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Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 7/1/20, AM


Oakland Takes Step To Defund Police / Governor Newsom To Announce New Restrictions / Lawsuit Challenges San Francisco’s Eviction Protection / San Francisco Police Will Stop Making Mugshots Public

Oakland Takes Step To Defund Police

Oakland’s mid-cycle budget goes into effect today. Last week, the City Council moved roughly three percent of the city’s police budget to alternative safety programs.

One such program is the Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland, or MACRO. This pilot program will provide unarmed civilian responders and EMTs to handle non-emergency 911 calls. It will launch in East Oakland and be coordinated by the city’s Department of Violence Prevention. The Council allocated $1.85 million for the program.

Although its launch coincides with nationwide calls to defund the police and address police violence, MACRO has been under consideration for over a year. The idea is based in part on the CAHOOTS program, a thirty-one-year-old mobile crisis-intervention program in Eugene, Oregon. Oakland’s program will build on the CAHOOTS model to reflect the city’s unique communities, challenges, and resources.

Governor Newsom To Announce New Restrictions

Just in time for the Fourth of July weekend, California’s re-opening plans may be moving backward. It’s unclear what restrictions Governor Gavin Newsom will announce, but he expressed concern about the potential for spreading the virus in indoor public spaces and at private social gatherings.

The state reported over 6,000 new cases on Monday; however, the Los Angeles Times’ tracker showed more than 8,000 new cases, a single day record in California. COVID-19 hospitalizations spiked by more than 40 percent in the last two weeks, and ICU patients increased over 30 percent.

Newsom has called California’s re-opening process a ‘dimmer switch’ that will be adjusted as cases increase or decrease.

Lawsuit Challenges San Francisco’s Eviction Protection

Real estate groups are taking legal action to overturn San Francisco’s COVID-19 Tenant Protection Ordinance. The Board of Supervisors passed the law earlier this month. It permanently protects renters from eviction if they’re not able to pay rent due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The groups suing are the San Francisco Apartment Association, the San Francisco Association of Realtors, the Coalition for Better Housing, and the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute.

They allege that the moratorium violates state law. They’re arguing it leaves landlords to resort to costly methods of collecting rent. They also say that small property owners are particularly vulnerable.

Under the ordinance, landlords are able to collect back rent from tenants through the courts. But they’re concerned this will be a lengthy process—and they’re afraid they may never recover the money owed to them.

Supervisor Dean Preston authored the city’s eviction moratorium. In a statement, he criticizes the lawsuit, calling it an attempt by landlords to “displace people who lost income due to COVID from their homes.”

According to the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Apartment Association says they’ve been advocating for rent assistance—like rent reductions and payment plans—to help solve the problem.

San Francisco Police Will Stop Making Mugshots Public

San Francisco police have announced they will stop making people’s mugshots public unless they pose a threat to the public.

Police Chief Bill Scott says the new policy, which starts today, is aimed at stopping the spreading of negative stereotypes of people of color. Jack Glaser, a public policy professor at the University of California Berkeley who researches racial stereotyping, says data shows African-American people who are arrested may have their cases dismissed by prosecutors. But the mug shots live on. That contributes to Americans making an unfair association between people of color and crime.