Swastika graffiti appears in San Francisco, East Bay

A swastika painted on a building and white supremacist fliers were also found last week at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill.

The incidents appear to be unrelated. But they follow discoveries of anti-Semitic materials in Fremont libraries earlier this year and white supremacist leafletting in Sacramento and Reno in recent months.

Barbara Bergen, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, has noticed a recent increase in hate crimes but said it's too early to reach any conclusions.

"Since the beginning of the year, there seems to be a sudden spurt of activity. I hope it's just a flash that will go away," she said Monday.

The new incidents were particularly noticeable after the ADL's annual audit was released last month. The 1996 report noted 41 anti-Semitic incidents in Northern California, a 35 percent drop from the previous year.

Community members on both sides of the bay have responded to the newest incidents with public condemnations and actions.

In San Francisco, Supervisor Mabel Teng is organizing hate-crime cleanup days for March 20 and 21 on Irving Street between 19th and 25th avenues. Supervisor Leland Yee has set a public meeting on hate crimes for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in the auditorium of Jefferson Elementary School at Irving Street and 19th Avenue.

Police have also tripled the foot patrols and extended these patrols into the evening for the neighborhood, which is south of Golden Gate Park. A pilot program using teens in volunteer street patrols also will be set up, Teng said.

Four teens, including one Asian- American, were arrested Friday night of last week for allegedly tagging the initials "SUB" on a Noriega Street building in the Sunset District, S.F. police Capt. Michael Yalon said. The teens are under investigation for the swastika graffiti, which has been filed as a hate crime.

Teng called the etched swastikas "alarming," regardless of who did it.

"Kids should really understand the implications of the Holocaust," she said. "It carries serious implications and a lot of pain."

Bergen said the ADL will participate in any responses to the vandalism, regardless of the fact that no Jews or Jewish-owned businesses were targeted.

"We want to make sure the Asian community understands we're in solidarity in denouncing this activity," Bergen said. "Whether it's our group or not, our reaction should be equally strong."

Across the bay, white supremacist graffiti and literature also were discovered Monday of last week at Diablo Valley College.

A 4-foot-tall swastika was found painted onto an already graffiti-covered corridor outside a theater building, and anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered in a men's restroom in a liberal arts building.

About 20 fliers from a group called The World Church of the Creator also were left in faculty in-boxes and a parking lot last week, said Contra Costa Community College District Police Chief Richard Couser.

Police have no suspects.

The ADL is familiar with the Peoria, Ill.-based World Church of the Creator, which the ADL says advocates a racial holy war.

"They believe in racial superiority. That is their religion," Bergen said. "They hate Christians as much as they do Jews and Muslims and people of color."

Francisco Arce, Diablo Valley's dean of instruction, said faculty members were planning a Wednesday rally against bigotry. College leaders will meet with ADL officials on March 19 to discuss the incident.

Bergen said fliers from the World Church have been found recently at college campuses in the Sacramento and Reno areas. Around Rosh Hashanah last year, the same group leafletted a mall parking lot in Walnut Creek.

Other white supremacist incidents have also taken place recently in the East Bay.

Between Jan. 6 and Feb. 20, the Fremont main library on Stevenson Boulevard discovered anti-black and anti-Semitic stickers or fliers in 36 books. The stickers identified a Michigan-based white supremacist group called the European American Education Alliance. Most of the targeted books dealt with African-American history, but a few focused on Jewish culture or World War II.

The public responded to the vandalism by donating $2,080 to a fund to replace 27 of the books too damaged to return to the shelves and to buy even more books on African-Americans and Jews. In addition, a Martin Luther King Day rally focused on the incident to drown out the vandals' message of hate.

"I hope they realize they're one person and the community speaks louder than they do," Fremont library manager Sandi Pantages said.

Fremont police, who filed the incident as a hate crime, have no suspects.

Between late January and early March, another six books on African Americans were found at Fremont's Ohlone College library with similar European American Education Alliance stickers and fliers. The incident has been filed as a hate crime.

"We know there's a lot of stuff still up there," acting library director Jean Hammerback said.