Mills, an Oakland women's college, has recently decided to officially define its acceptance policy toward transgender and gender fluid applicants. According to what Brian O'Rourke, the school's vice president of enrollment and admissions, told the San Francisco Chronicle, Mills accepts three to five students every year who don't identify with their birth-assigned gender. There are a number of women's colleges across the nation that have also been accepting transgender and gender fluid students for some time now, especially on the East Coast, but none have explicitly outlined the practice in their policy before. Mills has now done just that, with a unanimous vote from the trustees enrollment committee in May.
1. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation yesterday requiring smartphone manufacturers to install kill switches on their devices that make them inoperable when stolen, the Mercury News$ reports. The new law, which was backed by Oakland city leaders and law enforcement officials, is designed to stem the cellphone robbery epidemic nationwide. The new law takes effect in July 2015, and mandates that kill switches are a default function on all smartphones sold in California.
1. Brick buildings — even ones that had been retrofitted — fared poorly in the Napa earthquake as many unreinforced masonry structures suffered significant damage in the 6.0 shaker, the LA Times$ reports. One thirteen-year-old was critically injured in the quake by a collapsing chimney. The quake emanated from a little-known fault about 6.7 miles beneath the surface and was felt as far away as Fresno, the Chron reports.
1. Hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Oakland last night to demonstrate against police brutality, the Chron and Trib$ report. The demonstrators decried the officer-involved shooting last week in Ferguson, Missouri and fatal shootings by police in the Bay Area.
1. The popularity of Obamacare is surging in California with 56 percent of residents now reporting that they support and are satisfied with the Affordable Care Act, the Chron reports, citing a new Field Poll. In addition, 60 percent of Californians reported that they were happy with how the state rolled out the program. About 3.4 million state residents signed up for coverage under Obamacare.
And according to the lawsuit filed today, CWS was not only the inferior choice, it also illegally won the bid as a result of the city violating numerous provisions of its own request-for-proposals (RFP) process.
1. Major beverage makers are financing a lawsuit against the City of Berkeley over its proposed soda tax measure on the November ballot, the Trib$ reports. The lawsuit contends that Berkeley’s proposed one-cent-per-one-ounce tax on sugary beverages is “false, misleading, and illegally biased.” Backers of the measure are accusing Big Soda of bullying tactics.
A bill in Sacramento could force the California Department of Public Health to modify birth certificates in California to be more LGBTQ-friendly. The legislation, AB 1951, would require all birth certificates to provide parents with a gender-neutral option rather than just the traditional mother and father ones.
Currently, California birth certificates have two options for parents — one labeled as “Name of Mother” and one “Name of Father.” This restrictive wording has forced same-sex couples to inaccurately define their status — for example, a lesbian couple may have to choose one partner to sign as the child’s father. If passed, AB 1951 would change birth certificates to simply label both lines as “Name of Parent”; following the parent’s name would be three boxes from which they could choose labeled “mother,” “father,” or the gender-neutral option “parent.”
People with criminal records often face a steep uphill battle when trying to find employment after incarceration — a challenge which can trap them in poverty as they struggle to rehabilitate their lives. Securing stable, living-wage jobs can be particularly difficult for this population, which is why civil rights advocates are promoting legislation that would eliminate a key employment barrier in the healthcare industry. Senate Bill 1384, which passed the state Senate in June and will soon face a vote at the Assembly, would change the law so that people hoping to become certified nursing assistants (CNAs) would no longer face automatic license denials due to past convictions.
It's a reform that would level the playing field and open up CNA job opportunities to otherwise qualified candidates. Why, then, is the California Department of Public Health opposing the measure?
1. The Oakland City Council finalized a deal on the city’s garbage contract, awarding the lucrative pact to California Waste Solutions (CWS), an Oakland-based company that has never collected garbage or green waste before, the Chron and Trib$ report. Under the deal, CWS will take over all garbage, green waste, and recycling in the city from Waste Management starting next year, and collections rates for residents will increase by 23 percent. Waste Management had made a last-minute offer with lower rates, but the council rejected it. CWS must build a temporary waste processing facility, while it constructs a permanent one to open in about five years.