State Briefs

Friday October 18, 2002

San Francisco rents 

continue to fall 

SAN FRANCISCO — Summertime apartment rents remained stable in most major Western markets except California, where prices at the two ends of the state continued to shift in distinctly different directions, according to a report to be released Thursday. 

The Los Angeles and San Diego markets emerged as the hottest rental market in a quarterly survey covering nine Western states while rents in parts of the San Francisco Bay area market slumped to their lowest levels in three years. 

Outside California, rents in most Western markets changed by 1 percent or less from the same time last year, according to RealFacts, the Novato-based research firm that surveyed apartment complexes. 

As of Sept. 30, the average rent in Los Angeles stood at $1,295 and the average rent in the San Diego metropolitan area was $1,137, according to RealFacts. Both those figures represented an annual rent increase of nearly 6 percent. 

In the San Francisco metropolitan market, the average third-quarter rent was $1,632, a 12.8 percent decrease that rolled back prices to mid-1999 levels, RealFacts said. 

The San Francisco market’s seventh consecutive quarter of rent declines reflects a steep slide in the high-tech market that has dried up incomes and demand. 


Defense worker hoarding 

explosives at his home 

AROMAS — A U.S. Department of Defense worker who handles explosives at Fort Ord was accused of hoarding them at his Aromas home, a law enforcement official said. 

Authorities said Wednesday they found a cache of explosive materials Oct. 6 in sheds outside the home of Jeffrey Dean Trebler, 38, said San Benito County sheriff’s Sgt. Wes Walker. 

Deputies found the material after responding to the home on a domestic violence call.At the time, Trebler’s wife alerted them to the explosives, Walker said. 

Some of the items included rocket-launcher tubes, flash and smoke grenades and detonating cord, he said. 

“It was not a danger to the public unless improperly handled,” Walker said. “It was safely stored in the out buildings.” 

Walker said there’s no sign Trebler had plans to use what he’d collected. 

Trebler was placed on administrative leave at Fort Ord. 

He told investigators his job was to accept explosives from members of the public and then destroy them, Walker said. 

“The things he found interesting, he just took home rather than destroy,” Walker said. 

Trebler was booked for investigation of spousal abuse and was released on bail. He was not charged with explosives violations, but deputies passed what they found on to the San Benito County District Attorney’s Office. 



Reporter threatened in Los Angeles 

LOS ANGELES — A man was arrested and charged with threatening a Los Angeles Times reporter working on a story about an alleged Mafia extortion plot against actor Steven Seagal. 

Alexander Proctor, 58, of Los Angeles was arrested Wednesday outside his home. He was charged with interference with commerce by threats of violence, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Proctor was being held without bail in a downtown federal detention center. 

Authorities said Proctor allegedly broke the car window of Times reporter Anita Busch in June and left a package containing a dead fish with a long-stemmed rose in its mouth. 

A piece of cardboard with the word “STOP” was placed on her car, which was parked near her home, according to a federal grand jury indictment. 

The threats were meant to intimidate Busch in an effort to stop her from reporting the story, prosecutors said. 

“The only word he used was stop,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Saunders, the lead prosecutor. “I think it’s pretty clear.” 

The newspaper published several stories earlier this summer about the arrest of Seagal’s former partner for his alleged role in a multimillion-dollar extortion scheme against the actor by the Gambino crime family. 

The newspaper is “very pleased with the announcement of today’s arrest,” Times spokesman David Garcia said. “The safety of our reporter has always been our greatest concern.”