Skyline High group tries to meet with Yee

Twenty parents, teachers and students from Skyline High School visited the offices of interim Superintendent Gary Yee to discuss the pending assignment of a teacher for the school's music program.

Yee, who had not responded to repeated phone calls from the Skyline group requesting information about the appointment, was unavailable to meet with the group.

Among those present was the outgoing music teacher, Vincent Tolliver, and his predecessor, Tim Allen. Skyline High School is known for the strength of its performing arts program.

The success of the program is heavily dependent on parent volunteers, but parents have been excluded from the selection process, parent Leslie Louie said.

Tolliver recommended that David Byrd, a teacher at Oakland High School, would be an ideal candidate to succeed him.

The group has circulated a petition with 250 signatures asking for the appointment of Byrd. Tolliver and Byrd have worked closely for the past couple of months to ensure of smooth transition, the petition said.

Tolliver said getting the wrong person for the position could be disastrous.

"These programs aren't built in a day, but they can be destroyed in a day," he said. "Why would you put your crown jewel at risk? It makes no sense."

-- Mimi Rohr, Correspondent

Woman in Temescal is beaten, police say


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A 37-year-old woman was hospitalized Monday night after she was badly beaten by two men who stole her purse in the city's Temescal District, police said.

The woman was walking alone about 6:47 p.m. Monday in the 4800 block of Shattuck Avenue when two men came up behind her and demanded her purse.

The men began punching her face and pulled the purse from her. At some point the woman fell to the pavement, police said. The suspects fled on foot to a nearby waiting car and were last seen driving eastbound on 49th street.

The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises. One of the suspects was described as a black man, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, about 165 pounds, wearing a purple shirt and bluejeans.

The robbery has prompted police to refocus resources in the area, as they have in other places where violent crime has occurred. Officers will focus on "intervention, prevention and enforcement," officer Johnna Watson said Tuesday.

Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering up to $2,500 in reward money for information leading to arrest of the suspects.

Anyone with information can call police at 510-238-3326 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.

-- Harry Harris, Staff