Archive | Alameda County

Family Demands StoneMor Cemetery Buy Back Mausoleum After Son’s Ashes Stolen in California

 Gonzales Family Blames StoneMor Partners (NYSE: STON) Cemetary for Desecration and Theft of Son’s Tomb

Lafayette, Calif. – A family is demanding a StoneMor California cemetery take back a $3.2-million mausoleum once containing their son’s ashes.

The family of technology pioneer and Commerce One founder, Thomas Gonzales II, says pure negligence allowed thieves to plunder the family’s mausoleum at the Oakmont Memorial Park Cemetery in Lafayette, Calif., in January of 2011 and steal an urn containing Gonzales’ remains.

Thieves walked off with the remains only days after an initial break-in attempt went unreported by the cemetery to police.

Now the $3.2-million marble mausoleum in the Lafayette cemetery stands empty with only broken glass on the floor—relatives say it’s a cold reminder of their son’s tragic and untimely loss. Gonzales died on Dec. 5, 2001 at the age of 35, after an eight-month battle with gastric cancer.

The Gonzales family poured four years and multi-millions into the design and custom-build of a white marble mausoleum befitting their son’s memory.

“Now, the mausoleum has no value to my family,” said Gonzales’ father, Tom Gonzales, Sr. “The sight of it causes my family so much pain and suffering we think it’s only right for Oakmont to be held accountable.”

The family sued StoneMor California, a division of StoneMor Partners LP (NYSE:STON), on Tuesday (6/12/12) for a minimum of $3.2 million, accusing the national cemetery operator of negligently allowing thieves to walk off with their son’s remains and for failing to alert the family of a previous security breach.

Days prior to the January 16, 2011 theft, a groundskeeper at the Oakmont Cemetery noticed damage to the mausoleum’s steel frame doors. Yet, no one from Oakmont cemetery notified the Gonzales family.

Three days later, thieves once again broke onto the property and stole the bronze urn containing Gonzales’ remains. Police never recovered the ashes, despite a full-scale investigation and a large reward, which the family still is offering today.

“The sheer lack of regard for the Gonzales family and the unconscionable negligence of the StoneMor operators has led to this tragic theft,” said the Gonzales family attorney Harvey Stein of Oakland.

“No monetary value will be enough to compensate the family for the pain caused by this tragedy. The sadness of Thomas’s early death is only compounded by the desecration of his tomb,” Stein added.

Gonzales and his father co-founded Commerce One Inc., a pioneering Internet company in Pleasanton that became one of the fastest-growing firms in Nasdaq history.



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Same Sex Ballroom dancers from all over the world will come to the Bay Area the weekend of April 27 for three days of competition, dances, shows and classes. The weekend highlight is the April Follies, the 11th annual competition and show.

Friday, April 27

Welcome Dance hosted by Trip the Light Fantastic 7-10:30 PM

Saturday, April 28

  • Competition:  10 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Community Dinner:  5:30 – 6:30 PM
  • Beginning Lessons: 6:30 – 7:30 PM
    • *Free to anyone holding a Showcase Ticket
  • Showcase of Champions:  8 – 11 PM

o Includes “A” level championship finals plus a show and social dancing!

Sunday, April 29

  • Community Meeting:  10:30 – 11:45 AM
  • Lee Fox Workshops:  12:00 noon – 3 PM
    • Intermediate country 2-step and intermediate west coast swing classes, and includes time for supervised practice
  • Sundance Saloon Closing Dance:
  • 7:15 – 8:15 PM Ballroom Dancing
  • 9 – 10 PM West Coast Swing

Daytime spectator ticket $15

Evening Showcase ticket $25 including lessons (will be $30 at the door)

Combo day and evening $30 (will be $40 at the door)

For more information on the Competition, Showcase or volunteer opportunities please visit the April Follies website.

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Oakland East Bay Symphony to “Heros and Giants”

HEROS AND GIANTS Program Features WIlliam Harvey, Principal Trumpet

Focusing on works by two of the brightest figures in a generation of European musicians whose careers were prematurely terminated by the rise of the Nazi regime, and Music Director Michael Morgan will present Heroes and Giants
at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on February 24th at 8:00 pm. Erwin Schulhoff and Mieczyslaw Weinberg created dynamic, unique works in climates of despair. Schulhoff was one of the first European classical composers to be inspired by jazz before his premature death in a concentration camp, and Weinberg survived years of imprisonment under Stalin to create one of the finest trumpet concertos in the musical repertoire. Oakland East Bay Symphony’s own William Harvey will help bring Weinberg’s trumpet concerto to life by serving as the featured soloist on this inspiring work. A third piece, Beethoven’s Eroica symphony, will complete a musical evening of challenging, sublime music. An informative pre-concert talk by John Kendall Bailey will begin at 7:00 pm.

William Harvey has been Principal Trumpet of the Oakland East Bay Symphony since 2001. An active freelance performer, Mr. Harvey is also Principal Trumpet of Opera San José and is affiliated with the California Symphony, Lamplighters Musical Theatre, Festival Opera, and American Bach Soloists. Previous experience includes positions with Western Opera Theater, Modesto Symphony, Sarasota Opera, and the Epic Brass Quintet. From 1991 to 1994 he was Sub-principal Trumpet of the Cape Town Symphony in South Africa. An East Bay native and Oakland resident, Mr. Harvey is a graduate of Boston University where he studied with Roger Voisin and members of the Empire Brass, attended San Francisco State University where he studied with Donald Reinberg, and is a graduate of Berkeley High School where he was a member of that school’s award-winning Jazz Ensemble. Other private instructors include Arnold Jacobs, Laurie McGaw and Edward Haug. He has participated in the Aspen, Chautauqua and Spoleto Festivals as well as the Monterey Jazz Festival.

The Program

Suite for Chamber Orchestra (1920) – Czech composer and pianist Erwin Schulhoff died in the Wülzburg concentration camp. He was one of the first classical composers in Europe to be inspired by jazz.

MIECZYSLAW WEINBERGConcerto for Trumpet, Op. 94 (1967) – Weinberg lost most of his family in the Holocaust but survived the torments of two brutal dictatorships. He fled the German occupation of Poland in 1939, only to fall victim to Stalin’s post-war campaign against the Jews. He was released after years of imprisonment, and later created one of the finest trumpet concertos ever written. OEBS Principal Trumpet William Harvey is the featured soloist in this inspiring work.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN – Symphony No. 3 – Now known as the “Eroica”, was originally written in honor of Napoleon and titled “Bonaparte”. However, when Napoleon declared himself Emperor in 1804, Beethoven was enraged and changed the name of his work. The “Eroica” is known as one of Beethoven’s most challenging masterpieces – long, technically demanding and sublime.


Under the artistic leadership of Maestro Michael Morgan
, Oakland East Bay Symphony activities reach over 75,000 people annually, with more than one-third of the operating budget dedicated to education and outreach programs. These programs include several acclaimed education programs under the umbrella of the MUSE (Music for Excellence) Program: In-School Mentor and Instrumental Instruction, Young People’s Concerts, Ensembles in the Schools, Young Artist Competition, Free Ticket Distribution and regular school visits by Michael Morgan and other musicians. These programs serve over 21,000 young people each year.

OEBS has fostered collaborations with local arts organizations from children’s choruses to jazz ensembles to dance and opera. The Symphony showcases new American works in performance and encourages young artists. In its efforts to support new music, OEBS formed a multi-year partnership with The James Irvine Foundation in 1998 to initiate various commissioning projects including the newly established New Visions/New Vistas initiative. In June of 2010, OEBS forged a closer partnership with Oakland Youth Orchestra and Oakland Symphony Chorus in a merger that resulted in the formation of East Bay Performing Arts.

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Falling From Grace X 2

February 5 (Posted on SF Gate)After a weekend during which Occupy Oakland protests turned violent and led to injuries and more than 400 arrests, regional support for the movement is waning, a new poll finds.

Twenty-six percent of Bay Area residents surveyed for the poll said they used to support the Occupy movement but have now changed their minds, a KPIX-sponsored SurveyUSA pollfound.

Thirty-two percent of respondents said they have backed Occupy from the start and still do, 32 percent said they have opposed it from the start and still do, and 3 percent said they used to oppose it but have now signed on, the poll said. Eight percent were not sure.

Occupy Oakland’s attempted takeover of the long-closed Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center over the weekend was even less popular. Only 21 percent of respondents said they supported Occupy efforts to seize empty buildings for headquarters, while 71 percent said they opposed them and the rest were unsure, the poll said.

When it comes to police response during protests, survey respondents were almost evenly split: Twenty-eight percent said police have been too harsh, 33 percent said they haven’t been harsh enough, and 35 percent said the response has been just about right. Four percent weren’t sure.

The survey polled 500 adults in the Bay Area on Monday by telephone and electronic device. The  margin of error was 4.1 to 4.5 percentage points.



February 5 (Posted on Seattle PI website) Last week’s nationwide flap, including a protest letter signed by 26 U.S. Senators — Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., helped organize it — registered on 82 percent of those surveyed Friday and Saturday by Public Policy Polling.

“Do you support or oppose Susan G. Komen’s decision to stop funding breast cancer screenings by Planned Parenthood?” PPP asked.

Fifty-three percent of those polled opposed the decision, 39 percent supported Komen’s position, with just 8 percent undecided.

The pollster asked whether the controversy helped or hurt the image of the cancer charity.  Just 30 percent replied that it helped Komen’s image, 53 percent agreed that it hurt the charity, with the remaining respondents saying it made no difference.

The third question should cause a bit of quaking at Komen:  “Does this decision make you more or less likely to donated money to Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the future, or does it not make a difference?”

Forty-nine percent of those surveyed answered “less likely,” just 29 percent “more likely,” and 19 percent said no difference.

And 43 percent said they were less likely to participate in the Komen Foundation’s popular Run for the Cure events.

Planned Parenthood remains controversial, but attacks from Republicans on Capitol Hill and anti-abortion activists have not turned the organization into a pariah.


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