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Crosscurrents

Daily news roundup for Tuesday, February 2, 2016

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By flckr user Florent Lamoureux
/
Used under CC BY-NC/Resized
Big Sur, California

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

At Berkeley, a New Digital Privacy Protest // The New York Times

“After hackers breached the computer network of the U.C.L.A. medical center last summer, Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, and her office moved to shore up security across the university system’s 10 campuses.

“Under a program initiated by Ms. Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, the university system began installing hardware and software in its data centers that would monitor patterns of digital traffic, like what websites are being visited by faculty and students, or telltale signs of cyber intruders. The program, which was begun with little notice or consultation, soon rankled a group of professors at one campus, Berkeley, which has a deep-seated ethos of academic freedom as the cradle of the free speech movement in the 1960s.”

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35 former members of California Coastal Commission oppose effort to oust executive director // The Los Angeles Times

“Thirty-five former members of the California Coastal Commission declared Monday that they oppose the effort to fire Charles Lester, the embattled executive director of the powerful land-use agency.

“In a letter to commission Chairman Steve Kinsey, the group stated that Lester's termination 'would significantly undermine' both the agency's work and Gov. Jerry Brown's legacy to protect California's vast coastal resources.”

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Planning commissioners are dubious about affordable housing bonus plan // 48 Hills

“The Planning Commission is ready to move forward on a potentially dramatic rezoning of some 30,000 building lots, many of them with housing already on them – although many of the commissioners had serious problems with the program.

“After a lengthy hearing Thursday/21, the commission decided to continue the discussion for just four weeks. The planning staff had asked that it be delayed until April, so that more community outreach could be done. Even Commissioner Michael Antonini, who is among the most pro-development members of the panel, asked for another full hearing on the issue.”

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Lawyer: Racial epithets and harassment at San Jose State were 'pranks' // San Jose Mercury News

“Freshman Donald Williams Jr. was looking forward in 2013 to sharing a dormitory suite at San Jose State with seven likeminded engineering students. Instead, Williams told a jury Monday, he found himself the target of racial bullying that made him feel like 'less than a human being.'

“In his first public comments since Santa Clara County prosecutors charged three of his suitemates with battery and a hate crime for acts that included clamping a U-shaped bike lock around his neck, Williams said the harassment left him feeling demeaned and demoralized.”

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Yahoo expected to unveil layoffs, other cost cuts during earnings call // Silicon Beat

“Yahoo, under pressure to do something dramatic to turn itself around, is expected to announce along with its fourth-quarter results Tuesday a cost-cutting proposal that involves closing down units and layoffs of up to 15 percent of its workforce.

“The Wall Street Journal reports that the Sunnyvale company and CEO Marissa Mayer will unveil a plan to try to fight off an investor uprising. Multiple investors have called for a sale of the company, for Mayer to be fired, for the board to be replaced and more.”

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S.F. schoolchildren log steps to save lives // San Francisco Gate

"A bunch of San Francisco fourth-graders with electronic gizmos on their wrists spent a perfectly good recess Monday trying to change the world.

"It all had to do with the United Nations and malnourished kids in Africa and a new exercise program, in which kids earn food packets for the needy based on the amount of running around they do in the normal course of being a kid.

“'It makes me feel good to do this,' said Jonathan Soto, 9, who was wearing one of the gizmos, called a Kid Power Band. 'A lot of kids would sit around at recess, doing nothing. Now everybody is doing a lot more, trying to help.'"