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Child Poverty Drops in California, but Is Still the Nation’s Highest

By Carolyn Jones, EdSource

California’s booming economy has led to a slight drop in the child poverty rate, but the state still has the highest rate in the country when the cost of living is taken into account, according to new data released by Kidsdata and the Public Policy Institute of California.

An average of 22.8 percent — or 2 million — of California’s children lived below the poverty threshold in 2013-15, which is $30,000 a year for a family of four, according to the data released this month. The number is down from 24.4 percent in 2011-13.

Read the complete story at EdSource.

Mission Education Center Vs. S.F. School District on Charter School

By Michael Toren and Julian Mark, Mission Local

Parents, teachers, school board candidates and labor union representatives said Thursday afternoon at a protest at the Mission Education Center that they would not mind sharing space with some charter schools, but opposed the district’s decision to place the nonprofit KIPP in six of its 13 classrooms at 1670 Noe St.

“There are some great charter schools out there,” said Alida Fisher, a member of the San Francisco Unified School District’s Community Advisory Committee for Special Education, who is a candidate for the Board of Education.

Read the complete story at  Mission Local.

How California Water Suppliers Are Getting Earthquake Ready

By Alastair Bland, KQED/Water Deeply

As is often said, it’s not a matter of if, but of when, a large earthquake strikes the heart of one of California’s most densely populated regions. State officials and local agencies know the clock is ticking, and mile by mile, pipe by pipe, work crews are replacing or retrofitting water lines throughout much of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas. Upgrades have also been made in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of the state’s water distribution system, where potential levee ruptures have made water officials uneasy for decades.

The San Andreas Fault, which generated the 1906 (7.9 magnitude) and the 1989 (6.9 magnitude) Bay Area earthquakes, could potentially produce a quake greater than 8.0. However, the Hayward Fault is widely considered the greater threat at this moment in geologic time. Scientists consider a 7.0 magnitude quake to be the largest likely to occur on the Hayward Fault, an offshoot of the San Andreas that runs through San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond. The Hayward Fault hasn’t slipped significantly since 1868, and experts say it’s overdue for the proverbial “Big One.”

Read the complete story at KQED/Water Deeply.

Small Businesses Feel the Squeeze on Mission Street

By Abraham Rodriguez, Mission Local

Take a stroll along Mission Street and you’ll see two sides of the ever-changing city: the family-owned, brick-and-mortar stores that go back decades and the new-school minimalist design of the more recently opened shops.

No matter their tenure, nearly all of the 59 active businesses along the two blocks between 21st and 23rd streets on Mission Street are trying to bring in the young tech crowd that has moved into the neighborhood during the past decade. And that crowd seems to favor experiences over commodities.

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

State’s Controversial Housing Bill Died. Here’s What to Take Away From That

By Matt Levin, CALmatters

The most controversial state housing bill in recent memory died with a pretty resounding thud.

Senate Bill 827, which would have forced cities to allow taller, denser development around public transit, got only four votes on the 13-member Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing. Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers voted against the bill.

Read the complete story at CALmatters. 

Amid Housing Crisis, S.F. Builds Fewer Units Last Year Than in 2016

By Julian Mark, Mission Local

As the mayoral race heats up, the city got some sobering news: Despite all the talk about the need for more housing, the city added fewer new units last year than it had in 2016.

San Francisco added 4,441 housing units in 2017 — a 12 percent decrease, compared to net additions in 2016. Last year’s additions, however, are well above the 10-year average of 2,745 units built each year.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

As Winter Shelters Close, Hundreds Are Sent Back Out to the Street

By Liza Veale, KALW/Crosscurrents

When winter comes, Bay Area cities open temporary shelters to keep unhoused residents warm and dry. But, as winter comes to an end, these shelters close down. In Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco about 500 homeless people will be back on the streets.

Dorothy Day, in Berkeley is one of these shelters. It’s set to close for the year this Sunday, April 15.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

Could Proposition 13 Reform Help Ease the State’s Housing Crisis?

By Liza Veale, KALW/Crosscurrents

If you’ve heard of Proposition 13, you probably know that it cut property taxes in 1978, which reduced funding for public schools and other services. It also has a lot to do with the state’s shortage of housing and, many argue, the fact that rents are so darn high.

Repeal efforts have failed for years, but the affordability crisis may mean that the time for change has finally arrived.

Yet the new proposed ballot initiative is a compromise of sorts.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

Backers of California Privacy Ballot Measure Hand-Deliver Letter to Facebook

By Marisa Lagos, The California Report

Mary Stone Ross left her Oakland home Monday morning and drove to Menlo Park in search of Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

After 10 minutes of driving around the tech giant's campus, Ross found a place to park near Building 20. She marched inside and asked if she could hand-deliver a letter to Sandberg.

About five minutes later, a man at the front desk apologized, saying Sandberg and her staff were in and out of meetings. He told her that for security reasons, they couldn't accept the letter and to use snail mail instead.

Read the complete story at The California Report.

Assembly Candidates Get 'Radical' in Empathy Workshop

By Guy Marzorati, KQED News Fix

For nearly a year, candidates for the open 15th District state Assembly seat in the East Bay have been raising money, knocking on doors and participating in an endless series of debates and forums.

On Saturday, they had to put their stump speeches aside and focus on two ideas that may seem out of place during campaign season: empathy and caring.

The goal of the Radical Empathy Forum was to get candidates in one of the state's most competitive legislative races to model active listening and to discuss how to build a more caring and empathic culture.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.