Good morning, Bay Area. It’s Wednesday, Jan. 22, and some passengers arriving at SFO from China will be screened for a virus that’s worrying public health officials. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
Hold on to that phone
Opportunistic thefts of cell phones are on the rise in BART and the No. 1 target are passengers on trains running through San Francisco stations, where 512 robberies and thefts were reported in 2019 — almost half of the total across the system.
“The typical snatch-and-grab occurs when the train doors open and the victim is not paying attention,” BART Police Chief Ed Alvarez said.
Phil Matier reports on which BART stations have seen the most thefts — and how the transit agency is responding.
More: BART looks to build canopies over every station entrance on Market Street.
Impeachment trial opens
San Jose Rep. Zoe Lofgren made her debut in President Trump’s impeachment trial Tuesday, arguing that his refusal to release subpoenaed documents related to his conduct in the Ukraine affair is unprecedented.
“Even President Nixon produced more than 30 transcripts” related to White House meetings in the Watergate scandal, she said. “Not a single president has categorically refused to cooperate with an impeachment investigation.”
Read more about the first day of the impeachment trial.
• From the Associated Press: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backs off, abruptly eases impeachment trial limits.
‘Fair chance housing’
Oakland became the first city in California to ban criminal background checks in most housing applications for private and other rental units.
San Francisco and Richmond have similar but more narrowly focused laws, but advocates say measures like Oakland’s are another tool for preventing homelessness.
Sarah Ravani reports on exemptions to the proposed measure and what information landlords can continue to ask for.
A big fight over a small planting
Save for the occasional bear or bobcat sighting, there’s rarely much commotion in the rugged hills of Napa Valley’s Atlas Peak area.
But a dispute between two neighbors over a small vineyard planting — and whether it might threaten its surrounding landscape — turned into a major clash that led to a libel lawsuit, restraining orders and, allegedly, gunshots.
Esther Mobley explains why the legal fight reflects a wider tension between Napa’s vineyards and environmental preservation.
A new SARS?
The first case of a deadly new respiratory virus with the potential to become a major global threat was reported Tuesday in the United States, in a man in Washington state who had traveled to the region in China where the illness appears to have originated.
The man is in good condition, but now passengers traveling from Wuhan, China, are being screened at three airports, including San Francisco International. Two more airports, in Chicago and Atlanta, will be added later this week.
Erin Allday reports on what public health officials know so far about the virus and why if you’re feeling sick right now, you’re far more likely to have the flu or some other common virus.
Around the Bay
• Pricing experiment: Uber tests letting California drivers set their own rates.
• ‘Substantial doubt’: CCSF faces dire budget crisis eight years after college nearly closed in face of financial woes.
• Monk fruit, avocado leaf and sesame seed milk: Trend-spotting at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.
• ‘Hard work’: Violent crime was down in San Francisco in 2019; the mayor and police chief cite a focus on areas hardest hit.
• Super Bowl-bound: The versatile 49ers can win ‘any kind of way.’
• 30th floor for #30: Steph Curry is buying a condo in downtown San Francisco.
• Avoiding the cafeteria-line feel: Nam Vietnamese Brasserie promises to go beyond pho in Redwood City.
In the Studio
“Roll Over Easy” is a popular radio show and podcast on the online radio station BFF.fm, where hosts Chris Bunting and Luke Spray spread joy and good news stories about San Francisco every Thursday at 7:30 a.m.
In their first interview since The Big Event became Total SF, hosts Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight talk to the pair about how they met, their favorite San Francisco things and what (if anything) pisses them off
It’s the first official Total SF podcast — listen here.
More from Chronicle podcasts:
• Giants’ Splash: Catching up with General Manager Scott Harris.
• San Francisco City Insider: Public Defender Mano Raju makes his case — for changing jury duty.
• A’s Plus: David Feldman on A’s off-season moves and the Astros’ cheating scandals.
- Powell St. BART station closed due to major medical emergency
- San Jose Berryessa transit village pushes forward near BART station
- San Francisco firefighters respond to fire at Civic Center BART station
- 10 Things To Do When Your Wallet Is Stolen
- How to cut your business phone costs
- FAST FACTS: This device allows anyone to steal data from your cell phone
- City approves huge apartment project near San Leandro BART station
- City approves huge apartment project near BART station
- Nia Wilson had big plans. Then she was killed in a BART station.
- Should you do your taxes on your cell phone?