Counties win OK to seek sales tax hike
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday that permits Alameda and Contra Costa counties to seek voter approval to raise their county sales tax for transportation.
It is unclear when the counties would seek a tax increase. Without the legislation, however, neither county could seek an increase, which would exceed a state cap on the local sales tax in some cities in the two counties.
Now the transportation commissions in both counties can opt to go to the ballot by Dec. 3, 2020, under AB 210, authored by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont.
Last November, Alameda County voters narrowly defeated a transportation sales tax increase from a half cent to one cent. The measure needed two-thirds support at the polls, but got 66.53 percent.
Contra Costa County leaders have discussed the possibility of seeking an increase in their half-cent sales tax after they revamp a long-term plan for transportation projects.
"Gov. Brown recognizes the need to invest in our infrastructure, and I'm sure he appreciates the fact that none of these projects will go forward without the support of local voters," Wieckowski said in a written release.
-- Denis Cuff, Staff
Suspect shot by police was Vallejo man
A man shot and killed by police near a busy shopping center Tuesday has been identified as a 24-year-old from Vallejo, authorities said.
Police said Korey Marcel Germaine matched the description of a suspect reportedly brandishing a firearm in a Mercedes. The report sparked a police chase on Hillcrest Avenue about 4:45 p.m., in which Germaine struck two cars, including a patrol car, according to police. It ended when he crashed his car near Wildflower Drive.
Germaine ran toward The Crossings Shopping Center, where police said he pointed a handgun at officers. Multiple officers fired, hitting Germaine several times, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
As is protocol, the case is being investigated by the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office, the county crime lab and Antioch police.
Jessika Green said her 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter were riding in a car with their stepmother when they came upon the shooting. One bullet struck the driver side door, causing the window to shatter, but it became lodged in the door and did not hit anyone, Green said.
-- David DeBolt, Staff
Workers forced into freezer during robbery
A man climbed through a drive-thru window at a fast-food restaurant and forced the employees into a freezer before robbing the store of cash early Wednesday, police said.
The robbery occurred about 3 a.m. at a McDonald's near the intersection of Santa Rita Road and Pimlico Drive, Pleasanton police Lt. Scott Rohovit said. Nobody was injured, he said, and police are still looking for the man who did it.
The robber wore white gloves and a white, full-face mask and entered the restaurant through the fast-food window, Rohovit said. He also was carrying what appeared to be a small-caliber revolver, Rohovit said.
The man used the gun to force the three employees into an office with a safe, and he demanded money from it. The employees complied and once the safe was open, they were ordered into the freezer and told not to come out for 30 minutes, Rohovit said. Police said the suspect is male, about 5 feet 6 inches tall with a medium build
The robbery was similar to one that occurred in Fremont on Saturday, when three masked gunmen forced employees of a McDonald's at 4318 Thornton Ave. into a freezer before robbing that establishment of cash. Rohovit said it was too early to determine whether the two robberies are related.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff
Services Tuesday for teen killed in crash
Memorial services for 17-year-old Robert Orlando, a San Ramon Valley High student killed when the car he was riding in crashed on the eve of his senior year, will be held Tuesday in San Ramon.
Orlando family friend Richard Hein, serving as the Danville family's spokesman, said the service would take place at 3 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc Parish, 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd., and will be open to the public.
The family was doing its best to cope with the loss, Hein said Wednesday. "Some of the poison has been squeezed out," Hein said. "It's still minute-to-minute, but they do feel better."
Orlando died and his two friends were injured about 8:50 p.m. Monday, when their car crashed while returning from a fishing trip. Orlando was a passenger in the white, compact car, which apparently spun out on El Capitan Drive near Claridge Drive and hit a tree.
The driver of the vehicle and the other passenger, both 17, have not been identified and were taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.
Their injuries are not considered life-threatening, Danville Police Chief Steve Simpkins said.
-- Jeremy Thomas and Rick Hurd, Staff