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Equal Pay Eludes California’s Working Women, Lawmakers Say

By Katie Orr, KQED News Fix

Marking Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, female lawmakers sounded the alarm about the status of working women in California: From inequality in wages to lack of family friendly workplaces, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus says things have to change. And they have proposed legislation to do that.

Studies show that working women in California earn about 80 cents for every dollar men earn. The pay gap is larger for African-American and Hispanic women. To help combat that, Assemblywoman Susan Eggman has introduced a bill that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. Eggman said fields that women have historically worked in, like teaching or nursing, tend to pay less.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.


The 2015-2016 El Niño Erased Hundreds of Feet of California’s Beaches

By Alexander Fox, Bay Nature

The El Niño of 2015–16 was not the drought panacea Californians might have hoped for, but it was still one of the strongest El Niños on record. A new study shows how it dramatically reshaped the state’s coastline. A team led by U.S. Geological Survey coastal geologist Patrick Barnard determined that last winter generated either the most powerful, or second most powerful, waves ever recorded in the Eastern North Pacific, and those waves, combined with elevated sea level caused by El Niño’s warm water, ripped tons of sand and sediment off California beaches and out to sea.

After the El Niño had ended, Barnard’s team surveyed 29 beaches along 1,200 miles of the West Coast and found that shorelines had retreated an average of 115 feet — 76 percent more than a normal year and 27 percent more than in the previous record year. They reported their findings in February 2017 in the journal Nature Communications.

Read the complete story in Bay Nature. 


Report: State Still Shortchanging Counties for Election Costs

By Guy Marzorati, KQED News Fix

California’s state government should pick up the tab for more local election costs, according to a report released Thursday by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.

California’s 58 counties currently shoulder the costs for federal and state elections, but don’t receive reliable payments to cover those costs. Towns, cities and school districts typically reimburse counties for carrying out their local elections. 

Read the complete story on KQED News Fix.

Fighting Children’s Cavities in Chinatown: It Takes a Coalition

By Laura Klivans, KQED News Fix/State of Health

Sixteen years ago, city and school officials in San Francisco came together with dentists to figure out how to improve oral health in students. The program screens all San Francisco public school kindergartners for tooth decay.

A new report shows it is working. Overall, children’s oral health in San Francisco is improving:The citywide cavity rate has dropped almost 10 percent since 2008. Among children of color, however, the improvements have been slower.

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

Nature Provides Its Own Flood Control. Time to Use It?

By Lauren Sommer, KQED News Fix/KQED Science

After millions of dollars of flood damage and mass evacuations this year, California is grappling with how to update its aging flood infrastructure.

That has some calling for a new approach to flood control – one that mimics nature instead of trying to contain it.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/KQED Science.

Developments in Development: Affordable for Whom?

By Laura Wenus, Mission Local

Every time the words “affordable housing” are used in local media, commenters appear and argue about the phrase. Either they are frustrated that, in a region where someone thinks it’s OK to charge people $800 a night to sleep on the floor, nothing is really “affordable.” Or they are angry that we use the term in reference to city-administered, below-market-rate units with costs subsidized by taxpayer and bond money. (In some cases, as I was reminded this week, very heavily.) Both angles on this usually result in the question: “Affordable to whom?”

Not to teachers, that’s for sure.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

Planners Say Flooding Fears Do Not Hold Water, Approve Affordable Housing

By Laura Wenus, Mission Local

In a rare specimen of lightning-speed bureaucracy, the Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously reapproved an entirely below-market-rate building planned for 17th and Folsom streets, dismissing a neighbor’s concerns over flooding in the area.

“There couldn’t be any more win-win situation for all,” said Commissioner Kathrin Moore.

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

California Officials: State Will Lose $24 Billion by Decade’s End Under GOP Health Plan

By Anna Gorman, KQED News Fix/State of Health

California would lose $24.3 billion in federal funding by 2027 for low-income health coverage under the current Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a new state analysis released Wednesday.

The bill, up for a vote in the House on Thursday, represents a “massive and significant fiscal shift” from the federal to state governments by setting caps on spending, reducing the amount of money available for new enrollees and eliminating other funding for hospitals and Planned Parenthood, the analysis said. The analysis, based on internal cost, utilization and enrollment data, was sent Tuesday to the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services.

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

New Coastal Commission Director Says Trump Threatens California Coast

By Patricia Flynn, KQED News Fix/KQED Science

The new executive director of the California Coastal Commission, Jack Ainsworth, says his appointment demonstrates the Commission’s commitment to coastal protection and that his recommendations to Commissioners will be based on science and facts. Ainsworth took the helm as executive director in February, after a tumultuous year in which environmental advocates accused the Commission of firing the previous director to please developers.

KQED’s Brian Watt talked with Ainsworth recently about his priorities, and how he plans to handle threats from the Trump administration to undo environmental protections. Here’s a transcript of that conversation, edited for brevity.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/KQED Science.

'Deep Cleaning': Public Works Dept. Says It Picked Up 55,000 Pounds of Trash, 4,000 Needles From Encampments

By Laura Waxmann, Mission Local

In response to increasing tensions between San Francisco’s housed and unhoused neighbors and an ever-growing stack of complaints about homeless encampments, the city’s Department of Public Works last week decided to take matters into its own hands by “deep cleaning” and essentially removing a number of them in the Mission and in South of Market.

Nuisance and public safety complaints made attending to the encampments a high priority.

Rachel Gordon, spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Public Works who was clearly frustrated with the number of calls the department is getting, said cleaning crews picked up some “55,000 pounds of trash and close to 4,000 needles” over the course of a week in mid-March. 

Read the complete story at Mission Local.