was booked on the following charges:

  • Convicted person with a concealed firearm (felony)
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm (felony)
  • Unlawful possession of ammunition (felony)
  • Possession of illegal drugs and a loaded firearm (felony)
  • Possession of a loaded firearm in public (felony)
  • Prohibition on firearms access (felony)
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia (misdemeanor)
  • Possession of a controlled substance (misdemeanor)
  • Possession of narcotics (misdemeanor)

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/convicted-felon-arrested-in-santa-rosa-with-guns-and-ski-masks/

Oakland violence prevention efforts

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The Oakland Police Officer’s Association is trying to bring attention to the city’s Department of Violence Prevention and the Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland, or MACRO.

The Department of Violence Prevention and MACRO are two separate non-police response programs. Both were established to reimagine public safety using non-police response models.

“The premise was to reduce funding to the police department to the tune of $18 million dollars and transition it over to these non-police responses. A laudable goal but unfortunately the money seems to have moved over but none of the calls have,” said Barry Donelan, President Oakland Police Officer’s Association.

Donelan is questioning the number of non-violent calls for service taken by MACRO. He said in the month of August Oakland Police Department’s 911 dispatch received 60,000 calls for service.

According to Donelan, of the 60,000 calls for service MACRO took 19. “They took 19. They netted. They responded to 19 calls for service. There’s more than 20 in a month when you’re receiving 2,000 calls for service a day,” said Donelan.

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According to information found on MACRO’s website, one of the intended outcomes is redirection of MACRO-identified 911 calls to an alternative community response system. Donelan said that does not appear to be happening.

“These are residents that need help. They need a police officer. We’re just struggling. We’re struggling to make it to them. We’d appreciate the help but we’re not seeing it. Not seeing from these programs that the city’s invested in, and we’re just asking, ‘Where are they?” added Donelan.

“For those who don’t think we’re doing anything, I want them to come spend a day in the life in between the gun. That’s where we live,” said Kentrell Killens, Direct Service Coordinator, Oakland Department of Violence Prevention.

The Department of Violence Prevention is Oakland’s other non-police response service. Unlike MACRO, DVP deploys violence interrupters like Kentrell Killens directly to violent scenes, with a focus on preventing retaliation killings. He said DVP has been very busy responding to each of the 8 homicides over the past week.

“Every last one of them. I want to say there would be a lot more shootings, and a lot more homicides if there were not folks on the ground working. For example, last Monday there was the incident of 31st and Telegraph. That was the double. 45 minutes after that incident, they had to go to east Oakland, to the other female. Even this weekend there were multiple incidents where they are going from one incident to the next,” said Killens.

KRON4 reached out to MACRO and they released the following statement:

“Prior to the linking of 911 calls with MACRO team members in august, crews had been doing “On-view” responses; whereby MACRO crews proactively identify individuals who they observe to be displaying signs that may prompt a 911 call, essentially getting ahead of emergency issues by engaging with that person, checking their respective physical and behavioral status, and at times learning what services they may need.

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/oakland-violence-prevention-efforts/

Which California cities are the most beautiful?

(KRON) — A new list of the most beautiful cities in America has been released, and our City by the Bay made the cut, according to a new study.

Travel website Booking.com analyzed a mixture of popular hashtags on Instagram to learn which city has the most photos taken per square mile. But which California cities made the list?

San Francisco was the highest-ranked California city, coming in in seventh place nationwide with an average of 1,039 pictures per square mile. The survey gives credit for the ranking to San Francisco’s scenic, seaside beauty. The iconic Golden Gate Bridge and gorgeous rolling hills than span across the Bay Area certainly don’t hurt.

One other California city made the cut, with an average of 1,019 pictures per square mile: Sacramento. The state capitol is surrounded by two rivers, the Sacramento River and the American River, and both rivers offer stunning scenery. One cannot forget about the lovely architecture present in the city, including some structures that were built before the Gold Rush.

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What cities topped the list? In third place was Chicago with 1,529 pictures per square mile. Second place went to Boston with an average of 2,213 pictures per square mile. And topping the chart altogether is Miami with an average of 2,661 pictures per mile. For more details on the other cities that made the list, check out the full report on Booking.com.

  1. Miami, 2,661 pictures per mi²
  2. Boston, 2,213 pictures per mi²
  3. Chicago, 1,529 pictures per mi²
  4. New York, 1,098 pictures per mi²
  5. St Louis, 1,095 pictures per mi²
  6. Seattle, 1,052 pictures per mi²
  7. San Francisco, 1,039 pictures per mi²
  8. Sacramento, 1,019 pictures per mi²
  9. Cleveland, 666 pictures per mi²
  10. Orlando, Florida, 654 pictures per mi²

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/which-california-cities-are-the-most-beautiful/

Man arrested in Healdsburg for public masturbation, spitting on officer

HEALDSBURG, Calif. (KRON) — A man was arrested in Healdsburg on Sunday evening for public masturbation, the Healdsburg Police Department (HPD) said on Facebook. Police said the suspect was violent while resisting arrest.

HPD identified the arrestee as Christopher Shawn Carter, a 44-year-old homeless man from Oregon. Police contacted Carter after receiving a call about a man masturbating outside a business on the 100 block of Healdsburg Avenue.

After police arrested Carter, he started kicking the inside of the patrol car. Police said he kicked out the partition separating the front and back seats of the car.

According to HPD, Carter spat on the officer that was driving him to the Sonoma County Jail. He also cursed out the officer and threatened to kill him. He eventually was booked into jail on charges of threatening an officer, battery on a peace officer, resisting arrest, criminal threats, incident exposure and vandalism.

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Healdsburg police also responded to a fight over the weekend that left one victim with a stab wound. The fight occurred at Railroad Park, located at 28 Front Street, at about 7:00 p.m. The victim had serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. No suspects were arrested.

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/man-arrested-in-healdsburg-for-public-masturbation-spitting-on-officer/

Do Americans use the phone while driving? A new survey says yes

(KRON) — How many Americans use the phone while behind the wheel? A new survey from ComparetheMarket.com says a good chunk of us do.

According to the survey, over 55% of drivers admit that they use their phone behind the wheel, even though it is illegal in some states. Sixty-seven percent of those who do use their phone while driving use navigation applications most frequently.

The next most popular applications were text messaging apps. Fifty five percent of those who use phones while driving use them for messaging. Respondents said the third most popular apps when driving are usually music related, with over 43% of those surveyed saying they need to find the ride tunes when out for a cruise.

Over 47% of Americans admit that speeding is a part of their routine while driving. And when it comes to safety, not everyone prioritizes a seatbelt. In fact, over a third of respondents admitted to driving without a seatbelt on.

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The most common things that Americans do while in the car? Stuffing our faces apparently, with over 65% of those surveyed reporting that they chow down on the road.

A key takeaway from the survey is one that may surprise you. In the US, those aged 18-24 are the least likely out of all age groups to use their phones behind the wheel with only 41% admitting to the habit. About 63% of adults aged 25-34 admit to using their mobile phone while driving.

Methodology

This survey was conducted in the US, Australia, and Canada. For more information on the methodology behind the survey, please visit the ComparetheMarket website.

from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/do-americans-use-the-phone-while-driving-a-new-survey-says-yes/

Neighbors concerned over San Jose intersection

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — After an 8-year-old boy was killed in one San Jose neighborhood, residents want more to be done to improve pedestrian safety.

San Jose residents voiced concerns to KRON4 about speeding and crashing cars. Ten days ago, an 8-year-old boy was fatally struck by a vehicle as he was walking within a marked crosswalk to Castlemont Elementary School.

Another crash happened on Friday in an intersection with no stop signs near Reed Elementary School. A Nest home surveillance camera recorded a white Mercedes crashing into a blue Subaru.

Resident Josh Converse said, “A lot of times cars are going very fast and given that there is no stop sign, cars can easily come and collide into each other.”

Converse became even more alarmed when he contacted the San Jose Police Department for more information, and police said the wreck never happened.

KRON4 also asked the SJPD to comment about the crash, and again, police said there was no crash at that intersection Friday. Residents showed KRON4 photographs of the collision’s aftermath and police officers at the scene.

Resident Yasser Jilani echoed frustrations over pedestrian and vehicle safety concerns. “I have three kids and I don’t want to be a victim,” Jiliani said.

There have been 26 pedestrian deaths in San Jose this year.

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from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/san-jose-police-deny-crash-happened-video-tells-otherwise/

San Mateo District Attorney drops charges in Batmobile case

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KRON) — A wealthy Silicon Valley real estate agent lost a legal battle involving a Batmobile in San Mateo County this week.

District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe announced Monday that he is dropping all criminal charges against Batmobile builder Mark Racop.

A Menlo Park-based estate agent, Sam Anagnostou, accused Racop of failing to build a custom-made Batmobile that he ordered in 2017. Racop is the owner of Fiberglass Freaks, an auto shop in Indiana that specializes in building Batman movie-inspired cars.

Anagnostou, who lives in Atherton, paid Racop more than $200,000 for the flashy car with the expectation that it would be built by 2018, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“But delays happened. The pandemic happened. And Anagnostou didn’t make a payment for almost nine months. By 2021, Anagnostou (was) impatient and angry,” the Times wrote.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office launched a fraud investigation into the Batmobile debacle.

Over the summer, a felony complaint was filed with the San Mateo County Superior Court charging 57-year-old Racop with two felony charges: theft by false pretenses and diversion of construction funds.

Before moving the case forward, prosecutors asked the Sheriff’s Office to conduct further investigations.

On Monday Wagstaffe wrote, “After consideration of all of the facts and circumstances presented to this office, it is my conclusion the evidence does not warrant criminal prosecution.  Instead I have concluded the actions of Mr. Racop are best dealt with in civil court proceedings.  We will file a written motion to dismiss both charges this week.”

Racop could not be immediately reached for comment. According to Fiberglass Freaks‘ website, he’s been a fan of Batman since he was two years old. “He fell in love with the action, the music, the color, but most of all–with the car. The 1966 Batmobile for Racop is the one and only true Batmobile,” his website biography writes.

Racop’s Batmobile replicas are full scale drive-able cars officially licensed by D.C. Comics. Each car takes 1,000 hours of labor, and Racop says the demand for his cars requires that he always has three or four in construction.

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from KRON4 https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/san-mateo-da-drops-charges-in-batmobile-case/

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