Security robot that deterred homeless encampments in the Mission gets rebuke from the city

Grassroots Actions

By Alisha Green :bizjournals – excerpt

San Francisco residents continue to rage against the machines.

While the city’s board of supervisors moves toward finalizing limits on robots that roam the sidewalks to deliver food and goods, it must also find a way to handle security robots that patrol public sidewalks.

The S.F. SPCA in the Mission started using a security robot about a month ago in its parking lot and on the sidewalks around its campus, which takes up a whole city block at Florida St. and 16th St. Last week, the city ordered the SPCA to keep its robot off the sidewalks or face a penalty of up to $1,000 per day for operating in the public right-of-way without a permit.

The security robot is just the latest in a growing list of uses for robots around the city, from rental agents to food couriers. The robot surge…

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

zRants

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…

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Artists working to live and work in safer spaces in Oakland after Ghost Ship

ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

Tanya Retherford took KTVU inside a 90-year-old warehouse in West Oakland where she is working with the city of Oakland on a first-of-its-kind project to build a live-work space completely up to code at 30th West Street, with a special variance from the planning department.

Retherford is the architect and a future tenant of the flagship project.

“This is going to be an artist’s, co-living working space when it’s completed with 13 residential spaces and studio space, dance floor, and workshop,” Retherford said.

She was part of an art collective at another warehouse that was evicted by their landlord immediately after the Ghost Ship fire took 36 lives in Dec. 2, 2016.

“What we’re trying to do is shift the paradigm so that people can develop spaces like this and work with the city,” Retherford said.

With numerous people living in non-permitted commercial spaces, two non-profit organizations are offering support.

The Oakland Warehouse Coalition and Safer DIY Spaces are two groups whose goal is try to bring properties up to code, while fighting to keep residents in their homes.

Jonah Strauss, executive director of the Oakland Warehouse Coalition, said the organization was formed after immediately in the wake of Ghost Ship…

At the beginning of the year, Mayor Libby Schaaf issued an executive order to improve safety at unpermitted buildings. It aimed to prevent unnecessary displacement, among other things. Strauss and Keenan said city leaders are supportive of making spaces safer, but the order has largely been ignored by code enforcement (more)

It would be nice if more cities chose to help artist stay in place while they take care of safety problems as a response to dangerous living conditions rather than evict them and or fine them. Do it Yourself (DIY) projects are at the hart of the artists movements and have been for decades. Our city leaders should encourage that spirit of freedom to express ourselves instead of damping it down as they have done for as along as we can remember. This is the newest and only pioneering option we have left in this country, and any action to improve one’s life should be embraced. Make sure to share this with your local officials as a good way to combat dangerous living conditions without evicting people and adding to the homeless crisis.

Hacks review: Donna Brazile lifts lid on Hillary and the Democrats disaster

By Lloyd Green : theguardian – excerpt

Twice in the past five presidential elections, the Democrats won the popular vote only to meet defeat in the electoral college. In 2000, a mere 537-vote deficit in Florida and the US supreme court stood between Al Gore and the White House. Sixteen years later, Hillary Clinton garnered a 2.86 million vote plurality, only to see her ambitions dashed in the Rust Belt….

The former DNC chair’s memoir of election defeat has it all: Russian hackers, campaign drama and a reigniting of bitter internal feuds…(more)

At the Artists’ Loft Museum, Longtime Arts District Residents Are Refusing to Be Erased

By Catherine Wagley : laweekly – excerpt

Please don’t let the Arts District become unlivable for actual artists,” Michael Parker pleaded on Aug. 10, addressing the City Planning Commission and the developers behind the Camden Project, a mixed-use development slated to go up on Industrial Street downtown. Just 5 percent of the complex’s residential units are required to be affordable housing, which Parker doesn’t think is adequate. “There should be much, much, much, much, much, much, much more affordable housing and larger units so that dozens and dozens of 25-year-old artists from the CSU can afford it,” an effusive Parker said. He also mentioned the Artist Loft Museum of Los Angeles (ALMLA), the museum he started out of the Seaton Street studio in which he’s lived and worked since August 2001.

“What’s the name of your museum?” asked Planning Commission president David Ambroz.

“The ALMLA,” repeated Parker. “We have our first opening on Aug. 31, the last day of my lease, before I will be facing —”

“Now you’re slipping into testimony,” Ambroz interrupted. “The name of the museum I got.”…

Parker recently received notice that, upon the start of his new lease, his rent would increase by $2,050 a month — a 43 percent increase from what he’s been paying, and about 200 percent more than what he was paying six years ago — and that he would no longer be able to live in his studio, though the space has been zoned live-work for at least 25 years. He is working with lawyer Elena Popp of the Eviction Defense Network to fight these new terms, something a number of other artists in this city are doing, too. Parker also spent last Wednesday morning in court, after his landlord’s lawyer sent Popp a temporary restraining order against ALMLA’s opening. The judge ruled that the opening could legally go ahead, as long as Parker kept attendance under 49 people at a time. “You’ve wasted enough of my time,” Parker recalls the judge saying after she emerged from her chambers with a decision…(more)

Who knew in the 1970’s when Beaux Arts was under pressure to close one of the first “live-work” art and entertainment centers, that San Francisco and Los Angeles would face the same fate forty years later. Seems the establishment can’t stand art and creative thinkers.

Berkeley among first cities ready to sell legal cannabis in California Jan. 1

greenstate  – excerpt

Cannabis fans and history-watchers may be flocking to Berkeley Jan. 1 for some of the first legal recreational marijuana sales in the state’s modern history.

Commercial sales to adults 21 and older can legally begin New Year’s Day in California, but pot shops need both a state and a local license to conduct such transactions. Unlike San Francisco or Oakland, Berkeley has become one of the very few of the 400-plus cities and counties in California to create such a license.

On Oct. 17, the Berkeley Council voted on consent to pass the second reading of an amendment to its city code permitting Berkeley’s three dispensaries to conduct adult-use sales, according to Charley Pappas, vice chair of the Berkeley Cannabis Commission, and former chair for two years. The amendment had passed a first reading unanimously Oct. 10, he said.

The amendment now goes to a City Clerk for chaptering and becomes effective in 30 days… (more)

 

The Atlantic Confirms It: We Are Living In A Kakistocracy

By Dartagnan : theatlantic – excerpt

I can speak from firsthand knowledge that living through 11 presidencies of varying degrees of competence (and the occasional scandal or criminality) gives you some perspective on what we are experiencing today. Norman Ornstein, political scientist and resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has lived through 13 of them. What he sees with the Trump Administration is something so unique it needs a special word to describe it, a word that has been out of popular usage for nearly two centuries. The word is “kakistocracy.”
kakistocracy (English pronunciation: /kækɪsˈtɑkɹəsi/) is a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens. … It was also used by English author Thomas Love Peacock in 1829, but gained significant usage in the 21st century…(more)