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State Leads Way in Solar Tech but Communities of Color Left Behind

By Calindra RevierEl Tecolote/ New America Media

California is the leader of solar technology and one of the wealthiest states, yet its poorer communities, in large part, don’t have access to this expanding technology.

The Mission District, recognized for its Latino community, has for some time been battling the powerful push from the tech industry. From an environmental standpoint, the question is being raised, “What can be done to protect the very basic rights of its lower-income citizens?”

Read the complete story at El Tecolote/ New America Media.


Perfect Policy Storm Showers Money on Legislative Races

By Laurel Rosenhall, KQED News Fix/CALmatters

Some of the outsized money spent on California legislative races this year came pouring through the mail slot of voter Michael Johnson’s home, arriving in the form of two or three glossy ads a day in advance of the June primary.

Most of the ads weren’t from candidates. They were from interest groups that have business before the Legislature, running their own campaigns to elect a favored Assembly contender.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/CALmatters.

San Francisco Will Add New Centers for the Homeless

By Joe Rivano Barros, Mission Local

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure Tuesday that requires the city to build six more so-called Navigation Centers in the next two years to get more homeless residents off the streets.

The vote follows the success of the nationally lauded 75-bed Navigation Center located on Mission Street near the 16th Street BART Plaza. It is a transitional shelter that focuses on moving small groups from encampments off the street and into permanent housing that opened in March 2015 and had moved 128 individuals into permanent housing as of March this year, and sent an additional 126 home to family or friends.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.


What Happens to Raccoons Trapped in San Francisco?

By Jessica Placzek, KQED News Fix

As part of our series Bay Curious, we’re answering questions from KQED listeners and readers. This question comes from Emily Shumway, who was working late one night and came home to a raccoon in the middle of her living room. Now she wants to know:

What happens to raccoons that are live trapped in San Francisco? Where do they go?

Raccoons are trapped for two main reasons: Either they were found on someone’s property or they were found in pretty bad shape.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

Lessons From an El Niño That Didn’t Go as Planned

By Lester Rowntree, Bay Nature

While many people feel this winter was a bit of disappointment — a betrayal even, since we didn’t get a record-busting Godzilla-like 1982-83 and 1997-98 — I’m not one of them. Remember back in your science classes when you learned that scientists are just as interested in being wrong as being right, or that a busted hypothesis was equally important as one substantiated?

Well, we can learn a lot from this year’s quirky El Niño. Some forecasts were right on the money while others were consistently wrong, and now, as El Niño’s unpredictable twin sister La Niña strengthens, it’s worth asking what lessons there are to take from the 2015-2016 winter.

Read the complete story at Bay Nature.

Child Care Providers Struggle to Afford Rising Minimum Wage

By Andrew Stelzer, KQED News Fix

If you’ve got kids, or are expecting one, you’ve probably been warned a million times: Child care is expensive. But just how expensive is it here in the Bay Area?

About $1,800 a month and up for an infant, according to Kim Kruckel with the Child Care Law Center in San Francisco.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

Surge in Younger Voters Failed to Materialize in California Primary: Analyst

By Katie Orr, KQED News Fix

Turnout for the California primary, which some expected to be pumped up by a surge in registrations among younger voters, fell short of analysts’ expectations. One major factor in that lower-than-anticipated turnout: For the most part, an analysis of vote-by-mail ballots suggests that those younger voters simply didn’t participate.

Paul Mitchell, vice president of Sacramento-based Political Data Inc., noted Wednesday that people under 35 made up more than half of 2.3 million new voters who registered before the primary, indicating an enthusiasm for the contest. And he says those younger voters told pollsters that they would cast ballots. 

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

S.F. Supervisors Approve Short-Term Rental Law Aimed at Platforms

By Laura Wenus, Mission Local

San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday approved legislation that requires short-term rental platforms like Airbnb to list only rentals that have undergone the required registration process with the city.

The legislation places the onus on Airbnb, HomeAway and other hosting platforms to make sure that hosts who want to rent out part of their homes to visitors have gotten a business license from the city. Supervisor David Campos, who put forward the law with Supervisor Aaron Peskin, called the shift in responsibility a move toward “corporate responsibility.” 

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

S.F. Police Watchdog Might Soon Investigate All Officer-Involved Shootings

By Holly McDede, KALW/Crosscurrents

Last month, Jessica Williams, a 29-year-old black woman, was shot and killed by a single bullet fired by a police sergeant in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood. Williams' death reportedly marked the 21st fatal officer-involved shooting under former S.F. Police Chief Greg Suhr’s watch.

Just hours later, Mayor Ed Lee called for Suhr’s resignation. Suhr stepped down, and Lee pledged to bring more accountability to San Francisco’s Police Department through a series of reform measures already in motion.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

Growing Momentum for Self-Driving Cars Worries Safety Advocates

By Brian Joseph, Fair Warning

On Valentine’s Day in Silicon Valley, one of Google’s experimental, self-driving cars sideswiped a city bus at 2 mph. The incident marked the first time an autonomous car contributed to an accident on a public road, but did nothing to diminish the Obama administration’s enthusiasm for driverless vehicles.

A month after the crash, at an autonomous car conference in Dearborn, Mich., Mark Rosekind, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said his agency and the federal Department of Transportation “are using all the tools we have available to advance what see as a revolution in technology,” according to his prepared remarks. “Our goal is to hasten this revolution.”

Read the complete story at Fair Warning.