Bay Area

A.J. Puk expected to join an already thriving bullpen

OAKLAND — A.J. Puk, who is on the 10-day IL with a left shoulder strain, just started throwing from 75 feet out — not yet off a mound, not yet with a timetable for return. One thing we do know: the left-handed pitcher will be making most of his 2020 appearances out of the bullpen, not the rotation where he was slotted to slide into before the injury came about. Chris Bassitt slots in nicely into a rotation thats just starting to step into quality start territory. The A’s, like any team, would prefer to see their starters climb deeper into games sooner than later. But reality trumps desired outcomes as baseball navigates a season during a pandemic. That first round through the rotation was always going to be a bridge to ramp up their arms perhaps at the expense of a few wins. Puk will join a bullpen that’s allowed the A’s to get away with a shaky start from the rotation. With a relatively young rotation, pitching coach Scott Emerson says a veteran bullpen staff was essential. “It goes back to the nervousness that…

49ers’ Fred Warner now compelled to speak up for racial equality

Treat everyone equally. Everyone in society. That’s all Fred Warner is asking. Warner’s voice has grown stronger, as has his ascending linebacker play and leadership, through two seasons as the 49ers’ leading tackler. After this summer’s uprisings across America and the world, Warner is no longer hesitant to speak up on societal issues. He capped off Wednesday’s media session with reporters with this explanation why: “I learn more and more every day when comes to my responsibility. This offseason was very eye-opening given what’s going on in our society with social injustice and inequalities among Blacks. “In the past, I wasn’t really subject to that (discrimination) so I almost feel I couldn’t speak about it. Now I feel it doesn’t matter who you are, to have the platform we have as NFL players, you can reach so many different people. “My mission has been to let people know you treat everyone equal. It doesn’t matter who you are. I’m trying to be more of a face of that. “We have all the support of our management. The players are together in it. “We’ll continue the…

Palo Alto: Suspect arrested in stabbing of elderly man

A man in his 80s remained hospitalized this week after being stabbed in the face and neck in Palo Alto on July 31, police said. Andrew McMenomy-Cortez, 18, of East Palo Alto, was arrested on suspicion of stabbing an elderly man in Palo Alto on Friday, July 31, 2020. He was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose on felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse.  Officers were dispatched to the area of Lytton Avenue and Seneca Street about 7:05 p.m. for a report of a man down with a head wound, said Palo Alto police Sgt. Craig Lee in a news release Wednesday. They arrived to find the victim conscious but bleeding from major injuries to his face and neck, including several stab wounds. Lee said a witness reported seeing a teenager running from the scene. At the same time, two women showed up and told officers they were looking for a teenage relative – he had just called them, saying he needed a ride and sharing his GPS location. An initial investigation, which included a…

Facebook takes down Trump post about COVID-19

By Rishi Iyengar | CNN Twitter said on Wednesday it had restricted President Donald Trump’s campaign from tweeting after its account shared a video containing false claims about the coronavirus. The tweet, a video of Trump’s interview with Fox News in which he said children are “almost immune” to the virus, “is in violation of the Twitter Rules on Covid-19 misinformation,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.” The account appeared to have the ability to tweet following Twitter’s statement, suggesting the campaign had complied with the order and removed the video. Just hours before, Facebook removed a post from Trump’s main page featuring the same interview for similar reasons. CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign and Twitter for comment. Earlier Wednesday, Facebook deleted a post by Trump for the first time, saying it violated its policy against spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. The post in question featured a link to the Fox News video in which Trump says children are “virtually immune” to the virus. Facebook said…

Mountain West football plans to start season Sept. 26 because of coronavirus pandemic

The Mountain West Conference announced plans Wednesday to have its football teams play an eight-game conference schedule and up to two non-conference games. The football season will start no earlier than Sept. 26. The Mountain West championship game, scheduled for Dec. 5 at the home stadium of the division winner with the best record, could be pushed back to Dec. 12 or 19 if a coronavirus outbreak delays conference games. San Jose State has already lost non-conference football games with Penn State of the Big Ten and independent UConn, which canceled its entire football season Wednesday. San Jose State, coming off a 5-7 season, was scheduled to open the season Sept. 5 at Central Michigan. The conference says its revised fall sports plan will align with the requirements announced Wednesday by the NCAA Board of Governors. Officials will track the virus on each school’s campus and communities, and alter the conference’s plan accordingly — including the possibility of delaying or canceling games. Related Articles NCAA Division II and III cancel fall championships over coronavirus, Division I football up to schools Pac-12 plans massive loan program…

San Mateo County Court to cut 20 positions, reduce office hours by half amid budget cuts

REDWOOD CITY — The San Mateo County Superior Court is reducing services, slashing 20 positions and placing administrative staff on a mandatory furlough to deal with $4.5 million budget cuts in response to the coronavirus pandemic and shrinking state revenues. The county manager’s office said in a press release that the court will be cutting positions because the largest group of employees — who are represented by SEIU Local 521 — did not accept the court’s 5% mandatory furlough or its demand to eliminate term employment as a means to avoid layoffs. All 20 positions will be terminated by Aug. 28 and professional, management and unrepresented employees will be asked to take a mandatory furlough of one day a month. Across the Bay Area court systems that had shuttered for the first two months of the pandemic are still struggling to operate like normal as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage and wreck the state’s revenue sources. Just two weeks ago Santa Clara County courts said more than 50 court employees are facing layoffs as the system grappled with its portion of the state’s virus-fueled…

Future of cops on Hayward school campuses undecided

HAYWARD — Whether police officers will remain on school campuses remains undecided as city and school district officials continue to consider the future of the program. “Our minds are not made up,” Mayor Barbara Halliday said during a virtual workshop Tuesday that was held jointly between the Hayward City Council and the Hayward Unified school board. “We need to have a lot more input from the community,” Councilman Francisco Zermeno said. “And in my opinion, that would include the school community, as well.” April Oquenda, vice president of the school board, said change was needed. “I just believe we need to move away from punishment and toward intervention,” she said. The Hayward Unified School District has already decided that officers will not be on campuses if and when in-person classes resume this fall amid the ongoing national conversation about how law enforcement interacts with the public, especially people of color. The district’s contract with Hayward police was set to be renewed July 1. But district officials decided to hold off so they could get feedback from residents. The school board is expected to decide in…

Palo Alto student social experiment goes terribly wrong in ‘Invisible Line’

The subject was the Nazi regime. Yet, a classroom full of students at the old Cubberley High School in Palo Alto in 1967 were having a hard time understanding how the German populace could have possibly accepted and endorsed the horrific actions of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis leading up to and during World War II. So, their history teacher Ron Jones decided to teach these students a lesson about the appeal of fascism. And the resulting social experiment — known as “The Third Wave” — would go very, very wrong. “I should never have carried out the experiment and put my class in such incredible danger,” says Jones, reflecting back on the events of more than a half century ago. “I crossed the invisible line and enjoyed my power, just like Stalin, Hitler, or Trump today.” Related Articles Why San Jose replaced all the shady trees on Post Street downtown New season by SF’s ACT: Even Scrooge has to face the coronavirus pandemic Sunnyvale community briefs for the week of Aug. 7 Cupertino community briefs for the week of Aug. 7 Talking to kids…

Report: Jon Gruden faked coronavirus to show Raiders it’s serious

Jon Gruden has long been known to play up the drama, but he set a new standard in a recent meeting with his Raiders players. The team logged on for a video meeting last week expecting to see Gruden leading the call. Instead, NFL Network reports, they got special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, who had a somber message: Gruden had been hospitalized due to complications from the coronavirus. The players responded with an appropriate level of seriousness and concern for their coach. Unbeknownst to the Raiders players, Gruden was actually perfectly healthy: He had called upon Bisaccia for a little play-acting. The head coach was, fortunately, using the meeting (and the fear it induced in the players) as a reminder for his team that the virus can affect anyone — all the more reason to be extremely careful, both inside team facilities and out in the world. “So, the point to the players was ‘you’ve got to stay ready,’” NFL.com reporter Mike Garafolo said. “Everybody has got to stay ready because this virus that Gruden himself said they want to crush could pop up and…

Uber and Lyft sued for ‘unpaid wages’ by California Labor Commissioner over driver classification

California opened a new front in its battle against Uber and Lyft over their classification of drivers as contractors instead of employees, with the state’s labor commissioner on Wednesday filing suit against the two companies. The San Francisco ride-hailing firms decided from the start of their operations to “misclassify” their drivers “as a means of unlawfully depriving these workers of a host of statutory protections applicable to employees, in direct contravention of California law,” according to the separate but nearly identical lawsuits filed in state court in Alameda County claimed. Wednesday’s action is the latest in a long line of legal disputes stemming from the passage of California’s AB-5 gig worker law, which took effect Jan. 1. The law requires many workers considered contractors by their employers to be reclassified as employees and receive employment benefits and protections. Uber has sued the state, arguing that AB-5 is unconstitutional. Uber and Lyft have put at least $30 million toward a ballot measure that would overturn that law. And in May, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed suit against the two companies, seeking a court order forcing…

Streaming movie picks: ‘American Pickle’ is Seth Rogen times 2

Since Seth Rogen has mined the stoner comedy of all its green, he’s moving on to a different crop. “An American Pickle” points to a welcome segue for Rogen, a full embrace of the sweet yet tart material he explored with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 2011’s cancer comedy “50/50.” That was his best performance to date. He is also quite good in “Pickle,” the first original feature from HBO Max. “Pickle” is amusing, sometimes hilarious, especially when it riffs on the American Dream and the relentless pursuit thereof at any cost. It doesn’t have the emotional impact of “50/50,” but it’s ideal summer entertainment. The breezy but purposeful screenplay from Simon Rich — whose short story “Sell Out” serves as the basis — is brainier than you’d suspect, addressing how new generations need to value their heritage while older generations need to adapt to modern changes. But let’s not read too much into “Pickle.” After all, it is about a pickle factory worker named Herschel who’s jolted awake in a modern Brooklyn after stewing in a barrel of brine for 100 years. Foremost, it leans on Mel…

Palo Alto’s historic MacArthur Park restaurant will close temporarily

For 40 years, MacArthur Park has been a destination restaurant, with fans of architecture and history coming here to dine in this 1918 building designed by famed architect Julia Morgan as a World War I social center. And it will be again, owners Faz Poursohi and Chuck Frank say. Just not now. On Wednesday, they announced “with heavy hearts” that they will temporarily close the restaurant until indoor dining can safely resume. The final meals for now will be served Saturday, Aug. 8. “This unique and renowned building has certainly weathered its share of national challenges,” they said in a statement, adding that the staff had devoted great effort to “reimagining the social dining experience.” However, “The safety of our staff and patrons has always been an utmost concern and combined with the challenging economics, we decided it best to pause our operations till next year.” The announcement comes after two other historic Bay Area restaurants, San Francisco’s Tadich Grill and the Cliff House, announced that they would hit the pause button. After closing MacArthur Park for the first weeks of the coronavirus crisis, Poursohi —…

Virus testing declines in US even as deaths are rising

By Matthew Perrone, Nicky Foster and Michelle Liu | Associated Press U.S. testing for the coronavirus is dropping even as infections remain high and the death toll rises by more than 1,000 a day, a worrisome trend that officials attribute largely to Americans getting discouraged over having to wait hours to get a test and days or weeks to find out the results. An Associated Press analysis found that the number of tests per day slid 3.6% over the past two weeks to 750,000, with the count falling in 22 states. That includes places like Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri and Iowa where the percentage of positive tests is high and continuing to climb, an indicator that the virus is still spreading uncontrolled. Amid the crisis, some health officials are calling for the introduction of a different type of test that would yield results in a matter of minutes and would be cheap and simple enough for millions of Americans to test themselves — but would also be less accurate. “There’s a sense of desperation that we need to do something else,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director…

Document: ‘American Ninja Warrior’ Drew Drechsel accused of sex with teen

“American Ninja Warrior” competitor Drew Drechsel was arrested Tuesday and charged with seeking sex with a minor and inducing her to send him sexual explicit images, the Justice Department said. The charges arose from a series of encounters that begin five years ago with a New Jersey girl who was then 15. Drechsel, 31, of Saint Cloud, Florida, appeared Tuesday in a federal court in Florida and was to be transfered to New Jersey, where the case will be prosecuted. NBC issued a statement saying it was “shocked and disturbed” by the allegations and that “the American Ninja Warrior brand will sever all ties with Mr. Drechsel.” Drechsel reportedly met the alleged victim at an American Ninja Warrior event and arranged for her to visit him in July 2015 at the Connecticut gym he owned, the Real Life Ninja Academy. The girl said they had oral sex and then intercourse, on a mattress behind the “warped wall” he used for training. Over the following two years, she alleged, they again met for sex in person and had sexual encounters on Skype. In June 2019, she went…

Inside the Raiders: Pumping the brakes before camp gets rolling

Almost two weeks to go before anything resembling an old-school training camp practice with the actual collision of bodies and two competing units on the field. There’s a bandwagon forming at the Raiders’ new training facility in Henderson, Nevada, with a budding offensive juggernaut that has added a few interesting pieces and a defensive mystery given all the new faces. First off, I buy it to a point. The Raiders have gone from four wins to seven wins and getting nine or 10 isn’t out of the question in 2020 if they can “crush the virus” in the words of Jon Gruden as well as stave off the usual assortment of injuries that play havoc with an NFL season. But lets pump the brakes on a few notions regarding the offense before the bandwagon gets rolling: Josh Jacobs won’t become Christian McCaffrey Getting the second-year back out of Alabama more involved as a receiver has been a talking point since the moment the 2019 season ended. Jacobs caught only 20 passes for 166 yards to go along with 242 carries for 1,150 yards in 13…

Pac-12 rescue operation: Loan program would bail out athletic departments if football is canceled

The Pac-12 is planning a mammoth loan program that would provide an escape hatch for cash-strapped athletic departments in the event the football season is canceled because of coronavirus, according to internal documents and conference sources. Football accounts for the majority of each department’s revenue, generating in excess of $50 million dollars in ticket sales and media rights alone. The loan program would be large enough to cover that loss for each school, if needed: According to a series of emails obtained by the Hotline through public records requests, the loan would provide a maximum of $83 million for each university at a rate of 3.75 percent over 10 years. Each athletic department could decide whether it wanted to participate in the program. If all 12 opted for the maximum amount, the total would be $996 million. “The conference is trying to be nimble and give schools some options,’’ a source said. However, multiple sources indicated that not every school would make use of the loan, and some would seek substantially less than the maximum allowable. If the Pac-12 plays a full football season, the…

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