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Robot Wages War on the Homeless, the Homeless Fight Back

December 13, 2017

By Anthony Cuthbertson : newsweek – excerpt

The fleet of laser-equipped robots patrolling parking lots and company campuses in San Francisco has met resistance from the city’s homeless population, after one machine was deployed to prevent tent encampments from forming.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals began using one of the robots in its parking lots and along the sidewalks around its premises in early November to prevent homeless people from settling there.

But within a week, people attempting to set up a camp took offense at the robot and attacked it. SPCA President Jennifer Scarlett told the publication that the people “put a tarp over [the robot], knocked it over and put barbecue sauce on all the sensors.”…

Some local residents also reportedly took issue with the robots, saying the machines disturb their pets and pose a danger to public safety…(more)

And a danger to jobs as well. Today I walked past the SPCA and noted a human guard in the parking lot. Perhaps the homeless saved human job.



America’s homeless population rises for the first time since the Great Recession

December 12, 2017

By Alastair Gee : theguardian – excerpt

Exclusive: a new government study finds 553,742 people were homeless on a single night this year, as advocates lament a crisis that shows no sign of abating.

America’s homeless population has risen this year for the first time since the Great Recession, propelled by the housing crisis afflicting the west coast, according to a new federal study.

The study has found that 553,742 people were homeless on a single night this year, a 0.7% increase over last year. It suggests that despite a fizzy stock market and a burgeoning gross domestic product, the poorest Americans are still struggling to meet their most basic needs.

“The improved economy is a good thing, but it does put pressure on the rental market, which does put pressure on the poorest Angelenos,” said Peter Lynn, head of the Los Angeles homelessness agency. The most dramatic spike in the nation was in his region, where a record 55,000 people were counted. “Clearly we have an outsize effect on the national homelessness picture.”…(more)

Perspective is needed on the homeless crisis. We need to see that this is a national and international problem that makes send the homeless away unfeasible.

An SF city bank is not only possible — it’s a great idea, budget analyst concludes

December 12, 2017

There’s nothing in the way of a public bank except the finance industry and political will

San Francisco faces no legal obstacles and no significant policy problems with creating a municipal bank, a recent report from the city’s budget and legislative analyst concludes.

The report, released late in November with very little news media fanfare, represents a major step towards putting the city’s sizable financial resources into community development, affordable housing, and small businesses instead of the profits of giant, corrupt financial institutions…

This is potentially a huge deal – and one that the private banking industry will almost certainly oppose and try to derail.

Sup. Sandy Fewer asked for the report. She and Sup. Malia Cohen are talking about holding a hearing in February. I can almost see the Bank of America lobbyists lining up right now... (more)

San Francisco sours on rampant delivery robots: ‘Not every innovation is great’

December 12, 2017

By : theguardian – excerpt

Sharing a sidewalk with one of DoorDash’s delivery robots is a bit like getting stuck behind someone playing Pokémon Go on his smartphone. The robot moves a little bit slower than you want to; every few meters it pauses, jerking to the left or right, perhaps turning around, then turning again before continuing on its way.

These are the sidewalks of the future, technology evangelists promise. Autonomous delivery robots, once the exclusive purview of 1980s sci-fi movies, are coming to a city near you, with promises of reduced labor costs, increased efficiency and the reduction of cars…(more)

We got another story about robot guards that were being use to guard the sidewalk around the homeless pets at the SPCA from the homeless humans living in tents outside the homeless pet home. According to staff at SPCA they were paying $6 an hour for the robot, whereas, the human would cost $14 an hour. Now we are getting a clear picture of why so many people are living on the streets and a very clear picture of where the robot economy is going if we let it.

Employers soon prohibited from asking about wage history

December 9, 2017

By Chris Dolan : sfweekly – excerpt

Questions about salary history can perpetuate the pay gap between men and women…Salary history questions are very common, but as you point out, this practice can perpetuate the pay gap between men and women due to gender discrimination…

California has now enacted a legislative response to the Ninth Circuit decision, [that held that it is not necessarily improper to use past salary when considering a new employee’s pay rate] which will hopefully put all genders on equal footing.

On Oct. 12, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill banning employers from asking about salary history. The new law, which goes into effect in January, prohibits employers from “orally or in writing, personally or through an agent,” asking about an applicant’s previous wage history. Because this addresses the issue at the very first contact with a potential candidate, this prevents access to salary information that could perpetuate gender discrimination… (more)

What Amazon’s HQ2 plan gets right: Move the jobs to the workers

December 4, 2017

via What Amazon’s HQ2 plan gets right: Move the jobs to the workers

Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America’s new nomads

December 3, 2017

By Jessica Bruder : theguardian – excerpt

Rising rents are leading Americans to live in cars and other vehicles…

Millions of Americans are wrestling with the impossibility of a traditional middle-class existence. In homes across the country, kitchen tables are strewn with unpaid bills. Lights burn late into the night. The same calculations get performed again and again, through exhaustion and sometimes tears.

Wages minus grocery receipts. Minus medical bills. Minus credit card debt. Minus utility fees. Minus student loan and car payments. Minus the biggest expense of all: rent.

In the widening gap between credits and debits hangs a question: which bits of this life are you willing to give up, so you can keep on living?

During three years of research for my book, Nomadland: Surviving America in The Twenty-First Century, I spent time with hundreds of people who had arrived at the same answer. They gave up traditional housing and moved into “wheel estate”: RVs, travel trailers, vans, pickup campers, even a salvaged Prius and other sedans. For many, sacrificing some material comforts had allowed them to survive, while reclaiming a small measure of freedom and autonomy. But that didn’t mean life on the road was easy…

The ranks of American itinerants started to boom after the housing collapse and have kept growing…

Federal minimum wage is stalled at $7.25 an hour. The cost of shelter continues to climb. There are now only a dozen counties and one metro area where a full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent…

Amazon has been the most aggressive recruiter of this nomadic workforce…



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