Bay Area

Letters: Building permits problem | Topple Electoral College | BLM inspiring | DA’s incorrect stand

Submit your letter to the editor via this form. Read more Letters to the Editor. S.J. needs to address building permits issue Re: “Lack of S.J. building permits a ‘danger to our existence’ ” (Mercury News, A1, July 24) I can appreciate the difficulties that sheltering in place has imposed on our city offices, but a new and efficient way of processing building permits in a timely manner should have been figured out months ago. As your article points out, many homebuilders and contractors are on the brink of closing. My permit request for a kitchen remodel has been languishing in the bowels of San Jose’s planning department for three months. In the meantime, I have selected appliances, cabinets, finishes. Workers are set to go. But we wait. And wait. And wait. Wouldn’t it be best for the economy and everyone to do as other cities such as Campbell have done and figure out a way to make this happen? Don’t we live in a community of innovators? I’m sure with some effort the inefficiencies and endless wait periods could be corrected. We’ve been patient…

Five9 signs big San Ramon lease in Bishop Ranch complex

SAN RAMON — Five9, a tech company buoyed by rising revenues, has signed a big lease in San Ramon’s Bishop Ranch Business Park in a deal that serves as a welcome counterpoint to the economic woes unleashed by the coronavirus. The cloud services company signed a lease with an affiliate of Sunset Development, which is the principal owner and developer of the Bishop Ranch office, retail, restaurant, and hotel complex in San Ramon. San Ramon-based Five9 said it has signed a lease to occupy 104,000 square feet at 3001 Bishop Drive, a Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory filing shows. JLL, a commercial real estate firm, represented Five9 in the rental deal, according to the SEC documents. Five9, which provides cloud computing software for data collection centers, anticipates that it will begin its lease in February 2021, according to a copy of the rental agreement that was filed with the SEC documents. “The company expects to use the premises as its new corporate headquarters,” Five9 stated in the SEC filing. Over the 12 months that ended in June, Five9 lost $24.3 million on revenue of $370.9…

South Bay high schooler, 4 others named National Student Poets

By HILLEL ITALIE | The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Five high school juniors, residing everywhere from Lake Worth, Florida, to Saratoga, California, have been named National Student Poets. A partnership between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the student poet program was launched in 2011, with winners contributing to community programs and and poetry events and performing their work everywhere from Lincoln Center to the White House. Winning applicants each represent a different region and are chosen based on creativity, dedication and promise. This year’s poets are Isabella Ramirez, from Lake Worth; Ethan Wang, from Katy, Texas; Manasi Garg, from Saratoga; Madelyn Dietz, from St. Paul, Minn.; and Anthony Wiles, from Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Each receives a $5,000 cash award. Related Articles Santa Clara County education trustee accused of gender bias sues board and colleagues Your school wants a waiver to open in person? In the Bay Area, sit tight and wait Silicon Valley investor defends COVID-19 ‘microschool’ idea following backlash Will education for Bay Area students with special needs be any easier in…

State board grants release to man convicted in 1977 Monterey County murder of 4 family members

SEASIDE — The California Board of Parole Hearings granted Harold Bicknell, who was convicted of murdering four family members in Seaside in 1977, parole after 43 years in state prison. According to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, the ruling Thursday by the Board of Parole Hearings, represented by two commissioners, granting Bicknell his release was the second time it did so. On Feb. 22, 2019, it did for the first time citing a clean record while in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, his age at the time of the offense, and an abusive childhood among other things. Despite multiple confessions, including detailed testimony under oath against his accomplice, the DA’s Office says Bicknell now claims to be innocent. Bicknell made admissions to several people prior to trial, but then denied his guilt, the DA’s Office said. A jury found him guilty based on evidence that included footprint matches, eyewitness testimony and his own statements. Following his conviction, Bicknell made a detailed, taped confession with his attorney present because he wanted to make amends to his family. He reiterated his culpability during his…

Ask Amy: My fiancee says I can’t spend winters in Belize without her

Dear Amy: I want a woman’s perspective. My soon-to-be wife is now hesitant to marry me because I want to live elsewhere during the winter. Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)  I’m a 30-year-old business owner, and my company doesn’t really do work from Christmas to March. My fiancee and I have talked about how I will go on a three-week mountain trip in Belize, followed by a four-week hiatus trip to Costa Rica during the frigid months. We have decided not to have children, so we can travel and live a fun and stress-free life. I have discussed buying a house in Belize this winter, for my future winter hideaway. Last night, her tone changed. She says I’m not allowed to go away longer than one month all winter. She has her own cleaning company so she can’t leave her clients for more than a week. Related Articles Ask Amy: I’m starting to resent this old man’s games Ask Amy: He shows up every night to drink on my porch, and I feel trapped Ask Amy: Our neighbor destroys our plants and I’m fed…

Harriette Cole: She called out of the blue because ‘she cares’? I’m suspicious

DEAR HARRIETTE: I got a random call from a former colleague recently. She said she had been thinking about me and wanted to look me up. Harriette Cole  That was nice, but also awkward. We were never close. As I recall, we were pretty competitive. I am suspicious about why she is calling me now. She said she thought of me because of the times. She had made a list of people she cares about and wanted to check in with during COVID-19 when everybody is at home. That sounded sweet, but I am not sure. Should I take her overture at face value? Should I try to strike up a friendship with her? How should I read this out-of-the-blue call? COVID Call DEAR COVID CALL: I subscribe to the idea that, especially now during this elongated period of quarantine, it is smart to make lists of people you care about and to check in with them. I started with my closest circle of family and friends, then created a couple of other circles of people I care about. In part I did this to…

Miss Manners: How does one announce a previously unknown child?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife has had a very dear friend for many years. This friend’s son, of some age himself, was recently contacted by a child who said that he was his birth father. Judith Martin  How does one inform close friends and associates of this new addition to his family? The grandmother happens to be thrilled that she has a new youngster to dote on and to spoil. GENTLE READER: With associates, Miss Manners recommends a bold approach: that your wife’s friend introduce him as what he is — her son’s son from a previous relationship — while acting as though it is only she, not the father, with whom the boy was not previously acquainted. Friends and family will require a less ambiguous explanation. DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m connected to many friends and acquaintances on social media. For my birthday, well over a hundred people posted their wishes publicly on my page. While I would prefer more personal, private messages (which close friends indeed sent), I do appreciate the kindness, and hence make it a point to respond to every posted message…

Dear Abby: Our teen was pretty and popular, and she threw it away to become ‘they’

DEAR ABBY: My 14-year-old daughter recently came out of the closet, and it has made my husband and me quite upset. She says she is “bicurious, pansexual and polyamorous.” Jeanne Phillips  She now insists everyone call her by a gender-neutral name, gave herself a side shave and dyed her hair pink after we repeatedly told her not to. She wants us to refer to her as “they” and not “she.” Boys used to like her, and she used to have friends, but she threw it all away to be “unique.” You may think we should let her be true to herself, but in the process, she is disrespecting us and ruining her image. She thinks she’s all grown up and can do whatever she wants, and I just can’t get through to her. Related Articles Dear Abby: She didn’t invite me dress shopping, and now I want to skip the wedding Dear Abby: I wish she weren’t so rude to overweight people Dear Abby: Should we tell our neighbor what her caretaker does when she’s gone? Dear Abby: I’m losing sleep over my customer’s rant…

Orinda voters to decide on 1% sales tax to address wildfire risk

ORINDA — Citing the city’s immediate wildfire risks, the Orinda City Council unanimously decided Tuesday night to put a 1% sales tax measure on the November ballot. The sales tax, which would be for 20 years, would raise $2.4 million a year and would also be used to fund public roads and storm drainage maintenance and repairs. The council’s vote was 5-0 to put the proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. The ballot measure would require a simple majority to pass. It would rescind the city’s existing half-cent sales tax, set to expire in April 2023. The half-cent sales tax currently raises about $1.2 million a year. “I think we have such a pressing need for wildfire prevention and fuel reduction that now is the time to proceed with it,” Council member Dennis Fay said. “Also, the sales tax provides a volume of money that we need to go aggressively at that in the early years. “While the economic times are difficult, I do hope that the citizens of Orinda will see the wisdom of going forward with this and vote ‘yes’ if they so…

San Mateo man arrested on suspicion of robbery, assault

SAN MATEO – A 43-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of choking and robbing another man in San Mateo, authorities said. The incident unfolded in the area of Monte Diablo Avenue and North Claremont Street in the early evening hours of July 31, the San Mateo Police Department said in a news release Tuesday. Police said the suspect approached the victim and told him to hand over his personal property. “The victim refused to comply with the robbery suspect, which resulted in a violent attack,” police said. “The suspect assaulted the victim for several minutes, and choked him to nearly blacking out.” The suspect allegedly took the victim’s personal property, but he dropped his own wallet as he left the scene, police said. Officers identified him using the wallet and a description of the clothing the victim provided – he was also confirmed to be the same person officers had detained earlier in the day for allegedly trespassing in a backyard. Police said the suspect, identified as Curtis Peters, was arrested at his home on North Claremont Street and booked into San Mateo County…

Death ruled homicide after human remains found in San Bruno

SAN BRUNO – A man’s death has been ruled as a homicide by authorities after human remains were found inside a yellow construction bag in San Bruno last month. The San Mateo County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday identified the man as Dustin Earle Schneider, 37, of Vallejo. Additional details about the case were not immediately available. A public works crew found the bag on the afternoon of July 21, when they were called to the area of Geoffrey and Susan drives to clean up garbage, according to the San Bruno Police Department. The crew noticed a foul odor coming from the bag and contacted police. Inside the bag, officers discovered what they believed to be human remains, which were then turned over to the coroner’s office. San Bruno police detectives are investigating the case with the assistance of inspectors from the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, according to police. Related Articles Man pleads guilty in Los Altos murder case Two found shot dead in car after Peninsula crash Suspects sought in Peninsula Walgreens robbery Moss Beach man arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting minor…

Santa Clara County education trustee accused of gender bias sues board and colleagues

A Santa Clara County education trustee who was censured by his colleagues last month for alleged gender bias has sued the Santa Clara County Board of Education. Trustee Joseph DiSalvo filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California this week claiming that the board violated his rights to free speech and due process when the trustees decided in a split 4-3 vote to censure him during a July 15 meeting. His complaint was filed against the board, the County Office of Education and the four trustees who voted in support of the censure — Claudia Rossi, Kathleen King, Rosemary Kamei and Peter Ortiz. He did not name trustees Grace Mah and Anna Song, who voted against the censure. Di Salvo, who has served on the board for 12 years, was the subject of an outside investigation earlier this year after two County Office of Education employees and two fellow board trustees submitted complaints to County Superintendent Mary Ann Dewan on alleged gender and racial harassment by Di Salvo. The investigator hired by the county office of education to review…

San Francisco Giants take the league lead in errors, defense remains obvious weakness in loss

There’s one statistical category where the San Francisco Giants have every other team in the majors beat: Fielding errors. The Giants are throwing the ball away, missing routine grounders and misplaying flyballs at an alarming rate and there’s no question their defensive mistakes are ruining chances to compete. With three errors in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, first-year manager Gabe Kapler’s team dropped to 5-7 and overtook the Kansas City Royals for the MLB lead in errors with 16. “Our defense has to make plays behind our pitchers in order for them to really see the best possible results of their efforts,” Kapler said. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, catcher Tyler Heineman and reliever Conner Menez all committed errors Tuesday in a game where San Francisco needed to play its cleanest baseball to have a chance against Rockies ace Germán Marquez. The Giants opened the summer with two sloppy blowout losses in Los Angeles in which the team could chalk up defensive miscues to early-season miscues, but the physical and mental mistakes haven’t gone away and in some instances, are becoming more inexcusable. “We have…

Coronavirus: Travis Benjamin is first 49ers player to opt out of 2020

Wide receiver Travis Benjamin on Tuesday night announced he is opting out for 2020, the first 49ers player to do so amid COVID-19 concerns. The NFL’s deadline to opt out is Thursday, ESPN reported Tuesday. A day earlier, 49ers general manager John Lynch said no player had intimated to him they might take that path. So far, 51 players have opted to sit out the coming season under the clause enacted by the NFL and NFL Players Association, and that includes eight New England Patriots. Benjamin, 30, figured to battle for a role in the 49ers’ youth-laden receiving corps. He may have been on the roster bubble, or he may have provided an experienced presence, especially while starter Deebo Samuel recovers from foot surgery. Benjamin posted the following statement on Twitter announcing his 2020 exit: “First I would like to thank the 49ers organization for their continued support. After much consideration and discussion with my family I have decided to opt out of the 2020 season as I feel this is the best decision for my family. I will continue to support my teammates and…

Drivers aren’t obeying the new double lines on I-880: Roadshow

Q: The drive on Interstate 880 has become an interesting experience since new striping for FasTrak lanes has been put in. The double white lines do nothing to hold back a 3,000-pound-vehicle. As the carpool lane fills, cars just whip out over the double lines, race forward if they can and then go back over the double white lines. Like Mr. Roadshow’s Facebook page for more questions and answers about Bay Area roads, freeways and commuting. Then there is the issue of cars being trapped on the wrong side of the double white lines as they pass their off-ramp. There are no signs indicating when one should get out of the lined-off lane to reach a specific off-ramp, like at Tennyson Road. And there are those who think the new merge lanes for getting in and out are really passing lanes or, as I saw a couple of days ago, a driver was weaving back and forth, trying to figure out if he could pass with exiting cars whizzing past him. Every day brings something new and, so far, nothing particularly positive. Anonymous on The…

Coronavirus: San Mateo County to impose fines for violating mask, social distancing rules

REDWOOD CITY — San Mateo County has joined the growing list of Bay Area counties to back up mask and other health mandates with stiff fines to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Anyone caught face-free in public areas where masks are required could face fines up to $500 per violation, the county’s Board of Supervisors unanimously decided Tuesday. Under an ordinance proposed by Supervisor David Canepa and approved by the board, first-time violators of coronavirus-related public health requirements such as wearing masks, keeping social distances of at least six feet and not gathering in large groups could get slapped with $100 fines. The fines would increase to $250 for a second offense and $500 for each subsequent violation. County officials indicated the thrust of the ordinance will be directed at people who fail to wear face masks when entering a store or other business or who cite their right to not wear a mask and refuse to do so. Outside activities permitted by health orders such as going for a run, walking a dog or relaxing in the park while maintaining social distance won’t…

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