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Crosscurrents

Daily news roundup for Thursday, February 26, 2015

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Karl Mondon / San Jose Mercury
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A Genentech and a private shuttle bus jockey for space at 24th St. and Valencia St. during the morning commute in San Francisco, Calif.,Tuesday morning Aug. 5, 2014.

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

Teamsters seek to unionize more tech shuttle bus drivers in Silicon Valley // San Jose Mercury

"Shuttle bus drivers for five prominent tech companies will decide whether to unionize on Friday in a vote that has the potential to dramatically expand organized labor's territory in Silicon Valley and embolden others in the tech industry's burgeoning class of service workers to demand better working conditions.

"Drivers who ferry Yahoo, Apple, Genentech, eBay and Zynga workers -- all employed by contractor Compass Transportation -- will decide whether to join the Teamsters union in an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Union leaders say they want to bring the drivers into the fold so they can negotiate better pay and benefits -- as well as relief from a split shift that has the drivers working morning and evening shifts with no pay in between. A contract the Teamsters struck over the weekend for Facebook's shuttle bus drivers, who work for Loop Transportation, offers a glimpse of what may be possible: paid sick and vacation time, full health care coverage and wages of up to $27.50 an hour."

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Richmond focuses “Love Your Block” grant to develop North Richmond and Parchester neighborhoods // Richmond Confidential

"Richmond got a boost after it was named one of seven United States cities selected by Cities of Service’s new 'City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Love Your Block' program for a three-year, $30,000 grant to improve and develop neighborhoods.

"Cities of Service is a national non-profit was founded by Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of the media company Bloomberg LP and former mayor of New York City. The nonprofit assists a coalition of 205 cities in the U.S. and United Kingdom in developing 'high-impact volunteering initiatives' within communities."

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Santa Clara supervisors approve $1.8 million to help undocumented immigrants // San Jose Mercury

"The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved $1.8 million for undocumented immigrants eligible for administrative relief in the immigration process. The one-time funding will be available for 20 months, starting in April, according to the board, and that money will be distributed to nonprofits that provide services to immigrants through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

"An estimated 50,000 county residents are potentially eligible for help under the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, according to the board. Deferred action temporarily authorizes non-U.S. citizens to remain in the country and apply for a work permit. Under DAPA and DACA, deferred action is currently valid for a period of three years."

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Magic — or sign of a tech bubble? S.F. app goes viral with promise to deliver (almost) anything // SF Business Times

"Remember back in the dotcom boom when all you needed was a catchy idea and lot of positive press to get VC funding? A San Francisco business named Magic that sprang out of a startup from Y Combinator's last batch may be reprising that dream. Magic promises to deliver on any legal request its users text to it at (408) 596-5017.

"Sounds like every lazy (or super-busy) person's dream, doesn't it? Some early users have reportedly included somebody who wanted help getting out of court to another who wanted a tiger delivered to a customer's door. If you are willing to pay whatever it costs and what you want is legal, co-founder Mike Chen and his team say they plan to find a way to make it happen."

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It’s not your imagination: Muni’s on-time performance is getting worse // SF Chronicle

"Despite tens of millions in new funding, red bus-only lanes and repeated service and staff reshuffling, Muni’s on-time performance continues to sink. A city controller’s report found that from October to December, Muni showed up early or late 56 percent of the time — a 5.8-point drop over the same time the year before, and an 18-point drop from 2010.

"'That is really disappointing,' said Tom Nolan, chairman of the Municipal Transportation Agency, as he waited for a bus at Geary and O’Farrell streets. Another controller’s audit found that in the past 10 years, Muni’s overtime has nearly doubled — totaling $55.6 million last year — with most of it going to drivers."

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Snoop Dogg’s latest investment is a California-based coffee chain // Marketwatch

"San Francisco coffee-shop chain Philz Coffee announced it has closed a $15 million Series B funding round in an effort to expand nationwide. The funding round was led by Summit Partners, but it also included a mix of angel investors, actors and Snoop Dogg.

"'Snoop has a special affinity for organic ingredients,' said Nick Adler, vice president of Cashmere Agency, which works with Snoop Dogg on investments. 'He loved the Philz business but also loved the way they respect the coffee beans.' The coffee chain exploded in the San Francisco Bay Area, where owner Phil Jaber opened a single store in the city’s Mission District in 2003. Philz now consists of 18 shops in the Bay Area and a Los Angeles location."