Category Archives: Oakland

German Guitar Hero Makes Overdue Return To Bay Area

By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — German hard-rock guitar giant Uli Jon Roth brings his current band to the Bay Area for two shows, playing music from his solo band Electric Sun and classic metal tunes from his days with the Scorpions in Santa Cruz and Oakland this week.

Along with Deep Purple axman Ritchie Blackmore, Roth is credited for bringing elements of classical bombast into hard rock thanks to his blazing guitar work as principle songwriter for the Scorpions on such classic albums as In TranceVirgin Killer and the 1978 in concert opus Tokyo Tapes, which documented the guitarist’s final live performances as a member of the group. Mixing a healthy dose of Hendrix worship along with a melodic sophistication well beyond most rock guitarists — how many ’70s rockers could deftly sneak a Duke Ellington quote in the midst of a metal anthem like “Sails of Charon” the way Roth did? — the six-string maestro firmly established himself as one of an elite group of guitar virtuosos during his time in the band.

While Roth’s departure meant that he didn’t reap the benefits of the Scorpions’ 1980s explosion in popularity thanks to heavy rotation on MTV and the world’s embrace of their power ballad “Winds of Change,” the guitarist instead followed his own muse. Roth was founded his band Electric Sun and recorded a trio of albums between 1979 and 1985 that further explored his Hendrix-meets-European-classical.

Roth would move on to other interests after disbanding Electric Sun, focusing for a number of years on classical music by composing a number of symphonic works and performing live with orchestras. Roth also got into teaching music with his series of Sky Academy seminars and concerts as well as designing his custom seven-string, six-octave instrument the Sky Guitar.

The guitarist may have a bigger following in Europe, but his own U.S. headlining tours and jaunts pairing him with other virtuoso rock players like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Jennifer Batten consistently draw packed houses of disciples eager to hear Roth’s inimitable guitar stylings. His more recent recordings and tours have focused almost exclusively on the body of songs he created with the Scorpions.

In 2015, Roth issued a double CD of studio recordings entitled Scorpions Revisited that offered up new versions of his classic tunes written during his tenure with the band. Late in 2016, Roth released the deluxe CD/DVD package Tokyo Tapes Revisited that similarly looked back on the standard-setting concert document while adding a couple of Hendrix covers that have become staples of Roth’s live sets.

Roth returns to the Bay Area for two concerts on his current tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the music he made with his post-Scorpions band Electric Sun. The shows mark the first time the guitarist has played full sets of Electric Sun songs in the U.S. in over three decades and will be followed by a second set of Scorpions favorites. The six-string virtuoso and his band play at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz on Wednesday night before coming to Oakland to play the New Parish Thursday. At the East Bay show, Roth and company will be joined by local metal favorites Dress the Dead, a potent group featuring ex-Forbidden guitarist Craig Locicero and powerhouse singer Kayla Dixon (who also fronts Northwestern doom merchants Witch Mountain). Roth will also travel north to play Holy Diver in Sacramento on Friday.

Uli Jon Roth

Wednesday, March 27, 8 p.m. $25-$30
Moe’s Alley

Thursday, March 28, 8:30 p.m. $26-$30
The New Parish

Man Gets 25-Years To Life In 2013 Oakland Hills Paramedic Murder

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – An Oakland man who was only 16 at the time was sentenced Friday to 25 years to life in state prison for the shooting death of an off-duty paramedic in the Oakland hills six years ago.

Christian Burton, now 22, was convicted Oct. 31 of first-degree murder and the special circumstance of committing a murder during a carjacking for the fatal shooting of Santa Clara County paramedic Quinn Boyer, 34, shortly before noon on April 2, 2013.

However, jurors didn’t find that Burton was the person who shot Boyer, who lived in Dublin and had been married for less than a year.

Boyer crashed his car down a ravine in the 5200 block of Keller Avenue after he was shot and died two days later of a single gunshot wound to his head.

Quinn Boyer, a Santa Clara County paramedic, was fatally shot in the Oakland Hills on April 2, 2013. (Family Photo / Bay City News Service)

Quinn Boyer, a Santa Clara County paramedic, was fatally shot in the Oakland Hills on April 2, 2013. (Family Photo / Bay City News Service)

Boyer grew up in Oakland and had been in the city that day to take his father to a medical appointment.

Alameda County prosecutor Jimmie Wilson said after the verdict that he believes Burton was the shooter but jurors had reasonable doubt about that because the only eyewitness in the case, a woman who’s now 80 years old, identified another teen, Nazhee Flowers, as the person she thought shot Boyer.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy said the “ambiguity” about whether Burton, who was with five other teens at the time, was the shooter is one of the reasons he decided to sentence Burton to 25 years to life instead of life in prison without parole.

Murphy said another reason is that Burton didn’t have a significant previous criminal record.

Burton’s lawyer Ernie Castillo said sentencing Burton to life in prison “would be too oppressive, too excessive” because he has a very low IQ, suffers from a learning disability and grew up in a troubled and abusive home.

But Wilson asked for the maximum sentence possible, saying, “I don’t think Mr. Burton cares about what he did. I think that’s sad and that’s tragic.”

Boyer’s wife Liz Boyer also said that during the six years of Burton’s legal proceedings, “I’ve seen nothing to show that Mr. Burton really cares about the level of devastation he’s caused, the amount of pain.”

Liz Boyer said she and Quinn Boyer had been married for less that a year when he was killed and the day before the shooting he had surprised her by buying plane tickets to Hawaii to celebrate their first anniversary.

Wilson said during Burton’s trial that the fatal shooting of Quinn Boyer occurred during a crime spree in which he and the five other teens who played hooky from school on that spring day committed two carjackings and a robbery in addition to the shooting.

Wilson alleged that the teens wanted to carjack Boyer’s Honda Civic, as he had pulled his car off to the side of the road to use his cellphone.

But Castillo told jurors in his closing argument that they should find Burton not guilty because the eyewitness’s description of the shooter matched Flowers, not Burton.

This was Burton’s second trial for the death of Boyer because his first trial in 2015 ended in a mistrial with jurors deadlocked 7-5 in favor of finding him guilty.

Co-defendant David McNeal, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was found guilty of first-degree murder in that same 2015 trial and was sentenced to 48 years to life in state prison for his role in the crime, which was providing the gun that was used to kill Boyer.

Three of other teens involved in the crime pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in juvenile court for being accessories and are serving their sentences with the state Division of Juvenile Justice.

Flowers, the person who Castillo alleges was the teen who shot Boyer, pleaded guilty in adult court to a carjacking charge and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ghost Ship Trial Defense Attorney Asks For 6-Month Delay

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The lawyer for Ghost Ship warehouse creative director Max Harris filed a motion this week asking to delay the trial of Harris and warehouse master tenant Derick Almena by six months because of newly discovered evidence.

Almena, 48, and Harris, 29, are charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the fire during a music party that killed 36 people at the warehouse at 1309 31st Ave. on Dec. 2, 2016.

Last Sept. 7, Alameda County Superior Court Judge James Cramer scheduled the long-awaited trial of Almena and Harris to begin on April 2.

Ghost Ship Fire defendants Derick Almena and Max Harris (CBS)

At a recent hearing, Judge Trina Thompson, who was later appointed to handle the case, indicated that she expects the trial to be lengthy, as she talked to the attorneys in the case about their availability the last week of August.

But Harris’ attorney Max Briggs wrote in a motion he filed on Tuesday that he wants to delay the trial for 180 days so he has time to investigate what he said are “recently discovered facts which considerably impact defense strategy.”

Briggs said, “The first issue cannot be discussed publicly or shared in detail with the public or prosecution as it would impede Mr. Harris’ defense, involve improper disclosure of defense work product and could interfere with my investigation if specifics were reported in the media.”

Although the attorneys in the case were told to keep their calendars clear for the trial of Almena and Harris, Briggs said another reason he wants the trial to be delayed is that he’s scheduled to begin a trial on what he said is a “life case” in San Mateo County next Monday, a misdemeanor trial in San Joaquin County on April 19 and a death penalty trial in Fresno County on April 29.

Briggs said he’s also scheduled to begin the retrial of another life case in Mendocino County on April 29.

“Without a 180-day continuance, Mr. Harris will be deprived of reasonably effective assistance of counsel and will not receive his Sixth Amendment right to counsel,” he wrote.

On Friday, Thompson will hold a hearing on Briggs’ motion to delay the trial as well as a defense motion to dismiss the charges against Almena and Harris on the grounds that potentially exonerating evidence was destroyed, lost or altered under the watch of prosecutors.

Thompson previously said she expected the hearing on that issue alone would take a full day.

Almena’s lawyer Tony Serra filed a motion last week asking that prosecutors be prohibited from making references to negative information about Almena, such as his use of drugs, including methamphetamines, that his children were temporarily placed with Alameda County Child Protective Services and that he has a misdemeanor conviction for receiving stolen property.

Serra said he also wants prosecutors barred from mentioning that Almena “pretended, as a joke, that he was Hitler and Harris was his Jewish slave.”

In addition, Serra wrote that he wants to bar “any reference to the warehouse or Ghost Ship that calls it a fire trap or synonym or any opinion or conclusion regarding the unsafety of the premises.”

Serra said introducing such information would “create substantial danger of undue prejudice, of confusing the issues, or of misleading the jury.”

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Raiders To Stay In Oakland For 2019 After City Council Approves Coliseum Lease

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Oakland City Council voted Thursday morning to extend the Raider’s lease agreement for this season with an option for the 2021 season, according to city officials.

The vote was cast during a special council meeting at City Hall Thursday morning a press release from council member Rebecca Kaplan said.

The approval by the Oakland City Council comes after Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the lease agreement on Tuesday.

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority commissioners had already approved the lease deal with a unanimous vote on Friday.

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The National Football League had imposed a March 24 deadline for the Raiders to find a place to play their home games this fall.

The Raiders plan to move to Las Vegas in the near future but a new football stadium that’s being built for them there won’t be ready until the fall of 2020 at the earliest.

The Coliseum Authority and the Raiders had reached a tentative agreement for a new lease late last year but it fell apart after the city filed a federal breach of contract lawsuit in December against the Raiders and the National Football League for the move to Las Vegas.

Many fans feared that the Raiders’ game against Denver last Dec. 24 would be the team’s final game in Oakland and the team explored the possibility of playing this fall at other venues outside and inside the Bay Area, including Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and Oracle Park in San Francisco.

However, nothing materialized so the Raiders resumed negotiating with the Coliseum Authority. Scott McKibben, the authority’s executive director, said after the authority’s board meeting on Friday that the lease agreement calls for the rent the Raiders pay to the authority to increase by $4 million this year, from $3.5 million to $7.5 million.

McKibben said if the new stadium in Las Vegas isn’t ready by the fall of 2020 and the Raiders need to play in Oakland for a second additional season the rent will increase even more, to $10.5 million.

McKibben said the agreement also calls for the city and county to get all the revenue from the naming rights to the Coliseum if the authority finds a new sponsor for the stadium and for a cap on game-day expenses, which he said can be costly.

“When [Raiders owner] Mark Davis took the deal off the table I told him to look at other options if he wanted but to remember us,” McKibben said. “They did their window shopping but they realized they had a good deal here,” even if the new lease is less favorable to the Raiders than previous leases.

The new lease agreement has no impact on the current lawsuit the city of Oakland is pursuing against the Raiders and the NFL over the move to Las Vegas.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Oakland Police Seek Vehicle Of Interest Possibly Connected To Armed Robberies

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Police in Oakland on Wednesday asked for the public’s help in finding a vehicle of interest possibly connected with a series of armed robberies, according to authorities.

Police released two photos taken from surveillance video of the car, described as a burgundy four-door Honda Insight Hybrid from between 2010 and 2014. The vehicle has a white rear paper plate and no front license plate.

Oakland vehicle of interest in connection with armed robberies (OPD)

Police said that the vehicle may be connected with several robberies at various locations in Oakland, but due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, authorities would not specify exactly where or when the robberies had been committed.

Anyone with information on the vehicles whereabouts or the identity of the owner is asked to contact the Oakland Police Department Robbery Section at (510) 238-3326.

USC Holds Memorial For Victor McElhaney, Slain ‘Son Of Oakland’

LOS ANGELES (CBS SF) — The University of Southern California is holding a memorial Tuesday evening for Victor McElhaney, who was fatally shot during a failed robbery in Los Angeles earlier in March.

The memorial is scheduled from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom, according to The Daily Trojan, the university’s newspaper.

Victor is the son of Oakland city councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney. The 21-year-old was a senior at USC’s Thornton School of Music studying jazz. He attended Oakland’s School for the Performing Arts and Cal State East Bay before transferring to USC in 2017. He would have turned 22 on April 13.

“Victor is not a homicide number or statistic or just another black boy gunned down in south-central Los Angeles,” said Lynette McElhaney during a news conference at USC last Tuesday.

“I want all of you to know that Victor came into the world a drummer. He was drumming from the moment he could sit up and not just hitting bins to make noise like all little human people do. Victor was listening for a sound.”

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the incident was a single-victim shooting at the corner of Maple Ave. and Adams Blvd. in Los Angeles at around 12 a.m. on Sunday, Mar. 10.

Police said “three to four” male suspects approached McElhaney during the robbery and one shot him in the head. The group fled the scene in a vehicle and no suspects were taken into custody. Fire officials responded to the scene and found McElhaney in critical condition. He was transported to a local hospital, but died around 11 a.m.

“Victor was a son of Oakland. He was a musician who drew his inspiration from the beat, soul, and sound of the Town and he belonged in every nook and cranny of Oakland. I miss my baby. Please keep me, my family, and all of my son’s friends in your thoughts and prayers. We are beginning a new chapter in this reoccurring circle of violence…And it will take all of us together to make it through this tragedy,” said Lynette McElhaney in a statement on the night her son died.

A GoFundMe page for Victor was started by Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), a Berkeley not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to ending mass homelessness, mass incarceration, and community violence.

So far, over $72,000 has been raised, beating the $50,000 goal. The page states that any funds raised over the goal will go toward “continuing Victor’s musical and anti-violence legacy in Oakland.”

Oakland Recycling Truck Driver Injured After Explosion In Back Of Truck

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Authorities are investigating after a recycling truck driver was injured Tuesday morning when an explosion happened in the back of his vehicle in Oakland, officials said.

Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said the explosion took place at 7:55 a.m. near Moss Avenue and Harrison Street. The explosion occurred in the rear of the truck while the load was being loaded and crushed.

Oakland police officers and the Alameda County bomb squad rushed to the scene to investigate the incident. Neither the bomb squad nor Cal Waste Solutions officials could determine what combusted.

A witness told police the force of the explosion tossed the California Waste Solutions driver into the air. He was rushed to Highland Hospital, but was released in the afternoon.

A camera mounted on the back of the truck shot video that showed the driver getting blown back by the explosion and and into a recycling container before falling to the ground.

“Thankfully, there were neighbors in the area that immediately responded and assisted him and stayed here with him until emergency personnel arrived,” said California Waste Solutions spokesperson Tasion Kwamilele.

“The safety of our employees is of the upmost importance and we will continue working with local officials as the circumstances surrounding this incident are investigated.”

Kwamilele explained that placing hazardous materials like propane tanks and batteries in recycling containers, where compression from machines is happening, can be prone to such explosions.

Jed Eastep, a neighbor in the area, described the moment the explosion occurred.

“I’ve never seen anything explode like that just out of the trash,” he said. “It seemed way too powerful to have been just a battery exploding or something like that.”

Chopper 5 flew over the truck after it was escorted by police to a recycling center to be inspected.

Police said there was still no word on what caused the explosion.