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Teacher Shortages Persist in California and Getting Worse in Many Communities

By Louis Freedberg, EdSource

Despite an improving economy and new efforts to recruit teachers, California’s teacher shortage is showing no signs of easing up.

In fact, shortages are becoming more severe in many communities.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from the Learning Policy Institute, based on a survey of 25 school districts of different sizes and in diverse locations in the state.

Read the complete story at EdSource.

The Human Cost of Uber and Lyft: Life in the Dying Taxi Industry

By Sam Harnett, KQED News Fix/The California Report

Carl Ditlefsen vacuums out his car as the sun sets on the Green Cab taxi lot. He’s the only cab driver here. Next to the lot is a cluttered two-person office and a tarp lean-to. It covers a portable toilet with a sign that reads “Taxi Driver Parking Only.”

Ditlefsen just finished a slow 11-hour shift, and he’s had only one good ride all day. His pay will be less than minimum wage, and these days, that’s normal. Ditlefsen’s competitors, like Lyft and Uber drivers, routinely make $20 to $30 an hour. 

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

The Big Sort: What to Do With 2 Million Tons of Fire Debris

By Molly Peterson, KQED News Fix/KQED Science

California’s biggest disaster cleanup in a century is now three-quarters complete, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. And like the North Bay fires that caused it, this massive response is one for the record books.

“It is a very complicated debris removal operation,” California Office of Emergency Services director Mark Ghilarducci told a Santa Rosa town hall in January. “The largest debris clearance operation we’ve seen since the 1906 earthquake.” 

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/KQED Science.

S.F. Police Dept. Use of Force Plummets From Last Year

By Julian Mark, Mission Local

Use of force by S.F. Police Department officers continues on a sharp downward trend, according to recently released use-of-force data.

Citywide, the department continues to disproportionately use force on people of color, specifically African Americans, the numbers show. And, despite the overall downturn in use-of-force incidents, there were four deaths at the hands or under the watch of San Francisco officers in 2017, compared to three in 2016.

For its part, Mission Station has seen a decline in its officers’ use of force, although not as sharp a decline as other districts with similar call volumes, such as Central, Southern and Tenderloin stations.

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

Immigration Requests Shoot Up in San Francisco, L.A. Jails Under Trump

By Marisa Lagos, KQED News Fix/The California Report

Immigration advocates derisively called former President Barack Obama the “deporter-in-chief,” but new data obtained by KQED show the Trump administration has been even more aggressive in targeting jail inmates for deportation from San Francisco.

San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said the sheriff’s office received more than four times as many immigration requests in 2017 — the first year Donald Trump was president — as in the final year of Obama’s presidency.

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

‘Textgate’ Is the Textbook Example of the Limits of Police Reform

By Joe Eskenazi, Mission Local

Nobody is disputing the cops who sent racist texts committed misconduct. But they stand to never be punished. That’s the law — and that’s how it was designed to work.

Earlier this month, the San Francisco Police Department announced that the state attorney general, and not the federal Department of Justice, would now be overseeing its internal reforms, which is a bit like getting a new sponsor in your 12-step program. Let’s call it “Accountability Anonymous.”

Good thing, too. The Police Department has had an accountability problem for God knows how long and its former sponsor, the Justice Department, fell off the wagon last fall. That’s when Attorney General Jeff Sessions pulled out, saying he wanted to respect “local control and accountability.”

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

Bill Aims to Help Homeless Suffering From Severe Mental Illness, Drug Addiction

By Scott Shafer, KQED News Fix/The California Report

It’s not uncommon for visitors to San Francisco to leave town shocked by all the homeless people roaming the streets, many with visibly severe mental health problems.

Now, state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-S.F., is teaming up with state Sen. Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park, on legislation to give counties more options for getting homeless people off the streets and into services.

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

Grappling With Uncertainty Over Temporary Protected Status Work Permits

By Farida Jhabvala Romero, KQED News Fix/The California Report

Mariano Guzman has worked as a truck driver for a San Francisco Bay Area waste management company for 17 years. But last month, the 55-year-old Honduran immigrant got a major surprise when he showed up for his job south of San Francisco.

Guzman’s employer said he couldn’t keep his job because his work authorization document had just expired.

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

Doctors Prepare for Possible Immigration Enforcement Visits at Hospitals

By April Dembosky, KQED News Fix

Pediatricians across California are calling on Congress to pass legislation protecting immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, saying their patients are skipping appointments because they’re afraid a visit to the hospital will get them deported.

Doctors and hospital administrators have started formulating protocols so that staff members will know what to do if immigration agents enter hospitals or clinics to search for, or arrest, people who are in the country illegally.

Read the complete story is  KQED News Fix.

S.F. Goes After One of City’s Cruelest Landlords, Snatching Away Her Rent Payments

By Joe Eskenazi, Mission Local

Dale Duncan is trying to be a nice guy. He’s trying real, real hard. But, sometimes, it’s just too much. Anne Kihagi is just too much. And not just sometimes.

“I’m not a big schadenfreude guy,” says the former Kihagi tenant who, last year, won a $3.5 million ruling against his erstwhile landlord after a fraudulent eviction from his family’s longtime Mission District flat — purportedly the largest such judgment in state history. “But,” he continues after a thoughtful pause, “it’s hard not to feel some schadenfreude right now.”

Read the complete story at Mission Local.