Tuesday, October 20, 2015

California Restaurant Industry Discriminates Against Workers of Color, Report Finds

by Sam Levin
Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 2:17 PM

click image ROC
  • ROC
A new report from labor advocates and University of California researchers documents the many ways in which the retaurant industry discriminates against workers of color, with detailed analyses of wage disparities and racially biased hiring practices in California. The study — authored by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, with research support from UC Berkeley's Food Labor Research Center and UC Santa Cruz — analyzes how people of color, and minority women in particular, face significant barriers to obtaining fine-dining jobs that provide livable wages.

Released today at an event at the East Bay Community Foundation in Oakland, "Ending Jim Crow in America’s Restaurants: Racial and Gender Occupational Segregation in the Restaurant Industry" details how women and workers of color remain concentrated in the lowest paying segments of the industry. Meanwhile, white men on average earn higher wages than people of color and women doing the same jobs at every level in the industry. 

More …

Tuesday Must Reads: Court Tells Feds to Leave California Pot Clubs Alone; Oakland Council Seeks to Beef Up Enforcement on Scofflaw Landlords

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 9:29 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. In a landmark ruling for medical marijuana in California, a federal appeals court ordered the US Department of Justice to leave permitted pot dispensaries alone in the state, the Chron reports. In a 2-1 decision, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that the DOJ has been violating a 2014 federal law that ordered the agency to stop using taxpayer dollars to go after medical weed dispensaries that are in compliance with local and state rules. The decision stemmed from a case involving a legal medical pot club in Marin County, but it’s expected to also apply to the DOJ’s efforts to close Harborside Health Center in Oakland. The DOJ may appeal the ruling to the full Ninth Circuit or the US Supreme Court.

  • Bert Johnson/File photo
  • Rebecca Kaplan.
2. Oakland Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Desley Brooks are pushing to allocate $1 million to beef up enforcement on landlords who are violating the city’s tenants’ rights laws and businesses that are failing to pay the new $12.25 an hour minimum wage, the Chron reports. Kaplan and Brooks say the city doesn’t have the capacity to enforce the ordinances; the full council is set to vote on their proposal tonight. A portion of the $1 million would also go to clean up blight and to provide loans to low-income renters and homeowners.

More …

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oakland, Richmond to Receive $15 Million for Bike And Pedestrian Projects

by Melissa Wen
Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 5:20 PM

A rendering of a bus boarding island and buffered bike lane at 20th Street at Webster Street in Oakland. - CITY OF OAKLAND
  • City of Oakland
  • A rendering of a bus boarding island and buffered bike lane at 20th Street at Webster Street in Oakland.
Oakland and Richmond are on track to receive more than $15 million in funds dedicated to making the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. The funding comes from the Active Transportation Program (ATP), which doles out state and federal money for transportation projects across California. As part of a competitive grant process, staff from the California Transportation Commission and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (the Bay Area transit agency) recently announced that they have selected proposals to build a revamped pedestrian-friendly street in Richmond and to redesign two busy roads in Oakland. 

The state transportation commission selected a roughly $6.2 million project in Richmond to boost bike and pedestrian paths in the city's Iron Triangle neighborhood with a "yellow brick road" design. The commission also chose in its recent recommendations a $4.5 million project to redesign a section of 20th Street in Oakland near Lake Merritt. And the Metropolitan Transportation Commission recommended (PDF) providing $4.9 million for the long-awaited redesign of Telegraph Avenue between 20th and 41st streets.

More …

Oakland Looking to Ease Rules on Secondary Housing Units

by Darwin BondGraham
Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 5:07 PM

  • City of Seattle
At its upcoming meeting on Wednesday, October 21, the Oakland Planning Commission will consider rule changes that could encourage homeowners to build secondary housing units, mainly in the form of small backyard cottages. The new rules could spur the construction of hundreds, or even thousands of new homes across the city, many of them near BART stations and within walking distance of AC Transit rapid bus stops, creating both affordable and green housing options.

The proposal is similar to rules that Berkeley adopted in March. The Oakland City Council must ultimately approve any changes the planning commission recommends.

But if passed, the new rules would allow Oakland homeowners to build structures of up to 750 square feet, or up to 75 percent the size of the lot's primary structure, whichever is less. Backyard cottages could have roofs as high as 14 feet at the peak, and ten feet at the eaves. The could be fully equipped with kitchens, bathrooms, and appliances.

More …

Monday Must Reads; Kensington Official Harassed by Cop Says FBI Advised Her to Leave Town; Water Hogs Live in Blackhawk Enclave

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 9:43 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Vanessa Cordova, a Kensington elected official who has been allegedly harassed by a rogue cop in her town, said she was told by the FBI to leave the area for an indefinite period because of “credible threats” to her safety, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. Cordova, who is a member of Kensington’s governing board, has filed a harassment complaint against police Sergeant Keith Barrow. Earlier this year, Cordova led the push to oust Kensington’s police chief because he botched an investigation into Barrow, after Barrow had his gun and badge stolen from a Reno prostitute. The FBI declined to comment on Cordova’s assertions.

Billy Beane.
  • Billy Beane.
2. The wealthy community of Saddleback, within the exclusive Contra Costa County town of Blackhawk, is home to many of the top water wasters in the East Bay, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. Saddleback residents include Oakland A’s President Billy Beane, who is the third largest water waster in East Bay MUD’s service area, and a retired Chevron oil exec who is the biggest water hog. In all, 28 of Saddleback’s 53 homes have been guzzling more than 1,000 gallons of water a day — four times the East Bay average — during the historic drought.

3. In order to stave off the devastating effects of rising oceans due to climate change, the Bay Area needs to restore 54,000 acres of wetlands around San Francisco Bay, the Mercury News$ reports, citing a new comprehensive study. Sea levels are expected to rise by two feet by 2050 and five feet by the end of the century.

More …

Friday, October 16, 2015

Facing the Housing Crisis, Berkeley and Emeryville Lawmakers Are Advancing Numerous Solutions; But Not Oakland

by Darwin BondGraham
Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 3:08 PM

Jesse Arreguin. - BERT JOHNSON
  • Bert Johnson
  • Jesse Arreguin.
The Berkeley and Emeryville city councils are advancing numerous new and updated housing policies in response to the East Bay’s affordable housing crisis. The plans include: increasing affordable housing impact fees paid by developers; making pre-development loans to affordable housing developers; and even calling on the state legislature to overturn the Costa Hawkins law which gutted rent control, and banned inclusionary housing for rental units.

Berkeley councilmembers will consider an agenda packed with eleven housing and tenant-protection items at their upcoming October 27 meeting.

“In this housing crisis that we’re in, we have to explore all options. There is no silver bullet,” said Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin.

More …

Berkeley’s Ecology Center Works to Make Sure Every Farmers’ Market Can Accept Food Stamps

by Isara Krieger
Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 10:56 AM

More and more low-income families will be able to use food stamps as currency to buy fresh produce from small farmers’ markets due to federal grants for technical support and state matching funds supporting the work of Berkeley’s Ecology Center.

The Ecology Center was awarded part of an $8 million Farmers’ Market Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Support Grant. The grant comes from the US Department of Agriculture, which awarded more than $31.5 million in grants earlier this year to assist SNAP recipients. Berkeley’s Ecology Center then received $3.7 million, and Oakland’s Mandela Marketplace received $422,500 under the program. 

This new funding will allow the Ecology Center to provide the technical support necessary to extend the use of SNAP to an additional 350 farmers’ markets in California that do not currently have a way to process EBT stamps because of a lack of electronic devices. The center has already reached 450 of the 800 markets in the state.

Martin Bourque.
  • Martin Bourque.
The Ecology Center has been working to break down this barrier through providing technical support to install point of sales devices. “California has been a real leader to offer [these] devices and to offer SNAP transactions free of charge,” said Martin Bourque, executive director of the Ecology Center.

“This new federal funding demonstrates a significant long-term investment in the future of farmers' markets and the success of small innovative farmers and the health of SNAP shoppers,” Bourque added.

More …

Friday Must Reads: A’s President Billy Beane Revealed as Huge Water Waster; State Political Watchdog Clamps Down on Soft Money Groups

by Robert Gammon
Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 10:09 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

Billy Beane.
  • Billy Beane.
1. Oakland A’s President Billy Beane, a Danville resident, is the third largest water guzzler among East Bay MUD customers, and has been using about 6,000 gallons of water a day during the state’s punishing drought, the Bay Area New Group$ reports, citing newly released records from East Bay MUD. The largest water waster was George Kirkland, a former Chevron vice chairman and executive vice president who also lives in Danville. Normally, water districts keep the identities of big water wasters secret, but East Bay MUD decided to disclose the records because Beane and others violated the district’s new cap of using no more than 1,000 gallons a day.

2. The state’s main political watchdog agency adopted new rules that are designed to clamp down on so-called independent expenditure committees — soft money groups that seek to elect favored candidates and are often suspected of illegally coordinating with those candidates, the SacBee$ reports. The new regulations from the state Fair Political Practices Commission place the burden on candidates to prove that they’re not illegally coordinating with outside committees, which have exerted increasing influence over local and state elections.

More …

Thursday, October 15, 2015

UC Police Remove Ohlone Elder, Activists from Gill Tract

by Darwin BondGraham
Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 5:41 PM

  • STEVE RHODES/FLICKR (CC) - The Gill Tract in Albany
Environmentalists, students, and indigenous activists continue to spar with the University of California over the future of a swath of land in Albany known as the Gill Tract. The most recent scuffle involves a group claiming indigenous rights to the land, and objecting to UC's plans to allow a developer to build housing and a commercial shopping strip on five acres.

Early yesterday morning, UC police officers removed Hank Herrera and several other activists from the Gill Tract while Herrera was conducting a ceremony. Herrera is of Ohlone descent. The Ohlone people have lived in California for thousands of years. A video of the incident was made available by the Indigenous Land Action Committee, a group which described itself in a previous press release as "Ohlone and other native people who envision reclaiming land stolen from them, honoring the land, honoring the ancestors who stewarded this land for millennia[.]"

More …

Oakland Proposes Eliminating Parking Requirements for New Downtown Housing Developments

by Sam Levin
Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 5:36 PM

The City of Oakland's Planning Department has released a proposal to overhaul parking requirements for new developments — an effort that would eliminate some of the outdated policies that transportation and affordable housing advocates have increasingly criticized in recent years. As I outlined in an August 5 Express cover story, "A Green Solution to Oakland's Affordable Housing Crisis," Oakland's archaic zoning laws require developers to build unnecessarily huge parking garages in new buildings — typically one on-site parking space for every single unit. This requirement can significantly drive up the cost of construction and thus lead to higher rents and less affordable housing. The car-oriented rules are also environmentally backwards since the construction of large parking lots — which, data shows, often end up having high vacancy rates — encourages residents to own cars and drive more, even in neighborhoods with good access to public transportation.

Under Oakland's proposed policy changes released today, developers in certain areas would be able to build significantly smaller parking garages in new buildings, which could help discourage car ownership and could make it more financially viable for projects to include affordable housing.

The most notable part of the proposal is the elimination of parking requirements for all new residential buildings in downtown Oakland (see page one of the report). Under current rules, which have remained largely intact for decades, developers in downtown are required to build one space per unit. As a result, developers continue to propose new apartment buildings with a huge excess of parking — even in projects right next to BART stations that could easily attract tenants who don't own cars and don't want to pay for parking.

More …

Most Popular Stories

© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation