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Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 6/30/20, AM


San Quentin Cases Top 1,000 / Pride Revisits Its Roots / Governor Considers Further Safety Restrictions / ‘Golden State Killer’ Pleads Guilty

San Quentin Cases Top 1,000 

San Quentin State Prison now reports more than 100 staffers have been diagnosed with COVID-19. And Marin County has announced the first inmate death there due to the disease: Richard Stitely, a 71-year-old on Death Row. All told there are more than 1,000 positive cases amongst the incarcerated population. That’s more than a quarter of all inmates.

It’s spreading very fast — all but 43 were diagnosed within the past two weeks. Governor Gavin Newsom 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.

Pride Revisits Its Roots

Over the 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 part of 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 among other things. For the last seventeen 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.’”

Governor Considers Further Safety Restrictions

A day after he ordered bars closed in a handful of counties, Governor Gavin Newsom says he’s considering further restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The governor didn't elaborate on what other measures he’s considering. But he also says the state will step up enforcement of current safety protocols, like the requirement to wear a mask in public.

“We want to work with people and be responsive and responsible to help support their needs, particularly small businesses.”

Earlier this year, the state threatened business licenses of bars and nail salons that defied restrictions and reopened earlier than allowed. Newsom has also said he’d withhold funding for counties that don't enforce the mask requirement and other restrictions.

The governor says coronavirus cases in the state have jumped 45 percent in the last week.

‘Golden State Killer’ Pleads Guilty

Joseph DeAngelo, the suspect in the Golden State Killer case, has pleaded guilty to dozens of rape and murder charges in order to avoid the death penalty. Attorneys, media, victims and their families gathered in a ballroom at Sacramento State University for the plea hearing, in order to accommodate social distancing.

74-year-old DeAngelo earned a degree in criminal justice from that same college nearly 5 decades ago. He committed his first wave of break-ins and rapes only miles away. At the time, he was known as the East Area Rapist.

One of DeAngelo’s first victims, Jane Carson-Sandler, attended the hearing:

“44 years I've waited to hear him plead guilty. That's a long time, 44 years. I’m just so emotional right now.”

Prosecutors say DeAngelo commited a total of 13 murders and nearly 50 rapes across California. Each crime was described in graphic detail during the hours-long hearing.

DeAngelo’s plea deal calls for multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Gay Hardwick, who survived a sexual assault at the hands of DeAngelo in 1978, said the guilty plea is bitter-sweet.

“It's the best outcome we could have hoped for under the circumstances … but there isn't any justice, because all of us here today who are survivors, we've already served a full life sentence of over 40 years, which D'Angelo will never serve because of his age.”

Victims and families will address the court at a sentencing hearing in August.

Kevin Vance created a program of folk music for KALW, A Patchwork Quilt, in October 1991. He grew up in Berkeley during the 1960s and '70s and spent his years learning in public schools, community colleges, bookstores, libraries, and non-commercial radio stations, as well as from the people around him. When he's not on the radio, then he's selling books, taking care of his family, listening to music, entering stuff into a computer, or taking a class.
Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.