SAN FRANCISCO CHINATOWN CRIME
California state senator facing additional charge
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A California state senator charged in a sweeping organized crime and public corruption case centered in San Francisco's Chinatown now also faces a racketeering charge.
A federal grand jury on Friday filed the additional charge against State Sen. Leland Yee. The grand jury says Yee took bribes in exchange for votes in favor of several legislative bills, including one on medical marijuana.
Also charged with racketeering was Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow. The grand jury called a Chinese-American association that Chow allegedly headed, the Ghee Kung Tong, a racketeering enterprise.
Chow previously pleaded not guilty to money laundering and other charges.
Yee also is accused of accepting bribes and attempting to connect an undercover FBI agent with an arms dealer in exchange for cash. He has pleaded not guilty.
BEACH ACCESS DISPUTE CORRECTION
Commission documenting public use of blocked beach
(Information in the following story is from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com)
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) - California's Coastal Commission is asking the public to document its use of a San Francisco Bay Area beach that is at the center of a lawsuit over public access.
Billionaire landowner Vinod Khosla closed the only access road to Martin's Beach after he purchased the adjacent land in 2008. Under state law, the entire coast is public property, and critics say the closure violates the state's coastal act.
The coastal commission on Thursday announced it was asking people how and when they used the beach in the past.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that the commission could use the information to strengthen its hand in a settlement with Khosla.
Khosla's attorney, Jeffrey Essner, says the public was previously allowed to access the beach for a fee, so there was never a right of public access.
Brown appoints legal affairs aide to appeals court
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown has named a senior aide to become an associate justice on the Sacramento-based Third District Court of Appeal.
Brown announced the appointment of Jonathan Renner on Friday.
The 44-year-old Democrat from Sacramento has been Brown's legal affairs secretary since 2011.
He was senior assistant attorney general at the California Department of Justice from 2009 to 2010, when Brown was the state's attorney general. Renner previously held other high-ranking positions within the attorney general's office.
The appointment requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. It includes the current attorney general, Kamala Harris, and Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (TAN'-ee KAN'-teel sah-kah-OOH'-ay).
If confirmed, Renner will begin his term Jan. 5. He would fill the vacancy created when Cantil-Sakauye moved to the California Supreme Court.
The post pays $211,260.
CALIFORNIA PRISONS-VALLEY FEVER
APNewsBreak: Study recommends inmate immunity test
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Federal experts are recommending that California test inmates for immunity to a sometimes fatal soil-borne fungus before incarcerating them at two Central Valley state prisons where the disease has killed nearly three dozen inmates.
A federal judge last fall ordered the state to move nearly 2,600 susceptible inmates out of Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons because of the deaths and illnesses. The facilities are near Fresno.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a report obtained Friday by The Associated Press that using hypersensitivity skin tests could identify inmates who already were exposed to valley fever and could thus safely be housed at the two prisons.
They say that is a better option than the current practice of screening out inmates who statistically are more susceptible to the fungus.
California county sues over subdivision slide
LAKEPORT, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California county is countersuing residents of a subdivision over a landslide last year that damaged numerous homes.
Lake County officials say the Lakeport residents and their homeowners' association are to blame for the slide because they failed to maintain their landscaping, vegetation and irrigation system.
Adam Abel, an attorney handling the lawsuit for the county, says the residents' irrigation lines had significant leaks.
The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reports that the county's lawsuit was served on the homeowners late last month.
The homeowners have sued the county, saying a leaking public water system caused the land to give way.
Homeowner Randall Fitzgerald said the county's countersuit adds insult to injury
Lakeport is about 120 miles north of San Francisco.
BAY BRIDGE-BROKEN RODS
Designer: Bay Bridge bolts don't need replacing
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The chief designer of the new, $6.4 billion eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge says more than 2,000 bolts and rods on the span do not need to be replaced.
The bolts and rods were called into question after 32 other bolts cracked when they were tightened last year.
But bridge designer Marwan Nader told bridge oversight officials at a meeting on Thursday that the other 2,200 bolts and rods on the span are likely to be more corrosion-resistant than the 32 that failed.
Although they will need extra protection against corrosion, Nader said they can remain in place.
A final decision about replacing at least some of the remaining bolts is still pending. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Steve Heminger, chairman of the bridge oversight panel, said he was encouraged by Nader's assessment.
BART TRAIN DELAY
BART station reopens after reported bomb threat
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit train station is back open after a reported bomb threat forced its closure and caused major delays throughout the system during the morning commute.
BART spokesman Jim Allison says that the Coliseum Station in east Oakland reopened around 9 a.m. Friday after police and bomb sniffing dogs did not find a bomb.
The station was closed down and evacuated for about an hour after a 911 caller reported hearing about a bomb threat around 7:40 a.m. The closure stranded hundreds of commuters.
California to have 4 (acting) governors in 4 days
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California will have four governors in four days next week as top officials take turns temporarily leaving the state.
Gov. Jerry Brown's office informed other state leaders on Friday that he will be leaving the state Sunday and returning Wednesday as he leads a trade mission to Mexico.
While he's gone, executive powers will first roll to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, until Newsom leaves for New York and Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for Special Olympics-related events.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg will then be acting governor until he leaves for Chicago on Wednesday on personal business.
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins will then be acting governor for about nine hours, until Brown returns from Mexico later that day.
All four are Democrats.
The succession is outlined in the state Constitution.
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