Daily news roundup for Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | KALW

Daily news roundup for Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015

Abstinence-only curriculum is not sex education, judge rules // SF Gate

"California’s sex-education law prohibits school districts from indoctrinating students on the need to remain celibate before marriage or teaching them that abstinence is the only safe way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, a judge has ruled.

"The decision by Fresno County Superior Court Judge Donald Black applies only to the 40,000-student Clovis Unified School District. But as the first ruling to interpret California’s 11-year-old law on sex education and disease prevention, it should put schools on notice that “young people need complete, accurate health information required by law,” said Phyllida Burlingame, director of Reproductive Justice Policy for theAmerican Civil Liberties Union, which took part in the suit.

“'This is the first time that abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula have been found to be medically inaccurate,' Burlingame said Monday."

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Why Are Palo Alto's Kids Killing Themselves? // San Francisco Magazine

"...We’re designed to tolerate a certain amount of trauma and stress,” says Daniel Saal, “but it’s the repetitious nature of the suicides that has become too much.” At 1 a.m. on Tuesday, November 4, just six weeks before the false alarm at the house party, Cameron Lee, a beloved junior, killed himself on the tracks. Less than three weeks earlier, Quinn Gens, who had graduated from Gunn in May, had ended his life the same way. Two and a half months later, senior Harry Hannyi Lee also died by suicide. Six weeks after that, so did Paly (Palo Alto) High sophomore Qingyao Zhu. And this string of tragedy is not unprecedented in Palo Alto: Over a seven-month period just five years earlier, four Gunn students and a recent graduate killed themselves. For the parents, kids, and concerned citizens of Palo Alto, two suicide clusters in the space of one adolescent generation has been almost too much to bear."

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Fruitvale Village Implements Unlicensed Patrols //East Bay Express

"The Unity Council replaced Robinson and the seven other security guards with 'neighborhood ambassadors' — workers without guard cards or formal security training.

"'That just blew me away,' said Robinson, who was unemployed for about two months until recently landing a new security job in San Francisco. "You can't just walk in off of the street and be a professional in security.

"The Unity Council's controversial decision to end its security contract and implement a so-called Safety Neighborhood Ambassador Program (SNAP) comes at a time when there has been increasing scrutiny in the Bay Area on neighborhood ambassadors patrolling business districts. That's because in March — a few weeks after Robinson and other officers lost their jobs in Fruitvale — a Downtown Berkeley Association ambassador was caught on video brutally assaulting a homeless man. The disturbing YouTube footage showed the ambassador clearly initiating the physical confrontation and aggressively and repeatedly punching the man even as he wasn't fighting back. That ambassador, who was subsequently fired, worked for Block by Block, a private company that provides ambassador services to business improvement districts. The Unity Council's new program relies on a similar model, and the Berkeley incident, critics said, illustrates the potential for unnecessary conflicts and violent confrontations when an individual without security training takes a public safety matter into his or her own hands."

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924 Gilman Street's 'Alumni Donor Retention Program' // East Bay Express

"Parks and Jesse Townley, a longtime Gilman fixture who's involved with the fundraising, emphasized that the club is not seeking money to avoid closure. Townley said that the main reason Gilman never looked into buying the space earlier was because 'we didn't have part of the city government trying to gentrify the strip of land.'

"As Parks said, "There was a legacy of new businesses not liking Gilman. ... The battles were mostly business-by-business — not the entire character of the neighborhood changing." The proactive solution is to buy, Parks and other Gilman organizers explained, steeling the club against the forces of development. The fundraising is a long-term process, with the added bonus of enabling Gilman to lower door prices. Parks emphasized a diversity of fundraising tactics befitting the various generations of Gilman supporters. "I'm able to reach back into the archive of attendees, so to speak, and appeal to their interest in maintaining the club," she said."

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Bay Area Book Festival to Launch in Berkeley in 2015 // Berkeleyside

"A book festival i scoming to Berkeley. Doubtless many people will say, 'It's about time.'"

"On Saturday June 21, a launch party was held for the Bay Area Book Festival, an ambitious literary love fest which will take place in the heart of downtown Berkeley on June 6-7, 2015.

"The festival is the brainchild of Cherilyn Parsons who decided that it was time somebody started a book festival given that, in many other ways, the area is a literary mecca.

"Parsons, a Southern California native who has long admired the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and attends other literary gatherings around the world such as the Jaipur Literature Festival, was most recently the director of development and strategic initiatives at the Center for Investigative Reporting.

"The vision for the Bay Area Book Festival is that it will take over downtown Berkeley, closing several streets for the two-day event --eventually drawing as many as 1000,000 people to an entirely walkable smörgåsbord of bookish activities. These will run the gamut from author readings, panels and a dedicated children's area in Civic Center Park."