Bay Briefs

Monday November 05, 2001

Lee: feds should take charge of baggage screening 


OAKLAND – U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, denounced the House of Representatives for rejecting legislation that would have made the federal government responsible for airport passenger and baggage screening.  

Rejecting a version of the Aviation Security Bill approved unanimously by the Senate earlier this week, the House instead approved, 286-139, its own bill also omitting provisions that would have federal agents do the screening at the nation's 137 largest airports and create a separate deputy secretary in the Department of Transportation to take responsibility for transportation security.  

“It is important that we provide the safest environment for both our aviation industry employees and the customers who have come to rely on airline travel, air cargo, aircraft recreation and tourism,” Lee said in a prepared statement. “...Congress failed to provide the appropriate resources to strengthen and implement expanded aviation security measures so that our airline industry can get back on track and our nation's economy as a whole can once again prosper.”  


Riordan skips San Jose debate 


SAN JOSE – Secretary of State Bill Jones and Los Angeles businessman Bill Simon showed up at a California Congress of Republicans debate, but former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan was conspicuously absent. 

The gubernatorial hopefuls, vying for the endorsement of the GOP group, each spoke for 20 minutes Saturday then answered questions from about 150 attendees. 

But Riordan said a scheduling conflict kept him from sharing the stage with Jones and Simon. He later addressed the Congress of Republicans alone. 

His absence drew a rebuke from Jones. 

“If you can’t get on the same platform as Bill Simon and Bill Jones, how are you going to beat Gray Davis?” 

All three criticized Davis’ handling of the energy crisis. 

Riordan, who’s expected to announce his candidacy Tuesday, focused on wooing Latinos and women. 

Jones emphasized his statewide political experience and discussed the need to rebuild roads, dams and other infrastructure. 

Simon focused on his experience as a businessman and working with charities and said the state needs to get private businesses more involved in solving California’s problems. 


Palestine official calls for Israeli withdrawal 

SAN FRANCISCO – An elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council says the way to peace in the Middle East is through Israeli withdrawal of Palestinian territories. 

Hanan Ashwari, also a spokeswoman for the Arab League, told the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday that she’s glad to see President Bush being tougher with Israel. 

She says the Sept. 11 attacks showed that the U.S. needs an alliance with Arab countries. 

She also condemns what she calls Osama bin Laden’s exploitation of the Palestinian struggle. “We don’t want people killing in our names,” she said. 

Israel began pulling out of a West Bank town early Monday, more than two weeks after invading six towns following the assassination of an Israeli Cabinet minister. 


Golden Gate Bridge wedding goes ahead 

SAN FRANCISCO – Possible terrorist threats to the Golden Gate Bridge couldn’t stop one man with who had his heart set on one word – “yes.” 

That was the answer Saturday when Brian Koupal, 23, stood on the span overlooking the Pacific and asked Melissa Beever, 22, to marry him. “The bridge will be here forever,” Koupal said. “We knew nothing was going to happen. We will be able to come back to a spot and remember where it all happened.” 

The bridge has been under the close watch of the National Guard after FBI told law enforcement in Western states that the agency received uncorroborated information that West Coast bridges had been targeted by terrorists from Nov. 1 through Nov. 7. 

Golden Gate Bridge toll Lt. Ronald Reed said there were about 13,000 fewer vehicle crossings on Friday.