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Crosscurrents

Daily news roundup for Monday, February 23, 2015

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

Meet the space cadets: 5 Bay Area residents selected to compete for one-way Mars voyage // The Examiner

World-traveled, sociable, yearning for a new planet. That seems to be the typical résumé for those vying to be included on a one-way trip to Mars. Add "Bay Area resident" into the mix and it would seem your chances of becoming one of the first explorers on another planet will improve exponentially. On Monday, the Mars One project announced that five Bay Area residents are among the 100 finalists for a privately funded space voyage that has the lofty goal of, beginning in 10 years, sending 24 humans from Earth to the red planet annually in groups of four. The catch is that they will never return.

The local finalists are Kenya Armbrister of Oakland, Megan Kane of San Francisco, Yvonne Young of Berkeley, Xuan Linh Vu of San Francisco and Peter Felgentreff of Montara.

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Internal Affairs: Plan to ban fracking in Santa Clara County introduced // Mercury News

 
In what may have been a mild foreshock to a coming shaker, the topic of a fracking ban was injected into a Santa Clara County committee meeting last week.
 
A proposal to bring the subject to the board of supervisors was put forth by the county's Advisory Commission on Consumer Affairs and sent to the Public Safety Committee for action, which detoured it to the Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee, where officials said it belongs.

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Despite drought, Bay Area salmon fishermen see hope for 2015 season  // Mercury News

PRINCETON-BY-THE-SEA -- Bay Area commercial salmon fisherman got a jolt of good news this week in the form of population data that could bode well for the upcoming season. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council released estimates for the number of chinook salmon that returned from the Pacific Ocean in the fall to spawn in rivers where they were born or released from hatcheries. The estimate for the Sacramento River, the top spawning ground in California, was relatively robust, considering the state's three-year drought.

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Money the issue with keeping Raiders in Oakland // Contra Costa Times

OAKLAND -- One day after the Raiders and San Diego Chargers announced a plan to build a shared stadium 17 miles south of Los Angeles, local leaders were adamant Friday about not spending large amounts of taxpayer money to build the Raiders a new home here -- a condition that imperils efforts to keep the team. As city officials in Carson held a celebratory news conference to describe their planned $1.7 billion football palace, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf reiterated her staunch opposition to any public subsidy for a new stadium. And Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley castigated a private developer who is trying to get a Raiders stadium built in Oakland for wanting too much taxpayer money.

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 SF nonprofit expands tech lab for homeless and poor Tenderloin residents  // The Examiner

The first year the St. Anthony Foundation opened its computer stations to the Tenderloin community, the technology lab ran dozens of computers on an Internet connection you might find in a private home. When Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, a longtime San Francisco resident, heard of the slothlike computer lab at the nonprofit in 2008, he said he “found the right civic-minded guy at Comcast” to fix the problem. “Within 48 hours they were digging up our sidewalk,” St. Anthony spokesman Karl Robillard said of the upgrade. Now, seven years later, the nonprofit is set to celebrate something even more technologically advanced.

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In Palo Alto, new digital tools aim to bridge the divide between City Hall, residents // Palo Alto Online

Graffiti in Palo Alto is a force both subversive and adaptive. It perches on trash cans, hangs off fences, parks on cars and wraps itself around local lamp posts, utility boxes, rocks, benches and bike signs. In late January, someone scrawled a profanity and a racial slur on a park table at Cogswell Plaza in Downtown North. A few days later, a person armed with a Sharpie used someone's green recycling bin to launch a concise (four-lettered, to be exact) tirade against the local police department....

...Graffiti has been an aesthetic nuisance for decades, but these days its appearance on Palo Alto streets, cars and playgrounds isn't nearly as interesting as its disappearance. That's because since last summer, at least 114 tags were removed by the city with the help of a newly unveiled and rapidly evolving tool called PaloAlto311. Rolled out in June 2014 as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, the app allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet to take a photo of the graffiti, send it to City Hall and track its resolution in real time. Each request includes embedded mapping data and ends up on the screen of the employee assigned to the problem as soon as it's filed. It also instantly goes up on the city's Open Data platform, visible to all.