Oakland police officers are stopping roughly 75 percent fewer drivers and pedestrians this year than they did just three years ago, a steep drop in enforcement that comes amid a crime spike in one of the state’s most dangerous cities. The figures on police stops include when officers pull over a car, arrest or detain someone on the street, or contact a person who agrees to answer questions about an investigation.
On Wednesday, 24 hours before the highest high tides, streets in Mill Valley were flooded and beaches in San Francisco and the Peninsula were already inundated. Highway 1 near Highway 101 in Marin was closed to traffic. Tidal surges of 9.6 feet higher than sea level are expected in Redwood City at 10:44 a.m. Thursday, while a tide gauge near the Golden Gate Bridge will record 7.2 feet of tide. Last Thursday, the same gauge recorded a high tide of 5.2 feet. Similarly high tides are expected Friday.
The governor’s office has killed a $9.8 million communication contract with the PR firm for the Bay Bridge construction project, worrying the tremendous cost would look improper weeks after voters approved new taxes for the cash-strapped state. “We felt it was excessive, and not a proper use of toll-payer money,” said Jim Evans, spokesman for the governor’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which oversees the Caltrans-led Bay Bridge project.
The Central American odyssey of Silicon Valley software guru John McAfee appeared over Wednesday night when he landed in Miami, apparently beyond the reach of police in Belize who still want to question him in connection with the shooting death of his neighbor. When his American Airlines flight landed at Miami International Airport, McAfee was taken off before everyone else, passenger Frank Medina told The Associated Press. Federal authorities planned to escort McAfee through nonpublic areas of the airport after he cleared customs, airport spokesman Greg Chin told the AP.
To the relief of iPhone users worldwide, Google announced Wednesday evening that it had begun rolling out its Maps app for iOS users, giving users of Apple’s popular smartphone an alternative to the Cupertino company’s competitor that angered enough customers to elicit an apology from CEO Tim Cook. In a blog post Wednesday, Google announced that a Google Maps app was being rolled out to Apple’s App Store in more than 40 countries. The new app will include voice-activated, turn-by-turn directions, which was previously only available on the Android version of apps, Google’s mobile operating system competitor to Apple’s iOS.
SolarCity is moving forward with its initial public offering after sharply cutting the expected price and increasing the number of shares sold. The San Mateo-based solar installer’s much-anticipated IPO, which was postponed Tuesday evening after investors balked at an initial price of $13 to $15 a share, priced at $8 a share Wednesday. The stock is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange Thursday with the ticker symbol SCTY. Some cleantech watchers hope the lower price leads to a strong bounce on the first day of trading, reigniting enthusiasm for the battered cleantech industry.
Google agreed Thursday to help boost online revenues for a group of Belgian newspaper publishers and authors, settling a six-year dispute over copyright which it hopes will be a model for resolving similar clashes around the world. Publishers have been trying to get Google to pay them for showing their online content in Web searches as more and more readers of the printed word defect to online media.
With tech firms seemingly the beneficiary of much of the love coming out of City Hall these days, small businesses feel somewhat neglected in the wake of the realization that a voter-mandated report on how to make life easier on them is now years past due. In November 2007, voters approved Proposition I, a ballot measure requiring the issuance of a report on how San Francisco can streamline its many regulations affecting small businesses. To this day, the report has not been issued. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has long called for completion of the report, and on Tuesday he called out Mayor Ed Lee for failing to live up to his prior commitment of completing the report by June. In March, Lee told the board that he would get the report done by June.
A Marin Catholic High School graduate who is now a U.S. Army captain was awarded one of the highest military honors this week, the Silver Star, for heroism in Afghanistan. Army Capt. Kevin Mott, 27, of San Rafael, was ambushed and shot in the head in Afghanistan in 2010. Despite a broken back and traumatic brain injury, he fought his way back to recovery in just five months, returning to Afghanistan and leading his unit to victory against armed and heavily fortified insurgents in spring 2011.
…(P)olice data confirms [sic] that women of Indian, Filipino and Latino descent are being robbed of gold chain necklaces at a higher rate than other ethnicities, Hayward police detective Michael O’Connell said. Five of seven suspected members of the “chain-snatching bandits,” as one suspect called the gang in his confession, have been arrested to date, all men between the ages of 18 and 20 from Oakland, Hayward, Union City, Fremont and Richmond. The group maintains ties to an Oakland gang, and are connected to other gold-chain robberies in Fremont and possibly Union City.