News

PG&E launches investigation into last night's power outage during 49ers game

Monday night football goes into midnight hour for East Coast viewers

PG&E crews and team officials are working to determine the cause of two power outages that delayed a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Candlestick Park Monday night.

The first outage was reported shortly before 5:30 p.m. and service was restored about 20 minutes later. The game, which was scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., started at around 6 p.m.

The second outage occurred during the second quarter, at around 6:45 p.m. Power was restored and the game resumed at around 7 p.m.

"Right now, we believe the power outage occurred because of a blown transformer. We have all our available personnel working to confirm that," said Steve Weakland, the team's director of corporate communications.

"There are more questions than answers; we have asked PG&E to assure us and the NFL that this will not reoccur," Weakland said.

A PG&E spokesman Monday night said utility crews are actively investigating the cause of both outages.

Spokesman Jason King said a downed power line in the area may be related to the first outage.

"There is no indication that PG&E equipment was involved in the second outage," he said.

Candlestick Park was the only facility impacted, he said.

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Plus, other Tuesday news reports from around the Bay by Bay City News.

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Caltrans is asking motorists to keep their eyes on the road as workers begin installing the first strand of the main cable on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

Caltrans acting director Malcolm Dougherty said at a media briefing near the bridge Monday morning that crews are beginning "the most

significant and challenging" part of constructing the bridge's self-anchored suspension span, a 2,047-foot section of bridge east of Yerba Buena Island.

The self-anchored suspension span, which Caltrans officials said will be the longest span of its kind in the world, is the signature element of the new eastern portion of the bridge.

Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said the cable will follow the path of the bright orange cable catwalks attached to the new tower that have been

visible to motorists for the past several months.

The single cable will be anchored around the eastern end of the roadway and will pass through the tower, looping around the roadway on the west side before passing back through the tower again -- a configuration Caltrans likened to a "giant sling."

The cable, which will be 2.6 feet wide, will have 137 strands, each comprised of 127 steel wires, Ney said.

Ney said it will likely take two or three days to install the first strand, and that the work is expected to proceed quickly after that and take a total of several months.

Dougherty said the cable will weigh 5,291 tons, or nearly 10.6 million pounds.

Ney said motorists shouldn't look at the work while they cross the Bay Bridge, but can view an animation of the work at baybridgeinfo.org or

visit an interpretive display at Treasure Island.

Dougherty said the new eastern span, a $6.3 million project to make the bridge more seismically safe, is still scheduled to open to

motorists in 2013.

-0-

Union leaders said Monday that they oppose efforts to recall Oakland Mayor Jean Quan because she's a strong advocate for labor and they think she's doing a good job under difficult circumstances.

Josie Camacho, the executive secretary treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council, said she thinks the recall efforts are "a waste of resources and a waste of energy" and will hurt the city during a time of continued economic uncertainty.

Camacho said, "We don't have time for this" and "we need to give her some slack" because she's only been in office for less than a year.

Joined by other union leaders at the council's office, Camacho said Quan is working hard to try to create more high-paying union jobs and said banks and corporations, not Quan, are to blame for the poor economy and high unemployment rate in Oakland and across the country.

Wei-Ling Huber, the president of Unite Here 2850, which represents hotel, food service and gaming workers and the union battling Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton over its lockout of union workers, said Quan "has always been a great

supporter of hotel workers" and she believes Quan is committed to doing a good job as mayor.

Camacho said other unions that oppose the recall efforts and support Quan represent machinists, bakers, electricians, and city employees.

On Dec. 7, Oakland City Clerk LaTonda Simmons certified a petition by Oakland Post photographer and Oakland Black Caucus member Gene Hazzard to

recall Quan.

Hazzard's group has about 150 days to gather 19,811 signatures from registered voters in Oakland, which represents 10 percent of the city's voters, to put its proposed recall measure on the ballot.

A second group also filed a notice of intent two weeks ago to recall Quan but its effort hasn't yet been certified by the City Clerk.

Hazzard, who couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday, said that one of the reasons he wants to recall Quan is that he thinks she has squandered an opportunity to promote a proposed large development project at the former Oakland Army Base in West Oakland and create good jobs there.

-0-

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said Monday that he is vetoing a proposal passed by the Board of Supervisors that could lead to the closure of the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica.

Lee said at an unrelated news conference outside City Hall Monday afternoon that he would be sending a letter to the Board of Supervisors later Monday indicating his plans to veto the legislation, which was narrowly passed 6-5 by the board earlier this month.

The proposed ordinance, authored by Supervisor John Avalos, had called on the city's Recreation and Park Department to offer a long-term

management agreement to the National Park Service for the 417-acre Sharp Park, which is owned by the city of San Francisco and has served as an

18-hole public golf course since it opened in 1932.

But partnering with the National Park Service to include the land as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area would likely result in

the course's closure since federal officials indicated they were not interested in managing a golf course.

Lee said he decided to veto the proposal after talks with Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) as well as San Mateo

County officials and San Francisco Recreation and Park Director Phil Ginsburg, all of whom opposed the ordinance.

Avalos said in response to the veto that his legislation "is innocuous and only requires the city to look at closure of the golf course among other options."

He said the golf course is losing money for San Francisco -- it has been operating at a $1.2 million deficit over the past five years -- and

is the topic of a costly lawsuit by environmental groups who say golf-related activity is harming two imperiled species in the area.

But Lee, who said he has played the golf course "during the years I had a lot more time for that sport," noted its historical significance as a

reason to keep it around.

The course was designed by Alister MacKenzie, who also designed several world-famous courses, including Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

He also mentioned a key ruling against the environmental groups in the federal lawsuit. The groups had sought an injunction to stop pumping and mowing activities on the course to protect the San Francisco garter snake, an endangered species, and the California red-legged frog, a threatened species.

But in a Nov. 29 ruling denying the injunction, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston cited data showing the frog population had actually

increased in the area in the past 20 years.

The six votes the ordinance received from the board is two short of the amount required to overturn a mayoral veto.

-0-

As part of a four-day enforcement operation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 63 people, including 55 convicted

criminal aliens, in San Jose last week, the agency announced Monday.

The operation was carried out by agents from the agency's Enforcement and Removal Operations, or ERO, field offices.

Timothy Aitken, director of the San Francisco ERO field office, said that the operation "underscores ICE's ongoing commitment to focus on the arrest and removal of criminal aliens and others who pose a potential danger to the community."

Of those arrested, 55 had prior convictions for offenses including selling heroin and amphetamines, child molestation, and spousal abuse, according to ICE.

Eight of those arrested during the operation face possible prosecution by the U.S. Attorney.

The largest number of convictions -- 18 -- involve driving under the influence, according to ICE.

A 29-year-old Mexican national with prior convictions for kidnapping and cocaine possession and a 49-year-old Mexican national convicted this year of child molestation are among those arrested, according to ICE.

The suspects are being processed for removal from the country, ICE said. Those who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally are facing immediate deportation and the rest will be scheduled for a hearing before an immigration judge, according to

ICE.

-0-

A suspect who was shot at by a San Francisco police officer after intentionally ramming a police vehicle with a stolen car in the city's

Hunters Point neighborhood Friday night has been identified as 44-year-old Larry Simonton, police said Monday.

Simonton, a San Francisco resident, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of assault on a police officer, attempted robbery, theft of a vehicle and possession of stolen property following an incident that began shortly after 9 p.m. Friday in the 1200 block of Revere Avenue, police Sgt.

Daryl Fong said.

A resident reported that he had just parked his car and was walking to his front door when a man approached and demanded his belongings, according to police.

The victim ran into his home and locked the door, then watched the suspect break into his car and drive away using a key that was in the glove box, police said.

Plainclothes officers in an unmarked police vehicle spotted the stolen car in the 100 block of Jerrold Avenue, where the suspect accelerated

and struck the officers' vehicle head-on, according to police.

The suspect then backed up and as he was about to ram the police car again, one of the officers fired his service weapon at him.

Simonton was not struck by the gunfire and tried to flee in the stolen car, but struck several parked cars before being taken into custody by

other officers responding to the scene, police said.

Simonton was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for injuries he suffered in the collisions. He is expected to survive,

according to police.

-0-

Facebook Monday completed a move from its former headquarters in Palo Alto to a sprawling new campus in Menlo Park.

The 1 million-square-foot campus at 1601 Willow Road -- formerly home to software company Sun Microsystems -- features 10 office buildings

spread across two campuses, director of global real estate John Tenanes said.

The social network's 2,000 employees currently head to work at the property's East Campus, Tenanes said.

The move took place in three stages that started in August with around 500 employees.

"This morning the final wave of employees walked through the doors," Tenanes said.

The newly renovated buildings feature "chalkboard paint" along the hallways so employees can scribble ideas on the walls, break spaces with

brightly colored couches and stocked micro-kitchens.

Facebook office designers eventually hope to achieve LEED Gold certification for its new headquarters, in part by reusing fixtures and

materials from existing structures on the property and installing recycling and composting bins throughout the site, Tenanes said.

Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith said Monday that her community welcomes its newest neighbor, and city officials continue to work with Facebook executives on various environmental concerns, such as traffic impacts.

"Obviously, traffic is a huge concern," Keith said. "They're working on a lot of different solutions."

Traffic impacts have been addressed by a "robust transportation program" that encourages employees to use free shuttles from surrounding

areas, vanpools and bicycles to get to work.

More than 47 percent of Facebook's current employees use transportation other than single-occupant vehicles, Tenanes said.

The company eventually hopes to house as many as 9,000 employees once the currently undeveloped West Campus is renovated.

Overall, the city of Menlo Park is excited to have Facebook join the community, Keith said.

-0-

A man fatally shot by police after shooting at officers in San Francisco's Lower Nob Hill neighborhood last Wednesday had two prior strikes

against him and a warrant out for his arrest, police Chief Greg Suhr said Monday.

Steven Young, 33, was shot in a confrontation with police near Larkin and Fern streets that stemmed from a traffic stop nearby, Suhr said at

a community meeting held Monday afternoon to discuss the shooting.

Young, a San Carlos resident, had prior convictions for burglary and narcotics-related offenses, was on active parole and had an $80,000

warrant out for his arrest in San Mateo County, police said.

"It was his parents' belief that he would not be taken alive," Suhr said.

When officers in a marked patrol car pulled over Young's vehicle at about 1:25 p.m. Wednesday, he got out of the car and fled, then fired six

shots at the officers who were pursuing him on foot, according to Suhr.

No officers were hit, but one of the officers returned fire, striking Young once in the head, Suhr said.

He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries a day later.

"It's never something we'd like to have when someone loses their life, but these officers did a great job and put their lives in harm's way,"

Suhr said.

While the officers were chasing Young, a female passenger in the car who was an acquaintance of his got into the driver's seat and drove away.

Investigators have since located and interviewed her and retrieved the car, and she is not considered a person of interest in the case, Suhr said.

The Police Department holds community meetings following officer-involved shootings, a policy Police Commission President Thomas Mazzucco said is important to prevent "misconceptions or stories that circulate through the neighborhood."

Monday's meeting was sparsely attended and wrapped up in less than 15 minutes with only one question from a member of the public.

-0-

Sunny skies are expected in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley today. Highs are likely to be around 60.

Clear skies are expected this evening. Lows are likely to be in the lower 40s.

Sunny skies are expected Wednesday. Highs are likely to be in the around 60.

Erika Heidecker, BayCity News

— Bay City News Service

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by D W
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 9:50 am

Beating PG&E AND Pittsburgh! Great Job, San Francisco 49ers!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PJ
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

When are people in Northern California going to say they have had it with PG&E and force the Legislature to overall PG&E's operations. PG&E provides service comparable to that in a third-world country, at rates that are about 3 times the national average. There upkeep and maintenance is horrible, as we see from the number of power outages we have and the pipeline explosions. At the same time, PG&E employees get lavish compensation, and their executives get compensation that borders on criminal. I think part of the problem is that Californians have just grown used to this lousy service and outrageous rates. They don't realize how rotten PG&E and SoCal Edison are compared to the rest of the country.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PJ
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 10:26 am

PW:
Who's asleep at the switch there? You included an entire morning news brief under the banner of PG&E's latest fiasco.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm

What's to investigate. We all know PG&E stinks. I just pray my neighborhood doesn't blow up.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mrs. B
a resident of Mohr Park
on Dec 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I think you are all missing the big picture. Joe Montana hit the kill switch just to make a point about the inadequacies of Candlestick Park. :)

But seriously....PG&E is one of the biggest problems this state faces. They bankroll way too many of our politicians. Until we clean house in Sacramento, PG&E will rule.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Just saying
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Interesting how things get done so much faster when the issue affects a game...


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