Category Archives: South Bay News

Vehicle Crash Into Building Starts Gas Leak In Campbell

CAMPBELL (CBS SF) — Police and fire officials evacuated structures in Campbell on Saturday morning after a vehicle crashed into a building and caused a gas leak.

Santa Clara Fire officials said that the car plowed into a commercial storefront that houses the Fine Fretted String Instruments music shop just before 9 a.m. The impact damaged the gas line, forcing the evacuation of residences above the storefront until crews were able to shut off the gas.

The driver did not suffer any injuries, according to authorities. Fire officials said the building sustained minor structural damage and has been yellow tagged due to the gas is out.

All lanes of southbound Bascom Avenue were briefly closed from Hamilton to Campisi Way because of the incident; police reported shortly before 10 a.m. that two of the three lanes had reopened.

Work To Widen ‘Mathilda Monster’ Begins Near 101/237 Interchange In Sunnyvale

SUNNYVALE (CBS SF) — Work has officially begun to improve a notorious stretch of roadway dubbed the “Mathilda Monster” by commuters who get stuck in the swirling knot of cars near the intersection of state Highway 237 and U.S. 101.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and Caltrans held a groundbreaking ceremony on a $42 million project they hope will ease congestion at the infamous intersection.

“What we’re trying to do here is eliminate all of the traffic congestion that exists on this pretty complicated interchange where we have two freeways and two major roads coming together at the same place,” said state Sen. Jim Beall, who helped secure funding for the project.

The project will widen Mathilda Ave. to three lanes of traffic in each direction. It will also add an on-ramp to southbound Highway 101 in addition to bike lanes.

Transportation officials say traffic in the area has grown progressively worse over time, mirroring the rise of several tech campuses nearby.

The project does leave one glaring need unaddressed: a direct interchange between Highway 237 and southbound 101.

“We are working with VTA and Sunnyvale to find that long-term solution,” said Caltrans spokesman Doahn Nguyen. VTA estimates construction will wrap up by mid-2020.

 

South Bay Median Home Prices Dip To $1.14M At End Of 2018

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Despite continued demand for housing in the South Bay, home prices in the region slipped in the second half of last year, according to economic research and consulting firm Beacon Economics.

The median home price dipped to $1.14 million in the fourth quarter from $1.19 million in the third quarter due in part to seasonal factors and rising interest rates that peaked in November.

ALSO READ: San Jose Hope Village Homeless Camp In Limbo As Eviction Date Nears

In September the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, pushing up mortgage rates and also stoking fears of a recession. Those fears have eased somewhat since the Fed has decided to hold off on further increases.

Over the entire year, home prices in the South Bay jumped a half a percent, much slower than prices in either the East Bay or the San Francisco region, which includes San Mateo County, the researchers said.

Home prices in the East Bay and San Francisco grew by 4.5 and 5.6 percent.

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Rents in the South Bay last year jumped 4.9 percent to $2,682 per month. South Bay renters need to earn at least $107,280 per year to avoid being burdened by rent, according to Beacon Economics.

ALSO READ: Affordable Homes In San Jose Down 54 Percent To Lowest In U.S.

According to the firm, the South Bay consists of Santa Clara and San Benito counties and includes the city of San Jose, which is the Bay Area’s largest city.

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

Santa Clara County Rethinking ICE Cooperation Following Bambi Larson Murder

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County officials are shifting their position on contacting federal authorities about inmates convicted of violent crimes after an apparent undocumented felon was arrested in connection with the brutal killing of a South San Jose woman in late February.

Current county policy prevents jail officials from contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials if an inmate has been placed under a detainer request, which asks that inmates be held longer until federal authorities take them into custody. State law has ruled this process unconstitutional, and detainers are not considered as legal warrants.

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The new proposal from Supervisor Dave Cortese would instead allow local law enforcement to notify ICE if an inmate is about to be released, and push for ICE to obtain warrants in all cases. It would then review state law and determine a legal process for transferring inmates.

ICE already has access to local arrest data, according to the county, but contacting them directly would make it their responsibility to respond in a timely fashion and take individuals into custody. Data from San Mateo County shows that of almost 300 detainer requests issued by ICE in 2018 – all without warrants – agents only responded to pick up inmates fewer than 40 times.

Cortese said the county has expeditiously turned over inmates in three recent cases when ICE obtained warrants, but ICE must improve its track record of responsiveness.

“Ambiguity is not a friend, and it doesn’t help anyone in the system to do law enforcement the way they like,” Cortese said of the county’s current no-contact policy during a news conference Thursday.

The move comes after the killing of 59-year-old Bambi Larson on Feb. 28, and the arrest of 24-year-old Carlos Eduardo Arevalo Carranza in connection with her slaying. Police revealed in the following days that Arevalo Carranza had been deported once, arrested numerous times in connection with misdemeanors and violent felonies and released from county jail twice without ICE being notified.

Arevalo Carranza was charged with homicide in Santa Clara County court last week and may face a life sentence in prison if convicted.

The announcement set off a furious debate over sanctuary county policy and blame in Larson’s death, with the San Jose mayor, police chief, county sheriff, and district attorney banding together to push the county for an improved notification process.

Cortese said his proposal in no way implies the county is responsible for all facets of a “broken immigration system,” but rather shows its willingness to collaborate with local agencies.

He added that he’s spoken with some immigrant advocacy groups about the proposal, and he shares their concerns of creating an unwelcoming atmosphere for law-abiding residents, but described the county as “progressive” and said it was one of the first to push back against unconstitutional ICE policies.

“We are proud of the fact that we’ve created a safe environment for immigrants,” Cortese said. “We don’t want to be deporting a hardworking breadwinner … and end up breaking up a family. On the other hand, we can’t have MS-13 gang members bailing themselves out of jail.”

He referred to the federal government’s immigration enforcement approach as “oppressive,” and said the county must re-engage ICE to abide by a system of warrants, like every other federal agency.

Cortese’s proposal asks that changes be implemented in a month to two months, and also requests a “deep analysis” of the county’s probation system in response to Arevalo Carranza having been on parole with apparent mental health problems.

The Board of Supervisors will discuss the proposal at its Tuesday meeting.

 

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

San Jose Hope Village Homeless Camp In Limbo As Eviction Date Nears

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Time and hope are running out for San Jose’s Hope Village. The homeless tent encampment must pack up and leave by the end of the month as county and city leaders figure out where they will go next.

“This model is extremely low cost, it’s extremely effective,” said James, who is a resident at Hope Village and didn’t want to give his last name.

The small community of tents is much different than the cars, RVs and campsites he used to live in before arriving at the encampment.

Hope Village was created last year by San Jose Catholic workers, but has since moved several locations because of opposition.

Their fate is yet again uncertain as the county’s lease with the city of San Jose is up next week. The property the tents sit on is a small lot near the San Jose Mineta International Airport, and is not deemed residential.

Hope Village had hoped to move to an empty lot, which is owned by the Santa Clara Water District, on Willow and LeLong near Willow Glen. But the idea was tabled when nearby residents said in a recent meeting that they had no idea the encampment would be coming, and many expressed their concerns and opposition.

“I think the city needs to find a solution for them, not in our neighborhoods,” said Willow Glen resident Lynn Bowers.

She didn’t attend the meeting with the water district, but said she was also concerned about Hope Village moving in just two blocks from her home. She said the homeless go into her neighborhood everyday, and she worries an encampment would exacerbate the issue.

“I’m sympathetic to the homeless, however, we have the homeless here already,” she said. “You know, they look for food in our garbage cans and it’s really a sad situation, but I don’t want it to escalate.”

James said he is actually sympathetic to Willow Glen residents like Bowers.

“I think they have legitimate concerns,” he said.

But he also hopes someone is sympathetic to them, and doesn’t close the door on Hope Village for good.

The San Jose city council is expected to discuss Hope Village on Tuesday, four days before the lease is up and the encampment is expected to clear out.

Milk Pail Market In Mountain View To Close After 45-Year Run

MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) — The owners of the Milk Pail Market, an iconic Mountain View grocery store, are calling it quits. The open-air market on the corner of California St. and San Antonio Rd. plans to close in June, shortly after celebrating its 45th anniversary earlier this year.

The market is well-known for its broad selection of cheeses as well as other artisanal products. Fresh fruits and vegetables and specialty products from Europe fill the store’s narrow, often crowded aisles.

“It’s just a community type store, I think losing it will hurt the community,” said Sybil Ryan, who just started shopping at the Milk Pail.

“I love this place,” said long time customer Germaine Decker, an immigrant from Switzerland who has been shopping at the market for decades. “You know you could always find good cheese. And of course, chocolate. I buy it by ten pounds.”

“Ever since I was probably born, I’ve been coming here,” said Kai Rasmussen, who grew up in the store. The market was opened in 1974 by her father Steve, who’s now semi-retired. Rasmussen is proud that it’s held up as a David against the Goliaths of the grocery business.

“There’s a Sprouts, a Whole Foods, a Trader Joes, a Safeway. Did I say Whole Foods already? There’s just so many stores around us,” Rasmussen said.

The family business has been holding out against developers who want to turn the property into an office building. Rasmussen says her father is getting up in age now and would like to retire.
She said she would like to finish her studies at Cal, which she had put on hold to manage the business.

“There is one aspect of relief, not having to run a business day to day, my father being able to finally fully retire. But the main thing that’s going to be hard is leaving the customers behind,” she said.

Waymo Ramps Up Self-Driving Car Testing In South Bay

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Alphabet’s self-driving technology unit Waymo showed off some of its safety features to Bay Area law enforcement agencies Wednesday as the company expands its driverless car testing area in the South Bay.

For years, Google, and now Waymo, have been testing the self-driving cars all over Mountain View. The company even built a 90-plus acre test facility – a fake city, if you will – in the Central Valley town of Atwater.

Finally, after 10,000,000 miles, the company is gearing up to expand into Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills.

ALSO READ: California DMV Gives Green Light, Issues Rules For Self-Driving Car Testing

So Wednesday, Waymo employees were making the rounds visiting various law enforcement agencies to show them a presentation titled, “Waymo Fully Self-Driving Chrysler Pacifica.”

It is the mother of all swagger wagons. The modified minivans feature sensors in the front, back, side and top; big touch-screen display in the center console; a prominent warning sticker right on the steering wheel that reads ” Do not touch the steering wheel or pedals – vehicle will pull over;” and some sensitive, proprietary equipment in the trunk that Waymo asked us not to show.

The presentation featured diagrams on how to shut down the self-driving feature, where to cut the vehicle open if someone was trapped inside, and – of course – what happens when an officer tries to pull one over.

The California Highway Patrol hopes other companies follow Google’s example.

“Any company who’s developing an autonomous vehicle, I would highly encourage them to come forward and help us help them,” said CHP San Jose Sgt. Daniel Hill. “We need to work together. The future is a partnership between law enforcement, the public, and companies developing autonomous vehicles. Everybody working together is the way we can keep the roadway safe.”

Waymo did not demo the van Wednesday, because the CHP parking lot and surrounding streets have not yet been mapped out, a process that can take hours.

But if you’ve come across the vehicles in Mountain View, you know they are very cautious and drive by the book.

“Just take caution around them. Understand that, just like a new driver, they’re learning how to navigate the roadway safely. You can think of them as student drivers, per se, because from what I understand, they’re all learning every mile they drive,” said Hill. “So I would just be a little bit more cautious, and a little bit more careful and don’t be too frustrated if they’re driving a little slower, because they’re trying to do it safely.”

South Bay Police Chiefs Meet With Community Seeking Access To Records

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Several law enforcement leaders from the South Bay met with community members Tuesday night to listen to frustrations and answer questions about a new law that was meant to give the public access to police records that have been historically inaccessible.

SB 1421, which went into effect January 1st, gives the public the right to request records related to police use of force or other misconduct. Rosie Chavez said the new law gave her hope she’d finally get answers surrounding the fatal shooting of her nephew a year and a half ago.

Instead, she said she has been disappointed.

“Why can’t we get the answers, why can’t they release the records?” asked Chavez.

Jacob Dominguez was shot and killed by San Jose police officers when they said the fugitive gang member ignored commands to put his hands up, then dropped them out of view.

The body-worn camera footage was released by the Santa Clara County District Attorney last week, who also ruled the officer who shot Dominguez was lawful in his decision to pull the trigger.
Chavez said under the law, she has a right to know who fired the shots, as well as the officer’s record with San Jose police.

“If there was any disciplinary action, if they’ve had any past records of misconduct or anything like that,” she said.

She was among several community members who attended Tuesday night’s meeting, which was organized by the grassroots organization People Acting in Community Together.

“Police unions have been filing lawsuits against 1421 in hoping to block people from getting records,” said P.A.C.T. leader Derrick Sanderlin.

Since the law went into effect, several agencies across the state have fought to comply with the law. Some agencies have said they will comply, but that they won’t release records before the law went into effect.

Despite the controversy, several South Bay agencies showed up to participate in the dialogue with community members and P.A.C.T., including chiefs from Morgan Hill, Campbell and Sunnyvale, as well as the Santa Clara County Sheriff. The assistant chiefs for Santa Clara Police and San Jose Police Departments were also in attendance.

“1421 has value and it will show that, we, as a law enforcement profession, are doing a good job of policing our own, holding our officers accountable who need to be held accountable,” said Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing.

Chavez said if she ever gets her hands on the documents in her nephew’s case, she may not even read them. But she believes she has every right to know how the 33-year-old spent the last moments of his life.

“The answers might not get what we want, but it’s something that’s related to his case and we want it,” she said.

San Jose Explores Creating Its Own Community Bank

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The city of San Jose is looking into the possibility of creating its own community bank, which would mostly be used for business services like paying contractors.

“What we’re proposing is to explore different models,” said City Councilmember Sergio Jimenez.

Jimenez, along with collegues Magdalena Carrasco and Raul Peralez, are pushing for the city to explore the option.

“We don’t know all the ins and outs of it yet, but the value that I see is that the money generated by that bank would stay in the community,” Jimenez said.

San Jose’s current banking partner is Wells Fargo, which has a contract until 2021. In an open bidding process, Chase Bank won the right to replace Wells Fargo.

But to do business with Chase, the city would have to waive its wage theft ordinance, which prohibits the city from doing business with companies that have wage theft violations. Chase is currently settling 22 wage theft cases for $160 million.

“Until they close those cases, I think it’s really important for the city to not do business with them,” said Jean Florence Cohen of UA Local 393, a union representing construction workers who have been victims of wage theft by building contractors.

But setting up its own bank would be new territory for San Jose. And it would be risky, according to Councilmember Johnny Khamis, who comes from a career in financial and investment services.

“In good years, we’re going to have a great outcome and banks do great in good years. But in bad years, the taxpayers are on the hook. And I think that’s our greatest risk,” Khamis said.

Mayor Sam Liccardo called it an interesting idea.

“Dealing with taxpayer dollars is serious business. It’s not amateur hour. We need to make sure we understand exactly what we’re doing,” Liccardo said.

Elderly San Jose Man In Crosswalk Hit, Killed By Car

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A 78-year-old San Jose man died after being hit by a pickup truck in South San Jose on Monday morning, police said.

Officers responded to the crash at Montecito Vista Drive and Montecito Vista Way at about 9 a.m. and learned a pedestrian in a crosswalk had been hit by a pickup truck.

The 2014 Ford truck driver had been traveling south on Montecito Vista Way when he made a left turn onto eastbound Montecito Vista Drive and hit the man, identified by the Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office as Tuyen Vu.

Vu was taken to a hospital and was pronounced dead a short while later, according to police.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police, and neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to be factors in the crash.

Vu’s death marks the 10th vehicle-related fatality of the year on San Jose streets, according to police. Anyone with further information is asked to contact Detective Troy Sirmons at (408) 277-4645.