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Lessons in How to Manage California's Groundwater

By Matt Weiser, KQED News Fix/Water Deeply

California is well behind the curve on groundwater regulation. With a few exceptions, groundwater extraction has never been regulated in the state or even monitored with any precision.

However, a 2014 law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, at last will require groundwater basins in the state to reverse longstanding overdraft problems. This will mean metering individual groundwater wells for the first time, as well as collecting fees from groundwater users to fund management efforts.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/Water Deeply.

Teacher Shortage, Lack of Supplies Hinder Rollout of New Science Standards, Report Finds

By Carolyn Jones, EdSource

Most teachers are embracing California’s new science standards, but the rollout has been hampered by teacher shortages, lackluster elementary science education, lack of supplies and other obstacles, according to a new report.

The report by the Public Policy Institute of California surveyed 204 school districts across California at the end of the 2016-17 school year about their progress in implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, which were adopted in 2013 and which schools are currently introducing.

Read the complete story at EdSource.

Taser Wars: Police Commission Moves to Vote on Stun Gun Policy

By Joe Eskenazi, Mission Local

At some point on Wednesday, the meeting’s going to careen off the rails. “S**t-show breaks out” isn’t a Police Commission agenda item, but it might as well be.

Various members of the public will recriminate one other and members of the government; members of the government will recriminate various members of the public and one other. Demonstrations will break out. That guy who shows up and sings during public comment will show up and sing during public comment. It’s going to be a God-damn mess.

Taser policy discussions are catnip for unruly, high-tension meetings. No surprise there.

Will we get any new policy out of it all? Maybe. Will it matter? Maybe not.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

S.F. Limited-English Sexual Assault Victims Among the Most Ignored

By Julian Mark, Mission Local

Nearly three years have passed since Dora Mejia filed a lawsuit against the City of San Francisco that exposed the barriers many monolingual sexual assault victims experience when interacting with the San Francisco Police Department, but advocates say the problems still remain.

Mejia was arrested after her ex-partner sexually assaulted her in a Mission District apartment in 2014. He left the apartment, called the police, accused Mejia of attacking him. When officers arrived, they refused to offer her an interpreter, insisting that she use the best English she could.

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

Some California Districts Are Downplaying the National School Walkout as Others Embrace It

By David Washburn, EdSource

Fifty years ago this week, Latino students in Los Angeles shocked their teachers, their principals — and the world — by organizing massive school walkouts to protest their unequal education in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

School authorities were caught unawares. They stood by dumbfounded as high school kids — fed up with the poor conditions of their schools, the indifference of their teachers and the subjugation of their culture — streamed out of classrooms and into the streets of East Los Angeles, their numbers reaching as high as 22,000.

Read the complete story at EdSource. 

'My World Was Burning': The North Bay Fires and What Went Wrong

By Sukey Lewis, Marisa Lagos and Lisa Pickoff-White, KQED News Fix/The California Report

Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann wasn’t scheduled to work until Monday morning, but he decided to head in Sunday, Oct. 8, just in case.

He knew that conditions in Napa’s wine country, known for its Mediterranean climate and valleys of vineyards, were ripe for a fire: There was a high wind advisory, it was an unusually warm day, and there was plenty of dried-out brush and grass that late in the year.

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

Coming to Mission Bay: New Homes for Unhoused Veterans and Low-Income Families

By Liza Veale, KALW/Crosscurrents

San Francisco recently began construction on a housing development in Mission Bay, a complex that will house 62 homeless veterans and 59 low-income families.

Inclement weather one last week did not stop housing leaders from gathering under a muddy tent to celebrate.

“Thanks for coming out in the rain,” said Michael Blecker of Swords to Plowshares, the veterans' services organization. “And, of course the folks who will be living here will be out of the rain.”

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

Protesters Surround the San Francisco Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office After Immigration Arrests

By Farida Jhabvala Romero, KQED New Fix

More than 200 protesters surrounded the offices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in downtown San Francisco Wednesday and closed the area to traffic, after the federal agency arrested more than 150 people in Northern and Central California this week.

About half of the immigrants arrested since Sunday have criminal backgrounds, according to an agency statement, which said the agency is targeting people it considers a threat to public safety. But protesters denounced the operation as a move that terrorizes communities and separates families.

Read the complete story at KQED New Fix.

Unions Prepare to Lose in the Courthouse and Strike Back in the Statehouse

By Laurel Rosenhall, CALmatters

The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on a high-profile case that could slash the power of public-employee unions. But California labor leaders are already planning to push for new state laws to blunt the impact of an unfavorable ruling.

The case argued before the court Monday, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, challenges whether public-employee unions can collect fees from workers who choose not to join the union. California is one of several states that allow unions to collect so-called fair share fees from workers who benefit from services such as contract negotiations but don’t want to pay for their union’s political activity.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

Push to Arm Teachers in California Would Face Major Hurdles

By Louis Freedberg, EdSource

Were California to try to implement anything remotely along the lines of what President Trump has proposed for arming teachers to prevent firearm massacres in schools, the state would have a massive and expensive undertaking on its hands.

It would also almost certainly require significant legislative changes, because if anything California has been moving in just the opposite direction in its attempts to keep dangerous firearms off school campuses and out of the hands of school personnel.

Read the complete story at EdSource.