SFO international terminal

Officials at San Francisco International Airport announced today that rideshare companies UberX and Lyft will be allowed to operate at SFO.

The moves follow an agreement last week between the airport and Sidecar that made them the first rideshare company to get a permit at a California airport.

In a statement, airport director John Martin said, “We are committed to be an industry leader, creating a roadmap for innovative business models like Lyft and UberX to operate legally in an airport. We’re proud to be the first airport in the U.S. to have both signed permits from both companies.”

Rideshare companies had been prohibited from picking up or dropping off passengers at airports when the California Public Utilities Commission set new regulations on the companies last year.  SFO began requiring permits in April and officials issued numerous citations for drivers operating there illegally.

The terms of the agreements were not announced but airport officials said last week that the permits offered for each company were the same.  Sidecar’s permit required a $3.85 fee for each trip to the airport, similar to what taxi and limo services pay, and for the company to track how many drivers were coming into and out of the airport.


Marin and San Mateo counties had the lowest unemployment rates in the Bay Area in September and the region’s counties all had levels lower than the average for California, state officials reported Friday.

Marin’s unemployed made up only 3.9 percent of its workforce of 145,800 people and San Mateo boasted of just 4.1 percent of its 414,000-person labor pool without jobs, according to the state Employment Development Department.

San Francisco and Napa counties had relatively low jobless rates of 4.4 percent each, with workforces of 499,400 and 80,900, respectively,

In the rest of the Bay Area, Santa Clara County had the next lowest rate at 5.2 percent and a workforce of 945,700 people, the region’s largest.

Contra Costa County had a rate of 5.7 percent among its 543,900 combined workers and jobless, as did Alameda County with its pool of 789,800 persons.

In Santa Cruz County, 6.2 percent of its labor pool of 150,900 people were jobseekers.

Solano County had 6.3 percent of its 219,100 workforce without jobs and Monterey County’s rate was 6.5 percent of its pool of 225,000 without work. California’s unemployment rate dipped to 7.3 percent in September, compared to 8.8 percent for September 2013, with the number of jobs increasing by 297,000 during the year to 17.3 million people employed, state
officials said.

The jobless rate for the United States in September was 5.9 percent, also down from the month last year, officials reported.



The Monday Mouthoff with Doug Spencer is a weekly column on BayAreaNewsTalk.com.

People have a lot on their minds these days. Ebola. The volatile stock market. Snoop Dogg’s feud with Iggy Azalea. (Is Iggy Pop aware of this young upstart?) So it’s understandable if folks hadn’t noticed that we are in an even-numbered year.  That may not mean much in Missoula, Montana. But here in the Bay Area, what is quickly becoming a decade-long tradition continues as the San Francisco Giants are amazingly in the World Series yet again. Heck, an even-numbered year in this decade has thus far guaranteed the Giants will take the title home. Will they keep batting a thousand? Or will they soon be embodying that unforgettable Meat Loaf lyric: “Two outta three ain’t bad” ?

Besides the obvious question of who will win, the Giants third trip to the World Series in five years also presents a superb opportunity to examine a phenomenon known as “Bay Area baseball fans”.  First, a little historical perspective. For youngsters like myself who grew up a couple hours north of the Bay Area, and who learned America’s pastime on Sutter Little League’s uneven, gopher hole-filled Perry Field, you had two distinct choices: Giants or A’s. The division was clear and the lines never got blurred. You chose one or the other and stuck with that team. (For purposes of full disclosure, I grew up, and remain, an Oakland A’s fan….and only an Oakland A’s fan).

These groups of fans didn’t hate each other, but neither did they, under ANY circumstance, cheer for the other fan’s team. The very idea was as foreign as reading Mark Twain in Mandarin. But, after nearly three years living in enemy territo–err, San Francisco, I have learned that “Bay Area baseball fans” see things quite differently. The best I can codify their thinking is as follows: ‘I feel so lucky and blessed to live in an area with two major league teams. I hope both do well. I am going to cheer for both. Whichever team makes it further in the post-season, I will be equally happy to urge them on with the same passion, enthusiasm and devotion. Oh, and I will also buy various items of clothing from both teams….you know, just in case.’ (This excludes fashion abominations like the infamous Giants-A’s split baseball cap. Be forever banished!)

I have heard this line of thinking professed repeatedly. I have seen it in action. I have gone to games (A’s games, of course) with these fans – and I am still at a loss to fully understand it. I do on certain levels. For instance, we all like to see the area we are from well represented on a national stage. The pride, the bragging rights, and the boost to morale, both individually and community-wise, can be both exhilarating and intoxicating. But sooner or later, there will come a time of reckoning where such egalitarian fans will have to make the same choice I made as a kid. In fact, for the Bay Area, that time did come 25 years ago when the Giants and A’s met in the World Series. The universe could not have devised a better litmus test. One had to win and one had to lose. If you were here then, who were you really pulling for, in your heart of hearts?

This is not to point an accusatory finger. On the contrary, I am motivated by a deep compassion and desire to help these fans find their identity and to finally FINALLY be at peace with themselves. As those great American orators Abraham Lincoln and George Costanza both reminded us: “A (fill in the blank) divided against itself cannot stand!”. That blank should also include ‘baseball fan’. Trust me, your life will be simpler, your priorities well-ordered, and your sports fashion choices will finally all match.

So, on the eve of this World Series, I tip my cap to the San Francisco Giants. Their accomplishment is worthy of praise. But I do not — repeat: do not — hope they win. I long ago picked my team. Through good and bad, up or down, thin or flush, they will always have my full measure of support. In other words: GO ROYALS!


A construction project on the Bay Bridge’s western span has been suspended after commuters experienced significant delays on Friday, Caltrans officials announced today.

The project was set to replace six expansion joints on the bridge’s upper deck and place steel plates on the roadway to accommodate the work, Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said.

The project started on Friday and was scheduled to continue for two months, he said.

Haus said motorists driving over the tapered plates would likely slow down or come to a complete stop until they are used to driving over the plates.

Haus said people do generally slow down when going over the plates, but there is no need to come to a complete stop before driving over them.

Caltrans engineers will be looking into other options for the project that would have a lesser impact on traffic, according to Haus.


Oct. 20 marks the last day for voters to register in time to participate in California’s upcoming general election in November.

The Secretary of State’s office says voters can register online with a California driver’s license or ID card.  Voters can also mail a registration card, postmarked by today, to their county elections office as long as it is received before Election Day Nov. 4.

Officials say, as of Sept. 5, more than 17 million California voters had registered to vote out of more than 24 million eligible, or 73 percent of the voting population.  That number is marginally higher than in 2010 and nearly 4 percentage points higher than in the 2006.

Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-to-1 in this election, 43 percent to 28 percent.  Twenty-three percent of voters declined to state a political preference.

People can find out if they are already registered to vote by visiting www.sos.ca.gov/elections/registration-status and can register online at registertovote.ca.gov.

Those enrolled in California’s confidential address program, known as Safe at Home, should not apply to register to vote online. Instead, they should contact the Safe at Home program toll-free at (877) 322-5227.



State and local law enforcement officials say they have taken down a transnational drug trafficking organization based in Contra Costa County.

California Attorney General Kamla Harris’s office says “Operation Road Trip”, the culmination of several related investigations into Mexico’s Sinaloa Federation drug cartel, resulted in the seizure of more than 500 pounds of methamphetamine, more than $700,000 and 22 arrests in Contra Costa County alone.

The agencies involved included the West Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, or West-NET, the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT) as well as other local, state and federal agencies.

The investigation revealed that Mexican methamphetamine was being delivered to the “Nitro” gang in Southern California, which then took “road trips” to Contra Costa County to distribute the meth to other drug trafficking gangs.

Three years ago, an operation led by West-NET shut down a network of local and transnational gangs that included a Norteno gang in western Contra Costa County.  Information gathered during “Operation Red Reach” led investigators to identify the involvement of the Northern California “Urtiz” gang. A subsequent operation revealed that the Urtiz gang’s meth was being supplied by the “Nitro” gang.

The operations resulted in the seizure of more than 1,100 pounds of meth with a street value of $40.2 million, as well as $1.82 million in cash, 48 guns and 10 vehicles along with 67 arrests.

The state attorney general’s office says transnational criminal organizations have made California the single biggest entry point for meth in the U.S.


Santa Rosa Police say they have arrested a 33-year-old man on suspicion of killing his father with a sledgehammer during a fight last night.

Officers responded to the home in the 600 block of Wright Street around 11:20 p.m. following a call from the victim’s nephew.

The father’s body was found in an upstairs bedroom.  The son was found hiding in the backyard of the residence.  Police say he had recently been allowed to move into an apartment attached the main house on the property.

Officials say they believe the son broke the glass front door of the main house last night and came in.  They say an argument started after which the son strangled his father and bludgeoned him with the hammer.

Investigators have not yet released the name of the victim, who was in his 60s, or his son, who has been booked into Sonoma County Jail.  The nephew was not injured.


A Concord resident is asking for the public’s help to identify the person who took a package and some mail from her porch this week.

“I had a package theft occur today, and after having some issues in the past, I purchased, and prominently display a camera at my house. Today, I caught two women stealing a package and mail. A report has been filed with Concord PD and they have this video.

The woman who approaches the house is barefoot, and the item left on the sidewalk was an unopened beer, so it is possible they live in the neighborhood.

Folks who live near Salvio & Esperanza should be watching for these women, or anyone walking down the street with packages under their arms.”

The theft occurred in a neighborhood near the Concord Library.

Call Concord Police with any information on the person in the video.



The National Weather Service has issued a Beach Hazards Statement for parts of the coastal Bay Area including San Francisco, Sonoma and southern Monterey counties.

Officials say a Pacific storm in the Gulf of Alaska has generated large swells that are headed to the California coast.

Beginning tonight, the affected coastal areas could see strong rip currents, large waves and sneaker waves.  Beachgoers are being advised to be aware of the heightened risk of being caught in rip currents and getting swept out to sea.

The Beach Hazards Statement will remain in effect through Tuesday evening.




San Jose Police say a 71-year-old man who had been missing since Sunday afternoon has been found safe and is reunited with his family.

Nicholas Ortiz had last seen around 4 p.m. Sunday in the area of 3195 Pearl Ave. and had recently been released from the hospital after being hit by a car.

Police did not release details about why he disappeared or where he was found.


When it comes to the 2014 World Series, Australian singer Lorde has become persona non grata on two Bay Area FM radio stations, at least for her most famous song.

104.5 KFOG and 96.5 KOIT both announced recently that they will not be playing Lorde’s mega-hit “Royals” for the duration of the World Series.  The San Francisco Giants will be taking on the Kansas City Royals with Game 1 scheduled for Tuesday

KFOG announced the ban Thursday night on Twitter:

Late Friday afternoon, KOIT followed suit with program director Brian Figula writing this on the station website: “Our listeners told us to do it, so we did it! As of 4pm today we’ve removed Lorde-Royals from the our playlist until the end of the World Series. Go Giants, beat the Royals!”

Lorde, whose real name is Ella Yellich-O’Connor, has told interviewers in the past that she got the inspiration for the song after seeing a picture in a National Geographic of a baseball player in a Royals uniform.  That player is thought to have been Royals legend George Brett.

No word on what will happen to the ban depending on who wins the World Series.


A pedestrian was fatally struck by a car near the San Francisco Zoo this morning, a fire dispatcher said.

The collision was reported at 6:57 a.m. near Sloat Boulevard and 43rd Avenue, the dispatcher said.

The pedestrian, a male, was pronounced dead. No other information about the collision was immediately available this morning.


Installation of new devices to detect the sounds of gunshots in San Francisco will move forward after the utility company PG&E agreed Friday to drastically lower its fees, according to a spokeswoman.

PG&E, in a pact with the city and county of San Francisco, will immediately begin placing the gunshot-tracking devices on 35 of its telephone and power poles in the city, county Supervisor David Campos spokeswoman Carolyn Goossen said.

The sound-sensitive mechanisms are affixed to light poles, government buildings and schools to alert police about shootings within 40 feet of where the shots were fired, allowing officers to respond quickly, according to Goossen.

The San Francisco Police Department began using gunshot-tracking technology in 2008 in areas of the city with the highest levels of gun violence, city officials said.

Then last year, the department started a project to expand locations of the technology to include PG&E telephone and power poles, but the effort stalled when PG&E charged installation fees that were higher than anticipated, Goossen said.

On Friday, PG&E agreed to reduce its installation fee from $1,500 per pole to between $200 and $400 and to begin putting the devices in right away, she said.

{ 1 comment }



San Jose Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a missing 71-year-old man.  Nicholas Ortiz was last seen Sunday around 4 p.m. in the 3100 block of Pearl Ave.

Ortiz has black hair, brown eyes, is 5 feet 2 and weighs 140 pounds and was last seen wearing a black shirt and blue jeans.  His first language is Spanish and he could be wearing a hospital band on his wrist.  Officials say he takes medication for diabetes, dementia and anxiety.

Ortiz was released from the hospital on Saturday where he was being treated after being hit by a car.  Officers say he was struck after wandering into the road.

Ortiz reportedly likes to take walks near Canoas Elementary School and often stops by the Popeye’s restaurant near Capitol Expressway and Highway 87.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the San Jose Police Department’s Missing Person’s Unit at (408) 277-4786.


Two men were killed in separate incidents less than two hours apart in Oakland today, police said.

Officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 800 block of 46th Street near Martin Luther King Jr. Way around 7:20 p.m., Oakland police Officer J. Moore said.

Arriving officers found a man shot several times and he was pronounced dead at 7:34 p.m., Moore said.

Around 9:15 p.m., officers responded to a report of a stabbing in the 1400 block of Chestnut Street near Lowell Park.

A caller who reported the incident said the man was found with multiple lacerations inside a home, police said.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Moore said.

No one has been arrested in either incident, according to Moore.