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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- James Austin Vincent, the man accused of attacking a woman as she tried to enter her San Francisco condo building, was not present at a hearing for his case on Friday. Judge Christine Van Aken waived his appearance.

Vincent's case has received a great deal of public criticism since his release, but Judge Aken made it clear in court that she will not let public opinion impact her decision. Friday, she ordered Vincent to get an ankle monitor.

VIDEO: Woman attacked in front of home by man believed to be homeless

Judge Aken said in court Friday that public safety is her primary concern, but does not believe incarceration is the answer for someone with mental health and substance abuse issues.

At the time of the alleged attack, Vincent was homeless. He is now being housed with Nova Transitional Housing in San Francisco. According to the court, Vincent is following his release conditions.

Judge Aken also said Friday that she had not seen the video of the attack at the time of Vincent's arraignment.

"The release algorithm indicated that this was a no release type of situation and we argued against the release of this defendant for a variety of reasons," District attorney's office spokesperson Maz Szabo said. "We believe that public safety demands that he should be in a place that's in the best interest in public safety."

"He's receiving that treatment and he's a model client in assertive case management," deputy public defender Saleem Belbahri, said. "That's the decision the court made to place him on assertive case management. At this point, my concern is Mr. Vincent and I'm going to keep helping him and he's going to keep doing well."

Judge Aken has scheduled for both parties to come back to court on Monday to get an update on Vincent, she has also waived his appearance for that court date.

Kosarian's building is right next to the site of the Embarcadero Safe Navigation Center. She's concerned things might be worse if it is built. The group "Safe Embarcadero for All" is suing San Francisco to block it.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association is calling for the judge to be reassigned to traffic court. The organization says Judge Van Aken's decision puts the victim at risk.

In a statement, the SFPOA says: "Van Aken should not be allowed to preside over any criminal cases. She may have been a reasonably competent civil attorney but she is a catastrophe of a criminal judge"

Governor Newsom spoke briefly about the incident during a stop in San Francisco yesterday:

"People say sometimes they are just flippantly dealt with, and not seriously dealt with. And people are back out on the streets, potentially able to commit the crime again," said Newsom.

--Jobina Fortson

Three San Diego residents filed a federal lawsuit today challenging California’s assault weapon ban, with the plaintiffs alleging that the state is violating its residents Second Amendment rights by its misguided definition of assault weapons. The suit, filed on behalf of James Miller, Patrick Russ and Ryan Peterson, as well as the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, alleges that the types of firearms banned under California’s definition of assault weapons are lawfully protected under the Second Amendment. The suit calls California’s usage of the term “assault weapons” a politically-concocted, pejorative term designed to suggest that there is an inherently unlawful or illegitimate basis for owning otherwise common firearms

The state agency that enforces workplace safety rules cited the city of Los Angeles for exposing employees to unsanitary conditions, including trash and bodily fluids, on the walkways outside City Hall East, it was reported Thursday.

Inspectors with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, found that workers at City Hall East were exposed to the unsanitary conditions on exterior passageways, according to documents obtained by The Los Angeles Times.

City Hall East is home to several city agencies, including City Attorney Mike Feuer's office. Homeless people frequently sleep overnight on the sidewalks outside.

Cal/OSHA officials conducted the inspection from Feb. 2 to Aug. 7, according to the documents.

Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the City Attorney's Office, told the paper the city plans to appeal the citations, while also noting that the City Attorney's Office is not responsible for upkeep of the grounds outside City Hall East.

"GSD plans to appeal the violation and can not comment further due to pending litigation," GSD officials wrote in a statement.

According to The Times, the citations were issued in response to a complaint by Deputy City Attorney Elizabeth Greenwood, who has filed a damages claim against the city, saying she contracted typhus while working in City Hall East.

The citations come about eight months after a pest control company issued a report linking a rodent infestation at City Hall to several homeless camps in the immediate area. The report by Cats USA, identified unsanitary conditions in the Civic Center, such as leftover food, human waste and hypodermic needles, The Times reported.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office is stepping up security and the public will see the difference as deputies will now be patrolling public events armed with their high power rifles.

“I noticed immediately him pulling out his rifle and sticking it to his chest,” Stockton resident, Tamra Vargas, said.

“In light of recent events, both locally and nationally, it’s necessary to protect the public,” Andrea Lopez, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office public information officer said.

Deputies say having the rifles on them, instead of locked in their cars, will save time in an emergency when every second counts.

“We realize that this is a very controversial issue however public safety is what matters most,” Lopez said.

Since this is a first for the department, the reaction has been mixed, but everyone wants to feel safe.

“My immediate natural reaction is how disturbing is that? It’s almost like we’re in a third world country however there’s a comfort to it. You hope you’re being protected,” Vargas said.

“I don’t want to let fear guide what we’re going to do. We’re still going to go out and enjoy ourselves. I like that they’re taking extra caution but it’s unfortunate they have to do that in the first place,” Stockton resident, Matt Camino, said.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a multi-state coalition in challenging changes made to the "Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Public Charge Rule."

"To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient," President Trump said in a press release on Aug. 12.

This rule will "protect American taxpayers, preserve our social safety net for vulnerable Americans, and uphold the rule of law," the White House said.

The lawsuit Attorney General Becerra filed in the Northern California U.S. District Court claims the rule targets working immigrants and their families by creating unnecessary new barriers to lawful admission to the United States.

“This cruel policy would force working parents and families across the nation to forego basic necessities like food, housing, and healthcare out of fear. That is simply unacceptable,” said Becerra. “In California we know that welcoming and investing in all communities makes our entire nation stronger. I know this being the son of hard-working, modest immigrants who likely would have been victims of this regressive policy. We will fight this unlawful rule every step of the way.”

Current guidance by the federal government defines a public charge as a person who is primarily dependent on either public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutional long-term care at the government’s expense. The new rule declares that use of additional government programs, including nutrition and food support through CalFresh (California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), healthcare through Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program), and housing for families through Section 8 housing assistance, now constitute grounds for a public charge determination.

These changes would discourage many immigrants and mixed immigration-status families, who are not otherwise subject to the rule, from accessing benefits for which they are "eligible and entitled", Becerra said.

Becerra also claimed that the Trump Administration's rule will disproportionately block admission of non-white, non-European immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The rule will also prevent higher numbers of immigrants of color from extending their visas or becoming lawful permanent residents, and ultimately create more obstacles in the path to U.S. citizenship, the lawsuit states.

Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia also joined California in the lawsuit. Separately, other states and local governments, including San Francisco, have also sued to block the rule.

Newsom acknowledged that it’s not surprising that California, a liberal state that has filed more than 50 lawsuits against the Trump administration, is suing over the rule.

-sacbee

California’s legal marijuana industry is set to generate $3.1 billion in sales in 2019 following a shaky start for the state’s recreational pot program, a report said Thursday.

An increase of 23% over 2018, the first year California allowed adults to legally purchase marijuana for recreational purposes, the surge has helped the state effectively become the “world’s largest legal cannabis market,” analysts for Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics wrote in the report.

Marijuana sales remain rampant on the black market, however, where illicit transactions this year are expected to reach $8.7 billion, according to the report.

California became the first state in the country to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, and 20 years later it joined the growing list to legalize recreational pot, paving the way for licensed retailers to begin selling to adults starting in January 2018.

Stringent testing regulations and local bans imposed in certain parts of the state have resulted in a rocky first year for California’s legal marijuana industry, however, the report noted. Legal sales went from $3 billion in 2017, when only medical marijuana could be legitimately purchased, to $2.5 billion in 2018, according to the report.

“Despite the burdens imposed on the legal market by regulators, with a $2.7 billion gross domestic product, California has the world’s largest legal cannabis market and will continue to until federal legalization makes it merely a part of the larger U.S. market,” said Tom Adams, Arcview’s editor in chief. “At that point, California will assume its usual place in the world economy as a major exporter of agricultural commodities and their derivative products, a technology mecca and consumer product trendsetter.”

Marijuana is federally prohibited on account of being classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. Thirty-three states have defied federal prohibition by legalizing marijuana to varying degrees, including California and six others with laws currently in place allowing adults to purchase taxed and regulated pot from licensed retailers to be used recreationally.

Jerry Brown, the governor of California when the state legalized recreational sales, had previously predicted that legal marijuana would earn around $643 million in tax revenue for the state during the fiscal year that ended July 1, 2019. His successor, Gov. Gavin Newsom, significantly downgraded that projection in January to $355 million after the first few months of legal sale fell shy of expectations.

Andrew Blake - The Washington Times

Thousands of people who drive trucks and cars for a living could face some new rules for the road. Assembly Bill 5 would reclassify some independent contractors as employees.

There’s strong support for the bill from organized labor, as well as resistance from independent truckers who own and operate their own rigs. Some of them are now experiencing a bit of road rage.

“I got into trucking to be an independent contractor,” said Antwawn Branch who hails from Virginia but was getting fuel in Sacramento on Thursday.

“I work for myself,” Branch said. “I like being independent, I don’t want to be no one’s employee so I think it’s a terrible bill."

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is the author of AB 5.

The San Diego Democrat sees her bill as worker protection for people who drive for a living.

“It’s important because we have millions of people in California who are possibly misclassified as independent contractors when they are actually employees,” Gonzalez said.

She said that those workers would benefit from having employee rights.

They would include, she said, “the right to minimum wage and overtime, the right to paid sick days, the right to workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance, paid family leave.”

The bill was inspired by a 2018 California Supreme Court decision involving Dynamex Operations West, in which the judges ruled workers there were misclassified as independent contractors and not employees.

On Tuesday, dozens of independent truckers who own and operate their own rigs drove around the Capitol in a street protest against AB 5. Those truckers said the bill would take away their flexibility to work when they want – and where they want – and threaten their ability to make a living.

“It’s putting them out of business and making them bankrupt,” Debbie Ferrari said. Ferrari owns her own small trucking business and is an advocate for independent truckers.

“You’ve got immigrants, minorities that have found a way to meet the middle class and are facing losing everything,” Ferrari said.

In response, Gonzalez said, “There are a lot of truck drivers that work for one company that don’t set their own rates, that are subject to that company – and those are employees,” she said.

The primary thrust of the bill is aimed at the so-called gig economy, including independent contractors who drive for Uber and Lyft.

Akamine Kiarie drives for Lyft in Sacramento part time. He's also a college student who’s been taking classes at Cosumnes River College and is now about to enter Sacramento State University.

“The ability to do rides between classes or just whenever I have time is really important to me,” he said.

“That flexibility, if we are going to be reclassified as employees, is going to be taken away from us.”

Tamara Krake, a food delivery driver for Door Dash, is also concerned about the bill.

“I wouldn’t be able to do my job if this bill passed,” she said. “This job is only able to be done the way that I do it because of the flexibility and the autonomy.”

“If not for Door Dash and the opportunity I had there, I wouldn’t be able to purchase my home. I wouldn’t have the financial freedom I have right now."

But to Lorena Gonzalez, AB 5 is also about protecting California taxpayers.

“If you get hurt at work and you don’t get workers’ compensation or health care, you still go to the emergency room and we pay for that,” Gonzalez said. “And so this is making sure that these companies, these multibillion-dollar companies that are misclassifying their workers are doing their fair share as well.”

AB 5 has already passed the State Assembly and is now in the Senate, where it’s likely to go through amendments before the next vote. Gonzalez said she’s negotiating now with concerned parties who want exemptions to the bill.

Independent truckers are especially vocal about wanting to have that exemption.

“They went out and bought a truck for $160,000,” Ferrari said. “They have their own permitting. They’ve invested large dollars into their business."

“Legitimate owner operators that made these investments – we’re talking about 65,000 (of them) are facing bankruptcy over this,” Ferrari said.

The bill has the support of the California Labor Federation, the California Nurses Association and California Professional Firefighters, according to a fact sheet provided by Gonzalez’s office.

But it also faces opposition from the California NAACP.

“I’m not opposing it just for Lyft,” said Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP. “I’m opposing because it’s bad. It’s a bad piece of legislation. She’s fixing something that’s not broken," Huffman said.

-KCRAsacramento

The results of a $315 million renovation project were officially unveiled Thursday at what is now known as United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

NBC got an early view of the completed work. All of the seats have been replaced, handrails and new suites were added, and there are upgraded entryways and video screens. The two-year project at the site of some of LA's most memorable sports moments reduced the landmark's overall seating capacity from 93,607 to about 77,500.

Here's a look at what fans can expect when they visit the historic sports venue.

Additional aisles, widened seats and increased leg room in some sections
A new south-side structure including suites, loge boxes, club seats, a concourse and press box
Restoration of the peristyle to resemble its original design
Updated WiFi technology
Additional concession stands
Electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems
New field and stadium lighting

USC football coach Clay Helton and athletic director Lynn Swann, will join Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and County Supervisor and Coliseum Commission President Janice Hahn to celebrate the stadium overhaul.

The Coliseum was built in 1923 and last underwent substantial renovations 20 years ago when $93 million was spent to repair damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The stadium has hosted two Olympics, two Super Bowls, a World Series, a papal Mass and visits by three U.S. presidents.
The Los Angeles Rams will play a game at the renovated facility before USC. The Rams will play host to the Denver Broncos for a preseason game Aug. 24. USC will open its season at the Coliseum the following Saturday, playing host to Fresno State.

United Airlines struck a naming-rights deal for the stadium last year, with original plans calling for the venue to be renamed United Airlines Memorial Coliseum. The change, however, sparked opposition from some veterans groups, who argued the stadium was originally dedicated as a memorial to veterans of World War I and that changing the name would dilute that dedication.

The airline and USC later revised the naming-rights deal in response to the concerns, agreeing to the moniker United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

-nbclosangeles

The San Francisco Police Officer’s Association is calling for the judge who released a homeless man arrested for attacking a woman to be reassigned.

The SFPOA called Judge Christine Van Aken’s decision to release 25-year-old Austin James Vincent “reckless” and asked for her to be reassigned to traffic court.

“Judge Christine Van Aken’s continued tenure overseeing criminal cases is a danger to every law-abiding resident of San Francisco,” the association said in a statement Thursday. “She may have been a reasonably competent civil attorney but she is a catastrophe of a criminal judge.”

Vincent was arrested early Sunday morning for attacking Paneez Kosarian outside of the Watermark apartment complex near Beale and Bryant Streets.

Mayor London Breed told KRON4 Thursday that she also believed the judge’s decision was a mistake, but said punishment for the judge is not her decision.

“I think it’s really unfortunate what happened,” Breed said. “I think the judge, unfortunately, made a huge mistake. [The homeless] person is a danger to society.”

Below is SFPOA’s full statement regarding Vincent’s release:

“Judge Christine Van Aken’s continued tenure overseeing criminal cases is a danger to every law-abiding resident of San Francisco. Her reckless decision to release Austin James Vincent from custody after his video- taped violent assault on Paneez Kosarian validates our call for the presiding judge to reassign Van Aken to traffic court.

The interests of crime victims should matter. Van Aken’s decision unnecessarily puts Ms. Kosarian at risk.

Van Aken’s release of Vincent was over the district attorney’s objection and ran afoul of the release recommendation of the public safety assessment tool. This release of an individual who clearly is in dire need of a mental health intervention puts every San Franciscan who comes in contact with Vincent in immediate danger.

Van Aken should not be allowed to preside over any criminal cases. She may have been a reasonably competent civil attorney but she is a catastrophe of a criminal judge.”
Tony Montoya,

California’s effort to write the nation’s first ethnic studies curriculum for public schools has united Californians: They all think it’s terrible.

Jewish lawmakers complained that the proposed lessons are anti-Semitic, and a conservative critic says capitalism is presented as a “form of power and oppression by white men.” The clash comes as a law requires the state to adopt an ethnic studies program, one which views history 'through the lens of diverse cultures'.

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and Jewish lawmakers said there have been other requests to include Hindus and a section on the Armenian genocide.

Allen suggested that white Europeans might learn empathy for immigrants today if there were a section on the discrimination that Italian and Irish nationals once faced in the U.S. Thurmond said Wednesday that he will recommend changes to better reflect the contributions of Jewish Americans and remove sections that the California Legislative Jewish Caucus finds objectionable.

Aside from the Jewish lawmakers’ concerns, conservative researcher Williamson Evers said California wants to teach kids that capitalism is racist.

Evers, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a former assistant education secretary under former President George W. Bush, said in a Wall Street Journal opinion column that the draft includes capitalism as a “form of power and oppression by white men” in an apparently “left wing” approach to the classroom.

Thurmond said he wasn’t offering changes to address that criticism. Democratic Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel of Encino, vice chairman of the Jewish caucus, said its another issue that needs to be fixed because it reflects a “fundamentally flawed curriculum” that “feels a lot more like indoctrination.”

“We really need some significant changes, if not to go back to square one,” said Democratic state Sen. Ben Allen of Santa Monica, the caucus chairman. “Our concern is that the draft curriculum, as currently written, would literally institutionalize the teaching of anti-Semitic stereotypes in our public schools.”

The proposed curriculum has lessons on identifying Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination but does not include anything about antisemitism. Songs, with lyrics included in the draft also support the stereotype that Jews control the news media.

“It would be a cruel irony if a curriculum meant to help alleviate prejudice and bigotry were to instead marginalize Jewish students and fuel hatred and discrimination against the Jewish community,” the 14 caucus members said in a recent letter.

“Children are not born as bigots, and so it’s critically important that we get this curriculum right,” said Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara.

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said the omission of other contributions was not intentional but that ethnic studies traditionally have focused on African Americans, Latinos, Asian and Pacific Islanders and indigenous people.

“There’s no limit on groups who have experienced oppression,” Thurmond said.

In 2016, then-Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed a law requiring the state to adopt an ethnic studies curriculum by March 31, 2020. Thurmond said he is likely to ask lawmakers to extend the deadline.

Earlier this year, state officials completed a draft of the curriculum written by a panel of mostly classroom teachers.

The proposed curriculum went to a Board of Education advisory commission in May, and it’s seeking public comments through Thursday. Commission members will consider the comments and changes at public hearings in Sacramento next month.

Board leaders said in statement that the curriculum “should be accurate (and) free of bias,” acknowledging that “the current draft model curriculum falls short and needs to be substantially redesigned.”

The law doesn’t require schools to adopt the final version, but legislation approved by the state Assembly and awaiting a vote in the Senate would make the course a requirement to graduate from high school.

---video includes original story, release update, interview after release
The man who attacked a woman outside her apartment building in San Francisco early Sunday morning has been released, according to city officials.

Maxwell Szabo, a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, said on Wednesday that the suspect in the case, 25-year-old Austin James Vincent, was released on assertive case management.

On Tuesday Vincent entered a plea of not guilty on charges of false imprisonment, attempted robbery, and two counts of battery.

He was released on the condition that he periodically checks in with a case manager.

KTVU spoke with the victim of the attack for the second time on Wednesday

"I was not a part of this decision and that'...I was attacked and that man attacked me. It's on video. What else does the city need to see for proof to know that this man is a danger to all of us?" the woman named Paneez said. She requested that her last name not be published.

She said she and her husband plan on moving out of San Francisco.

"I don't want to be in a city knowing that there could be criminals anywhere," she said. "They're not getting punished, so I don't want to live here anymore."

Surveillance video of the attack shows the victim, Paneez, struggling to get through her building's front door, before being taken down by Vincent.

A security guard working at the building's main lobby helped the woman by holding the door shut and eventually locking it.

Paneez described her ordeal.

"This guy was obviously mentally unstable; definitely on drugs. The amount of strength he has was not normal for a man that size,'' she said.

"He kept saying, 'Come with me, I'm trying to save your life.' I was fighting for my life, at my own house, trying to get inside one door. This is mental illness, this is drug issues and this is security and the city is responsible. They're putting all our lives at risk," Paneez said.

The group Safe Embarcadero For All have enlisted the services of noted Bay Area public relations representative Sam Singer, and are highlighting the proximity of this incident to a proposed SAFE Navigation Center for the homeless.

Safe Embarcadero is against the shelter's location and is suing the City of San Francisco to stop the proposed center on the Embarcadero.

A new proposed law introduced in the California Assembly aims to ban the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement.

“The ACLU ran all 120 members of the California Legislature against a mugshot database using facial recognition technology,” said Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney for the ACLU. “That system produced 26 false matches."

One of those matches involved Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.

“My picture is right here,” Ting said, as he showed KCRA 3 the picture of lawmakers whose photos were paired with mugshots. “There were 26 legislators that were misidentified when they ran Amazon’s recognition software through a mugshot database."

Those lawmakers were falsely identified as potential criminals with previous arrest records, giving momentum to Ting’s Assembly Bill 1215.

"(AB 1215) just says that facial recognition software cannot be deployed on body cameras,” Ting said. “It’s fine for opening up your iPhone, but we don’t think it’s right to have anybody falsely accused of a crime they didn’t commit."

Ting has the support of Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer. The Los Angeles Democrat was also falsely identified in the mugshot photos. Sawyer said he’s concerned about use of the technology for the Olympics that are coming to L.A. in 2028.

“There will be hundreds of thousands, millions of people there,” Jones-Sawyer said. “We’re going to use facial recognition. What if you get a lot of false positives, which will deploy officers to the wrong place?”

While the ACLU stands by its results, Amazon insists the methodology the ACLU used in it's "test" was manipulated to score political points.

In a statement to KCRA 3, Amazon said, “The ACLU is once again knowingly misusing and misrepresenting Amazon Rekognition to make headlines. As we’ve said many times in the past, when used with the recommended 99% confidence threshold and as one part of a human driven decision, facial recognition technology can be used for a long list of beneficial purposes, from assisting in the identification of criminals to helping find missing children to inhibiting human trafficking.”

Amazon added, “We are clear in our documentation that the default setting for law enforcement use cases that involve public safety is 99% and we provide this guidance proactively to law enforcement groups that are learning and experimenting with the service.”

Currently, facial recognition technology is not used on police body cameras in California, but the ACLU is concerned the software could be utilized in the future.

“These are cameras that were promised as accountability tools for law enforcement,” Cagle said. “They should not be used for surveillance of communities.”

Cagle said “facial recognition systems are inaccurate and biased more for people of color and particularly women of color than for the general public.”

Law enforcement opponents insist the software can be an effective tool in fighting crime.

“Police aren’t using this tool to spy on people,” said Citrus Heights police Chief Ron Lawrence, who also serves as president of the California Police Chiefs Association. “We’re using it as a means to identify criminals and reduce the criminal elements in our communities."

“Legislators need to not stop us from keeping our communities safe,” he added.

Keeping communities safe means using the most cutting edge technology, according to Shaun Rundle of the California Peace Officers Association.

“We’re seeing in other states some of this roll out,” Rundle said. “We’re hoping that in California that we don’t jump the shark here and outlaw something that will be helpful down the line.”

As for the mistaken identifications, Rundle said, “You can’t perfect it if you can’t even use it. So, we hope to get to that place where there’s no misidentifications. But to say we can’t even use it at the get-go, that's where we have a problem.”

AB 1215 has already passed the Assembly and is now awaiting a vote in the California Senate, which supporters are hoping will happen later this month.

The ACLU responded to Amazon's statement later saying in a statement:

"Amazon doesn’t require the use of a 99% confidence score and its most prominent law enforcement customer had admitted to not using one."

"We used the default confidence score for establishing a “match,” a default provided by the software maker. Our test was designed to resemble how U.S. law enforcement has used facial recognition. Indeed, at least one prominent user of facial recognition technology doesn’t even use a confidence threshold."

The San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education voted 4-3 Tuesday to cover the “Life of Washington” mural at George Washington High School without destroying it.

This vote amends a previous decision. In June, the board had decided to paint over the mural or, if painting would cause too much delay, cover the painting with panels.

Tuesday’s vote eliminates the option to paint over the mural.

The mural was created in 1935 by Victor Arnautoff and has stirred controversy because of depictions such as enslaved Africans working in cotton fields on George Washington’s estate and white settlers stepping over the body of a dead Native American, according to a fact sheet posted on the school district’s website.

“Where we all agree is that the mural depicts the racist history of America, especially in regards to African Americans and Native Americans. It is important that we all share the agreement and acknowledgment of racism, discrimination, and the dehumanizing of people of color and women in American history,” SFUSD President Stevon Cook said in a press release.

The mural will no longer be on public view at the school but will be digitized so that art historians can access it.

A federal judge Monday denied a request by the city to dismiss a National Rifle Association lawsuit challenging a new law that requires city contractors to disclose any ties to the group.

The NRA originally sued the city in April for an ordinance it passed in February that requires the disclosure of contracts or sponsorships with the NRA, but does not ban NRA-connected companies from doing business with the city.

In the complaint, the NRA alleges the disclosure requirement violates the First Amendment and contends the ordinance was passed with the intent to silence the “NRA’s voice, as well as the voices of all those who dare oppose the city’s broad gun-control agenda.”

The NRA further claims in the suit that by enacting the ordinance, “”the city hopes to pressure NRA supporters and members to end their relationships with NRA, reducing NRA’s funding and support. Indeed, the city’s goal is to diminish NRA’s political contributions, its membership numbers and ultimately its pro-Second Amendment speech.”

The lawsuit also claims that city council members have made “disparaging, false and hyperbolic statements about NRA and its supporters, suggesting that the organization is doing something unlawful or immoral. The city has a history of pressuring businesses that seek to do business with the city to end relationships with NRA.”

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who introduced the ordinance, called the suit “an act of desperation by an organization in trouble.”

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson did not immediately rule on the NRA’s request to free the law while the suit continues. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment by City News Service.

A federal judge in San Diego Tuesday pushed back Rep. Duncan Hunter's trial for alleged misuse of $250,000 in campaign funds until early next year.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan postponed the trial to Jan. 14, with Duncan's attorneys seeking to have Whelan's prior ruling against dismissing the case heard by an appeals court.

Whelan ruled earlier this summer against Hunter's motions to have a 60- count indictment against him thrown out. The congressman's attorneys have appealed the rulings, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has not yet ruled whether it will take jurisdiction in the case.

Hunter, R-Alpine, was indicted along with his wife on five dozen criminal counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy, and falsification of records. Margaret Hunter, 44, pleaded guilty last month to a conspiracy charge. She faces up to five years in federal custody and a fine of up to $250,000 when she is sentenced in December.

Hunter, 42, is accused of spending campaign funds on personal expenses. Prosecutors alleges he and his wife Margaret went on expensive family trips and made scores of other improper personal purchases over the course of six years.

Graffiti painted on a downtown Sacramento building Monday caused quite the stir.

“Wow, that’s all I got to say just wow,” said one Sacramento resident.

“I thought it was probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen,” said Taylor Posey, who works in the building.

80 feet in the air and 50 feet long, the painted male genitalia certainly had people stopping to take pictures.

“I think it was just a joke, I don’t think people were too offended except maybe the property manager,” said Posey.

The building on H and 9th street in Sacramento’s downtown sits right across from city hall and some were not happy to look up.

“It’s tasteless. There are other ways to express your disgruntlement with the city,” said a resident who didn’t wish to be named.

But Wide Open Walls founder, David Sobon, says his artist Axel Void was not trying to make a political statement.

“If we offended anyone we’re sorry. It was something the artist did as a joke. It was covered up in 10 minutes,” said Sobon.

Wide Open Walls the nation’s largest mural festival bringing together artists from around the world.

“He’s one of the most talented artist in the world and we’re so lucky to have him here in Sacramento,” said Sobon.

A fellow muralist was actually impressed with the large scale effort.

“That’s art, it’s interpretive. It doesn’t take away from my work or anyone else’s,” said Kriileigh Jones.

Port Hueneme Police have arrested a homeless man who is suspected of kicking a residents small dog so hard it flew approximately 15 feet into the air, collapsing a lung and displacing it's heart.

The officers responded to a disturbing the peace call at Hueneme Beach last Friday afternoon to discover the transient, Dylan McTaggert, throwing punches at life guards. When he saw the police arrive, he fled on foot and was quickly apprehended after a short chase.

McTaggert had allegedly approached a woman from behind while she was walking along the beach and without provocation, kicked her dog into the air.

The dog, named Sophie, went into shock and fell unconscious.

Police say that Sophie was kicked with such force that it collapsed a lung and displaced her heart.

McTaggert, who lives along the illegal encampments on Ormond Beach, has been investigated numerous times by local police for disturbing beachgoers on Hueneme Beach.

He was booked and later transported to the Ventura County Jail for fighting in public, assault on a lifeguard, and felony animal cruelty. McTaggert is currently scheduled for arraignment Tuesday at the Ventura County Government Center where he is being held in custody in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Chief Andrew Salinas says nearly half the calls Port Hueneme PD gets are transient related: “We share the beach property line with Oxnard and Port Hueneme… These transients come over to the Port Hueneme beach area where we have a pier and facilities and end up ultimately harassing our beach goers. It’s very difficult to enforce right now because of the decriminalized laws in regards to some of our misdemeanors. They don’t stay in custody for very long…. It’s become a revolving door and it’s something we need to address sooner or later.”

A California Highway Patrol officer was killed and two other officers were wounded in a wild shootout Monday evening off the 215 Freeway in Riverside that also left the gunman dead and motorists dodging bullets.

Officer Andre Moye, 34, was killed, and another officer was in critical condition Monday night after the shooting that also left a third CHP officer with minor injuries. Authorities said two civilians are thought to have suffered minor injuries. The suspect, who has not been identified, died at the scene.

Moye was a CHP officer for almost three years and was assigned to the Riverside office after graduating from the CHP Academy on March 3, 2017.

“I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a tweet Monday. “Tonight, I mourn the loss of one of our own, CHP Officer Andre Moye, who was killed during a shootout following a traffic stop. Prayers go out to all, including the responding officers injured in the shooting.”

The incident is thought to have started after a traffic stop.

About 5:37 p.m., Moye stopped a driver of a white GMC pickup truck for an unknown offense. At some point during the traffic stop, Moye determined that he was going to impound the man’s vehicle and called for a tow truck, said CHP Inland Division Assistant Chief Scott Parker said at a news conference Monday night.

While Moye was filling out paperwork to impound the truck, the man got a rifle from his truck and started firing at the officer, Parker said.

Moye returned fire and was hit but was able to radio for help. Three other CHP officers soon arrived, followed by three deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and at least one officer from the Riverside Police Department, authorities said.

Dozens of rounds were fired at the scene, according to law enforcement. The type of rifle that the suspect used has not been released.

“It was a long and horrific gunbattle, and resulted in a very extensive crime scene,” Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said at the news conference Monday night.

It is unknown whose gunfire killed the suspect; that will be determined by the Riverside County coroner, according to officials.

Several sources said the suspect was still up and shooting when the county sheriff’s deputies and Riverside police officer arrived.

Authorities said they do not know where the suspect was going when he was stopped, or why he started shooting at Moye.

“We don’t know why,” Riverside police spokesman Ryan Railsback said. “That is all going to be part of this lengthy investigation.”

“Please say some prayers for the CHP officers involved,” wrote state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, on Twitter.

The California Legislature is in the final weeks of the 2019 session. Opponents of Senate Bill 276 are passionately pushing back in hopes of killing the vaccination bill.

The bill would create stricter medical exemptions for mandatory vaccinations of children.

State Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, who wrote the bill and is a pediatrician, said the rise in fraudulent medical exemptions is putting the community at risk of getting preventable diseases.

“First of all, we are in the midst of one of the largest cases of measles in over two decades,” Pan said. “Their kids are going to be safer at school knowing their classmates are vaccinated. And if they really need a medical exemption, they will get that medical exemption.”

The bill has triggered passionate opposition in the form of letters, flyers and social media fights between lawmakers and celebrities. Some state lawmakers even received bricks with a message on them, saying to vote "no" on SB 276.

“We should not be passing laws or stopping laws based on bullying, intimidation and threats,” Pan said, adding that parents could still opt out of mandatory immunizations with options such as home school or independent study.

“Children that are medically fragile and do qualify for medical exemption should be allowed to attend schools or sports or different arenas that they choose to,” Carmen Del Castillo said. “We’re fighting for our choices, our medical choices, so we have those freedoms.”

The Del Castillo family has seven children ranging in age from 1 to 24. The family said four of their children suffered seizures after getting vaccines.

“Basically, it’s forcing the vaccine on you,” Michael Del Castillo said. “The problem becomes once the vaccine is given and there is damage, it’s done. There’s no going back.”

Harvey Makishima, who is a retired researcher with the California Department of Health Services, wrote a letter to lawmakers expressing concern over the unknown, long-term health effects of vaccinations, as well as the potential lawsuits that could follow if SB 276 becomes law.

“You have the parents having vaccine-injured children now wanting to sue anybody and everybody,” Makishima said. “You could imagine all the litigation that could take place if this bill passes.”

President Trump's administration moved forward on Monday with new rules that could negatively influence green card approval and citizenship for immigrants who receive public assistance.

The move is expected to affect nearly 400,000 people. It does not apply to those who have come to the United States as refugees, or asylum seekers.

The details of the program and how it will affect people have yet to be released but it will likely make it harder for low-income immigrants to come to or stay in the U.S., and could also cut the amount of federal funding that comes to California.

The rule means many green card and visa applicants could be turned down if they have low incomes and have used government benefits. Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli states the only purpose is “to objectively determine whether an applicant is likely, at any time in the future, to receive public benefits above the designated threshold."

The rule is an expansion of a Clinton-era law used to classify immigrants dependent on the government for support. The rule announced Monday goes into effect Oct. 15.

If enacted, it would require caseworkers to consider how much green card applicants benefit from government housing, food stamps and medical welfare programs.

San Francisco's human waste problem has become fodder for political tweets and tourist disgust, not to mention expensive cleanup on the streets and sidewalks. Three public restrooms–one at Eddy and Jones Streets, another at 6th Street and Jessie, and a third location in the Castro will remain open 24/7 for three months in a pilot program. The cost to maintain those 3 bathrooms 24 hours a day for three months is $300,000.00

San Francisco is expected to begin operating the three 24-hour public bathrooms with attendants in the Tenderloin, Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru said Wednesday.

Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the Tenderloin and made 24-hour public toilets a campaign promise.

“It’s a start,” Haney told the San Francisco Examiner. “We’ve been pushing hard for this and I’m glad they are finally agreeing to try it. I’d like to see them try it in multiple locations for a longer period of time.”

Public toilets are provided by Public Works through the popular Pit Stop program, which staffs either mobile or stationary facilities with attendants. There are currently 25 Pit Stop locations with varying hours.“We received from the Mayor’s Office $3.7 million towards the Pit Stop,” Nuru said. “What that will get us is seven new Pit Stops and it will give us extended hours in some of our existing Pit Stops.”

Nuru said, “We’ve heard people want the 24-hour service. We are going to try and see, but just for a short period.”

“Having a three-month trial, I think it’s worth it to give us some idea if it’s worth continuing to pursue.”

A Pomona man was attacked after confronting a group of people over illegal dumping.

Lifelong Pomona resident Amos Young told KTLA the incident unfolded Friday morning alongside the 60 Freeway in Pomona.

He was on his way to a meeting when he noticed a group of people cutting a hole in a chainlink fence to drop items in a vacant lot, Young said. He added that he believed they were preparing to build a homeless encampment.

Young stopped his car, told the group to stop what they were doing and called the police to report what he saw, he said.

One of the men in the group apparently became enraged. He's seen on video hitting and striking Young's car, as well as hurling a large concrete block which smashed his windshield.
Young said he followed the group in their truck as he spoke with the police on his cell phone. At one point, one of the men jumped out of the truck and ran away along the 60 Freeway. The attacker was not found.

"I wish I could hold back, but I and so many others will not allow our community to be degraded by any criminal or transient who wants to cause harm on anyone in our city," Young said.

"If you commit a crime in Pomona, and you are seen doing it, there are people like me who are going to stand up and we're going to say, 'Stop it right now, and PD are on the way.'"

Young was unhurt, although his car was damaged in the incident.

A local business has offered to replace Young's windshield.

In a social media post regarding the incident, Pomona Police Chief Michael Olivieri said the suspect would be apprehended.

"We will find the guy, and I just asked our team to go hiking back there and clear out those illegal encampments (again)," he wrote.

A California school district outside of San Francisco agreed to desegregate its schools on Friday, after a two-year state investigation found that the district had “knowingly and intentionally maintained and exacerbated” racial segregation and even established an intentionally segregated school.

Students in the district, Sausalito Marin City, are divided into two starkly different schools, according to the state Justice Department, which conducted the investigation: a thriving, racially and economically integrated charter school in the heavily white enclave of Sausalito, near the Golden Gate Bridge, and an overwhelmingly black, Hispanic and poor traditional public school about a mile away, in the more diverse community of Marin City.

The arrangement was no accident, Xavier Becerra, the California attorney general, said on Friday, but a deliberate scheme by school district officials to set up a separate and unequal system that would keep low-income children of color out of a white enclave.

As part of the new agreement, the district agreed to desegregate by the 2020-21 school year, and provide scholarships and counseling to students who had been hurt by the segregation.
“Depriving a child of a fair chance to learn is wicked, it’s warped, it’s morally bankrupt, and it’s corrupt,” Mr. Becerra said. “Your skin color or ZIP code should not determine winners and losers.”

Nestled in the scenic hills across the bay from San Francisco, Sausalito is known for its charming houseboats, boutiques and restaurants, which cater to a well-heeled crowd of tourists and locals.

The charter school, Willow Creek Academy, was founded about two decades ago by parents in Sausalito who said they were frustrated by poor test scores in the district. Many parents were sending their children to private school or seeking transfers to other public school districts.

In 2013, against the wishes of many people in both Sausalito and Marin City, according to court papers, the district decided to move its elementary school from Sausalito to the campus of its middle school in Marin City. The resulting campus became Bayside-Martin Luther King Jr. Academy. Like Willow Creek, it served kindergarten through eighth grade.

At a district meeting in 2012, a district trustee, who is not named in court papers, “admitted that the plan to create separate programs for Sausalito and Marin City was motivated by a desire to create separate programs for separate communities,” according to the complaint. “This trustee also expressed it would improve community relations if students in Marin City were not ‘shipped over’ to Sausalito.”

Willow Creek, with about 400 students, prided itself on its diversity. In the 2018-19 school year, it was 41 percent white, 11 percent African-American, 25 percent Latino and 10 percent Asian, according to its website. In contrast, Bayside-Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, with about 119 students, was 7 percent white, 3 percent Asian, 49 percent African-American and 30 percent Latino, according to state statistics.

In court papers, the attorney general said that the district had systematically starved the school it ran of resources.

It reneged on a promise to create a gifted program and cut music, art, physical education and counseling services, according to court papers. By 2015, the Bayside-M.L.K. principal, assistant principal and about half of the teaching staff had left, the court papers say.

The district-run school did not have a qualified math teacher, while the charter school did. The district school had only a part-time counselor, while the charter school had a full-time one.

And the district was harsher in disciplining black and Hispanic students compared with white students than any other public school district in the state, the attorney general said.

Kurt Weinsheimer, the president of the charter school board, said on Friday that the charter school had become a scapegoat for the segregation in the district. The district schools had been segregated for years, he said, and were losing students; the charter school brought them back. A slight majority of its students come from the less affluent part of the district, he said.

“That’s the opposite of separation,” Mr. Weinsheimer said.

District mismanagement, not racial antagonism, had led to the segregation problem, he added.

---- Dana Goldstein and Anemona Hartocollis NYT

The police report says Lopez as “arrested for a federal immigration warrant out of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for failure to appear for removal.” It also says an officer at the scene “called and spoke with ICE” who verified Lopez’s identity and later met up with the officer to take Lopez into custody.

There is also a video that shows Lopez being cuffed by an ICE agent with a Daly City police officer standing nearby.

“He was clearly turned over to ICE in violation of state law and his constitutional rights — the Fourth Amendment. So that is pending, we’re waiting to hear back from the city,” said Angela Chan, the policy director and senior staff attorney at Advancing Justice Asian Law Caucus.

Lopez was released from custody on Aug. 5 and his immigration case is being appealed to the Bureau of Immigration Appeals.

Friday, Lopez called out the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility where he was held, “I want to ask that Mesa Verde Detention Center be closed permanently.”

According to a complaint he filed against Daly City, he’s suing for “compensatory, statutory, treble, and punitive damages” for “violating his rights against unlawful seizure; his right to due process; his rights under the California Values Act and the TRUTH Act; false imprisonment; causing emotional distress; and negligence.”

He’s also asking the city to provide a “U Visa certification.” U Visas are for people who are crime victims. In this case, Lopez wants the city to state that it falsely imprisoned him, thus making him eligible to apply for the visa.

It was the first day of school, and Denair teacher Mx. Luis Davila Alvarado distributed the "Gender Unicorn" paper apparently as part of a “getting to know each other” assignment.

The teacher uses the title “Mx.” instead of “Mr.” and wanted the students to understand why, claimed Denair Unified School District Superintendent Terry Metzger “He gave a handout discussing gender in first and second periods. It was not an assignment and students were not required or asked to fill it out,” the superintendent said.

Parents we spoke with say this was not the place for this type of discussion and something their kids felt was not optional.

Jenn Weenk’s son has this teacher for science class and received the worksheet in class. “He wasn’t told that it was optional, it was put in front of him and he was expected to fill it out,” said Weenk.

The handout is of a graphic from Trans Student Educational Resources and shows various forms of gender identity (female/woman/girl, male/man/boy and other), gender expression (feminine, masculine and other), sex assigned at birth (male, female and other/intersex), sexual attraction to (women, men, other genders) and emotional attraction to (woman, men, other genders.)

Alvarado, a second-year teacher of seventh and eighth-grade science, did not seek permission ahead of time from the school principal, Metzger said. Principal Amanda Silva “happened to be in his second-period class as part of her routine visits on the first day of school. When she saw the content of the handout, she spoke with the teacher and directed him to stop distributing it,” Metzger said. She estimates that 50 students were given the handouts.

Asked if what the teacher did violated district policy, the superintendent said that as required by law, gender identity is among the topics discussed in the seventh- through 12th-grade sexual health and HIV/AIDS prevention instruction curriculum -"but such instruction occurs during health classes, not science classes", Metzger said.

“The principal and I have spoken with the teacher about why we believe this was a poor decision,” she said. “Any discipline is a private matter between the district and employee.”

One of Alvarado’s students reportedly posted Wednesday night, “The teacher said that because he was transgender and the kids had lots of questions, he thought this would be beneficial to them. Which is the most bulls--- excuse I’ve ever heard.”

The parent, Sonia Rush, continued, “I don’t care what you identify as, that’s your decision. But NO ONE has the right to ask my child these questions that have absolutely nothing to do with what you are teaching in a classroom.”

Many other people commented that the teacher has no business discussing sexual attraction with children.

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