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Friday, July 15, 2016

Another Report Points Out Dire Mental Health Care Situation in SF County Jail

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 12:15 PM

MIKE KOOZMIN/SF EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner
For the second time in a month, a report on the state of inmate mental health in San Francisco has been released - which means for the second time in a month, we can wonder if anyone at City Hall is still paying attention to the crisis happening in the County Jail system and, in turn, on city streets.

San Francisco officials last year wanted the city to invest in alternatives to incarceration instead of a new jail, and that includes much more robust mental health care services. But since the Board of Supervisors rejected funding for a new jail in December, not much has happened save for a concept paper released in mid-June and now a grand jury report on the mental health crisis among inmates.

The concept paper and report are similar, pointing out that County Jail is the top provider of mental health care services in San Francisco (in case you’re curious, that’s not a title it should hold). And despite the inmate population declining over the years, one of the concept paper authors told SF Weekly earlier this month that the number of inmates needing mental health care has not dropped. And when those inmates are finally released, many end up homeless, living on the streets.

The heart of the concept paper is a four-tiered approach to mental health care that includes a place police can take suspects for evaluation before they’re locked up, in hopes that they can receive the proper care instead of a damaging and dangerous stint behind bars. In the grand jury report, recommendations include operating Jail Behavioral Health Services 24 hours a day, along with crisis and suicide prevention training for staff who work with inmates. Suicide is, according to the report, the top cause of death among inmates across the country.

Bay City News pointed out that the city is being sued by the family of Alberto Carlos Petrolino, a 50-year-old man who died by suicide while in County Jail. Family members and defense attorneys had warned that Petrolino was suicidal, but authorities did not provide the proper care and supervision. And Petrolino was not a violent offender, having been locked up because he violated a stay-away order that prevented him from going to the Golden Gate Bridge after threatening to jump off the span.

Officials with the Sheriff’s Department, which operates County Jail, said they will review the grand jury report. They are coordinating with the jail replacement working group to come up with plans for a new project, which are expected by the end of the year.
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Millennial Problems: Scary-Good

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Gotta fool 'em all - CARTELPRESS.COM
  • cartelpress.com
  • Gotta fool 'em all

As the saying goes: Fool the New York Post, shame on you, but fool The Atlantic, and now you’re famous.

The world’s scariest - or scary awesomest - millennial is a 26-year-old guy named Pablo Reyes who played the best trick of the week on a bunch of grownup children and journalists. We think his name is Pablo Reyes, but at this point the entire thing is open for debate.

It all started when some company released some video game for smartphones called Pokemon Go (we’d never heard of it either). Apparently it’s popular everywhere, including San Francisco. Eh, maybe popular isn’t the right word. It seems to be the biggest thing since sliced bread (that’s baby boomer humor). Think popular like the Super Bowl, early American Idol, or the pope. Pope popular. So the game is so popular that apparently people will believe anything having to do with the game.

“Pokemon Go: Major Highway Accident After Man Stops In Middle Of Highway To Catch Pikachu!”

“Pokemon GO: Teen Kills Younger Brother Because He Thought He Deleted His Pokemon”

“ISIS Is Taking Responsibility For “Pokemon Go”s Login Problems; Server Issues”

Those are some of the headlines on a fake news site called Cartel Press that apparently fit the narrative of Pokemon Go’s reception that reputable news organizations like the New York Post (hehehe) and Atlantic decided to run with them as if they were accurate. Pablo Reyes is the guy behind the guy who came up with them, according to this story from another reputable news source. (We’re so confused, we don’t know who to believe; maybe Pokemon isn’t even real?!)

Weirdly enough, Reyes claims the stories went viral by accident after he was testing some new platform for Cartel Press that pushed them to the top of the page. Whatever. The point is, many people just ate them up without the slightest pause, it seems. Just look at the photo of the “major highway accident.” It was clearly taken during winter.

“A lot of people go off the headline. They read the article. They find it funny. This is why it works. There are people who are very gullible out there,” Reyes told The Daily Beast. “I mean, if you actually read the article, you can tell the article is bogus.”

But no one seemed to care, which is nothing new. This story, for instance, does a good job of screwing with people, but it’s supposed to, like other social experiments.

Reyes is no stranger to screwing with gullible people. He’s also the guy who can predict the future with a few simple Facebook tricks.

Reyes’ stories were supposed to make people laugh, and instead the joke is wholly on them. He wins all the medals. 
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SFPD Thinks Cop in Recent Killing Will Be Key Department Reformer

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 12:36 PM

click image After the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora, Sgt. Nate Steger has been tasked with figuring out how to stop cops from killing civilians. - VIA JUSTICE FOR LUIS GÓNGORA PAT/YOUTUBE
  • via Justice for Luis Góngora Pat/Youtube
  • After the fatal shooting of Luis Gongora, Sgt. Nate Steger has been tasked with figuring out how to stop cops from killing civilians.
The San Francisco Police Department is currently in what you might call a predicament.

The bad PR has been piling up for months now, as have the bodies of citizens killed by officers. An ad hoc panel’s review just dropped, revealing a police force rife with racial profiling problems that’s backed up by a divisive, dangerous, and utterly tone deaf union. The cops’ cop of a chief is gone, and if you really want to lose all faith in the people who are supposed to protect and serve the public, then just go back over the last year-plus of stories about the text messages.

When things are this bad, it’s easy for the media to just shoot fish in a barrel. Which brings us to the latest WTF moment in recent SFPD history: One of the two officers responsible for the shooting death of Luis Gongora in the Mission District on April 7 is working for the new SFPD bureau tasked with figuring out how to stop cops from killing civilians.

Sgt. Nate Steger is one of only four officers working on these reforms for the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau, the Examiner reports. (Toney Chaplin was directing the bureau before his promotion to interim chief.) The bureau is supposed to be integral in crafting new policies that would reduce police shootings, among other responsibilities.

Folks who spoke with the Examiner were pissed.

“It is shocking to hear that given that the Gongora case is still under investigation, that one of the officers involved, and thus may have been involved in misconduct, is working in a department unit heading reforms,” said Supervisor David Campos, who represents the Mission District. “It sends a horrible message to the Gongora family and the community at large. It is further proof that the department doesn’t get it and needs reform.”

“It seems very strange that they would put him in that position,” said Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who appeared before the District Attorney’s Office’s panel reviewing SFPD. “It appears that he’s been put in a position of preventing people from doing exactly what he did. I would wonder what kinds of training he has received.”

“Wow. That’s insane,” said Ilych Sato, aka Equipto, a vocal opponent of SFPD and one of the Frisco 5 who went on a hunger strike after Gongora’s death.

It seems woefully contradictory for Steger to hold any position within this bureau, but that’s just civilian talk. We’re not experts like the Police Officers Association union, which comes up with gems like “[t]he reality for every San Francisco police officer is that you have become a political football for nearly every San Francisco politician, police commissioner, and self-promoting politico in this city” in its riveting monthly journal. Or threatens elected officials who dare disagree or challenge police conduct in this city. The union seems to control SFPD, and that’s not a good thing.

Maybe it’s time to stop doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rents Falling in SF, But Sky Remains Overhead

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 1:45 PM

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
It can’t be this bad forever, they said. The rents will fall, they said. San Francisco will return, they said.

If you’re not bringing in startup-unicorn level cash and hope to live in the city one day, or at least in a cheaper apartment, we have some good news to report: San Francisco rents dropped 5 percent between June and July. That’s according to a national report released today by the apartment listings site ABODO. And while that might not be a game-changer for many folks, ABODO sees it as a trend that could carry on for months.

"While a large portion of the country is running significantly short on apartment rental supply, our research team is seeing a larger supply than ever before in San Francisco,” Sam Radbil, an ABODO spokesman, tells SF Weekly. “The huge amount of building in this metro area is providing more options for renters. The supply is finally catching up with the demand, causing a decline in price. We believe that this is a trend that may continue in San Francisco throughout the rest of 2016."

It’s true that housing construction has increased in recent years — just take a gander at the city’s dense Pipeline Report — and some people say more homes means lower prices, eventually. So have we entered this new phase of affordability? (You didn’t actually think we were serious.)

Maybe, maybe not. It’s hard to say. Stories like this one could just be an outlier, but if demand is so high then why would a developer abandon an already approved project?

Regardless, as Curbed pointed out, two approved projects put up for sale does not make a trend. One month of rent price declines probably doesn’t either, but it’s still significant for San Francisco.

"We anticipate that the rent growth might begin to slow in cities like San Francisco — cities that have experienced rapid recent growth — because of the huge boom in multifamily construction,” Radbil says. “The development and construction of new rentals will ultimately bring more units to market for local renters and limit the demand for individual units, while minimizing leverage that landlords currently hold.”

ABODO also found that rents in Oakland dropped as well, and even more significantly at 11 percent.

That’s promising for Bay Area renters — especially when we have a group from San Francisco that sued a nearby city over its lack of housing construction, then threatened to “sue the suburbs” unless more shovels went in the ground. 
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Should Lyft Drivers Be Excited About New Leasing Option Coming to SF?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 12:05 PM

MIKE KOOZMIN
  • Mike Koozmin
For as much as the gig economy is vilified in San Francisco and beyond, with earnings promises seemingly never living up to corporate assurances, it’s still an employment option used by thousands and thousands of folks every day. So any incentive for the little guy is worth noting.

Which brings us to Express Drive, a vehicle rental service for aspiring or existing Lyft drivers. Launched earlier this year in Chicago, Baltimore, and a few other cities, it’s been so successful that it’s expanding to more cities, including San Francisco, and it actually looks like a decent option (even if looks can be deceiving).

The partnership between Lyft and General Motors is slated to launch this summer in the city, according to an announcement from GM today. It will also come to Los Angeles and Denver later. GM says in these three cities combined, more than 130,000 people have applied to be Lyft drivers but did not have qualifying cars. (It’s unclear how many were in San Francisco, as there was no city-by-city breakdown.)

Driving for ride-hail apps like Uber and Lyft can be challenging when you don’t actually own a car, or your vehicle is too old to meet company standards or too small. Or maybe you just don’t want to put all that mileage and strain on your precious Prius. Many leasing options already exist, but Express Drive could be the best value. Of course, you have to really drive for that to happen.

The system only benefits the driver/lessee in a meaningful way if they spend a lot of time on the road — as in taking at least 65 fares a week. That’s when all the rental, maintenance, and insurance fees are waived, but the driver still pays for gas. If you take between 40 and 64 fares a week, you’d pay a flat $99 fee for the vehicle. And when it’s under 40 rides per week, the $99 fee is charged along with 20 cents per mile. Other lease options can cost $120 to $200 a week, plus gas and maintenance, so Express Drive is a better deal for frequent drivers. This rideshare blog did a nice analysis of the service back in April.

In smaller markets it might be challenging to achieve those fare numbers, especially with Lyft, which is not as big as rival Uber even though it’s been making headway on that front. But San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area is a top market for ride-hail apps, so Express Drive will probably be huge here. Hopefully people will be able to make a better living than the poor souls driving for Uber in these three markets.
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Police Protest Planned Tonight in SF?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 12:05 PM

Demonstrators block traffic along I-880 in Oakland on Thursday. - JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS VIA AP
  • Jose Carlos Fajardo/San Jose Mercury News via AP
  • Demonstrators block traffic along I-880 in Oakland on Thursday.

Following Thursday night’s highway shutdown in Oakland during a police protest and the shootout that killed 5 police officers in Dallas at a Black Lives Matter march, a rally and march is planned tonight in San Francisco in reaction to the killing of two black men earlier this week by cops in Minnesota and Louisiana.

The San Francisco protest was announced before the incident in Dallas, according to the time stamps on posts at ANSWER Coalition and Occupy Oakland. Organizers are urging people to gather in Justin Herman Plaza across from the Ferry Building at 6 p.m. to “demand justice for all the victims of police brutality and end to racist police terror.” However, in light of the Dallas shootings, the rally is bound to take on a different tone and could have a larger police presence.

Many protests nationwide, such as the one in Oakland, were held Thursday in response to the police shooting deaths of Philando Castile on Wednesday in Minnesota and Alton Sterling on Tuesday in Louisiana. Castile was killed during a traffic stop while he sat in a car with his girlfriend and her daughter — and the aftermath was live streamed by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. Sterling was lying on his back pinned down by two officers when he was fatally shot outside a convenience store.

Police around the country are on heightened alert following the Dallas sniper attack. In Oakland and San Jose, officers have been ordered to pair up on patrols to increase safety.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Friday issued a statement addressing the recent spate of violence nationwide, saying local police “showed this week that reforms can take hold and the sanctity of life can be upheld.” He was referring to the Wednesday standoff in the Tenderloin in which officers were able to peacefully end the confrontation with an armed man when they used beanbag rounds to subdue him
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Millennial Problems: Myth-busting

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 11:45 AM

DFID/FLICKR
  • DFID/Flickr
Here are some words not often paired with “millennial”: wise, dedicated, investment-savvy. And you thought all those kids were just complainers.

Credit Karma, the San Francisco company that provides free credit scores and financial advice, recently released results of its survey of 18- to 34-year-olds on everything it means to be a grownup who contributes positively to society. The results destroyed many of the generalizations about millennials, giving us a lot of hope for the future. Per Credit Karma:

“They are getting married and buying homes and cars in large numbers. Urban, suburban and rural 18-34 year-olds are starting families and using credit cards. They collectively carry more student debt than any generation before, but that is not stopping them from moving forward with their lives and saving for the future.”

That’s pretty interesting, but let’s take a closer look at the results.

Not only do millennials view marriage favorably — 83 percent of respondents plan to tie the knot, while nearly 50 percent were already married or living with a partner — they think little ones are cool too. A whopping 74 percent either plan to have children or already make diaper runs and attend parent-teacher conferences. The marriage findings were similar for urban, suburban, and rural millennials.

And when those kids are growing up, millennials want it to be in their own home. There was no difference between millennials who currently own versus rent their home (44 percent each), but of those who rent, 88 percent eventually want to buy something. How they will do that depends largely on where they live (sorry, Bay Area millennials), because increasing their debt is a nonstarter. Lessons learned from 2008, when the world sorta imploded.

We always hear that millennials are afraid to leave the comforts of their parents’ home, but apparently we were listening to the wrong people. Of those surveyed, 58 percent had purchased a home before age 26. Dang, that’s smart.

So what about jobs? That’s where millennials let their emotions dominate, right? Idealism and a mission to make the world a better place get in the way of sensible career-building. And that whole “I just graduated from college so I’m the bestest at everything”? Just another stereotype.

Sure, only one-quarter of those surveyed wanted to have the same job for eight or more years, but a full 70 percent of older millennials (29 to 34) spent four or more years with the same employer. That’s impressive when considering how few total working years they’ve had. And among younger millennials, 63 percent want to stay in their jobs for more than four years. Experience counts.

As for their twilight years, when Social Security will have become a Smithsonian Museum exhibit, millennials are not messing around. Over half are saving for retirement, and 89 percent of them started doing so before age 28. And why are they doing this? Because their parents’ and grandparents’ generations screwed them royally and they know it — 62 percent believe Social Security insurance will be gone by the time they need it, and nearly 75 percent said the Great Recession had a moderate to extreme influence on their financial outlook.

There you have it: millennials are smarter than you. That must account for why they’re leaving the traditional tech job centers like the Bay Area for the Silicon Valleys of the future. We hear Nashville has a good music scene. 
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Uber Killing Jobs in SF By Hiring Robots

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 2:05 PM

KNIGHTSCOPE
  • Knightscope

Why pay an able-bodied human to do a job when there’s a perfectly good robot available? And if that robot costs a fraction of what you’d pay the human, all the investors and shareholders will be ecstatic. Cha-ching!

Uber, everyone’s favorite modern taxi service, is using a robot to patrol its vehicle inspection lot in Mission Bay, according to Fusion. Instead of paying a security guard $15 or so an hour, and only having that person work eight hours before overtime kicks in or their shift ends, this little egg-shaped robot needs no lunch breaks or time off — and costs a mere $7 an hour. That’s what Uber pays Knightscope, the company that created the robot, for the privilege of downsizing the city’s workforce.

“For the cost of a single-shift security guard, you get a machine that will patrol for 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Stacy Stephens, Knightscope’s vice president of marketing, told Fusion, adding that two security companies are also leasing the robots.

The robot also won’t call in sick, won’t complain about working conditions, won’t ask for time off for the birth of a child, won’t ask for a raise, and won’t have an opinion that’s different from yours. Essentially, the robot won’t let “life” get in the way of Uber’s unbridled pursuit of wealth and power. That’s simply too enticing for a company like Uber.

Remember, Uber is the company that undervalues its driver “partners” and wants driverless cars to replace real drivers so it can make more money. Uber is also the company that boasts of how lucrative and freeing a driving gig can be when in reality it’s just another low-wage job.

Robots are slowly but surely taking over society. Who knows how many lawmakers and heads of industry are actually robots. Imagine robot teachers. We know robots are about to take over the fast-food business, at least in San Francisco, so it’s only a matter of time before we’re all unemployed and fighting against the machines. Good luck, fellow humans.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Kim Asks Wiener to Stop Mentioning Her Name During Campaign

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 1:30 PM

COURTESY PHOTOS
  • Courtesy Photos
As far as political races go, the two San Francisco supervisors vying to represent District 11 in the California Senate could not be much closer after the June primary. So it stands to reason both will be pulling no punches in the run-up to November’s general election.

For Supervisor Jane Kim, that apparently means asking her opponent, Supervisor Scott Wiener, to play nice – like, really nice. Last week, Kim issued a request for Wiener to refrain from basically everything that constitutes a campaign for elected office. It’s a bold stance, but not necessarily an unprecedented one – and Wiener is none too happy about it.

In her pledge, Kim begins by simply asking Wiener to commit to a positive campaign. That seems fine and dandy until you get to her bullet points, specifically two of them: “My campaign shall not mention my opponent in any paid advertising, including broadcast, cable, digital or mail”; “My campaign shall provide my opponent copies of all paid advertisements 24 hours before they are broadcast, posted or mailed.”

Kim seems to have come up with the idea in response to Wiener’s “series of false and misleading attacks against Jane. We’re hoping he will change his mind,” according to the pledge.

Not surprisingly, Wiener responded with dismay, calling the move “anti-democratic.”.

“Democracy isn't well-served by allowing candidates - both myself and Jane Kim included - to have a monopoly on discussion of our records,” Wiener wrote on his website. “Democracy isn't well-served by allowing candidates to cherry pick only what we want the voters to hear about our positions, while preventing other people from correcting the record or painting a complete picture. It is entirely appropriate and healthy for Jane Kim to discuss my record - as she has already done - and for me to discuss hers.”

Candidates asking each other to be cordial is nothing new, even if it’s somewhat perplexing. John McCain did it in September 2008, going so far as to suspend his campaign in the face of the nation’s financial meltdown and seek a conciliatory tone from opponent Barack Obama as the two senators joined congressional colleagues in addressing the crisis. We all know how McCain fared a few months later.

More recently, some wondered whether Bernie Sanders should have attacked Hillary Clinton more this year and late last year as the underdog for the Democratic Party nomination for presidenthttp://bit.ly/29g9F38. When he finally did, it was way too late
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"Belligerent Laziness": Dolores Park Was a Mess Again This Morning

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 9:00 AM

PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

Dolores Park isn't named for Mission Dolores. It's named for El Grito de Dolores, more or less the Mexican equivalent of the Boston Tea Party and the 1810 event that precipitated the Mexican War of Independence. (That's why there's a statue of Miguel Hidalgo, the priest who initiated El Grito, or "The Cry.")

Well, there's another Cry of Dolores these days and it's a little closer to the tear shed by the Native American in those Keep America Beautiful ads from the 1970s. Weekend after weekend, people just can't stop trashing Dolores Park.

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