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Civil Grand Jury Report: Fire Safety Inspections Fall Short

By Laura Wenus, Mission Local

San Francisco’s Civil Grand Jury, a volunteer citizen oversight body, issued a report this month that found that the Department of Building Inspections and Fire Department sometimes take too long to correct fire safety code violations.

According to the Civil Grand Jury —  19 volunteers who serve for a year before a new group is selected — buildings go uninspected for longer than the city code requires and fire hazards persist because of inefficiencies in the two departments’ protocols. 

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

Parents Plan for Paid Family Leave in San Francisco

By Lisa Bartfai, KALW Crosscurrents

Rents and cost of living in the Bay Area are still on the rise, but San Francisco families will soon start seeing some relief: The city has a new family leave law that will go into effect in January 2017. The law will guarantee parents six weeks off with full pay while they’re home with a new child. That's a big departure from the current policy.

Right now, you get the same amount of time off, but with only 55 percent pay. That part is covered by state disability insurance; and when the new law takes effect, employers will cover the rest.

Read the complete story at KALW Crosscurrents.

Ballot of the Bulge: Why a New Law Isn't Shrinking the Ballot Much — Yet

By Lauren Rosenhall, CALmatters

Protracted policy questions. Big-money battles. Contradictory proposals that are difficult to discern. It’s shaping up to be an all-too-typical fall election— once again confronting California voters with an unwieldy ballot.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. After polls confirmed that California voters were frustrated by ballot overload, lawmakers two years ago made changes aimed at pre-empting at least some initiatives from landing on the ballot, and improving those that do. One change gave the Legislature extra time to hold hearings and try to compromise with interest groups pitching complex issues.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

Mobile Restrooms Offer Solution for Lower Polk’s Homeless Community

By Libby Leyden, KQED News Fix

Two portable bathrooms stand surrounded by flower pots and a white picket fence in one of the dirty and run-down alleys in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. A large van decorated with LED lights is parked nearby, stocked with clothes, home-cooked food and hot coffee.

This is the mobile City Resource Relief Center. Seven days a week it moves through the side streets in the Lower Polk section of the Tenderloin, assisting the homeless that live here, often because it’s close to services. Starting last week, the center evolved from being just a nocturnal operation to one that provides 24/7 access to a clean and safe public restroom — a basic need that has been hard to satisfy in this neighborhood.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

BART Needs to Speed Up Installing Surveillance Cameras, Says Top Official

By Ted Goldberg, KQED News Fix

BART needs to stop “tap dancing” around and quickly install surveillance cameras on all of its trains, the chairman of the Bay Area’s regional transit planning agency said after learning that the system was moving slowly in putting the devices in place.

“I don’t know what’s taking so long,” Dave Cortese, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said in an interview. “I think there’s a genuine concern that BART isn’t able to move quickly enough on some of these basic maintenance- and security-type issues.”

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

Displaced Tenants Pick Up Checks, But Many Have Nowhere to Go

By Laura Waxmann, Mission Local

Community efforts raised $140,000 to help 67 individuals displaced by a five-alarm fire at 29th and Mission streets last month get back on their feet.

The Mission Economic Development Agency dispersed some of that money Friday night at the Salvation Army Community Center at 1156 Valencia St. near 23rd St.

Most of those picking up their checks are still without permanent housing and expressed serious concerns about the city’s efforts to relocate them.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

At Least 2 Dozen S.F. Police Dept. Officers Tied to Teen at Center of Sexual Exploitation Scandal

By Alex Emslie and Nicole Reinert, KQED News Fix

The San Francisco Police Department has minimized the extent to which a sexual exploitation crisis rocking several East Bay law enforcement agencies has touched its side of the Bay Bridge, but a KQED analysis of current and former department officers’ Facebook accounts shows that the 18-year-old woman at the center of the sex abuse scandal was connected to dozens of people affiliated with the department.

A week after former Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent suddenly resigned amid revelations that several Oakland Police Dept. officers may have sexually exploited and trafficked a young woman — and allegations that he may have mishandled an internal investigation — headlines blared that S.F. Police Dept.  officers may also have been involved. The woman, who calls herself Celeste Guap, claimed to have had sex with San Francisco officers who knew she worked in the sex trade.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

Immigrants Still Look to Anti-Deportation Act for Relief in Uncertain Times

By Elena ShoreNew America Media

Leticia Urrutia’s DACA renewal is coming up in October, a month before the presidential elections.

“I was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ ” the 23-year-old native of Mexico said at a recent media roundtable in San Francisco.

Urrutia is a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a renewable, two-year protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. 

Read the complete story at New America Media.

Homelessness in the Mission District: A Neighborhood View

By Sukey Lewis, KQED News Fix

A man’s weathered face peers out from inside a green-and-gray tent on Treat Avenue in San Francisco’s Mission District. Pop tunes pour out of a portable radio next to him, as I introduce myself and shake his hand. He tells me his name: Willy Colon. He says he’s been living on the street for about 15 years.

Colon is tired and recovering from a stroke and a broken hip. He is 69 years old.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

California Drought, Marine Heat More Likely With Warming

By John Upton, KQED News Fix/Climate Central

A persistent wash of warm waters off the West Coast, which caused wildlife die-offs and blocked drought-quenching storms from reaching California last year, was caused by the happenstance interplay of natural ocean cycles, research findings published Monday show.

The findings also suggested that while the drought and the blob of warm water were the result of the natural whims of the weather, climate change could make such events more likely and intense in the future. To a small extent, it’s already doing so.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/Climate Central.