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Forget the IRS — Independent Contractors Also Have to Pay Taxes to the City of San Francisco

By Jeremy Dalmas, KALW/Crosscurrents

April 15 just passed and you, hopefully, finished paying the IRS. But if you’re an independent contractor in San Francisco, your taxes to the city are due next on May 31.

This is separate from the money you pay to the IRS or the state of California. Confused? You’re not alone. All the independent contractors I talk to have never heard of it. Some people don’t even understand what I’m talking about — it’s complicated.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

What $500,000 Buys You Around California — and How It Shapes Where We Move

By Matt Levin, CALmatters

The median price of a California single-family home is now well over half a million dollars. That’s more than double what the average house costs in the rest of the U.S.

Put a more nauseating way, you could buy two “average” non-California houses for the price of one California house. Can’t decide between the Cape Cod or the midcentury Craftsmen? Move to the Midwest and buy both!

You’d forgive Californians, though, for shrugging off words like “average” and “median” to describe the state’s housing situation. Our state is nearly 164,000 square miles, with housing markets as distinctly different as Redding and La Jolla. That means half a million dollars may sound pricey to those in Barstow, but it’s a bargain for anyone in Silicon Valley.

Read the complete story at CALmatters. 

S.F. City Attorney Sues Couple for Turning Home Into Illegal Hotel

By Charlotte Silver, Mission Local

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is using a gunfight that surprised a sleepy street in Bernal Heights last October as part of his salvo against property owners who illegally rent out their homes on short-term rental sites like Airbnb.

On Wednesday, Herrera announced that his office had filed a lawsuit against the couple that own 212 Banks St., which on Oct. 14 became the site of a party-turned-gun battle. There were no fatalities and only one injury that night, but the hail of bullets sprayed parked cars with bullets and sent partiers fleeing.

According to the lawsuit, Erik Rogers and Anshu Singh rented their home out to tourists for most nights between June 2016 and October 2017, sometimes for as much as $800 a night. Meanwhile, they lived in Bali, Indonesia.

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

Will One-Time Cash Infusion Be Enough to Fix the University of California?

By Felicia Mello, CALmatters

The message popped into UC Berkeley sophomore Varsha Sarveshwar’s inbox a few days before the start of her Introduction to General Astronomy course last fall. It contained the usual details about class times and textbooks. But then there was something surprising: a plea from the professor to skip the first day of class.

“I’d like to encourage at least 200 of you NOT to come to Hertz Hall the first two lectures, and simply watch them on webcast instead,” professor Alex Filippenko wrote.

While 850 students were enrolled in the course, the lecture hall could only hold 650, Filippenko explained. The fire marshal might shut down the class if too many people attended.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

Voters Can Track Millions Flowing Into Local Races. Do They Really Care?

By Joe Eskenazi, Mission Local

Retirement, for Larry Bush, looks a lot like work did. The former journalist, politico, fixer and government apparatchik is seated on a recliner in his Castro district living room, his feet up; his tiny dog, Izabel, sitting across his legs; and a MacBook in his lap. He’s following the money.

Well, someone has to.

“His watchdoggery is unrelenting … No one else is doing the job,” reads a profile of Bush. “What of the fourth estate? Well, most reporters have become inured to the pervasive influence of political money. For them, lucre is as much part of City Hall as the mortar and the marble. That leaves Larry Bush, rooting around all alone in the musty public records room at the Registrar of Voters Office, poring over campaign finance records.”

That passage was written 23 years ago.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

Lead Paint Makers Balk at Huge Bill for Toxic Cleanup — Instead They Want You to Pick Up the Tab

By Laurel Rosenhall, CALmatters

Three companies found to have sold toxic lead paint for decades — despite knowing it posed health hazards for children — are waging a major battle to avoid paying the several hundred million dollars in liability that California courts have slapped on them.

And they’re asking you, the California voter, to help them get their way.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

Why Hasn't the Tenderloin Gentrified Like the Rest of San Francisco?

By Kelly O'Mara, KQED News Fix

San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood is located downtown, bordered by some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city. Yet, it has a bad reputation. Tourists are told to avoid the area. You can often see drug dealing out in the open, and garbage on the streets.

"Growing up we always knew the Tenderloin's kind of a more seedy place," said this week's question asker, Vy Nguyen. She's lived in the Bay Area since she was a kid, but three years ago she moved to an apartment on the edge of the Tenderloin.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

The Open Secret About California Taxes

By Judy Lin, CALmatters

California’s tax system, which relies heavily on the wealthy for state income, is prone to boom-and-bust cycles. While it delivers big returns from the rich whenever Wall Street goes on a bull run, it forces state and local governments to cut services, raise taxes or borrow money in a downturn. During the Great Recession, the capital-gains taxes that sustained the state in good times plummeted. School districts handed out 30,000 pink slips to teachers, and the state was so cash-strapped it gave out IOUs when it couldn’t pay some of its bills.

California is now enjoying one of the longest economic expansions in state history, but the good times can’t last forever. With an “inevitable recession lurking in our future,” Gov. Jerry Brown has warned, state and local governments are more vulnerable than ever to teacher and police layoffs, park and library closures and cuts in health and welfare services for the poor.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

How Teacher Strikes in Other States Help California Unions Make Their Case

By John Fensterwald
 and 
David Washburn, EdSource

Teachers are on the march.

Lashing out against low pay and what they see as paltry state spending on education, teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma — and recently Arizona and Colorado — have made national headlines by walking off the job in unprecedented displays of statewide solidarity.

Although there’s no telling when and where the wave of teacher strikes will crest, don’t expect grassroots, Facebook-driven walkouts to wash over California.

Read the complete story at EdSource.



 

Educators Face New Challenges in 'Superdiverse' Classrooms Where Multiple Languages Are Spoken

By Ashley Hopkinson, EdSource

Teachers of English learners find it challenging to communicate in classrooms where students come from a variety of language and cultural backgrounds. Some children may speak Spanish at home, while others speak Vietnamese, Punjabi or Arabic.

However, learning can improve by incorporating students’ languages in classrooms, increasing teacher access to dictionaries and books in the home languages of their students and encouraging families to participate in class activities, such as parents recording themselves reading books in their home languages for inclusion in a classroom library, where students can listen to the recordings.

Read the complete story at EdSource.

For an in-depth look at bilingual education in California, read the San Francisco Public Press special report "Bilingual  Schools: How California Is  Following S.F. Language Education."