SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid and the San Francisco Bay area’s water supply are three potential terrorist targets, according to experts.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, officials here have increased security at several sites and are reviewing plans to take additional steps to make San Francisco’s landmarks harder to hit.
“The question then is ’What do we do?’ You do your level best to take care of the bigger areas — the Hetch Hetchy water system, airport security, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, the California Water Project,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Tourists also are not permitted to enter the lobby of the 48-story Transamerica Pyramid. Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks are closed to the public through the weekend and the California Highway Patrol is helping beef up security on all bridges.
State water suppliers and Pacific Gas and Electric said they’ve increased security since last week’s attacks.
The California State Water Project provides water to about 23 million people while the federal Central Valley Project delivers water to about 3 million people. PG&E has electrical transmission lines covering 18,500 miles going through some of the state’s most rural areas.
CORONA — Families of World Trade Center victims will soon have $6,250 in cash and 41 hand-woven quilts with matching pillows, thanks to inmates at the California Institution for Women.
The money, to be turned over to the Catholic Charities of San Diego, was raised from contributions from nearly all the prison’s 1,875 inmates, said spokesman Lt. Robert Sebald.
“I have worked at the California Institution for Women for 29 years and I have never seen such a rally of inmates,” Sebald said.
Those with skills at the sewing machine also made quilts and pillows.
The prison, where inmates include murderers, drug abusers and other violent felons, is one of 10 penal facilities around the state raising money for the families of terrorism victims, said state Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Heimerich.
COACHELLA — Despite last week’s terrorist attacks, officials at Coachella Valley High School plan to keep the nickname that dates back before World War II — the Arabs.
The school, which opened in 1910, draws its nickname from the Middle-Eastern influence that began emerging in the area in the late 1800s.
Law enforcement agencies across the nation have reported a backlash against Arab Americans in recent days but teachers and students said they haven’t had any problems. The school will host the rival Indio Rajahs and school officials said both teams may hold hands in a moment of silence before the game.
LOMA LINDA — Two Loma Linda University faculty members are canceling a humanitarian trip to Afghanistan.
The teachers were planning to visit the University of Kabul to provide supplies for its library and medical school. Dr. Gordon Hadley, a retired Loma Linda University faculty member, worked with Kabul officials to create its medical school in the 1960s.
There were no immediate plans to reschedule the trip.
“We’re not really clear on when conditions will allow them to go,” said Augustus Cheatham, Loma Linda’s vice president for public affairs and marketing.
LOS ANGELES — New York natives transplanted to Southern California are having a tough time being away from their native city after the terrorist attacks. They fear the Big Apple will change without them.
“From now on, one of the things that identifies New Yorkers will be the experience of having been there in this crisis,” said Greg Heyman, a Manhattan native. “And I don’t have it.”
Many New Yorkers who live in the Southland say they have called their friends to get firsthand accounts of the tragedy. Some transplants want to return to New York City to lend a helping hand or see the devastation themselves.
IRVINE — The largest English-language Pakistani weekly in the nation is devoting pages usually reserved for home country news to last week’s terrorist attacks.
The Pakistan Link, which has offices in Irvine, features stories about Pakistan’s supportive pledge to help the U.S. fight terrorism and President Bush’s meeting with the Islamic community. The paper eliminated its entertainment section and increased its circulation from 25,000 to 27,000.
There are approximately 170,000 Muslims in Orange County according to the Council on Islamic Relations in Anaheim.
“American Muslims feel accused (because of) the tremendous amount of misunderstanding,” said reader Mahboob Akhter of Mission Viejo. “Pakistan Link promotes understanding of different faiths.”
SAN JOSE — The Bay Area has a new anti-terrorism czar who will work with investigators nationwide in tracking and thwarting potential future attacks.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Caldwell will head a regional task force and work with federal agencies and other anti-terrorism officials across the country. She is the former head of the criminal division for the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco, which is responsible for prosecuting federal offenses from Monterey to the Oregon border.
Caldwell, 44, was selected after Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered all U.S. attorneys to create anti-terrorism task forces.
Caldwell has a history of prosecuting mobsters, Asian gangs and executives accused of fraud. She came to San Francisco two years ago and she became the head of the securities fraud unit that has emphasized fraud investigations in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
PETALUMA — Military fighter jets were scrambled to the city’s airport Thursday night in search of a small plane that slipped off Federal Aviation Administration radar screens, police said.
At the FAA’s request, Petaluma police officers met the plane at Petaluma Municipal Airport, said Lt. Mike Cook. Authorities relayed the pilot’s name, information and plane identification number to the FAA.
The plane landed before the jets arrived and was not forced down, Cook said. The pilot was not detained or arrested. Police and the FAA on Friday would not release the pilot’s name, the type of plane or the type of military fighter jet that responded.
Current FAA protocol calls for dispatching military aircraft as a precaution for any planes that fail to follow current regulations.
Dozens of startled residents called 911 around 7:30 p.m. to report the low-flying fighters, which roared overhead shortly after President George W. Bush concluded a televised address to Congress about the nation’s war on terrorism.
HESPERIA — The fourth annual High Desert Balloon Festival won’t lift off this month.
The Sept. 28-30 event was canceled because of airspace restrictions following last week’s terrorist attacks. The Federal Aviation Administration has enforced tight restrictions on flights, including hot-air balloons.
“I realize there are going to be disappointed people, but it’s out of our hands,” said festival coordinator Charlotte Kroepil.
The FAA restrictions were the final blow to the festival, which was already in jeopardy because organizers got a late start on planning.
LOS ANGELES — An emerging anti-war movement held a Thursday evening vigil that lured up to 400 people to downtown’s Pershing Square.
Protesters played flutes, held up rainbow flags with peace symbols and signs that read, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind — Gandhi” and “The death of more innocents will not make us safe.”
Men in Aztec dress pounded on drums and women in colorful headdresses danced as protesters hoisted the signs in front of passing motorists, eliciting both horn honking and jeers.
“We are forming it to counterbalance the retaliatory and militaristic attitudes in the country, and we are trying to resolve this in a peaceful way,” said Sally Marr, an organizer for the new Coalition for World Peace. “It’s the beginning of an anti-war movement.”