A’s notes: Puk’s arm ailing, Lucroy winning fans, team offers creative ticket plan

By Daniel Brown | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: March 21, 2018 at 5:17 pm | UPDATED: March 21, 2018 at 5:32 pm PHOENIX — After spending most of spring training looking like he was on the fast track, it appears A.J. Puk has hit the brakes. The A’s shut down the pitching phenom with biceps soreness, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The paper, citing an anonymous source, reported Wednesday that the injury is not believed to be serious and quoted the source as saying that Puk should resume throwing “sometime fairly soon.” Still, anything involving the 6-foot-7, 220-pound left-hander is enough to sound an alarm. Manager Bob Melvin declined to comment on Puk on Wednesday after a 3-3 tie with the Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale. Melvin said only that the pitcher has not thrown since his last outing, on March 15. In that game against the Seattle Mariners, Puk gave up four runs in 2 2/3 innings. When the pitcher was among the nine roster cuts days later, there was talk about Puk’s fastball staying a notch or two below last year’s mid-90s range. “I think it’ll get there,” Melvin said that day. “I think the fact that he was working on different things and really concentrating on his two-seamer and changeup, maybe not at the point in spring yet where the velocity picks up. Some guys get here and they have their velocity right away and certain guys it takes a little bit.” In all, Puk went 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 innings this spring. Batters hit .184 against him. — Count right-hander Daniel Mengden among the A’s pitchers happy to have catcher Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate. Mengden had his best, and longest, outing of the spring Wednesday, allowing two runs over 6 1/3 innings, then credited Lucroy for his game-calling.In fact, Mengden had been looking forward to the pairing since getting word a few days earlier that the two-time All-Star would catch his Continue Reading

Budget bill in place, lawmakers hope to begin voting quickly

By The Associated Press | March 21, 2018 at 10:15 pm By Andrew Taylor and Lisa Mascaro | Associated Press WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders have finalized a sweeping $1.3 trillion budget bill that substantially boosts military and domestic spending but leaves behind young immigrant “Dreamers,” deprives President Donald Trump some of his border wall money and takes only incremental steps to address gun violence. As negotiators stumbled toward an end-of-the-week deadline to fund the government or face a federal shutdown, House Speaker Paul Ryan dashed to the White House amid concerns Trump’s support was wavering. Although some conservative Republicans balked at the size of the spending increases and the rush to pass the bill, the White House said the president backed the legislation. Trump himself sounded less than enthused, tweeting late Wednesday: “Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.” Talks had stretched into Wednesday evening before the 2,232-page text was finally released. “No bill of this size is perfect,” Ryan said. “But this legislation addresses important priorities and makes us stronger at home and abroad.” Leaders hoped to start voting as soon as Thursday. A stopgap measure may be needed to ensure federal offices aren’t hit with a partial shutdown at midnight Friday when funding for the government expires. Negotiators have been working for days — and nights — on details of the bill, which is widely viewed as the last major piece of legislation likely to move through Congress in this election year. Lawmakers in both parties sought to attach their top priorities.Two of the biggest remaining issues had been border wall funds and a legislative response to gun violence after the clamor for action following recent school shootings, including the one in Parkland, Florida. On guns, leaders agreed to tuck in Continue Reading

Poll: Californians’ support for stricter gun laws soars

By John Woolfolk | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group March 21, 2018 at 9:00 pm Since last month’s deadly Parkland, Florida high school shooting, support for stricter gun laws among likely California voters has soared to about 70 percent, a new poll shows. The Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday found that likely voters favoring stricter gun laws climbed 15 percentage points — the most since the research organization began asking the question in 2015. “In the wake of recent mass shootings, Californians have responded with record-high support for stricter gun limits as many Republicans now join Democrats in calls for action,” PPIC president and CEO Mark Baldassare said. By contrast, just 24 percent of likely voters think gun laws should stay the same, the poll said, and only 6 percent think they should be become less strict. The poll asked respondents if they think laws covering the sale of guns should be more or less strict or kept as they are but did not ask about specific proposals. According to the poll, an overwhelming majority of registered Democrats (87 percent) and a strong majority of independents (68 percent) say gun laws should be stricter. But almost half of Republicans (48 percent) now say the laws covering gun sales should be stricter, up from 28 percent in 2017. Strong majorities of adults across all regions and across all age, education, income, racial and ethnic groups favored stricter laws covering gun sales. But the poll found women (80 percent) are much more likely than men (65 percent) to support stricter laws. Strong majorities of Californians both in congressional districts held by Democrats (77 percent) and districts held by Republicans (63 percent) support stricter laws. California already has some of the nation’s strictest gun controls, including a ban on so-called assault weapons — military-style semiautomatic rifles often called modern Continue Reading

Newsom leads and Cox in second in new poll of governor’s race

By Casey Tolan | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: March 21, 2018 at 9:00 pm | UPDATED: March 21, 2018 at 9:09 pm With 75 days to go before the June 5 primary election, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to lead the field for governor, while former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has fallen into third place, overtaken by a Southern California Republican, according to a new poll. Republican John Cox, a San Diego County businessman, was in second place, the poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found — giving hope to GOP leaders worried their party would be shut out completely in the top-two primary. Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein continues to hold a large lead over her main challenger, former State Senate leader Kevin de León, running ahead of him by 26 points despite the state Democratic party’s snub of her candidacy last month. The poll surveyed 1,706 California adults between March 4 and March 13. In the governor’s race, Newsom led with 28 percent, with Cox at 14 percent, Villaraigosa at 12 percent, and Republican State Assemblyman Travis Allen at 10 percent. Democrats John Chiang, the state treasurer, and Delaine Eastin, the former state schools chief, brought up the rear at 6 and 5 percent, respectively. The poll did not include former Hillary Clinton aide Amanda Renteria, who’s also in the running. “We now have about half of the likely voters saying that they’re paying close attention to news about the candidates,” said Mark Baldassare, the poll’s director. “It’s a question mark who’s going to be that second person who will run against Newsom — will it be a Democrat, will it be a Republican?” The biggest drop was for Villaraigosa, who had 21 percent and was almost neck-and-neck with Newsom in PPIC’s last poll, conducted in late January. One change since then has been Villaraigosa’s ballot title — because of Continue Reading

San Jose man arrested for alleged rape of 7-year-old relative

By Jason Green | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: March 21, 2018 at 8:47 pm | UPDATED: March 21, 2018 at 10:03 pm HALF MOON BAY — A 36-year-old San Jose man was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old relative, authorities said Wednesday. Alfonso Aguilarjaimes allegedly raped the female victim on two different occasions in Half Moon Bay, according to Detective Rosemerry Blankswade of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. After a “thorough investigation,” the San Jose Police Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service and San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office worked together to arrest Aguilarjaimes as he was potentially trying to flee to Mexico, according to Blankswade. Aguilarjaimes was arrested on charges including sodomy of a 7-year-old and assault with intent to commit rape, according to Blankswade. Additional details about the case, including when and where Aguilarjaimes was arrested, were not immediately available. Anyone with information about the suspect or who may have been a victim can call Detective Joe Cang at 650-363-4881 or Detective Gaby Chaghouri at 650-363-4060. They can also be reached by email at [email protected] and [email protected], respectively. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call 800-547-2700. Continue Reading

Disturbing video, released by police, shows Uber self-driving vehicle striking pedestrian

By George Avalos | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: March 21, 2018 at 6:12 pm | UPDATED: March 21, 2018 at 8:10 pm WARNING: The following video may be disturbing to some viewers.  Click here if you are having trouble viewing the photos or video on your mobile device. Police in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday released a vehicle video that shows a collision between an Uber self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in a fatal accident. The video shows the victim, Elaine Herzberg, walking a bicycle across a street moments before an Uber self-driving SUV struck and killed her. “No determination has been made” regarding what specifically led to the deadly accident, Sgt. Ron Elcock told this news organization Wednesday. The video’s exterior camera angle shows the pedestrian had crossed one of the lanes of the street prior to the accident, and had just emerged from shadows a moment before she was struck. The interior view of the video discloses the human safety rider looking down and then glancing up an instant before the fatal collision with a startled look on her face. San Francisco-based Uber has suspended tests on its self-driving cars in the wake of the fatal crash.“Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We’re fully cooperating with Tempe police and local authorities as they investigate this incident,” Uber said on its Twitter news account. The probe isn’t likely to be over in the immediate future, police believe. “This is a lengthy investigation,” Sgt. Elcock said. “Nobody has made any determination as to what they think happened here.” The dizzying pace of breakthroughs in technology can make police work more complex. Continue Reading

Online sexual harassment and assault reporting comes to Silicon Valley

By Ethan Baron | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: March 21, 2018 at 5:21 pm | UPDATED: March 21, 2018 at 7:26 pm A technology platform for reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment is spreading from colleges and universities to the Silicon Valley technology industry. The service offered by San Francisco-based Callisto is intended to “identify serial perpetrators of sexual assault and/or harassment,” according to the company. Callisto started in 2015 as a pilot program at the University of San Francisco and Pomona College, and the reporting service is now available for students at 13 colleges, the company said. Now, the company plans to make its platform available in the business world, and will launch in Silicon Valley this summer, according to a new report. A single report of sexual harassment or assault does not trigger a response by Callisto — but it’s noted, and if the same alleged perpetrator is reported again, a counselor gets in touch with both people who have made reports, Axios reported Wednesday. “In the Silicon Valley version, (alleged) victims will submit a timestamped report of the incident confidentially,” according to Axios. “Once there’s a match of victims with the same perpetrator, a Callisto counselor will review the cases and discuss with the victims their options, which can vary from reporting to law enforcement to going to the press.”Initially, at least, the counselors will be lawyers, keeping alleged victims’ information and discussions private under attorney-client privilege in event of legal action, Axios reported. Those reporting sexual harassment or assault will be put in touch with others who have named the same person as a perpetrator, the company said. Continue Reading

Saint Mary’s falls in overtime, ending NIT run

By Jeff Faraudo | Correspondent PUBLISHED: March 21, 2018 at 9:28 pm | UPDATED: March 21, 2018 at 10:21 pm MORAGA — After a school-record 30 victories, the Saint Mary’s basketball team couldn’t do the one thing it’s always done: make shots. The Gaels’ season ended Wednesday night with a 67-58 loss to Utah in the quarterfinals of the NIT, denying them a trip to New York City’s Madison Square Garden. An appreciative McKeon Pavilion crowd cheered as the Gaels left the floor, but the disappointment lingered for a team that won 88 games in three seasons. “It’s tough right now,” senior forward Calvin Hermanson said. “It’s just amazing to go through this journey with guys in that locker room. I’m not sure any of us will experience something like that ever again.” Fellow senior Emmett Naar agreed, but added, “It’s hard not to just think about tonight and how it ended.” The Gaels (30-6), who reached No. 11 in the AP Top 25 this season, were ranked among the top 10 nationally in all three shooting categories. But against the Utes (22-11), they shot just 40 percent from the field, were 7 for 22 from the 3-point arc and missed nine of their 14 free throws. “It hurts to see them not play well in their last game,” Gaels coach Randy Bennett said. “We fatigued as the game went on. The bottom line is they hit their 3s, and we did not.” Sedrick Barefield nailed three of his five 3-pointers in overtime as the Utes quickly took charge in the five-minute extra period. Utah finished 12 for 27 from the international 3-point distance adopted this year by the NIT. Jock Landale, the Gaels’ senior center from East Malvern, Australia, was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-America second team earlierWednesday. But the Utes made life tough for him.Landale had 16 points and 15 rebounds for his 19th double-double of the Continue Reading

Cynthia Nixon Snarks Back Against ‘Unqualified Lesbian’ Diss: ‘There’s a Lot of Paperwork Required’

"Sex and the city" star pushes back after New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn dismisses her campaign for governor Ross A. Lincoln, provided by Published 9:30 pm, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Cynthia Nixon Snarks Back Against ‘Unqualified Lesbian’ Diss: ‘There’s a Lot of Paperwork Required’ 1 / 1 Back to Gallery Cynthia Nixon brushed off a comment from a politician who referred to her as an “unqualified lesbian” while dismissing her campaign for governor of New York. New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is a lesbian herself, was juxtaposing Nixon’s qualifications with her own when she made the widely criticized remark. At the launch party for her campaign, held Wednesday night at LGBT rights landmark the Stonewall Inn, Nixon joked that she really is unqualified. “When I announced yesterday that I’m running for guv, one of Cuomo’s top surrogates dismissed me as an ‘unqualified lesbian,'” Nixon said in her speech, part of which was posted to Twitter. “It’s true that I never received my certificate from the Department of Lesbian Affairs, though in my defense there’s a lot of paperwork required.” Recommended Video: Now Playing: Cynthia Nixon Says She's Running For Governor of New York The 'Sex and the City' star made the announcment Monday through an ad on her Twitter account Nixon will be running against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in the state’s primary election, set for September. We want our government to work again, on healthcare, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway. We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us, She isn't just going into the race blind, though, as Nixon previously worked on the advisory board for the Mayor’s Fund To Advance New York City. Nixon also Continue Reading

Controversy over new, lightly pot-infused soda, California Dreamin’

OAKLAND -- With more and more businesses looking to capitalize on California's legalization of recreational marijuana, a company is trying to market a new pot-infused soda as an alternative to drinking alcohol, reports CBS San Francisco. The Seven City Beverage Company claims the product includes the right amount of THC to produce a mild high. But while creators and distributors are thinking green when it comes to profits, some medical professionals see plenty of red flags. The new soda start-up calls its beverage California Dreamin'. The company aims for the drink to become an alternative to alcohol -- without the hangover. The company's motto: California Dream' is a "cannabis-infused soda for a light social high." "The market is ever-changing. There are so many products and options," explained Jennifer Jordan, Director of Operations for Oakland pot shop and delivery service Diamond Bonsai. "On a busy day we have about 10 different vendors who call us and offer products." Jordan's dispensary was one of the first to carry California Dreamin'. "A lot of the drinks that are on the market are 100 milligrams and for people who smoke or who are used to THC," said Jordan. "It's not only natural and has a delicious flavor, but it's 10 milligrams, so it's a low-dose. It's not intimidating to anyone, so you can casually drink it" UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland pediatrician Noemi Spinazzi is concerned kids could easily mistake it for regular soda. She told CBS San Fransicso studies have proven marijuana isn't safe for the developing brain. "It makes me worried that products that look so enticing can be so easily available in someone's home," said Spinazzi. "They may not recognize the difference in the flavor and drinking as much or as little as they feel like drinking. And truly, we do see children in our emergency room come in with marijuana intoxication, typically because they got their hands on products that were left unsupervised." Jordan understands the Continue Reading