Hercules

Ex-city manager may face criminal charges

Three months after Nelson Oliva and his family company settled a $3.2 million lawsuit with the city, the City Council is poised to ask the district attorney to investigate potential criminal wrongdoing by the former city manager.

Oliva oversaw development for the city from April 2007 to January 2011 and steered city contracts to his family company. Under his tenure the city spent millions in redevelopment funds for projects that were never completed.

The action, which will be considered at the council's 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday at 111 Civic Dr., comes three years after a housecleaning at Hercules City Hall that included a complete makeover of the council and some top management. There is an ongoing investigation by federal law enforcement, but no one has been charged with a crime.

Oliva was fined $70,000 in November by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for conflicts of interest and unreported gifts. Days earlier, Oliva and his family company, NEO Consulting Inc. (DBA Affordable Housing Solutions Group) agreed to settle a lawsuit with the city for $3.2 million, the amount he directed toward family contracts for housing, loan and construction management and administrative services.

-- Tom Lochner, Staff

Oakland

Eight workers robbed at construction site

Eight construction workers renovating an apartment in West Oakland were robbed at gunpoint Monday afternoon, police said.

The men were working at a vacant, two-story fourplex in the 600 block of 23rd Street underneath Interstate 980 when four suspects, at least three of them armed with guns, got out of a car and robbed them, authorities said. None of the victims, who ranged in age from their 20s to their 40s, were injured, but they were robbed of their wallets, cash and cellphones about 2:45 p.m.

The suspects fled in the car and are being sought by police. Investigators were told that it was the first day at the site for some of the workers.

The incident is the latest in a string of Oakland construction site holdups, following the robbery of a group of house painters Nov. 18 in the 4900 block of Webster Street and that of two construction workers Dec. 9 at a Rockridge home. On Oct. 1, an eight-person Habitat for Humanity crew was robbed and one of them shot at the Brookfield Court development in the 9500 block of Edes Avenue in East Oakland.

-- Harry Harris and Erin Ivie, Staff

HAYWARD

Burglary suspect is hospitalized

A shoe-store owner and his teenage son managed to stop a suspected burglar by smashing a chair over his head after he allegedly broke into the downtown business early Sunday, police said.

The suspect suffered serious injuries and was hospitalized following the break-in at Tony's Shoes in the 1000 block of B Street, Lt. Mark Stuart said.

Police say the business owner had been staying in his store due to a recent attempted burglary there, and that about 6:50 a.m., he awoke to the sound of the store's front window being smashed.

When someone entered the store, Stuart said, a fight broke out between the owner and the suspected burglar.

At some point during the scuffle, the store owner's 16-year-old son grabbed a metal chair and hit the suspect over the head, causing serious injuries, Stuart said.

The suspected burglar -- identified as Manuel Jose Ponce, 50, of Hayward -- was taken to a hospital to be treated for his injuries, Stuart said.

Ponce has a lengthy criminal history, according to police. He was later released from the hospital and arrested on suspicion of burglary.

As of Monday he remained at Santa Rita Jail on $50,000 bond.

He was due in court Tuesday at the Hayward Hall of Justice to be arraigned on the charge, jail records show.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

Novato

Man from San Pablo faces drug charges

An East Bay man was arrested on drug allegations after a traffic stop in Novato.

Marco Antonio Rivera, 32, of San Pablo was booked on suspicion of drug possession for sale and transporting drugs. He was released on bail pending further review by the district attorney's office.

The traffic stop occurred about 8:30 p.m. Thursday on Alameda del Prado near Ignacio Boulevard. A police drug detection dog then sniffed the outside of the car and alerted officers to the possible presence of narcotics, Novato police Sgt. Nicholas Frey said.

Police searched the car and found suspected methamphetamine and evidence of sales, Frey said.

Rivera is already scheduled to go to trial next month on charges of burglary, forgery and identity theft in San Rafael. His lawyer, Charles Dresow, declined to comment.

-- Marin Independent Journal

Alameda

Crown Beach housing foes begin petition

Opponents of a plan to build homes near Crab Cove at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach have submitted language for a ballot initiative to the city clerk that they hope to put before voters in November.

Known as the "Initiative for Expansion of Open Space at Crab Cove," the ballot measure aims to prevent the construction of approximately 100 residential units on about four acres of surplus federal property along McKay Avenue near the East Bay Regional Park District's Crab Cove Visitor Center.

The initiative calls for rezoning the neighborhood as open space as part of Measure WW, which Alameda and Contra Costa county voters approved in November 2008 to protect and expand open space at the park district.

Roseville-based developer Tim Lewis Communities secured the property near Crab Cove for about $3 million in 2011 during a General Services Administration auction.

The sale has not yet been completed.

The park district had hoped to purchase the property for $1.5 million, which initiative supporters say was the fair market value.

Known as Neptune Pointe, the neighborhood was one of several where the City Council adopted zoning changes to meet the city's affordable housing and other residential needs.

Park district representatives, who are suing the city over the council's decision, contend the council did not provide proper notice about switching the zoning from administrative and office use to multifamily residential.

Alameda officials maintain the district's lawsuit is an attempt to reverse the auction outcome.

-- Peter Hegarty, Staff

oakland

Mayor honors rapper for charity work

Mayor Jean Quan has honored an Oakland hip-hop artist for his local charity work.

Quan declared last Saturday "Stanley Cox aka Mistah F.A.B. Day" in Oakland.

The honor was in recognition of the rapper's charity events, which include an annual back-to-school backpack giveaway, a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway and a Christmas toy drive.

Quan addressed Cox Saturday night at a party he hosted for fellow Oakland native Marshawn Lynch of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

-- Matthew Artz, Staff