Return to home1996 Jan 25,
Wells Fargo won the battle to acquire First Interstate of Los
Angeles in a $11.6 billion pact.
(WSJ, 1/2/97, p.R2)(SFC, 6/9/98, p.A10)
1996 Jan 28, Gunner Lindberg,
head of the supremacist gang Insane Criminal Posse, murdered Thien
Minh Ly (24) at Tustin high school. It was a racially motivated
attack where he stabbed Ly 50 times, slashed his throat and pounded
his head. Lindberg was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to death.
1996 Jan, Bob Flanagan, poet
and performance artist, died during the shooting of the Kirby Dick
documentary film “The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan,
Supermasochist." Flanagan had struggled for 42 years with cystic
1996 Feb 2, At California’s
Pelican Bay prison Arthur Ruffo, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood,
was strangled. Cellmate, Brian Healy, an Aryan Brotherhood
associate, was convicted.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.A11)
1996 Feb 2, Gene Kelly (83),
dancer actor and choreographer, famous for his part in the musical
Singin' in the Rain, died of complications from strokes at his home
in Beverly Hills, Ca.
(WSJ, 2/5/96, p.A-1)(AP, 2/2/08)
1996 Feb 16, Former California
Gov. Edmund G. “Pat" Brown (b.1905) died in Beverly Hills,
California, at age 90. In 2005 Ethan Rarick authored “California
Rising: The Life and Times of Pat Brown."
(SFC, 9/23/00, p.A19)(AP, 2/16/01)
1996 Feb 23, William George
Bonin (49), known as the "Freeway Killer," was executed for the
robbery, torture, rape and strangulation of 14 Southern California
(SFC, 7/11/97, p.A16)(SFEC, 2/7/99, p.A1)(SFC,
1996 Feb 25, Cambodian Dr.
Haing S. Ngor (55), academy award winner for the 1984 film "The
Killing Fields," was shot and killed in front of his home in Los
Angeles. In 1998 three Chinatown gang members, Oriental Lazy Boyz
gang, were convicted by separate juries in the murder. Jason Chan
(20) was sentenced to life without parole. Tak Sun Tan (21) was
sentenced 56 years to life. Indra Lim was sentenced to 26 years to
life. In 2004 a judge ruled to overturn the convictions. In 2005 a
federal appeals court reinstated the convictions.
(WSJ, 2/27/96, p.A-1)(SFC, 7/7/96, p.B12)(SFC,
4/1/98, p.C2)(SFC, 4/17/98, p.A6)(SFC, 5/20/98, p.A3)(SFC, 7/8/05,
1996 Mar 9, George Burns,
comedian, husband to the late Gracie Allen, died at the age of 100
in Beverly Hills, Calif.
(WSJ, 3/11/96, p. A-1)(AP, 3/9/98)
1996 Mar 15, Beatrice Abilez
Loza (68), a mother of 10, was murdered and sodomized at her home in
la Puente, Ca. In 1997 her son, Frank Manuel Abilez, was convicted
and sentenced to death for the murder. He died at age 53 while on
death row at San Quentin in 2012.
(SFC, 4/4/12, p.C8)
1996 Mar 31, The US Navy
formally pulled out of Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo.
(SFC, 11/7/96, p.D1)
1996 Mar, The 5-year lease of
the city of Berkeley to manage People’s Park ended and an advisory
board was established to oversee its future.
(SFC, 1/4/97, p.A17)
1996 Mar, Raina Bo Shirley was
found dead by the Eel River in Mendocino County. She had been given
drugs and sexually assaulted by Arnoldo Jorge Manzo and his nephew
(13). Manzo was arrested in Mexico on unrelated charges in 1999.
Manzo was reported to have been shot to death in a prison in
(SFC, 3/12/99, p.A19,22)(SFC, 3/17/99, p.A17)
1996 Apr 4, The California
Supreme Court voted 4-3 to uphold the parental consent law, ruling
that minors have more limited privacy rights.
(SFC, 5/5/97, p.A4)
1996 Apr, John That Luong and
others were indicted on charges of smuggling illegal immigrants to
the US. In 1998 the charges were extending to include heroin
trafficking and armed robberies of microchips in California,
Minnesota and Oregon and racketeering that spread from San Diego to
Massachusetts under an organization called “The Company."
(SFC, 3/31/98, p.C10)
1996 Apr, Three brothers from
Michoacan died in Temecula, Calif., when their hired coyote drove a
van over a cliff while being pursued by the Border Patrol. In 2001
Ruben Martinez authored “Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the
Migrant Trail," an account of their story.
(SSFC, 11/11/01, p.M6)
1996 Apr, Maria Teresa Macias
(36) was shot to death in Sonoma County by her estranged husband.
Her family was awarded $1 million in 2002 for failure by deputies to
enforce a restraining order.
(SFC, 6/19/02, p.A13)
1996 May 2, John Dylan Katz
(16) was beaten up and put into a coma in Windsor, California. He
was apparently wearing the colors of a rival gang. Arrested for the
assault were Dominque Marie Gaitan (22), and 3 17-year-old youths
including a girl. A 5th suspect was being sought. Sonoma County
teenagers Jose Juan Madrid (17) was sentenced to 12 years in prison
and Thomas Galvan Jr. (15) got 10 years.
(SFC, 5/16/96, p.A-13)(SFC, 4/1/99, p.C4)
1996 May 3, Keith Daniel
Williams (48) of Lodi, California, was executed for the 1978 murders
of 2 people following a dispute over a $1500 used car.
(SFC, 7/11/97, p.A16)(SFC, 12/13/05, p.A13)
1996 May 6, Sherri Dally (35)
was murdered in Ventura County. In 1998 her husband was convicted in
assisting his girlfriend Diana Haun in the murder. Diana Haun was
(SFC, 4/798, p.B8)
1996 May 16, Michael Lyons, (8)
of Yuba City, Ca., was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered.
Robert Rhoades (45) was arrested the next day near the boy’s body.
In 1998 Rhoades was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death.
In 2007 Rhoades faced another trial for the 1984 rape and murder of
Julie Connell (18) in Hayward, Ca.
1996 May 25, Kristin Smart
(19), a freshman at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, disappeared after
leaving a fraternity party. Paul Flores, a fellow student, was last
seen with her, but no hard evidence linked him to her.
(SFEC, 11/22/98, p.D1,5)
1996 May 31, State authorities
officially advised the 900 residents of Chualar in Monterey County
not to use tap water due to the accumulation of nitrates from
agricultural fertilizers and pesticides.
(SFC, 5/12/98, p.A1,6)
1996 Apr 22, In Richmond a
6-year-old boy, Brandon, accompanied by two 8-year-old friends beat
a 5-week-old baby, Nachito Bermudez, while attempting to steal a
bicycle. Permanent brain damage to the baby resulted.
(SFEC, 4/21/97, p.A1)
1996 Jun 12, The Mohave Desert
town of Hinkley, Ca., won a $333 million settlement from PG&E
for the leakage of high concentrations of chromium 6 from storage
tanks into the groundwater. The film “Erin Brockovich" (2000) was
based on the case." In 2008 PG&E paid $20 million to settle the
last in a series of suits related to groundwater in Hinkley.
10/29/00, p.A5)(SFC, 4/4/08, p.B14)
1996 Jun 13, A federal grand
jury indicted Sun-Diamond Growers of California on charges of
illegal gifts to former agricultural Secretary Mike Espy and
improper campaign contributions to Espy’s brother Henry. The giant
agricultural cooperative and its officers have contributed more than
$200,000 to California Gov. Wilson’s state and federal campaigns
since 1989. Richard Douglas, former VP of Sun-Diamond Growers was
convicted in 1997 of offering gratuities to Michael Espy in 1993 but
was acquitted of making illegal contributions to Espy’s brother.
(SFC, 6/14/96, p. A8)(SFC, 6/16/96,
p.B2)(SFC,11/26/97, p.A7)(WSJ, 11/26/97, p.A1)
1996 Summer, Gov. Wilson
approved plans to build a wall around the Sacramento Capitol.
1996 Jul 3, A federal agency
approved the Union Pacific $5.4 bil acquisition of San Francisco
based Southern Pacific Rail Corp. The merger eliminated about 3,500
(SFC, 7/4/96, p.A1)
1996 Jul 31, A wildfire began
near Santa Rosa and consumed 2,100 acres over 3 days. Two-thirds of
the 60-acre Carmenet vineyard was destroyed and in 1999 PG&E
paid $5 million for the damage which started when an untrimmed tree
brushed against a high-voltage power line.
(SFC, 5/21/99, p.D7)
1996 Aug 10, Cascading power
outages hit parts of nine Western states (3:40 p.m. PST).
(SFC, 8/13/96, p.A10)(AP, 8/10/97)
1996 Aug 22, In California
college student Debbie Dorian (22) was found dead in her Fresno
County apartment, her body bound at the hands and feet with duct
tape. On January 28, 2020, Nickey Stane (52), arrested in 2018, was
charged in the sexual assault and murder after authorities
implemented the novel investigative technique that caught the
suspected "Golden State Killer".
(ABC News, 1/30/20)
1996 Sep 18, Gov. Wilson signed
4 crime bills affecting parolees, murderers and teenagers convicted
of sex or graffiti offenses.
(SFC, 9/19/96, p.C1)
1996 Sep 20, The UC regents
approved salary increases for the UC president, 9 chancellors and
other top administrators. Pres. Richard Atkinson received a raise of
$9,800 for a salary of $253,300 a year.
(SFC, 9/21/96, p.A13)
1996 Sep 23, Governor Wilson
signed a bill to open the sale of electricity to the free market. A
20% drop in rates by 2003 was guaranteed. He also signed a bill to
outlaw female genital mutilation.
(SFC, 9/24/96, p.A1,17)
1996 Sep 25, Governor Wilson
signed a bill that would create a database to tell people where the
66,000 state registered sex offenders lived.
(SFC, 9/26/96, p.A18)
1996 Sep 26, Richard Allen
Davis, the killer of 12-year-old Polly Klaas, was formally sentenced
to death in San Jose, Calif. It was his criminal record which
resulted in California's "Three strike law" for repeat offenders. He
is currently on death row in San Quentin State Prison, California.
1996 Sep 27, A bloody riot at
the New Folsom Prison left one dead and 13 inmates wounded.
(SFC, 9/28/96, p.A1)
1996 Oct 7, A fire was reported
in Monterey County, Ca. It burned 25,000 acres and was later found
to have been started by Jeffrey Alan Avila (35) in order to get some
money by leasing fire-fighting equipment to the US Forest Service.
(SFC, 8/9/97, p.A13)
1996 Oct 17, The 2,319 acre,
six-mile-long Gray Whale Ranch near Santa Cruz was purchased from
Ron Yanke, an Idaho lumberman, by the Save-the Redwoods League for
about 12.75 mil. It will become part of the Wilder Ranch State Park.
(SFC, 10/18/96, B1)
1996 Oct 22, Firestorms covered
35,000 acres in Malibu and San Diego County and destroyed more than
60 homes. Another fire in the Los Padres National Forest was
reported 60% contained.
(SFC, 10/23/96, p.A1)
1996 Oct, Robert Gremminger
(54), a former San Jose fireman, shot and killed Anthony Gilbert
(30) at the Great Mall of the Bay in Milpitas. Gremminger had
interceded in a suspected shoplifting incident and retrieved a gun
from his car. He claimed to have shot when Gilbert tried to run him
and a security guard down. In 1998 Gremminger was sentenced to 9
years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
(SFC, 2/7/98, p.A15)
1996 Nov 5, In California
elections Prop. 215, an initiative to make marijuana legal for
medical used, was passed. Psychiatrist Tod Mikuriya (1933-2007) was
the architect of Prop. 215. A measure to end public sector
affirmative action was also passed. Prop 218, the right to vote on
taxes act, also passed with a 56% approval. Prop. 204 bond funds
were approved [for ecological restoration of the Bay Area and
Sacramento-San Joaquin River deltas]. Prop 208, a campaign spending
limit measure, was approved but later struck down by a federal
judge. Arcata soon established a photo ID program to verify medical
(SFC, 11/6/96, p.A1)(SFC, 12/20/96, p.A1)(SFC,
2/3/98, p.A13)(SFC, 5/22/07, p.B5)
1996 Nov 5, The city of Arcata
elected 3 members of the Green Party to the 5 member City Council.
(SFEC, 4/18/99, p.D1)
1996 Nov 6, Jim Boggio,
accordionist, died of heart failure at his Rohnert Park home. He had
helped found the annual Cotati Accordion Festival and was the leader
of the group “Swamp Dogs."
(SFC, 11/21/96, p.C7)
1996 Nov 11, An explosion
occurred at the Texaco oil refinery near Los Angeles harbor. No
injuries were reported.
(SFC, 11/12/96, p.A9)
1996 Nov 13, An indictment was
handed up in Alameda County against 19 people, including 2 workers
of the State Dept. of Motor Vehicles, for stealing nearly $3 million
worth in cars.
(SFC, 11/23/96, p.A1)
1996 Nov, The huge Ontario
Mills mall opened in San Bernadino Ct.
(WSJ, 6/11/97, p.B1)
1996 Dec 2, Cruz Bustamante was
elected by fellow Democrats as the first Latino speaker of the
California Assembly. He then appointed Sheila Kuehl, a gay Santa
Monica Democrat, as speaker pro tem.
(SFC, 12/3/96, p.A1)
1996 Dec 19, The Oakland school
district decided to recognized the African American vernacular
as a language.
(SFC, 12/20/96, p.A1)
1996 Dec 21, David Nadel, owner
of the Ashkenaz nightclub in Berkeley, died 2 days after being shot
in the head outside the club.
(SFEC, 12/22/96, p.C12)
1996 Dec 31-Jan 1, A torrential
rainstorm caused a mudslide in the hamlet of Stafford in Humboldt
County. The slide was on a clear-cut mountain and destroyed 7
houses. In 2001 Pacific Lumber agreed to pay victims $3.3 million.
(SFC, 3/9/01, p.A12)
1996 The documentary film
“Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam" by Nick Broomfield was about the
leader of the LA call-girl ring.
(SFEC, 3/8/98, DB p.47)
1996 The LA Museum of
Contemporary Art (MOCA) received a $5 million donation by music
producer David Geffen.
(SFC, 2/10/98, p.E4)
1996 California enacted class
size restrictions and lowered to 20 the number of students in
kindergarten to the 3rd grade.
(SFC, 12/27/99, p.A10)
1996 California voters approved
an open primary that allowed voting for any party regardless of
(SFC, 12/27/99, p.A10)
1996 California started using
its own unique fuel blends to combat air pollution. No other state
adopted the standards. A premium for the special blends resulted and
became larger as the number of state refineries shrunk.
(SFC, 9/24/09, p.A12)
1996 Columbus Financial and
Mustang Development Corp. of Beverly Hills, Ca., were charged with
fraud for allegedly swindling 9,000 elderly investors of $140
million by selling them fake oil well investments.
(SFEC, 2/1/98, p.A14)
1996 LA police officers, Rafael
Perez and Nino Durden, shot Xavier Francisco Ovando and left him for
dead with a planted gun. Ovando was sentenced to 23 years in prison
and served 2 ½ years before his conviction was overturned. In 2000
Ovando was awarded $15 million for police misconduct.
(SFC, 11/22/00, p.A13)
1996 David Coulter was named
CEO of Bank of America. The bank closed 120 branches in the
California and eliminated 3,700 jobs.
(SFC, 4/14/98, p.B4)
1996 Calif. State Univ. at
Fresno put riding on the women's athletic roster to comply with
Title IX. 50 women signed up in the 1st month.
(WSJ, 2/8/00, p.A24)
1996 California almond growers
advertised that they would pay $34 per colony for beekeepers to
bring in honeybees. A shortage was caused by parasitic mites, Varroa
jacobsoni and Acarapis woodi.
(NH, 5/97, p.34)
1996 California Fish and Game
officials closed fishing for white, pink and green abalone. A year
later a moratorium on commercial and sport catches for all abalone
species south of SF was imposed due to dwindling numbers from excess
(SFEC, 7/2/00, p.C7)
1996 A West Coast power
blackout affected 4 million people.
(SFC, 8/15/03, p.A7)
1996 California’s population
grew to 32.6 million.
(SFC, 5/6/97, p.A18)
1996 In Glendale, Ca., Jorjik
Avanesian, a recent émigré from Iran, set a fire that killed his
wife 6 and children. He was convicted of 1st degree murder in 1999.
(SFC, 7/1/99, p.A21)
1996 In San Diego County
Elizabeth Carroll (53) was stabbed 61 times during a robbery by
Jarred Viktor and his girlfriend Danielle Barcheers (15). Barcheers
became the youngest girl ever convicted as an adult and was
sentenced to 25 years.
(SFEC, 5/7/00, p.C6)
1996 The Ackerson fire in
Yosemite, Ca., consumed over 59,000 acres.
(SFEC, 7/4/99, Z1 p.4)
1996-1997 In California Curtis DeBord and
Peter Tran smuggled some $5 million worth of arms and weapons
parts from Vietnam to the US over an 18 month period. They were
associates of Hammond Ku who was convicted of illegally importing
(SFC, 11/18/98, p.A20)
1997 Jan 1, Heavy rains caused
flooding in Napa, Martinez and along the Russian River.
(SFC, 12/29/99, p.C3)
1997 Jan 2, Santa Clara County
acquired 435 acres of the Grenninger Falls Ranch for $1.96 million.
The property will become part of the 3,500 acre Mount Madonna County
Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
(SFC, 1/3/97, p.B1)
1997 Jan 2, In the US Northwest
a week of heavy rain and melting snow caused many rivers to
overflow. Downtown Reno was under water and casinos closed. More
than 2,000 visitors were trapped in Yosemite National Park for more
than two days as a rockslide swept away a section of Highway 140.
The park was closed until March. Highway 50 to Lake Tahoe was closed
and expected to be out for a month. The Feather River between
Marysville and Yuba City crested at just over 78 feet and 50,000
Californians were forced to evacuate the area.
(WSJ, 1/3/97, p.A1)(SFEC, 1/5/97, p.A1)(SFC,
1/6/97, p.A13)(AP, 1/2/98)(SFC, 1/7/17, p.A10)
1997 Jan 4, The million dollar
volleyball court at People’s Park in Berkeley was scheduled for
removal. It was to be returned to a green open-space area.
(SFC, 1/4/97, p.A17)
1997 Jan 7, A 2 day Santa Ana
windstorm subsided in Southern California after causing power
blackouts that affected over a million Edison customers.
(SFC, 1/8/96, p.A3)
1997 Jan 10, Floodwaters from a
week of heavy rain inundated thousands of acres in Yuba County, Ca.
[see Jan 2].
(SFC, 10/9/06, p.A10)
1997 Jan 16, Ennis Cosby (27),
son of Bill Cosby, was murdered in Los Angeles while changing a tire
in an apparent roadside robbery. A Ukrainian emigre teenager, Mikail
Markhasev, was picked up and charged for the murder in March. Eli
Zakaria and girlfriend Sara Peters were in a car with Markhasev.
Markhasev was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Markhasev
admitted his guilt in 2001 and made a public apology.
(SFC, 2/1/97, p.E4)(WSJ, 3/14/97, p.A1)(SFC,
3/15/97, p.A3)(AP, 1/16/98)(SFC, 6/27/98, p.A5)(WSJ, 8/12/98,
p.A1)(WSJ, 2/12/00, p.A1)
1997 Jan 17, The Silent Movie
Showcase in Los Angeles closed when manager Laurence Austin was shot
dead and the cashier seriously wounded. A 19-year-old gunman was
later caught and identified James Van Sickle, the projectionist and
Austin's live-in lover, as the instigator and insurance beneficiary
for $1 million.
(SFEC, 2/2/97, p.C11)(SFC, 11/5/99, p.C5)
1997 Jan 21, An explosion at
the Tosco Refinery near Martinez killed Michael Glanzman and injured
(SFC, 1/22/96, p.A1)(SFC, 1/24/97, p.A19)
1997 Jan 30, It was reported
that the recent floods had killed an estimated 750 million bees,
critical to the pollination of the state’s $1 billion almond market.
(SFC, 1/30/97, p.E1)
1997 Jan 30, A powerful bomb
blew up at the Solano County Courthouse in Vallejo. The bomb was
similar to 2 others discovered in the past week.
(SFC, 1/31/97, p.A1)
1997 Jan 31, The state
purchased a 13.9 acre parcel on the eastern side of Tomales Bay on
the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County. It will become part of
Tomales Bay State Park.
(SFC, 2/1/97, p.A17)
1997 Jan, A dynamite bombing of
the Vallejo, Ca., courthouse and a Wells Fargo Bank branch was later
blamed on Kevin “Big Kev" Lee Robinson, a narcotics supplier and
legitimate rap producer. He was sentenced in 1998 to 110 years in
(SFC, 2/10/98, p.A17)
1997 Jan, In California a fire
at a Modesto home killed Michelle Jones (31) and her two young
children. George Souliotes, the owner of the home, was later
convicted and sentenced to life in prison for allegedly setting the
fire. In 2013 new evidence undermined the case against him and
Souliotes (72) was freed after spending 16 years in prison.
(SFC, 7/3/13, p.D8)
1997 Jan, Willis W. Harmon
(1918-1997), longtime president of the Sausalito Institute of Noetic
Sciences, died. From 1980 to 1990 he was a UC Regent. He was a
professor of electrical engineering at Stanford in the 1960s and
conducted experiments on the effects of psychedelic drugs on human
(SFC, 2/4/97, p.A16)
1997 Feb 2, Authorities in
Vallejo, Calif., recovered 500 pounds of stolen dynamite and
arrested two men in bombings that destroyed three bank teller
machines and blasted a courthouse wall. Six men wound up receiving
long prison terms for their roles in the case.
(SFC, 2/3/97, p.A1)(AP, 2/2/07)
1997 Feb 4, Alfred Checchi,
former co-chairman of Northwest Airlines, made his first public
address since announcing his intention to run for governor as a
Democrat in 1998.
(SFC, 2/5/97, p.A6)
1997 Feb 10, A civil jury in
Santa Monica heaped $25 million in punitive damages on O.J. Simpson
for the slayings of his ex-wife and her friend, on top of $8.5
million in compensatory damages awarded earlier.
(USAT, 2/11/97, p.A1)(AP, 2/10/97)
1997 Feb 10, The National Park
Service took over a small section of Santa Cruz Island, one of the
Channel Islands off of Ventura. Most of the 60,800 acre island is
owned by the nature Conservancy.
(SFEC, 7/13/97, p.A15)
1997 Feb 18, It was reported
that a new Catholic Cathedral was planned for Los Angeles under the
direction of Cardinal Roger Mahony. Construction on the 2,600 seat
Our Lady of the Angels was set to begin late this year or early
1988. The dedication was scheduled for 9/4/2000.
(SFC, 2/18/96, p.A1)
1997 Feb 28, In North
Hollywood, Calif., two heavily armed masked robbers bungled a B of A
bank heist and came out firing, unleashing their arsenal on police,
bystanders, cars and TV choppers before they were killed. Police
borrowed high powered semiautomatic rifles from a local gun store to
match the fire power of the robbers. 11 officers and 5 other people
were wounded. Emil Matasareanu (30) was shot 29 times and bled to
death in about an hour without emergency care because he was
reportedly believed to be dead. The other robber, Larry Eugene
Philips Jr., (26) shot himself in the head. The police officers were
later sued for allowing Matasareanu to bled to death and an initial
trial ended with a hung jury in 2000.
(SFC, 3/1/97, p.A1,17)(AP, 2/28/98)(SFC, 4/22/98,
p.A13)(SFC, 3/17/00, p.A10)
1997 Feb 28, At Pelican Bay
Prison Richard Hagler was strangled.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.A11)
1997 Mar 1, At Spring Lake near
Santa Rosa, Ca., Paul Duclos caught a 24-pound largemouth bass,
photographed it, weighed it and released it. The official record was
a 22-pound, 4-ounce bass caught in Montgomery Lake, Ga. To be
official the fish has to be killed, properly weighed and certified
by the Int’l. Gamefish Assoc.
(SFEC, 4/20/97, p.C3)
1997 Mar 9, In Los Angeles
black Gangsta rapper Christopher G. Wallace (24), The Notorious
B.I.G. or aka Biggie Smalls, was shot and killed in a drive-by
shooting. He had been accused of being involved in a 1994 robbery in
which Tupac Shakur was shot and robbed of $40,000. In 1999 Amir
Muhammad, aka Harry Billups, was named as the suspected gunman.
Muhammad was suspected to have been hired by former LAPD officer
David A. Mack. In 2005 a judge declared a mistrial when large
numbers of LAPD documents were found that hadn’t been turned over to
(SFC, 3/10/97, p.A8)(SFC, 12/9/99, p.A11)(SFC,
7/7/05, p.A3)(AP, 3/9/07)
1997 Mar 10, At Pelican Bay
Prison William Lafromboise was strangled.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.A11)
1997 Mar 12, Authorities in Los
Angeles arrested Mikail Markhasev as a suspect in the shooting death
of Bill Cosby's son, Ennis, almost two months earlier. Markhasev,
who later admitted his guilt, is serving a life sentence without
possibility of parole.
1997 Mar 12, Edward DeBartolo
Jr. handed over $400,000 to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards at
the SF Airport in order to clinch a riverboat gambling license.
(SFC, 3/28/00, p.A3)(SFC, 4/12/00, p.A5)
1997 Mar 26, The united Farm
Workers Union announced that it would petition the US Environmental
Agency to reinstate a 4-day period when farmworkers would stay out
of strawberry fields after the application of capstan, a cancer
causing fungicide. Its use has increased 7-fold in the last 6 years.
80% of the nation’s strawberry crop is grown in California.
(SFC, 3/27/97, p.A21)
1997 Mar 26, The bodies 39
young men and women (26-72) of the Heaven’s Gate cult were found in
a mansion at Rancho Santa Fe, near San Diego. The techno-religious
group, led by an older man named “Do," (aka Marshall Herff
Applewhite), had committed mass suicide as the Hale-Bopp comet
approached. They had run a business under the name WW Higher Source
that engaged in WWW page development.
(SFC, 3/27/97, p.A1)(SFC, 3/28/97, p.A1,12)(AP,
1997 Mar, The California
Historical Society moved to new quarters in the SF Yerba Buena
(SFEC, 8/31/97, DB p.9)
1997 Apr 11, The state
Industrial Welfare Commission voted to eliminate state rules that
required overtime pay after 8 hours of work. Overtime pay would only
be required after 40 hours of work in a week for hourly employees.
(SFC, 4/12/97, p.E3)
1997 Apr 11, Some 25,000 people
marched in Watsonville to support the UFW drive to organize farm
workers. Their focus was to begin with the state’s $576 million
(SFC, 4/14/97, p.A11)
1997 Apr 25, The Clinton
administration extended the area over which the northwest coast
silvery Coho salmon is considered a “threatened" species.
(SFC, 4/26/97, p.A1)
1997 Apr, The new $77 million
Shriners Hospital for Children was scheduled to open in Sacramento
across the street from the UC Davis Medical Center.
(SFC, 2/6/97, p.A17)
1997 Kuan-Chung Kao (33) was
shot and killed by police in front of his home in Rohnert Park. In
2001 Kao’s family agreed to a $1 million settlement for use of
(SFC, 8/16/01, p.A19)
1997 May 3, The state prepared
to file charges against the Bank of America for mismanaging tens of
billions of dollars of municipal bond funds.
(SFC, 5/3/97, p.A1)
1997 May 9, The California
state Environmental protection Agency issued a report that linked
lung cancer to diesel exhaust fumes.
(SFC, 5/10/97, p.A17)
1997 May 26, It was reported
that the Hearst Corp. planned to develop some 400 of its 83,000
acres in the San Simeon-Cambria coastline. It was opposed by
(SFC, 5/26/97, p.A13)
1997 May 30, The state Assembly
approved a $66.3 billion budget.
(SFC, 5/31/97, p.A15)
1997 Jun 2, A Concord
waterslide collapsed after Napa High School attempted to break a
record for the number of students crammed onto the “Banzai
Pipeline." Quimby Ghilotti (18) died in the accident.
(SFC, 7/4/97, p.A20)
1997 Jun 3, Residents in
Livermore approved a ban on the sale of inexpensive hand guns. The
last state election on handgun control was in 1982.
(SFC, 6/4/97, p.A1)
1997 Jun 4, The state
legislature approved bills that banned the sale and manufacture of
(SFC, 6/5/97, p.A1)
1997 Jun 5, The cremated
remains of some 2,000 people were found in a Discovery Bay storage
facility. They were stored by a flying service run by Allan Vieira,
that was supposed to have disposed the remains at sea or over the
Sierras for mortuaries. The body of Allan Vieira was found with a
suicide note Jun 24 in Calaveras Ct.
(SFC, 6/6/97, p.A23)(SFC, 6/26/97, p.A21)
1997 Jun 8, By Cape Mendocino
four crew members of a Coast Guard helicopter died during the rescue
attempt of a capsized Canadian boat with five people. The five
people in the boat survived.
(SFC, 6/17/97, p.A22)
1997 Jun 9, A state commission
decided to raise the salary of Gov. Wilson to $131,040. It would
make him the highest paid governor in the nation.
(SFC, 6/10/97, p.A19)
1997 Jun 10, Fred Farr, former
state Senator and pioneering environmentalist, died at 86. He got a
law passed that required toilets in the fields for farm workers and
was the father of the California scenic highways program.
(SFC, 6/12/97, p.A2)
1997 Jun 14, It was reported
that more than 1600 double-crested cormorants had died at the
California Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge due to Newcastle
disease, caused by a deadly virus.
(SFC, 6/14/97, p.A11)
1997 Jun 18, The Sempervirens
Fund announced the purchase of 820 acres of redwood forest to be
added to the Buttano State Park just north of Ano Nuevo State
Reserve. The land was purchased from the family of canning pioneer
(SFC, 6/19/97, p.A22)
1997 Jun 21, African Americans
gathered in Sacramento for a the 2nd annual Thousand Man March.
(SFEC, 6/22/97, p.A18)
1997 Jul 26, Pres. Clinton
visited Lake Tahoe and announced that the Forest Service would allot
350 acres to the Washoe Indian tribe for a cultural center and give
tribal members access to the edge of Lake Tahoe. He also made an
executive order for $50 million over 2 years and 25 initiatives to
improve the water quality of Lake Tahoe. He brought with him $26
million worth of natural gas postal trucks and sewage pipes to help
preserve the lake.
(SFEC, 7/27/97, p.A1,14)(AP, 7/26/98)
1997 Jun 27, It was reported
that some 42 dead seals were washed ashore at Point Reyes National
Seashore in California in a ten day window in late May and early
June. Cause of death was unknown but new deaths seemed to have
(SFC, 6/27/97, p.A24)
1997 Jun 30, Radio KPH, the
oldest maritime radio station on the West Coast, went off the air in
West Marin after operating since 1904.
(SFC, 7/1/97, p.A13,14)
1997 Jun Gov. Wilson instructed
the warden of San Quentin Prison to phase out the alternative “Boot
Camp" program for first time offenders on the basis that it made
little difference in inmates lives.
(SFC, 7/29/97, p.A13)
1997 Jun, The Lake Tahoe
Regional Planning Agency adopted a plan to ban jet skis,
specifically 2-stroke engines that propel personal watercraft,
effective in June 1999. The jet ski industry filed a suit against
the ban in Oct.
1997 Jul 3, The state Supreme
Court ruled that a 16-17 year-old juvenile’s felony conviction may
count as a strike under the 1994 “three strikes" sentencing law.
(SFC, 7/4/97, p.A19)
1997 Jul 3, Daisy Mascada (18)
cut off the penis of Julio Luna with a 10-inch knife in Seaside, Ca.
She was sentenced to 7 years in prison and later pleaded that she
had been kidnapped, battered and abused.
(SFC, 10/14/99, p.A22)
1997 Jul 3, In Santa Rosa
Theresa Mary Ramirez shot and killed Dr. Michael Tavis (53) and
wounded office manager Kay Carter. Ramirez claimed that Tavis had
given her leaky breast implants. In 1999 a jury convicted Ramirez of
(SFC, 2/12/99, p.A22)
1997 Jul 4, Bikers returned to
Hollister, Ca., for a 50-year anniversary and began an annual
tradition. [see Jul 4, 1947]
(SFC, 7/4/02, p.A18)
1997 Jul 7, It was reported
that the state’s million plus cows were churning out $3 billion
worth of milk and leaking harmful nitrates into the ground water of
the Central Valley. Years ago the Chino basin was forced to write
off vast quantities of tainted ground water due to dairies.
(SFC, 7/7/97, p.A8)
1997 Jul 10, The Richard &
Rhoda Goldman Fund of SF donated $10 million to the UC Berkeley
Graduate School of Public Policy. The new chancellor, Robert
Berdahl, accepted the donation.
(SFC, 7/11/97, p.E2)
1997 Jul 18, Representative
George Miller of Martinez demanded a full accounting by the federal
EPA concerning inspections of the Central Valley dairies, where
dairy waste was threatening underground water supplies.
(SFC, 7/19/97, p.A1,13)
1997 Jul 18, Federal agents in
California arrested eight seafood importers accused of smuggling
contaminated seafood by bribing customs brokers and FDA inspectors.
(SFC, 7/19/97, p.A15,18)
1997 Jul 25, At Pelican Bay
Prison Aaron Marsh, an Aryan Brotherhood member, was strangled. Gary
Littrell, an Aryan Brotherhood associate, was suspected.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.A11)
1997 Jul 26, Pres. Clinton
announced that the Forest Service would allot 350 acres to the
Washoe Indian tribe for a cultural center and give tribal members
access to the edge of lake Tahoe.
(SFEC, 7/27/97, p.A14)
1997 Jul 26, Knight Ridder
bought the Monterey Herald.
(SFC, 7/28/00, p.A19)
1997 Jul, Gregory Taylor (30)
was arrested while trying to get into the kitchen of St. Joseph's
Church in downtown Los Angeles. He told officers that he was hungry.
Taylor was sentenced in 1997 to 25 years to life under California's
three-strikes law. He was released in 2010 following the work of law
student Reiko Rogozen, who started working on the case in January,
2010, as part of Stanford Law School's Three-Strikes Project.
1997 Aug 2, Two fires in San
Diego burned out of control and destroyed 11 homes, 30 cars, 15
other structures and caused the crash of an air tanker dousing the
(SFEC, 8/3/97, p.B5)
1997 Aug 3, The US Court of
Appeals issued a reprieve for Thomas Thompson, accused of the 1981
murder of Ginger Fleischli, less than 36 hours before his scheduled
death. California filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court. He was
executed Jul 14, 1998.
(SFC, 8/4/97, p.A1)(http://tinyurl.com/db9ve)
1997 Aug 6, The mayor of LA
named Bernard Parks as chief of police. He succeeded Willie
Williams, the city’s first black police chief.
(WSJ, 8/7/97, p.A1)
1997 Aug 10, It was reported
that the gasoline additive MTBE, methyl tert-butyl ether, was
leaking into ground water in California and elsewhere in the US.
Some 1,000 wells in California tested above the state’s action
level. The additive leaks from gasoline stations and dissolves in
water and seeps into aquifers. In 1995 the EPA reported that it
caused cancer in laboratory animals.
(SFEC, 8/10/97, p.A1,14)
1997 Aug 10, It was reported
that developer Norman Jarrett was proceeding with plans to create
“Gold Rush City," a giant theme park in San Joaquin county next to
the town of Lathrop by the junction of Hwy 5 and 120. Development
was projected over a 30-year period with the first stage ready to
(SFEC, 8/10/97, Z1 p.1,4)
1997 Aug 22, The decomposed
body of 12-year-old Georgia Moses from Santa Rosa was found in
Petaluma. She disappeared Aug 13 but no one reported her missing to
(SFEC, 8/31/97, p.B6)(SFC, 9/16/97, p.A15)
1997 Aug 30, Michael Rodriguez
(17) was found shot to death behind a Lucky Supermarket in Half Moon
Bay. In 1999 Shawn Michael Perez was convicted of murder in an
attempted robbery and sentenced to life in prison with no parole.
Linnea Adams was also convicted and sentenced 15 years to life. In
1999 Danny Watson pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 25 years
to life in prison.
(SFC, 3/10/99, p.A18)(SFC, 7/3/99, p.A17)(SFC,
1997 Aug, Gov. Wilson signed
into law rules that required the removal of tobacco billboard
advertising within 1000 feet of a school or playground as of Jan 1,
(SFC, 3/19/98, p.A1)
1997 Aug, Joshua Puckett (18)
killed Vitaly Poliakov (29) of San Francisco at a home on Rheem
Boulevard in Orinda. In 1998 Puckett pleaded guilty to involuntary
manslaughter and burglary. He was sentenced to 13 years and 8 months
(SFC, 9/12/98, p.A20)
1997 Sep 12, Vitaly Poliakov
(29) of San Francisco was found with his skull crushed in an
Atascadero Creek. Joshua Puckett (18) later admitted to committing
the murder in Orinda.
(SFC, 6/23/98, p.A15)
1997 Sep 12, Edwin Lawrence
Njuguna of Kenya was stabbed to death in Napa after being dragged
with two friends from a car by skinheads.
(SFC, 10/1/97, p.A12)
1997 Sep 13, The legislature
passed a large tax cut and an agreement to regulate the state’s
growing cardroom gambling industry.
(SFEC, 9/14/97, p.A1)
1997 Sep 25, In the town of
Scotia in Humboldt County 7 protestors settled in the company office
of Pacific Lumber. Sheriff’s deputies applied pepper spray directly
to the eyes of the protestors using cotton swabs and Q-tips. A
federal judge in 1998 threw out a lawsuit filed by the protestors.
(SFC,10/31/97, p.A15)(SFC, 10/27/98, p.A11)
1997 Sep 25, It was reported
that traces of toxaphene, banned in 1982, were found in at least one
bird in a southern Tulare County canal where some 1600 western
grebes and millions of fish were found dead.
(SFC, 9/25/97, p.A13)
1997 Sep 28, A wildfire killed
livestock and forced the evacuation of some 1500 people in Yuba
County. The fire covered 5,800 acres and 83 homes were burned.
(SFC, 9/29/97, p.A1)(SFC, 9/30/97, p.A12)
1997 Sep, Gov. Wilson signed
Assembly Bill 1890 that ended the monopoly of the Big Three utility
companies (PG&E, Southern Ca. Edison and San Diego Gas &
Electric) in California, and opened the state to competition.
1997 Sep-Nov, Louis Peoples,
stole a gun and robbed a Stockton bank. He went on to a series of
robberies and killed 4 people over this period. In 2000 a jury
recommended the death penalty.
(SFC, 6/8/00, p.A24)
1997 Oct 1, Gov. Wilson signed
a tax bill that would give a $50 break per child to families
with children beginning in the 1988 tax year. Breaks were also
scheduled for homeowners, retirement savers, and private companies.
Also included was a pay raise for state employees and fiscal relief
for counties and cities. The cost would be more than $941 million in
(SFC, 10/2/97, p.A1)
1997 Oct 3, In Humboldt County
2 protestors attached themselves to bulldozers of the Pacific Lumber
Company. Sheriff’s deputies applied pepper spray directly to the
eyes of the protestors using cotton swabs and Q-tips.
1997 Oct 13, It was reported
that the California State Fish and Game Dept. planned to use the
piscicide Nusyn-Noxfish, which contains rotenone, to destroy all the
fish in Lake Davis in Plumas County in order to rid the lake of the
non-indigenous pike. The people of the county protested the use of
the poison in particular because of the dispersant,
trichloroethylene (TCE), used to make rotenone mix with water. The
lake was dosed Oct 15 and 7 protestors were arrested. In 1998 trace
amounts of piperonyl butoxide (POB) were still present the planting
of new fish was delayed. In 1998 the state agreed to pay $9 million
to settle claims from the poisoning which devastated tourism. In
1999 2 northern pike were fished from the lake as well as catfish
that had apparently survived the poisoning. From 2000-2007 some
60,500 pike were caught in the lake. In 2007 wildlife officials
planned a new attempt to wipe out the pike.
(SFC, 10/13/97, p.A1,17)(SFC,10/16/97, p.A1)(SFC,
5/1/98, p.A21)(SFC, 8/20/98, p.A30)(SFC, 5/28/99, p.A21)(SFC,
1997 Oct 14, It was reported
that Gov. Wilson signed a law that would allow the San Fernando
Valley to detach itself from Los Angeles.
(SFC, 10/14/97, p.A22)
1997 Oct 16, In Humboldt County
4 protestors staged a sit-in in the office of Republican
Representative Frank Riggs in Eureka. Sheriff’s deputies applied
pepper spray directly to the eyes of the protestors using cotton
swabs and Q-tips.
1997 Oct 17, Tosco Corp. asked
the California Air Resources Board to move away from the use of MTBE
as a gasoline fuel additive due to possible contamination of ground
1997 Oct 18, A 10 day strike
continued at the Foster Farms chicken slaughterhouse in Livingston.
The plant was the largest in the world and some 2,000 workers
refused to accept a pay hike with doubled health insurance costs.
After 2 1/2 weeks the strikers accepted an offer that included a
choice in a pay raise option and a health plan for $55 vs. $70 per
(SFC,10/18/97, p.A15)(SFC,10/24/97, p.A26)
1997 Oct 18, Eight more bombs
from the 1973 explosion were discovered by Union Pacific crews near
1997 Oct 20, Pacific Bell began
converting pay phones to a 35 cent rate, a 15 cent increase.
1997 Oct 20, Novato police used
pepper spray on Brian J Prosser (39), an accountant. Prosser choked,
stopped breathing and died.
1997 Oct 26, It was reported
that some 50 Southern California doctors and about a dozen laser
surgery centers were under investigation for insurance fraud for
serving mostly Southeast Asian and Latino women seeking beauty
makeovers under false claims.
1997 Oct 26, It was reported
that hundreds of shorebirds washed up dead along the 25-mile stretch
of Monterey Bay beaches. A non-toxic refined-sardine oil had been
spilled into the bay and stuck the birds’ feathers together. The
source of the oil was not yet determined. The substance was later
thought to be a hydrogenated vegetable oil.
(SFEC,10/26/97, p.D2)(SFC,10/29/97, p.A24)
1997 Oct 30, In Livermore a
shutdown began of the “plutonium building" at the National
Laboratory due to safety violations.
(SFEC, 1/11/98, p.D7)
1997 Oct 31, The FBI began an
investigation into the use of pepper spray by law authorities in
Humboldt County, California, after a video tape showed the spray
applied directly to the eyes of protestors.
1997 Oct, Red ants, Solenopsis
invicta, were found near Lost Hills in Kern County. They apparently
came from Texas in beehives shipped in for pollinating almond
blossoms. More ants were found in Fresno county in 1998.
(SFC, 8/6/93, p.A4)
1997 Oct, The EPA ordered Rhone
Poulenc to build a $21 million dam and pond on a metal-rich creek
near Iron Mountain to reduce mine pollution runoff into the
Sacramento River to 5%.
1997 Nov 1, At Pelican Bay
Prison Felipe Cruz was strangled.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.A11)
1997 Nov 2, In Vacaville Jerry
English (17) was stabbed to death in a fight. He was killed by Chad
O'Connell who claimed that he acted to defend his friend Jance
Swenson. David Moreno and Justin Pacheco, friends of English, were
later charged with causing his death under the state's provocative
act murder rule of 1965. Moreno and Pacheco were acquitted in 2000
after 2 years in jail.
(SFC, 1/11/00, p.A18)(SFC, 2/11/00, p.A19)
1997 Nov 3, The Supreme Court
let California’s Prop. 209 stand and ended affirmative action in the
state. It prohibits state and local governments from using race and
gender based preferences in education, contracting and hiring.
(SFC,11/4/97, p.A1)(AP, 11/3/98)(Econ, 12/2/06,
1997 Nov 5, The Imperial Toy
Corp. in Los Angeles experienced an explosion that left 4 people
dead and at least 25 injured.
1997 Nov 5, The freighter Kure,
while preparing to load a cargo of woodchips, rammed a concrete
piling of the Louisiana Pacific Co. pier near Eureka and spilled
5,100 gallons of oil in Humboldt Bay.
(SFC,11/6/97, p.A19)(SFC, 9/10/99, p.A19)
1997 Nov 7, In Concord, Ca.,
the De La Salle High School football team under coach Bob Ladoucer
won their 73rd straight game and broke a 1975 record set by Hudson,
Mich., High School.
1997 Nov 14, Pres. Clinton
signed a bill containing $250 million to buy 7,500 acres in the
headwaters forest of northern California. The agreement with Charles
Hurwitz was revised in 1998 and protection was tentatively
established for 12 of 13 stands of redwoods and Pacific Lumber was
to be allowed to log one grove.
(SFC,11/15/97, p.A3)(SFC, 2/28/98, p.A1)
1997 Nov 16, Eleven people were
killed on the 2-lane state Highway 180 near Mendota when a van
slammed into a big rig in a sudden patch of tule fog.
1997 Nov 16, The LA Times
reported that the Utility Dept. of LA was $7.5 billion in debt. $4.8
billion of the debt was off the books.
1997 Nov 17, In California
Tyler, the 18 month-old son of Gina Barnett (25) and James Nivette
(54) was found abandoned in San Bruno. The next day Gina’s body was
found in Folsom. James Nivettte was the prime suspect and was
thought to have fled the country. He was arrested in France on Nov
(SFC,11/19/97, p.A1)(SFC,11/21/97, p.1)
1997 Nov 18, The Oakland City
Council voted 6-3 to give themselves a pay raise from $37,000 to
1997 Nov 30, Composer and
guitarist Michael Hedges (43) died in an auto accident in Mendocino
Ct. His albums included “Breakfast in the Field" (1983), “Aerial
Boundaries" (1984), “Taproot" (1990), and “The Road to Return"
(1994). His albums helped establish the Wyndham Hill record label
co-founded by guitarist Will Ackerman.
1997 Nov, In Concord the
Brenden Theatres opened with 14 wide screens and stadium tiered
seating for 3,500 people and parking for 350. The operation
attracted movie-goers but took away street parking from local
(SFC, 1/22/98, p.A24)
1997 Nov, State welfare
recipients began using the California Electronic Temporary
Assistance Card (Cal Etac).
1997 Dec 1, It was reported
that a Chinese crime syndicate, The Big Circle Boys, active in
Canada for 2 decades, was infiltrating California. The group
originally consisted of former Red Army Guards who left China for
Hong Kong. They were identified as a North American version of the
mainland Chinese syndicate known as Dai Huen Jai.
(SFC, 12/1/97, p.A1)
1997 Dec 2, In California
Vanessa Lei Samson (22) was abducted while walking to work in
Pleasanton. Her body was later found off Highway 88 in Alpine Ct.
Michelle Michaud and her boyfriend, James A. Daveggio, were later
picked up by police. The couple had a van converted into a “murder
and abduction chamber." The couple were arrested on a kidnap and
rape charge for a separate attack on a Reno college student in Sep.
and faced charges for raping 12 and 13-year old girls in Sacramento.
Michaud confessed to Samson’s murder. The pair were charged in 1998
for the kidnapping and murder of Samson. In 2001 Robert Scott
authored “Rope Burns," an account of the case. Daveggio and Michaud
went on trial in 2002 and were convicted in June. On Sep 25 they
were sentenced to death.
(SFC,12/11/97, p.A21)(SFC, 11/7/98, p.A18)(SFC,
1/21/02, p.B1)(SFC, 9/26/02, p.A27)
1997 Dec 4, In Fairfield Alan
Hall was found passed out with a severed penis. He first claimed
that a woman had cut it off and later admitted that he had maimed
himself. [see Feb 17, 1983]
1997 Dec 5, The Federal fish
and wildlife authorities listed the calippe silverspot butterfly,
known to exist only on the grasslands of San Bruno Mountain and a
park in Alameda Ct., under the Endangered Species Act. Also listed
as endangered was the Behren’s silverspot butterfly of Point Arena.
The Alameda whipsnake was listed as threatened.
1997 Dec 10, Julia Butterfly
(23), nee Julia Hill, climbed into a redwood tree in Humboldt
County, Ca., on Pacific Lumber Co. property and remained there for
over 2 years. She named the tree Luna and in her meditations came up
with the equation: truth + hope = action + change. Julia ended her
protest Dec 18, 1999. A deal was reached to preserve Luna and a
200-foot buffer in exchange for a $50,000 payment to Pacific Lumber,
which would be donated to Humboldt State Univ. for scientific
research. In 2000 Hill published “The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a
Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods."
(SFEC, 12/6/98, Z1p.1)(KPFA, 12/9/99)(SFC,
12/18/99, p.A5)(SFC, 12/20/99, p.A24)(SFEC, 4/2/00, BR p.3)
1997 Dec 11, A collision of 3
dozen cars and big rigs on I-5 south of Sacramento killed at least 5
people and injured more than 2 dozen.
1997 Dec 12, The state Court of
Appeals barred pot clubs from legally selling marijuana. The ruling
would go into effect in 30 days unless stayed by an appeal.
1997 Dec 13, A ribbon-cutting
ceremony was held in Los Angeles for the $1 billion Getty Center,
one of the largest arts centers in the United States.
1997 Dec 15, It was reported
that the state Supreme Court ruled that Ventura County must increase
monthly pension benefits based on bonuses and other supplemental
pay. The decision was sure to trigger other county suits.
1997 Dec 16, Originally
scheduled for a Fall opening. The new $1 billion Getty Center was
expected to open at the 25-acre site in Brentwood, Ca. It will
include a 750,000 volume library, auditorium and exhibition space.
The 110-acre arts and cultural campus was being built in the Santa
Monica Mountains above west Los Angeles. The old Museum, a villa in
Malibu, will be renovated and reopened in 2001 with one of its
current 7 collections of Greek and Roman antiquities.
(SFC, 7/15/96, p.D2)(SFC, 6/24/97, p.B3)
1997 Dec 17, Federal and state
governments announced that $100 million would be spent to restore
the ecology of the SF Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River
1997 Dec 18, A former state
employee, Arturo Reyes Torres, shot and killed 4 people at the
Caltrans maintenance yard in Orange and was himself killed by
1997 Dec 19, At Pelican Bay
Prison Rudy Herrera was strangled.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.A11)
1997 Dec 24, It was reported
that the Air Force agreed to sell McClellan Air Force Base to
Sacramento County for a maximum of $90 million. Payments would begin
in Dec 2008 and continue over 45 years.
1997 Rene Di Rosa opened the di
Rosa Preserve at 5200 Carneros Highway, a sculpture garden and
nature preserve, in Napa following the sale of his Winery Lake
Vineyard to Seagram.
(SFC, 8/18/99, p.D1,5)
1997 Robert M. Lynch wrote “The
Sonoma Valley Story: Pages Through the Ages."
(SFEC,12/14/97, BR p.7)
1997 Monty Roberts of Salinas
wrote his biographical bestseller “The Man Who Listens To Horses."
His family disputed the validity of much of the material.
(SFEC, 1/11/98, p.A18)
1997 Heidi Kuhn of San Rafael
founded Roots of Peace, an anti-land mine organization.
(SSFC, 2/3/02, p.A9)
1997 Gov. Wilson vetoed a bill
that authorized the State Barr Association to collect dues from its
members. Mass layoffs were scheduled in 1998 due to lack of funds.
The association represented 128,000 lawyers with dues at $458.
(SFC, 4/28/98, p.A15)
1997 California cancelled a
contract with Lockheed Martin for an information management system
for a child support database and lost $111 million plus federal
fines for lacking a child support computer system.
(SFEC, 8/8/99, Z1 p.6)
1997 California proclaimed San
Leandro the state's official sausage capital.
(SFEC, 9/26/99, p.E1)
1997 San Joaquin soil was named
the official state soil. The soil was deposited as glacial runoff
from 50,000 to 250,000 years ago.
1997 B.C.L. Labs of Southern
California was shut down after state investigators found evidence
that some results of vital lab tests for state prisoners were made
up and typed into a computer.
(SFC, 7/7/00, p.A1)
1997 The Knott family sold
their Orange County Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park, the oldest
theme amusement park in the US, to Cedar Fair in Ohio.
(SFC, 5/11/02, p.A22)
1997 Dr. Julio and Amalia
Palmaz purchased the Cedar Knoll winery in Napa, Ca. They then
proceeded to build an 100,000 square-foot underground wine
operation, despite neighbors protests, estimated to cost $20
million. Dr. Palmaz was internationally know for inventing the
balloon-expandable coronary stent. In 2008 Palmaz Vineyards produced
some 6,000 cases of Cabernet and 1,000 cases of white wines costing
from $32 to $150 a bottle.
(SFC, 1/2/09, p.W8)
1997 Tosco bought the company
that owned the state’s 900 Union 76 stations. The company then
decided to sell all its gasoline under the Union 76 brand.
(SFC, 4/5/00, p.A19)
1997 The quino checkerspot
butterfly was named an endangered species. It was confined to
western Riverside County and the Ptay Mesa area of San Diego.
(WSJ, 4/14/99, p.CA1)
1997 The 7,500-acre Sinkyone
Wilderness in northern California was accepted into the state park
(SFC, 9/29/05, p.A2)
1997 Communities around Clear
Lake began diverting millions of gallons of treated waste water to
the Geysers region and pumped underground to replenish steamfields.
The water was soon suspected of causing increased regional
(SSFC, 6/8/03, p.A23)
1997 Bear Gulch Cave in the
Pinnacles was closed to protect a colony of endangered Townsend’s
(SSFC, 4/15/01, p.T4)
1998 Jan 1, The 109th Rose Bowl
Parade in Pasadena was held and Univ. of Michigan beat Washington
(SFC, 1/2/98, p.A1,22)
1998 Jan 1, The people of
California will be allowed to choose their electric utility
supplier. Also city councils would be stripped of veto power in
voter drives for secession. Postponed to Mar 31.
(SFC, 5/8/97, p.A1)(SFC, 10/14/97,
1998 Jan 1, A new state law
regulated the use of raw foods.
(SFC, 2/25/98, p.A15)
1998 cJan 15, The Napa Valley
Museum opened. [707-944-0500]
(SFEM, 2/1/98, p.6)
1998 Jan 23, Former Oakland
Mayor, Lionel Wilson, died at age 82. He was the first black mayor
of Oakland and served 3-terms (1977-1990).
(SFC, 1/29/98, p.A1,13)
1998 Jan 24, The beginning of
the statewide Sesquicentennial Celebration in honor of the gold
rush. It ends on the 150th anniversary of statehood Sep 9, 2000.
(SFEC, 1/4/98, Z1p.4)
1998 Jan 25, The population of
California was 32.6 million and increasing by 480,000 per year
counting the 100,000 estimated illegal entrants.
(SFEC, 1/25/98, Z1 p.6)
1998 Jan 26, In Compton a car
wash owner and 3 employees were shot to death by gunmen looking for
drugs and cash.
(SFC, 1/27/98, p.A3)
1998 Jan 28, The state Assembly
passed a bill to repeal the ban on smoking in bars and casinos. It
would become effective next Jan.
(SFC, 1/29/98, p.A1)
1998 Jan, State utilities began
to divest themselves of their generating plants. Rates to consumers
were capped until March 2002 or until the recovery of certain
(WSJ, 1/08/00, p.A3)
1998 Feb 2, Heavy rains
thrashed the Bay Area and Northern California. 70 miles along Hwy.
1, between Carmel and Big Sur, remained closed until Apr. 30.
(SFC, 2/3/98, p.A1)
1998 Feb 3, A new 32-cent
postage stamp in honor of John Muir was to be issued at the Martinez
(SFC, 1/8/98, p.A19)
1998 Feb 3, Heavy rains
continued to thrash the state and rivers in Northern California
spilled over their banks.
(SFC, 2/4/98, p.A1)
1998 Feb 4, Alfred Mann (72),
the originator of 7 medical device and electronics companies,
announced $100 million donations to both the Univ. of Southern Cal.
and the Univ. of Cal. at Los Angeles to set up biomedical research
(SFC, 2/5/98, p.A3)
1998 Feb 5, A federal
judge in Los Angeles threw out Charles Keating's state securities
fraud conviction for a second time, saying the trial judge had given
jurors flawed instructions. In 1999, on the eve of the retrial of
the federal case, Keating entered a plea agreement: he admitted to
having committed bankruptcy fraud by extracting $1 million from
American Financial Corp. while already anticipating the collapse
that happened weeks later; in return, the federal prosecutors
dropped all other charges against him and his son, Charles Keating
III. Keating, an Arizona land developer, was sentenced to the four
years he had already served.
1998 Feb 6, Gov. Wilson
declared a state of emergency in 22 counties as El Nino storms
pounded the state.
(SFC, 2/7/98, p.A8)
1998 Feb 6, Carl Wilson (51), a
founding member of The Beach Boys, had died in Los Angeles from
complications of lung cancer.
(SFEC, 2/8/98, p.D8)(AP, 2/7/99)
1998 Feb 8, At Pelican Bay
Prison John Arviso died from severe facial and head trauma. He was
linked to the Mexican Mafia. Carlos Castro, the suspected killer,
was also linked the Mexican Mafia.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.A11)
1998 Feb 9, Pres. Clinton
declared 27 counties a federal disaster area. Estimated storm damage
reached over $275 million.
(SFC, 2/10/98, p.A1)
1998 Feb 15, Two separated
freeway shootings left one woman dead and another wounded in LA
(SFC, 2/16/98, p.A18)
1998 Feb 16, It was reported
that Al Checchi, candidate for governor, was using his personal
wealth of $550 million, accumulated in business dealings at
Marriott, Disney and as head of Northwest Airlines, to finance his
(SFC, 2/16/98, p.A13)
1998 Feb 18, A military
helicopter crashed in central California during a training mission
and 4 people were killed.
(SFC, 2/19/98, p.A22)
1998 Feb 22, The new book by
Stephen Schwartz, reporter for the SF Chronicle, “From West to East:
California and the Making of the American Mind," was reviewed. It
was a broad-based inquiry into the state’s cultural history with
focus on Old Left sectarian battles.
(SFEC, 2/22/98, BR p.5)
1998 Feb 23, The State Supreme
Court ruled that anybody can sue a corner store or gas station for
selling cigarettes to minors.
(SFC, 2/24/98, p.A22)
1998 Feb 23, At Pelican Bay
Prison Timothy Waldron was strangled. Suspect Steven Olivares is an
Aryan Brotherhood Associate.
(SFC, 2/28/98, p.A11)
1998 Feb 24, Novato voters
approved the luxury development of the Black Point Forest, a
238-acre site that had been used for the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.
(SFC, 2/25/98, p.A16)
1998 Feb 24, The Cuyama River
near Santa Maria tore out over a 100 years of Highway 166 and sent a
patrol car with 2 officers 40 feet down a mountain and into the
river. CHP officers Rick Stovall and Britt Irvine died.
(SFC, 2/25/98, p.A1)
1998 Feb 27, Eight prison
guards at Corcoran Prison were indicted on federal civil rights
charges that they staged a “blood sport" fight among inmates in
which one convict was shot to death by a guard.
(SFC, 2/27/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 6, Gov. Wilson signed
a pact with the Pala tribe of San Diego on gambling concessions.
Negotiations had been in process since 1991. A month later half of
the state’s Indian tribes objected to the pact. Federal approval was
granted in April.
(SFC, 4/798, p.B8)(SFC, 4/27/98, p.A22)
1998 Mar 8, Fire Capt. Joseph
Charles Dupee died from cardiac arrest while fighting a fire at 60th
St. and Western Ave. in LA. He was the first firefighter killed on
the job in 14 years.
(SFC, 3/9/98, p.A18)
1998 Mar 9, Republican
Representative Jay Kim pleaded guilty to taking illegal campaign
(WSJ, 3/10/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 11, It was announced
that the David and Lucille Packard Foundation would give $175
million over 5 years to protect the state’s landscape from
(SFC, 3/11/98, p.A13)
1998 Mar 11, Gov. Wilson
abolished an affirmative action program that sent contract dollars
to minority and female owned businesses.
(SFC, 3/12/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 11, In Los Angeles
Efren Saldivar, a respiratory care therapist, claimed to have killed
as many as 50 terminally ill patients from 1989 to 1997 at the
Glendale Adventist medical Center. He later recanted his confession.
Exhumations to verify the claims began Apr 30. In 2001 Saldivar was
arrested for the murder of 6 patients whose remains indicated that
they were murdered. In 2002 Saldivar pleaded guilty to murdering 6
patients. In 2002 Saldivar was sentenced to 6 life terms in prison
plus 15 years to life for attempted murder.
(SFC, 3/28/98, p.A1)(SFEC, 5/2/99, p.C7)(SFC,
1/10/01, p.A5)(SFC, 3/13/02, p.A7)(USAT, 4/18/02, p.3A)
1998 Mar 11, In Santa Rosa
David Asimov (47), son of Isaac Asimov, pleaded no guilty to felony
charges alleging possession of pornographic material with intent to
sell. Some 3,000-4,000 tapes , videos and other materials were
seized at his home.
(SFEC, 3/15/98, p.D1)
1998 Mar 12, Aundria Crawford,
a Cuesta College sophomore, was kidnapped near downtown San Luis
Obispo. Her body was found in 1999 on the property of Rex Allen
Krebs, who was being held on parole violations.
(SFC, 4/26/99, p.A19)
1998 Mar 13, David Kazdin (63),
a San Fernando businessman, was killed and his body dumped into a
trash bin. In 2002 Sante (67) and Kenneth Kimes (27) were indicted
for the murder.
(SFC, 5/16/02, p.A5)
1998 Mar 19, Two small planes
collided over Riverside Ct. and 3 people were killed.
(SFC, 3/20/98, p.A3)
1998 Mar 23, The State Supreme
Court ruled that the Boy Scouts were a private organization and not
subject to the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
(SFC, 3/24/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 23, Megan Hogg (25)
was arrested for killing her 3 daughters, aged 2-7, on Higate Dr.
(SFC, 3/24/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 23, In Richmond a
chemical plant worker returned from a job suspension and gunned down
2 supervisors and then killed himself.
(SFC, 3/24/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 23, An LA Fire Dept.
helicopter crashed while transporting an injured 12-year-old girl to
a hospital. The girl and 3 others were killed.
(SFC, 3/24/98, p.A3)
1998 Mar 24, The Oakland City
Council voted to adopt a Jobs and Living Wage Ordnance that mandated
businesses contracting with the city to pay workers at least $8 an
hour with benefits or $9.25 without benefits. It was the 17th city
nationwide to adopt such an ordnance.
(SFC, 3/26/98, p.A21)
1998 Mar 25, Sumitomo Bank of
California, the state’s 6th largest retail bank, announced its sale
to Zions Bancorporation of Salt Lake for $546 million.
(SFC, 3/26/98, p.E1)
1998 May 25, Lance Corporal
Carlos Colbert, a black Marine, was paralyzed after 5 men beat him
during a Memorial Day party in Santee, northeast of San Diego. Jesse
Brian Lawson (20), Trenton Jay Solis (18), Robert Rio (23), Jed
Allen Jones (21) and Steven Lawrence Newark III (18) all pleaded
guilty in 1999 to felony assault.
(SFC, 2/17/99, p.A15)
1998 Mar 26, The Citizen’s
Compensation Commission voted to increase the salary of state
elected officials by 25.9% effective Dec 7.
(SFC, 3/27/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar 27, Federal documents
were released that charged Dr. Aramais Paronyan with heading a $13
million Medi-Cal fraud ring from LA to SF.
(SFEC, 3/29/98, p.E1)
1998 Mar 27, Robbers in
Commerce, east of LA, escaped with $2.94 million in cash from a
Dunbar Security armored car after shooting the driver.
(SFC, 3/28/98, p.A14)
1998 Mar 31, Power
de-regulation was postponed to this day to allow for software
corrections at the new California ISO (Independent Systems
Operator). Deregulation went into effect for the state’s $23 billion
(SFC,12/30/97, p.A1)(SFC, 3/31/98, p.A1)
1998 Mar, In LA County Chad
MacDonald (17) was slain and his girlfriend was raped, shot in the
head and left for dead. MacDonald had worked as a police informant
and his death led to a new law restricting the use of minors in
undercover work. In 1999 Jose Ibarra (21), Michael Martinez (22) and
Florence Noriega (30) were convicted for MacDonald's murder.
(SFC, 10/19/99, p.A26)
1998 Mar, Steven Stoft, an
economist for FERC, warned that California’s deregulated energy
market could be manipulated be energy generators.
(SSFC, 5/19/02, p.A7)
1998 Apr 1, The state’s
deregulated power market went into effect.
(SSFC, 5/19/02, p.A7)
1998 Apr 2, The state agreed to
settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by 3 female prison
workers for $4.3 million.
(SFC, 4/3/98, p.A26)
1998 Apr 4, In Moraga Rodney
Kish (46) was shot and killed. In Dec police arrested Leslie Kish
(45) and son Jason Kish (21) for the murder. Kish was rich and known
to have beaten his wife and children and had been convicted of
spousal abuse in 1995.
(SFC, 12/12/98, p.A19)
1998 Apr 9, Three winners
shared the $102 million Super Lotto.
(SFC, 4/10/98, p.A1)
1998 Apr 9, In Santa Cruz four
teenage boys gang-raped an 11-year-old girl after getting her high
(SFC, 4/14/98, p.A17)
1998 Apr 15, The federal
government accused A. Bruce Rozet and his business partners of
illegally siphoning off $7.5 million from 73 subsidized housing
projects across the nation. HUD had already sued Rozet for milking
17 projects in California and Nevada.
(SFC, 4/16/98, p.A3)
1998 Apr 26, In Artesia
Ronald Taylor (46) jumped to his death off a bridge onto the San
Gabriel River Freeway. Police found 5 people dead at his home and
suspected Taylor of murder.
(SFC, 4/28/98, p.A16)
1998 Apr 28, In Santa Rosa
security guards of Monument Security at a Safeway store mistakenly
beat Richard Joy Clay (72) for allegedly stealing cigarettes. Clay
settled a suit in 1999 for $290,000.
(SFC, 5/20/99, p.A1,10)
1998 Apr 29, The US Supreme
Court called for ending judicial delays of execution in a 5-4 vote.
This reversed the US Court of Appeals Aug, 1997, reprieve for Thomas
Thompson, accused of the 1981 murder of Ginger Fleischli in
California and reinstated his death penalty.
(SFC, 4/30/98, p.A1)
1998 Apr 30, Daniel V. Jones
(40) blew up his truck and fatally shot himself on a connector
bridge between the harbor and Century Freeways freeway with live TV
coverage. He had HIV and displayed an anti-HMO banner before killing
(SFC, 5/1/98, p.A3)(SFC, 5/2/98, p.A3)
1998 May 8, In southern
California an identical twin whose plot to kill her sister made
headlines around the world sobbed uncontrollably as a judge
sentenced her to 26 years to life in prison. Jeen "Gina" Han (24),
dubbed "the evil twin," and two teenagers were convicted last
November of conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes for the
1996 attack on Sunny Han and her then-roommate, Helen Kim.
1998 May 11, In SF Archbishop
Levada planned to start a free weekly newspaper for the 100,000
registered Catholics of SF and San Mateo. He also announced plans to
help fund and distribute El Heraldo Catolico, a Spanish-language
newspaper for the Diocese of Sacramento and Oakland.
(SFC, 5/12/98, p.A17)
1998 May 13, The Altamont
Landfill in Livermore, the largest trash dump in Northern
California, was tentatively allowed to expand its annual garbage
intake from 1.6 million tons to 2.16 million tons per year.
(SFC, 5/14/98, p.A22)
1998 May 15, Oysters from
Tomales Bay were removed from market shelves due to an unknown agent
causing illness. The symptoms were similar to the Norwalk virus that
caused illnesses around New Orleans during the winter of 1996-1997,
that was traced to human sewage.
(SFEC, 5/31/98, p.A7)
1998 May 21, In Anaheim, Ca.,
Disney opened its world of tomorrow.
(SFC, 5/22/98, p.A19)
1998 May 28, Comic actor Phil
Hartman (49) of "Saturday Night Live" and "NewsRadio" fame was shot
to death at his home in Encino, Calif., by his wife, Brynn (40), who
then killed herself.
(SFC, 5/29/98, p.A1)(AP, 5/28/08)
1998 Jun 2, California Prop.
227 was a state ballot measure that would ban bilingual education.
Prop. 226 made it more difficult for unions to use member dues for
political purposes. Prop. 227 won with 61% support and effectively
abolished the state's 30-year-old bilingual education program by
requiring that all children be taught in English. Prop. 226 lost by
a 53% margin.
(SFC, 4/27/98, p.A1)(SFC, 5/9/98, p.A22)(SFC,
6/3/98, p.A1)(WSJ, 6/4/98, p.A1)
1998 Jun 2, Gray Davis won the
Democratic nomination for governor. He was to face Dan Lungren in
(SFC, 6/3/98, p.A1)
1998 Jun 2, Jerry Brown (60)
won the election for Mayor of Oakland.
(SFC, 6/3/98, p.A1)
1998 Jun 5, Former Los Angeles
Mayor, Samuel W. Yorty, died at 88. He served three terms from 1961
(SFC, 6/6/98, p.A5)
1998 Jun 6, In Antioch Larry
Kiepert (13) was shot and killed by a bullet wound to the head as he
played basketball. The shot was accidentally fired by an 11-year-old
neighbor, Joshua, who was playing with his father’s hunting rifle.
It was later reported that the shooting was intentional. Joshua was
convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
(SFC, 6/9/98, p.A20)(SFC, 6/11/98, p.A1)\(SFC,
1998 Jun 8, Wells Fargo and
Norwest Corp. reported a merger plan valued at $30-34 billion to
form the nation’s 6th-7th largest bank with headquarters in SF.
(SFC, 6/8/98, p.A1)(SFC, 6/9/98, p.A10)
1998 Jun 8, Lethal algae blooms
in recent weeks killed scores of birds and seal lions in Monterey
(SFC, 6/8/98, p.A1)
1998 Jun 12, In California
Christina Marie Williams (13) was reported missing in the Monterey
area and was feared to have been kidnapped. In Jan 1999 the remains
of a young woman were found in the area that she was last seen on
Fort Ord. Her remains were identified with dental records. On April
6, 2017 authorities identified Charles Allen Holifield (56), a sex
offender serving a 25-year sentence at Valley State Prison in
Chowchilla, as the girl’s murderer.
(SFC, 6/17/98, p.A1)(SFC, 1/14/99, p.A1)(SFC,
1/15/99, p.A1)(SFC, 4/7/17, p.D1)
1998 Jun 17, Unocal announced
that it would pay up to $200 million to remove an oil spill beneath
the town of Avila Beach near San Luis Obispo.
(SFC, 6/18/98, p.A1)
1998 Jun 24, Dan Lungren, the
state attorney general, approved a provisional license for the $20
million Lucky Chances Card Room in Colma.
(SFC, 6/27/98, p.A18)
1998 Jun 29, It was reported
that Mike Corbin had begun manufacturing the single-seat Sparrow,
3-wheel vehicle in Hollister, Ca. The 960 pound electric vehicle was
designed for a range of 60 miles on a single charge with a top speed
of 60 mph. It was priced at $12,900.
(SFC, 6/29/98, p.A17)
1998 Jun 30, Judge Joan
Comparet-Cassani in Long Beach, Ca., ordered the activation of a
stun belt (50,000 volts), fitted under the jail jumpsuit of
defendant Ronnie Hawkins, for his repeated interruptions.
(SFC, 7/10/98, p.A3)(SFC, 8/7/99, p.A17)
1998 Jun 30, Most of the
state’s English-speaking students scored below the national average
on an new controversial achievement test.
(SFC, 7/1/98, p.A1)
1998 Jun, The California State
Archives Collection opened at 10th a O streets in Sacramento.
(Tuesday-Sunday 10-5; $6.50).
(SFC, 9/23/98, p.A18)
1998 Jun, The 10.7 million
Golden State Museum opened in Sacramento. Maintenance of the museum
was dependent self-generated revenue.
(WSJ, 12/15/99, p.CA1)
1998 Jul 1, The Brady/Jared
Teen Driver Safety Act went into effect. Minors under 18 were
required to drive with a permit for 6 months before getting a
license. Other restrictions included no driving between midnight and
(SFC, 6/26/98, p.A23)
1998 Jul 6, A planned shipment
of nuclear rods was to be transported across Northern California,
Nevada and Utah to Idaho for processing before final storage in
South Carolina. The federal government had made 154 secret shipments
of spent nuclear fuel rods over the last 40 years. Four more
shipments from 7 Asian countries were planned to occur by 2009.
(SFC, 7/6/98, p.a1)
1998 Jul 7, The US Court of
Appeals ruled that condemned prisoners have the option to choose
death by lethal injection or by gas in San Quentin’s death chamber.
The gas chamber was shut down in 1994.
(SFC, 7/8/98, p.A17)
1998 Jul 7, A jury in Santa
Monica, Calif., convicted Mikhail Markhasev of murdering Ennis
Cosby, Bill Cosby's only son, during a roadside robbery. Markhasev
was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
1998 Jul 9, The State Fish and
Game Dept. began releasing trout into Lake Davis following the Oct
‘97 poisoning of non-native pike. Trace amounts of piperonyl
butoxide (PBO) still lingered and the lake was not cleared for
drinking water usage.
(SFC, 7/10/98, p.D3)
1998 Jul 12, In Auburn Arturo
Juarez Suarez killed a Mexican woman’s husband, brother and 2
children and raped her at the Parnell Ranch. The woman was the
sister-in-law of his estranged wife.
(SFC, 7/15/98, p.A16)
1998 Jul 13, Thomas Martin
Thompson (43) was executed at San Quentin, Ca., for the murder of
Ginger Fleischli in 1981. In 2015 a federal appeals court judge that
Thompson was likely innocent.
(SFC, 7/14/98, p.A1)(SFC, 6/2/15, p.D1)(SSFC,
1998 Jul 15, Owens Valley and
Los Angeles struck a deal to end the massive dust storms at the
110-sq-mile lakebed to meet federal air quality standards by the
year 2006. The cost was estimated at $120 million.
(SFC, 7/16/98, p.)
1998 Jul 16, In Stockton, Ca.,
a jury awarded $30 million in damages to 2 brothers for enduring
years of sexual abuse from Rev. Oliver O’Grady. In 2006 Amy Berg
produced her film “Deliver Us From Evil," a documentary on O’Grady,
who was deported to Ireland after serving time in the US.
(SFC, 7/17/98, p.A1)(SFC, 10/25/06, p.E1)
1998 Jul 29, The O.J. Simpson
6,200 sq. foot mansion at 360 N. Rockingham in LA was demolished. It
had sold to an investment banker for $4 million and a new home was
planned for the site.
(SFC, 7/30/98, p.A3)
1998 Jul 29, Nathan James Smart
sped through a Santa Rosa stoplight and crashed into a 1977 Geo
Metro killing Chrissy Hagle (18) and Megan White (18). Smart was
convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter.
(SFC, 6/17/99, p.C4)
1998 Jul 30, A scientific panel
advised the state that diesel exhaust posed a serious cancer threat.
(SFC, 7/31/98, p.A23)
1998 Jul 31, At Marine World a
Bengal tiger mauled a woman from San Jose, Jaunell Waldo (45),
during a photo shoot.
(SFC, 8/1/98, p.A1)
1998 Jul, In Contra Costa
County the Los Vaqueros Reservoir was scheduled for completion. The
$450 million project was financed by bonds approved in 1988. It
measured 2 1/2 mile in length and width. Pumping the damn full was
expected to take 18 months. Recreation facilities were to be in
place by Jul 2000.
(SFC, 10/9/97, p.A20)(SFC, 2/9/98, p.A16)
1998 Aug 7, A fire in Tracy
burned some 2.5 million tires at Royster’s Tire Disposal. Some 6-7
million tires in a 30-acre gravel pit were expected to burn for
weeks. The tires were still burning in April, 1999.
(SFC, 8/8/98, p.A21)(SFC, 8/10/98, p.A20)(SFC,
1998 Aug 12, A 5.4 earthquake
on the San Andreas fault was centered near San Juan Bautista.
(WSJ, 8/13/98, p.A1)
1998 Aug 13, US border agents
found 7 people dead in the Anza-Borrego Desert. They were believed
to be illegal immigrants abandoned by their smuggler.
(SFC, 8/14/98, p.A3)
1998 Aug 13, In California Jack
Jessee was stabbed to death by hit man, Thomas Joseph Garrick (36)
of Laguna Hills. His wife had him murdered to avoid paying for his
cancer treatment and to collect insurance money. Sandra Jessee was
arrested in Phoenix in 2007. She had collected $650,000 after her
husband's murder from the sale of their home, his death benefits and
(SFC, 3/24/12, p.A5)(http://tinyurl.com/7wx9dol)
1998 Aug 13, Jose Garcia Reyes
(57), an unemployed tomato picker, was murdered at the edge of the
UC Davis campus. Ruben Campos, Guadalupe Franklin and Juan Palomino
were arrested for the murder but their prosecution fell apart due to
alleged coercive interrogation tactics.
(SFEC, 6/18/00, p.A1,22)
1998 Aug 15, Michael Castillo
of Salinas was murdered. In 2001 Caesar “Lobo" Ramirez and Rico
“Smiley" Garcia faced murder charges in an indictment that called
the murder a means of gaining entry and power in the Nuestra
(SFC, 1/20/01, p.A21)
1998 Aug 20, Gov. Wilson signed
a $71 billion budget, 52 days into the new fiscal year, the 2nd
longest delay in state history.
(SFC, 8/21/98, p.A19)
1998 Aug 21, The Univ. of
Calif. at Berkeley tied with the Univ. of Virginia as the best
public university in the country according to a US News & World
(SFC, 8/21/98, p.A24)
1998 Aug 24, Gov. Wilson signed
the California Internet Tax Freedom Act into law at Cisco Systems.
(SFC, 8/25/98, p.D1)
1998 Aug 24, It was reported
that seawater had intruded to within 2 miles of the wells that
supply drinking water to Salinas (pop. 123,000), and that seawater
underlied 22,000 acres in northern Monterey County.
(SFC, 8/24/98, p.A1)
1998 Aug 25, It was announced
that Gov. Wilson would give the state prison guards’ union a 12% pay
increase. State firefighters were to get a 7% pay hike.
(SFC, 8/26/98, p.A20)
1998 Aug 28, A fire was
reported at a waste dump at Santa Clarita Greenwaste in LA County.
Numerous firefighters later reported health problems that were
related to toxins from the fire.
(SFC, 4/19/99, p.D8)
1998 Aug 29, The 1,864-acre
Round Valley Regional Park, east of Mt. Diablo, was to be dedicated.
(SFC, 8/27/98, p.A20)
1998 Aug 29, A fire began in
Yolo County and expanded to 2,000 acres in 2 days. In Inyo Nat’l.
Forest a fire covered 3,000 acres.
(SFC, 8/31/98, p.A1)
1998 Sep 1, The California
Legislature salvaged the Headwaters forest deal by one vote and
approved $425 million to acquire 9,400 acres of redwood forest. The
federal government already approved $250 million.
(SFC, 9/2/98, p.A3)
1998 Sep 7, Disneyland’s new
Tomorrowland was scheduled to open this Memorial Day in Anaheim,
Ca., with whirling orbs and speeding starships.
(SFC, 7/14/96, p.T3)
1998 Sep 10, In Monterey
County, Ca., narcotics investigators busted a khat plantation. The
plant leaves contain cathinone, a natural amphetamine.
(SFC, 9/11/98, p.A19)
1998 Sep 14, Margarita Flores
disappeared. She had been 8 ½ months pregnant and parts of her body
were found after several days outside Tijuana, Mexico. The next day
Josephina Sonia Saldana brought the fetus of Flores to a hospital
and claimed it was hers and stillborn. In 1999 Fresno judge Edward
Sarkisian ordered that Saldana stand trial for the deaths.
(SFEC, 5/23/99, p.D6)
1998 Sep 17, David Chain of
Texas was killed by a falling redwood tree logged by Earl Ammons
near the Headwaters Forest near Eureka, Ca. Chain's family filed
suit in 1999 against Pacific Lumber. In 2004 Patrick Beach authored
"A Good Forest for Dying: The Tragic Death of a Young Man on the
Front Lines of the Environmental Wars."
(SFEC, 3/14/99, p.A1)(SFC, 9/13/99, p.A28)(SSFC,
1998 Sep 18, The UC Chancellors
received a 3.5% pay raise to make their salaries an average
(SFC, 9/19/98, p.A17)
1998 Sep 20, William D.
Hohenthal Jr., a retired anthropology professor at SF State, died
while writing a monograph on the Tipai Indians of Lower California.
(SFC, 10/15/98, p.C6)
1998 Sep 21, Louis P. Martini
(79), son of Louis Martini (d.1974) - founder of the Louis M.
Martini vineyards, died. He was the first vintner in the US to make
a wine wholly from the Merlot grapes.
(SFC, 9/22/98, p.E2)
1998 Sep 25, The body of Lanett
White was found in a watery ditch near Lodi. Her death was later
attributed Wayne Adam Ford.
(SFC, 11/7/98, p.A1)
1998 Sep 26, The Liberian
tanker Command owned by Anax Int'l. spilled 3,000 gallons of oil
during an illegal transfer from one holding tank to another. The
captain pleaded guilty in 1999 and Anax was fined $9.4 million.
(SFC, 9/28/99, p.A18)
1998 Sep 27, A pair of 3-4
mile-long oil slicks, each a mile wide, were found about 9 miles out
to sea between the Golden Gate and half Moon Bay. Lab tests later
matched this oil to a small spill in the Bay on Sep 24 to the
Liberian tanker, M-T Command, owned by Pearl Shipping of Monrovia.
In Dec. the owner, captain and chief engineer were indicted for
dumping fuel. In 1999 Anax Int'l. was fined $3.8 million. The Greek
firm had earlier paid $5.5 million in civil penalties.
(SFC, 9/30/98, p.A1)(USAT, 10/9/98, p.10A)(SFC,
12/3/98, p.A25)(SFC, 12/14/99, p.A28)
1998 Sep 28, Gov. Wilson signed
legislation to move the California primary to March 7 in the year
(SFC, 9/29/98, p.A1)
1998 Sep 29, Tom Bradley,
former mayor of Los Angeles (1973-1993), died at age 80.
(SFC, 9/30/98, p.A1)
1998 Sep 30, In California Gov.
Wilson signed legislation to require the use of safety needles to
protect health care workers from accidental needle sticks. It was
the first state in the nation to enact such legislation.
(SFC, 10/1/98, p.A1)(SFC, 12/18/98, p.A1)
1998 Oct 1, State regulators
said that most gas stations in the Bay Area and Northern California
will be allowed to sell gas without MTBE from Oct. to Jan.
(SFC, 10/2/98, p.A1)
1998 Oct 1, Some 2,500 high
school students rallied in San Leandro demanding more state money
for schools rather than jails.
(SFC, 10/2/98, p.A21)
1998 Oct 2, Gene Autry
(b.1907), America’s first singing cowboy, died at age 91 in Studio
(SFC, 10/3/98, p.A1)
1998 Oct 5, A Grumman S-2 air
tanker crashed while fighting the 18,000 acre blaze burning near
Banning in Riverside Ct. The pilot was presumed dead.
(SFC, 10/6/98, p.A17)
1998 Oct 6, An anonymous donor
gave $35 million to St. Mary’s College in Moraga. It would be used
for a new science center and 2 new science majors.
(SFC, 10/7/98, p.A16)
1998 Oct 6, In Riverside a
former parks employee burst into City Hall and opened fire. Joseph
Neale Jr. (48) wounded the mayor and 2 Council members and was
himself wounded by police along with 2 others.
(SFC, 10/7/98, p.A3)
1998 Oct 12, In Santa Monica,
Ca., Horst Fietze, a German tourist, was killed by robbers as he
strolled with his wife on an ocean promenade. In 2009 Paul Carpenter
(31), a suspect in the murder, was arrested in Jamaica. Three others
had already been convicted and sentenced for their roles in the
(SFC, 2/13/09, p.B6)
1998 Oct 14, The San Diego
Padres won the National League championship over the Atlanta Braves
in 4 games to 2.
(WSJ, 10/15/98, p.A1)
1998 Oct 19, The Altamont
Commuter Express (ACE) was scheduled to begin carrying passengers
from the Central Valley to San Jose.
(SFC, 10/12/98, p.A1)
1998 Oct 23, Horst “Hans"
Grahlmann (57) was shot and killed near Guerneyville in Monte Rio
along with employee Jason Aaron (26). Grahlmann was the owner of
several gay bars. In 2002 police arrested Zachariah Judson
Ruthledge, a massage therapist and handyman.
(SFC, 10/28/98, p.A15)(SFC, 11/18/99, p.A25)(SFC,
1998 Oct 23, The body of
Patricia Anne Tamez (29) was found in San Bernadino. Her death was
later attributed Wayne Adam Ford.
(SFC, 11/7/98, p.A1)
1998 Oct 24, The new $250
million Genentech facility in Vacaville was christened.
(SFC, 10/23/98, p.B1)
1998 Oct 26, The 7,000 acre
Coast Dairies & Land Co. ranch north of Santa Cruz was acquired
by the Trust for Public Land for $43 million with partial funding
from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.
(SFC, 10/27/98, p.A12)
1998 Oct, Leiner Health
Products of Carson lost over 4 million pseudoephedrine pills, which
were used by illegal drug makers to produce methamphetamine. As many
as 20 barrels of the substance was later reported stolen in this
year from an Alza plant in Vacaville.
(SFC, 4/7/00, p.A4)
1998 Nov 3, In California Gray
Davis was elected governor over Dan Lungren and Barbara Boxer
retained her Senate seat from Mat Fong. Prop. 5, the Indian casino
gambling issue, also won. Prop. 10, a 50-cent tax on cigarettes, was
also narrowly approved.
(SFC, 11/4/98, p.A1)(SFC, 11/13/98, p.A1)
1998 Nov 3, Oakley voters
appeared to approve the town as Contra Costa’s 19th city.
(SFC, 11/4/98, p.23)
1998 Nov 3, A Medfly quarantine
of some 160 sq. miles was planned for Riverside County.
(SFC, 11/4/98, p.C5)
1998 Nov 5, In Eureka, Ca.,
Wayne Adam Ford (36), a truck driver, surrendered himself to the
sheriff’s office and confessed to killing at least 4 women. He was
finally brought to trial after several legal delays and was found
guilty of four counts of first-degree murder on June 27, 2006, and
was sentenced to death on August 11, 2006.
1998 Nov 5, In Chico 2 football
players, Dereck Jonathan Phillips (19) and Trevor McDonald Bird (19)
of Butte Comm. College, beat and killed Lloyd Brown (47), a local
(SFC, 11/11/98, p.A1)
1998 Nov 13, In California
Cyndi Vanderheiden (b.1973) was last seen at a bar in Linden, Ca.
Her car was found the next day but her body was not found. A jury
later determined that she was raped and killed by Loren Herzog and
Wesley Shermantine, later dubbed the “Speed Freak Killers." Their
murder spree lasted for 15 years. Shermantine and Herzog were later
sentenced to death, but in 2010 Herzog was freed.
1998 Nov 14, In Oceanside,
Ca., Matthew Cecchi (9) was killed in a restroom by a knife
slash to the neck. Brandon Wilson (20), a drifter from Wisconsin,
was picked up within days and admitted to the murder. A jury in 1999
recommended that Wilson be executed. Wilson was sentenced to death
Nov 4. On Nov 17, 2011, Wilson was found hanging in his death row
cell at San Quentin.
(SFC, 11/19/98, p.C6)(SFC, 10/7/99, p.A3)(SFC,
11/5/99, p.A6)(Reuters, 11/17/11)
1998 Nov 17, In Napa 3 students
were gunned down by a gunman in clash between the Norteno and Sureno
gangs. A 17-year-old youth was arrested Nov 21.
(SFC, 11/18/98, p.A17)(SFC, 11/26/98, p.A21)
1998 Nov 25, The Federal
Railroad Administration issued an emergency order directing the
Northwestern Pacific Railroad to shut down. The NWP line had 286
miles of old track from Lombard in Napa to Arcata in Humboldt
(SFC, 11/26/98, p.A21)
1998 Nov 30, In LA 3 people
were left dead following a drive-by shooting, carjacking and police
chase. Officer Brian Brown (27) was killed as was suspect Oscar
Zatarain (23). The victim of the drive-by was unnamed.
(SFC, 12/1/98, A3)
1998 Nov, San Diego voters
approved a new $411 baseball stadium.
(SFC, 6/25/99, p.A4)
1998 Nov, Rachel Newhouse, a
junior at California Polytechnic, was assaulted near the Amtrak
station in San Luis Obispo. Her body was found on the Jennifer St.
Bridge. Rex Allen Krebs (33), a registered sex offender, was
associated with the murder in 1999, while being held on parole
(SFC, 4/26/99, p.A19)
1998 Dec 4, Former state
Senator Milton Marks died in SF at age 78.
(SFC, 12/5/98, p.A1)
1998 Dec 11, In Dublin a
botched robbery at the Outback Steakhouse left Deputy John Paul
Monego (33) dead. Three suspects were arrested. Ruben Eliseo Vasquez
(23), Miguel Galindo Sifuentes (19) and Hai Minh (19) were held for
(SFEC, 12/13/98, p.C1)(SFC, 12/15/98, p.A21)(SFC,
1998 Dec 22, California gas
stations faced this deadline to replace or improve their underground
fuel tanks. Hundreds of rural gas stations were expected to go out
of business due to the costs.
(SFC, 12/7/98, p.A1)
1998 Dec 23, Two days of severe
cold caused an estimated $591 million in agricultural damage. Hard
hit were the lemon and navel orange crop of the central San Joaquin
Valley. Damage estimates later rose to over $700 million.
(SFC, 12/24/98, p.D1)(SFC, 4/2/99, p.)
1998 Dec 24, In Anaheim Luan
Phi Dawson (33) died after being hit in the head by an 8-pound cleat
from the sailing ship Columbia at Disneyland.
(SFC, 1/9/99, p.A22)
1998 Dec 28, In Morgan Hill a
speeding car caused an accident that left 4 people dead and 3
injured. The driver, Scott Davis (33), escaped from the scene but
was picked up the next day.
(SFC, 12/30/98, p.A1)
1998 Dec 28, In Riverside
Tyisha Miller (19) was killed by a hail of police bullets as she sat
in her car with a gun. Her car had some 27 bullet holes. Miler died
from bullets to her head and chest with a total of 12 bullets in her
body. A coroner's report later said that she was legally drunk with
traces of marijuana present. In May, 1999, four police officers were
cleared of criminal charges in the killing. The case remained under
FBI investigation for civil rights violations. In July officers Paul
Bugar (24), Wayne Stewart (26), Daniel Hotard (23) and Michael
Alagna( 27) were fired. Sgt. Gregory Preece (38), supervisor of the
4 officers, was told he would be fired July 27.
(SFC, 12/30/98, p.A1)(SFC, 1/1/99, p.A5)(SFC,
1/8/99, p.A12)(SFC, 5/7/99, p.A7)(SFC, 7/14/99, p.A3)(SFC, 7/28/99,
1998 Mike Davis authored
"Ecology of Fear," a 484-page diatribe about the ecological and
social disasters threatening Los Angeles.
(SFC, 8/31/99, p.A5)
1998 J. Kahn authored “An
Adventurer’s Guide to Humboldt County."
(SFEC, 10/11/98, p.T10)
1998 The book "California
Votes: The 1998 Governor's Race: An Inside Look at the Candidates
and Their Campaigns by the People Who Managed Them" was edited by
Gerald C. Lubenow and published in 2000.
(SFEC, 1/30/00, BR p.3)
1998 Robert Mondavi published
“Harvests of Joy: My Passion for Excellence: How the Good Life
Became Great Business."
(SFEC, 11/8/98, BR p.8)
1998 Los Angeles A to Z was
published by Leonard and Dale Pitt.
(SFEC, 4/12/98, Par p.20)
1998 Lionel Rolfe authored “Fat
Man on the Left" Four Decades in the Underground." The book was 16
essays on his life in LA.
(SFEC, 10/18/98, BR p.6)
1998 Stephen Schwartz, reporter
for the SF Chronicle, published “From West to East: California and
the Making of the American Mind."
(WSJ, 3/3/98, p.A16)
1998 Charles L. Sullivan
authored “A Companion to California Wine: An Encyclopedia of Wine
and Winemaking from the Mission Period to the Present."
1998 The Latino Museum of
History, Art and Culture opened in downtown Los Angeles in a former
Bank of America building.
(SFEC, 10/18/98, p.T3)
1998 A new LegoLand theme park
was to open in the state.
(WSJ, 2/9/98, p.A1)
1998 California passed a law
regulating unwanted commercial messages (spam). The law was upheld
(SFC, 1/4/02, p.A1)
1998 California voters approved
the nation’s first and only law outlawing the killing of horses for
human consumption. In the US 3 firms operated three plants that
slaughtered horses. The 2 plants in Texas and one in Illinois were
owned by French and Belgian firms.
(SFC, 4/3/06, p.A10)
1998 The Department of
Education began a grants program for arts education.
(SFC, 5/13/02, p.A9)
1998 The Quincy Library Group
Forestry Act was passed. It grew out of recommendations from a
committee of residents in Plumas County who tried to strike a
balance between logging and conservation demands.
(SFC, 6/11/99, p.A19)
1998 Barry Munitz was appointed
as the president and chief executive of the Getty Trust. In 2005 the
California endowment was valued at $5.2 billion.
(Econ, 11/19/05, p.29)
1998 Richard Krupp, computer
analyst for the California Department of Corrections, sounded the
alarm that sick leave and overtime costs at state prisons were
spiraling out of control. Officials asked him to revise the numbers
to show decreasing expenses. Krupp refused and was moved to a
(SFC, 3/23/04, p.A1)