Bay Area Briefs

Saturday November 17, 2001

MARTINEZ — A juvenile computer hacker faces sentencing in January after pleading guilty to defacing NASA and U.S. Army Web pages last summer with his own Web page protesting the music industry’s suit against Napster. 

The hacker, known as “Pimpshiz,” pleaded guilty earlier this month in Contra Costa Juvenile Court to two of the 11 counts filed against him this June. The other counts were dismissed. 

The investigation was conducted by state and federal authorities. 

Sentencing for the hacker is set for Jan. 11. 



RICHMOND — Residential developers must now build affordable housing or pay steep fees, but not as steep as city leaders originally intended. 

This week the City Council gave final approval to an Inclusionary Housing Ordinance that forces developers of 10 or more units to set aside homes for low-income families or pay an “in-lieu” fee. 

The resulting funds will go toward the city’s Infill Housing Program, which offers strategies to transform abandoned and neglected properties into quality affordable housing. 

The fee originally was set at 10 percent of the construction costs for a market-rate home, times the number of units in the complex. Similar ordinances throughout the Bay Area require much lower amounts. 

Fearing developers might abandon the city, Richmond council members lowered the fee to 7 percent of the market-rate construction costs, and stipulated that the City Council evaluate the ordinance after one year. 



PINOLE — After years of teacher complaints that mold in their classrooms was making them sick, school district officials decided this week to abandon Elizabeth Stewart Elementary School. 

“One of my teachers died of lung cancer,” said Principal Carol Butcher, who suffers from headaches, coughing and sinus problems. “I have two teachers on (worker’s compensation) because they can’t get rid of sinus problems and the coughing. I have one teacher who cannot make it to lunch without throwing up fluid from her lungs.” 

More testing is needed to determine what exactly is happening. Three separate environmental studies have failed to show dangerous levels of mold spores in the school. 

The move was approved Wednesday in an emergency vote by the school board to allow for additional testing of the 1960s-era hillside school. As many as 21 portable units will be trucked onto a grass field and baseball diamond at the back of the campus, at a cost of about $1.5 million in Measure M funds. 

The portable units are expected to arrive in December, but likely won’t be ready for classroom use until late January or early February.