Civil & human rights

Poor Is the New Black: Segregation in San Francisco Today

Justin Slaughter, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 26 2014 - 6:33pm

“This is the San Francisco Americans pretend does not exist,” James Baldwin said on KQED more than half a century ago.

Baldwin, a world-renowned black writer and activist, was referring to the Fillmore district of San Francisco, where he and KQED documented the after-effects city bulldozing, literally, black neighborhoods in the name of “urban renewal,” and the unemployment and isolation of young blacks in Hunters Point.

“There is no moral distance between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham,” Baldwin said in the same year of the 16th street Baptist church bombing that killed four little girls in Birmingham, Ala.

Since then, the number of black residents of San Francisco has shrunk by nearly half. Black children are grossly over-represented in San Francisco’s foster care and juvenile justice systems, and unemployment among blacks in San Francisco still remains higher than in other groups.

Activists Call for Revival of Harvey Milk’s Anti-Speculation Proposal

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 10 2014 - 5:39pm

Before his death, Supervisor Harvey Milk introduced an “anti-speculation” proposal that would have heavily taxed profits generated by quickly flipping properties in San Francisco. Now Brian Basinger, a housing activist and former president of the nostalgically named Harvey Milk Democratic Club, is pushing for the city to resurrect it. The proposal was one of seven considered at Saturday’s citywide Tenant Convention at the Tenderloin Community School auditorium. Participants were able to rank their preference for various proposals by ballot. The event was the culmination of a series of neighborhood tenant conventions that aimed to generate ideas to solve the city’s affordable housing crisis.

New Law Gives People With Criminal History a Chance for a Job and Housing

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Feb 6 2014 - 7:28pm

A new local law will help people with a past criminal conviction secure housing and find employment in San Francisco. Known as “ban the box,” a newly approved plan by Supervisor Jane Kim will mean job applicants no longer have to disclose their criminal history until after they have participated in a live interview. It will also mean public and private agencies will be limited in how that information can be used to place people in below-market-rate housing.

S.F. Board Watch: Supervisors Question High Cost of Jailhouse Calls

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 20 2013 - 5:55pm

The cost of a call from jail could come down, if the Board of Supervisors has its way. At San Francisco’s jails, inmates must pay an initial fee of between $1.25 and $3.95 for each phone call and are charged between 10 and 69 cents a minute, depending on whether it is local or out-of-state. Under a contract with an outside company, the Sheriff’s Department receives 65 percent of the money, for a fund to provide inmate services and supplies. The contract  is expected to generate more than $3 million in revenue over its four-year term, but the supervisors are talking about renegotiating.

In other news: Concerns over sex offenders at Bayview Homeless Shelter, city money to stop nonprofit displacement and the soda tax expected to appear on next year’s November ballot.

Oakland Protests George Zimmerman Acquittal

Jason Winshell, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 22 2013 - 2:21pm

There were protests Saturday around the country over the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for the slaying of teenager Trayvon Martin in Flordia. Hundreds turned out in Oakland to remember the dead teenager and call for federal action in the case. 

Gay Rights, San Francisco and the Media

Kevin Forestieri, Chorel Centers and Yoona Ha, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 26 2013 - 5:21pm

The coverage following the two Supreme Court rulings for same-sex marriage reflects the jubilant celebration of gay rights advocates, eclipsing dissenting opinions on the Supreme Court decision.

Domestic Violence Case that Spurred San Francisco Reforms Comes to a Close

Kevin Forestieri, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 5 2013 - 5:59pm

The high-profile murder of Claire Joyce Tempongko more than 12 years ago showed just how ineffective the city was at dealing with domestic violence cases, spurring an investigation of the city's enforcement of domestic violence policy. Now the state Supreme Court has reinstated the second-degree murder conviction of her ex-boyfriend.

State Homeless ‘Bill of Rights’ Put on Hold Until Next Year

T.J. Johnston, San Francisco Public Press — May 30 2013 - 3:41pm

A “homeless bill of rights” in California must wait until next year for a vote in the full Assembly after clearing its first hurdle.  Advocates say the legislation would protect homeless people from local enforcement of so-called “quality of life” laws, and specify homeless people as deserving of protection in the state’s antidiscrimination statutes.

California Environmentalists Decry Governor’s Raid on Cap-and-Trade Dollars

Chantal Jolagh, San Francisco Public Press — May 17 2013 - 3:47pm

Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to divert $500 million earmarked for environmental initiatives into the general fund would hurt California communities with high pollution levels and slow down efforts to spur efficiency, mass transit and alternative energy, critics told legislators this week. The state’s environmental officials have been developing programs to fund a range of programs in communities disadvantaged by environmental burdens. The money comes from auctions of greenhouse gas permits from the state’s new cap-and-trade pollution control marketplace.

California Environmentalists Decry Governor's Raid on Cap-and-Trade Dollars

Chantal Jolagh, San Francisco Public Press — May 17 2013 - 3:41pm

 

Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to divert $500 million earmarked for environmental initiatives into the general fund would hurt California communities with high pollution levels and slow down efforts to spur efficiency, mass transit and alternative energy, critics told legislators this week.

The state’s environmental officials have been developing programs to fund a range of programs in communities disadvantaged by environmental burdens. The money comes from auctions of greenhouse gas permits from the state’s new cap-and-trade pollution control marketplace.

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