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Former California rideshare driver punched rider after thinking man was Jewish or Israeli, DOJ says

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A former California rideshare driver is facing a federal hate crime charge for allegedly assaulting a rider he thought was Jewish or Israeli back in October.

The Department of Justice said in a news release that Csaba John Csukás, 39, was arrested on Wednesday after assaulting a rider he was set to pick up at the San Francisco International Airport.

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Csukás allegedly asked the victim whether he was Jewish or Israeli and said he would not transport a Jewish or Israeli person before punching the victim in the face, the DOJ said.

The incident came a couple of weeks after Hamas terrorists attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7.

US MARSHALS ARREST FUGITIVE MOTHER ACCUSED OF KILLING 5-YEAR-OLD SON, STUFFING BODY INTO A SUITCASE IN 2022

The former rideshare driver allegedly punched the victim at San Francisco International Airport on Oct. 26, 2023. (iStock)

Officials condemned the attacks, saying that customers should be “able to ride without being profiled.”

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“When taking public transportation – whether a taxi, bus, or ride share(sic) – customers should be able to ride without being profiled, or worse yet attacked, because of their nationality or religion by drivers,” U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey for the Northern District of California said. “We will prosecute any ride-share(sic) driver who assaults a passenger in such hate-fueled violence.”

FUGITIVE CHARGED IN DOUBLE MURDER OF NATIONAL GUARD MEMBER, DAUGHTER SIGNS EXTRADITION TO MASSACHUSETTS

Csukás, a former rideshare driver, is charged with a federal hate crime after the October 2023 incident with a customer at the San Francisco airport. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Csukás made his first court appearance and was charged with “committing a federal hate crime which prohibits, among other things, causing bodily injury because of the actual or perceived religion or national origin of a person in circumstances affecting interstate commerce.”

 

If convicted, Csukás could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

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San Francisco, CA

Plan for San Francisco housing development could center around Stonestown Galleria

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Plan for San Francisco housing development could center around Stonestown Galleria


San Francisco appears headed for its first mega-project housing development since the pandemic.

The Stonestown Galleria may soon be home for thousands of new residents as officials look to turn shopping malls into living spaces.

While a lot of shopping malls are struggling, Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco is doing well. But there are those who think it could do even better.

“There’s a number of malls and shopping centers and shopping centers in the Bay Area that are currently contemplated to be transformed into new neighborhoods,” said Daniel Saver, a regional government planning director. “There’s a national trend right now to re-imagine old shopping malls, many of which often have a lot of surface parking.” 

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It’s the parking lots surrounding Stonestown that have officials so interested. The city has been in talks with the owner to turn many of the spaces to park into places to live.

Brookfield Properties has a plan to develop 3,500 housing units surrounding the existing mall, including six acres of parks, outdoor dining, recreation space and a plaza for a local farmer’s market. Much of the car traffic would be sent to underground parking garages.

The idea is to turn the shopping mall into a small, walkable, town center, with residents giving the area more life at night.

“We can create really vibrant spaces that have different feelings during the daytime and the evening,” said Saver. “But during the course of the whole day, they’re actually widely used by a variety of different people.” 

Ironically, Stonestown was ahead of its time. When it opened in 1952, it actually offered high-density housing.

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And old newspaper ad lists a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment going for $159 a month. Later, indoor malls became regional shopping destinations with customers arriving in cars.

And even though much of the rear parking lot now sits empty, some current customers don’t want to see the surface parking go away.

“Please don’t take the parking away. It’s silly,” said shopper Angela Fonda, who lives near Stonestown. “It’s just, you know, one more way to get revenue for the city. All sorts of crazy ideas going on right now. I just think it’s fine the way it is.”

But a man named Yoram didn’t think so. He rode his bike to the mall, and while he agreed convenient parking was nice, he supports the plan.

“But housing is more important,” he said, “because homelessness is a terrific problem. And housing is unaffordable.”  

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College student Michael Brown doesn’t think it will help with that. Though 20 percent of the units would be affordable, Brown thought all that new “vibrancy” would simply make the pre-existing housing in the area more expensive.

“It would drive up pricing around apartments, for sure, much more than it is already costing,” he said. “We still see that low-income people can’t afford to stay in the SF Bay Area. I don’t think adding more is going to solve our current issue.”

San Francisco has been closely involved with the plan for Stonestown, and officials even requested that 600 more units be added to the original project.  

Final approval rests with the Board of Supervisors. There are no easy answers to what ails the housing market. But with cities desperately looking for spaces to build more homes, those parking lots are looking more and more like an opportunity.

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Denver, CO

11-year-old Denver boy reported missing in College View neighborhood

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11-year-old Denver boy reported missing in College View neighborhood


An 11-year-old boy was reported missing in Denver on Wednesday, according to a Denver Police Department post on X.

Ivan Villalobos was last seen in the area of West Evans Avenue and South Bryant Street in the College View neighborhood around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.

He is Hispanic and is 4 foot 11 and 110 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, police say. Ivan was last seen wearing a gray polo T-shirt and black sweat pants with white and black shoes.

Anyone who has seen Ivan or has information on his location should call the Denver Police Department at 720-913-2000.

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Seattle, WA

Sounders look to bounce back with stretch of road matches ahead | Seattle Sounders

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Sounders look to bounce back with stretch of road matches ahead | Seattle Sounders


The coaching staff also recognizes their significance in terms of match outcomes and how they can impact results as the team looks ahead to the remainder of the season.  

“We have to continue to train what we believe in. I thought at the back end of last season we ended up in second place with a lot of the same group playing a certain way and being really solid in what we want it to look like and that hasn’t quite come out enough lately, especially in the final third,” said Assistant Coach Andy Rose. “So, [we need to] continue to work, continue to give the players confidence, continue in training to really push the levels, push the standards, make sure everybody’s on the same page and bought in and reward guys that are doing that.” 

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A couple daunting road tests on the horizon, the team’s mindset is to take it game by game, with their main priority being Saturday’s match against D.C. United.

“All focus has to be on D.C. and really go in there with the belief that we can get three points,” said Rose. “We understand it’s going to be a really tough game. They’ve got a new coach this season, a really good coach, and they play with a ton of energy and a lot of belief. So, for us, it needs to be really thinking about the fundamentals and ensuring that technically, we’re really sound on the ball.”





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