Daily news roundup for Thursday, May 21, 2015 | KALW

Daily news roundup for Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015

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

SF schools are developing computer science curriculum for all grade levels // SF Examiner

"Students in San Francisco may soon learn computer science starting as early as preschool. The San Francisco Unified School District is exploring the bold and unprecedented curriculum change as part of its Digital District plan, a five-year roadmap released last year that highlights how technology will be woven into the classrooms of public schools.

"Computer science education includes coding, computer security and databases — all valuable skills in today’s job market. The move could make the SFUSD potentially the first district in the U.S. to implement a mandatory computer science curriculum for all pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade students."

-----

Lack of benefits and work continuity weighs heavily on temporary part-time city workers // Oakland North

"For the last three years, Connor Crabb has been working as a recreation leader at Studio One, a city-run center in Oakland that offers afterschool and summer art classes to children. The 24-year-old Oakland native starts his day at the center around 1:30 pm, going from school to school, gathering students from different sites, then riding back to Studio One with a bus driver. He coaches elementary school students in flag football and basketball, and he helps make sure they make it to their afterschool classes at the center on time.

"But Crabb is running out of time at the center, himself. He is one of 2,500 Temporary Part-Time (TPT) workers employed by the city of Oakland, and they are not allowed to work for more than 960 hours per year—an average of 20 hours a week. TPT workers are not offered health insurance or retirement benefits, and there is no guarantee that these employees will secure a permanent position with the city. Some of the departments with the most TPT workers include the Oakland Public Library and the Parks and Recreation Department."

-----

What Oakland Mayor’s Proposal for a Department of Transportation Means // Streetsblog

"Like a surprising number of other cities, despite its size, Oakland, California, currently does not have a Department of Transportation. Decisions about transportation projects from signal timing, to paving, to designing and applying for grants to fund a bike and pedestrian bridge over the estuary leading to Lake Merritt, have been made within either the Planning Department or the Department of Public Works―or both.

"But if Oakland’s new mayor, Libby Schaaf, has her way, this will change soon. Her proposed 2015-17 budget, currently under discussion, includes within it a reorganization of city departments to create one specifically for overseeing transportation policy and decisions—a Department of Transportation (DOT). Advocates for better transportation choices in Oakland, including the advocacy group Transport Oakland, believe that creating a DOT could help the city better plan for and manage its transportation."

-----

Tighter security at Oakland council meeting called excessive // SF Chronicle

"A call for tighter security at Oakland City Council meetings may have gone too far Tuesday, causing city officials to openly question whether they had violated a state law. 'This is a travesty of democracy,' said a woman who approached the council members during public comment. She was one of several people who said city officials violated the state’s Ralph M. Brown Act, which governs public meetings, when security guards at City Hall asked people to sign their names upon entering the building and searched attendees’ bags.

"The act states that members of the public shouldn’t be required to register their names to attend a government meeting. The added precautions — along with the presence of several police officers who were assigned to patrol the building Tuesday — were implemented in response to a flare-up at a council meeting May 5, when protesters stormed the dais to denounce a proposed housing development on a piece of public land abutting Lake Merritt."

-----

Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall to End Use of Solitary Confinement // East Bay Express

"The Contra Costa County Probation Department is ending its use of solitary confinement for youth detained in juvenile hall as part of a settlement agreement that East Bay disability rights' activists announced today. This policy change, which advocates said is an unprecedented move that could serve as a model for juvenile detention facilities around the country, settles a prolonged legal dispute surrounding county probation officials' treatment of youth with disabilities.

"The original class-action lawsuit — which advocacy groups Disability Rights Advocates and Public Counsel filed on behalf of youth in Contra Costa Juvenile Hall — alleged that the county routinely locked young people with disabilities in small cells for up to 23 hours a day. The suit said that these cells barely had enough space for a bed and only had a narrow window that was the width of a hand. The organizations further contended that the youth confined to these cells were illegally denied access to education, including special education classes."

-----

Leap Transit shut down by the state for operating illegally // SF Chronicle

"The state has forced Leap Transit to halt operations for running its luxury bus line without a permit. Leap announced on Tuesday that it has temporarily suspended service after the California Public Utilities Commission served the company with a cease-and-desist order on May 11.

"Before the shutdown, Leap was in the process of receiving a permit from the CPUC. The startup was recently granted what’s known as the “authority to operate” — a precursor to an official license. But by driving its route between the Marina and the Financial District without a license, regulators determined Leap was breaking the law. The cease-and-desist order came one day after The Chronicle published a story illuminating the legal gray area in which the company operates."