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Crosscurrents

Daily news roundup for Thursday, April 28, 2016

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"BART to Berkeley", Austin Cross, used under CC license, cropped and resized
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Here’s what’s happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW News:

BART police want to read your license plate // East Bay Times

"BART police have quietly purchased and installed two automatic license plate readers at the MacArthur station and hope to launch a pilot program with the aim of eventually installing the technology at every station.

"BART Deputy Police Chief Ben Fairow, who plans to present the pilot program to the transit agency's board of directors Thursday, said the automated license plate readers, a tool that has proliferated in police departments across the Bay Area, could be especially useful in solving property crimes. But privacy and civil rights advocates are concerned about how long BART will retain the collected data, how that data will be used, and who is being surveilled."

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SFPD Mission Station meeting shut down on sixth day of hunger strike // SF Examiner

"Photos from the sixth day of a hunger strike calling for the resignation of SFPD Chief Greg Suhr where strikers and supporters shut down a weekly community meeting at Mission Police Station in San Francisco, Calif."

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Nun Soup Kitchen Imperiled by SF Mission Condo Owners // Mission Local

"The fate of a soup kitchen evicted from the Tenderloin in February remains uncertain, even though the two French nuns who run it thought they had found a home in the Mission a month later. Residents at the new location, 1930 Mission St. between 16th and 15th streets, have voiced concerns about allowing the nuns to purchase a unit there.

"“The building’s property manager told me that [some members of the HOA] are vehemently against selling,” said Antonio Gamero, the real estate broker who helped the nuns find their new soup kitchen location last month. “[They] are trying to clean up the Mission and don’t want the homeless to be there. More crime and more loitering devalues the property.”"

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Fire commission to address concerns over fires in the Mission // SF Examiner

"A corner building in the Mission caught fire Monday night for the third time, days ahead of a scheduled fire safety meeting in the neighborhood and just before the introduction of city legislation to prevent fires and help displaced tenants.

"The legislation would tighten the rules around the placement and maintenance of fire alarm systems in The City, as well as require landlords opening $50,000 or more permits to install fire blocks to prevent blazes from spreading between buildings through attics."

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Access Denied  // East Bay Times

"Since its launch four-and-a-half years ago, Nextdoor has surged in popularity as a way for neighbors to connect. It's grown from only 200 neighborhoods to 97,000. Nearly 60 percent of US neighborhoods have a Nextdoor group, and in Berkeley every recognized neighborhood has a Nextdoor group, according to Nextdoor spokesperson Kelsey Grady.

"Still, despite its ongoing efforts to prevent racial profiling by its members, Nextdoor has another problem in the East Bay: Some of its users are taking to the website to advocate against homeless people and demand that the police respond when homeless people are seen in their neighborhoods. Like the online allegations made concerning Zint, many other homeless people are targeted by Nextdoor users, often in disturbing and harmful ways."

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Court opens the door for possible access to Martins Beach // SF Gate

"The gate to Martins Beach, a picturesque cove and magnet for surfers, was closed in 2010 by billionaire entrepreneur Vinod Khosla, who said it was private property. But the public had been welcomed by the previous owners for at least 70 years — and that, a state appeals court said Wednesday, might be a legal basis for prying the gate open.

"In a 3-0 ruling, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco reinstated part of a lawsuit by a group called Friends of Martins Beach that a San Mateo County judge had dismissed in 2013. While rejecting the group’s argument that all California beaches are public property, the court said a trial could establish that the former owners had, by their words and actions, granted the public a right of access that the current owner could not take back."