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California State Universities Add Dorm Rooms to Try to Raise Graduation Rates, Provide Affordable Housing

By Larry Gordon, EdSource

Finishing touches were still being put to Cal State Channel Island’s new 600-bed dormitory named Santa Rosa Village when Jazzminn Morecraft moved in last fall. Early morning construction noise was worth enduring, she said, because of the social and academic benefits of living on the Ventura County campus, situated in a former state mental hospital surrounded by farmland and hillsides.

Whether joining a study group in her dorm, taking a quick walk to the library, attending a concert, “all the opportunities are here, the events are here. It’s a great experience,” said the English major who graduated from a high school in the San Ramon area east of San Francisco.

Read the complete story at EdSource.

Summer and After-School Programs — Big in California — Fight to Survive Under Trump

By Jessica Calefati, CALmatters

Like many of his peers, Kaleb Long is mature enough to stay home alone, but not quite old enough for a part-time job. Had he not enrolled in Rosemont High School’s summer learning program, the 13-year-old predicts he would have spent his Sacramento summer alone, sleeping in and playing video games.

Instead, he took six weeks of publicly funded classes in entrepreneurship and slam poetry. He learned how to box and picked up tips that should ease his transition to the upper grades. And he started a community project to raise awareness about racism.

“These kids need a safe haven, and we provide one,” said Brianna James, 24, the program’s senior team leader. Participants’ families typically can’t pay for summer enrichment out of pocket, she added. “Without us, the students would have nowhere to go.”

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

New Plan for Potrero Projects Has Residents Worried About the Future

By Adam Grossberg, KQED News Fix

San Francisco is changing.

As the bubble inflates and the housing market continues to surge, marquee developments and luxury complexes get most of the headlines. But the other end of the market is also undergoing a radical transformation. Faced with market-driven realities, San Francisco is changing its approach to public housing.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

Electronic Monitoring of Defendants Is Increasing, but at What Price?

By Sukey Lewis, KQED News Fix/The California Report

When San Francisco defense attorney Kevin Mitchell visits a new client in jail, there’s one thing at the top of his mind: “I want my clients to have some way to get out.”

Mitchell says he’s got a better chance of winning a case if his client can walk freely into court in a coat and tie rather than under guard or in an orange jumpsuit.

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

Pumping the Brakes: Calle 24 Tells Ford Bike-Share Program to Stay in Its Lane

By Gabriela Alemán, El Tecolote

The Calle 24 Latino Cultural District Council recently rejected plans to build “bike share” stations sponsored by Ford Motor Company along 24h Street. El Tecolote asked Calle 24 President and Cofounder Erick Arguello to explain the decision, one that has provoked backlash from some San Francisco residents.

“We are doing what we were elected to do,” Arguello said. “When we formed the council, we met with focus groups and what was repeatedly emphasized was: ‘We don’t want the Mission to turn into Valencia street.’ They were adamant about that. We saw affordability was the biggest issue, fear of displacement, fear of the Latino culture disappearing, we took that and we’re going through our community process and we want that respected.”

Read the complete story at El Tecolote.

Oakland Residents Say Tent Encampments Threatening Neighborhoods

By Devin Katayama, KQED News Fix

When Hilary Nevis bought her house last year on 29th Street in Oakland’s Hoover-Foster neighborhood, she remembers a single person sleeping under the freeway overpass a few dozen yards from her front door.

“It was a really small footprint. He didn’t bother anyone. He very much felt like my neighbor,” Nevis said.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

For more information about homelessness, read the Summer 2017 San Francisco Public Press Special Report "Navigating Homelessness."

Spurred by Deaths, Legislature Advances Idea of Legal Spots to Inject Illegal Drugs

By Laurel Rosenhall, CALmatters

Many California communities could open centers inviting addicts to shoot up hard drugs under a little-noticed bill that has cleared the state Assembly and now awaits a vote on the Senate floor. The goal is to reduce deaths.

Here’s how the concept — modeled after a supervised drug injection facility in Vancouver, Canada — works: A user walks into a government-run clinic with some heroin in his pocket. He’s greeted by a nurse who directs him to wash his hands before offering an array of clean needles. He sits down at a sterile booth, rolls up a sleeve and shoots up. As the high sinks in, he makes his way to a chill-out room for a cup of coffee or juice. There, staff watch for signs of overdose, prepared to administer life-saving medication if needed.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

‘You Don’t Just Quit’: California Hits Back at Trump’s Transgender Military Ban

By Miranda Leitsinger, KQED News Fix

President Donald Trump’s announcement early Wednesday that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve was met with swift reaction and strong opposition among California’s transgender military community and congressional delegation.

Trump made the announcement in a series of tweets, concluding with: “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.


California’s Gender Pay Gap: How 2 Proposed Laws Aim to Close It

By Ben Christopher, CALmatters

California boasts some of the toughest “fair pay” laws in the country — yet the average full-time working woman has been earning only 86 cents for every dollar earned by a man. A recent study concluded that gap won’t close before the year 2043.

Two female lawmakers don’t intend to wait that long.

The Legislature, which in the past two years has approved a series of bills aimed at gender pay equity for substantially similar work, is considering going even further this session. The first proposal would bar a prospective employer from asking a job applicant about prior salary; the second would require large employers to publicly disclose the median earnings of salaried employees and board members, by gender.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

This Army Base Once Drove West Oakland’s Economy. Now It Drives Discrimination.

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Grist 

A veil of dust covers the windowsills of Ray Kidd’s home. Outside, in his backyard, particles coat a lemon tree, sticking to the fruit’s pimpled, yellow skin.

“Diesel pollution,” says the 72-year-old Kidd, who has lived in West Oakland since 1973. “It’s just pervasive.” Across town, close to Lake Merritt — a more affluent part of the city — his mother’s backyard lemon tree grows untarnished.

West Oakland sits directly across the water from San Francisco, putting it effectively in the center of the Bay Area. It’s bounded on all sides by freeways — the 880, 980, and 580 — and hugs the Port of Oakland. The bustling docks hold the distinction of being the city’s economic heartbeat, and its worst enemy.

Read the complete story at Grist.