Rachel Swan
Rachel Swan
Rachel Swan covers transportation for The Chronicle. She joined the paper in 2015 and has also reported on politics in Oakland and San Francisco. Previously, Rachel held staff positions at the SF Weekly and the East Bay Express, where she covered technology, law and the arts. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley.Source
San Francisco, CA
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Oakland Chinatown turns to private, armed security

Oakland Chinatown turns to private, armed security

As Oakland Chinatown reels from a recent string of assaults and robberies — some of them captured in stark, instantly viral video footage — merchants are testing a controversial solution: armed security guards.A six-person foot patrol roamed along 9th and Webster streets on Tuesday morning, each guard clad in a black uniform with a tactical vest. Three of them carried expandable batons and guns in leg holsters. Volunteer ambassadors in blue vests also thronged the area around Pacific Renaissance Plaza, a cluster of shops on 9th Street with a courtyard in the middle.Business owners raised...

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Rachel Swan
Feb 17
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S.F. parolee accused of killing pedestrians faced life sentence in earlier case, but got five years

S.F. parolee accused of killing pedestrians faced life sentence in earlier case, but got five years

Photo: Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle 2020Two years before he allegedly plowed a stolen car through a red light in downtown San Francisco, killing two pedestrians while intoxicated on New Year’s Eve, Troy Ramon McAlister faced a possible life sentence under California’s “three strikes” law for repeat offenders.McAlister, who was charged Monday with manslaughter, had been headed toward trial in late 2018 on two counts of second-degree robbery in connection with a 2015 holdup in a San Francisco store. The District Attorney’s Office, then led by George Gascón, alleged three prior strikes for...

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Rachel Swan
Jan 5
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Oakland is trying to defund the police. Can it? Should it?

Oakland is trying to defund the police. Can it? Should it?

The pastor knew this scene too well: A body on the asphalt. Lines of yellow tape. Children pointing at police choppers, low overhead. Jose Rojas sighed wearily. “I pray for this city every day,” he said.It was the afternoon of Oct. 14, and the pastor recognized the slain man as 19-year-old Jorge Martinez, his former Sunday school student. The teenager and a few other young men had started fighting on 84th Avenue near Birch Street, a pocket of East Oakland where kids zip around on bicycles and neighbors lean over picket fences. One man whipped out a gun and began shooting.Now Rojas prayed...

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Rachel Swan
Nov 1
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Hair salon owner denies House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set up

Hair salon owner denies House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set up

The owner of a San Francisco salon where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got her hair done indoors in violation of city coronavirus pandemic rules denied that she had “set up” the Democrat.Erica Kious, who owns in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, wept during a Zoom news conference Thursday as she responded to Pelosi’s charge that she had tricked her into receiving hair care that San Francisco salons are prohibited from offering.“For the Speaker Pelosi to frame herself as a victim — (a) total false narrative — while small businesses and workers all over California, the state she represents in...

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Rachel Swan
Sep 4
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'It's burning down the city': Fires linked to fireworks erupt across SF, Bay Area Saturday night

'It's burning down the city': Fires linked to fireworks erupt across SF, Bay Area Saturday night

Grass fires — many linked to illegal Fourth of July fireworks — flared across the Bay Area on Saturday night, straining firefighter resources and leading authorities to beg on social media for the explosions to stop. San Francisco saw at least 100 fires between 3 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Saturday. At dusk, a blaze chewed through 4 acres at McLaren Park, and crews scrambled to fight another fire at 50 Cargo Way in Hunters Point. The fire department tweeted about roughly 15 blazes in a single hour. In Santa Clara County, firefighters continued to battle a 100-acre vegetation fire burning east of...

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Rachel Swan
Jul 5
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'It's burning down the city': Fires linked to fireworks erupt across SF, Bay Area

'It's burning down the city': Fires linked to fireworks erupt across SF, Bay Area

Grass fires — many linked to illegal Fourth of July fireworks — flared across the Bay Area on Saturday night, straining firefighter resources and leading authorities to beg on social media for the explosions to stop.San Francisco saw at least 100 fires between 3 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Saturday. At dusk, a blaze chewed through 4 acres at McLaren Park, and crews scrambled to fight another fire at 50 Cargo Way in Hunters Point. The fire department tweeted about roughly 15 blazes in a single hour.Across the bay in Contra Costa County firefighters responded to 50 fires between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m....

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Rachel Swan
Jul 5
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Exclusive: Authorities looking for white van in Oakland killing of federal officer

Exclusive: Authorities looking for white van in Oakland killing of federal officer

Federal law enforcement authorities are searching for a white van that they believe was involved in the Friday night shooting death of a man working as a security guard for the Federal Protective Service, The Chronicle has learned. Another federal officer was wounded in the shooting.The van — caught on surveillance footage — pulled up outside the Ronald V. Dellums federal building on Clay Street in Oakland at about 9:45 p.m. Friday.Witnesses told federal investigators that a passenger swung open the sliding door of the van, opening fire on the security guards, according to a federal wanted...

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Rachel Swan
May 31, 2020
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