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Charter School Advocates Get Down and, Some Say, Dirty

By Joe Eskenazi, Mission Local

Caroline Ayres just wanted to hear about her kids’ school system. What she got was the hybrid of a political rally and a revival meeting. “It was,” she recalls, “an attempt at conversion via emotional outreach.”

It happened earlier this month on Mission Street, in a Sons of Italy outpost promising reasonable rates for its hall of mirrors. There, speaker after speaker excoriated the deplorable state of San Francisco’s public schools, particularly for black and Latino students, and lauded the work of charter schools, which were described as “our private educational institutions” by an African-American clergyman.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.   

Everything You Want to Know About Legal Weed in California

By Jessica Placzek, Ryan Levi and Eli Wirtschafter, KQED News Fix

On Jan. 1, it will become legal for adults 21 and older to buy and sell recreational marijuana in California. In anticipation, Bay Curious is answering a bunch of your questions about commercially available marijuana.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

Willie Brown Looms Large in the Race to Replace Ed Lee

By Scott Shafer, KQED News Fix

Between the singing, the prayers and the tears at Sunday’s memorial service for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, political luminaries like Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi all spoke about Lee’s life and the sacrifice he made for the city.

But perhaps the person with the most at stake was a relatively unknown member of the Board of Supervisors, the first politician to address the gathered crowd at City Hall.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

As Marijuana Industry Grows, Workers Start to Unionize

KQED News Fix/The California Report

On Jan. 1, California adults will be able to walk into shops and buy marijuana products for recreational use. As investors and owners get ready to cash in, an effort is underway to unionize marijuana workers. The hope is to give them more protections and a say in the rapidly expanding industry.

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

A New Bridge? Second BART Tube? Here’s How You Might Pay for It

KQED News Fix

Earlier this month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and East Bay Congressman Mark DeSaulnier wrote to officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and told them that they needed to start planning for a new vehicular and rail crossing between the Peninsula and East Bay.

Feinstein and DeSaulnier  suggested that planning should start under the auspices of Regional Measure 3, a pitch to Bay Area voters to increase bridge tolls by as much as $3 to raise money for dozens of transportation projects.

Read the story at KQED News Fix.

State Utility Regulators OK New Fire Safety Measures

KQED News Fix/The California Report

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to beef up rules for utilities that have facilities in areas where thick vegetation and strong winds make fires more dangerous.

Under the new rules, electric and telecommunications utilities will need to widen vegetation clearances around their lines. They will also have to conduct more inspections of power lines, phone lines and utility poles.

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

Peer Pressure Ousting Politicians Accused of Sexual Harassment

CALmatters

The electorate is a politician’s ultimate boss. If voters don’t like what their representatives are up to, they can throw the bums out — really.

But in recent weeks, as a wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations hits politicians in several statehouses and the nation’s Capitol, another force is proving to be as powerful as the electorate: peer pressure.

Read the complete story at CALmatters. 

As Mayor, Ed Lee Broke Barriers but Left a Complicated Legacy

KQED News Fix/The California Report

Edwin M. Lee, San Francisco’s first Asian-American mayor, died suddenly early Tuesday morning after suffering an apparent heart attack while grocery shopping. He was 65 years old.

London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, became acting mayor upon Lee’s death.

“Ed was not a politician,” Breed said at a City Hall press conference Tuesday morning. “He did not always deliver the best sound bite. He was humble and determined. No matter the job he held, he was fair and collaborative.”

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

Low-Income S.F. Residents Still Wary of Regional Bike-Sharing Program

Mission Local

A lot of confusion still exists about Ford GoBike’s 7,000 bicycles in places like the Mission. As part of a regional public bike-sharing system, it has been linked to gentrification.

Although the company has reached out with plans for low-income residents, some believe the bikes are there only for higher-income residents. It is a problem that sparked vandalism and then calls for the program to withdraw or slow its expansion.  

Read the story at Mission Local. 

More Than 1 in 10 California Students Are 'Chronically Absent'

EdSource

Last year, more than 1 in 10 students were chronically absent, according to data released by state education officials this week. Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing at least 10 percent of school days for any reason.

The data, which the state released for the first time, shows that 1 in 4 foster children was chronically absent from California schools last year as were about 1 in 5 homeless, Native American and African-American students.

Read the story at EdSource.