Almanac

News - July 9, 2014

Nancy Jewell Cross reported missing; then she is found

by Barbara Wood

Nancy Jewell Cross was once well-known locally for arriving on her bicycle to harangue public bodies on her favorite topics of public transportation, the environment and political malfeasance. Last week she was reported missing by the San Francisco Police Department.

Ms. Cross, 94, who police say is now homeless, was found later the same day in Berkeley, where police said she frequents the law library.

Albie Esparza, the SFPD public information officer, said Ms. Cross was reported missing on July 1 when workers at homeless shelters where she is a regular became worried after not seeing her for several days.

Menlo Park City Attorney Bill McClure said he remembers Ms. Cross frequently appearing at council meetings and suing the city multiple times. Ms. Cross eventually filed so many lawsuits that in 1992 she was declared a "vexatious litigant" and barred from filing any more suits.

She did so anyway, in 1993, against Ted Lempert, saying he did not live in the area where he ran for a seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. She ended up in jail for several days, refusing to eat while jailed.

In 1996, Ms. Cross was found guilty of "judge-shopping," filing a lawsuit with more than one judge, while trying unsuccessfully to avoid eviction by her sisters from the family home in unincorporated Menlo Park.

In addition to filing lawsuits and lecturing public bodies, Ms. Cross frequently ran for public office, including for the state Senate, state attorney general, U.S. Senate, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the Redwood City council. In 1998 she finally won an election, to the board of AC Transit in her new home in the East Bay, defeating the incumbent.

She served one term, losing re-election in 2002 at the same time she lost a second race, to the Bay Area Rapid Transit board.

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