Daily news roundup for Monday, June 29, 2015
Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:
Marriage equality: Euphoria in Bay Area follows historic Supreme Court gay union ruling // Inside Bay Area News
“Gilbert Baker stood in Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro District, dressed all in white with a rainbow-colored sash draped across his torso. And the man who designed the iconic Pride Flag nearly four decades ago described how he wept with joy upon learning early Friday that a landmark Supreme Court ruling had made same-sex marriage the law of the land.
"It means we have status as people, we are a global tribe and we have power," said Baker, 64. "We have human rights."
Baker was part of the euphoria that erupted throughout the Bay Area and around the country after the high court's 5-4 decision made clear that same-sex marriage now will be known as something else throughout all 50 states—just marriage.
In the Castro, the heart of the gay-rights movement, the ruling was greeted with a mix of relief, amazement and sheer elation as the country took another momentous step in the steady march toward acknowledging equal rights among citizens, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
"I'm feeling just stunning jubilation," said Duane Peterson, 55, who sat in a wheelchair. He held a bubble-making device that released what he called "bubbles of love" into the air as passing motorists honked their horns.
"We set a huge precedent in American history and it's going to be beautiful to watch it unfold," he said. "Some of the best lawyers in the country argued against us and liberty has prevailed."
MoMA Acquires Iconic Rainbow Flag Just In Time For LGBT Pride // Huffington Post
“In 1978, artist Gilbert Baker created the rainbow flag hoping to craft an iconic image of LGBT pride, by the community, for the community. Today, the flag has become a symbol, recognizable everywhere from its birthplace in San Francisco to the far corners of the world. The original artwork was just acquired the by Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for its design collection, just in time for Pride month, and we couldn't be happier.
"A flag is different than any other form of art," Baker explained. "It’s not a painting, it’s not just cloth, it is not a just logo -- it functions in so many different ways. I thought that we needed that kind of symbol, that we needed as a people something that everyone instantly understands. [The rainbow flag] doesn’t say the word 'Gay,' and it doesn’t say 'the United States' on the American flag but everyone knows visually what they mean. And that influence really came to me when I decided that we should have a flag, that a flag fit us as a symbol, that we are a people, a tribe if you will. And flags are about proclaiming power, so it’s very appropriate."
Santa Clara County employees vote to strike // San Jose Mercury News
“The union representing 9,000 Santa Clara County employees, including 911 dispatchers, nurses and child welfare workers, overwhelmingly voted to go on strike Tuesday if a contract deal can't be reached.
Dozens of them rallied in front of the Santa Clara County government building Thursday, where SEIU 521 union leader Luisa Blue said the county has "fallen severely behind in key measurements of public health and safety."
That translates to a shortage of staff and heavy caseloads, a matter that will be compounded down the road when more employees retire, union officials said.
County Executive Jeff Smith said they've been in contract talks for months, and that things have "moved much more rapidly" in the last couple of weeks. He said they planned to be in negotiations all weekend.
"The sides are very close and I hope sincerely that we don't end up with a strike," he said. "And I think there's a pretty good likelihood that we won't."
He said if it does happen, the county has a plan in place to keep essential services going, including seeking a court injunction to keep workers on the job.”
Alameda: School board approves agreement with teachers union // Inside Bay Area News
“Trustees with the Alameda Unified School District have unanimously approved a new contract with the union that represents teachers, the first time in nearly 20 years the two sides have reached an agreement before the contract lapsed.
The one-year agreement with Alameda Education Association, which trustees approved Tuesday, calls for teachers to receive an ongoing 4 percent pay raise starting in the upcoming school year.
The district will also give the equivalent of 1 percent in salary that the union has decided will be used for an increase in the hourly rate for teachers, as well as to increase stipends for speech and language pathologists and toward offsetting the cost of dental insurance.
Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said the agreement signaled "a new era of cooperation and collaboration" in the district.”
Google's new self-driving cars cruising Silicon Valley roads // Contra Costa Times
“The latest models of Google's self-driving cars are now cruising the streets near the Internet company's Silicon Valley headquarters as an ambitious project to transform the way people get around shifts into its next phase.
This marks the first time that the pod-like, two seat vehicles have been allowed on public roads since Google unveiled the next generation of its self-driving fleet more than a year ago.
The new models are designed to work without a steering wheel or brake pedal, although the vehicles will be equipped with those features during the initial runs on public roads. A human will also ride in the cars to take control in emergencies, just as has been the case with the self-driving Lexus vehicles during the past six years.
California's Department of Motor Vehicles have given Google permission to send up to 25 of its latest self-driving cars on neighborhood roads. If all goes well, Google hopes to gain regulatory clearance to remove the steering wheel, brake pedal and emergency driver from the prototype. Company executives have expressed hope that self-driving cars using its technology will be joining the flow of daily traffic by the end of this decade.”
Camping Tent Rents at $900 a Month in Mountain View // NBC Bay Area News
“A Bay Area man is renting a tent in a Mountain View backyard for $46 a night through the Airbnb website.
It's not a prank, though John Potter, the Airbnb host putting his tent for rent, says it sort of started that way.
Potter said he listed the tent on Airbnb for $20 a night partly as a joke, but got serious about it when his inbox overflowed with inquiries.
"I got many, many responses at $20 per night," Potter said.
He then tested out the tent for monthly rentals at $900 per month and he still gets inquiries from people who want to rent the tent out as temporary housing.
San Francisco has the most expensive rental market in the country. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco jumped to $3,410 in the beginning of this year, according to real estate listings site Zumper.”