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Hello, Officer! Waymo’s robot-car rules for police stops

October 19, 2018

What happens when a police officer pulls over a self-driving car? After all, there won’t be a driver to say, “Is anything wrong, officer?” and provide a driver’s license, insurance and registration documents.

The solution, according to the self-driving car company Waymo, is in educating law enforcement officials. On Wednesday, Waymo — a unit of Google parent company Alphabet — released a plan for how officers can interact with its cars… (more)


As California struggles to house the homeless, some neighbors say ‘welcome’

October 13, 2018

By David Gorn : calmatters – excerpt

On a bright recent morning, Van Thomas was holding forth from his front porch in Central Los Angeles, alongside his mixed-breed dog, Princess.

“I’ve been a part of this neighborhood for 45 years,” he said. “I grew up playing ball across the street.”

Thomas has seen a world of change sweep through the area over the years, the latest occurring in a small, century-old complex of buildings right next door. A health-care center is opening there for as many as 62 people newly released from the hospital, all of them homeless, many of them struggling to recover from drug addiction.

And Thomas says he’s happy about it.

“This facility has been everything from a boys’ home to, well, you don’t want to know,” he says with a smile, then cocks his thumb toward the property. “I’ve seen a lot of positive things from this project, though….I give the thumbs-up on this program. I’m looking forward to it.”… (more)


County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino Jumps from GOP Ship

October 6, 2018

By Nick Welsh : undependent – excerpt

Decline-to-States Now Almost Outnumber Republicans in Santa Barbara

Steve Lavagnino has long been my favorite local Republican. Now, no more. All bets are off.

For the past eight years, Lavagnino ​— ​Santa Barbara being a first-name kind of town, he’s known in political circles merely as “Steve” ​— ​has represented the über–North County and the 5th District on the Board of Supervisors. There, he’s been smart, easygoing, prepared, rational, serious, pragmatic, comfortable in his own skin, and unusually accessible. On top of that, Lavagnino’s also seriously funny. In fact, he does some stand-up on the side.

To this day, Lavagnino remains all those things. But as of June 28, Steve Lavagnino ​— ​a dyed-in-the-wool, card-carrying member of the Republican Party ​— ​quietly walked away from the Grand Old Party. He quit. He pulled the plug. On that date, county records indicate, Lavagnino reregistered as a decline-to-state (aka no party preference) voter… (more)

Decline-to-State is the new party of choice around the country as people lose faith in the two-party system that is dividing the nation . Tents on the sidewalk, lines at the DMV, and gridlocked streets are in-your-face proof that government systems are failing. Citizens want results, not promises and parades. Even though San Francisco is a one party town, the lines are clearly drawn between the candidates and the big money donations that separate them. The rush to densify SOMA may be put on hold as the shaky ground takes on new concerns.

Booming San Francisco takes unprecedented step to target earthquake-vulnerable high-rise towers

October 5, 2018

: latimes – excerpt


All buildings and streets look the same in our new Urban environment photo by Zrants

For all the tech wealth that has flown into this city in recent years, it’s also an unnerving time for city builders.

First, a centerpiece of San Francisco’s new downtown, the 58-story Millennium Tower, started sinking and tilting. Then last week, the city’s new $2.26-billion transbay bus station was abruptly shut after cracks were found in two steel beams. Both events have fueled anxiety about how San Francisco’s growing skyline would hold up in the kind of major quake that destroyed much of the city in 1906.

So on Thursday, the city opened up a new front on California’s seismic safety, releasing an unprecedented list of more than 150 of its tallest buildings, including many constructed before modern seismic codes.

The inventory is the first step in an assessment of the city’s skyline with an eye toward making costly fixes to towers that could collapse amid major shaking. Officials are also calling for rules for new construction, aimed at preventing unanticipated sinking of buildings as well as making tall buildings even stronger to resist wobbling in an earthquake…(more)

State treasurer seeks probe of CalPERS CEO

October 5, 2018

By Chris Reed : calwatchdog – excerpt

Just when you thought you had seen it all…

A rowdy, muckraking financial blog that has repeatedly raised later-corroborated concerns about how the California Public Employees’ Retirement System operates has gotten traction with one of its new allegations.

The Naked Capitalism blog’s report that CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost had misled the giant pension fund about her education prompted state Treasurer John Chiang to seek an independent investigation.

Naked Capitalism blogger Susan Webber offered evidence that Frost – who does not have a college degree – allegedly told a consultant who evaluated her job application before her hiring in 2016 that she was enrolled in a degree program at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The Sacramento Bee reported that she hadn’t taken any classes at the college since 2010. Before coming to CalPERS, Frost led Washington’s Department of Retirement Services, which oversees more than a dozen defined-benefit state pension funds… (more)


7 things you need to know before you camp at Candlestick

October 3, 2018

By Spud Hinton : sfchronicle – excerpt

When it was one kind of park, fans occasionally camped out at Candlestick to get a first shot at Giants or 49ers tickets.

Now they can just camp out…

The campground is a new way to experience San Francisco Bay. What it isn’t is Yosemite. Between the famously fierce howling winds, the urban location and the odd history, the camping at times might seem more like survival training. Here are a few things you should know before camping at Candlestick… (more)

This might be a great place to take a date you want to break up with, or kids that need discipline, or anyone you really dislike. In fact, this could be the perfect urban setting for the Survivor Series. I wonder what kind of creepy night life they have that might seek out a warm tent.

America’s Affordable Housing Crisis Isn’t Just Hitting Cities

October 2, 2018

By Laura Paddison : huffingtonpost – excerpt

Rural areas are getting crunched, too.

America’s well-documented affordable housing crisis is often framed in terms of the big urban areas, where housing and living costs are sky high and rapid gentrification pushes rents and prices up and lower-income residents out. But the affordability crisis is also playing out across rural America. It’s more spread out and driven by different factors, but it’s no less devastating.

A new report, published Tuesday, highlights the problem by ranking the affordable housing needs of rural communities across the country. Produced by the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C., think thank, the report identifies 152 rural counties ― home to 8 million people ― with the most-severe needs for affordable rental housing.

While these counties are scattered across the U.S., the report identified some specific pockets of concentration, including along the border, from Texas to California; in the Southern Mississippi Delta, especially parts of Louisiana and Mississippi; and in the Southeast, including Florida, Alabama and Georgia…

“Rural communities face unique challenges to addressing their housing needs, and as a result, far too many of the lowest-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals in rural America cannot afford to keep a roof over their head,” said Sarah Mickelson, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s senior director for public policy. “Senator Warren’s landmark proposal would directly help rural families struggling to pay rent and make ends meet.”….(more)

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