The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California on August 10, 1988 · 2
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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California · 2

San Francisco, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 10, 1988
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8n Francisco Examiner Blonde woman sought in vice cop slaying case A.2 Wednesday, August 10, 1988 By Andrew Ron Moments after two gunshot like noises rang out, a tall blonde woman walked away from the Corvette In which an off-duty San Francisco police officer later was found shot to death, according to witnesses and police. Walnut Creek police are seeking the unidentified woman for questioning in connection w ith the slaying of San Francisco vice Officer Lester Gamier, w ho was found shot to death In a parking lot last month. The Examiner has learned. A police sketch of the woman Is being shown to witnesses and others questioned in the case, sources say. Walnut Creek police declined to comment publicly on the investigation, which has all the elements of a 3 firefighters censured for swastika Department probe failed to find culprit By Craig Marine Cf THE EXAMNER STAFF Three members of the Fire Department have been found in violation of its rules in a January incident in which a swastika was found near the desks of two minority fire inspectors. But the department's investigation failed to establish who placed the "odious symbol" near the desks. The action was announced Tuesday night by Chief Frederick Postel in a report to the Fire Commission. The report was based on interviews with 47 Fire Department members in an attempt to find out how a plaque emblazoned with the symbol of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime made its way to Station 13 at 530 Sansome St., where it was discovered on Jan. 4 by minority fire inspectors Walter Batiste and David Sun. The swastika was originally presented in 1978 to then-Battalion Chief Robert Korbus as a "joke" on the occasion of his transfer to another battalion, the report said. Korbus, now an assistant chief, I was found to have, among other infractions, committed "acts detrimental to the welf ai 2 of the department" and violated the department's General Order 80 A48, which prohibits "racially offensive remarks, posters, etc." Because he is on disability leave and will retire Oct. 1, no action was taken against Korbus. The report said he threw away the plaque in 1983, but that the . swastika resurfaced in 1984 when "it was found on the bed of Chiefs Aide James Scott." Scott stored it in his locker until 1988, then "placed it on a bookcase in the mezzanine at Station 13," the report said. In 1987, Lt Francis Loughran reported that "he saw the plaque in the mezzanine on top of a large bookcase used to store supplies." On Jan. 4, 1988, Batiste and Sun found the plaque on the floor near their desks and reported it to department officials. The subsequent exposure of racial tension within the department was in part responsible for the resignation of then-Chief Edward Phipps. In administrative hearings, Loughran and Scott were found in violation of General Order 80 A-48. Each received a letter of censure and will be reassigned. The attorney representing Sun and Batiste said the discipline was not enough. "They are presenting this as a big joke, but it is not a joke," said attorney Elaine Wallace. "A letter of censure and reassignment is not a very impressive punishment." In his report to the Fire Commission on the January incident where a swastika was discovered in a financial district station house, San Francisco Fire Chief Frederick Postel concluded that the department was "unable to establish culpability" on exactly who placed the "odious symbol" near the desks of two minority firefighters. In fact, according to Postel, the department's investigation concluded that: 'There Is no evidence to indicate that the plaque was targeted toward any individual or group." Nevertheless, three firefighters were singled out for disciplinary action, apparently for their knowledge of the swastika's existence and lack of action toward removing it. The swastika had remained in circulation since it w as presented to then-Battalion Chief Robert Korbus in 1978 as a "joke" on the occasion of his transfer to another battalion, the report said. Presented to the commission Tuesday night, the report was the result of interviews with 47 mcm-j ben of the fire department She was seen detective novel. Besides the blond woman, it involves a fancy sports car, a missing gun and the unsolved slaying of a handsome 30-year-old bachelor cop with a reputation for clean living. Police sources say that whoever killed Gamier managed to lure him to the secluded parking lot of the Wood Creek Shopping Center on Sunday night July 11 One woman working late at the shopping center told The Examiner that one of her employees saw Gar-nier's 1984 blue Corvette pull up and park beneath a lit lamppost at about 10:45 p.m. The auto's parking lights remained on, suggesting a brief stop was Intended. "i'V; jb wh A balanced life - . a i .. . V- . -' - j ;, : - ;v.. - v.. One nice thing about yoga, you can do it most anywhere. Here Nicolas Tufoi gets in some exercise time at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Tufoi is a yoga instructor who came to the United States from Romania seven years ago. AIDS dementia is defense in murder case By John D. O'Connor Of THE EXAMINER STAFF An AIDS victim on trial for the murder of a woman who befriended him was suffering from the disease's debilitating effects and should not be held accountable for the crime, his attorney says. Robert Braga's defense, believed to be among the first of its kind anywhere in the country, hinges on whether the advanced stages of the disease triggered an "AIDS-induced dementia" and drove him to murder. "What we're saying is that there is an actual physiological attack on the brain associated with the disease that few people know about" said Public Defender Stephen Rosen. "It doesn't mean that you're going to be violent It does mean that your mind processes can be altered." Braga, 42, has been In custody on first-degree murder charges since last Christmas Eve, the day Ilya "Vickie" DcMichelli, a popular clerk at the Adeline Bake Shop at 17 Kearny St., staggered Into a neighboring business with knife wounds to her neck and chest. Richard Cohn, a clerk at the Cameras Unlimited store, told police DeMichelll had said "look what he did to me" before she collapsed. The 56-year-old woman held a 10-inch knife that her assailant had used to slash her carotid artery, police said. Police found Braga across the street from the murder scene short Postal chief asks UNITED PRESS HTEHNATWNAL ST. LOUIS Postmaster General Anthony Frank called on his employees Tuesday to make greater attempts to improve relations with a public recently stung by higher rates and shorter post office hours. Frank, the nation's 69th postmaster general, said in a speech to the leaving car in which victim's body was found Within minutes, according to the witness and other sources, a man working late at a neighboring store stepped outside to smoke a , cigarette and heard two loud shots, lie dismissed the noise as firecrackers and returned to work. Soon afterward, the worker who had first seen Garnier's Corvette watched an "ugly" tall blonde with long, straight hair parted down the middle step from the car's passenger door, according to his boss. The same witness saw the woman walk around the car to the driver's door and open it beforo walking away. At that time, approximately 11 p.nx, the street lights ExammefCfafg Lee ly after the 5 p.m. attack. He was arrested after police found DeMi-chelli's blood on his shoes and witnesses pointed him out as an acquaintance of the dead woman. Braga had recently lost his job, apartment and most of his belongings after being diagnosed as having AIDS last year, his attorney said. Friends and other business people in the downtown area said DeMichelll had taken a liking to the slightly built man, who had told her he was homeless and on the streets. They described the pair as friends and said DeMichelll had often taken Braga home for meals. "This was not a faceless victim to some criminal," Rosen said during opening statements before Superior Court Judge Laurence Kay Tuesi-day. "These two people were friends for some years." Police, however, said Braga had used a knife he had allegedly shoplifted from a nearby Woolworth's store earlier in the day to slash DcMichelli after she refused to give him the bakery's receipts. Braga allegedly ran from the store without taking any of the money. According to Rosen, his client Is suffering from the advanced stages of AIDS and is not expected to live out the year. The public defender likened the effects of the AIDS diagnosis and loss of job and shelter as "two critical masses of an atomic bomb." "When they came together, the damage and loss of perspective that the disease created caused him to become unbalanced," Rosen said. "And anytime anybody is not acting with a full deck of goods, it poses a question as to whether they possessed criminal Intent or to what degree." better relations National League of Postmasters said he wants each postmaster give at least four speeches a year in his or her communities. "In this way we can reach people," he said. "We need to educate our communities. The mail system process is huge and complex. Even holding open houses at your individual post offices would let people know how some of this is done." 4 switched off automatically, leaving the lot In darkness. The eyewitness told his boss that the woman might have been wearing a wig. It was not until the next morning at 9 a.m. that a caller reported an unconscious man inside the car. Police found Gamier slumped over the steering wheel, shot once In tho head and once In the right side of his chest. The auto was locked and the keys were missing. So was the murder weapon, a handgun fired at close range, according to law enforcement sources. "We dont know who killed Les Gamier," says his boss, Lt Mike Oakland finally finds home for silt from dredge project Delta welcomes gunk to strengthen weakening levees ByKenO'Toole OF TX EXAMINER STAFF A plan to ship silt dredged from the Oakland Estuary to the Delta for levee repairs is being hailed as a master stroke by the Port of Oakland, which hopes to escape a costly lawsuit keeping the port from renovating its channels for a new generation of supertankers. The plan, announced Tuesday, delighted officials In Lower Jones Tract and Twitchell Island, who desperately want the 440,000 cubic yards of muck to save the Delta's crumbling levee system. Environmentalists, Half Moon Bay fishermen and San Mateo County sued to tie up the port's original plan to dump the silt in the ocean. They likewise have cheered the agreement, which after environmental studies could put the port back on track for dredging by Nov. 2. "The Port of Oakland has set a new standard of leadership and responsibility," said Alan Ramo, legal Municipal nurses vote on accord By Jayne Garrison OF THE EXAMINER STAFF San Francisco's public nurses many of them angry and resentful continued voting Wednesday on Mayor Agnos' proposed settlement of their labor dispute with The City, and union leaders say the outcome is too close to call. And talks continued in the two-week strike by service workers at several San Francisco area private hospitals. Negotiators for The City's 1,600 public nurses have recommended they accept the one-year contract hammered out by Agnos last weekend, but indications in the first day of voting Tuesday were that many nurses opposed it The final results will not be known until Wednesday evening. The nurses have pledged to give The City at least five days' strike notice, if they reject the proposed pact "People are pretty angry," said Laura Gallagher, a San Francisco General Hospital nurse who voted against the settlement Tuesday morning. "I just don't trust the mayor not to say next year, 'Well, we're out of money again,' and then we'd have the same battle on our hands." As with all city workers, wages for San Francisco's 1,600 public nurses were frozen this year because of the municipal budget deficit Under Agnos' settlement, The City would offer increases of at least 8 percent In negotiations starting July 1989. If this year's fiscal crisis recurred, however, voters could impose a wage freeze. The settlement also commits management to trying to fill vacant nursing jobs, thereby increasing the ratio of nurses to patients at San Francisco General Hospital, Lagu-na Honda Hospital, city jails and neighborhood health clinics. But Agnos balked at guaranteeing a minimum level of one nurse for every three or four patients at all times, which Is what nurses wanted. Nurses say they sometimes care for seven to 10 patients at a time -too many to monitor safely, they say. There's no question that some of our members see this as too little, too late," said Donna Casey Gerber, head of the nurses' negotiating Kemmitt, head of the San Francisco vice-squad unit It is the same unit Investigating a local prostitution ring whose teen-age clients reportedly lnclud ed at least two police officers and t prominent local politician. Police said Gamier had briefly taken part In the undercover surveillance operation. The timing of Garnier's slaying fueled rumors that it was related somehow to the prostitution case, which is now before a San Francisco criminal grand jury. San Francisco Police Chief Frank Jordan Issued a public denial two weeks ago. And this week Kemmitt called the rumors "groundless," noting that Gamier was un director of Citizens for a Better Environment WTiile the group wants to see specifics of the plan before giving full endorsement he said, it sends a message to the Navy that land-based disposal of non-toxic dredging spoils is feasible. The Navy has said that under its plan for home-porting the USS Missouri, it would dump spoils .from Hunters Point at Alcatraz or offshore, and it has said land disposal is not feasible. "They have no excuse for not looking at land disposal now," Ramo said. Navy officials couldnt be reached for comment Jubilant port officials announced the plan at a press conference attended by the Army Corps of Engineers, conservation groups, marine interests and organized labor. Port Executive Director Walter Abemathy said the project which also has approval from the California Environmental Trust was only a short-term solution. He urged a regional solution to what he called the disposal crisis. "We had a choice," Abemathy said. "We could respond to the extraordinary time and economic pressures to deepen the Oakland Estuary by this fall, or stand by and wring our hands while the Port of 4 V - 1 saPUi t It nu ExaminerMar Costantinl 1,500 STRIKING NURSES RALLY TUESDAY AT UNION SQUARE Protest wound up at offices of negotiators for private hospitals team. "I think that (the vote) may be close. ... It could fail." The strongest opposition to the settlement appeared to be from the nurses at San Francisco General, who have long complained about stressful working conditions. They voted Tuesday. But Wednesday, nurses from La-guna Honda and other city facilities cast their votes, and they are considered more likely to support a settlement, negotiators said. Ratification of the settlement requires a two-thirds vote, Gerber said. Meanwhile, formal negotiations resumed in the War Memorial Building Tuesday afternoon and continued Wednesday morning between 1,700 striking service workers and eight private hospitals, with Agnos and two of his deputies sitting in on talks. The workers ranging from janitors to licensed vocational nurses have been on strike since July 26 at Seton in Daly City and Children's, St Francis, St Mary's, Mount Zion, Marshal Hale and Pacific Presbyterian in San Francisco. Saturday, they struck French Hospital. "We're ready to go all night if necessary," said Joe Twarog, chief negotiator for Local 250 of the Hospital and . Health Care Workers Union. The union struck in protest Congressman's visa is reissued j ja vana on Tuesday, his office said. ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON Rep. Dan Mica, D-Fla., who was refused permission by Cuban authorities last month to visit the island, has been granted a visa and planned to fly to aware of the possible Involvement of fellow officers In the prostitution case. Authorities and friends are left wondering why anyone would want to kill Gamier. "When people die, there is a tendency to lionize them, " Kemmitt said. 'In Lester's case, it was no exaggeration. He was one of the most conscientious, honest people I've had the privilege to work with. He was a loyal friend, loyal worker and loyal to his parents." Gamier and his police partner last year were singled out for praise by the Office of Citizens Complaints for recording the lowest ratio of citizen complaints during arrests. One of Garnier's closest friends, Wisfe Aish, said, "He was a super, A-l type of guy. ... He was on the up and up all the time. There was no reason for this to happen to him." Oakland and the entire Bay Ares suffers severe, long-lasting econom ic losses." The cost of the project hai jumped from the original $1.5 million for dumping off the coast to $3.2 million for transporting the sludge by barge the extra 50 mile: to the San Joaquin River tracts, where it will be scooped off and put behind the levees to shore them up, "We're putting our money where our mouths are," Abemathy said. The fill will be provided for levee reconstruction at no cost "We really appreciate this," said Richard Silva, a Twitchell Island fanner and trustee of Reclamation District 1601. "We're $2 million in debt because of past high water and floods. . . . We're losing our levees every year." The port embarked on the original plan In 1970. After 18 years of hearings and study, the project was halted in April by the lawsuit filed by Half Moon Bay fishermen and San Mateo County. Dumping spoils off the coast, they said, would harm fisheries. "No one has talked to us," San Mateo County Counsel Tom Casey said Tuesday, but he added: "That's what we've wanted all along, an alternate (dumping) site." over the elimination of short-term sick leave and a new requirement that workers pay $30 to $100 a month for family medical coverage. Once progress is under way with service workers, negotiations are expected to resume with nurses striking at all of the same hospitals except Pacific Presbyterian. The 2X) nurses who struck Aug. 2 had suggested that federal mediator Dorothy Christiansen handle talks with service workers first because those lower-paid employees were more financially strapped by the strike. About 1,500 strikers and their supporters boosted morale Tuesday with an hour-long rally in Union Square, followed by a march on the Bank of America building, home of the law offices of Weissburg and Aronson, where the hospitals' negotiator. Karen Henry works. Many strikers blame Henry for what they consider management's hard line. Chanting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Karen Henry's got to go," the crowd cheered as John Sweeney, president of the Service Employees International Union, climbed on a concrete planter, bull horn in hand. Sweeney told the crowd the nation's labor movement was proud of its fight and warned hospitals, "You're not going to correct your mismanagement and your mistakes by freezing our wages and taking back our benefits." Cuba abruptly revoked the visas It had irlvon tn Mica anA spvpral aides last month in retaliation for a reception held by a VS. diplomat in Havana which was attended by human rights activists. x m ma mm,

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