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Crosscurrents

Daily news roundup for Monday, April 13, 2015

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Aric Crabb
/
Bay Area News Group
Leon Jung uses recycled water to irrigate his lawn on Monday, April 6, 2015 in Dublin, Calif.

Drought encourages do-it-yourself water recycling // Mercury News

"PLEASANTON -- Leon Jung figured he had to do something out of the ordinary to save his brown front lawn in a second year of water rationing. So he turned to his local sewage plant. He started trucking in reclaimed water a month ago from the plant that is the first in California to dispense free recycled effluent, or treated sewage, to do-it-yourselfers.

"Yes, free water. You just have to be willing to haul it home in tanks, drums, barrels or jugs -- a rescue operation that seems a primitive throwback to the basics in a state with the most highly engineered water delivery systems in America."

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A Minor Victory Against Gentrification in West Oakland  // East Bay Express

"A community garden in West Oakland is the latest battlefield in the war against gentrification, according to activists who built the garden and have vowed to defend it.

"Constructed over a period of several months, the Afrika Town Community Garden sits in what its organizers say was a dilapidated, needle-strewn lot at the intersection of West Grand and San Pablo avenues. Since it officially launched last month, the garden has served as a neighborhood hub, where volunteers serve free community breakfasts and offer free vegetables to anyone who wants them. But according to organizers, the owner of the lot at 2311 San Pablo Avenue wants to destroy the garden so that he can sell the property to luxury condominium developers, and planned to come with bulldozers on April 3. In response, Afrika Town's supporters declared the day to be Liberation Day — a full day of music, food, and guest speakers — and vowed to stand their ground when the bulldozers arrived."

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Oakland mayor asks employers to create internships for students this summer // Mercury News

"Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the start of the city's summer jobs program on Friday.

"The mayor made the announcement to about 50 business, government and non-profit executives at the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square on Friday morning. "We're focusing on quality," Schaaf said. She's encouraging employers to think of the program as a mentoring opportunity for youth rather than just a job.

The mayor wants students to learn vital job skills beyond technical skills, such as workplace etiquette and curiosity, which she said is a "really important professional skill."

Schaaf wants to place at least 2,000 students in internships this summer and she asked employers to think about offering internships all year long. "

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Nurse-family partnership helps first-time moms achieve success // Mercury News

"Just a month before giving birth to her first child, Megan Reynolds was making one of her long weekly bus rides from Concord to East Oakland when she had a glimpse of what she feared might be her future. She saw a young woman on the bus, with a newborn baby and surrounded by suitcases, who had just been kicked out of her mother's house. "She had no place to go," Reynolds said, who herself had no reliable home, partner or job at the time. She recalls thinking: "Man, I don't want to be like that. I don't want to be in that situation where I have nowhere to go. Let's do something now about it."

"That impulse led Reynolds to the Nurse-Family Partnership in Contra Costa County, one of several Bay Area outposts of a federal program that connects first-time moms from low-income backgrounds with specially trained public health nurses. The nurses make regular home visits to provide support on a variety of issues, including prenatal nutrition, breast-feeding, postpartum depression, and newborn and toddler care until the child turns 2. They also can also step in to help moms look for housing, jobs and other life essentials."

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Soaring Bay Area rents spark growing calls for rent control // Contra Costa Times

"Four decades after tenants won rent control in some of the Bay Area's biggest and most left-leaning cities, the movement is creeping back to life in the suburbs, spurred on by a runaway rental market that has priced out blue collar workers, young families and seniors.

Rent control advocates have made their case in council chambers across the Peninsula as well as in Alameda, Richmond and Fremont, where officials are unaccustomed to rental housing politics.

Although state law limits rent control to older, multiunit apartment buildings, supporters say that paired with eviction protections, rent control could still safeguard tens of thousands of low-income tenants at risk of displacement, as such laws already do in three of the Bay Area's most progressive cities -- San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley."

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