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Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 6/11/20 AM


BART Worker Tests Positive / Anti-Eviction Law Extended / Oakland Public Schools Consider Eliminating School Police Force

BART Worker Tests Positive

On Tuesday afternoon BART officials released a statement, saying that another of their employees has tested positive for the coronavirus. While this employee worked in stations and on BART trains, BART officials say that they did not have direct contact with the public. The last day the employee worked was Sunday and they are currently in quarantine. Officials also say that the employee wore a mask and gloves during their shifts and adhered to social distancing guidelines. BART says that they are utilizing contact tracing and that all employees who came into contact with the infected worker have since been quarantined for testing.

This was the first employee in a public-facing role to test positive for the virus. However, according to the statement, two other workers with positions “behind-the-scenes” contracted coronavirus in recent weeks. BART says both workers have since recovered.

The BART system has been engaged in enhanced cleaning practices to disinfect train cars and stations. These include using a disinfectant fog on all in-use cars every twenty-four hours and wiping down all high touch surfaces at least six times per janitorial shift. All stations are cleaned multiple times each day.

BART has faced a drastic decrease in ridership due to the coronavirus, and as a result trains are not running as frequently. Trains are now running every thirty minutes on weekdays and service ends at 9 p.m. every night. Weekend service now begins at 8 a.m.

Anti-Eviction Law Extended

A new bill introduced at the state Capitol yesterday would ease some of the growing concerns about evictions in California.

Many renters and tenant advocates are worried about a possible wave of evictions this summer as those who lost jobs and income during the COVID-19 crisis are continuing to struggle to make payments. The bill proposed Wednesday would allow tenants more time to pay rent. Specifically, they would have until 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted to make back payments. Landlords would be barred from removing them before that time. California’s courts put a freeze on most eviction proceedings in April. On Wednesday, judicial leaders delayed a vote on when to lift that freeze.

Bill To Ban Police Restraints Proposed

Democratic State Assemblyman Mike Gipson, a former police officer who represents the Los Angeles area, has introduced legislation that would ban police from using controversial restraints. That includes the carotid hold, which can block the flow of blood to the brain.

“The bill came out of the death of George Floyd, plain and simple. I watched the video. I was in horror of what I saw — a murder unfolding right before our eyes."

Police neck restraints have come under scrutiny after a Minneapolis Police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Gipson says he hasn't been approached yet by police lobbying groups who may want to see exceptions to the ban.

"Right now, I'm not accepting anything, but I welcome law enforcement to sit down and be part of the conversation to see if in fact there is a compromise to some degree."

The bill is expected to be heard by the Senate's public safety committee next week. It has an urgency clause, so if Governor Gavin Newsom signs it, the bill would take effect immediately. Governor Newsom has already expressed his support. 

Oakland Public Schools Consider Eliminating School Police Force

Oakland’s school superintendent is backing a proposal to eliminate the school police force, which critics have long argued contributes to the criminalization of young black people. Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel and a majority of the school board support the proposal introduced at yesterday's meeting. A final vote is expected in two weeks.

Critics have argued that police on campus disproportionately arrest black students. The measure is named for George Floyd, the black man whose death after he was restrained by police has sparked worldwide protests over racism and police brutality.