Daily News Roundup for Thursday, July 28, 2016 | KALW

Daily News Roundup for Thursday, July 28, 2016

Jul 28, 2016

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

Silicon Valley Elites Get Home Loans With No Money Down // Bloomberg

“It turns out that even the well-off need help in a housing market as crazy as the one in the San Francisco Bay area, and lenders are elbowing each other in a rush to provide it.

“They’re courting Silicon Valley workers with tailored loans, guaranteed 24-hour approval and financial-planning services. Social Finance Inc. has deals with Google and other top technology companies that allow it to market to new hires. First Republic Bank -- which gave Facebook Inc. billionaire Mark Zuckerberg a 1.05 percent interest-rate mortgage -- has opened branches in Facebook and Twitter Inc. headquarters. San Francisco Federal Credit Union will finance 100 percent of houses costing up to $2 million.”
SF Cuts Affordable Housing Breaks for Fire Victims // Curbed

“In the midst of an epic eight hour and 36 minute City Hall meeting on Tuesday (the longest of the year so far), San Francisco lawmakers took the time to bail out fire victims.

“Residents who have been burned out of their homes will soon constitute a new preferential class when passing out affordable housing opportunities, similar to housing benefits reserved for people displaced by city redevelopment in the past, or those booted by the Ellis Act.

SoCal’s Massive Water Agency Grabs Up Land on NorCal’s Wettest River // Wired

“Late last week, several hundred northern California farmers suddenly became tenants of an unlikely landlord. On July 15, after three months in legal limbo, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California became the proud owner of four rural islands and their water—300 miles north of its jurisdiction.

“The Metropolitan Water District provides water to 19 million people in 14 cities—from Los Angeles to San Diego; the Pacific Ocean to the Inland Empire. Despite being thought of as a sprawling, citified desert, the region gets more than half its water from local supplies. But the rest comes from two faraway river systems—the Colorado and the Sacramento.”
Alameda County: Auditor recommends restarting bid for jail health care contract // East Bay Times

“Alameda County is poised to restart the process of selecting a company to provide health care services for its inmates.
 In a letter issued Tuesday, County Auditor-Controller Steve Manning sided with an appeal by Corizon Health and asked the county to reject all bids for the lucrative and hotly contested contract.

“Earlier this year, a six-person panel appointed by Alameda County officials recommended California Forensic Medical Group win the job of providing health care service at Santa Rita Jail, replacing Corizon Health.

“Currently, Corizon provides health care for approximately 2,800 prisoners at the Dublin jail, but in recent years the company has come under scrutiny for inmate deaths and poor mental health treatment. The company, along with the county, settled a landmark lawsuit last year over an in-custody death, agreeing to pay $8.3 million and have only registered nurses -- not licensed vocational nurses -- conduct assessment screenings. Corizon also was sharply criticized by nurses working at the jail after it fired 49 licensed vocational nurses in January and 16 more in February.

“California Forensic Medical Group, which offers health care for correctional facilities in 27 counties in California, has faced similar accusations. It is facing a class-action lawsuit in Monterey County over medical and mental health care, and has been sued by inmates across California for substandard care.

The Big One: Scientists Say the East Bay is Overdue for the Largest Earthquake in Centuries. And We're Not Prepared. // East Bay Express

“Nicholas Sitar is a professor of civil engineering at UC Berkeley, and he likes to joke that ‘earthquakes don't come with due dates.’ Yet he and other scientists say it's only a matter of time — maybe days, more likely a few years — before a major Earth-shaking catastrophe hits the East Bay.

“Their words are not scare tactics. The Hayward Fault runs nearly right through the heart of the region, splitting the flatlands from the hills. This 74-mile-long zone has been quiet since 1868, when it generated its last large earthquake. But scientists explained to the Express that the average time frame in which a large tremblor occurs on the Hayward Fault is about 140 years. And that period lapsed in 2008. ‘Yes, in terms of the statistical average, we are now well past the average period between earthquakes,’ is how Sitar put it.

“This means that, in layman's terms, the proverbial Big One is overdue.”
Consider the Crab // San Francisco Magazine

“It’s hard to imagine any Northern California food industry more local and sustainable—call it ocean-to-table—than crab fishing. A crew of guys (they’re almost always guys) on a boat drop big metal pots rigged with bait—squid, mackerel, maybe clams—into the water directly off our coast. Then, a day later, they come back and lug the pots up, loaded with crawling, snapping Metacarcinus magister, bound for markets and restaurants mere hours (or minutes) away from the point of capture.

“But crab fishing is sustainable only if the ocean waters that the crabs swim in aren’t poisonous—and for five months of the 2015–16 crabbing season, they were. A vast toxic algae bloom, one of the largest ever recorded, produced enough domoic acid to effectively kill most of the season, and although the crab fishery finally did open, an ominous shadow had fallen over the entire coast. And not just for people who rely on crabbing for their livelihood: The great crab shutdown of 2016 was one of those events that inspire ominous thoughts in many coastal dwellers about the fragility of our food supply and the vulnerability of our producers. We’ve gone in just a few short years from theorizing about what might happen someday in a changing climate to grappling with the harsh realities of the Anthropocene—the geological epoch in which human impacts on the environment can no longer be ignored. This is a story about the instability of the seafood we eat and the degenerative health of the water it comes from. But mostly it’s a story about people who fish for crab and what happened the year they couldn’t.”