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Finding Your Park With Golden Gate Recreation Area's Superintendent

By Alison Hawkes, Bay Nature

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the largest urban national park in the nation, contains many of our most beloved and familiar spots — Crissy Field, Alcatraz Island, Muir Woods — but it’s hardly a typical national park.

The park stitches together nearly two dozen distinct natural areas encompassing 80,000 acres from Marin to San Mateo counties, in one of the country’s most urbanized regions. In fact, it sees more visitors per year (18 million) than any other national park unit and that makes for some unique challenges, to put it lightly. Exhibit A: Just last week, the park released its long-awaited and controversial dog management plan, which puts new restrictions on off-leash dogs in favor of protecting areas for wildlife and visitors seeking pet-free experiences in nature.

Read the complete story at Bay Nature. 

California Legislature Approves Revised Health Plan Tax

By Katie Orr and Lisa Aliferis, KQED News Fix/State of Health

After a year of wrangling, California lawmakers Monday approved a reform of a critical tax on health plans designed to keep more than a billion dollars of federal funds flowing to Medi-Cal. The deal includes millions for services for the developmentally disabled.

The old tax was set to expire July 1, under new federal rules. The current tax is levied only on plans for Medi-Cal patients. Under the new requirements, all managed care plans must pay.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/State of Health.

Critics Send Up a Howl Over Proposed Golden Gate Recreation Area Dog Rules

By Spencer Michels, KQED News Fix

It’s an old saying and an actual fact: There are more dogs than children in San Francisco.

And so the latest announcement from the National Park Service this week that it plans to reduce the number of places dogs can run without a leash in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is meeting with howls from dog owners and some of their elected representatives.

Dog owners don’t like the new limits, and some local officials have complained that restricting where dogs can run free in the recreation area will add to overcrowding in San Francisco’s city parks. The National Park Service responds that miles of local beaches and trails will still be open for off-leash dogs and that the new rules are the most dog-friendly in its entire system.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

S.F. State’s Historic Ethnic Studies College May Have to Cut Courses, Faculty

By Natalie Yemenidjian, KQED News Fix

San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies might not have enough money to pay all of its staff come July 1. The College of Ethnic Studies says it’s operating with close to a $400,000 deficit.

The college is straining to cover the salary of lecturers, tenured faculty, the graduate program and other costs. It has been struggling since the California State University system faced severe budget cuts in its 2009-2010 academic year.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

Ethnic and Low-Income Communities Easy Targets for Scammers

By Jenny ManriqueNew America Media

Maria Magdalena Juarez picked up the phone. A voice on the other end told her that she was being sued for an uncollected debt of $4,000.

Maria was sure she didn’t owe that money, but the caller said he was a court official. Several harassing calls followed, in which the man threatened to seize her property and send her to jail if she didn’t pay up. Scared, Juarez purchased a money order but told her son about it before sending it off. He did an online search and told her it could be a possible scam.

Read the complete story at New America Media. 

Democrats Push Gov. Brown for More Anti-Poverty Programs

By Marisa Lagos, KQED News/The California Report

Joseph Latichinson works full time as a security guard at a shopping plaza in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood. He makes $12 an hour — $2 more than the newly increased statewide minimum wage.

But Latichinson doesn’t have a place to sleep — he’s homeless. He said it’s impossible to make ends meet in a city as expensive as San Francisco unless you have subsidized housing or other help.

Read the complete story at KQED News/The California Report.

Commuters Voice Mixed Feelings About Mission Street Changes

By Laura Wenus, Mission Local

San Francisco’s Mission Street is undergoing significant transformation in the coming months, but there is skepticism among drivers and bus riders that the changes will be for the better.

As of last Friday, several bus stops along the corridor including those at 15th, 19th, 21st and 23rd streets had vanished. The city will now begin turning one of the lanes in each direction into a bus-only lane, with painting expected to be completed at the end of April. Beginning in March, left turns off of Mission Street will be prohibited, and northbound drivers will be required to turn right off of Mission at 26th, 24th, 22nd and 20th streets. 

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

Preserving the History of the Black Panthers Close to Home

By Sandhya Dirks, KQED News Fix

Every corner of Billy X Jennings’ home is filled with memorabilia. The walls are barely visible behind a sea of posters and banners. Every available surface is carefully decorated with mugs, statues, newspapers and pamphlets — all of it forming a living shrine to Black Panther history.

Jennings’ house, on a tree-lined residential street in Sacramento, has become the de facto museum and archive of the Panthers. He also runs an online archive to preserve the Black Panther Party’s legacy and connect alumni.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

 

Today It's Naturalization, Then Comes Voting

By Elena Shore, New America Media

Hoang Truong says becoming a U.S. citizen gave him “the key” to unlocking a better life.

“When we become a U.S. citizen,” he said, “we have the key -- the key to the higher education door, the key to freedom, the key to vote, the key to do whatever we want.”

Truong, who came to the country seven years ago from Vietnam, said he was watching TV one day when he saw there was an upcoming free workshop in San Jose to help people apply for citizenship. With help from the local organization Asian Law Alliance, Truong and his family were able to get fee waivers so they did not have to pay the $680 naturalization fees.

Read the complete story at New America Media. 

San Francisco Supervisors Split Over Fate of Tech Company Shuttles

By Ted Goldberg, KQED News Fix

San Francisco faces a renewed political battle over tech company shuttles plying the city’s streets.

Members of the Board of Supervisors’ moderate faction are disputing colleagues’ claims that technology firms are on board with a tentative agreement that could impose new restrictions on how the shuttle buses operate. One of the moderates, Supervisor Scott Wiener, says the real intent of the reported deal is “to make the shuttles go away.”

Earlier this week, Supervisors David Campos, Norman Yee and London Breed announced they had brokered a tentative agreement with tech companies that would grant a one-year extension for a city program that allows the shuttles to use Muni bus stops in return for a fee.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.