Florida Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Guns On Campus

By Doha Madani : huffingtonpost – excerpt

Gov. Rick Scott has expressed hesitancy over the bill and hasn’t ruled out a veto.

In a 67-50 vote on Wednesday, the Florida House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 7026 with an amendment that would allow certain school staff members in the state to carry firearms.

Lawmakers had been rushing to pass the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act before the end of the state’s legislative session on Friday. The state Senate had already passed the bill with amendments on Monday, but Gov. Rick Scott (R) still needs to sign it before it goes into effect.

Scott has expressed hesitancy over allowing guns in schools and has not said whether he will veto SB 7026 or not…

SB 7026 contains a number of gun-related reforms, including a three-day wait period on gun sales, raising the age requirement for all firearms sales to 21, some regulation of bump stocks, and allocating $69 million to the state’s Department of Education for mental health programs.. (more)

Congratulations to all the students and young people around the country for supporting life. Anything is possible if you believe you work for it.


Will the unique culture of Miami’s Coconut Grove survive?

By Suzette Laboy, Associated Press : sfchronicle – excerpt

MIAMI (AP) — With its artsy vibe, lush landscapes and free-roaming peacocks, Coconut Grove has long been known as a bohemian paradise.

It’s also Miami’s oldest neighborhood, established along the shores of Biscayne Bay in 1873 before the city existed. Located nearly 5 miles from what is now Miami’s downtown, its streets are shaded by thick canopies of trees and its housing stock includes some of Miami’s oldest homes.

But as new architecture goes up and its business district revitalizes, Coconut Grove is at risk of losing its unique history and tropical culture. Older homes are being turned into mansions of concrete and glass. Locals are fighting to reduce the size of new construction and preserve green space…

orge Perez, one of the most influential names in Miami real estate, has called Coconut Grove home for over 35 years and says he’s committed to maintaining its historic charm. His company, The Related Group, along with The Terra Group, are behind the new Park Grove project, a 297-unit luxury condo development on the Coconut Grove waterfront. The project features three wavy towers, a restaurant and “lush landscaping that the Grove is known for,” Perez says, along with a park “filled with sculptures that will be very much in the spirit of the Grove.”…(more)

Coconut Grove was one of the choice distinations for Beaux Artists leaving Pinellas Park for greener pastures. They found friendly open-hearted fun-loving easy-going creative spirits there.

Now the Grove is facing the same devastation all cities are as unfriendly groups like The Related Group bring their bag of tricks to gentrify the neighborhoods they want to overtake. One of their tricks is to make deals with local governments to replace public parking with bike rental stations to gentrify neighborhoods.

Don’t know how successful they will be getting people out of their air-conditioned cars in Florida, but I’m sure they will try. I’m also sure the Coconut Grove folks will fight back to preserve what they love the same way we all do.



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.

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)


When The Neighborhood Comes to Dinner

By Beth Hoffman + John Hogeland : lessmeat – excerpt

It all started with a crazy idea.  I wanted to invite the neighborhood for dinner, like I’d seen in Gourmet or Saveur magazines, where whole Italian towns eat dinner together in the streets. Long tables, beautifully arranged, with hundreds of people sitting down for the same meal (usually spaghetti) at the same time.

I mentioned it to a neighbor when we moved to Mission Terrace in San Francisco, a little known gem of a neighborhood in the far south of the city. We have unpaved alleys behind our homes, right-of-ways owned by the homeowners, used by PG&E for access.  I thought it seemed like the perfect place for a dinner, to gather people and tables and to somehow, someway all eat the same thing (likely spaghetti) at the same time.  But how to make all that pasta?  How to boil it, keep it warm, and serve it out to hundreds of people?… (more)

Does Even Mark Zuckerberg Know What Facebook Is?

By : nymag – excerpt

The author lays out his perception of Zuckerberg’s quest to discover exactly who is a part of the community he developed and what the company’s responsibility is to that community. A possibly good read on the morning after the largest single mass killing in America’s history.

The same company that gives you birthday reminders also helped ensure the integrity of the German elections.

Mark Zuckerberg had just returned from paternity leave, and he wanted to talk about Facebook, democracy, and elections and to define what he felt his creation owed the world in exchange for its hegemony. A few weeks earlier, in early September, the company’s chief security officer had admitted that Facebook had sold $100,000 worth of ads on its platform to Russian-government-linked trolls who intended to influence the American political process. Now, in a statement broadcast live on Facebook on September 21 and subsequently posted to his profile page, Zuckerberg pledged to increase the resources of Facebook’s security and election-integrity teams and to work “proactively to strengthen the democratic process.”

To effect this, he outlined specific steps to “make political advertising more transparent.” Facebook will soon require that all political ads disclose “which page” paid for them (“I’m Epic Fail Memes, and I approve this message”) and ensure that every ad a given advertiser runs is accessible to anyone, essentially ending the practice of “dark advertising” — promoted posts that are only ever seen by the specific groups at which they’re targeted. Zuckerberg, in his statement, compared this development favorably to old media, like radio and television, which already require political ads to reveal their funders: “We’re going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency,” he writes… (more)

Sen. Orrin Hatch introduces medical marijuana research bill with pot puns

By : sfgate – excerpt

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch intends to support more research on medical cannabis with equal parts legislation and hack comedy.

The Utah lawmaker on Wednesday introduced a bipartisan bill to ease federal restrictions on medical marijuana research with a pun-laden written statement, reports Forbes’ Tom Angell.

“It’s high time to address research into medical marijuana,” says Hatch in his unveiling of the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017, or MEDS Act.

According to the rest of Hatch’s statement:

“Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana. All the while, the federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good. To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.”… (more)

We need some good news this week in the wake of the hurricanes as our friends are struggling with the aftermath. We can read this as good news.