Facing mounting costs to contract police services through the
sheriff’s office, the Oakley City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to form
its own police department, according to city officials.

The vote to establish the department was “just another step
forward” in severing ties to the sheriff’s office, Mayor Doug Hardcastle

The issue has never been one of performance, but one of cost,
Hardcastle said.

“Nothing’s been wrong with using the sheriff’s office, but they’re
just too expensive for us,” Hardcastle said.

The city has contracted with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s
Office for its police services since 1999, when the city was incorporated,
according to city documents.

But between 2006 and 2014, the cost per deputy increased 50
percent, from $163,600 to $243,800, according to city documents. The county
increased its fee by $650,000 in 2014 and city staffers said the county was
again expected to increase its price by $350,000 this year.

Sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said a representative from the
department was not immediately available to comment on the change.

The sheriff’s office is currently providing police services to
Danville, Lafayette and Orinda in addition to Oakley, and up until around
2007, to San Ramon, as well, Lee said.

The city plans to hire former sheriff’s deputies to fill the ranks
of the new department, Hardcastle said.

“We’re counting on that,” Hardcastle said. “We have a history with
these people, they’re a known quantity, and a lot of the people who are with
the city are local people. So, that’s a big advantage.”

Before the city hires staff for the department, it will have to
hire a new police chief. Hardcastle said the city is casting a wide net.

“We’re looking for the best,” Hardcastle said.

The county requires a year’s notice before severing services,
which Hardcastle said would give the city plenty of time to establish the new

The city currently has 28 officers who are “embedded,” meaning
they wear Oakley police uniforms and drive city-owned and marked patrol cars,
Oakley City Manager Bryan Montgomery said.

Montgomery said the city plans to retain the same number of
officers in the first year of the transition and then increase the number of
officers as necessary over time.

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Two people were the victim of a robbery and pistol-whipping Sunday
in Oakland, according to the Oakland Police Department.

The incident occurred at about 3:50 a.m. in the 1800 block of 39th
Avenue, Officer K. Tran said. Tran said both victims declined medical

Police said two armed suspects fled the area with some of the
victims’ belongings. Neither suspect is in custody, Tran said.


One person died and one person is in the hospital after a
collision Monday night between a vehicle and train in unincorporated Solano
County, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP Officer Peter Van Eckhardt said the first report of the
collision near the intersection of Fox and Hawkins roads came in at 9:44 p.m.

One person was ejected from the vehicle and one person was trapped
in the vehicle, Van Eckhardt said. The person who was ejected died at the
collision site. Emergency crews extricated the person who was trapped in the
vehicle and took the person by helicopter to the University of California at
Davis Medical Center, Van Eckhardt said.


The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced the
official start of this year’s Spare the Air summer season Monday.

The Spare the Air program aims to reduce air pollution in the Bay
Area by encouraging people to drive less and find alternative ways to work,
BAAQMD officials said.

“Increasingly, Bay Area roads are at a standstill with more
commuter traffic which creates unhealthy smog,” Jack Broadbent, executive
officer of the air district, said in a statement.

“Instead of sitting idle on gridlocked roads, rethink your
commute. Consider a commute alternative by carpooling, taking transit, biking
or walking to reduce summer air pollution, giving you time to read the news,
check your email or play Candy Crush,” Broadbent said.

According to results from a survey by the BAAQMD, employees are
more likely to adopt alternatives to driving alone to work if their employer
encourages it, air district officials said.

Since September 2014, employers with a fulltime staff of 50 or
more are now required to offer commuter benefit options to their employees
and register at www.commuterbenefits.511.org.

As part of the Spare the Air summer outreach campaign, the air
district is offering information and tips for Bay Area residents on how to
shorten or share their commute on www.stacommutetips.org.

Spare the Air health alerts are issued during the summer months
when air pollution is expected to reach unhealthy levels. That can cause
throat irritation, congestion and chest pain, according to air district

Unhealthy levels of air pollution can also trigger asthma attacks,
inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen pulmonary conditions like
bronchitis and emphysema. Those most at risk are young children, seniors and
people with heart and respiratory conditions, air district officials said.


An altercation at a parking lot in Belmont on Saturday night ended
with the fatal stabbing of a 19-year-old man, police said today.

The victim was identified as Belmont resident Denis Meshchyshyn,
Belmont police Capt. Patrick Halleran said.

Around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, police and firefighters responded to a
report of a stabbing in the 600 block of Masonic Way, Halleran said.

Emergency responders arrived and found the victim, later
identified as Meshchyshyn, suffering from multiple stab wounds, he said.

He was treated by paramedics at the scene and was transported to a
hospital where he was pronounced dead, Halleran said.

At the scene investigators spoke with two of Meshchyshyn’s
friends, who said that before the stabbing they went to the parking lot where
they saw Meshchyshyn fighting with a suspect, according to Halleran.

The friends said the suspect ran away west on Masonic Way toward
Old County Road, the captain said.

They then found Meshchyshyn on the ground suffering from stab
wounds and called 911, Halleran said.

The suspect was seen wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and blue
jeans, according to Halleran, but information on the suspect’s race, gender
and age was not available this afternoon.

Investigators believe Meshchyshyn was acquainted with the suspect
and that the attack was not random, Halleran said.

Anyone with more information on the case is asked to call the
Belmont police main line at (650) 595-7400 or crime tip line at (650)


A 25-year-old Antioch resident is in stable condition after he was
stabbed in the abdomen Saturday morning in Oakley, a police sergeant said

Officers responded around 8:30 a.m. to a report of a person lying
on the ground with a stab wound in the 400 block of Duckhorn Court, Oakley
police Sgt. Robert Roberts said.

Roberts said officers arrived to find the victim outside on the
ground. The 25-year-old man was transported to John Muir Medical Center in
Walnut Creek, where he underwent surgery, and as of Saturday evening, Roberts
said he was in stable condition.

The victim and the suspect, an approximately 50-year-old man,
lived together at one point, Roberts said, adding it was unclear whether or
not they were still roommates.

The two got into an altercation on Saturday morning and the
suspect ended up stabbing the victim, but Roberts said it may have been an
act of self-defense.

The suspect voluntarily came to the police station for an
interview and Roberts said the victim is also cooperating with the

As of Sunday evening, Roberts said detectives were still
investigating the case and so far, no one has been arrested and no charges
have been filed.

“Between everything we had, we felt it was okay to present all the
evidence to the (district attorney’s office) after finishing our
investigation,” Roberts said.


A 17-year-old Concord female died Sunday morning after a three-vehicle
crash in Vacaville, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP received multiple calls of a crash on westbound Interstate
Highway 80 just west of Leisure Town Road at about 12:40 a.m., CHP Officer
Damian Cistaro said.

Cistaro said officers discovered that at least one person in the
crash had major injuries. A 17-year-old female was taken to a hospital where
staff pronounced her dead, Cistaro said.

CHP officials issued a Sig-alert because officers closed three
lanes of the highway after the crash. All lanes reopened before 4 a.m.,
Cistaro said.


A body of a woman has been found near or in the Nob Hill
neighborhood of San Francisco this morning, according to the San Francisco
Police Department.

Police said at about 2:50 a.m. someone found the woman’s body on
the stairs of a building in the 600 block of Stockton Street. Police said
they don’t suspect foul play in the death.


A bicyclist was fatally struck by a vehicle in Sunnyvale this
morning, public safety officials said.

The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety reported at 8:20 a.m.
that the collision occurred at West Fremont and South Mary avenues.

Public safety officials said the incident did not involve any
students from nearby schools.

Motorists are encouraged to avoid the area because traffic is
backed up in all directions, public safety officials said.



The summer Spare the Air season starts today.

During the summer months when ground-level ozone, or “smog” becomes a pollution problem, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issues Spare the Air Alerts for days on which they say the air quality is forecast to be unhealthy.

In the Bay Area, the summer Spare the Air season generally runs from late-April through mid-October when clear skies, hot temperatures, lighter than usual winds, and strong temperature inversions combine to create smoggy conditions. Spare the Air Alerts are declared for days forecast to have ozone concentrations that exceed federal health-based standards, according to the air district.

On these Spare the Air days, the air district urges residents to cut back on any activities that cause pollution – such as driving, using oil-based paints, gasoline-powered lawn mowers, or household aerosol products like hair sprays. People who are sensitive to unhealthy air are advised to limit their time outdoors, particularly in the afternoon hours.



A police officer was injured in a crash with another vehicle in
San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood late this morning, a police
spokesman said.

The fire department received reports that a police car had been
struck by another vehicle near the corner of Eighth and Harrison streets,
near an Interstate Highway 80 off-ramp, at 11:41 a.m., fire spokeswoman Mindy
Talmadge said.

The police officer was driving west on Harrison Street and the
other car was headed south on Eighth Street when they collided, police
spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

The officer was taken to the hospital but Esparza did not say how
seriously he was injured. The other driver was not taken to the hospital and
stayed at the scene.

Esparza said police are still trying to determine who had the
right of way at the intersection. Talmadge said there were initial reports
that the civilian driver had run a red light, but those reports have not been

As of shortly after noon, Harrison Street was blocked between
Seventh and Ninth streets and Eighth Street was blocked between Folsom and
Harrison streets as a result of the collision. The highway off-ramp at Eighth
Street was also closed.

photo credit: Hannah Albarazi


Members of one of the largest unions that represents Oakland city
employees plan to march to the City Council meeting tonight to address what
they say are discriminatory practices and the misuse of temporary workers by
the city.

Anna Bakalis, a spokeswoman for Service Employees International
Union Local 1021, said workers from the Police Department, the Department of
Public Works, the Oakland Public Library, Parks and Recreation and other
departments will tell the council about unfair and discriminatory practices
they experience or see.

Bakalis said many workers report that their supervisors overlook
them and pick favorites in selecting employees to work overtime and they
believe the reason is racial discrimination or nepotism.

She also said Public Works employees report that their supervisors
have them spend more time cleaning up illegal dumping and doing street
sweeping in the city’s affluent hills areas and less time cleaning up
problems in the less affluent flatland areas in East and West Oakland.

Bakalis said one of the union’s biggest concerns is the existence
and expansion of the city’s Temporary Part-Time (TPT) workforce, who work
on-call for weeks, months or years with no health care, retirement benefits
nor job security.

She said the TPT workers originally were just to be used for
seasonal work in Parks and Recreation and summer programs but she believes
the city has “abused” the system as a way to avoid paying benefits to many
city employees.

Bakalis said the number of TPTs has “exploded” from 1,000 in 2008
to 2,500 in 2014 and SEIU Local 1021 now represents more TPTs than it does
full-time employees, as it represents about 1,000 full-time workers now.

She said SEIU Local 1021 recently began bargaining with the city
for a new contract to replace the one that expires on June 30 and workers
want to let the City Council members know about their concerns.

The workers’ rally is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on the steps of
City Hall.

At 5:20 p.m., the workers will march into City Hall and at 5:30
p.m. they plan to speak during the council’s public comment period at the
beginning of the meeting.


The National Park Service will hold a public meeting this
afternoon to discuss a new long-term location for the ferry landing taking
visitors to Alcatraz Island.

The options include keeping the existing landing at Pier 31 1/2,
moving back to the previous site at Pier 41, or moving to Pier 3 near Fort
Mason, park service officials said.

The park service is seeking a long-term location for visitors to
catch ferries to tours of the island’s famous prison. Ferry contracts have to
be renewed every 10 years and the new contracts have necessitated location
changes in the past, most recently in 2006, park service officials said.

Two of the proposed locations, including the current one, are
located along The Embarcadero near Fisherman’s Wharf, a hub of tourist
activity. Pier 3 is on park service property near Fort Mason.

The park service released a draft environmental impact statement
and is accepting public comment on the proposals until May 20, including at
this afternoon’s public meeting.

The environmental impact statement identifies the existing Pier 31
1/2 location as the environmentally preferred alternative as it would require
minimal construction.

However, talks with the Port of San Francisco over long-term
occupancy of a pier have not yielded an agreement. If the port and the park
service can agree on the terms and conditions for Pier 31 1/2, the park
service would build a third berth there and make improvements to the visitor
welcome areas, park service officials said.

The other two sites would require extensive improvements,
including rebuilding the existing piers.

This afternoon’s meeting will be held in the Bayside Conference
Room at Pier 1 at 4 p.m. There will be a tour of the three sites on Thursday.


A man stabbed a security guard in the arm with a pocketknife at
San Francisco’s Union Square early Tuesday morning, police said.

The suspect, described as a man in his mid 20s, was in Union
Square around 3:45 a.m. when a male security guard approached him.

According to officers, the park was closed for the night and the
security guard asked the man to leave.

The suspect refused to leave the park and then cut the security
guard in his arm with a pocketknife, police said.

Officers said the suspect fled the area and has not been arrested
as of this morning.

The security guard suffered a minor laceration and declined
medical transport, police said.


A suspect detained after a reported attack with a hammer in
Berkeley on Tuesday afternoon was not arrested and the reported victim was
uninjured, a police spokeswoman said today.

Police had responded to reports of an assault with a hammer near
the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Stuart Street at 3:44 p.m., police
spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said.

The suspect had fled before police arrived but was determined to
be hiding in the area. Police set up a perimeter and advised people to stay
inside nearby homes and businesses, Coats said.

Officers found the suspect, spoke to him, and eventually were able
to take him into custody.

However, the reported victim was uninjured and refused police
service, so police did not arrest the suspect. The suspect was taken to a
hospital for evaluation, Coats said.