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Crosscurrents

Daily news roundup for Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chinatown.jpg
Tim Hussin, Special To The Chronicle
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Oakland’s new minimum wage law has confused immigrant businesses in Chinatown, several of which have shut down because they can’t pay the new rate of $12.25 per hour.";s:

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

Dancers state out turf on BART // SF Gate

"A recent Friday, 1:37 p.m.: Calling themselves the Turf Feinz, the four members of the Turf dance crew dart through a BART train headed for San Francisco. They need to find the next audience to wow before the doors open at Embarcadero Station.

"Settling on a car with plenty of seated passengers and hardly any standing, Donald “Lavish” Brooks, 20, announces, “Yo yo, what’s up ladies and gentlemen! Sorry to interrupt you. We are the Turf nation, and we are here to entertain you. If you have cameras, now would be a good time to take them out."

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Federal 'Loin': Why are the U.S. Attorney and DEA taking an interest in everyday Tenderloin crime? // SF Weekly

"Ivan Speed is not a model citizen. Since growing up in the Alemany housing projects, Speed has spent his adulthood running the streets in San Francisco, racking up the kind of record -- assault, theft, drugs, guns -- that would earn even a fallen choir boy the title of 'career criminal.'

"Not that anyone in the Marina has anything to fear from the likes of Speed. His crime spree as of late has been contained to the Tenderloin, where his alleged misdeeds -- stealing $25, swiping a phone, selling $50 worth of crack cocaine -- are seemingly trivial, especially considering these daily occurrences often take place in full view of rollerbag-dragging tourists who wandered a block too far from their Union Square hotel."

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Alameda residents rally to provide new home for harbor seals // Inside Bay Area

"Just when harbor seals began gathering on a dilapidated dock at the former Alameda Naval Air Station is not known. But one thing is clear: Island residents don't want to see them leave.

"The shy creatures, known for avoiding human contact, likely started slipping out of the chilly bay waters to sun themselves nearly two decades ago, when the base closed and the last Navy ship departed. Since then, they have developed a loyal local following, and when concern arose this year that plans for a ferry maintenance facility might displace them from their home, the community rallied.

"On Tuesday, the Alameda City Council is expected to greenlight an agreement with the Water Emergency Transportation Agency that calls for WETA to set aside $100,000 for a new haul-out. Moreover, the old dock will remain until the new structure is built."

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None of the above: Survey finds San Francisco 2nd most religiously unaffiliated metro area // CBS

"A newly-released survey finds the largest religious affiliation in the San Francisco metropolitan area is no affiliation, with a third of people saying they are unaffiliated.

"In the American Values Atlas published by the nonprofit Public Religion Research institute, 33 percent of people said they were unaffiliated with any religion. San Francisco is tied with Seattle for the second-highest percentage of religiously unaffiliated people among 30 U.S. metros surveyed.

"Portland, Oregon has the highest percentage of people not affiliated with a religion (42 percent). Nationally, 22 percent said they are unaffiliated."

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Tests of Bay Bridge rods find more widespread cracking // SF Gate

"Tests on one of the high-strength steel rods that secure the base of the tower of the new Bay Bridge eastern span show more widespread cracking than Caltrans officials had previously acknowledged, The Chronicle has learned.

"Rust and microscopic cracking were found after one of 424 fasteners intended to keep the tower from being damaged in an earthquake was removed for testing last year. The problems were found on the lower part of the rod, which became flooded because of a botched grouting and caulking job during construction — a mistake that resulted in many of the 25-foot-long fasteners stewing in water for several years."

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Minimum wage hike hurts Oakland Chinatown // SF Gate

"For 27 years, Sandy Vuong has supplied towering cakes and fluffy Vietnamese pastries to residents of Oakland Chinatown. Now she might shut her doors.

"Vuong’s Delicieuse Princesse Bakery isn’t the only business that’s foundering after a new law raised the hourly minimum wage in Oakland from $9 to $12.25 — pushing the bakery’s payroll costs up by 36 percent overnight. According to Carl Chan, a board member of Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, four restaurants and six grocery stores in and around Chinatown have already shuttered since January, at least partly for fear that the wage increase was going to put them over budget."