Social and Economic Rights

“School Reform” and Land Grabs Threaten SF’s Community College

Who Wants to Kill City College?

By Marcy Rein

The door to Edgar Torres’s office stands open on the first day of the 2016 spring semester, as it has on the first day of every semester for 14 years. “I do that for the students who get lost and need directions,” says Torres, head of the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Department at City College of San Francisco (CCSF). “I love the hustle and bustle of the first day. But today I’m sad, because it’s so quiet.”

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San Mateo County Renters Fight Rising Evictions

By Joseph Smooke and Dyan Ruiz

Renters and community supporters protest the eviction of residents of 1824 El Parque Court in San Mateo at a vigil organized by the San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action. Courtesy of [people.power.media]. A group of community workers, along with mostly Latino and African American working-class parents, hold hands in a prayer vigil at a suburban Bay Area neighborhood. They huddle together in the shade on the front lawn of a townhouse complex as their children play with protest signs and run around with friends. So close to San Francisco with its rent control and modest eviction preventions, the Silicon Valley city of San Mateo provides no security for tenants.

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Exodus From The Jungle

Robert Aguirre, advocate and former resident of The Jungle.

By Andrew Bigelow

After decades of existence, in the midst of a housing crisis in Silicon Valley, the City of San Jose decided to close The Jungle. Silicon Valley De-Bug, a media and advocacy organization, created a video documentary, Exodus from The Jungle, that depicts the eviction, talks with residents of The Jungle about what the camp meant to them, and follows their efforts to find new places to stay.

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Housing Stability and Health In San Mateo County

By Dr. Scott Morrow

Renters displaced from San Mateo County leave an environment rich in amenities that support health, such this Burlingame park that gives children space to play. Photo © Gino DeGrandis

The San Mateo County Health System helps county residents and workers live longer and better lives....  Housing stability is a fundamental element of the System’s commitment to healthy places. This article explores this issue and its effects on health, highlights the need for action, and suggests a framework for moving forward.

 

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The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of Its Troubles

In August 2014, a Ferguson, Missouri, policeman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. Michael Brown’s death and the resulting protests and racial tension brought considerable attention to that town. Observers who had not been looking closely at our evolving demographic patterns were surprised to see ghetto conditions we had come to associate with inner cities now duplicated in a formerly white suburban community: racially segregated neighborhoods with high poverty and unemployment, poor student achievement in overwhelmingly black schools, oppressive policing, abandoned homes, and community powerlessness.

Media accounts of how Ferguson became Ferguson have typically explained that when African Americans moved to this suburb (and others like it), “white flight” followed, abandoning the town to African Americans who were trying to escape poor schools in the city. The conventional explanation adds that African Americans moved to a few places like Ferguson, not the suburbs generally, because prejudiced real estate agents steered black homebuyers away from other white suburbs. And in any event, those other suburbs were able to preserve their almost entirely white, upper-middle- class environments by enacting zoning rules that required only expensive single family homes, the thinking goes.

No doubt, private prejudice and suburbanites’ desire for homogenous affluent environments contributed to segregation in St. Louis and other metropolitan areas. But these explanations are too partial, and too conveniently excuse public policy from responsibility. A more powerful cause of metropolitan segregation in St. Louis and nationwide has been the explicit intents of federal, state, and local governments to create racially segregated metropolises.

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