Here is the latest Local News from the San Francisco Chronicle.
East Bay conservation champion dead at 71
Ted Radke, the longest-serving board member of the East Bay Regional Park District, died Sunday at age 71, according to a park district statement. Radke, a longtime Martinez resident and community fixture, helped to double the park district’s land through aggressive advocacy in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Between 1978 and 1999, the park district’s acreage increased by 40,000 acres, fueled in part by Radke’s push to acquire land and funding. “He grew up learning to hike, camp, fish and hunt, while hearing stories about Theodore Roosevelt’s and John Muir’s adventures as early conservationists,” said Rep. George Miller in a 2014 proclamation honoring Radke. Miller worked closely with Radke during his time in Congress, helping to secure funding for projects in Ward 7 like the creation of Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline. “He spent his whole life teaching kids about political advocacy — he was an expert on the political process,” Doyle said.
Man smashed in head with bottle during mugging on SF Muni bus
The victim, whose name was not released, was seated and had his cell phone in his hand when he was approached by two men as the bus drove through the area of 30th and Mission streets, police said. The bus driver was unaware of the robbery and the victim exited the bus before he called authorities, said Officer Giselle Talkoff of the San Francisco Police Department. The victim suffered minor injuries, including a bloody nose, but refused medical attention, authorities said.
BART set to turn down the volume on screeching trains
Quieter BART trains are coming, BART engineers predicted on Wednesday, and the key is the simple trick of shaving about 2 millimeters of metal from the wheel of every car in the system. The new wheel design, which BART developed with computer models, could reduce noise by as much as 50 percent when the reconfigured trains begin rolling this fall, according to BART engineering manager Ben Holland. Holland is in charge of an ambitious project to regrind the wheels on all 669 cars in the transit agency’s fleet after models and tests revealed that doing so would lower noise by improving wheel-to-rail contact and by reducing the amount of track rippling, or corrugation, that BART cars cause when they roll down the track. The design has led to noticeably quieter operation on a prototype train that BART is running on a stretch of test track in Hayward, Holland said. Noise, Holland said, is major complaint from long-suffering BART patrons who were promised a “swift, virtually noiseless and vibration free” system in ballot language when BART originally won approval from voters in 1962. […] construction on the Antioch eBART extension is ahead of schedule, and that diesel-powered line from Pittsburg to Antioch could premiere months earlier than the 2018 opening previously announced.
SF sues landlord over state of housing for once-homeless vets
A San Francisco landlord illegally crammed dozens of formerly homeless veterans into overcrowded dwellings across the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, while collecting millions of dollars in federal subsidies aimed at helping vets and the poor, a lawsuit filed Wednesday by City Attorney Dennis Herrera claims. Judy Wu, along with husband Chuan Zhu, allegedly chopped up residences — mostly single-family homes — into multiple-unit apartment complexes and then rented the units to tenants possessing vouchers from Section 8 and the Veteran Administration’s Homes for Heroes program, which is designed to end homelessness among veterans. The lawsuit identifies 12 buildings with 15 legal units divided up and rented to 49 individual tenants, two-thirds of them veterans. In a letter sent to the property owners Monday, Herrera said tenants have been “fully informed of their rights and available services.” Sidewalks filled up with cars and backyards became littered with mattresses, discarded furniture, stray cats and mounds of old clothing. “It was a situation where overcrowding was making it impossible to provide trash service, which leads to illegal dumping,” Cohen said. Again and again, according to the city, Wu obtained permits for minor alterations — a new bathroom, bedrooms, storage or laundry room — and then undertook much more extensive renovations than was allowed, adding multiple units. At 1351 Revere Ave., a single-family home purchased for $260,000 in September 2010, the landlords sought a permit to add a laundry room, family room, three bathrooms and three bedrooms, according to documents from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection. While she owns the business with her husband, tenants said they deal exclusively with Wu, who uses a real estate office in a Daly City strip mall as a business address. Visits to Wu’s properties and interviews with her tenants create a picture of a landlord who, while allegedly violating the city’s zoning codes, also cares about housing veterans with few other options. […] tenants complained of everything from broken stoves to lack of heat to Wu’s unwillingness to get rid of residents who are disruptive or engaging in illegal activities. Eric Clark, a Vietnam veteran who lives in one of Wu’s buildings on Fitzgerald Avenue, said he was referred to her through a nonprofit after a stint in a temporary unit on Treasure Island. San Francisco has been a national leader in housing vets through the Veterans Administration Supportive Housing program, or VASH, under which veterans receive rent vouchers through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since October 2013, the program has housed 1,163 formerly homeless vets in San Francisco. Jason Elliot, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Ed Lee, said the goal is to bring Wu into compliance with the law while protecting her tenants.
Oakland man given 2nd chance for asylum to stay in US
Jose Mendez was 13 and living in El Salvador, the child of a pro-government family during a civil war more than a quarter century ago, when he got three threatening notes at school accusing him of feeding information to the army, in which his brothers were serving. Five years later, Mendez applied for political asylum, saying he faced persecution and possibly death if he was deported. “A reasonable fact-finder would have to conclude that Mendez was individually targeted, because he was individually threatened, individually chased, and individually shot by his persecutors,” the three-judge panel said in a brief, unanimous ruling. The court returned the case to the immigration board, where Justice Department lawyers could offer evidence that Mendez would not be harmed if deported. The ruling means Mendez, who lives with his wife and four children, born in the United States, has a good chance of winning asylum and the right to remain in the country, said his lawyer, Charles Nichol. The 12-year civil war between leftist guerrillas and El Salvador’s U.S.-backed military government ended with a peace agreement in 1992.
Man survives after vehicle falls 60 feet from I-280 in SF
A man walked away from a San Francisco crash early Wednesday after he lost control of a Mercedes SUV and it plummeted 60 feet off an elevated section of Interstate 280, according to the California Highway Patrol. The crash occurred around 12:30 a.m. near the freeway’s Cesar Chavez Street exit. The driver, whose name was not released, told CHP officers that he was driving 70 mph southbound on the interstate when his tires lost traction causing his vehicle to roll several times before going over the railing and falling onto the Caltrans tracks below, said Officer Vu Williams, a CHP spokesman.
Watch Paris Hilton make a snow angel in the dirt at Burning Man
The socialite doesn’t seem to mind the dirt.
2 kids hospitalized after car overturns, falls in Petaluma River
Witnesses saw the woman driving at a higher-than-usual rate of speed and possibly weaving through lanes as she drove on Petaluma Boulevard North near Gossage Avenue, said Officer Juan Leon of the California Highway Patrol. A person driving behind her and a bicyclist tried to help rescue the children, Leon said. Petaluma police closed all lanes of the northbound boulevard and warned drivers to avoid the area.
Los Altos driver dies when he crashes car into tree
A 57-year-old Los Altos man died in a fiery crash on a city road after he crashed a car into a tree, police said Tuesday. Firefighters, paramedics and officers arrived to treat the driver and put out the blaze. Officials were investigating the cause of the incident and asked anyone with more information to call police at (650) 947-2770.
Public health problems in Oakland linked to housing crisis
The associated stress can cause depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia, according to a new study by the Health Department and the Oakland research firm PolicyLink Center for Infrastructure Equity. To understand the depth and magnitude of the housing crisis, officials conducted interviews with 188 Health Department workers and 167 Behavioral Services staff and contractors. Ninety-four percent of respondents said the stress of inadequate or unstable housing was affecting their clients’ health, in many cases nullifying the services that county health programs provide for needy communities. More than 10 staff members who filled out the survey said that they, too, had been priced out of the metropolitan areas of Alameda County, where rents are steadily escalating — the median rent for a two-bedroom is now $2,850 a month, according to the real estate site Trulia. Children living in homes packed with 10 to 12 extra people were six times more likely to go to the emergency room for asthma than children living in homes that were not overcrowded. Health Department workers who participated in the study said families living in overcrowded homes are often afraid to ask their landlords to clean up mold, mildew or other pests that can trigger asthma, for fear of eviction. Housing pressures have tremendous impacts on individuals, some of whom cannot afford to buy healthy food or medicine because they have to save the bulk of their income for housing, Davis said. Oakland and the surrounding region are experiencing extraordinary economic growth,” she said, “but the accompanying housing crisis is tearing apart the social fabric of one of the most diverse cities in America.
Hayward police department caught off guard by chief’s leave
A secret personnel matter that culminated Monday in Hayward’s police chief being placed on leave came squarely from the city manager’s office, not the police department, surprising officers and high-ranking investigators. McAdoo, appointed to her position just last month, declined to answer questions, saying only that a pending personnel investigation was the impetus for her placing Stuart on leave, which became effective at the close of business Monday. In the midst of last year’s tournament, she had to return to Hayward after veteran police Sgt. Scott Lunger was fatally shot while pulling over an erratic driver during a traffic stop. Back home, Stuart found a grieving police force that’s been coping ever since, often showing up to hearings for the alleged shooter, Mark Estrada, who entered a not-guilty plea last week. The leader now stepping in to fill Stuart’s shoes is Capt. Mark Koller, who’s been with the department for more than three decades and most recently served as investigations commander before McAdoo named him acting police chief Monday night. The decision to put Stuart on administrative leave comes as two of the Bay Area’s largest police departments have launched searches for new chiefs. Last year, Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras served a one-month suspension after an investigation by then-City Manager Fran David found he had driven city vehicles while under the influence of alcohol, fought with a subordinate firefighter and failed to respond to a significant fire while on call.
City bids farewell to journalist Warren Hinckle
With his basset hound howling mournfully from the front door of the church, rapscallion journalist Warren Hinckle was remembered Tuesday as a “larger-than-life thorn in the side of self-serving big shots of all stripes.” Peter and Paul Church in North Beach — along with three officers astride San Francisco police horses — to bid an unconventional farewell to the editor, columnist and raconteur, who died Thursday in a San Francisco hospital at the age of 77. A slew of them were decked out in eye patches — a Hinckle trademark after having lost his left eye in a childhood accident — that an old pal had been handing out from a bag at the church door. Along with the city’s finest were scores of drinking companions, old schoolmates, colleagues and a retinue of newspaper editors whose deadlines the notoriously up-against-it writer had observed largely in theory. The clergymen granted Hinckle’s basset hound, Toby, special dispensation to accompany his master’s coffin down the center aisle, between the packed pews. Of her dad’s legendary habit of gleefully burning through a magazine publisher’s capital, Pia Hinckle smiled and said Hinckle “had a checkbook when what he really needed was a treasury.” Hinkle, a former editor of Ramparts and Scanlan’s magazines and a former columnist for The Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner, was as much a showman in person as a craftsman in print. Once, incensed by police raids on the Mitchell Brothers strip club, he arranged to post the private phone number of then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein on the theater marquee — “for a good time, call Dianne,” the marquee said — and Feinstein responded by dumping a drink on his head in public. The Green Street Mortuary brass band led the funeral cortege on a final rolling tour of Hinckle’s favorite North Beach taverns and cafes, while family members sat in an open-top convertible black hearse.
BART offering riders perks to ease overcrowding on trains
The transit agency launched a 6-month program on Tuesday offering the possibility of cash incentives to passengers who avoid boarding trains during the height of the morning commute, officials said. BART Perks program offers points passengers can exchange for cash, as long they’re over 18 years old, use a Clipper card and have a PayPal account. A thousand points convert to $1, two-thousand points equals $2, and so on, said Eric Young, a spokesman for San Francisco County Transportation Authority. Officials hope to relieve overcrowding by drawing East Bay BART riders who travel to Embarcadero or Montgomery stations in San Francisco away from the trains during the busiest hours. The $954,000 program was funded by BART operating funds, San Francisco’s half-cent sales tax for transportation and a federal grant, Trost said.
One man has filed almost 300 complaints about tech buses in San Francisco
Some retirees take up gardening. Others volunteer. And some, like San Francisco’s Edward Mason, log hundreds of complaints about tech shuttles.
SF tops Runner’s World list of ‘Best Running Cities’
Who would have thought a hilly city like San Francisco would be voted America’s best running city? Just the thought of running the challenging hills of the Presidio leave us baffled by this one.
Hurricane Madeline stirs up chance of dry lightning in Bay Area
A hurricane whirling in the Pacific Ocean could bring dry lightning to parts of the Bay Area on Tuesday, a day after it influenced Monday’s spectacular evening sunset seen all around the region, weather forecaster said. Madeline, one of two hurricanes brewing off the coast of Hilo, Hawaii, was stirring up an upper-level moisture system that was influencing Bay Area weather, said Roger Gass, a meteorologist for the National Weather service. On Monday evening, the high-cloud cover the hurricane blew in was mixing with smoke from the Soberanes Fire smoldering near Big Sur. Daytime temperatures will remain in the mid-60s for the rest of the week along the coastal areas of the Bay Area and reach 70s to 80s in the region’s inland areas, according to forecasters.
The worst-reviewed attractions in San Francisco
It’s pretty hard to find a place in San Francisco that tourists don’t love. We did.
Bay Area locals flood social media with photos of last night’s stunning sunset
The National Weather Service says the smoke from wildfires is the reason for the gorgeous colors filling the sky.
SF homeless czar touts streamlined approach, urges patience
SF homeless czar touts streamlined approach, urges patience San Francisco’s new homeless czar, Jeff Kositsky, spent an hour talking with The Chronicle’s editorial board Monday, and despite his street outreach team dismantling the biggest encampment in the city that morning, he wasn’t doing much crowing. The task of combining the efforts of at least five city departments into the new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing is going to take years, he warned. Clearing one camp — the first operation for his freshly created Encampment Resolution Team, is just one of many, many steps ahead. Kositsky wants to make sure the people of the city understand that the mere creation of the department, which he took charge of officially on Aug. 15, is not going to change the city’s most vexing problem overnight. “We’re not the department of everything wrong on the streets in San Francisco,” he said, noting that some problems, like drug dealing and prostitution — even if they at times involve homeless people — are at their core police matters rather than indigence problems. Key to all of these efforts will be creating an integrated tracking system that will show every service each homeless person has been connected to — jail, rehab, food agency, housing and more.
Oakland begins national search for police chief
After years of cycling through police chief after police chief, Oakland officials have begun a national search for a leader who will bring much-needed stability and imaginative reforms to the city’s battered department, Mayor Libby Schaaf said Monday. “We know there is a critical national conversation happening about policing, asking questions about safety and justice,” Schaaf said at a news conference inside Oakland City Hall, at which she stood flanked by City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, East Oakland Youth Development Center head Regina Jackson, and about a dozen teenagers from Oakland. The whole process, while exhaustive, appears designed to make all Oakland residents feel like they have a say in picking their new chief and reforming the troubled department. “It is my experience as Oakland’s mayor that Oaklanders are hungry to continue both our progress with reforms as well as becoming the safe city that we all know Oakland deserves to be,” Schaaf said at the news conference. […] the pressure is on Schaaf, who — like her San Francisco counterpart, Ed Lee — is facing a recall campaign from activists who say she helped prop up a corrupt police force. Leaders of the campaign demand that Oakland cut funding for its Police Department in half and give the money to community groups. Some law enforcement experts are skeptical that Oakland will find a permanent leader for its department, given the recent misconduct scandal, the scrutiny of a federal judge and court monitor, and the forthcoming November ballot measure to create a powerful citizen-led police commission — adding yet another layer of supervision for whoever becomes chief.
Shoeless rider lights up apparent crack pipe while on BART
Note to BART: Please require your crack-smoking riders to wear pants.
SF homeless uprooted from sprawling creekside encampment
After decades of drifting from place to place, getting bounced by police or avoiding sketchy people on the street, the 36-year-old finally found decent enough digs at one of the city’s most entrenched homeless encampments on the north bank of Islais Creek Channel. […] that all ended Monday when city crews made good on a promise to dismantle the sprawling urban tent city, where mountains of trash and human waste had accumulated along the promenade near Cesar Chavez Street, just south of the Dogpatch neighborhood. The latest San Francisco homeless sweep came as no surprise to the few dozen hard-core street people still set up on the promenade at the southern terminus of Indiana Street. For weeks, workers from the newly-created city Encampment Resolution Team have been working with the 50 or so campers, breaking the news that staying was no longer an option, while reserving beds for folks willing to go to shelters. The approach was the latest in an evolution of tactics used by the city to transition homeless people into permanent housing and clean out encampments that are often overrun with trash, feces, and littered remnants of intravenous drug use. Once the zero-hour hit on Monday morning, several folks had already moved on while the holdouts slowly packed up under the supervision of a handful of police and teams of public works crews. On Monday morning, Dodge watched over the scene while campers slowly wheeled away their belongings, which included piles of bike parts, generators, barbecues, camp stoves, tarps and large tents. “Neighbors more and more are concerned — concerned about the conditions that we can’t turn a blind eye to,” Dodge said as public works crews set about cleaning up the sea of trash – including a small boat — littering the walkway. “How do you get kicked out of being homeless?” 36-year-old camper Katherine McClain said as she fought back tears while pushing her clothes, purse and coat on a rolling desk chair. “If you go to one of the shelters they send you, it’s filled with crazy people,” said 47-year-old Elizabeth Soule, who receives Supplemental Security Income for medical problems and had been at the camp for two weeks.
Hunt on for killer of sea otters found shot near Santa Cruz
Park rangers are offering a $10,000 reward to get their hands on whoever shot and killed three endangered southern sea otters in the Santa Cruz area. Two of the slain animals washed up on beaches in Santa Cruz and a third in nearby Aptos about two weeks ago, according to Max Schad, a wildlife officers with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. A fourth dead otter washed up at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, but rangers were unable to determine, because of its deteriorated condition, whether it had been shot. Southern sea otters, also known as California sea otters, once were plentiful along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Washington.
Cyclists peeved after bike pedal blamed in Sierra wildfire
[…] the latest culprit — a bike — is largely unheard of as a source of ignition, and is being met with disbelief in some circles. U.S. Forest Service investigators say a bicycle pedal that scraped a rock and shot sparks on a mountain bike trail was responsible for a 122-acre blaze in the eastern Sierra this month, a finding that unleashed a firestorm of incredulity on the Internet. […] absurd to even make this official, wrote one of the more than 100 skeptics who commented on the Inyo National Forest’s Facebook page since the cause of the fire near Mammoth Lakes was reported last week. A mock image of a fire-starter kit, including a bicycle pedal, began circulating on social media in protest of Wednesday’s fire report. Fire Prevention Technician Kirstie Butler said a comprehensive investigation, which included locating a rock with a pedal scrap on it and speaking to several mountain bikers in the area at the time, revealed conclusively what caused the fire. The Lower Rock Creek Trial, where the fire occurred, is a popular single-track biking path off Highway 395, about 20 miles south of Mammoth Lakes, partly in the Inyo National Forest. Because of the blowback on social media, Butler said the Forest Service is thinking about providing more information to the public about the investigation.
Watch life on the playa with Burning Man live stream
Take a look and through the dusty haze you can see little bicycles rolling along past hard-to-make-out sculptures growing from the desert floor.
Shoeless crackhead lights up while on BART
Note to BART: Please require your crack-smoking riders to wear pants.
Fire damages historic building in SF’s SoMa neighborhood
Fire damages historic building in SF’s SoMa neighborhood Firefighters battled a fast-moving blaze that tore through a four-story vacant brick building early Monday morning next to The San Francisco Chronicle’s headquarters in the city’s South of Market neighborhood. The fire in Minna alley, between Fifth and Sixth streets, started around 4:45 a.m. on the top floors of the old Dempster Printing Building and quickly spread through the nearly-100-year-old structure, said Lt. Jonathan Baxter, a spokesman for the San Francisco Fire Department.
San Francisco under construction for the past 100 years
Does it seem like construction in the city is never ending? Well, it is. This may be due to urban growth, changes in style, repair from age, or acts of Mother Nature, including earthquakes, fires and floods. San Francisco is no stranger to any of those. It springs back stronger than ever. In 1906, after the great earthquake and fire that decimated several square miles of this compact city, undaunted, the people started all over again.
Life hacks for living cheaper in the Bay Area
We pay for the privilege of living here, that’s for sure. And after decades of life in the Bay, many of us here at SFGATE have come up with little and big ways to save money.
Livermore market closed after major fire
A small market in a Livermore strip mall sustained $300,000 in damages early Saturday after a fire tore through the store, officials said. The blaze, reported just after 4 a.m. at the Ramirez Market, took about an hour to get under control, according to a statement from the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department. Firefighters had to clear a large amount of storage before gaining access to extinguish the fire, which had extended into the building’s attic space and was threatening the business next door when fire crews arrived at the shopping center on Maple Street near First Street.
Santa Rosa police arrest 3 suspected gang members
Police arrested three alleged gang members for suspected links to an assault and concealing weapons after their vehicle was stopped for speeding in Santa Rosa early Saturday, authorities said. At about 3:35 a.m., a Santa Rosa police officer noticed that a car driving too fast through a construction zone at Sebastopol Road and Stony Point Road matched the description of a vehicle involved in a gang-related assault a week earlier, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department. The officer, who was joined by others from the department, found a loaded .25 caliber semiautomatic handgun, crowbar and wooden baseball bat in the vehicle. A 16-year-old Santa Rosa male, who was not identified because of his age, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a stun gun linked to the earlier incident, as well as for other suspected crimes including possessing a concealed firearm and violating terms of his juvenile probation.
Motorcyclist killed on Golden Gate Bridge was Larkspur man
Aamir Ahmad Khan was riding north on Highway 1 over the bridge shortly before 6 p.m. when he apparently lost control near the north tower and slammed into the railing, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. Khan had been weaving in and out of traffic at “an extremely high rate of speed,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Andrew Barclay said. The bridge’s three northbound lanes were closed for more than an hour after the crash, causing major traffic backups in the area.
Police release sketch of Pacific Heights assailant
Police release sketch of Pacific Heights assailant Police have released a sketch of a man who they say attacked a woman in Pacific Heights last weekend in hope of tracking down the assailant. The man, described as being in his 40s or 50s, apparently came up from behind the victim about 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 20 near Lafayette Park and began punching her in the face until she was rendered motionless, according to the San Francisco Police Department. “It kind of happened really quickly,” police spokeswoman Officer Giselle Talkoff said after the incident.
Weed advocates hold 4.20-mile race in San Francisco — sort of
Marijuana enthusiasts arrived in droves at the park’s bandshell to reject the stoner stigma and run what originally was supposed to be a 4.2-mile course, an homage to the celebratory date and time of cannabis use. For backers of Proposition 64, a November ballot measure that would make recreational marijuana use legal for people 21 and older, the race was a chance to disprove what they view as misconceptions about the medicinal plant — like the notion that cannabis users are unmotivated to move beyond their couches. The event, billed as family-friendly and bookended by yoga sessions, prohibited smoking, but that didn’t stop many runners from lighting up before and after, either at home or in other discreet locations. The women’s first-place runner, 28-year-old Kate Modzelewski of Fairfield, also wasn’t exactly sure when she got to the finish line, but thought it was around the 12-minute mark. Aaron Flynn, who served as a Marine sergeant before founding a cannabis cultivation company, said a gummy with 5 milligrams of weed before the race was the perfect amount to relax his muscles and prerace jitters. Baker said getting a medical marijuana card was life-changing, and he hopes that Prop. 64 passes so that people like his grandmother would be willing to try cannabis without as intense a stigma surrounding it. McAlpine, who’s opening the world’s first cannabis gym and health center later this year in the Mission District with former NFL player Ricky Williams, said Saturday’s race was about changing the minds of “nonbelievers.” “Whether I’m lifting weights, swimming, mountain biking, skiing, (marijuana) gives me an extra degree of focus,” he said.
UC Berkeley reopens Bowles Hall as residential college
Bowles Hall is a residence hall unlike any other at UC Berkeley — a gorgeous Tudor mansion nestled just next to the football stadium in the hills above campus. Despite the building’s castle-like facade, for many years it settled into genteel disrepair, an all-male dorm that was out of favor with students and unaffordable for campus upkeep. The dorm is now an alums-funded residential college, where students can live, eat and study for the entirety of their collegiate experiences. Hundreds gathered Saturday to celebrate the reopening, with alumni spanning the building’s history returning to campus to witness the return of the residential college’s legacy. On a campus where students typically move off campus after one year in the dorms, the new Bowles Hall offers the antithesis of the typical Berkeley experience: a four-year, all-inclusive academic environment where students learn, eat and grow in a single residence hall their entire collegiate life. Bowles residents from the 1960s remember the dorm for its tight-knit community and lively spirit, fostered by the residence hall’s all-inclusive nature. Fred Strauss, class of ’70, recalled an annual luau in the building’s front yard, with students converting the lawn into a makeshift pool and building an elaborate waterfall from the building’s seventh-floor balcony. Warren Nordgren, class of ’62, remembered dropping water balloons on students returning home from final exams, and stringing a phone line between Bowles and an all-female dorm, Stern Hall. The dorm risked full-on closure when the Haas School of Business attempted to acquire the property and use it as a home for the school’s school’s executive education center, a nondegree program that offers training for companies. Bowles was closed for the 2015-2016 school year, while it underwent complete renovation, including returning a dining hall to the building and completely remaking the student housing.
Man stabbed to death in San Jose
Officers were called to Bascom Avenue and Leon Drive on a disturbance report and found the victim in the area. No arrests have been made, and the motive and circumstances surrounding the stabbing are under investigation. The man’s name will be released upon confirmation of his identity by the coroner’s office and notification of his family.
Lake County’s Clayton Fire 100 percent contained
A nearly 4,000-acre Lake County wildfire that blackened much of the town of Lower Lake was 100 percent contained as of Friday evening, fire officials said. The Clayton Fire destroyed at least 300 homes and businesses since it started August 13 and quickly burned through the community, forcing thousands to evacuate. Authorities said the fire was caused by arson, and arrested a former inmate firefighter on suspicion of starting the blaze.
Gov. Brown delivers huge blow to Oakland coal plan
A developer’s plan to ship coal from Oakland’s docks took a huge blow Friday when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to block state funds for any coal-shipping terminals in California and vowed to keep up a fight against the fossil fuel. On June 27, the Oakland City Council voted to disallow the plan, days after the city’s hired environmental consultant, ESA, released a report saying that coal dust can damage organs, stunt children’s growth and cause cancer. A spokesman for Tagami’s company, California Capital & Investment Group, said Friday that the developer and his shipping operator, Terminal Logistics Solutions, are still “evaluating their options.” Brown, who served as mayor of Oakland from 1999 to 2007 and appointed Tagami to serve as a port commissioner in 2000, had for months kept mum on the Oakland coal shipping plan even as it drew stern denunciations from Hancock, Schaaf, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, and 11 East Bay mayors in cities surrounding Oakland. Tagami and his allies have argued that a prohibition on coal could hinder the larger 130-acre development that California Capital & Investment Group is building at the long-defunct Army base in West Oakland, which requires millions of dollars in state funding and will add rail lines, warehouses and maritime support services to what has long been a vast industrial hinterland. “Including coal jeopardized funding sources, and certainly for this project it required so many entities to spend time, money and energy on protecting the community from this dangerous commodity, when we could have been moving toward something that everyone would welcome,” Schaaf said. Hancock argued, further, that if the Army base project can succeed only by putting “the largest coal export depot on the Pacific Coast right near the Bay Bridge,” then it was a flawed business proposition from the get-go.
Sen. Boxer’s ‘farewell tour’ a thank-you to California
The triumphs include the effort by California politicians in 1995 to prevent portions of the green enclave at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge from being sold to developers. On Friday, she also pledged to see whether there’s a way in her final months in Washington to find federal money to help pay for a cloak of new parkland that would hide automobile tunnels near Crissy Field. “I would hope so — we have a great case to make on so many levels,” Boxer said at the conclusion of her brief visit to the 1,491-acre former Army post, now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The thank-yous were directed at the officials on hand from the National Park Service and the Presidio Trust. Since the military handed off control of the Presidio in 1994, it has blossomed with new trails and scenic overlooks, while hundreds of buildings were restored and dump sites were replaced by native landscapes. The Presidio also is the only piece of the Park Service that is required to be financially self-sustaining — a condition imposed in 1996 after Republicans in Washington balked at putting $25 million or more annually into parkland within the borders of notoriously liberal San Francisco. […] the cost estimate now approaches $100 million, almost twice the original estimate for a project that relies on private fundraising being conducted by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Boxer, who moved several years ago from her longtime home in Marin to Rancho Mirage (Riverside County), made only one reference to the national political scene.
Fatal motorcycle crash closes northbound Golden Gate Bridge
A motorcyclist was killed Friday when he lost control and tumbled off his bike on Highway 101 at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, forcing the California Highway Patrol to close all of the northbound lanes during the evening commute. Witnesses told investigators that the motorcycle was northbound on the bridge at 5:55 p.m. when it hit the side of the bridge and crashed, said Andrew Barclay, spokesman for the CHP. Barclay said emergency personnel arrived shortly after the crash, but the motorcycle driver was declared dead at the scene. All three northbound lanes were closed for more than an hour, creating an enormous backup on Presidio Parkway, 19th Avenue, Lombard Street and Van Ness Avenue.
Golden Gate Bridge turns to texts to reach those in crisis
Gamboa, 49, said he doesn’t want to remember the anger he felt that day and the nightmare surrounding the death of his son, Kyle, a well-liked basketball player at Sacramento Waldorf High School. Gamboa later learned that sailors found his son lifeless in the water and that Kyle had done an Internet search for “suicides at the Golden Gate Bridge” just a few hours before taking his life. […] in another attempt to reach those in crisis, and young people in particular, the Golden Gate Bridge’s board of directors announced Friday a partnership with a texting hotline. Sign posts on the bridge will list a number that people can text with the keyword “GGB” that will connect them to a counselor who can provide resources and consolation. Once they get a location, Crisis Text Line will inform dispatchers, who send police officers to intervene and try talking people out of their plans. Some, though, cautioned that the texting service was unlikely to change suicide rates and want a proposed steel net to be built as soon as possible. The project was delayed after construction bids came in this summer twice as high as the expected price tag, but bridge officials hope to have it completed in the next four years. Paul Muller, president of the Bridge Rail Foundation, a Sausalito nonprofit that advocates installing the net, said it was improbable that someone who goes through the psychological barriers and physically travels to the bridge will text a counselor for help.
The prices on Craigslist rental listings are lowest on this day
Why do prices of rentals increase on Sunday?
Corrections, Aug. 27
Museum at the Palace plan denied, Aug. 20, Bay Area, C4 A story that began on C1 misstated the status of the Innovation Hangar at the Palace of Fine Arts. The educational-programming nonprofit continues to operate out of the space.
UC Berkeley suspends plans to build Global Campus in Richmond
Dirks, who announced his resignation last week amid widespread criticism, blamed ongoing budget challenges for the collapse of the UC Berkeley Global Campus project despite more than two years of debate, community meetings, planning and fundraising already invested in the effort. Yet Dirks’s resignation — amid concerns over his handling of a $150 million budget crisis and sexual harassment complaints — means the Richmond project will lose its biggest champion when he departs in 11 months. University spokesman Roqua Montez said that with the project on hold, “the University will… continue to explore options for the site that reflect new priorities for the campus around enrollment growth and housing in the near future.” The university described the 134-acre project as a development similar to UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay site, forming a “research and action hub,” with undergraduate and graduate-level programs focused on “global governance, ethics, political economy, cultural and international relations and practical engagement.” “Chancellor Dirks decided that the firm’s services were needed based on his assessment that the university would benefit if he were to have expanded access to and engagement with philanthropists around the world in order to increase philanthropic support for Berkeley,” according to a university statement. […] the project had its own share of controversy prior to the abrupt discontinuation Thursday. Last year, Dirks named former UC Berkeley vice chancellor Graham Fleming to help lead the effort — after the administrators had resigned amid sexual harassment allegations. Fleming, who was on sabbatical, was paid a $20,000 stipend and international travel expenses to be the “Global Campus ambassador” — compensation in addition to his annual $276,500 salary. In Richmond, the project was also controversial, with community groups and students demanding the university agree to conditions regarding job opportunities, housing and other benefits to residents and local businesses. “While we are deeply disappointed about the announced suspension of the UC Berkeley Global Campus in Richmond, we will continue to work with the city, the UC system, our national labs, and the state to pursue every opportunity to develop this valuable site for the benefit of our residents and the community,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.
The most San Francisco summer — just one day above 70 in August
It’s not your imagination — this August really has been San Francisco’s worst. Or one of them, anyway. The city has seen only one 70-degree day in August, according to meteorologists and collectors of weather records. The last time the city had a month that wouldn’t budge above 70 at all was 1942, and there have been only two other Augusts on record — in 1917 and 1882 — with that distinct dishonor. “We had the one day when we reached 70 degrees. That was on the eighth of August. And every other day has been in the 60s,” said Jan Null, a meteorologist for Golden Gate Weather Services who’s been tracking August records. It hasn’t been a brutally cold month, he noted. Just a persistent one.
Judge who sparked outcry in rape case transferring to civil court
A Santa Clara County judge who provoked national outrage after giving what was perceived as a slap on the wrist to an ex-Stanford student convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman will be reassigned from the criminal to the civil division, the court announced Thursday. Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Brock Turner in June to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a 23-year-old drunken woman after a fraternity party, asked for the change, according to Risë Jones Pichon, the presiding judge of Santa Clara Superior Court. Judge Persky believes the change will aid the public and the court by reducing the distractions that threaten to interfere with his ability to effectively discharge the duties of his current criminal assignment. Turner, a talented swimmer from Dayton, Ohio, was arrested after two graduate students came across him lying on top of a partially clothed, unconscious woman in a field near a trash bin.
San Jose police officers found to be staying in RV’s outside HQ
With a police shortage in San Jose, coupled with mandatory overtime that adds up to 17-hour workdays, it turns out that at least a dozen officers are living in RV’s outside of the San Jose Police Department.
Judith Liteky, SF organizer for Latino war refugees, dies at 74
Judith Liteky, who spent decades organizing support for Central American war refugees and protests against a U.S. training center for Latin American military leaders, died Saturday of multiple myeloma at her home in San Francisco. Ms. Liteky left an order of Catholic nuns in 1973 to become a college teacher in San Francisco, where she developed a program for young Latina women and later became involved in the sanctuary movement for refugees. In 1984, she married Charles Liteky, who as an Army chaplain in Vietnam had won the Medal of Honor for carrying more than 20 wounded soldiers through gunfire to safety in 1967. The government-run School of the Americas, at Fort Benning, Ga., trains Central and South American military leaders in combat and counterinsurgency techniques. Another attendee was the late Roberto d’Aubuisson, a rightist Salvador politician accused by his opponents of promoting death squads in his nation’s civil war. Ms. Liteky was a plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit seeking to require the U.S. government to release the names of the Latin American military personnel who have attended the school. President Bill Clinton’s administration had begun making the information public, starting in 1994, and the list contained more than 60,000 names dating to the school’s founding in 1946, but the disclosures were halted in 2004 under President George W. Bush’s administration, an action the Obama administration has continued. Ms. Liteky and other plaintiffs said they had evidence that the school admitted military personnel who had previously been accused of human rights violations.
Curran Theatre maintains liquor license under new law
[…] whenever it happens, a new state law will keep the alcohol flowing. Legislation by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown, fills a gap in the law that could have left the theater without a liquor license. […] differences between the new solo owner, Carole Shorenstein Hays, and the former owner, SHN, which she helped to found, have left the Curran without the license it used to sell beer, wine and spirits at its bar. Judson True, Chiu’s chief of staff, described the measure as “a narrow, technical fix” to a 2013 law that set standards for liquor licenses at the city’s historic theaters.
SF pleads its case with Washington on preferential housing policy
The federal government is “wrong as a matter of law and public policy” to reject San Francisco’s plan to reserve 40 percent of subsidized units for neighborhood residents, City Attorney Dennis Herrera told federal housing officials Thursday. The city’s neighborhood preference policy is an attempt to stem the exodus of African Americans and members of other minority groups from neighborhoods that are rapidly gentrifying. The Board of Supervisors approved it in December after months of debate on how to ensure that new affordable housing units would be available to people who live in the neighborhoods where the developments are being built. Supporters of the plan hoped it would help African Americans improve their odds in selection lotteries for below-market units in market-rate developments and fully subsidized projects. The federal decision would mean that neighborhood residents wouldn’t get preferential selection for the Willie B. Kennedy development at Turk and Webster streets in the Western Addition, a 98-unit senior housing development set to open this fall. A group of city officials, including Olson Lee, who heads the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, will travel to Washington, D.C., next week to try to persuade HUD officials to change their position on neighborhood preference.
Muckraking SF journalist Warren Hinckle dies at 77
Warren Hinckle, a happily hard-drinking swashbuckler of San Francisco journalism who mixed leftist leanings with an everlasting contempt for the powerful, died early Thursday. Mr. Hinckle had been in declining health and died of complications from pneumonia at a hospital near his home in San Francisco, relatives said. From his groundbreaking days of editing the iconic liberal magazines Ramparts and Scanlan’s Monthly in the 1960s and ’70s to his reliably irreverent columns for newspapers, including The Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner, Mr. Hinckle delighted in tweaking anyone in charge of anything and muckraking for what he fiercely saw as the common good. With his ever-present Basset hound Bentley in tow, Mr. Hinckle held forth at watering holes and events throughout the city, tossing off one-liners in a low growl like a late-night comic. Along the way, the one-eyed rapscallion — he’d lost his left eye in a childhood car accident and wore a patch — drew the wrath of mayors, police and anyone who got in his way, and he reveled in it. The resultant rollicking article, “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” not only launched the over-the-top, personalized journalism that came to be known as gonzo, it began a lifelong friendship between Mr. Hinckle and Thompson. “It was kind of like the portrait of Dorian Gray,” said longtime friend Ron Turner, founder of the book’s publisher, Last Gasp Books. While executive editor of Ramparts from 1964 to 1969, Mr. Hinckle pioneered “radical slick” — publishing early denunciations of the Vietnam War and diaries by such leftist figures as Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara and Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver in a mass-marketed magazine. The magazine began in 1962 in Menlo Park as a stodgy, intellectual Catholic publication, but when Mr. Hinckle signed on he moved the headquarters to San Francisco and tacked its direction hard left. Mr. Hinckle then embarked on a career as a newspaper columnist for The Chronicle, Examiner and San Francisco Independent, earning a reputation for filing notes from a barstool or ambling into the newsroom just before — or after — deadline to bang out his prose. Chronicle reporter Steve Rubenstein, who worked alongside him as a columnist in the 1980s, recalled Mr. Hinckle dictating his copy “an hour from deadline from any of a number of watering holes in San Francisco, where his beverage of choice was not the same as Bentley’s.” The scruffy Dovre Club Irish saloon in the Mission District was one of Mr. Hinckle’s favorites, and when it was forced to move a few blocks away in 1997 to make room for a building housing service agencies for women, he was so angry he tried to barricade the doors with his pals on its last day. Incensed by police raids on the Mitchell Brothers strip club — where he often convened with Thompson to rail against restrictions of sexual expression — he once helped post the mayor’s unlisted phone number on the marquee with, “For a good time, call Dianne.” “Warren was always the smartest guy in the room, and at college he was smarter than the teachers,” said Chronicle reporter Carl Nolte, who was then working in media relations for the university and later worked alongside Mr. Hinckle. After graduating, he joined The Chronicle as a reporter covering mostly crime news, but soon moved on to his magazine work at Ramparts. In 1974 he wrote an autobiography, “If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade,” and it served as a sort of manifesto for the puncher’s attitude he carried throughout his life. Mr. Hinckle is survived by his longtime partner, Linda Corso; daughters Pia Hinckle of San Francisco and Hilary Hinckle of New York; a son, Warren J. Hinckle IV of Boston; a sister, Marianne Hinckle of San Francisco; a brother, Robert Hinckle of Reno; and five grandchildren.
Signs to ease traffic on I-80 in East Bay set to come to life
New electronic signs will blink on Thursday in an attempt by traffic engineers to help motorists on one of the most congested sections of highway in the Bay Area avoid even more traffic misery. More than 110 advisory signs will be activated on the 20-mile stretch of westbound Interstate 80 between the Carquinez Bridge and the Bay Bridge and on surrounding roads, said Shannon Brinias, spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation. The electronic messages, mounted on 11 overhead structures, will display green arrows to indicate the lane is clear, a yellow X to alert motorists that there is some kind of issue ahead and a red X, meaning the lane is blocked up ahead, Brinias said. The idea is to alert motorists about trouble ahead so they can change lanes, which will hopefully ease commute gridlock and clear the way for emergency vehicles, said a Caltrans advisory.
Sen. Steve Glazer to vote ‘no’ on BART measure
State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, who has relentlessly railed against BART, its labor contracts and financial mismanagement, told The Chronicle Wednesday that he will vote against Measure RR, the $3.5 billion property tax proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot to upgrade the regional rail transit system. Glazer’s opposition is bad news for the Yes on RR campaign, since the senator’s district covers most of central and eastern Contra Costa County and the Tri-Valley in Alameda County — areas where support for the bond measure is not considered particularly strong. Nick Josefowitz, a BART director from San Francisco, speaking for the pro-bond campaign, declined to discuss the significance of Glazer’s opposition other than to say the campaign’s efforts were focused on voters rather than politicians. Glazer has made clear his dissatisfaction with BART management, especially over what he sees as lavish labor contracts. In February, as BART directors contemplated a bond measure, he organized a group of elected local and state officials who threatened to oppose any proposal asking voters for funds unless BART negotiated a “financially responsible contract” with its labor unions before going to the ballot. BART officials quietly bargained a four-year contract extension with its unions, announced in April, that ensured no labor strike would take place in 2017 when negotiations for new deals were scheduled. Recent stories of excessive overtime, on-train security cameras that don’t work, salary bonuses for workers and big raises for BART managers, he said, persuaded him to oppose Measure RR. Josefowitz said BART directors and other bond supporters have been getting a supportive response from people around the district as they spread the message of BART’s need to upgrade the 44-year-old system troubled by aging infrastructure and overwhelmed by record ridership.
Nextdoor social network adds features to combat racial profiling
Nextdoor social network adds features to combat racial profiling Beset by accusations that his neighborly social network had become a breeding ground for race-based fear-mongering, the head of Nextdoor rolled out new features Wednesday that he said will combat the problem. “We know it’s not the last bit of work we have to do, but it’s a pretty significant milestone,” Chief Executive Officer Nirav Tolia told a roomful of reporters at the company’s headquarters on Market Street in San Francisco, hours after the changes were implemented in 110,000 neighborhoods across the country. Tolia said that Nextdoor is the first social media company to deal with racism head-on by changing aspects of its product, at the risk of alienating some users. Nextdoor, a get-to-know-your-neighbors network meant to be the kind of place where people can advertise garage sales or find babysitters, came under fire last year after Oakland residents and civic leaders said it was being used to spread bias. Stunned by the onslaught of warnings about African American men in hoodies or “dark-skinned” people driving by in cars, residents in the city’s Dimond and Glenview neighborhoods formed a social media watchdog group, Neighbors for Racial Justice, which began pressing city officials and Nextdoor to address the problem. The group found an audience in City Councilwoman Annie Campbell Washington, who met with executives from Nextdoor several times and encouraged them to make reforms. Nextdoor says it will discourage both types of profiling with new pop-up screens that appear whenever someone posts in its “crime and safety” forums, prompting users to give at least two details besides the race or ethnicity of the person they are describing — such as what type of hair the person has, or what type of shoes he or she is wearing. The company has also begun “empathy trainings” for Nextdoor “leads” — the volunteers who start individual Nextdoor networks in their neighborhoods and who are empowered to delete abusive posts. The point of the trainings, which started with three face-to-face sessions in Oakland but will be offered online in other cities, is to help define racial profiling so that moderators know what to look out for, Tolia said. In test-runs of thousands of posts, Tolia said that while the company saw a 75 percent reduction in posts that it characterized as racially biased, it also saw a 50 percent “abandonment rate” — meaning half of the participants ditched their posts midway through writing them, because they didn’t have enough information to fill all the check boxes in the pop-up windows. Audrey Esquivel, a resident of Oakland’s Glenview neighborhood and member of Neighbors for Racial Justice, said that she, too, was encouraged by the social network’s reforms, and that she hopes the new features will teach people to be more conscientious, in general, about their own implicit biases.
Oakland fire smoke seen around the city – tweets and reaction
A fire near 14th and Myrtle streets in Oakland was causing smoke plumes seen around the city on Wednesday.
Federal review: No bias against Lucas in Presidio museum proposal
The Presidio Trust’s board was not misled by its employees when it decided to reject George Lucas’ bid to build a waterfront museum within the unusual national park, federal investigators say. A Department of the Interior review of the controversial 2014 decision “did not substantiate the allegations” of Lucas supporters that the filmmaker was treated unfairly by staff members, according to a report released this week by the department’s inspector general. In sorting through 37,000 emails — generated by a Freedom of Information Act request from Lucas backers — investigators also found no evidence of any actions that violated Trust policies. […] “everything found by investigators pointed to no prejudgment” by the appointed board or its staff, said Nancy DiPaolo, a spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office. According to DiPaolo, it took “six or seven months” and involved “multiple investigators,” though not on a full-time basis.
California test scores rise in second year of new standards
Public-school students’ standardized test scores in math and English were up across the board this year in California, with students in every grade and from every ethnic group showing improvement, according to results released Wednesday. Overall, 49 percent of the 3.2 million students who took the exams met or exceeded standards for their grade level in English, up from 44 percent the year before. “These positive results are based on a new college and career readiness assessment that is online, and expects students to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills unlike the old, multiple-choice tests they replace,” said state Board of Education President Mike Kirst. There was little to no improvement, for example, in narrowing the achievement gap, with African American, Latino and low-income students continuing to lag far behind their peers. Twenty-nine percent of African American students met or exceeded standards in English, and 18 percent hit that mark in math. San Francisco’s overall scores reflect the district’s large Asian American enrollment, a subgroup with significantly more students reaching or exceeding standards. District officials acknowledged a big achievement gap, with African American students significantly behind their peers. While SFUSD students demonstrate greater proficiency than many of their peers in urban schools across the state,” said district Superintendent Richard Carranza, “these results also reinforce how critical it is to focus on closing the achievement gap for our African American and Latino students.
Sebastopol man, 38, dies in solo pickup truck crash
Sebastopol man, 38, dies in solo pickup truck crash A 38-year-old Sebastopol man died after crashing a pickup truck into a pole in that city Tuesday morning, the California Highway Patrol said. CHP officers responded to reports of a collision on Occidental Road near Jonive Road at about 8:20 a.m. There, officials determined a Chevrolet Silverado had sped into a utility pole, breaking it in half. The CHP said damp road conditions and the driver’s speed were being investigated as factors in the crash.
Kevin “KC” Jones, who helped electrify Muni trolley, dies
Mr. Jones died of head injuries on July 21, three weeks after a suffering a bicycle accident near Glen Park. A native of Cambridge, Mass., and a 1979 graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Mr. Jones came to San Francisco in 1981 and worked for three decades as a software engineer for such companies as Autodesk, Microsoft, Leapfrog and Skype. Acutely aware as he aged that he was working in a young person’s field, Mr. Jones remained open to the near-constant evolution of his profession. For years, Mr. Jones was active in public school issues in San Francisco, volunteering in classrooms and at fundraisers. “I always valued when KC weighed in, in a forum that was often contentious and heated,” recalled Lorraine Woodruff-Long, former executive director of Parents for Public Schools in San Francisco. A tall, funny, thoughtful and gregarious man, Mr. Jones was at home in the kitchen, where he enjoyed crafting his famed lemon pie or his specialty orzo-feta salad.
SF history group raising funds for plaque to mark ’06 quake
There’s not a single brass plaque to tell the story, city historians say, brass plaques being a big deal in the history business. “We’ve even got a brass plaque in San Francisco marking the place where the first slot machine was invented,” said historian Joseph Amster. The spot is also just a few steps from equally historic Lotta’s Fountain, the elegant edifice and earthquake shrine on a traffic island with three large waterspouts designed for watering horses, should that mode of transport make a comeback. Amster, a board member of the history association,