Daily news roundup for Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015

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

Chinatown clash: Co-working space, other tech uses violate zoning // SF Chronicle

"A new co-working facility in the heart of Chinatown promises 'a collective space that incorporates wellness, sustainability, local community and collaboration.'

"But while the bright, plant-filled 4,000-square-foot space at 950 Grant Ave. — called 1920C — has attracted young workers in need of a desk, it has run afoul of Chinatown advocates who say the tech-centric work space violates zoning laws and will contribute to gentrification in one of the few San Francisco neighborhoods that remains affordable for residents and small businesses."


In Oakland, $12.25 minimum wage isn’t getting to everyone // SF Chronicle

"Two months after Oakland began requiring all employers to pay a $12.25 minimum wage, some employers are offering jobs that pay less and critics say the city isn’t doing enough to enforce the law.

"Twitter postings highlighted a Craigslist ad for housecleaning service Maid No. 1, which operates in San Francisco and Oakland, and offers new employees $10 an hour during their training period, and $12.25 an hour thereafter. HMSHost, the Maryland contractor that runs concessions at Oakland Airport, advertises cashier positions for $10.25 an hour.

"Confusion over the law, a misinterpretation of it or just plain ignorance seem to account for why some employers have continued to offer what amounts to illegal pay, city officials said."


Funeral taxes: California takes its cut from the dead // SF Gate

"Death and taxes are just as certain as ever, except that now even more of death could be taxable.

"Specifically, a death or 'memory' DVD. It’s big business these days in the funeral business. So the state Board of Equalization, which interprets tax law, wants to make sure California is getting its 8.25 percent cut.

"The board gave preliminary approval last week to new tax rules about products and services such as memory DVDs and memory books that are increasingly part of modern funerals."


Health care: Illegal immigrants would get Medi-Cal under California bill // Mercury News

"The backbreaking work in California's chili pepper fields and cherry orchards wasn't so noticeable when farmworker Antolin Gonzalez was young. But the 49-year-old south Santa Clara County farmworker now suffers from dizziness, allergies from dust and pesticides, swollen feet and throbbing backaches -- even eyesight problems from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light.

"Like many of the state's 2.5 million illegal immigrants, Gonzalez does not have health insurance because he can't afford it. If he gets sick, he seeks treatment at a public health clinic. Anything more serious means a trip to the hospital emergency room.

"But on Monday, state legislation that would extend free or low-cost health care coverage to immigrants who are in the country illegally heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a key vote."


Identity Politics // East Bay Express

"In Who Is Oakland? artists with varying standpoints converge at the Oakland Museum of California to propose answers to the question of Oakland's identity.

"Oakland is a city in flux. As people from San Francisco and elsewhere migrate to the Town in hordes, the physical and social architecture seems to be reconfiguring in real time. Amid such a transformation, divisive questions of ownership, authenticity, and belonging are at the fore of community conversation. These concerns can be funneled into one central inquiry: Who is Oakland? With its current exhibition of that title, that's what the Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak. St.) is hoping to find out."


Making History // East Bay Express 

"In one UC Berkeley class about Bay Area social movements, students' homework contributes to a public community history project.

"On April 20 at 4:20 p.m., a festive mob of students gathered for an annual marijuana celebration on UC Berkeley's Memorial Glade. But students in Sean Burns' "Social Movements, Urban History, and the Politics of Memory: San Francisco Bay Area, 1769-2015," were still in class. That day, Ed Wolf had come to speak about his time doing critical HIV/AIDS relief work in San Francisco in the early Eighties. A documentary, entitled We Were Here, was made about his work, and he shared his experiences traveling the world to promote it. He told students that in violently homophobic cities, such as Saint Petersburg, Russia, he would often hear from new friends that the mere knowledge of the Bay Area's existence gave them hope. In their minds, the Bay Area was the holy land of human rights ­— where change is possible.

Despite the Bay Area's progressive reputation (and that of UC Berkeley in particular), many residents of the region possess no more than a superficial knowledge of the area's social movement history. And Cal students are often too busy filling requirements to learn about the region that surrounds the campus bubble. Burns' class aims to remedy that. It's also one of a handful of American Cultures Engaged Scholarship (ACES) courses, which allow students to do service learning work that benefits a local organization. Burns' students learn the history of social justice activism in the Bay Area post-1960s, as well as the ways in which history is authored rather than recorded. At the end of the course, every student completes a thorough history project on a topic of their choosing for which they do interviews and other original research, branching out into the surrounding community. They also hear first-hand reflections from important local voices like Wolf's."