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Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 6/29/20, PM

Governor Says Local Hospital Ready For San Quentin Patients / Bay Area Gets Red Flagged For Fire Danger / Pride Revisits Its Roots / ‘Golden Gate Killer’ Pleads Guilty

Governor Says Local Hospital Ready For San Quentin Patients

San Quentin State Prison now reports more than 1,000 positive cases of COVID-19. It’s spreading very fast — all but 43 were diagnosed within the past two weeks. Governor Gavin Newsom, today, said state officials are working overtime, with urgency, to help incarcerated people at the prison.

“We have formalized strategies and plans including the prospect of using Seton Hospital, one of our alternative care facility sites if we have to transfer many, many patients into the hospital system.”

The state Senate Committee on Public Safety will meet Wednesday to discuss how to handle COVID-19 in prisons.

Bay Area Gets Red Flagged For Fire Danger

The National Weather Service issued a red flag fire warning for parts of the Bay Area on Sunday. The warning runs through 8 p.m., tonight, and covers mountain areas in Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties.

Red Flag warnings mean that critical fire weather is expected. That means strong winds with gusts of 30 to 45 mph, low relative humidity, and high temperatures. These significantly increase the risk of wildfires in the area. 

Local officials in Marin have responded to the warning by suspending public land burn permits and some park use permits. In addition, they have closed some high-elevation roads and parking lots through Tuesday morning. The restrictions apply to the Marin Municipal Water District, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and the Point Reyes National Seashore.

No thunderstorms are forecast for the area, but the Independence Day weekend is approaching. And concerns about illegal fireworks continue to grow. So, residents and visitors are urged to be careful, remain vigilant, and obey restrictions.

Pride Revisits Its Roots

Unofficial pride gatherings were held throughout San Francisco this past weekend despite the cancellation of marches due to coronavirus. This weekend crowds of people gathered in various parts of the city to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride. And this year, the marches took a more intersectional approach in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Saturday, a lone police van attempted to stop marchers participating in the “Pride is a Riot” march. Their van was spray-painted with them inside, and the officers rushed at protestors with batons. The officers eventually left through an alley as marchers continued walking up Valencia. 

And then on Sunday, which is normally the day of the largest parade, organizers and activists took to the streets with chants of quote “hands up don’t shoot” and “Black lives matter.” Marchers were instructed to wear masks and reclaim pride. 

I talked to Juanita More, a drag queen, chef, and mother. For the last 17 years, she has hosted a non-profit pride party whose proceeds benefit organizations around San Francisco. This year, she turned her party into a march.

“I think the feeling that came out of the people’s march yesterday was, for the first time for a lot of people, it actually felt like pride, it felt like the reason why people needed to be out in the streets. This year was the 50th anniversary of the march in San Francisco that started everything and that came out of the riots and stonewall in NY. So that’s what got people out. People became aware: ‘Oh, this is what pride is about.’”

‘Golden Gate Killer’ Pleads Guilty

A former police officer who terrorized California as a serial burglar and rapist and killed more than a dozen people have pleaded guilty to murders attributed to the ‘Golden State Killer.’ Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. had remained almost silent in court since his 2018 arrest until he repeatedly uttered the word “guilty” Monday. He acknowledged he would plead guilty to 13 murders and admit to dozens of rapes. The plea agreement spares him the death penalty for a life sentence with no chance of parole. Prosecutors say DeAngelo muttered to himself after being arrested about an inner personality that had forced him to commit the crimes.

Ben joined KALW in 2004. As Executive News Editor and then News Director, he helped the news department win numerous regional and national awards for long- and short-form journalism. He also helped teach hundreds of audio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW, today.