News From Our Partners

Report Gives Failing Grades to Schools in Juvenile Hall

By Anna Challet, New America Media

In California, “juvenile court schools” – the schools for kids detained in the juvenile justice system – are failing at the job of educating young people in detention, according to a new study. At a time when national attention is locked on education reform, the education system has turned a blind eye to court schools, squandering any opportunity that the restrictive setting might provide.

“The broader educational system excludes juvenile court schools from the regular school accountability model, placing them away from the spotlight and outside the crosshairs of general education reform advocacy,” says attorney Maria Ramiu, the managing director of Youth Law Center, the national public interest law firm that produced the report with funding from the the California Wellness Foundation. “Youth in the juvenile court school system are branded as ‘bad kids’ who do not deserve attention. They don’t have a voice and no one speaks for them.”

Read the complete story at New America Media.

Oro Loma: Can Wastewater Save the Bay From Sea Level Rise?

By Ted Trautman, Bay Nature

“Everything we’re doing here is illegal, infeasible, and unfundable,” Jeremy Lowe tells me with a rakish grin, as we watch a couple dozen volunteers, including several small children in galoshes, planting grasses in the mud. They’re working on an experimental levee near the bay’s edge in San Lorenzo, just west of Hayward, innocently enough. Lowe soon confesses that he and his colleagues aren’t outlaws after all. But this prototype levee, situated a half-mile from the bay, is so innovative that building it on the shoreline is prohibited, even though it could help mitigate a looming environmental crisis: the rising sea levels brought on by global climate change.

Most levees are basically just walls separating water and land. (Indeed, the word levee comes from the French verb lever, “to raise.”) In contrast, we’re standing on a relatively rare horizontal levee, very wide and almost flat, dropping just 5 feet in elevation as one walks its 150-foot width. This small prototype stretches 700 feet along the “shoreline” (in this case, a trench), while a grown-up one might span as much as 14 miles. Lowe, a geomorphologist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute and one of the project’s chief architects, compares it to a layer cake: Underneath the loam we’re standing on is a layer of sand and wood chips where microbes break down nitrogen-containing waste, and beneath that a stratum of dense clay and a hardpan that keeps the water used in this experiment from seeping into the bay. But since this layer cake sits on land owned by the Oro Loma Sanitary District, next door to its wastewater treatment plant and downwind of its aromas, I wish we’d talk about something other than food.

Read the complete story at Bay Nature. To learn more about the issue of rising seas, read the San Francisco Public Press special report on sea level rise. 

In Wake of S.F. Tour Bus Crash, Safety Bills Get Nod From Legislative Panels

By Guy Marzorati, KQED News Fix/The California Report

Three bills to increase inspection of tour buses in California, inspired by a high-profile bus crash in San Francisco’s Union Square last November, are advancing in the state Legislature.

The Assembly Committee on Transportation approved AB 1677 on Monday, after its author, Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, removed a portion of the bill that would have allowed local governments to set up their own inspection programs. Those inspections would have supplemented the checks currently carried out by the California Highway Patrol.

Read the c0mplete story at KQED News Fix/The California Report.

Amid Ailing Arts Scene, Pacific Felt Factory Blooms

By Laura Wenus, Mission Local

The Pacific Felt Factory, the Mission’s most recently activated arts space, celebrated its first birthday one Sunday night with a small backyard barbecue. It was a modest celebration for a determined little studio in a city and neighborhood where its larger, weightier cousins are being swallowed whole.

“Three or four years ago, you had Guerrero Gallery across the street, Steven Wolf across the street from that, CellSpace was open, and Million Fishes,” said Pacific Felt Factory artist Rodney Ewing. “You could walk around this neighborhood and there was a lot of art, and there was a diverse body of art being made. And now that’s kind of, you know, gone.” 

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

City May Revise Changes to Mission Street in Wake of Backlash

By Laura Wenus, Mission Local

As the city rolls out changes — and a red carpet for buses — along Mission Street, negative feedback has flooded the office of Supervisor David Campos and may prompt the transit agency to put the brakes on some of its plans.

“Most people working by, living on, and driving down Mission Street will tell you that the new transit-only red carpet lanes are anything but glamorous,” Campos wrote on Facebook, where dozens of residents chimed in with their own frustrations about for the project. Other areas of social media, however, saw an outpouring of support for the new transit lanes — complete with a hashtag, #KeepMissionRed.

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

S.F. Firefighter Leaders Say Morale Is a Problem — and the Chief Should Go

By Ted Goldberg, KQED News Fix

Leaders of several groups representing San Francisco firefighters say that more than a year after a no-confidence vote in Chief Joanne Hayes-White, morale continues to ebb amid concerns over staffing, operational problems and what’s widely described as the chief’s unresponsiveness to rank-and-file concerns.

But Hayes-White says she believes the department is on the right track, and all indications are that she still enjoys the support of the city officials who really matter in her case: Mayor Ed Lee and members of the city’s Fire Commission.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

San Francisco Looks to State for Help in Reforming Police Policies

By Laura Waxmann, Mission Local

Following a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris last week, Public Defender Jeff Adachi vowed to continue demanding a state investigation into the practices of the San Francisco Police Department, which he said are plagued by racial bias, use-of-force violations and a lack of transparency.

“People are dying on our streets, so how many more have to be killed before we are going to get an agency with the power to reform?” asked Adachi at a press conference held in the wake of last week’s fatal officer-involved shooting of Luis Gongora, a Mission District homeless man. “We have policies on the table — what we need is someone to step up and enforce them.”

Read the complete story at Mission Local.


Board of Supervisors Establishes SoMa as a Filipino Cultural Heritage District

By Ericka Cruz Guevarra, KQED News Fix

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to designate a Filipino cultural heritage district in the South of Market neighborhood that community leaders hope will not only recognize the Filipino presence there but also preserve it.

SoMa Pilipinas will encompass the historic I-Hotel, Gran Oriente, Rizal Apartments, the Iloilo Circle Building, the Bayanihan Community Cultural Center and other “cultural assets” identified by the Filipino-American Development Foundation, which spearheaded the effort. SoMa is home to 5,106 Filipinos, according to the 2010 Census data. 

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

Traffic Amnesty Program Helps Some, Leaves Others Behind

By Sukey Lewis, KQED News Fix

A study released on April 11 finds that black and Latino drivers in California have their licenses suspended at about five times the rate of their white counterparts. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights compiled DMV and census data, which show how license suspensions keep minorities and low-income people stuck in poverty. The report comes at a time when California leaders are grappling with how to reduce racial and socioeconomic inequities in the traffic court system.

“We have a system of fines and fees that have morphed from a system of accountability to a system that raises revenue for essential government services,” California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said last month in her annual State of the Judiciary Address. “But we have made progress with the three branches of government. Last year you passed a traffic amnesty bill, and we are now restoring licenses to thousands of Californians.”

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 


Jerry Brown on Subsidiarity, Meritocracy and Fads in Education

By Judy Lin, CALmatters

Having witnessed teaching “fads” since the 1950s and running charter schools as Oakland mayor, Gov. Jerry Brown doesn’t expect his own key education policy — called the Local Control Funding Formula — to close the academic performance gap between African Americans and Latinos and other student groups.

Brown hopes the formula will help some students improve by sending more money to those with low incomes or who don’t speak English. But he said, “the gap has been pretty persistent. So I don’t want to set up what hasn’t been done ever as the test of whether LCFF is a success or failure.”

Read the complete story at CALmatters.