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Public Press Weekly: A Focus on Racial Unrest and California


Anti-Trump protesters join hands on the Golden Gate Bridge after the November 2016 presidential election. Photo by David Andrews // Hoodline
Photo by David Andrews // Hoodline

The violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., this month and President Donald Trump’s much-criticized response have highlighted the resurgence of hate groups in the United States. White nationalism is on the rise in California and right-wing groups are planning rallies in such cities as San Francisco and Berkeley this weekend. How to react to these rallies has been the subject to fierce discussion: Ignore? Protest — violently or peacefully?

Update 5:29 p.m. PT Friday: Patriot Prayer organizer Joey Gibson says he is canceling the Crissy Field rally on Saturday and will instead hold a 2 p.m. press conference in Alamo Square, several blocks from a planned Civic Center counterprotest. “We are asking the city to keep us safe,” Gibson said on Facebook.

Public Press reporters will be covering events in San Francisco on Saturday. For real-time updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

✤     Crissy Field rally: Message of peace tainted by violence (San Francisco Public Press)
✤     List of counterdemonstrations (SFist)
✤     Criticism of Trump (Mother Jones)
✤     The rise of white nationalism (Mercury News)
✤     Reactions to rallies (San Francisco Chronicle)

… And the Confederate monuments controversy has migrated to San Francisco, which is faced with what to do with remnants of the state’s illiberal past. Civic Center’s Pioneer Monument shows cowboy and a missionary standing over a fallen Native American. A Facebook group calls for its removal, and Jane Kim, the supervisor of the district where the statue is located, wants it gone: Its fate is on the agenda of the Arts Commission in October.

Consider Also:

✤     The now-former Berkeley Top Dog employee, who was spotted at the Charlottesville rally in the Nazi/KKK/Confederate-statue-backers contingent, insists he is not a racist. (SFist)

✤     Banners adorned with swastikas were spotted nearby the Islamic Center of Alameda. (SFist)

✤     An Arab-owned bakery in Oakland is a target of anti-Muslim protests over its banner depicting a Palestinian female activist. (SFist)

The Ever-Present (Intractable?) S.F. and State Housing Shortage

✤     Lawmakers this month are considering measures to alleviate the housing crisis in a state where homeownership is at its lowest rate since World War II. “Californians: Here’s Why Your Housing Costs Are So High” (CALmatters); “Housing a Top Priority for California Lawmakers After Recess” (AP)

✤     The crisis in San Francisco has reached a point when many workers can no long afford to live in the city and are forced to endure punishing long-distance commutes. “A 2:15 Alarm, 2 Trains and a Bus Get Her to Work by 7 A.M.”; “California Today: The Rise of the Super Commuter” (New York Times)

✤     Gentrification isn’t helping. It’s jacking up housing prices in former low- to moderate-income neighborhoods and bearing the blame for residents’ displacement. One example of the tension between the newcomers and longtime residents is the brouhaha over the expansion of the bike-share program in the Mission District. “Bikeshare Expansion Blocked in the Mission Over Gentrification Fears” (San Francisco Examiner)

✤     Although no tears should be shed, even the rich aren’t entirely insulated from the vagaries of the housing market, where the well-heeled woke up one day and discovered that the street where they lived had been sold right out from under them. “Rich San Franciscans Find Out What Poor People Already Know: Investors Can Buy Their Land for Almost Nothing” (Slate)

✤     The solutions, however, are elusive, and even groups advocating affordable housing have experienced deep differences of opinion. “San Francisco’s Civil War” (Slate)

✤     Perhaps San Francisco should look to Vancouver, which, apparently, has found the answer. “How Vancouver Got Its Housing Bubble Under Control: A Lesson for Cities Like London and San Francisco” (Quartz)

For more perspectives on the San Francisco housing crisis, read the summer 2014 Public Press special report, Creative Solutions to San Francisco’s Housing Crisis.

Help for the Homeless?

✤     Yielding to pressure from neighborhoods, San Jose has reduced the number of sites for so-called tiny homes for the homeless from 99 potential sites to four. “After Backlash, San Jose Reduces Number of ‘Tiny Homes’ Sites for Homeless” (Mercury News)

✤     The U.S. can’t seem to get its numbers right. According to a study, the federal government undercounts homelessness in California’s largest cities by more than 25 percent. “California Today: Are We Undercounting the Homeless?” (New York Times)

For more investigative reporting on the shortage of decent shelter for the homeless, read the summer 2017 Public Press special report, Navigating Homelessness.

Keeping Up With Cap-and-Trade

✤     Good news for the state’s controversial cap-and-trade program, which requires oil refineries, food processors and other facilities to buy permits (which are auctioned off), before they can release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. During August’s auction, every emission permit was sold and at the highest prices ever. “California Cap-and-Trade Program Gets a Shot in the Arm With Strong Permit Auction Results” (Los Angeles Times); “California Auction Raises $640 Million for Greenhouse Gas Fund” (Bloomberg BNA)

✤     And there’s a big chunk of change up for grabs. “California Cap-and-Trade Program Generates More Than $1 Billion. Who Gets The Money?” (Sacramento Bee)

✤     But not everyone is jumping for joy about this law. Environmental-justice groups say it concedes too much to industry. “Why Resistance to California’s Air Pollution Law Is a Sign of Progress” (Grist)

For a backgrounder about California’s cap-and-trade program, read the summer 2013 Public Press special report on climate change (in collaboration with Earth Island Journal and Bay Nature magazine).