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Crosscurrents

Daily news roundup for Thursday, April 30, 2015

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James Tensuan
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Special to the SF Chronicle
The Lehigh Cement Plant in Cupertino, responsible for polluting local creeks

African Americans cited for resisting arrest at high rate in S.F. // SF Gate 

"African Americans in San Francisco are cited for resisting arrest at a rate eight times greater than whites even when serious crimes are not involved, according to statistics drawn from court records.

From January 2010 to April 24 of this year, law enforcement officers cited suspects with resisting arrest 9,633 times in cases where the suspect was not charged with a felony. African Americans accounted for 45 percent of those cited, even though they make up just 6 percent of the city’s population.

The statistics are drawn from San Francisco’s case management system, which tracks court cases in the city. They include arrests made by all law enforcement agencies that operate in San Francisco, including the police and sheriff’s departments.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose Bayview district has a largely African American population, said the numbers, 'if true, substantiate and quantify what we often hear from residents and (are) a glaring indicator that police, in similar situations, act more aggressively toward minority residents than they do with white residents — warranted or not.'”

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Cupertino-area cement plant fined $7 million for water pollution // SF Gate 

"A large cement factory near Cupertino will have to pay more than $7 million in fines and remediation for polluting a local creek that pours into San Francisco Bay, state and federal regulators said Wednesday.

The settlement of the Clean Water Act violation means Lehigh Southwest Cement Co. will have to spend $5 million building a wastewater treatment plant to protect Permanente Creek from toxic discharges of selenium, nickel and other metals that have poisoned the waterway for decades, killing fish and prompting a neighborhood revolt." 

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The Line: Housing Costs Put Retirement in Question // Mission Local 

"There are more than 8,000 people over age 62 living in the Mission’s primary zip code, 94110, according to the 2013 American Community Survey. That’s about 11 percent of the Mission’s population.

Of 6,066 Mission-area residents aged 65 or older for whom poverty status is known, nearly 16 percent had an income below the federal poverty level in 2013. That’s about one percent higher than for seniors in the rest of the city. In 2011, only 11.4 percent of 6,401 Mission-area residents over age 65 were below the poverty level." 

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‘Gypsy’ No More: Romani Music Festival Combats Stereotypes // SF Weekly 

"'For too long people have just danced and thought, 'Oh, these happy Gypsies,' well it's actually quite the opposite,' Carol Silverman, professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon and board member of Voice of Roma, said. 'This music grows out of discrimination. It grows out of a long history of marginalization, and we're lucky Roma have preserved, and adapted, and brought their culture through the centuries for us to enjoy — but it's up to us understand Romani history and music in context.'

Voice of Roma, a human rights advocacy organization dedicated to the promotion of Romani cultural arts and traditions, holds its 18th annual Herdeljezi festival Saturday, May 2. The one-day-only spring holiday of renewal and fertility aims to put the music of the Romani people in its historical and cultural context by emphasizing the musicians' biographies." 

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Rap's Poetic License: Revoked // East Bay Express

"Examples of rap being used as evidence are abundant in Bay Area criminal trials dating back to the 1990s. There are no records kept of how frequently rap is admitted into evidence, and it's difficult to track due to the various stages and types of trial proceedings, records of which often remain sealed. But Nielson and Kubrin have amassed documentation of hundreds of examples as part of a broader campaign aimed at bringing attention to — and curbing — the practice.

In 'Rap on Trial', the academics map rap, which they distinguish as one component of hip-hop culture, from its origins through today, illustrating its empowering role for historically underserved communities, along with the attendant establishment efforts to stamp it out, namely through penalizing expression in criminal proceedings."

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