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LeBron struggles, exchanges words with fan after Game 3 loss

LeBron James’ frustrating night kept going after one of the worst playoff games of his splendid career. James exchanged words with a fan late Sunday night after the Boston Celtics stormed back from a 21-point deficit in the third quarter and shocked the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. As he walked down a hallway inside Quicken Loans Arena to the postgame news conference, James, who scored just 11 points and only one in the final 18 minutes, was heckled by the fan for his sub-par outing. James spun around and asked the man to repeat himself.

Security ushered the fan away from James, who then went to the podium and was blunt in assessing a very uncharacteristic game for the NBA’s best all-around player.

“I had a tough game, period,” he said. “Not just in the second half. Me, personally, I didn’t have it. My teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game, building that lead. But me, personally, I didn’t have it. That’s all I’ve got to say about my performance.”

There wasn’t much to gush about, that’s for sure. James didn’t score in the fourth quarter and went only 1 for 8 from the field with one rebound and one assist in the second half. It was James’ lowest point total in the playoffs since he scored seven for Miami in the 2014 conference finals against Indiana, and before Boston’s comeback, James was 49-0 in playoff games his team led by at last 20 points.

Making it more staggering is that James has been so brilliant in this postseason, taking his exquisite game to an even higher level. He had scored at least 30 points in eight consecutive playoff games, the first player to do that since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970, and there didn’t seem to be anything the Celtics could do to stop him. But James went just 4 of 13 from the field, missing all four 3-pointers. He had six rebounds and six assists, but also committed six turnovers, including a costly miscue down the stretch when his pass was stolen by Jae Crowder.

“He’s human, so he’s going to have a night like this,” said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue. “He didn’t shoot the ball well, and we still had a 20-point lead. A game we should have won, but they played hard. They scrapped. They have a scrappy team. We knew that coming into tonight. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we got some things we can correct and come back ready to go on Tuesday (in Game 4).”

The Celtics, who were blown out by 44 points at home in Game 2, won despite being without star guard Isaiah Thomas. His season is over because of a hip injury, and although he’s not around, his presence was felt by his teammates who rallied to keep their season alive. James was eager to break down film of the game on Monday, but he was able to recall much of what Boston did right.

“They moved the ball, and they kept us at bay,” he said. “We couldn’t get stops. We couldn’t get out in transition a lot. Those guys made plays. They made a lot of plays. They got some second-chance points. We only had two fast-break points, so they neutralized what we wanted to do.”

The loss snapped Cleveland’s 10-game winning streak in this postseason and a 13-game run dating to Game 4 of last year’s Finals. James, who is trying to win his seventh consecutive conference title, tried to find a silver lining on an otherwise forgettable night.

“Some adversity is all part of the postseason,” he said. “I feel like you have to have some type of adversity in order to be successful. If it was going to happen, let it happen now; let us regroup. Let us regroup and all the narrative and everything that was going on, let’s regroup and let’s get back to playing desperate basketball, which they did tonight. So we’ve got to be a lot better, for sure.”

SF employs fewer female park rangers than many other big cities

San Francisco has 230 parks, playgrounds and open spaces that cover 3,400 acres spread across the city. To keep those areas safe, the parks department employs 53 rangers in essence, its own armed police force. And while those armed rangers, who give out information, protect the parks from vandals and enforce safety, are the public face of the city s parks, there s one thing they aren t: female. San Francisco s park ranger force has fewer female members than many other major American cities. And while the city s police and fire departments have increased or held steady the number of women in their ranks, female rangers have dropped from 18 percent of the force in 1997 to 11 percent today. In comparison, the number of female firefighters jumped from 8.9 to 16 percent over the past two decades, and female police officers stayed at 15 percent, higher than the national average of 12 percent.

You know, I wasn t aware of that, said Recreation and Park Commission President Mark Buell. My general attitude, being surrounded by strong women in my life and considering myself a feminist, is that it ought to be our goal to correct that. If there isn t parity, there ought to be, and we should strive for that.

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department s force looks like this: 53 full-time park rangers made up of 47 men and six women. Zero women in upper management. Three of the women are dispatchers, and two of them are on disability leave. And the only woman on active patrol duty is a trainee on new-hire probation. Tonya Lett of Vallejo, 57, is that ranger. She began classes in December and will remain on probation through June. Lett studied criminal justice and spent seven years working as a high school security guard in Richmond. She said she hasn t minded being the only woman on the patrol force.

They cover me, and vice versa, Lett said. I get along great with the men on the force. I handle my own, and they respect me. I m just one of the guys. So why is Lett one of so few women?

That s just all who applied, said San Francisco Chief Ranger Mike Celeste. Those are the applications we got. With civil service, we are required to go through a list. We are mandated by that list who and how we bring people on board.

Rec and Park spokeswoman Connie Chan said the department is bound by the job qualifications set by the city s human resources department and that there is little it can do outside of recruiting to increase the number of women on the force. Jobs are posted by the city, and applications flow directly into the human resources department, not the parks department. Applicants are sorted based on criteria decided by the city.

Typically what we do is a job analysis, said Susan Gard, chief of policy for the San Francisco Human Resources Department. We analyze what the nuts and bolts are of what that person does every day. That s how we establish the minimum qualifications. The most recent round of applications, for a training class of 13 rangers that began last December, brought in 198 people 171 men and 27 women. Only two of those women passed the written exam, Chan said 31 men passed.

Those are some shocking numbers, said Supervisor Katy Tang, who has advocated for women s issues on the board. It s the first that I ve been aware of the issue specifically regarding park patrol officers. On a recent afternoon ranger Elmer Jimenez drove a white, four-door pick-up around the fringes of Golden Gate Park, then parked to do a foot patrol near Alvord Lake at the park s eastern boundary. He pointed a pair of tourists from the Midwest to the nearest restroom and ordered people in a small homeless camp to throw away their McDonald s wrappers.

Our job isn t to go after you, he said. It s to work with you to make things better. I have family living in San Francisco. My motivation is to make a difference in the park system and the people who use it, like my family.

If Jimenez worked somewhere else, he would have more female colleagues other major cities have more equitable gender distributions.

New York City has 246 park patrol officers, of whom 84 34 percent are women. There are 31 women in upper management.

San Jose has 30 full-time park rangers, of whom 12 are women and 18 are men, making the force 40 percent female. A woman holds the single upper management position.

In Philadelphia, there are 18 full-time rangers. One-third of them are women, and another two women hold supervisorial roles.

Phoenix s force employs 47 park rangers and is 17 percent female, with eight women and 39 men. One woman holds a supervisor s job. San Francisco park officials say they cannot legally set a gender preference. But the city s minimum qualifications could inherently disqualify women from the career. One year of work experience in police, military or park ranger field work is required, plus a state powers-of-arrest certificate or completion of a POST academy, which is peace officer basic training, and a driver s license. Higher education is not required.

Traditionally, women are minorities in those prior work categories. According to Pentagon figures, only 14.6 percent of the U.S. military is female, and a 2016 Department of Justice report[1] found that 15 percent of sworn police officers in San Francisco are women. Other cities have different criteria. San Jose requires applicants to have at least two years or 60 semester units of college with an emphasis in natural or environmental science, park management or park operations. The arrest certificate is not required, and basic law enforcement training comes after hiring. In Los Angeles, applicants must have a four-year degree with a major in park administration, recreation, botany, zoology, biology, fire science, criminal justice or related fields. Full-time experience as a park ranger, firefighter, paramedic or other peace officer may be substituted for education.

Having more women on the force is important for diversity, said Pam Helmke, San Jose s senior park ranger and a director of the Park Rangers Association of California. If a force doesn t have women, there won t be a pipeline for other women to follow, she said.

When I do recruiting and hiring, I look at the big picture long term, she said. I like to see diversity in our ranger ranks because when we go out recruiting, we can t recruit from the population if people don t see themselves in the workforce. So how how can San Francisco go about attracting more female applicants?

There s no quick fix, said April Lidinsky, director of the women s and gender studies program at Indiana University South Bend. If organizations are looking at persistent inequalities, they have to think about more ways to address that than just throwing their hands up and saying, We don t understand why we only get male applicants. Ranger Chief Celeste said San Francisco tries to address that now.

It s just us getting out there and promoting, he said. That s the biggest thing we can do. And our HR Department does do that. I believe they go to colleges and job fairs and do everything they can to get diversity and women in the force.

Gard said Rec and Park reached out to 30 public agencies and educational institutions for their most recent hiring class, including the Women s Career Opportunity Fair Opportunity Fair in San Francisco 2015.

We try to reach out to women who aren t traditionally in these fields, she said. Another source may lie in education. West Valley College in Saratoga is the only community college park management program in the state, and one of only a smattering across the country. School officials say about half the students in the program are female.

The school works with many Bay Area parks programs including the East Bay Regional Park District, San Mateo County parks, the National Park Service, and San Jose parks to funnel women into the career field. But it hasn t worked with San Francisco s park department.

There are certain agencies that have clung to that male environment, but there are so few of them, said Chris Cruz, department chair of the park management program. It s not the issue it used to be. San Francisco is surprising to me because it s not consistent with what other agencies are doing.

I have female rangers that have graduated from our program that have worked all over the Bay Area, he said. Nothing is perfect in any agency, but I do see a lot more variety nowadays. San Francisco why they haven t done that, I don t know.

He said the civil service criteria mandated by the city is a limiting factor that would bar many of his female students from getting a job in San Francisco.

Some agencies will set the minimum requirements up in a more general format to cast a wider net and get more candidates, Cruz said. Some agencies will narrow down the focus to a specific type of person. I see that happen on occasion. It could prevent anybody, not just women, from applying.

Lizzie Johnson is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:

References

  1. ^ a 2016 Department of Justice report (www.sfchronicle.com)
  2. ^

IN Focus: Congress briefed regarding ongoing investigations

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INDIANAPOLIS – With ongoing investigations in Washington putting more and more scrutiny on the Trump administration, Indiana’s congressional delegation is listening closely to the latest updates from the Justice Department. Members of the House and Senate were briefed by the deputy attorney general this past week, after former FBI director Robert Mueller was named special counsel to oversee the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. While some Democrats in the House have even called for Trump’s impeachment, none of Indiana’s elected officials are ready to call for such a move.

In the video above, FOX59’s Matt Smith speaks with Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who discussed the ongoing controversy Wednesday hours before Mueller was assigned to the case. Mueller’s appointment comes amid a growing Democratic outcry for someone outside the Justice Department to handle the politically charged investigation.

I am pleased to hear that the Department of Justice has named a special counsel to lead a comprehensive investigation into Russian interference in our election,” said Donnelly in a statement Wednesday evening. “Hoosiers deserve answers, and I am sure that Mr. Mueller will follow the facts wherever they lead. In the video below, Sen. Todd Young shares his thoughts on the situation in an interview with FOX59 on Friday.

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“We have high confidence in Robert Mueller, we think he s going to follow the facts wherever they lead,” said Young, who ducked questions about the possibility some Republicans were starting to distance themselves from the President.

Rep. Andre Carson (D-N) who sits on the House Intelligence Committee called the decision a “strong start,” adding quick findings shouldn’t be expected and that the investigation “will occur out of the public eye so that all the facts and witnesses can be treated fairly.”

“It appears that Director Mueller has been given broad jurisdiction and the ability to pursue the facts of this investigation where they lead, without arbitrary limitations,” Carson said in a statement. The appointment follows the revelation Tuesday that fired FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that Trump had asked him to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly, President Trump said Wednesday during his first commencement address to the Coast Guard. The whirlwind 48 hours has seen a pile of new accusations, most recent claims he pressured former FBI Director James Comey to end the bureau s investigation into the president s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

The accusations were first reported by The New York Times[1] Tuesday, citing a memo Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

Even though we don t know every aspect of what s going on, this is a really important time in American politics, Laura Albright said, a FOX 59 political analyst. “You have very serious allegations about what may have happened, and oftentimes at this point in an administration, this isn’t something you necessarily focus on.”

On Capitol Hill, Republicans appeared to grow weary. Members of Indiana s Republican delegation, including Sen. Todd Young and Reps. Susan Brooks, Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, declined to comment at all or even issue a statement on the latest allegations. Others, like Banks, expressed increasing concern the Republican agenda, focused on a health care replacement and tax reform, could derail.

“All of this frenzy surrounding this situation and what the president said from day-to-day, what he tweeted day-to-day is a significant distraction from Republicans fulfilling the agenda we set out to fulfill,” Banks said.

But mirroring House leadership comments Tuesday, the freshman congressman did acknowledge the seriousness of the allegations in an interview with FOX 59 and cautioned any knee-jerk reaction from Capitol Hill.

It would be premature for any member of Congress to draw conclusions based on the allegations so far, Banks said. So I look forward to learning more in the days to come. But if the allegations are true, they are deeply troubling and should be addressed. Donnelly also called on the Justice Department to release the memo to all 100 U.S. Senators.

The memo from Director Comey is extraordinary troubling, he said in an interview. It indicates interference in an ongoing investigation, and these are important allegations that we need to find the answers to. While some Democrats called for impeachment hearings Wednesday, Donnelly declined, instead focused on a robust investigation into the accusations.

Do I believe the memo exists? Donnelly said. You know I don t have certainty one way or another, but I know this, Director Comey has always been extraordinarily meticulous with his records. All of the folks around him have said he has on a consistent basis always made memos like this after meetings of importance.

Still as both the Senate Intelligence Committee and House Oversight Committee sent an invitation to Comey to testify before them, some Republicans question the timing of the latest release.

Director Comey s allegations of what appears in a memo he wrote at this point are somewhat suspicious in that he didn t do anything about it a couple months ago, Banks said.

Late Friday, we learned Comey had accepted an invitation to appear before the Senate Intelligence committee sometime after Memorial Day.

References

  1. ^ first reported by The New York Times (www.nytimes.com)