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Crosscurrents

Daily news roundup for Wednesday, December 16, 2015

850_bryant_st.jpg
Flickr user Adriel Hampton, used under CC license. Cropped.
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The SF Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St in 2009

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

No new jail after S.F. supervisors refuse to allocate funds //  SF Gate
“A contentious proposal to replace the jail at the Hall of Justice failed Tuesday, as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors refused to allocate $215 million for the project and said the city should invest instead in diversion programs and mental health services.
“The building at 850 Bryant St. ‘needs to come down, but more than a building we need to tear down the system of mass incarceration it represents,’ board President London Breed said. ‘I am not going to support another stand-alone jail to continue to lock up African Americans and Latinos in this city.’”
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SF police change gun policy in wake of Mario Woods shooting // SF Gate
"San Francisco police officers who point a gun at a person must now report the action to their supervisors as a use of force incident, according to a bulletin quietly issued in the wake of the Mario Woods shooting.
"The policy change has the police union crying foul but is supported by law enforcement experts and watchdogs who see it as an important step toward transparency.
"The bulletin, issued Dec. 11, requires on-duty officers who intentionally point a firearm at someone to justify their action to their supervisors in either the incident report, a supplemental report or in a statement."
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Latinos, other Medi-Cal recipients denied access to health care, activists allege // Inside Bay Area
“In a new strategy to force the state to spend more on health care for the poor, civil rights activists on Tuesday alleged that millions of California's Latinos -- who make up the bulk of the state's 12.6 million Medi-Cal enrollees -- are being denied timely access to a doctor.
“On behalf of three Latino Medi-Cal enrollees, a coalition of lawyers, union and Latino advocates filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, demanding the state increase the infamously low rates it pays doctors who care for the Golden State's low-income and disabled residents.”

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California lawmaker sets up debate over next big issue in the 'gig' economy // San Francisco Business Times
“Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez offered a glimpse Monday of what could be the next chapter in a battle involving workers in the so-called gig economy. Upcoming legislation would allow those workers to collectively bargain for rights like healthcare – even if they aren’t unionized…
“Though the bill has not been formally introduced, it would define which workers would be eligible for this form of collective bargaining and how legal arbitrators could step in if a company staunchly refused any reforms.”
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Study Says to Improve Schools, Spend More—Why This Challenges Conventional Wisdom // California Magazine
“All American children are guaranteed a free public education, but nobody pretends that education is ‘equal.’ The quality of public schools varies widely, and education experts have struggled for decades to correct the inequities—seemingly with little success. But a recently released study suggests that the solution could be surprisingly straightforward.
“The study—by associate professor Rucker C. Johnson at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and professors C. Kirkabo Jackson and Claudia Persico of Northwestern University—examines the relationship between money and educational outcomes.
“According to their findings, increasing per-pupil spending is an extremely effective way to shrink the learning gap between poor and rich kids.”
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Bay Area athlete, 15, charged with felony over broken nose // SF Gate
“A 15-year-old Lafayette boy is facing felony assault and battery charges for allegedly striking an opponent and breaking his nose during a high school water polo game, an almost unprecedented case of bringing sports violence into the courts.
“Contra Costa County prosecutors filed the charges after concluding the underwater blow to the boy’s face — captured on video from the stands and later handed over to police — was purposeful and crossed the line into criminal behavior.”