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Crosscurrents

Daily News Roundup for Thursday, June 9, 2016

From_San_Bernardino_Mtns.jpg
from Flickr user miheco, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 // Resized and cropped
/
from San Bernadino Mountains

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

Builders Pierce California’s Environmental Shield With New Weapon: The Ballot // NY Times

"Once heralded as a vital check on corporate influence over government, California’s ballot initiative system — which allows residents to propose laws and approve them by popular vote — has been used to sharply cut property taxes and to enact the country’s first medical marijuana law.

"But these days, developers are using the process for another purpose: to sidestep state environmental laws and speed major developments."

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GOP shut out in California's top-two primary system // East Bay Times

"The California Republican Party has been steadily shrinking and losing clout for years now, but the results of Tuesday's "top two" primary election marked a new low for the state party.

"GOP candidates failed to advance in many of the Bay Area's premiere contests as well as the race for the Golden State's first open U.S. Senate seat in more than two decades."

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Homeless encampment soaked by sprinklers outside San Francisco business // SF Gate

"A San Francisco business is being accused of turning on its rooftop sprinkler system to deter homeless encampments from staying outside their building.

"The sprinklers protruding from the rooftop of Bonhams Auction House in Potrero Hill have been raining down on the homeless daily for three weeks, according to one man who has been sleeping outside the building. 'It started out just at night for about 25 minutes," said Jamie Plummer, outside his tent on Utah Street. "Then at night, for about a couple of hours; then in the day, for a couple of hours.'"

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Closing Time For a Homeless Shelter // SF Weekly

"San Franciscans are supposed to be used to homeless people. After all, the city has had roughly the same amount of people sleeping in shelters and in the streets for about a decade. But for some reason, we seem to be less accommodating than ever before.

"From 2013 to 2015, the number of citizens reporting problems with homeless activity — including calls to 911 and police dispatch, as well as calls to the city's all-encompassing 311 service hotline — increased 41.5 percent, from 36,194 reports in 2013 to 51,222 calls last year, according to a city Budget and Legislative Analyst report released last week."

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Self-driving cars raise safety concerns // Capitol Weekly

"On Valentine’s Day in Silicon Valley, one of Google’s experimental, self-driving cars sideswiped a city bus at 2 miles an hour. The incident marked the first time an autonomous car contributed to an accident on a public road, but did nothing to diminish the Obama administration’s enthusiasm for driverless vehicles.

"A month after the crash, at an autonomous car conference in Dearborn, Mich., Mark Rosekind, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, said his agency and the federal Department of Transportation “are using all the tools we have available to advance what see as a revolution in technology,” according to his prepared remarks. 'Our goal is to hasten this revolution.'"

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It costs $38,000 to create one parking space in San Francisco // Curbed SF

"Parking costs up to $3.50/hour for a meter and up to $40/day for a garage in San Francisco. But how much does it cost to create the parking? According to one UCLA professor, up to $38,000 per space.

"That’s the damage according to Donald Shoup, professor emeritus of UCLA's Department of Urban Planning. He broke it down via an editorial in Access Magazine, citing San Francisco as the home of the most dire parking construction expenses in the mainland US, running up $38K for a single underground parking spot, or $29K for one above ground."