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Daily news roundup for Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Coit_Tower_Murals_210415_02.jpg
At San Francisco Coit Tower, by Oren Rozen, used under CC license/resized and cropped.
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Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

Red Cross helping San Francisco’s Mission district fire victims // ABC 7 News

“The Red Cross said the fire victims include 12 families with six children. A food bank and the Salvation Army are standing by ready to offer help.”

“Under city law, they have a right to return at the same rent, but it often takes so long before the building is fixed that tenants move on with their lives. San Francisco Supervisor David Campos represents the Mission District, which has recently had several major residential fires. He's considering measures to possibly change repair requirements. 'Is there something that we can do to expedite that process because there are protections that are in place, but unless the property is repaired within a period of time, those protections become meaningless to the people who have been displaced,' he said.”

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Ballot measure is new obstacle to diverting water to Southern California // LA Times

“Under the initiative, the state would have to seek voters' permission before funding projects that cost more than $2 billion with revenue bonds — borrowing that is repaid with receipts from the projects they pay for, rather than with general taxpayer funds.”

“Brown is proposing such bonds for the $15-billion plan to tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. They would be repaid by water users.”

“The tunnel plan, which is going through an administrative approval process, has strong opposition from Delta-area landowners who resent the diversion of water to thirsty cities to the south, including Los Angeles.”

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Turnout up, cost down in San Mateo county's all-mail election // KQED

“'In a traditional election, we recruit and train some 1,700 poll workers,' Church explains. We test and deploy some 1,400 voting machines, and we secure some 209 polling places. And most of those costs are eliminated for this program. We don’t know the exact savings of this program, but we do know there will be a significant savings.”

“'I believe that the final results and overall data collected in San Mateo County, along with observations from existing models in Colorado and Oregon, will show the benefits of moving to ‘all-mail’ elections on a statewide basis,' Mullin says. 'The raw data — over 100,000 ballots received versus an average of 85,000 over the last four elections — shows that we have reversed a long-term trend of declining turnout in local, off-year elections.'”

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Bay Area college startup draws students with ‘debt-free’ tuition deferral plan // Marin Independent Journal

“Students pay 25 percent of their salaries back to the school in their first two years in the workforce, as well as internship earnings. If they don’t find a job in the tech field — or if their startup fizzles — the school gets nothing.”

“The two-year Make School, a highly selective startup preparing students to enter the lucrative tech sector, is hardly a typical American college. But its model, billed as 'debt-free education,' reflects the collective national angst over student loans and college affordability.”

“Several Make School students interviewed for this story said they think the delayed payment ensures the school will give them the kind of training and mentoring they need to succeed. The first class of 32 students, most in their late teens and early 20s, will spend their two years attending lectures, interning at local companies and working on their own projects.”

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Top-performing schools for poor children in Bay Area // Contra Costa Times

“Los Medanos' proficiency numbers measured on last spring's state tests are double those of some other Pittsburg elementary schools, despite having similar demographics, with nearly four out of five students living in poverty.”

“Los Medanos has long been Pittsburg's highest-scoring elementary. In fact on the spring CAASPP, proficiency rates at Los Medanos -- 80 percent poor, 68 percent Latino, 13 percent black and 44 percent English learners, exceeded those of students of any race in California.”

“Former Principal Eileen Chen credits a multitude of practices: substantial homework, parent signatures on homework and on any assignments with low grades, multiple evening events like math night and Latino heritage night, and a 17-week after-school tutoring session for the most struggling students. Teachers get paid extra for running those classes, but not for regularly staying late to collaborate, plan or pore over student data.”

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With murals restored, Coit Tower's second floor is once again open // Hoodline

“Coit Tower itself was not designed for murals, but rather as a monument. But in 1934,the Public Works of Art Project (a precursor to the WPA) hired a group of activist artists, many of them students or apprentices of muralist Diego Rivera, to portray Depression-era California on its walls.”

“For the most recent restoration, four specialists spent about a month working on the second floor alone. Since relatively few secco frescoes exist, only a small number of restoration artists are specifically trained in dealing with them, which meant specialists had to be called in. Adding to the challenge was that, unlike on the ground floor, the walls of the second floor had not been extensively treated in prior years. After careful dry cleaning, areas of deteriorating plaster were stabilized with poultices and consolidants.”