The supervisors sought to draw a line between a repudiation of the Russian government, which has a history of civil rights abuses against people and journalists, and the Russian people, they said. The county cut ties with the Russian and Moscow governments while still preserving The County of Santa Clara/Region of Moscow, Russia, Sister-County Commission, which facilitates cultural and educational exchanges with the people.
The commission was created to advise the Board of Supervisors in promoting, aiding and encouraging commerce, cultural, educational and technological exchange with the Region of Moscow government — known as the Moscow Oblast — a political subdivision of the Russian Federation.
Santa Clara County has had a sister county relationship with Moscow since 1994. The relationship expanded in 2004 to incorporate the city of Moscow government.
In 27 years, the commission has fostered exchanges of information with nongovernmental organizations in Russia regarding social issues and other topics of common interest.
The ordinance will be scheduled for formal adoption on April 5.
— Sue Dremann
Prosecutors still unnerved by Woodside Skyline murders
A San Mateo County Superior Court judge might have convicted Pacifica resident Malik Dosouqi for the brutal stabbing murders of two men on Skyline Boulevard in Woodside in 2019, but prosecutors are still unnerved by his acts, their randomness and their ferocity, Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean Gallagher said on Monday.
On March 17, Judge Lisa A. Novak found Dosouqi guilty of two counts of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait and committing multiple murders. Dosouqi had a court trial with his verdict determined by a judge rather than by a jury. The defense and prosecutors had agreed to waive the jury trial, Gallagher said.
Dosouqi killed cab driver Abdulmalek Nasher, 32, of Pacifica, on June 17, 2019. Just before midnight on June 18, he also killed tow truck driver John Pekipaki, 31. Both men died at the scene and neither victim knew Dosouqi, the DA's office has said.
Dosouqi lured both of the victims to Skyline Boulevard by calling for services and then stabbed them repeatedly with a large knife. San Mateo County sheriff's deputies personnel investigating Nasher's homicide found Dosouqi after they heard the second victim, Pekipaki, calling for help nearby.
When the two deputies responded to Pekipaki's cries, Dosouqi attempted to flee by driving his car directly at the deputies and Pekipaki, who was mortally wounded on the ground. Dosouqi's car went off the road and landed in a ditch before he was taken into custody.
Two killings in two days was "really unnerving," Gallagher said. "It's gratuitous; there was no motive."
Dosouqi is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15. He remains in custody without bail.
— Sue Dremann
Gov. Newsom makes offer on gas tax rebate
Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to send California drivers as much as $800 each and encourage public transit systems to offer free rides, the latest proposal from state policymakers seeking to offset the soaring cost of gasoline and other goods for struggling residents.
Under Newsom's proposal, unveiled Wednesday, California would send registered vehicle owners $400 debit cards, limited to two rebates per person. Those would likely arrive starting in July, after the state adopted a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The governor's office estimates the rebate would cost about $9 billion.
Following extensive criticism in progressive circles that a rebate based on car ownership would send the wrong message about the state's climate goals and leave out many poor Californians, the governor also is proposing $750 million in grants for local bus and rail agencies to offer up to three months of free transit, benefiting about 3 million daily riders.
The plan also would pause part of the sales tax on diesel and pause the scheduled inflationary increase to the state gas tax this summer, backfilling more than $1 billion in revenue for transportation projects.
Any relief is subject to negotiation with the Legislature and will likely arrive months from now through the state budget. Lawmakers must pass a balanced spending plan by June 15 or lose their paychecks.
— Alexei Koseff / CalMatters
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