S.F. agency OKs free Muni for low-income kids

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 11:10am
Source: 
Low-income youths could soon ride San Francisco's Muni for free, while drivers who park in the city on Sundays might have to pay up.

Those controversial proposals were approved Tuesday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors, which unanimously passed the budget for Muni, parking, traffic and taxis over the next two years.

Yet for those programs to become reality, the budget still has to clear several hurdles that include gaining the Board of Supervisors' approval.

Overall, the budget calls for spending $821 million in the new fiscal year that begins July 1, and $840.5 million the following year. That plan is projected to close deficits of $19.6 million and $33.6 million, respectively.

REDI's Christy Leffall on KPFA's Morning Mix - April 19, 2012

Listen to Christy Leffall, land-use program coordinator and coordinator of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) at Urban Habitat, on KPFA's Morning Mix hosted by Richmond Planning Commissioner Andres Soto that aired on April 19, 2012 at 8:00 am. Leffall gives a recap of the General Plan Rally at the Richmond City Council Chambers on April 17th and subsequent adoption hearing of the General Plan with the Environmental Impact Report, which REDI has been working on for over six years.

REDI members turned out in significant numbers to this meeting. The vote was tabled until next week because the general plan agenda took over four hours, one hour for the staff’s presentation, and another three hours for public testimony where 111 speakers had signed in to speak. The upcoming City council vote on Tuesday, April 24th, 6:30pm at Richmond City Hall. Listen to an edited version of the segment here (or download). Visit, KPFA to hear the full version.

Christy Leffall is currently a Land Use Program Coordinator working in Contra Costa County. Leffall is coordinator of the Richmond Equitable Development Initiative (REDI) in Richmond, CA, which advocates for the adoption and implementation of equitable elements within the city’s updated General Plan. 

Free Muni for all youths

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 10:56am
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Big yellow school buses are disappearing as the San Francisco Unified School District reduces the number of buses and routes to contend with education budget cuts. As a result, more and more families must shoulder the cost of transporting their children to school. Recent Municipal Transportation Agency board meetings have seen an outpouring of support from political leaders, community organizations and residents testifying in support of free Muni fares for all young people.

First of city's major affordable housing projects goes to council tonight for final OK

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 10:53am
High density apartment buildings will add more than 500 residential units to Hacienda Business Park's residential housing



The Pleasanton City Council will vote tonight on bids by BRE Properties to build high density apartment buildings with 498 units in Hacienda Business Park.

The Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) were approved earlier by the city's Planning Commission after more than a year of public hearings, workshops and task force considerations.

The project is an outcome of the settlement agreement between the city and Urban Habitat, an Oakland-based affordable housing coalition that successfully sued the city over its 1996 housing cap and lack of adequate affordable, workforce housing.

Obama proposes new rule for immigrant families

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 2:00pm
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Illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of citizens could stay in the U.S. while applying for permanent residency. The goal is to reduce a family's time apart.



WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is proposing to make it easier for illegal immigrants who are immediate family members of American citizens to apply for permanent residency, a move that could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.

The new rule, which the Department of Homeland Security will post for public comment Monday, would reduce the time illegal immigrants are separated from their American families while seeking legal status, immigration officials said. Currently, such immigrants must leave the country to apply for a legal visa, often leading to long stints away as they await resolution of their applications.

The proposal is the latest move by the administration to use its executive powers to revise immigration procedures without changing the law. It reflects an effort by President Obama to improve his standing among those Latino voters who feel he has not met his 2008 campaign promise to pursue comprehensive immigration reform.

emailaddress: 
brian.bennett@latimes.com

You Got a Problem? Well, Now You Do

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 1:50pm
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Trayvon Martin had it coming, or so we will soon be led to believe. The surely unattractive details of his short life as a black man in America will tumble forward—his troubles in school, the weed baggie that got him suspended, the altercation in which police and George Zimmerman claim he was the aggressor. He was a maladjusted, Negro man-child, so ferocious he could kill an armed man with his bare hands. He had to die.

Yesterday, local law enforcement offered a preview of this old, familiar narrative when someone leaked Zimmerman’s account of the night to the Orlando Sentinel. According to the Sentinel, Zimmerman had given up his hunt of Martin and was returning to his SUV when the 17-year-old caught him by surprise. Do you have a problem, Martin is said to have asked, before answering for himself, “Well, you do now.” He reportedly began pummelling Zimmerman, leading the armed man to shoot and kill.

Sadly, it’s necessary to point out that there isn’t an imaginable scenario in which an armed man can shoot an unarmed child to death and it be okay. But set that obvious fact to the side. Trayvon Martin did in fact have it coming. He was born black and male in the United States and was thus marked for death. The cruelness of our economy and of our criminal justice system isn’t reserved for men or for black people. But there is a particularly gendered and particularly racist way in which black men are set upon in this country, most acutely those who don’t have the resources to push back. And it has a very long, still relevant history.

Get Onboard: It's Time To Stop Hating The Bus

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 1:43pm
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Everyone loves to hate riding the bus — passengers complain about cleanliness, overcrowding, timeliness and inefficiency. In a piece for Salon.com, writer Will Doig argues that disliking the bus is "practically an American pastime," but buses are key to improving mass transit. Doig thinks that rather than spending money on expensive new systems like light rail or streetcars, cities should focus on making buses better.

"I think when people say that they don't like the bus," he tells NPR's Neal Conan, "what they're really saying is that they like the train better than the bus. And there are a lot of really good reasons for that."

Doig (who admits he took the subway to the studio for this interview) says the appeals of trains — design, reliability, comfort and frequency — could easily be incorporated into bus systems. And some cities are already doing that by aiming to employ bus rapid transit, or BRT.

The biggest and most effective approach is removing the bus from traffic. "If you can give it its own lane that's physically separated from cars so that even people who want to drive in the bus lane are unable to, that's the key, and you'll be zipping through the city in no time," says Doig.

Doig explains why buses have an image problem and the things cities around the world are doing to improve bus transit.

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