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BART Considers Reopening Bathrooms at Underground Stations

By Ryan Levi, KQED News Fix

Some BART riders have been holding it for 15 years, but relief may be around the corner.

After the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, BART closed the bathrooms at its 10 underground stations on the recommendation of the Department of Homeland Security. Now, BART is  considering reopening the bathrooms at the Powell Street station in San Francisco and the 19th Street station in Oakland as part of a pilot project.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

Diagnosis Unprepared: Elderly Hospital Patients Arrive Sick, Often Leave Disabled

By Anna GormanKaiser Health News/New America Media

Janet Prochazka was active and outspoken, living by herself and working as a special education tutor. Then, in March, a bad fall landed her in the hospital.

Doctors cared for her wounds and treated her pneumonia. But Prochazka, 75, didn’t sleep or eat well at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. She became confused, agitated and ultimately contracted a serious stomach infection. After more than three weeks in the hospital and three more in a rehabilitation facility, she emerged far weaker than before, shaky and unable to think clearly.

Read the complete story at Kaiser Health News/New America Media.


Relaxed Conservation Measures Don’t Mean the Drought Is Over

By Angela Johnston, KALW/Crosscurrents

The California drought is now in its fifth year, and a recent study says it won’t be over for years to come.The study analyzed California’s mountain snowpack and found that we would need almost four-and-a-half more years of winter storms to escape drought conditions. But just few months ago, after a not-so-impressive El Niño winter season, California’s State Water Resources Control Board ended a year of mandatory water restrictions that had required urban residents to cut their consumption by 25 percent statewide. Although some think it’s too soon to ease up on the general public’s use of water, the state is taking a different route.

“A lot of the impacts of the drought aren't necessarily seen in our coastal cities in L.A., in San Francisco, San Diego but they are there,” said Max Gomberg, the climate and conservation manager for the State Water Resources board. Gomberg said that despite the drought’s persistence, things have improved: this past winter’s rains and successful conservation efforts by urban Californians meant it was time to ditch the top-down mandatory restrictions.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

Spurred by S.F. Cyclist Deaths, Guerrilla Safe Streets Activists Take Action

By Bryan Goebel, KQED News Fix

Sixth and Mission streets is one of San Francisco’s meanest intersections. The sidewalks are bustling with pedestrians while the streets are jammed with cars, buses and trucks, especially during commute hours. Many drivers making turns ignore the battered white safety posts and fading pedestrian zones installed by the city.

But on a recent Friday evening, a trio of safe streets activists wearing brightly colored safety vests arrived on their bicycles with a trailer of orange cones. They spruced up the intersection with an eye toward making it friendlier for those on foot: Cones were placed to slow drivers making the turn and to shorten crossing distances for pedestrians.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

Big Bucks Spent in District 9 Race

By Joe Rivano Barros, Mission Local

Hillary Ronen, the chief of staff to Supervisor David Campos, and Joshua Arce, a liaison for the labor union Local 261, have raised significantly more money than the other two candidates vying to replace Campos as supervisor for District 9, according to campaign finance filings released this week.

Although Ronen is the only candidate to receive money from lobbyists, a third-party committee funded by the Police Officers Association and various labor unions has raised $180,000 and is spending thousands on promoting Arce, alongside other candidates.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.  

Climate Retreat? State Legislature Could Ditch Plan to Radically Cut Emissions

By Laurel RosenhallCALmatters

Gov. Jerry Brown has taken the national stage to tout California’s fight against global warming, telling cheering throngs at the Democratic National Convention that the state has “the toughest climate laws in the country.” Yet inside the state Capitol, the fate of the policy’s centerpiece — legislation to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions — is in peril.

One ominous sign: The Democratic leader of the Assembly has not thrown his weight behind the bill.

Read the complete story at CALmatters. 

Water Conservation Wanes in California as Most Mandatory Restrictions End

By Craig Miller, KQED News Fix/KQED Science

It appears that California water suppliers have, by and large, abandoned mandatory water conservation — and it may be showing up in the latest monthly statistics on water saving in the state.

According to the State Water Resources Control Board, urban customers reduced water use by 21.5 percent in June, compared to the benchmark year of 2013. That’s down from 27.5 percent savings a year ago, when statewide mandatory controls were in place. Savings were down even more compared to May of this year. 

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

From Tampon Taxes to Overtime Pay, Legislature Weighs Bills Focused on Women

By Katie Orr, KQED News Fix/The California Report

Summer recess is over for the California Legislature. Lawmakers are back in the Capitol to begin a final month of work before adjourning for the rest of the year. Among the bills still left to consider are several related to helping women. 

For example, there’s a bill to make tampons exempt from sales taxes and one to expand the definition of rape. Another measure would make permanent a law requiring that domestic workers be paid overtime. That bill is a priority for the Women’s Foundation of California. The group’s Marj Plumb says it’s a good time to be backing policies that support women.

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

How Well Can Law Enforcement Address Sex Trafficking?

By Sukey Lewis, KQED News Fix

A sexual exploitation scandal that has launched investigations into misconduct across multiple Bay Area police agencies has some questioning how well law enforcement is positioned to combat sex trafficking and prostitution.

So far, about 30 police officers are alleged to have had some form of sexual contact with the young woman known as Celeste Guap, who told reporters she had sex with some officers when she was only 17.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

For more on the issue of sex trafficking, read the San Francisco Public Press Spring 2012 special section, Human Trafficking in the Bay Area


S.F. Supervisors Approve Tenant Protections Against Fires

By Laura Wenus, Mission Local

San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved three proposals aimed at protecting renters from the repercussions of structure fires by prioritizing them for affordable housing and requiring landlords to provide more information to tenants and to the city.

All three pieces of legislation were passed on first reading unanimously and will become law after another Board of Supervisors vote and mayoral approval. 

Read the complete story at Mission Local.