Vallejo police searched for the suspects in two more deadly shootings Wednesday -- a surge in street violence that has sent the city’s homicide rate to its highest level in almost two decades.
Lt. Kenny Park said detectives have been working long hours in attempt to solve the crimes. Right now, there are five detectives and one sergeant in the investigative unit for the department.
“I think it's safe to say with 24 homicides and the number of detectives we have that they are working quite a few hours,” he said.
The most recent shootings happened within hours of each other on Tuesday.
At 3:40 p.m. a man was shot and killed outside King’s Market at 1624 Fairgrounds Drive. The victim has not been identified but police say he is in his 20s.
Then at 9:30 p.m. police say a 26-year-old man was shot and killed outside a recording studio on the 700 block of Tuolomne Street.
Jonathan Corea came to Tuolomne Street Wednesday morning to put up poster boards.
He went to church with the victim and says he just wanted people to have a place to write condolences and words of remembrance.
Corea told KTVU that the victim was married and had a young daughter and says the shooting “took a lot of people by surprise.”
He said the victim was an active church member described him as a man with a big heart. He says he has no idea why anyone would want to hurt him.
No arrests have been made in either shooting and Vallejo Police Sgt. Jason Potts says it does not appear that the shootings are connected.
He also told KTVU that it doesn’t look like this is gang violence -- “it’s just violence.”
Vallejo Police say last year there were 20 homicides. In 2011 there were 18. Back in 1994 the city saw a record number of killings with 30 people killed that year.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:59:01 -0800
An alleged serial bank bandit was wounded in a deputy-involved shooting Wednesday following a robbery in Novato and pursuit that ended on the streets of Terra Linda, authorities said.
The robbery took place at around 9 a.m. at the Bank of The West branch in 1300 block of Grant Ave. in Novato. The time and day of the robbery is a common trait of robberies of the alleged ‘Cotton Ball Bandit.’
The suspect was pursued by Marin County sheriff’s deputies from Novato to the streets of Terra Linda where the suspect crashed into a pole outside the Northgate mall. He started to flee but then turned and pointed a gun at a deputy who opened fire and wounded him, authorities said.
The FBI said the ‘Cotton Ball Bandit’ enters a bank, approaches a teller, and presents a demand note. The suspect wears a brown, knit winter beanie with earflaps and a cotton ball on the top.
He is suspected in 10 Marin bank robberies and the FBI has offered a $2,500 reward for his capture.
The FBI and local law enforcement agencies believe the Cotton Ball Bandit is connected to the following bank robberies:
He was taken to a local hospital with an adnominal wound. His condition was not known.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:27:16 -0800
Police arrest a California man Tuesday accused of making thousands of dollars from running a revenge porn website and then charging women to take their pictures down.
Twenty seven-year-old Kevin Christopher Bollaert was arrested on 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion. According to the California Department of Justice, Bollaert operated yougotposted.com, a revenge porn website. (Via HLN)
"The photos came from ex-boyfriends or were hacked, all of them included the women's full name, location, age and Facebook profile link. When women would complain, they would be sent to Bollaert's other site." (Via KABC)
That other site, ChangeMyReputation.com allowed women whose pictures were posted to take down the photos, but according to police they were charged upward of $300 to do so. Police say Bollaert had tens of thousands of dollars in a Paypal account from women paying to have pictures removed. (Via KGTV)
Police say the website featured more than 10,000 pictures of different women sent in by others. A San Diego TV station caught up with Bollaert who doesn't deny running the website, but says he believes he didn't break the law.
"I don't think I committed any crime ... I just don't wanna be involved with that kind of website any more. I wanna do good things with my life." (Via KFMB)
And while California has a new law that deals specifically with revenge porn, Time notes, "the law says nothing about website operators, who generally aren’t liable for content that other people put on their sites."
"Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill banning so-called revenge porn, nude or sexual images online posted by an angry ex ... for the law to apply, the person doing the posting must have the intent of causing emotional distress or humiliation."
The women say they were stalked and harassed because of the postings. An email sent to the website reads in part, "PLEASE HELP! I am scared for my life! People are calling my work place, and they obtained that information through this site!" (Via Superior Court of the State of California)
Bollaert was released late Tuesday on $50,000 bond. He's due in court Wednesday afternoon.
- See more at newsy.com.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:26:32 -0800
Sentencing was postponed in Las Vegas for four men who pleaded guilty in a 2008 brawl between Hells Angels and rival Mongols motorcycle gang members that left six people hurt at a downtown wedding chapel.
Lawyers for John Dawson, Dominic Orlando, Armando Porras and Brandon Young said Wednesday they want to present evidence in a bid for probation or leniency at sentencing, now set Feb. 28.
The four men pleaded guilty in July to a reduced charge of battery with intent to promote activities of a criminal gang. Each faces up to five years in prison.
They're among 13 men indicted in 2010 on charges including attempted murder, conspiracy and taking part in activities of a criminal gang in the brawl with Mongols members at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:25:01 -0800
Paul Walker's body was released from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office this week, and now the actor's family has announced they are planning a private funeral for the actor this weekend.
The service will be for family and close friends only, though there are also talks of an additional larger memorial to be held over the Weekend, as well.
Last week, E! News reported co-star and friend Tyrese Gibson was helping the family with planning and arrangements.
A family source told TMZ that Walker's 15-year-old daughter Meadow was the main reason for the decision to make the service private.
"[She] is understandably having a difficult time. They don't want a bunch of strangers surrounding the girl, because she needs to feel comfortable to grieve."
Forty-year-old Walker died November 30 alongside friend Roger Rodas after the two were involved in a single car crash in Santa Clarita. An autopsy confirmed Walker died of “traumatic and thermal injuries.”
The LA Times reported that a memorial at the crash site drew thousands of grieving fans to Santa Clarita Sunday, many of whom showed up in high-performance vehicles as a nod to Walker's role in the "Fast and the Furious" franchise.
E! News showcased gifts, flowers and messages of support and sympathy fans left there.
And they have not been the only ones to pay tribute to the fallen actor. WJW-TV has one scene out of Northeast Ohio.
"Drivers cruised down to Edgewater Park to take part in a nationwide salute. At 9 o'clock sharp, everyone revved their engines and honked their horns for five minutes to pay tribute to the 'Fast and Furious' star and his friend."
Sources also report that Walker will be laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills in California.
- See more at newsy.com.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:16:29 -0800
A person described as suicidal who was shot after he allegedly attacked a sheriff's deputy with a blunt object in Saratoga on Tuesday has died of his injuries, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's deputies were called to the area of Saratoga and McFarland avenues at 12:01 p.m. Tuesday on a report of a distressed male and possible attempted suicide, sheriff's Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup said.
Units from the Santa Clara Fire Department and county Emergency Medical Services were also dispatched and arrived at the scene before deputies to see the suspect standing on McFarland Avenue, Stenderup said.
When deputies and fire personnel attempted to talk to him, he suddenly became agitated, pulled out a blunt object and hit one of the deputies with it, according to Stenderup.
Fearing for his life, the deputy pulled his firearm and shot the male once in the chest, deputies said.
The wounded male continued to be aggressive and deputies had to restrain him before medical personnel could begin to treat him at the scene, Stenderup said.
He was then transported to a hospital where he later died, according to the sheriff's office. Two deputies were treated for injuries suffered during the confrontation and released.
The deputies and fire and EMS employees who were at the scene of the shooting were interviewed by the sheriff's office, and the district attorney's office is also monitoring the investigation, Stenderup said.
The sheriff's office is asking anyone who may have witnessed the altercation and shooting to contact its homicide investigators at (408) 808-4431.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 10:46:17 -0800
Sheriff's officials in Northern California say their preliminary review shows a deputy who shot and killed a 13-year-old boy did not violate department procedure governing the use of deadly force.
The October shooting of Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus has sparked numerous protests. The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reports two people were arrested Tuesday during demonstrations against the shooting.
Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas says the review by the sheriff's office was based on an initial briefing by Santa Rosa police, who are looking into whether criminal charges are warranted against Gelhaus. The review is ongoing, but Duenas says so far there is no indication Gelhaus failed to follow procedures.
Gelhaus has told investigators he believed the BB gun Lopez was carrying when he was shot was an assault rifle.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 10:33:21 -0800
Ryan Gibbon’s school takes inhalers from students and keeps them in the office so they can be accessed if necessary.
When Ryan really needed his, it was too late.
The 12-year old was playing outside in 2012 when he told his friends he wasn’t feeling well.
"So as he was going to the office to get his inhaler, he kind of was having a hard time and had to be carried into the office, and by the time he got there he had blacked out," Sandra Gibbons told CTV News in Canada.
Now Sandra is fighting to get his school in Ontario to change their policy and allow students to carry inhalers.
Gibbons said she got more than one phone call from the school after Ryan was "caught" carrying his puffer in his backpack.
Some schools in Ontario do allow inhalers, others don’t. Gibbons wants to see the policy unified.
"Unfortunately, I stand here today trying to get this bill, Ryan's law, in place so that nobody else has to feel how I feel every day," Gibbons began.
“And that's missing my son."
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 09:50:00 -0800
Authorities say a Northern California burglary suspect apparently couldn't find a baby sitter. The man brought his infant child along while he and a partner burglarized a shop.
The Sacramento Bee says the owner of the shop in an unincorporated area of Dixon detained one of the burglars Tuesday evening.
When Solano County Sheriff's deputies responded, they searched the suspect's car and found items from the shop and the 34-year-old man's child.
Paul McGraw of Dixon is being held on suspicion of felony burglary and conspiracy, and a misdemeanor charge of willful cruelty of a child.
The newspaper says the baby was handed over to Child Protective Services.
The Bee reports deputies also arrested 37-year-old Dean Forrest French of Vacaville, who faces burglary and conspiracy charges.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 08:25:00 -0800
With another dry winter looming, California lawmakers called on Gov. Jerry Brown and President Barack Obama to declare a drought emergency and federal disaster in the state.
In a letter sent Monday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Democratic Rep. Jim Costa urged the governor to take immediate action. A separate letter signed by dozens of other California lawmakers called for the same declaration.
The lawmakers cited the California Department of Water Resources' announcement of low water deliveries for Central Valley agriculture due to light rainfall projections.
"While it is early in the 2014 water year and therefore projections on allocations are conservative, what is clear is that we have had two years of dry conditions that have depleted our reservoirs and reduced carry over storage to historically low levels not seen since 1977," Feinstein and Costa wrote.
While a drought has not been declared, a dry 2014 could be the third straight year with subpar rainfall.
Most of the state's water comes from the Sierra Nevada snowpack, so in dry years water managers dramatically cut deliveries due to environmental concerns.
Based on projections, the State Water Project in November said its initial allocation would be just 5 percent of requested deliveries in 2014. That number will change if rainfall exceeds projections, officials said.
The governor did not respond to a request for comment.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 07:12:15 -0800
A marine might have done something that nobody else has done before.
Marine and shark fisherman, Jeff Fangman caught a great white from the beach. Yes --- a great white shark! It took him about 25 minutes and he did it while fishing off Camp Pendleton beach in San Diego.
The video, taken by Fangman's wife, was shot back in October when the catch happened -- but now, the video and story have made their way onto national news programs.
"I like it. His name is Fangman — like Fangman vs. the shark there. I'll go with the Fangman on that one. Well done sir!"
Fishing for sharks is nothing special for Fangman - he's been doing it for years. But he told San Diego's KGTV he's never caught a great white before.
"The line actually started just rolling off the reel. Lo and behold it ended up being a great white. Seeing it in the water was just almost mind-blowing. It's taken several weeks for it to sink in."
And that's what makes his catch so special -- seemingly, nobody's ever caught a great white from a beach in the U.S. If they have — it's never been recorded.
People catch other sharks all the time off beaches. Some of the usual culprits are bull sharks, tiger sharks, lemon, sandbar and even the occasional hammerhead! (Via YouTube / Andrew Benak)
Fangman didn't really catch Jaws though. The great white he caught was a small female. Fangman wasn't able to keep his big catch because Great Whites are illegal for fisherman to target and must be released.
- See more at newsy.com.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 06:25:18 -0800
â€‹Kind words and compromise are pretty rare in this Congress. But Tuesday saw an exception, with both major parties’ budget leaders reaching a deal on spending for the next two years.
That’s Democratic Sen. Patty Murray …
MURRAY: “Because of this deal, the budget process can now stop lurching from crisis to crisis … and it gives government agencies and the companies that do business with them the certainty they need.” (Via CNN)
And Paul Ryan from the Republican House.
RYAN: “This also shows that we can work together to get our government functioning at its very basic levels. … That we think gives us some confidence. That brings some normalcy back to our government.” (Via MSNBC)
Now, the last budget deal passed by a divided government — with one chamber ruled by Republicans and the other by Democrats — came in 1986. Pundits think this one has a chance of winning enough votes to pass, but it’ll have to happen quickly.
In the House, the budget will likely face its toughest challenge with a divided Republican caucus. Speaker John Boehner has also said Friday will be the House’s last day in session in 2014. (Via NBC)
The Senate will actually be in session through next week, so Democrats there have more time.
The highlights of this budget deal?
- avert another government shutdown
- roll back some sequestration cuts
- spends $1.02 trillion in 2014 (Via Politico)
Now, this deal says nothing of extending benefits for the long-term unemployed, and with little time left for legislation this year, that likely means 1.2 million Americans will lose those benefits come Dec. 28.
- See more at newsy.com.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 06:19:54 -0800
Firefighters finally contained a four-alarm fire early Wednesday but not before it completely gutted a Concord telecommunications warehouse and forced officials to issue a voluntarily shelter-in-place order for nearby residents.
The blaze was reported at about 12:30 a.m. at the warehouse located in the 2300 block of Stanwell Drive near Buchanan Field Airport.
A hazmat team was dispatched to the scene and after taking air samples issued a voluntarily shelter-in-place order for nearby residents.
A nearby dialysis center was also ordered closed for the day.
At its height, 70 firefighters were on the scene battling the blaze.
Officials said firefighters were forced to take a defensive approach fighting the blaze in order to keep firefighters out of harm’s way as the roof and a wall collapsed.
The fire was brought under control at about 2:45 a.m., but it took several more hours before it was completely put out.
Contra Costa County Fire Protection Capt. Robert Marshall said the warehouse was over 50,000 square feet and was the storage and recycling site of a telephone supply company that installs and recycles commercial telephone systems.
Marshall said the fire burned "a lot of plastics, a lot of wire."
No injuries have been reported.
ATF investigators have been called to the scene because of the size of the blaze to aid in the search for a cause.
Bank officials were also on the scene because the property was in the process of being foreclosed.
Authorities said they were also investigating whether residents of a nearby homeless encampment may have broken into the building seeking shelter from the cold.
A burglar alarm was triggered before the fire started.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 06:13:39 -0800
The suspension of a 6-year-old boy for kissing a girl at school is raising questions about whether the peck should be considered sexual harassment.
The boy's mother said officials at Lincoln School of Science and Technology in Canon City, a southern Colorado city of 16,000, are over-reacting. Jennifer Saunders said her son was suspended once before for kissing the girl and had other disciplinary problems, and she was surprised to find out that he would be forced out of school again for several days.
First grader Hunter Yelton told KRDO-TV that he has a crush on a girl at school and she likes him back.
"It was during class, yeah. We were doing reading group, and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That's what happened," he said.
Saunders said she saw nothing wrong with her son's display of affection. She said she punished him for other problems in school, including rough-housing. She was shocked when the school's principal brought up the term "sexual harassment" during a meeting.
"This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a six year old. Now my son is asking questions. what is sex mommy? That should not ever be said, sex. Not in a sentence with a six year old," she said.
District superintendent Robin Gooldy told The Associated Press on Tuesday the boy was suspended because of a policy against unwanted touching.
"The focus needs to be on his behavior. We usually try to get the student to stop, but if it continues, we need to take action and it sometimes rises to the level of suspension," he said.
He said officials have not heard from the girl's parents, and no legal action is anticipated because it was only a violation of school policy.
In recent years, Colorado and other states have been moving to relax zero-tolerance disciplinary policies blamed for increasing the dropout rate and giving students criminal records for relatively minor infractions. However, those policies have dealt mostly with safety issues, such as students fighting or bringing a replica gun to school, not sexual harassment.
Dr. David Welsh, a school psychologist, said some policies that bar bullying, harassment and weapons on public school campuses may go too far, but school boards are being forced to develop strict policies and follow them to the letter because of a large number of complaints being reported by students and teachers who face consequences if they keep silent.
"If you have a policy and procedure and you don't follow it, it's hard to defend," Welsh said.
The boy's suspension ended on Tuesday. School officials refused to say if the he was back in class, and his mother did not return a phone call seeking comment.
A child psychologist told KRDO that tough love in this case could have negative consequences. She said kissing is normal behavior for children of that age.
"For most 6-year-old boys, absolutely. That would be a normal behavior," said Sandy Wurtele, a child clinical psychologist who specializes in child sexual development and the prevention of childhood sexual abuse.
Wurtele said she was surprised to hear the school suspended him.
"That really gives mixed messages, negative messages to the kids," she said. "This part of development is just as important if not more than their academic subjects."
Wurtele said children at that age are simply curious about the differences between boys and girls.
Student Harassment Report: https://www.atpe.org/protection/YourStudentsAndParents/sexharass.asp
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 05:46:55 -0800
It is not the season for holiday cheer in at least one South Carolina home. According to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, deputies had to be called out to the home after a fight over decorating 'O Tannenbaum.'
Deputies report that a fight allegedly ensued after a woman came home from work only to find out that two of her family members had decorated the tree without her.
The Sheriff's Office incident report states that when a fourth family member came over to try and calm things down, the situation only escalated, "All four family members admitted to pushing each other and getting in their faces."
The three women began arguing at around 10:30pm on Tuesday and reportedly kept on going for at least another two hours until one of the family members finally called 911.
Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident, but an ambulance was dispatched as a precaution after one of the woman became concerned about her blood pressure.
No one involved decided to press charges in the Christmas clash.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 05:40:20 -0800
The pilot whose Boeing 777 crashed last summer at the San Francisco airport told investigators he was "very concerned" about attempting a visual approach without the runway's instrument landing aids, which were out of service because of construction, according to an investigative report released Wednesday.
Lee Kang Kuk, a 46-year-old pilot who was landing the big jet for his first time at San Francisco, "stated it was very difficult to perform a visual approach with a heavy airplane." The jet came in too low and slow and crash-landed, killing three people and injuring more than 200, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
A visual approach involves lining the jet up for landing by looking through the windshield and using numerous other cues, rather than relying on a radio-based system that guides aircraft to the runway.
The investigative report was released at the start of a daylong NTSB hearing that was called to answer lingering questions about the crash, not to conclude exactly what went wrong.
Though Lee was an experienced pilot with the Korea-based airline, he was a trainee captain in the 777, with less than 45 hours in the jet. He had not piloted an airliner into San Francisco since 2004, according to NTSB investigator Bill English.
So far, the investigation has not found any mechanical problems with the 777 prior to impact, although testing is ongoing, English said.
Lee told investigators that he realized others had been safely landing at San Francisco without the glide-slope indicator, an array of antennas that transmits a signal into the cockpit to help with the descent. That system was out of service while the runway was expanded. It has since been restored.
In his interview, the trainee said that while privately he was "very concerned" about his ability to do a visual approach, "everyone else had been doing (it), so he could not say he could not do the visual approach."
There were other indications that a culture of not acknowledging weakness — and of deferring to a higher-ranking colleague — contributed to the crash.
Lee told NTSB investigators that he did not immediately move to abort the landing and perform a "go around" as the plane descended because he felt that only the instructor pilot had the authority to initiate that emergency move.
A reluctance of junior officers to speak up had been an issue in past accidents, though industry training has tried to emphasize that safety should come first.
Lee also conceded that he was worried about his unfamiliarity with the 777's autoflight systems. He admitted he had not studied the systems well enough and thought that the plane's autothrottle was supposed to prevent the jet from flying below minimum speed as it drew near the runway.
But two other Asiana pilots who took an instruction class with Lee said that they were told that the throttle hold did not automatically re-engage under certain autopilot modes.
"This pilot should never have taken off," said attorney Ilyas Akbari, whose firm represents 14 of the passengers. "The fact that the pilot was stressed and nervous is a testament to the inadequate training he received, and those responsible for his training and for certifying his competency bear some of the culpability for the tragedy of this crash."
Lee told investigators that as he realized his approach was off, he was worried he might "fail his flight and would be embarrassed."
Another Asiana pilot who recently flew with Lee told investigators that he was not sure if the trainee captain was making normal progress and that he did not perform well during a trip two days before the accident. That captain described Lee as "not well organized or prepared," according to the investigative report.
Asiana's chief pilot told investigators that the airline recommended pilots use as much automation "as possible."
He also said that the airline told its pilots to turn off the 777's autopilots below 1,000 feet when making visual approaches to airports. But a former Asiana pilot told the board that Asiana pilots were rarely allowed to practice visual approaches on landing and that many trainee pilots "did not feel confident and did not want to make any mistakes."
The agency did not say whether Asiana's reliance on automatic landings was greater than the industry norm.
Recordings from the cockpit show Lee took the controls as the autopilot disconnected when the plane was about 1,500 feet above San Francisco Bay.
Lee insisted in interviews that he had been blinded during a critical instant before the botched landing by a piercing light from outside the aircraft. NTSB investigators repeatedly probed him about the light, but he was unable to pinpoint its origin or how it precisely affected him.
The instructor pilot said he never saw a bright light outside the aircraft.
According to a transcript of the Asiana plane's cockpit voice recorder, the crew did not comment on the jet's low approach until it reached 200 feet above the ground.
"It's low," an unnamed crewman said at 11:27 a.m.
In an instant, the plane began to shake.
At 20 feet, another crewman broke in: "Go around," he said. But It was too late.
NTSB investigators also raised concerns about a safety certification issue involving the design of Boeing 777's controls, warning that the plane's protection against stalling does not always automatically engage.
When the plane's autothrottle is placed in a "hold" mode, as it was during the Asiana flight, it is supposed to re-engage or "wake up" when the plane slows to its minimum airspeed.
But a pilot who oversaw the Boeing 787 flight tests for the Federal Aviation Administration told the NTSB that both the 787 and the 777 have the same anti-stall protection systems — and that the wake-up system did not always work when tested at minimum speeds.
Boeing's retired 777 chief pilot, John Cashman, underscored that auto controls are not designed to replace pilots.
"The pilot is the final authority for the operation of the airplane," he said.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 05:23:11 -0800
Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Wednesday, saying the Catholic Church's new leader has changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time.
The pope beat out NSA leaker Edward Snowden for the distinction, which the newsmagazine has been giving each year since 1927.
The former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected in March as the first pope from Latin America and the first Jesuit. Since taking over at the Vatican, he has urged the Catholic Church not to be obsessed with "small-minded rules" and to emphasize compassion over condemnation in dealing with touchy topics like abortion, gays and contraception.
He has denounced the world's "idolatry of money" and the "global scandal" that nearly 1 billion people today go hungry, and has charmed the masses with his simple style and wry sense of humor. His appearances draw tens of thousands of people and his @Pontifex Twitter account recently topped 10 million followers.
"He really stood out to us as someone who has changed the tone and the perception and the focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way," said Nancy Gibbs, the magazine's managing editor.
The Vatican said the honor wasn't surprising given the resonance in the general public that Francis has had, but it nevertheless said the choice was a "positive" recognition of spiritual values in the international media.
"The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors," said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. "But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the Gospel — a message of God's love for everyone — he will certainly be happy about that."
It was the third time a Catholic pope had been Time's selection. John Paul II was selected in 1994 and John XXIII was chosen in 1962.
In Argentina on Wednesday, Padre Toto, one of the many "slum priests" the pope supported for years as archbishop of Buenos Aires, praised Time magazine's selection.
"I think the recognition of Time magazine is good news, because Pope Francis embodies one of the values of a church that's more missionary, closer to the people, more austere, more in keeping with the gospel," Toto said. "He had the genius of knowing how to express this sense of the church and hopefully his way of being will catch on with other political leaders, business executives, sports figures. His leadership is inspiring."
Besides Snowden, Time had narrowed its finalists down to gay rights activist Edith Windsor, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Syrian President Bashar Assad.
President Barack Obama was Time's selection for 2012.
Time editors make the selection. The magazine polled readers for their choice, and the winner was Egyptian General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who didn't even make the top 10 of Time's final list.
Associated Press writers Nicole Winfield in Rome and Mike Warren in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 04:46:18 -0800
A man who appeared to provide sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Wednesday.
The unidentified man seen around the world on television next to leaders including United States President Barack Obama "was moving his hands around but there was no meaning in what he used his hands for," Bruno Druchen, the federation's national director, told The Associated Press.
The allegation was yet another example of bad organization at the historic memorial service Tuesday, which was marred by public transportation breakdowns that hindered mourners from getting to the soccer stadium venue. In addition a faulty audio system made the remarks of world leaders inaudible for many. Police also failed to search the first wave of crowds who rushed inside the stadium after authorities opened the gates just after dawn.
Collins Chabane, one of South Africa's two presidency ministers, said the government is investigating the matter but has not finished yet because it has been overwhelmed with work organizing public viewing of Mandela's body in the South African capital of Pretoria and his funeral Sunday in his hometown of Qunu. He added the "government will report publicly on any information it may establish."
Four sign language experts, including Druchen, said the man was not signing in South African or American sign languages and could not have been signing in any other known sign language because there was no structure to his arm and hand movements. South African sign language covers all of the country's 11 official languages, according to the federation.
Ingrid Parkin, principal of the St. Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg, said she's received complaints from the deaf community from Canada to China about the man on stage and that his movements look "like he's signing gibberish." He also used no facial expression to convey the emotions of the leaders, a key element of sign language interpretation.
"This man himself knows he cannot sign and he had the guts to stand on an international stage and do that," Parkin said.
Nicole Du Toit, an official sign language interpreter who also watched the broadcast, said in a telephone interview that the man on stage purporting to sign was an embarrassment.
"It was horrible, an absolute circus, really, really bad," she said. "Only he can understand those gestures."
The man also did sign interpretation at an event last year that was attended by South African President Jacob Zuma, Druchen said. At that appearance, a deaf person in the audience videotaped the event and gave it to the federation for the deaf, which analyzed the video, prepared a report about it and a submitted a formal complaint to the ANC, Druchen said.
In their complaint, the federation suggested that the man should take the five years of training needed to become a qualified sign language interpreter in South Africa. But the ANC never responded, Druchen said.
Druchen said a fresh complaint will be filed to the ANC about the interpreter he called a "fake" with a demand for an urgent meeting.
"We want to make a statement that this is a warning to other sign language interpreters who are fake and go about interpreting," Druchen said. "I am hoping the South African government will take notice of this."
Bogus sign language interpreters are a problem in South Africa, because people who know a few signs try to pass themselves off as interpreters, said Parkin, the principal of the school for the deaf. And those hiring them usually don't sign, so they have no idea that the people they are hiring cannot do the job, she said.
"They advertise themselves as interpreters because they know 10 signs and they can make some quick money," said Parkin. "It is plain and simple abuse of the deaf community, they are taking advantage of the deaf community to make money."
Associated Press writer Nastasya Tay contributed to this report.
Follow Alan Clendenning on Twitter at —www.twitter.com/alanclendenning.
Published: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 03:30:30 -0800
The San Jose City Council approved a measure late Tuesday night that places new restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries.
By an 8-3 margin, the council approved a measure that will restrict pot clubs from being established within 1,000 feet of a school, library, church or community center. The regulations would also restrict them from being 500 feet of a drug rehab center and 150 feet from a home.
Medical marijuana supporters say these restrictions would make 99 percent of the city off limits and result in a de-facto ban.
"It will put almost every collective in the city of San Jose out of business," said Douglas Chloupek, co-founder of MedMar Healing Center downtown.
Chloupek said he supports reasonable regulations that would reign in problematic pot clubs.
"We need positive regulations for the industry," Chloupek said. "To get rid of the bad actors, only support those who are helping patients and truly dispensing medicine."
Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio is pushing for incremental changes to regulate the growing industry.
"Let's have a buffer between collectives and residential, close all of those facilities and once they are closed come back to council and continue to use our land use authority to get to a number to somewhere it needs to be," Oliverio said.
There are currently 82 dispensaries actively operating in San Jose.
City leaders approved similar restrictions in 2011, only to have them later overturned by voters.
Medical marijuana advocates said they would gather signatures for another referendum if the new rules are approved.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 23:29:49 -0800
The Hayward mother of a homeless man who died Sunday says his tragic death points to the lack of services for the homeless.
The family of 50-year-old Joe White says he had tried to get off the streets and didn’t deserve to die out in the cold.
"I would let him come home and stay with me, but then he would only stay awhile because he didn't want to be a burden on me, "said Mary Archuleta about her son.
Archuleta says her son worked odd jobs and turned to various social agencies for help but was given the runaround.
The family says they don’t want White to die a nameless, homeless man.
"He deserves to be recognized for the person he was. He wasn't just homeless, he was my brother,” said White’s sister Theresa Long.
Relatives say White was a loving father and a doting grandfather.
Despite his plight, they say he refused to take advantage of his family.
His mother said White would visit her regularly.
"When he would come here, he wouldn't eat that much because he didn't like eating our food," she said.
Archuleta tells KTVU health problems and associating with people of questionable character contributed to her son’s downward spiral.
His sister says she met with him just Friday to give him a new coat to ward off the cold.
"I helped him put it on because his hands were kind of swollen, I helped him zipper it," said Long.
On Tuesday night, remnants of yellow crime scene tape still marked where White was found just two days after receiving his new coat.
White was found lying on the walkway near the Safeway on Foothill Boulevard and was rushed to the hospital where he later died. White’s family tells KTVU they were told several men had beaten White, stolen his new coat and left him in the cold.
"It's an extraordinarily difficult issue," said Sean Reinhart, Hayward's Director of Library and Community Services as he spoke about the city's homeless population.
Reinhart oversees the city’s funding of 20 nonprofits that proved services to the homeless.
While the community has family shelters, they do not have homeless shelters specifically for men or women.
Reinhart says the city is currently assessing exactly what services are available to come up with a long term comprehensive plan.
"We're really doubling down our efforts going forward," said Reinhart.
But White's mother insists that the system failed her son.
"I wonder what it must of felt like for him to be that cold, you know," she said.
The general manager of Lone Tree Cemetery is helping the family with funeral expenses to give Joe White a proper resting place.
Published: Tue, 10 Dec 2013 23:14:59 -0800