Category Archives: San Francisco & Peninsula News

No More Gun Shows At SF’s Cow Palace If CA Sen. Scott Wiener Gets His Way

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – A new California senate bill would put an end to gun shows at the Cow Palace, an issue that has been the subject of debate for years. Known as SB281, the measure would also transfer ownership of the event space to a new board made up of local representatives.

The Cow Palace has been a fixture in the Bay Area since it opened almost 80 years ago, and one group says if the bill passes, it would effectively lead to the arena being torn down.

A local cheerleading competition occupied the main amphitheater at the Cow Palace on Saturday, as cheers and pop music echoed through the concrete hallways. It’s one of hundreds of small community events held her every year.

“It promotes shows here that can’t afford Oracle arena. This cheerleading event can’t afford the Chase Arena because it’s a cheerleading event, not the Warriors,” says Kevin Patterson. He is the Executive Director of the Coalition to Save the Cow Palace. He also organizes the Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace every year.

Patterson is concerned for the future of the Cow Palace because of SB 281.

The measure was introduced by state Senator Scott Wiener, last month. It would transfer ownership of the Cow Palace from the State Department of Agriculture to a joint-powers authority, made up of representatives from San Francisco, Daly City and San Mateo County.

Wiener says the Cow Palace has outlived its usefulness. He says the site needs millions of dollars of maintenance and repairs to be a viable events space moving forward, adding there are plenty of alternative locations for these types of community events.

“This is about making sure that the local community can actually have a say in what happens at the Cow Palace and what the future holds,” said Sen. Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco.

One of the main reasons there is so much interest in the property is its size. Almost 70 acres, the Cow Palace has 250,000 square feet of events space and a 14,000-seat amphitheater.

“It’s right now being very under-utilized. The community has wanted something to happen with that property for a long time. Housing, mixed use development,” said Wiener.

Patterson worries if a local board takes control, they will only look at the value of the real estate. He thinks the board may not consider the importance of the Cow Palace as an affordable community events space. Each year it hosts everything from the Grand National Rodeo, to dog shows, to the Christmas Fair.

He also points out the history of the Cow Palace. There are dozens of signatures on the box office wall from some of the greatest artists of our time, like Elvis Presley, who performed at the Cow Palace in 1970.

“It’s not the place to solve the housing crisis, that’s for sure. There are lots of other places to build houses. You don’t need to bulldoze history and an important community asset,” said Patterson.

Senator Wiener says the bill does not dictate what happens with the property. That will be up to you he newly created joint powers authority board. He said there could be a compromise.

“You can have the Cow Palace there, and also take a portion of this mega-massive parking lot and turn it into housing and retail,” said Wiener.

If the SB281 passes, it would pass ownership of the Cow Palace to the local board on January 1, 2021.

There is a sub-committee hearing scheduled next Wednesday to discuss the bill.

Helicopter Makes Emergency Landing In Kmart Parking Lot In Redwood City

REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) – No one was injured Saturday when a helicopter made an emergency landing in a Kmart parking lot in Redwood City about two miles from the San Carlos airport, Redwood City police said.

The civilian helicopter was bound for the San Carlos airport at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday when the pilot reported a minor mechanical issue and made a “safe, controlled landing” in the parking lot of the Kmart store on Veterans Boulevard.

Mechanics from the San Carlos airport came to the scene and made repairs, allowing the copter to resume its trip at about 6:25 p.m., police said.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified of the emergency landing, police said.

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

Apple CEO Tim Cook Urges China To ‘Open Up’ At Beijing Economic Forum

BEIJING (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook says he’s “extremely bullish” about the global economy based on the amount of innovation being carried out, and he’s urging China to continue to “open up.”

In a speech at an economic forum in Beijing on Saturday, Cook said Apple is less concerned with the short term economic outlook because the tech giant makes investments looking ahead years or decades.

His remarks come as China and the U.S. prepare to meet again to resolve their trade dispute, which has roiled global markets, and as Apple is expected to announce that it’s launching a video service.

The iPhone has long been Apple’s marquee product and main money maker, but sales are starting to decline. The company is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new growth.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Brazen San Francisco International Baggage Theft Suspect Taken Into Custody

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco man has been arrested after police identified him as a suspect in a brazen baggage theft at San Francisco International Airport that was captured on video, authorities said.

Dermot O’Sullivan, 48, was arrested on suspicion of stealing a case from the Terminal 3 baggage claim carousel at 1:40 p.m. on Feb. 17. Police said inside the case was a Glock 9mm pistol, two magazines, 20 rounds of ammunition, a holster and two flashlights.

Police developed probable cause to get a warrant to search O’Sullivan’s home after officers recognized him from a crime bulletin that was circulated in the Police Department.

Officers executed the warrant Thursday morning at O’Sullivan’s home in the 300 block of Delano Avenue near Balboa Park. Police said as a result of the search warrant officers discovered evidence linking O’Sullivan to the theft.

O’Sullivan was arrested near Ocean and San Jose avenues. He was taken to the San Mateo County jail on suspicion of second degree burglary and grand theft.

Police said the investigation is still open and they are asking anyone with information about the theft to get in touch with the department’s cargo theft task force at (650) 821-7007 or at sfosfpdcargo@flysfo.com.

San Francisco Startup’s High-Tech Bottle Purifies Water With UV Light

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — LARQ, a San Francisco-based startup, claims to have built the world’s first self-cleaning water bottle.

In just 60 seconds, LARQ will purify water and clean the inner surfaces of the water bottle.

LARQ says it created proprietary UV-C LED technology to kill nearly 100 percent of germs and harmful bacteria and viruses.

“A big part of what we’re trying to solve is not that people can’t clean the water bottle, it’s that we find that a lot of people end up reaching for a plastic water bottle,” said CEO & Co-Founder Justin Wang.

CEO and co-founder Justin Wang says he came up with the idea after feeling guilty about grabbing for a plastic water bottle one too many times.

Wang first launched a wildly successful KickStarter campaign, raising almost $2 million for LARQ.

The bottle activates every two hours in self-cleaning mode.

“We always found this issue of, when you’re on the go and you’re searching for your water bottle, it’s not clean. It’s a little smelly, you can’t purify water on the go, sometimes,” said Wang.

LARQ says only a tiny fraction of plastic bottles are recycled and turned into new ones. More than 1 million plastic bottles end up in landfills every minute.

“Water safety and water is not only a third-world-country issue but it’s also something that affects the U.S. so having that option every time during a hurricane or even in Flint, Michigan you have water-quality issues,” he added.

Even when the water quality is good, as is the case with most tap water in San Francisco, LARQ says many germs, and the stench come from the bottle itself.

“I definitely would try it out, give it a shot, I think bottles always get really disgusting on the inside if you have it for awhile,” said Bay Area resident Chiko Chingaya.

UC Berkeley environmental engineering professor Ashok Gadgil specializes in safe drinking water.

“UV disinfection is a very effective and safe way to disinfect water,” Gadgil said.

He says UV light illuminates the water and kills the DNA of the bacteria.

“It’s a pretty, pretty new technology and to have it reach commercial prices, the prices have come down for commercial use, that’s a very recent development,” he added.

The LARQ bottle retails for $95. It is rechargeable and each charge lasts a month.

“It’s very steep, although if it does all that and if it lasts for a month and you break it down per day then it wouldn’t be so bad,” said Theresa Soto, who is visiting San Francisco from Kansas.

LARQ is currently sold at Bloomingdale stores nationwide and on its website. In the first three months since it went live, LARQ says it has shipped 25,000 bottles.

The company says it is working on expanding to more retailers across the country and introducing similar technology for use in homes.

Blind Sea Lion at San Francisco Zoo Dies

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A well-loved resident of the San Francisco Zoo, a blind sea lion named Silent Knight, died overnight while sleeping, zoo officials said Friday.

Silent Knight had been receiving cancer treatments but an exact cause of death is unknown.

The popular pinniped came to the zoo in 2011 from The Marine Mammal Center, after time spent rehabilitating from a severe gunshot wound to the head that left the animal blinded.

“Silent Knight had such a calm and pleasant demeanor and was so beloved by staff and guests alike,” the zoo’s CEO and Executive Director Tanya Peterson said in a news release.

The adult male sea lion was found on a beach near Sausalito in 2010 with the gunshot wound that had completely destroyed its right eye and left metal fragments in its brain, eyes and mouth and also resulted in a jaw infection, according to zoo officials.

Silent Knight was unable to return to the wild due to the severity of the injuries and was brought to live in the zoo with a younger companion, Henry, another blind sea lion.

Although Silent Knight’s true age is unknown, biologists believe the sea lion was likely born sometime between 2000 and 2006, said zoo spokeswoman Nancy Chan.

“During his time here, he touched millions of lives, inspiring us all,” Peterson said.

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

Florida Man Cesar Sayoc Pleads Guilty To Mailing Bombs To Sen. Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer

BURLINGAME (CBS SF) – A Florida man pleaded guilty in federal court in New York Thursday to mailing 16 homemade explosive devices to 13 prominent critics of President Donald Trump in October, with two of the devices being intercepted at a Bay Area postal facility.

Californians to whom the mailings were addressed by Cesar Sayoc, 57, included Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, philanthropist Thomas Steyer and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles.

None of the small pipe bombs exploded and some were intercepted by the FBI or U.S. Postal Service workers before they reached the recipients.

CBS Miami Coverage Of Cesar Sayoc Case

Other intended recipients included former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, actor Robert De Niro and the CNN news network.

Sayoc pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Manhattan-based Southern District of New York to a total of 65 counts related to the 16 mailings. He will be sentenced by Rakoff on Sept. 12.

Cesar Sayoc mail bomb suspect

Cesar Sayoc (credit: Broward County Police)

The 65 charges include four sets of 16 counts tied to the 16 mailings. Those charges are 16 counts each of using weapons of mass destruction, interstate transport of explosive devices, conveying a threat through interstate commerce and illegally mailing explosives with the intent to kill or injure another person.

The 65th count is using an explosive to commit a felony. The charges were contained in a document known as superseding information that replaces a 30-count grand jury indictment filed in November.

The charges of using weapons of mass destruction each carry a potential life sentence and the other convictions have maximum potential sentences of five to 20 years in prison.

Two packages containing the devices were mailed to Steyer in San Francisco and intercepted at a U.S. mail processing facility in Burlingame. A device sent to Harris’ Sacramento office was intercepted at a postal facility in Sacramento.

Investigator in bomb suit at Burlingame USPS facility (CBS)

Two packages were addressed to Waters in Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Sayoc was arrested on Oct. 26 in Plantation, Fla., near his white van, whose windows were covered with images critical of CNN, according to the FBI. He was identified in part through a fingerprint found inside one of the packages addressed to Waters.

Investigators secure a van believed to be linked to the mail bomb suspect in Plantation, Florida. (CBS News)

FBI Agent David Brown said in an affidavit filed the day of the arrest that the packages typically contained about six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, wiring and material that could be exploded through heat, shock or friction.

The devices were mailed in bubble-wrap-lined manila envelopes giving a return address of U.S. Rep. and former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of South Florida.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of Manhattan said in a statement, “For five days in October 2018, Cesar Sayoc rained terror across the country, sending high-ranking officials and former elected leaders explosive packages through the mail. Thankfully no one was hurt by these dangerous devices.”

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

SF Fire Officials Confront Growing Number of Cliff Rescue Calls

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — San Francisco Fire Department officials are working to curb cliff rescues which have occasionally proven deadly.

In 2016, there were 22 cliff rescues in San Francisco, according to fire department records. In 2017, there were 41; 30 in 2018 and there have been 6 so far this year.

Most rescues happen because somebody disregarded warning signs or went over barricades to climb down the cliffs to the beaches, said Lt. Jonathan Baxter, San Francisco Fire Dept. spokesman.

“A lot of people are saying, ‘well, I was enjoying the scenery, I saw the wall, it didn’t look hazardous so I went over the wall and I got to a point where I realized I can’t get back,’ and that’s where 911 gets involved,” said Baxter.

But sometimes people obey all the rules and can still face fatal consequences.

Kyra Sunshine Scarlet and a friend were walking along the beach at Fort Funston when a 75-foot wall of earth crashed down on top of them. The recovery effort lasted days, but Kyra’s body was never found. Her body may have been carried out to sea. Her friend survived.

Officials said educating the public is key to reducing the numbers. They have put up even more warning signs. The fire department is also doing a major social media push, spreading the word about the dangers of cliffs.

Baxter said Facebook and Twitter posts are going up across California as it turns out most cliff victims are not from the Bay Area.

The fire department has specialized rescue teams that put themselves at risk to help save others. On nice days they can end up conducting more than one rescue per day.

Weather may be the biggest factor of all.

“It’s getting hotter in San Francisco and with that you’re going to get more people coming to the beach,” Baxter said. “You’re going to get more people walking on our coastal trails. You have more people — that increases the likelihood that we’re going to have more incidents that could relatively relate to a rescue.”

San Francisco Fire commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese recently suggested putting together a task force for cliff rescues. That idea is waiting for approval by the mayor.