Professor: Governments, Residents Must Address Racist Attacks Against Asians

Nearly 2,500 cases of verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans were reported between March 19 and July 22 to a tracking project called Stop AAPI Hate, referring to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Dr. Russell Jeung, chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, has called on local, state and federal governments to reject racist rhetoric and commit to anti-racist messaging.

A Cancer Information Service staffer receives an inquiry from a customer on the telephone. Bill Branson / National Cancer Institute

Contact Tracers Prioritize Timely, Culturally Competent Calls as Coronavirus Surges

San Francisco has set a goal of communicating with 90% of the people here who test positive for the novel coronavirus and also reaching 90% of their close contacts. But in part due to a delayed trove of test data, the city has reached just 73% of the people for whom it received positive test results over the previous two weeks and 84% of those peoples’ close contacts. In contact tracing, health workers identify and reach out to people who have an infectious disease, then try to determine with whom they have been in close contact and to whom they may have transmitted the disease. Then they try to reach those potentially exposed people. When case investigators and contact tracers talk with someone who has tested positive or potentially been exposed, they ask questions, but they also make testing and resource referrals, and give directions on how to try to stop the disease from spreading further.

Bay Area Housing Group Addresses Community Uncertainty, Finance Questions in Pandemic

When the fallout of the pandemic started to hit Richmond, the affordable housing organization Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services jumped into action, setting up a rapid response fund for families and making its money management and housing education courses virtual. Nikki Beasley, the organization’s executive director, spoke with “Civic” about inequities in housing and wealth in the Bay Area, how to think about financial and housing stability in a time of uncertainty and how crucial homeownership can be to that stability across generations.

A vehicle home is parked in Bayview.

Photojournalist Documents Vehicle Dweller Communities While Living in RV

In the reporting series “Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis,” photojournalist Yesica Prado documents life on four wheels in Berkeley and San Francisco. The project, in partnership with CatchLight Local, offers an intimate look at what it really means for home to be a vehicle in the Bay Area, whether it’s an RV with lots of space and utilities or a sedan with neither. But with housing out of reach, for many, a tent is the only other option. Prado, who was and is part of one of the vehicle dweller communities she documented, said that vehicle living comes with the daily task of avoiding parking or law enforcement and securing access to basic needs like hygiene, food and water. “People are definitely stuck in a cycle that you can’t escape.

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S.F. Police Accessed Private Cameras to Surveil Protesters, Digital Privacy Group Reveals

When a tech executive helped bankroll a private network of security cameras in San Francisco, it was touted as crime-fighting technology that would not be directly in the control of law enforcement. But a report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy advocacy group, shows that the San Francisco Police Department gained remote access to this private camera network for days at a time during protests in late May and early June. The privacy group says that access was a violation of San Francisco law. The camera network in question is managed by the Union Square Business Improvement District. Emails obtained by the foundation show that the group received, and approved, a request from SFPD to obtain remote access to the cameras for 48 hours on May 31.

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Months Into Pandemic, Physician Reflects on Developing Coronavirus Knowledge

In March, Dr. Monica Bhargava, a pulmonary critical care physician at the county hospital in Oakland, predicted on “Civic” that the novel coronavirus would deeply affect the region’s health care system for many months to come. That, and some of her other observations, turned out to be correct. In recent months, scientists and doctors have learned much more about how the virus spreads and what makes patients vulnerable to serious complications. Bhargava returned to “Civic” to follow up on her earlier observations and discuss how the conversations doctors, patients and whole communities are having about managing the coronavirus pandemic have changed. “A lot of my patients live five or six patients to a one-bedroom.

Raven and Rhonda2 - Club Stride

Empowering Youth to Advance Justice in Vallejo

On June 2, police in Vallejo shot and killed a 22-year-old San Francisco man, Sean Monterrosa through the windshield of a police truck while Monterrosa was kneeling. Since then, the California attorney general has announced an investigation into the Vallejo police department. The detective who shot Monterrosa, Jarrett Tonn, was found to have been involved in three other shootings. A windshield that was shattered during the shooting was not preserved as evidence, and video relevant to the incident was initially withheld. According to the news site Open Vallejo, Monterrosa was the 19th person killed by the Vallejo police department in 10 years.

Mayor London Breed and a sign language interpreter at a July 22 press conference. Screen capture from SFGovTV via Zoom.

S.F. to Expand Coronavirus Testing as Cases Surge

San Francisco is conducting more than 3,000 coronavirus tests per day on average, but backlogs are developing at labs and a rising demand is making it more difficult to schedule a test. Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday that testing capacity will be expanded by about 1,400 tests per day in the coming weeks through the addition of appointment times and testing facilities. 

The CityTest facility on the Embarcadero will be adding 400 slots per day for essential workers. The city will launch two mobile pop-up testing sites with capacity of up to 250 tests per day, one of which will open this week and the other next week. Both pop-up facilities will rotate to neighborhoods where high rates of COVID-19 are detected. The city will also create a third CityTest site in a southeastern neighborhood in August, with a capacity of 500 tests per day at a yet undetermined location.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin at a press conference in Nob Hill. Laura Wenus / Public Press

Supervisor Proposes Limit on Disruptive Construction

Supervisor Aaron Peskin has introduced legislation that aims to keep landlords from engaging in construction work in ways that disrupt the lives of their tenants who are sheltering in place. For example, it would require that landlords provide alternative electrical and water supplies if the construction they’re doing results in either being shut off. 

“While we are sheltering in place, it is profoundly important that the residents of these buildings can shelter in peace,” he said. Peskin announced the proposal in front of a Nob Hill apartment building, where one tenant says construction is constant and most residents have left. Andrea Carla Michaels, a professional namer and crossword puzzle creator, is best known in San Francisco as “the Pizza Lady” for her practice of distributing pizza to homeless people. Michaels says construction in the building has been significantly disruptive to her life. 

“From literally the day, every time he moves someone out, he begins floor-to-ceiling renovations without permits.