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Crosscurrents

Daily news roundup for Wednesday, April 1, 2015

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Gun crime drops in Oakland, according to new data // Contra Costa Times

"If it seemed like fewer nights were interrupted by the sounds of gunfire and sirens last year, that's not your imagination.

"Oakland, which in 2014 had its fewest homicides in 14 years, also saw a big reduction in one of the leading causes of murder: gunfire.

"According to new stats from SST ShotSpotter, Oakland had a 26 percent reduction in gunfire per square mile since 2013, the first year-to-year analysis released by the company.

"That coincides with the drop in homicides and overall gun crime in Oakland, which last year had 86 homicides -- down from 92 in 2013 and 131 in 2012 -- and 411 nonfatal shootings, down from 470 in 2013."

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Berkeley school board considers adopting interim sexual harassment policy // The Daily Californian

"Berkeley’s school board discussed Wednesday evening the adoption of a new sexual harassment policy for the district — one that, although recommended by the California School Boards Association, has garnered opposition from students and parents.

"The policy, created by the California School Boards Association, or CSBA, lays out guidelines for the district superintendent on how to educate students about sexual harassment issues and also delineates disciplinary actions to be taken by schools against sexual harassment offenders.

"Several students from a student group called Berkeley High School Stop Harassing spoke at the Wednesday meeting and called the CSBA policy “empty” and “skeletal.”

"Berkeley Unified School District schools have received allegations of a number of sexual harassment incidents in the past year, as well as complaints that such incidents were not addressed adequately."

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Quinn: Silicon Valley becomes epicenter of social change // San Jose Mercury News

"For advocates, tying a social issue to the tech industry can raise its profile. And key tech leaders, adept at Twitter and social media, are willing to rally the troops to fight for certain causes, mostly of a progressive nature. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and other tech leaders chimed in over the past week about both Arkansas' and Indiana's legislation, which supporters say protects the rights of the religious but opponents claim threatens to enshrine discrimination in the law.

"Twenty years ago, Silicon Valley was an isolated bubble, oddly unconnected to the social issues that were churning in America. Its leaders, if they did speak out, kept their policy talk to business issues, such as taxes, trade agreements and securities law.

"Now, organizers and companies recognize that Silicon Valley is the new Hollywood. Consumers have a personal connection to technology products and services, amplifying the interest when the industry is involved in an issue."

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Doctors with major illnesses back state’s right-to-die movement // SF Chronicle

"...The right-to-die movement has gained renewed momentum in California and around the nation following the highly publicized death of an East Bay woman with brain cancer. Brittany Maynard, 29, moved to Oregon to take advantage of the state’s Death With Dignity law and died in November after taking a fatal dose of barbiturates prescribed by her doctor.

"'The California lawsuit asks the court to protect physicians from criminal liability if they prescribe lethal medications to patients who are both terminally ill and mentally competent to decide their fate. While it is against the law in California for anyone to assist in another person’s suicide, the plaintiffs argue these cases are not suicides. Rather, the suit says, they are choices by a dying person on how his or her life should end. Decisions about one’s own body, it argues, are protected under the state’s Constitution.'"

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The East Bay Hip-Hop Scene Will No Longer Be Ignored // East Bay Express

"With Sage the Gemini, Iamsu!, Kool John, Kehlani, Jay Ant, Skipper, and P-Lo at the forefront of the group, HBK is part of a new generation of artists bringing national attention to the East Bay in the wake of the Aughts' influential yet nationally unsung hyphy movement.

"Hyphy, a homegrown cultural phenomenon, created a local furor a decade ago, with artists such as Mac Dre, E-40, and Too $hort at its epicenter. But despite its regional popularity, it failed to garner a national audience and eventually lost momentum in the late 2000s, leaving the local rap scene in a lull.

"Nonetheless, many artists argue that hyphy created a blueprint for the style of rap that now dominates the charts and nightclubs. And with the subgenre's noticeable influence on many out-of-town artists, some people in the local music industry are irked that it wasn't East Bay rappers who took the region's signature sound to the mainstream. Indeed, artists from bigger cities have become hugely successful through songs that use hyphy-influenced production and lyrical themes, while local artists have remained in their shadow — until recently.

"...'Our sound is really poppin' off right now. Everything that's popular right now, all the songs you hear in the club, all the songs you hear on the radio — that sound, that bounce to it, is definitely Bay Area influenced.'"

Liza got her start in radio with KALW's Audio Academy. Now, she is KALW's econmy reporter and a mentor for in the KALW Audio Academy.